Working Professional: what should I buy: MBA or Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by provoloney, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. provoloney macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #1
    I've had apple laptops for about 5 years now. Love them. New to this forum and I'm a bit confused by the more technical discussion. Suffice it to say my first mac was a 15" powerbook in roughly 2002. Then I got an ibook G4 in late 2005. My current ibook has I think 512 of some type of memory. I loved the powerbook, the screensize was perfect, though it probably contained more power than I really would ever use.

    I liked my ibook a lot except I think I slightly prefer the 15" size screen. Also, I don't know why but the ibook feels slow to me (recently at least). maybe that's just age.

    I'm now a young professional who uses his computer at home for mostly personal use and occasional work and business trips (about once a month). I primarily use the internet and prepare word documents. Also, I use iTunes a lot and like to download music. Finally, I like to watch video clips and stuff like that on my computer.

    I am really drawn to the MAB and am ready to purchase, but I'm hearing so much negative stuff here that it makes me think I should just go with the pro. I actually like the fact they've taken out the CD Drive (I would get an attachment just in case). My only concern is the speed issue. I don't want the computer to get slow everytime I have more than a few web-browsers open or am trying to watch a news clip. The consensus seems to be that this a huge step back in terms of speed, etc... I am finding my 2 and a half-year ibook a bit slow, so if it's like that I don't know. Also, I don't like the resolution on the ibook screen, but I think that's gotten better in the MAB. I have a 80 G hard drive in my ibook and it seems like I have 20 G left. Makes me think that 80G shouldn't really be a problem. I also only keep computers for 1 and a half years to 2 years.

    My other issue is I've been waiting for about 5 months to buy a laptop in the hopes that they would upgrade the powerbook. THey haven't, so I don't want to wait any longer than 2-3 weeks to make a purchase. What do you guys think?
     
  2. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #2
    Seems a regular MacBook might suit you better than the MacBook Air or the MacBook Pro...
     
  3. mr.light macrumors 6502

    #3
    I find myself in the same position. I love the new MBA. However, I need more functionality than it gives. For about $300 more I can get a MBP with far better processor, graphics, HD, and memory. Not as sexy looking perhaps, but much more functional. I do love some of the new features available on the MBA, but I am sure you will soon find these migrating to the MB and MBP.
    I am going to buy a MBP.
     
  4. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

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    Feb 6, 2006
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    London
    #4
    What you're hearing is primarily disgruntled teenagers, people who aren't in the market for this sort of machine and don't understand that it is well-priced for what it is, and people who use old Macs and yet complain that this Mac doesn't have the horsepower and features that they need.

    There is one guy on here using a 12" Powerbook who ripped the MBA as not meeting his needs, yet the MBA will blow the friggin' doors off of what he actually uses to meet his needs today.

    Get it. Given your needs, this is a great machine for you.
     
  5. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #5
    The MBA will blow the pants off your 2-year-old iBook. For your uses, it should be plenty fast -- and 2 GB of memory will help a lot. Also, you will have the coolest looking computer on the block. Don't listen to the haters. For the average personal/business user, this computer should be fine.

    The only real reservation I have about this computer is the HD size. But if you're careful and don't go overboard with downloads, you should be fine.
     
  6. provoloney thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 17, 2008
    #6
    Thanks...is the resolution of the screen better in the macbook (compared to the ibook I got back in the day). It wasn't the screen size so much as the resolution which was bothersome. Also, have the macbooks picked up in speed compared to the ibooks? (in other words, could i watch video in quicktime and browse the web at the same time without sensing slowness)?
     
  7. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    London, England
    #7
    MacBooks are faster than the MBA in all respects (unless you pay the huge premium for the SSD in the MBA, in which case the hard drive would be faster).

    If you don't reeeeeeeally need the thinness of the MBA, the MB makes much more sense and will be more than adequate from what you've said.
     
