Sorry, another MBP vs MBA thread

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by GordonGekko, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. GordonGekko macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2012
    #1
    Hi there,

    I've been browsing for the past couple weeks, and have learned a ton from this forum. This will be my first Mac and I've gone back and forth at least a dozen times trying to decide between the MBP 13 vs the MBA 13.

    If I were to get the Pro I would upgrade the harddrive to the 128 gb solid state drive directly through Apple. The price difference isn't a that much higher, and I'm not incredibly computer savvy. I would updgrade the ram to 8gb myself, seems to cheap not do. I would then buy a 750gb hdd and replace the optical drive.

    If I were to get the Air I would get the ultimate w/ the 256gb ssd.

    I have around 50gb of music. I haven't decided for sure but will probably run Bootcamp or parallels. I'm in finance and a couple programs require windows. With that question do you guys recommend using the Microsoft office suite or Office for Mac. I have read there are some minor differences. I will mainly be using excel. I will not be doing any video editing, of high graphic applications. I work within a couple miles of my office and drive there so portability between the two is negligible. It will mainly stay at home.

    The pro is probably over kill for what I need. The computer I'm using now has 2gb of ram and it gets bogged down quite often though. My biggest concern with the MBP is the screen resolution, and with the Air only having 4gb of ram. I've used both of them for 15 min at the apple store and still can't decide.

    I appreciate all your help.
     
  2. heisenberg123 macrumors 603

    heisenberg123

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    Oct 31, 2010
    Location:
    Hamilton, Ontario
    #2
    Doesn't sound like the Air is gonna cut it if one of your immediate plans is to swap the optical drive for a extra 750 GB of storage
     
  3. Jnardis macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 2, 2010
    #3
    I just bought an MBA 13 and am also in Finance. Office suite shouldn't make a difference in which computer you buy since it will be the same for he Air or Pro. I am running VM Fusion 7 with office on the windows side and it's running perfectly. I use the windows side for work and the mac side for personal/pleasure.

    I was also on the fence between the Pro and Air and decided to go with the air because of the portability since I'll be using it for work and traveling.
     
  4. takeshi74 macrumors 601

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    Feb 9, 2011
    #4
    Sounds like you just need to prioritize your needs/wants. Which is more important: the added portability of the Air or the additional storage of the MBP? Any other concerns?

    Why are you considering the Air then?
     
  5. GordonGekko thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 23, 2012
    #5
    Now that I think about it; screen resolution is the only reason im considering the Air.

    ----------



    I guess I what I was getting at, are their differences between the Microsoft or Mac version of the office suite. I realize it wouldn't make a difference between the Mac and Pro. Thanks again.
     
  6. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #6
    There are a few differences from Office for Windows compared to Office for Mac. In Excel, there are a few reports of more complex formulas/lookups/etc. not translating correctly between the two, but do note that they are almost perfectly compatible.

    Note that the screen used in the Pro is a higher quality one than the Air - the Pro has better color accuracy and range, and a wider viewing angle, while the Air offers higher resolution. The Pro is reported by many to be easier to use for a long period of time (and that's certainly my experience) as a result.

    Also note that the battery on the Pro lasts substantially longer. Probably not a huge deal for you if it's going to sit on a desk, but worth noting.

    From your description, the Pro will last you longer and offers more capability for today and tomorrow as well as being more likely to hold more resale value. Take a look at what prior generation Airs are selling for relative to what prior generation MBPs are selling for and you'll see. Early generation Air owners end up practically giving them away, while even the first generation 13" Pros are selling well and for a seemingly higher average price.
     
  7. kdoug macrumors 6502a

    kdoug

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    Jun 2, 2010
    Location:
    Iowa City, IA USA
    #7
    I just sold my early 2011 MBP on eBay and before that I owned the 2010 MacBook Air "Ultimate".
    The real estate on the MBA was definitely better on the Air because of the higher resolution.
    There are advantages to both but unfortunately both need a little more tweaking. IMHO, they both need USB 3.0, The Air needs an option for 8 GB of memory, The MBP needs to lose some weight by getting rid of the optical drive and Apple needs to give the 13.3 a little more resolution with the option of adding an anti-glare screen. I'm sure both will get a serious speed and graphic upgrade with Ivy Bridge in the coming months.
    If I need one right now, I'd probably buy the High-End Air because of the resolution.
     
