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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

New Macbook Air v. Macbook Pro (non-retina)


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antipode

 
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It's time. The 2006 white Macbook needs to be put down.

I'm a teacher, so I mostly use the computer for documents, web browsing, email, netflix, some light photo display and editing, and itunes. No gaming.

It won't travel very much.
It can be plugged in frequently.

So here's the match-up:

A) Newly announced 13" Macbook Air ($1050 edu. price)
- 1.3 Ghz i5 dual-core
- 4 GB *soldered* RAM
- 128 GB *soldered* Solid State HD
- 12 hour battery

B) Non-retina 13" Macbook Pro ($999 edu. price)
- 2.5 Ghz i5 dual core
- 4 GB *upgradable* RAM
- 500 GB *removable* platter HD (*strongly* considering +$200 for 128 SS HD upgrade)
- 7 hour battery

Considerations:
- Looking to make it last a few (3-4) years
- Solid State HD is nice for speed and durability (I'm a jostler)
- Looking to migrate files to cloud storage (already using External Drive)
- Am fearful of Macbook Pro Buyer's Remorse if new one comes out in ~4 months (I need something now)

Any thoughts out there?
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chscag

 
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If you consider buying the MBA, get it with the maximum amount of memory it can hold - 8 GB. The solid state flash drive will likely be upgradeable as soon as Other World Computing has one available. The MBA SSD is not soldered in.

My choice would be the MBP 13". More bang for your buck. However, if you consider buying it, I would wait. New models are coming soon.
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antipode

 
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Thanks, but unfortunately, I need it now.

If the MBA SSHD is upgraded with something from OWC, does that void the Apple warranty?
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chscag

 
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Quote:
If the MBA SSHD is upgraded with something from OWC, does that void the Apple warranty?
It doesn't void the warranty on the non retina MBP when the hard drive is changed or upgraded. I can't say for sure what Apple's warranty policy is with the MBA drive or the retina MBP drive. It would definitely be something to look into before doing the upgrade yourself.
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Dwinguel

 
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I would go for the MacBook Air, potentially upgrading the RAM to 8GB since you want to keep your machine for 3-4 years. By then the 4GB will be limited and you won't be able to upgrade since the RAM is soldered to the board.

The advantage of the Air is that you get a better graphic card (a bit snappier when using the OS, iPhoto, iMovie, etc.), you don't have to change the SSD, it's already there (and it can still be upgraded later on, when the SSD is cheaper).

I don't think you will see much difference in terms of CPU.

Battery life is not that important to you, but still a nice bonus in the MBA.

So the Air has the edge for your needs.
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antipode

 
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Thanks!

Does anyone think that the 500 GB platter is better than the 128 GB SSD?
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antipode View Post
Thanks!

Does anyone think that the 500 GB platter is better than the 128 GB SSD?
The 500gig HD is certainly better if you need more internal storage. But you can only get the 500gig HD with the MacBook Pro. Thus if you opt for the 500gig HD...then you must get the 13" MacBook Pro.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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antipode

 
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Right -- 500 is bigger than 128. But...

A) Given my pretty conventional needs, is there a future benefit to a 500?

B) Is there a hardware benefit between platter vs. SSD?
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Dwinguel

 
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Just to add to my previous post, I checked the iFixit teardown of the Air and can confirm that the SSD will surely be upgradable later on (it's not soldered on the board unlike the RAM), OWC will come up with a specific form factor model later on as they have in the past. The SSD in the new Air is not compatible with the old ones so you need to wait if you want to upgrade.

But if you don't need that much storage right now you can stick with the 128GB and maybe upgrade in 2 years (if needed). At that time the price of an SSD drive should be a quarter of what it is now, so you could get a 512GB SSD then, which will have a much better performance that the hard drive in the MBP.
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Dwinguel

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antipode View Post
Right -- 500 is bigger than 128. But...

A) Given my pretty conventional needs, is there a future benefit to a 500?

B) Is there a hardware benefit between platter vs. SSD?
A) One benefit if you swap the drive for an SSD in the MBP is that you can then use your 500GB hard drive as an external drive for backup and storage.

B) SSD are silent, less prone to break down and loss of data, have greater shock & impact resistance, produce almost no heat and tend to consume less power, among other things. So there is a difference, but to the advantage of the SSD.
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antipode

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwinguel View Post
Just to add to my previous post, I checked the iFixit teardown of the Air and can confirm that the SSD will surely be upgradable later on (it's not soldered on the board unlike the RAM), OWC will come up with a specific form factor model later on as they have in the past. The SSD in the new Air is not compatible with the old ones so you need to wait if you want to upgrade.

But if you don't need that much storage right now you can stick with the 128GB and maybe upgrade in 2 years (if needed). At that time the price of an SSD drive should be a quarter of what it is now, so you could get a 512GB SSD then, which will have a much better performance that the hard drive in the MBP.
Thanks for clarifying the permanence of the HD.

SO, if the HD size isn't that much of a sticking point, what of the method? Platter or SSD? Is one better than the other? Speed, battery, stability, etc?

Also, does the processor difference seem to be a big deal? (1.3 seems half as slow as 2.5)
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antipode

 
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you read my mind!
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antipode View Post
Right -- 500 is bigger than 128. But...

A) Given my pretty conventional needs, is there a future benefit to a 500?

B) Is there a hardware benefit between platter vs. SSD?
If you're seriously thinking about the 500gig internal HD...then you shouldn't even be thinking about the MacBook Air.

And if the MacBook Air option is "off the table"...then your decision is easy...get the 13" MacBook Pro!

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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Dwinguel

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antipode View Post
Thanks for clarifying the permanence of the HD.

SO, if the HD size isn't that much of a sticking point, what of the method? Platter or SSD? Is one better than the other? Speed, battery, stability, etc?

Also, does the processor difference seem to be a big deal? (1.3 seems half as slow as 2.5)
For your usage, I don't think you will really notice a difference between the 2 CPUs. And if you are really worried, you can always upgrade to an i7 for $150. But for light to medium load tasks, it won't matter much.
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antipode View Post
SO, if the HD size isn't that much of a sticking point, what of the method? Platter or SSD? Is one better than the other? Speed, battery, stability, etc?
The SSD is definitely faster. That's one of the main advantages of an SSD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by antipode View Post
Also, does the processor difference seem to be a big deal? (1.3 seems half as slow as 2.5)
The architecture of the MacBook Air makes it faster then the cpu speed would indicate.

Factually speaking...cpu benchmark tests on the two computers you listed show that even though the cpu speed of the MacBook Air (1.3ghz) is almost half that of the MacBook Pro (2.5ghz)...the MacBook Pro's cpu benchmark scores are only appox. 10% better.

So if it makes a difference to you...the cpu scores of the MacBook Pro are about 10% better...but since the MacBook Air is newer...it has the better graphics hardware.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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