  8. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #8
    This is just my perspective, but the MBA seems best suited for either someone that doesn't have a large range of demands on the machine (a multitude of required apps), doesn't require certain "high-octane" apps (a la the CS3 suite), or has another machine (like an iMac or MP) as primary, using the MBA more as an "extension" machine.

    My MB is my primary computer, goes on the road about 39 weeks a year with me, absolutely has to run Windows, and carries my entire iLife/iWork/Office Mac suites, plus a few gigs of assorted data, custom apps, Oracle and SQL db's, etc. The MBA is a non-starter for me. Not enough memory, storage, nor sufficient ports of varying kinds to support my needs.
     
  9. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    Nov 25, 2005
    #9
    The MacBook Air has about the features of the MacBook, but is a lot lighter, a lot thinner, has better battery life (5 hours with WiFi turned on vs. 6 hours with everything that costs battery life turned off), looks a lot lot better, and costs more. Now the negativity comes from people who cannot see the points that I made in italics. (There are other people who can see those points but don't think they are important to them, that is a completely different thing).

    The MacBook Pro is a lot more powerful for only slightly more money. It is also bigger, thicker, heavier. I would say that to make a proper decision, you should go to a store and actually hold and use both computers and see the difference in person.
     
  10. provoloney thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 17, 2008
    #10
    Cool, thanks. I guess I have a tough decision to make now. I've ruled out the Pro, and am choosing between MBA and the macbook. I really, really love the thinness of the MBA. I think it looks really cool and I'd love to take it with me everywhere (I probably shouldn't have admitted any of this). On the other hand the macbook will functionally be faster than the MBA. But then on the other hand, what am I ever going to do on any of these machines that would permit me to even notice the difference between the machines? Nothing beyond itunes, internet surfing, and watching videos). Also, that's a really good point about the harddrive size. I plan to only migrate my files, music, videos, pictures, etc... I don't actually have any applications other than MS Word, so I'll probably save space by not carrying all that junk over. And I doubt I can download 20 G of stuff in the next year, I hope.
     
  11. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #11
    I have a feeling you could do that with your ibook if you just upgraded the memory. Usually slowness in multitasking is due to too little RAM.
     
  12. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    Nov 25, 2005
    #12
    It has a Core 2 Duo processor running at 1.6 GHz. That is about the same as two Pentium 4 processors, each running at 2.8 GHz. It will run circles around your iBook.
     
  13. provoloney thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 17, 2008
    #13
    I don't actually know what RAM is (is that what comes after the number 512 on my current ibook when I click on "about this mac") If so, it seems like MBA has 4 times that amount (2). So in that sense, it seems like the MBA should I allow me to do everything I want and be pretty superfast compared to what I have now.
     
  14. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #14
    RAM=Random Access Memory -- this is the working memory your computer has to do tasks. It disappears when you turn your computer off, which is why you have to save files to the hard drive. But the hard drive is much slower than RAM.

    To answer your question, yes, bumping from 512 MB to 2 GB will boost your speed significantly, especially while multitasking. On your iBook, the reason things go slowly is because your computer runs out of RAM when trying to watch a movie and surf the web. It has to save some of that information to a temporary file on your hard drive, which slows things down. But 2 GB should be plenty of memory for that sort of task -- and much more.
     
  15. munckee macrumors 65816

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    Oct 27, 2005
    #15
    The macbook will be more than sufficient for you. Whether you choose to spend more on the Air is completely up to you. Seems like either will meet your needs though.
     
  16. Brianstorm91 macrumors 65816

    Brianstorm91

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    #16
    Get the black MacBook and upgrade the RAM from a third party.
     
  17. Batt macrumors 65816

    Batt

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    #17
    MacBook Air. It'll do what you need it to do, faster than the iBook. And it's the one you really want.
     
  18. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

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    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #18
    Yep

    Sounds like you don't tax your computer all that much, actually.

    I'd say go for the macbook air, unless you decide you really need all those extra ports.

    For me, I use quite a few peripherals and some design software, so my upgrade path from my 12" powerbook will be a Macbook of some kind.

