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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jul 05, 2011
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    4
    MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro
    Hey I know this has been discussed a bit on these forums because I've already scoured them for answers. But none of them specifically fit my situation, so I'll pose the question: MacBook Air (after the upcoming refresh) or MacBook Pro?

    In my search for a computer for college, I've narrowed it down to either the 13 inch MacBook Air or the 13 inch MacBook Pro. I intend to be an English and Physics major (are there a lot of Physics programs that require better-than-Air graphics?). I plan on using my computer for word processing, web browsing, light gaming (mainly older, less graphically intensive games I have on my HDD), and some movie watching (also on my HDD). I don't foresee any need to constantly have an optical drive, though I plan to purchase one anyway. I also don't foresee many graphically demanding tasks. So basically all of these things point to a MBA. The reason I'm yet undecided is because my friends maintain, with good reason, that a MBP is a much better computer for the price. The question is: do I need that "much better computer?"

    Thank you for your input.

  2. #2


    Member Since
    Feb 24, 2011
    Posts
    27
    You're paying for the portability and flash hardware in the Air. I would personally go for the Macbook Pro 13" if I were you. You'll definitely have more computing power with the MBP over the Air. From what you've said the Air would probably have plenty of power for you. All of that flash hardware is actually pretty impressive. I've been in an Apple store and opened every single app on the machine at one time and it was flying! The 13" MBP is a great size and weight. It should be getting refreshed here soon to follow it's bigger brothers. You may look into waiting for the 13" refresh. But if you need a notebook now the current 13" is still great.

  3. #3

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Jan 07, 2008
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    4GB Mac Mini 2012, 13" MBA, 15" MacBook Pro OSX 10.7, 32 GB iPhone 3GS, iPad2 64gb 3G
    For an "only" computer I would go MBP all the way. If you are primarily looking for a second (or third) portable to augment your system and lightweight was key, I would get the MBA.

    FWIW my next will be a MBA but I already have a desktop and 15in MBP, both of which I will continue to use.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  4. #4

    EvenStranger's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 09, 2010
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    Virginia
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    844
    Specs:
    Currently 13" Late 2010 MBA, 4GB/128GB; Early 2011 13" MBP, dual core i7 2.7ghz, 4gb ram, 500gb hd
    My computer for work is a 13" MBA. My home computer is a 13" MBP. I've played World of Warcraft on both, and they both do fine, so graphics shouldn't be much of an issue. I went with the Pro for home use because I can easily upgrade the RAM and hard drive in the future if I desire. The Air was purchased by my company, and in my position, if I want an upgrade somewhere along the line, I'll snag a newer model and put mine back in inventory for someone else. That being said, I love the Air... it's light, fast and does everything I require of it.

  5. #5

    cptkrf's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 08, 2009
    Location
    The same as Sheldon Cooper - East Texas
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    453
    Specs:
    iMac 2014 i5 5k 32gb 1tb fusion, second TB display, 2014 MBA
    I sold my 13" MBP to buy an Air because I had to cut down on the bulk that I was trying to jam under the seat and in the overhead bins in the sardine cans that the airlines are using today.

    I have to say that I like the MBP better and if I wasn't traveling, that is what I would have. That isn't to say that the Air isn't a first class product - it is, and I like it also. If I were a student hauling armloads of stuff around a campus, the Air would be perfect.

    For just normal laptop use, the MBP is more machine for the money. But I doubt that you will be dissatisfied with either one.

  6. #6


    Member Since
    Jul 05, 2011
    Posts
    4
    Sorry I didn't see this thread before and started a similar one. The MBP proponents are pointing out the performance superiority but is this still true if the MPA is upgraded to the same sandy bridge processor? I've actually noticed from testing in apple store that MPA with its SSD is actually faster (bootup, web browsing, and even some games) than MBP. So can knowledgeable users of current-gen MBP point out any other hardware discrepencies besides the cpu that gives MBP performance edge over MBA?

  7. #7

    Deckyon's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 06, 2011
    Location
    Louisville, KY - USA
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    1,291
    Specs:
    MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM
    I find it hard to believe the 13" MBP was too big for the airlines... Even my 17" works fine in the overhead or under the seat. I even had it sitting in the seat pocket during takeoff with no issues. Unless you have to carry a ton of other stuff to make your computing enjoyable, there isn't going to be that much of a difference. If weight is an issue, grow stronger.

    MBP - .95" thick
    MBA - .68" thick (at it's thickest)

    Computing power per dollar, the 13" MBA cannot be compared to the 13" MBP.
    MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1GB RAM
    MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB RAM
    iPhone 5S 64GB, iPad Air 2 128 GB LTE, iPod Nano Gen6 8GB, Apple TV 3 & 2

  8. #8

    Deckyon's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 06, 2011
    Location
    Louisville, KY - USA
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    1,291
    Specs:
    MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM
    Quote Originally Posted by LeSamourai View Post
    Sorry I didn't see this thread before and started a similar one. The MBP proponents are pointing out the performance superiority but is this still true if the MPA is upgraded to the same sandy bridge processor? I've actually noticed from testing in apple store that MPA with its SSD is actually faster (bootup, web browsing, and even some games) than MBP. So can knowledgeable users of current-gen MBP point out any other hardware discrepencies besides the cpu that gives MBP performance edge over MBA?

