Which do I buy the MB, MBA, or MBP

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Scottsdale, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    First let me start by stating I really appreciate all information you take the time to give me here.

    I own a current MBP 2.33 GHz 3GB RAM, 256 ATI Graphics.

    I am a writer and a management consultant. However, as a HOBBY I do some web stuff on Adobe CS3.3 and will probably move to CS4 next month.

    I intend to buy, FOR CERTAIN, the 24 inch led Cinema Display as soon as it's released next month.

    Now, I want a laptop that is LIGHT and I do NOT care about firewire. In fact, most of the time, I only use a USB thumb drive for files. I use Airport Extreme and Time Capsule wirelessly. I rarely play any type of game. I would PREFER a 13 inch display as when I am home I will dock into the 24 inch display.

    Do I buy a MacBook Pro because of CS4? Or, will the new Nvidia chipset in the MacBook suffice? Also, could I just buy the new Air? Doesn't it have the same graphics? So wouldn't the Air do the same thing as the MacBook?

    It is NOT really a money thing for me. I will be selling both my MacBook Pro and my Dell Precision laptops and this will be my ONLY computer.

    All advice is welcome. I am currently thinking the MacBook $1599 BIG IF it will do CS4 as a hobby fine??? However, just want to know the cons of deciding for a new Air. I know the HDD would be slower though.

    Thank you very much for all advice you can give. I just don't know what to make of the new MacBook, Air Nvidia graphics chipsets. I know we are all basing this on what could be with the new graphics specs being listed on the site. I just want to know all pros and all cons.

  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    i would advise keeping your mbp as it will still run cs4 well

    unless you like to be in the habit of always having latest gear
  3. stfcanuck macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2008
    I have the same question more or less. I don't play games, just use laptop for word, music, internet and wondering what mac to get? willing to spend whatever for the best results. do travel a bit (school, etc) so portability is a plus. Also want one that will last. thanks
  4. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    no, but it has been nearly two years

    plus, I am buying the new 24 led cinema display, so a new laptop is required.

    Thanks for all input.
  5. mBurns macrumors 6502

    Oct 3, 2006
    It's definitely a tougher decision now. IMO, the Air has gotten to a point where it's a considerably more "real" laptop instead of a toy. I think it's MUCH more comparable to the MacBook then it was before. With that in mind, if you feel you have "consumer" needs -- (i.e. MacBook) and that will run all your programs and such fine and feel you need the additional portability, go with the Air. Before, I would have said that the Air was not a portable MacBook -- now it is.
  6. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    I consider the MBA close to perfect at this point. I currently spend a number of hours per week in Pixelmator and never see slowdowns on my 'old' 1.8C2D. It also play 720p movies in iTunes without problems and I have never experienced stuttering YouTube. So 5x better graphics and a bigger HDD...WOW!

    Get your hands on one in the Apple Store. You can't beat the form factor :)
  7. anamznazn macrumors regular


    Mar 10, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    If you're looking for a bit more power, I'd say go for the Macbook.

    If you're looking for a few less pounds to carry around, do the Macbook Air.
  8. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    So, you are saying that either the MB or the MBA will run CS3.3 or CS4? Not necessarily as fast as the new MBP, but I can actually do some design work on the new Nvidia chipsets in either the MB or the MBA?

  9. strikeinsilence macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2006
    For your situation, I'd go with the Air. I use CS3 lightly on mine and haven't had any problems.
  10. idonotliketostu macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2008
    im having the same problem as you

    the new macbook has a flat glass screen so dust wont get into the edges and the new trackpad looks awesome

    but the mba is just so thin and light!

    all i need is something that surfs the web, crunch numbers on excel and write some papers

    i was hoping they would update the mba to include the glass screen and new touchpad
  11. redsteven macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2006
    Won't CS 4 be able to take advantage of the GPU? I still don't think you'd need a dedicated graphics card for that. The NVIDIA integrated could still prob help you out with that a lot.

    Maybe you should talk to Adobe and ask them?
  12. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    That seems like the obvious advice that I simply hadn't thought of. I just don't want to hear, "oh get the Pro for sure." As I am sure the Pro will be better, but again it would be "light" use for CS 3.3 or CS 4.

