Resolved Would like some advice

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Clodey, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. Clodey, Aug 24, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011

    Clodey macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    #1
    Hey Guys,
    This is my first post here so please be nice.

    I have read a lot of posts recently about people needing advice on what Macbook to choose, especially from people going to Uni/College. I am pretty much stuck in the same boat. I cannot decide whether to get a Macbook Pro or a Macbook Air.

    I'll be using the machine mainly for notes which would make the air a no brainer, but I would like to play a game or two now and again - mainly CS:S and C&C Generals (nothing high end as I have a desktop for this!). I would also like to have Windows on the machine too for some things.

    I will be eligible for a student discount so for £859.20 I could get the 11" 128GB Air or the base 13" pro for the same price. However with the air I would be willing to spend the extra £100 for the 13" Air if it is what you guys recommend. I feel bad spending the extra cash for less performance with the Air. Will I notice any significant difference in performance between the two for the things I will be using it for?

    Thanks for your time reading this, I appreciate it. :)
     
  2. xkmxkmxlmx macrumors 6502a

    xkmxkmxlmx

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    #2
    If pretty much all you're going to do with it is what you stated, then the Air is a no-brainer. Especially for transporting to and from class.

    I would even look into some refurbished 2010's just for the hell of it. You might want the bump it offers in the GPU department. But I assure you, you'll be fine with either.
     
  3. gloss macrumors 601

    gloss

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Location:
    around/about
    #3
    I think, in this case, any model would work for you. I'd recommend choosing based on preferred screen size and toteability.
     
  4. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Sunny Florida
    #4
    For what you intend to use it, the Air will work great. I would suggest you go with the 13" as you will enjoy your gaming sessions a lot more on the bigger screen... :D
     
  5. Brandon0448 macrumors 6502

    Brandon0448

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    #5
    The air would be perfect for what you need but C&C Generals is a Power PC app so you won't be able to play it on Lion. I was very disappointed when i found this out, Generals is by far my favorite strategy game.

    Edit: Unless you want to play it in Bootcamp on Windows.
     
  6. Clodey thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    #6
    Thanks for the fast replies, it has helped me out a lot :D

    Will it run ok through Bootcamp? I geekbenched my current laptop and it runs Generals fine. It had a score of 2298 compared to the 13" Air's 5372 so it is easily over double the performance. Despite the scores my Dell Inspiron 1520 does have a dedicated GPU but I am sure the intel 3000 can run Generals fine with Bootcamp?
     
  7. Fernandez21 macrumors 601

    Fernandez21

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    #7
    Intel 3000 isn't as bad as most people make it out to. Sure by today's standards it is very lacking in performance, but if you upgrading an older machine, the intel 3000 will probably run circles around your old gnu.
     
  8. kilonet macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    #8
    11" is a no brainer for you. Dont bother with the 13", its big and clumsy.

    :D
     
  9. thegod35 macrumors newbie

    thegod35

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2011
    Location:
    Zürich, Switzerland
    #9
    Go for the Air, because it's lighter and will fit more likely in your bags, unless you need a superdrive at college :D
    The Mba and the Mbp 13'' share the same gpu, so unless you need a stronger processor. But since they're all i5/i7's you won't notice huge differences.

    The only problem you might run into is hard drive space/expandability because you can't really upgrade the mba's "flash" memory like in a regular mbp


    Hope this helps a little :)
     
  10. Clodey thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    #10
    I am going to go have a look at them in-store again. I won't be moving the machine around every day so I don't mind the extra weight of the pro - which isn't even that heavy anyway! In terms of power would you agree the two Airs and the 13" pro are nearly identical? The pro has a better cpu but the Airs have better storage speed. However the Pro can be upgraded to a SSD at a later date if I wanted to do so.
    Thanks for the tips :D


    Edit: How much room does Bootcamp with windows take up?
     
  11. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #11
    The 1.7GHz i5 CPU in the 13" Air is about 85% as fast as the 2.3GHz i5 in the 13" Pro. It can turbo boost to 2.4GHz vs 2.6GHz when running both cores (2.7GHz vs 2.9GHz when running just one core). The GPU in the 13" Pro has a higher base speed (650MHz vs 350MHz) though both Turbo Boost to 1.2GHz.

    Boot Camp now requires Windows 7, so figure about 15-20GB for a full installation of Windows 7 depending on if you go with the 32-bit or 64-bit version (32-bit would be OK). I'd recommend adding up the space each program will take, and then leaving about 15-20GB of free space for storage and swapping, so on a 128GB SSD, give Windows at least 32GB.
     
  12. gazzrenn macrumors 6502

    gazzrenn

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Blackpool, UK
    #12
    I've been through the exact same situation. I'm going back to Uni in the evening and have been troubling over which one to choose.

    I settled on the 13" Air 256GB i7.

    How it won over the 13" Pro?

    Screen resolution
    Looks
    Weight
    Portability
    Price*
    Did I mention looks?! The Air is soooo pretty.