    Good luck with your decision!

    And yes, the MBA will blow the doors off what you're using now and so would a Macbook.
     
  19. provoloney thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 17, 2008
    #19
    Thanks so much for all of your helpful replies. I think I"m going to go with the MBA. The only thing is I need to make sure that the 80G hard-drive is not too small, since I have tons of music and videos on my computer. How do I find out how much stuff is currently on my drive? I tried to click getinfo on the hard drive icon in my finder but that only said 1 KB, which can't be right.
     
  20. PieMac macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 3, 2002
    #20
    Remember that hard drive space is easily expandable and that you can always buy a portable external USB hard drive if you find that you need more down the road.
     
  21. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    Ontario Canada
    #21
    Maybe there's something wrong but maybe that why your computer is so slow but that doesn't seem right. Try restarting.
     
  22. crazycat macrumors 65816

    crazycat

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    Dec 5, 2005
    #22
    Just get the MacBook and with the money left over buy a 2.5 internal hard drive that will expand your space to 250GB if you ever need that much space. The new MacBooks are much faster then the iBooks, it will be your best bet. I love the MacBook Air and i am getting one to use around the house for myself and friends but i do not see it as the only mac someone would own. The MBP is an overkill, even with my heavy use i find myself using so little of what it can offer me.
     
  23. TallManNY macrumors 68040

    TallManNY

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #23
    I agree that the MB Air will be enough, but the MB will be faster and last longer, while costing $800 - $600 less (depending on which MB you buy and assuming you decide to buy the external DVD player for the Air). You can get a tekki friend to upgrade the memory in your MB to 4 GB for about $100. Which will dig into your savings a bit, but will provide more performance. You sound very un-tekki, so you might not want to do it yourself, but it is very easy. Don't buy a memory upgrade from Apple, it is too expensive. Except when you are carrying your Air around where weight makes a difference or when you are typing in the dark when the backlit keyboard makes a difference, the MB will work better. Oh and I guess the Air may just look better to you so you may get some pleasure out of that every day you look at it. Hard for others to value that for you.

    The MB Pro will probably be upgraded in two months or so. So if you buy it now there is a chance of buyer's remorse fairly soon afterwards.
     
  24. arj8138 macrumors member

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    Dec 21, 2007
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, United States
    #24
    MacBooks might be a bit faster, but for your traveling needs etc. just get the MBA.

    Im using a 1.5GHz PowerBook which is [of course] slower than either the MBA or MB and b/c of the graphics card etc I can do Pro Apps like Final Cut and Photoshop.


    If you dont need do use those types of apps, if your just sticking to word and iTunes, then the MBA was MADE for people like you.
     
  25. hoyaspook macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    #25
    Along the same lines

    I'm facing a similar dilemma as the OP. My first, and last, Mac was a Powerbook 17" 1Ghz, which is almost 5 years old. The battery is dead, and it's running quite slow. I'm a law student, and I've bought a 13" Sony VAIO to take notes due to portability. Right about now, that computer is 2.5 years old. For all of my multimedia needs, I go back to my Mac. Unfortunately, using my old Powerbook with my iPhone has been a pain, especially with the slow USB 1.0.

    I've been wanting to buy a new mac since last summer, but I've been waiting patiently for a revision on the MBP line. I've considered the MBs, but I'm not a fan of the plastic. Portability is a consideration, but I don't think that a 15" MBP is "too big."

    My use will be much like the OP--word processing, iTunes, web surfing and multimedia. Will I need more horse power than that which a MBA provides if I'm looking to use iPhoto and Handbrake (transferring DVDs to iPhone-optimized mp4s)? I also use Quicken a fair bit, so I may have to install Parallels and Windows XP in order to run the windows version until Intuit releases the new Quicken for Mac. The occasional game (Spore!) isn't out of the question, but I doubt I'd use by laptop for gaming that often.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm just really confused as to whether I should buy a MBA, a MBP right now, or bear the wait for a new MBP.
     

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