    I am amazed at all of the Air supporters. I was really thinking the Air, but I figured everyone would tell me no that the 1.83 GHz processor was too big of a draw back.

    If this new Nvidia chipset is as good as Apple claims, it shouldn't be a problem. They are selling Final Cut now with BOTH the Air and the MacBook. They didn't do that before.

    I am leaning towards the MacBook because of the DVD and the faster processor. BUT, I really like the portability of the Air. Especially if it is 5x faster in the graphics display chipset. I truly want the Air to tote around. I truly want the MB for the advanced speed. I don't really want the Pro unless I need it for Adobe CS 3.3 or CS 4. When at home I will plug in the 24Inch LED Cinema Display. So, right then when I am at home, I wonder if I will wish I had the Pro? Will that be the critical time even though Apple's site says no the Air, MB, and Pro will all drive the new cinema displays with the new Nvidia 9400 chipset.

    THANKS TO ALL. I welcome all advice. Or anything I am missing or not thinking about.

    Thanks for the continued advice.
  13. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Looks like we are both getting some great input. Thanks all.
  14. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Portability? MacBook. It surfs internet, does word processing, and is small. You don't need the SLI graphics of the MacBook Pro. You don't even edit the occasional video, which the MacBook is very good at right now. Stick with the low end MacBook unless you want a backlit keyboard.

    Glass screen? The MBA is too thin. Glass would crack if it was made that thin... And "new trackpad"? C'mon, it was the MBA who had the first multi touch trackpad, and again, glass would be too thin and break easily if it was fitted under 0.5" thick.
  15. dougnewman macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2006
    Long Island, NY, USA
    The MBA is certainly sufficient for basic computing. It is slower than the rest but by no means is it a toy, it still can do more or less anything you want short of real power use. The recent upgrades should give it a major performance boost too.

    If portability is really important to you and you don't care about the stuff it doesn't have - internal optical drive, various ports, etc. - or about price, I'd go with the MBA.
  16. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    photoshop in it's current form is a ram hog, the macbook air is not upgradeable in that respect.... I know once it takes advantage of the gpu it will probably be less ram intensive, but... for that sake, i'd go macbook 1599 I guess.

    You can up it to 4gb and you may/will probably see that help, and once 4gb sticks are out I believe it could see 8 if you really wanted (unless that's a misconception) either way... at only (now) 1.5 lbs heavier then the macbook air... and the cooler track pad (imo) I'd go macbook

    You probably don't need a mbp... i'd go to a store and hold them and use them and see what you like.
  17. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    That is a great point.

    So, really the MacBook and Pro have DOUBLE the capability of the RAM vs the Air. That is a really important part along with the excessive CPU power of either vs. the Air. So, the MacBook and the Pro seem more of a winner when it comes to running Adobe CS3.3. I have read that the CS4 is more intensive to the graphics gpu, so perhaps the Air is better in that regard being the same graphics as MacBook just toned down a bit.

    Any advice for the new CS 4 vs the old CS 3 as far as that goes.

    Thanks for all of your assistance.
  18. Catonow macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2007
    It sounds to me like the top-end MB is your best bet. It's only 1.5 pounds heavier than the MBA, but has double the RAM and a faster processor. But I agree that you should go to a store and compare it hands-on to the MBA, just to be sure in terms of relative portability.
  19. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Thanks for the reply. I have decided to go to Apple tomorrow and test the new MacBook $1599 and the new MBP $1999. Have to wait for the new Air, but have the experience with the Air, and it will be all better than those experiences with the 1.86 processor and better graphics.

    I have a feeling I am going to fall in love with the new screen and glass trackpad and fall head over heals for the new MB tomorrow. But, maybe I will hate them both and buy the updated Air when it comes out in a few weeks.

    I will post my findings tomorrow when I return from the Apple store. In the perfect world, I will hold out until the first week of November to buy ANY of the three. Then I can buy the new 24" LED Cinema Display and have it covered under the Apple Care on the same receipt as the new MB/A/P. Saves $100 versus buying Apple Care separate for the display. Good advice for all buying both a new Mac and a new Cinema display. The cinema display is covered under the Mac's Apple Care if on same receipt.