    Price might sound like an odd one, but.....

    13" Air | 256GB SSD | 1.8GHz i7 = £1,449.00
    13" Pro | 256GB SSD | 2.3Ghz i5 = £1,519.00
    13" Pro | 256GB SSD | 2.7GHz i7 = £1,779.00

    ... so how I wanted them configured the Air wins on price. Obviously those prices would have the discount applied.
     
  13. Clodey thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    #13
    Generals and CSS come to about 7GB. With a 128GB SSD only around 120GB is available for use but I am sure I won't exceed that. Even if I was to do so I have a 320GB external hard drive to store documents ect..

    I won't be spending that much on a Macbook! The way I see it, the Pro is ~£85 cheaper than what I see as the 'equivalent' Air (Base 13" Pro Vs Base 13" Air) but that extra £85 is good money spent in terms of looks. I just don't know if I want to spend that much for a good look when I think the Pro isn't exactly ugly. Hopefully I can make my mind up next time I go to the apple shop.
     
  14. Brandon0448, Aug 25, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011

    Brandon0448 macrumors 6502

    Brandon0448

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    #14
    The MBA should be able to easily play Generals in bootcamp. I use to play Generals back when it came out on my single core pc in 2003. The MBA should have no problem, even with the integrated graphics. Id imagine it could play it at medium/high settings but it might get a little toasty. I usually keep my games pretty low on the graphics to keep down on heat and conserve battery.

    Edit: Also Geekbench doesn't measure GPU performance only processor and memory performance. So while the Air has a twice as fast of a processor as your old laptop it also has to do double the work because of its integrated chip. But I'm sure it will still run fine, just most likely won't do max settings smoothly.
     
  15. Clodey thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    #15
    Thanks :D, I am sure Generals will be fine after watching this: YouTube -Terry Masters Reviews the Macbook Air 11"

    I know it is the previous Air but surely Apple hasn't gone backwards. The heat will get hot but my current laptop has topped out at 85 while running CS:S but obviously not all the load is on the CPU since it has a dedicated GPU. If it is to get too hot it will shut itself off to protect the parts.
    I would only play while plugged in so battery life is not really a concern to me.
     
  16. Kafka macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    #16
    If going Pro I think you should get the base model, especially if upgrading to a SSD. The i7 is not so much faster, probably heats up more, and you're also paying for the larger 500gb HDD.

    You must also think about this: is a higher resolution that important to you? Do you actually use multiple windows side by side?
    In OS X a higher res won't make things more detailed, only smaller, so in fact the only gain is real estate.
    I know I fell in love with fullscreen apps and now couldn't care less about PPI, until we get resolution independence of course...
    Besides, small fonts annoyed me on my MBA, and the display looked dull in comparison to the MBP.
     
  17. alecgold macrumors 6502a

    alecgold

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Location:
    NLD
    #17
    I can run COD4 on my 11" ultimate better than my 2010 13" air ultimate or my 2009 MBP13" ultimate ....
    I carry my laptop every day, so last year I went with the 13" as I needed 256Gb. This year the 11" came out with 256Gb and I couldn't resist. It's great.
    In a sense I do the same as the average college/uni student. I take notes, I work with them, use some excel, mail a lot and surf the internet.
     
  18. gazzrenn macrumors 6502

    gazzrenn

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Blackpool, UK
    #18
    Yeh, I understand. I wasn't going base model though... and also those prices I quoted were not what I was paying. They all had a 14% discount to be applied for the educational / student thing :)

    Either way, good luck with your purchase :D
     
  19. Clodey thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    #19
    If I really needed some extra space on the Air I suppose there is always the option of a SD card. A 64GB one is around £60
     
  20. Clodey thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    #20
    Comparison of the two:

    Pros of the Air
    - Thin
    - Better Screen
    - SSD
    - Light

    Cons
    - More expensive for less, in performance terms
    - Not easily upgradeable
    - Expense for ethernet to USB adapter
    - No optical drive


    Pros of the Pro
    - Upgradeable
    - Ethernet port
    - Optical drive
    - Larger HDD

    Cons
    - Heavier and thicker
    - Works out more than the Air with a SSD
    - Screen not as good


    Anyone got anything to add to this to help me make up my mind?
     
  21. VMMan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    #21
    The Pros screens have better color and viewing angles...
     
  22. jcg878 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    #22
    Another pro to the Air that I'm really beginning to appreciate coming from a MBP - the non-glossy screen. The colors may not be as impressive, but at least I'm not always seeing at myself staring back at me!
     
  23. Clodey thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    #23
    I decided to buy the 13" Air which arrived today and so far I love it :D

    For anyone who is in the same position as me and wants to know my deciding factors:
    I went in store to check out the two and the one thing which stood out to me was the screen and the weight (or lack of). The screen on the Air just made everything look so much more sharper than on the Pro.
    Thanks for your help guys!
     

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