  8. D.T. macrumors 604

    D.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #8
    Here's my quick take:

    MBA

    Very portable, light
    Standard SSD
    Limited to 4GB RAM
    Less storage options
    Less ports (no GB port, no FW)
    Better display (resolution)
    No option for high[er] end CPU
    No option for high[er] end [discreet] GPU


    MBP

    More expansion, 8GB RAM (OEM), 16GB 3rd party
    Combo and larger storage options: SDD + HDD (- optical), HDDs 500, 750GB
    High end CPU, GPU options
    Extra ports
    Optical (some people still need/use these)
    Better display options on 15" and 17"


    If you need "office" apps, just get Office '11 for Mac and go native, and skip the VM. Just did this with the wife's MBP13, removed Parallels, installed native Office, works beautiful. I still run a VM since I need a couple of Winders© development tools.
     
  9. Jnardis macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 2, 2010
    #9
    I tried using Office on Mac and hated it. I am just too use to Office on Windows. I'm sure it's like everything else. If you give it time and have patience it will be just fine. Just my opinion...
     
  10. lamboman macrumors 6502

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    Aug 13, 2011
    #10
    The only true advantage that the Air has is weight - you pay the price everywhere else but that is the point.

    When it comes to the displays, the MBP display is considerably better in terms of colour reproduction, being an IPS panel rather than a TN panel like the MBA (the latter of which is rather washed out in comparison to the former). It's a shame they don't offer higher resolutions with the MBP, but I'd be surprised if they didn't offer that in the next refresh.

    Taking this into account, it really boils down to whether the size and weight is priority or not.

    As for a Macbook Pro without an optical drive, that already exists. The Macbook Pro accommodates a hard drive (in the traditional sense - the MBA has more a board) and a bigger battery to up the size. Ditching the optical drive wouldn't bring much, and would make the MBP an unfocussed product.
     
  11. JTravers macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 28, 2010
    #11
    I would definitely recommend getting a MBP, esp if you're going to run Excel for Windows through Fusion (which I would also recommend vs. Excel on Office for Mac). The ability to upgrade to 8GB should be very helpful when running VMs.

    Now, since you'll be keeping it mainly at home, I might even suggest going up to a MBP 15 (HR/AG) or 17 (AG). It's great having all that screen real estate when working in Excel.
     
  12. GordonGekko thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 23, 2012
    #12
    I appreciate all the help. It's pretty easy to add an hdd drive to the optibay correct? I think I know the process of the installation just a little confused on the formatting. I would rather do that instead of having all of my music on an external drive.

    If I were to install windows as well, would it make sense to install that on the hdd drive since I won't be using it as much. I planned on using the ssd drive for Mac OSX and applications. Everything else on the hdd drive.

    I think that would be the best solution and still work within my budget.

    ----------

    My perfect machine would be the 15in pro with the high res display. I just don't know if I'll be able to afford spending $2,000 on it. I'll keep my fingers crossed though.
     
  13. bdodds1985 macrumors 6502a

    bdodds1985

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    Tartarus
    #13
    if money is not an issue and you are more concerned about the resolution of your screen, then get a pro.
    so many threads like this i try to help, but honestly it comes down to whatever you decide you want or "need".
    I went with a pro with the 128gb ssd and ended up installing another ssd in the optical bay. i can tell you this much, if you have 50gb of music and want a windows partition on a 120gb apple ssd, you should keep all your music stored externally. I personally hate having extra crap on my boot drive, so all my stuff goes on my other ssd. apps, most pics, documents etc go on the boot ssd. but i doubt 120 gb would cut it for you. still, get the pro. air's are for wimps:D:cool:
     
  14. GordonGekko thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 23, 2012
    #14


    I had planned on having the windows partition on the hdd drive. Would VMware work with Windows using the hdd drive and Mac OSX using the ssd drive? I was going to the use the ssd drive for just Mac OSX and apps, and using the hdd drive for windows, music, pictures, and everything else.
     
  15. D.T. macrumors 604

    D.T.

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    Vilano Beach, FL
    #15
    Keep an eye out for a nice used machine, I've noticed Mac equipment tends to be pretty well cared for. I picked up my '11 MBP 15", HR/AG, 500GB 7.2K HDD, 1 GB 6750 GPU, 8GB RAM, all OEM, 2y/8m balance on Applecare, Lion (on CD), Office, HDMI adapter, Apple BT keyboard, 15 or so cycles, mint, all packaging, everything, shipped to my door for $1800.

    BTW, I totally disagree about using a VM for Office vs. using native '11 Office ... I just finished some technical docs, lots of refs, TOC, imbedded graphics in different formats, also passed around for a collaborative markup/edit, worked beautifully.
     