    Cheers all.
  20. nidserz macrumors 6502a


    Mar 28, 2008
    Dubai x Toronto
    I am, or should I say was, in the exact same position as you last night.
    I have been debating the MBA/MB/MBP for about 9 months now!

    Well I finally pulled the trigger last night on a 2.4GHz MB w/ 4GB ram + CS4 Design Premium.

    I was pro all the way for CS4 and the larger display, blah blah blah. But to be honest I needed a portable, not a workhorse since I have a 20" iMac at home. Seeing that you are going to get a 24" external, you also need a "portable". Like me, something light weight is more important than a dedicated GPU. I cut the pro out last week because it was too big for me to be a portable and heavy. I woulda liked a matte screen, but that was removed so it didn't effect my decision anymore. I was concerned about needing a dedicated GPU to run CS4, but to be honest after looking at the requirements on Adobe's website, I didn't see that a dedicated GPU, like the one in MBP, was necessary, especially for what I do (casual InDesign, Illustrator, PS, etc) and with the MBs new integrated graphics card set to be 5x better I don't think the MB would have any problems.

    A few reasons why I went for the MB over the MBA...

    Originally I wanted the Air because it was aluminum, sleek looking, amazing display. As well it was light as a feather and I wanted a portable.
    Now that the new MB has aluminum casing, is sleek looking, and has an amazing display I can't complain. I found the previous whitebook/blackbook to be a little bulky and heavy but now that it has shaved 0.5lb and is thinner I think it is more portable and comparable to the air. It is technically only 1 1/2 airs in terms of weight.

    Well my sister has one and it's just not fast enough. I guess if you get a SSD it is faster, but personally I wasn't liking the speed. Also, as previously mentioned the air is stuck at 2GB ram and with a slower processor increased ram (4GB) would definitely help.
    The MB has faster processor and memory is expandable.
    Also can add HDD to the MB.

    Although the new MB is missing Firewire (which I have never used), the MBA never had it in the first place, has only 1 USB port, no ethernet, and you know the rest.
    Also it is nice to have a SuperDrive built in without adding too much thickness on the MB.

    Sorry for rambling but hope it helps. I'm waiting for my MB to arrive, but if you have questions don't hesitate and I can help answer as soon as I get my MB.

    Keep us posted on what you end up deciding.
  21. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2008
    i say go for the new Macbook...its the cheapest of 3 and will look good with the new display;):D

    cheers on your new purchase.:apple:
  22. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008

    Congrats on pulling the trigger last night. It sounds like you really thought it through. I agree with a lot of what you are saying. Additionally, if they would have come out with the 13-Inch MBP, I may have done that. I just want lighter than the MBP 15.4-Inch. I like the small size. Lucky for me, I also like the glossy screen. I agree with your assessments of the Air, but with the new processor, video gpu, and faster 1066MHz RAM I really wonder if it would be fast enough... but then it doesn't have the cool new glass full screen and new glass trackpads.

    I cannot wait. I am so excited. Going to bed now. Please, do tell me how the new MB works for you as soon as you get it. I am really curious to hear about the CS4 times/performance. If I hear a great word from you, it would make my final decision a lot easier as that is my only real fear. Although the older versions of CS had very minimal system requirements, the new CS4 supposedly uses the graphics GPU for performance more so than the CPU and system RAM. So, perhaps the MB works great for that too. I hope so for you.

    Best wishes with it. Please do tell all.
  23. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Went to the store. Tested the new MB and MBP.

    First of all, I must say that ALL of the negative stuff written about the new MacBooks and Pros is really unjustified and wrong. Most people are furious about the lack of firewire on the new MacBook, but Steve Jobs is right, ALL video cameras for the last two years have had USB 2.0. In addition, USB outsells Firewire as a HD and other peripheral devices over 23 to 1 according to one report I read. And the design is amazing.

    First, when looking at the new MBs and Pros, I was stunned by the beauty compared to the prior version especially of the MBs. And once you really look at the new Pro, you realize that the old Pro was really scraps of aluminum all screwed together with a frame INSIDE of it and everything screwed on. The new BRICK process leaves a truly AMAZING piece of aluminum that ends up being the MB and the Pro.