    Current MBA supports only up to 4GB RAM, not upgradeable.
    Current MBP supports up to 8GB RAM, user upgradeable.
    Current MBP can have the HDD upgraded to whatever size fits, including SSD.
    MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1GB RAM
    MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB RAM
    iPhone 5S 64GB, iPad Air 2 128 GB LTE, iPod Nano Gen6 8GB, Apple TV 3 & 2

  9. #9

    cptkrf's Avatar
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    Dec 08, 2009
    Location
    The same as Sheldon Cooper - East Texas
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    453
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    iMac 2014 i5 5k 32gb 1tb fusion, second TB display, 2014 MBA
    Quote Originally Posted by Deckyon View Post
    I find it hard to believe the 13" MBP was too big for the airlines... Even my 17" works fine in the overhead or under the seat. I even had it sitting in the seat pocket during takeoff with no issues. Unless you have to carry a ton of other stuff to make your computing enjoyable, there isn't going to be that much of a difference. If weight is an issue, grow stronger.
    .
    No, the Air isn't a magic item for air travel. It was just one piece of a solution of trying to get my carry on load cut down. I have found that checking luggage just doesn't work these days. You will be in Miami and it will be in Seattle. In fact, I have found that Fed-exing any extra stuff that I might need works almost as well and is light years more reliable.

    Unfortunately, these days those conclusions are very common and the overhead bins just flat won't hold all the stuff that people are trying to stuff in them. So - an MB-Air, super lightweight magnesium briefcase and matching overnighter, and I have a somewhat more pleasant boarding experience.

    The only thing left that I need is a +1 Ring of Invisibility so I can avoid those TSA idiots. ("What is this?" "A Magic Mouse." "Open it up. I need to see inside." "???? !!!!...")

  10. #10

    randalthor's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 05, 2011
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    2ghz c2d, 180gb vertex 2 ssd, 4gb ram
    Quote Originally Posted by kirbstomp View Post
    Hey I know this has been discussed a bit on these forums because I've already scoured them for answers. But none of them specifically fit my situation, so I'll pose the question: MacBook Air (after the upcoming refresh) or MacBook Pro?

    In my search for a computer for college, I've narrowed it down to either the 13 inch MacBook Air or the 13 inch MacBook Pro. I intend to be an English and Physics major (are there a lot of Physics programs that require better-than-Air graphics?). I plan on using my computer for word processing, web browsing, light gaming (mainly older, less graphically intensive games I have on my HDD), and some movie watching (also on my HDD). I don't foresee any need to constantly have an optical drive, though I plan to purchase one anyway. I also don't foresee many graphically demanding tasks. So basically all of these things point to a MBA. The reason I'm yet undecided is because my friends maintain, with good reason, that a MBP is a much better computer for the price. The question is: do I need that "much better computer?"

    Thank you for your input.
    considering the refresh for macbook airs is expected to hit in the next week or two along with lion, then the thirteen inch MBA and 13 inch MBP will have the same graphics chipset... the intel onboard with the sandy bridge processors. MBA is getting better and better.

  11. #11


    Member Since
    Jun 06, 2011
    Location
    NYC
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    223
    Specs:
    2011 27in iMac i5 3.1GHz, AMD 6970, iPhone 4, Wi-Fi iPad 2
    Quote Originally Posted by randalthor View Post
    considering the refresh for macbook airs is expected to hit in the next week or two along with lion, then the thirteen inch MBA and 13 inch MBP will have the same graphics chipset... the intel onboard with the sandy bridge processors. MBA is getting better and better.
    I agree with this, except it will be interesting to see which sandy bridge line apple chooses to put in the MBA. It likely will be a core-i5 like the mbp, but if they happen to offer an uprade to an quad-core i7 I would personally opt for the i7 as it will run much faster in comparison due to the extra 2 cores.

  12. #12

    Dysfunction's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StMFA View Post
    I agree with this, except it will be interesting to see which sandy bridge line apple chooses to put in the MBA. It likely will be a core-i5 like the mbp, but if they happen to offer an uprade to an quad-core i7 I would personally opt for the i7 as it will run much faster in comparison due to the extra 2 cores.
    Doubtful. The reduced form-factor of the Air will reduce the battery they can fit in the thing. They'll save on the processor power in deference of run time.
    mike
    This machine kills fascists
    Got # ? phear the command line!

  13. #13

    bobtomay's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 22, 2006
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    Texas, where else?
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    26,494
    Specs:
    15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '14 1.8 i7 8GB 10.11; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.11; 6S
    Best CPU going into the MBA is likely to be the new 17 watt hyperthreaded dual core i7 @ 1.8Ghz with turboboost to 2.8-2.9 (I forget which already). I'd be a little surprised to see it in the MBA this month though.

    I'd sure like to see a benchmark on this chip. Am thinking this one should top out my 2.33 C2D by a decent enough margin.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

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