  16. GordonGekko thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 23, 2012
    #16

    Well that's good to know regarding the Native office. I'm beginning to wonder if I will actually need Windows if that is the case. There is one program that would require it but I don't know how often I would use it at home. I might just use it at the office. The Office was a worry for me though, thanks for clearing that up.
     
  17. JTravers macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 28, 2010
    #17
    Yes, it's pretty easy. I just did it on my MBP in about 20 mins over the weekend (swapped HDD for SSD and moved the HDD to the optibay) -- and I was being pretty slow and deliberate. There are tons of guides online and in these forums. Just make sure you don't have junk screwdrivers.

    I would put windows on the SSD, as well. Why make it slow when you don't have to? As long as you keep your data on the HDD, you should be fine with space on the SSD.

    Can you afford $1489+tax? That model goes in and out of stock every week or so. Or if you have a Micro Center close by, this higher-end model with a high-res/anti-glare display has regularly been priced down to $1599 on and off over the last few weeks. Even at the current price of $1699, it is a pretty good deal.

    Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy it :D
     
  18. D.T. macrumors 604

    D.T.

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    #18
    Well, that's my experience thus far, but my big thing is go as native OSX as possible (otherwise why buy a Mac). So far I haven't experienced any interoperability issues between Win/OSX documents, at least in terms of moderately complex Word docs, and very simple Excel worksheets (though '11 Mac office is supposed to implement regular VBA, for complex sheets).

    FWIW, I decided to stick with the OSX bundled Mail, iCal, Contacts vs. Outlook, even though the new Outlook looks pretty outstanding (Mail had excellent rules and "smart" folders which is all I needed).

    If there was an alternative to my main development environment for the Mac, I'd gladly use it too (nothing close for .NET so far) ... otherwise I kind of have to deal with a VM, but this i7/quad with 8GB RAM seems to be chugging along just fine .. as I write this I'm running Windows 7, actually my old install ported over, with VS2010, IIS, SQL, EM, Notepad, a VPN client, and on the mac I'm running Word, Mail (with a slick notifier plugin), iCal, iTunes (playing Muse :) ), and Chrome with 10 tabs open.

    *woot*
     
  19. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #19
    I know a number of people have said Mac for Office works fine compared to the windows version of office. I notice that the first person who said so, was clearly mostly using Word as he referred to TOC (table of comments).

    I am a Finance professional like yourself, and Excel is the weak link in Microsoft Office for Mac 2011. Although the new version is much better at file compatibility than Office for Mac 2008 (it use to do horrible things converting Windows Office pivot tables for one) it still runs like a dog with complicated linked spreadsheets - like the kind that you may have for your financial modelling spreadsheets. On some of my larger spreadsheets I have to watch the model recalculate with Excel 2011, but in Windows it is instant.

    Excel 2011 is fine for smaller spreadsheets and file compatibility is pretty good, but it you have some big financial forecasting spreadsheets you will want the Windows version of Excel.
     
  20. bdodds1985 macrumors 6502a

    bdodds1985

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    #20
    I don't know. I don't use windows. but you made your point clear with your bold text.
     
  21. GordonGekko thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 23, 2012
    #21
    Wasn't trying to make my point clear, just thought it would be easier to distinguish the reply. I'll remember that next time.
     
  22. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 1, 2011
    #22
    But the MBA 13 isn't that more portable than the MBP 13 ... I mean, sure it weighs a whopping 1.5 lbs less, but hey ... It still has the same footprint as the MBP 13.

    In other words, there's nowhere you can take a MBA 13 that you cannot take a MBP 13 ... Is 1.5 lbs really that much of a deal breaker?
     
  23. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #23
    If it is, the buyer needs a gym membership more than anything . . . ;)

    I just wish people would simply say they like how the Air looks instead of coming up with BS reasons to buy one.
     
  24. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 1, 2011
    #24
    Seriously!

    I often forget that people tend to justify their purchases with some poorly concocted reasoning ... I mean, the argument of portability is a terrible one.

    The Macbook Pro 13 can go anywhere the Macbook Air 13 can go. Short of the fraction of an inch reduction in thickness, they are the same size! 1.5 lbs isn't stopping you from taking your Macbook Pro anywhere you want to take it.

    Just get an Air if you like it, it's your money after all. No need to explain it to us.
     
  25. bdodds1985 macrumors 6502a

    bdodds1985

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    Tartarus
    #25
    its easy if you use the quote box. and have you made a decision on a mba or mbp?

    i wish everyone thought like the last two posts on this thread. but in a week there will be another one just like this.
     

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