    The new MB and Pros are so sturdy and solid. Not pieced together scraps like the old Pros. And aluminum vs plastic is amazing too. Really the workmanship is INCREDIBLE for Both of them.

    I am NOT really impressed by the glass trackpad at ALL. It doesn't seem or feel like glass. It is a flat textured paint or whatever on the glass too. I just do NOT get it. All the hype seems no different to me, and I would rather have the button. I noticed just using them for testing I didn't like not being able to use the button to hold a web page and scroll and etc. It didn't work the same when I held the button (whole trackpad) down while scrolling either. A dud to me as far as that technology goes. Might as well be the same as it was as your fingers don't notice the difference. But don't get me wrong, it doesn't take from the great look of the screen or the great machining of the aluminum.

    The new display with LED backlit is AMAZING compared to the old LCD models. The difference is remarkable. AND, to me the glossy LED is way better than the glossy in the LCD. AND, I actually really like the glossy. I liked it in the old MBP, but I bought the Matte in the old MBP. I actually like the glossy enough that I prefer it over the matte I am currently using in my MBP.

    So, according to everyone I spoke with the MacBook will do everything I need it to do just fine.

    I am going to buy the MacBook $1599 and will add the $150 memory to 4GB. I will buy a new hard drive for the 7200 RPM... I really wish it was just offered in the MB with a 7200 RPM HDD.

    Can anyone tell me if the SSD (Solid State Drives) is worth the money? From everything I have read, they are actually slower about 80% of the time. Sure they use less power, but even that is debated as to how much power it saves. Money is NOT the key factor to me. Value is the key factor. If I were to get 50% improved performance I would pay the $600 in a heart beat. But if it is more like 3% like I have read about or a loss of speed IT ISN'T WORTH IT.

    I think the graphics in both seems pretty fast. They even had Adobe Photoshop loaded on the MacBook and it seemed really fast. Seemed nearly as fast for what I was doing as it does on my current MBP with a 256MB as an ATI x1600 in the older generation MBP. It has 4GB Memory too, but at 667MHz and what I have read about memory and CPU being key to Adobe CS3.

    So, for ALL of you who want a MB and do not need firewire or do not want the extra screen space of the 15.4 inch, and who are not advanced gamers, the new MB will do so much i comparison to the MBP anyways.

    Seriously, I still would pay the money for a MBP as a 13.3 inch, as I just really want the lighter computer with the small screen size if the MB can do nearly everything I need it to do. It appears that everything will run really well on the new MB.

    So, congrats to Apple for really making a fine MB compared to the older version. Also prior to the launch, I read a thread stating that all Steve cared about was thinness of the new MBP. It is slightly thinner at .05 inches thinner, but ALL of the reduction is in the SCREEN WIDTH reduction. I do not think that the new MBP will have ANY of the overheating issues since it is designed with a brick of aluminum which will help dissipate heat. In addition, its design is better to let heat escape since it has some shaping and air ports to help flow heat out of the case. Remember the old case is essentially a parted together bunch of scraps that was a rectangular box and not designed to push heat out of the system.

    My new feelings, either the new MB or the new MBP are incredibly AWESOME.

    Thanks for all of the advice everyone. I will be buying the MB and the 24-Inch LED Cinema Display when the display is shipping in two weeks. It will be the nicest display and best manufactured laptop I have ever owned and maybe in the history of technology. Seriously, it is that good. 100 times nicer than the older setup.

    Great work Apple. I am amazed and happy to go with the lower end MB OVER the MBP.

    Keep the thread going for others. Throw your advice in for others. But most importantly, you have to touch the new MBs to know just how great they are and just how amazing they are compared to the old models.
  24. zer0tails macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    some great info in this thread. I've been grappling with the same dilemma too.

    @ Scottsdale: when you checked out the new macbooks, you said the old ones look liked scraps of metal compared to the new stuff.

    How does the macbook air compare to them in looks?
  25. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Because of the display, the new MacBooks and Pros look much better than the Air. I really wish they would do the same thing with the full glass on the Air display. It is something you have to see in person to really understand. I still have wishes for the Air in my heart. If only the screen, as you know I don't care about glass trackpad.

    Best luck with yours.

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