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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

BlackBook vs Air vs Pro

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Member Since: Mar 27, 2008
Posts: 3
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Hey everyone,
As a previous Windows user, I have recently decided to make the switch to an Apple. I decided to get a laptop for the portability and convenience of being able to pick it up and use it throughout the house, even though it will probably be at my desk most of the time. But I am stuck between the BlackBook, the Macbook Air, and the Macbook Pro.

I will pretty much only use the computer for surfing, IM, and Microsoft Office. But occasionally I also like to play games. It would be nice to be able to play all my games on the Pro if I get it, but it is not a major issue as I can just play them on my Windows machine. As a power user, I have usually gone for the biggest and best model and that usually my mentality, but this time I am more willing to get a lower performing model. I also do not use many ports, with pretty much no use for an Expresscard slot and only maybe a USB or FireWire port for a Time Machine backup drive. Cost is somewhat of an issue, but it is always better to save a little cash.

Here's what I'm deciding between:

Powerful processor
More portable than Pro
Personally, I like the chiclet keyboard better than the Pro's
Aesthetics - I think the MacBook looks stunning in black

Integrated Graphics
Smaller screen

Macbook Air
LED screen
Illuminated keyboard
Chiclet keyboard
Cool factor

Price premium
Slower processor
Slower and smaller hard drive
Lack of ports

Macbook Pro
Fastest processor
Dedicated graphics
LED screen
Illuminated keyboard
Bigger screen
Ability to play games
Uber ports

Most expensive
Less portable

Overall I think the BlackBook is the best value with great processor power and hard drive space, but it lacks the dedicated graphics of the Pro and the other features of the Air and the Pro. The Macbook Air is in the middle with the features of the Pro at a lower price, but still has a price premium over the BlackBook for lower performance and hard drive space and fewer ports. However I probably do not even need any of those. It still has the cool factor though. Finally, the Macbook Pro has all the features of the Air but with the best processor and dedicated graphics. However, the major turn-off is the price. I am somewhat concerned about its portability because it is larger, but I don't know if i would really notice the difference. I also don't know if I would really use the dedicated graphics card as I can game on a different computer and apparently Leopard runs fine with the X3100, but I may be wrong.

So what do you guys think is the best choice?
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JohnTheMacGeek's Avatar
Member Since: Feb 05, 2008
Location: Alabama
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Honestly, from what you described your best choice isn't on your list. The white, mid-range, MacBook would suite your needs perfectly! Just my $.02...

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Member Since: Aug 03, 2006
Location: Northbrook, IL
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I'd go Macbook.

IMO I'd say the MBA is the bottom of the pile, it's a very limited computer, and more of "hey look at me" thing than an actual usable computer. Has anyone ever complained by the thickness of their macbook?

The extra 2 inches of the MBP are really noticeable. I'm in college, and when I see the kids who schlep their MBP's to class, it's bigger footprint makes a difference with the little desks, and it's bulkier.

The MBP is not a laptop... it is a notebook. I make this distinction because those MBP's get hella hot!

Unless you game, or do heavy photo-video editing on a laptop, the pro isn't needed. The macbook can handle those tasks fine.

IMO the multitouch stuff is gimmicky, it doesn't really work too well when it's not on a screen. 2 finger scroll is the extent of multitouch i need on my laptop.

Backlit keyboards are also pretty gimmicky. Shouldn't we be fluent with QWERTY by now?

Blackbook if you must, but I think the premium on it is stupid.

But. If you decide to go on the refurb/used market, a MBP would be nice, especially if your laptop will be deskbound most of the time.

Can't touch this.

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Member Since: Mar 27, 2008
Posts: 7
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i'm in the same shoe, i'll probably just get the macbook rather than the pro & save some $.
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Jaygray's Avatar
Member Since: Mar 04, 2008
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Get a regular MacBook brand new for $999 off the Apple for Education website. If you want to deck it out, buy 4gb of Ram from a 3rd party for $100. Don't buy memory from Apple.

Unless you're playing video games, you would never know it doesn't have it's own dedicated card. The video capabilities of the regular MacBook are outstanding. You won't be sorry.

With the money you'll save, you'll be able to buy an Xbox 360, a PS3 and a handful of games and then you won't care about the video card anyway.
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The Vindicat3d

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Jaygray gives good advice, but i'd say go with the BlackBook as I think you'll get a bit of a longer use span out of it due to the bigger HDD, plus if you're going to make a big purchase get the thing you know you'll be happiest with

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Member Since: Mar 16, 2008
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And to back up Vind, I heard, I don't know from where, that the BlackBook probably has a better re-sale value. I'm guessing when people are buying used laptops. It will be a 'cooler' look and if it's already low cost, they'll add a few more bucks for the better cosmetics. I would

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Member Since: Feb 21, 2008
Location: Chicago
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I also backup the suggestion to get the MacBook. My wife and I just converted from Windows to Apple. I got the MacBook Pro (needed the express card and Firewire 800 for specialized work) and she got the white MacBook, 2.4GHz processor, 160GB drive, 2GB ram. It is a killer machine. If I didn't need the express card or the firewire 800 ports, I would've bought the same MacBook.
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Member Since: Mar 27, 2008
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Cool. I think I'm going to get the MacBook then. Thanks for all your help guys.
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Member Since: Oct 14, 2007
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you said you wanted to play some games on it if you like playing the latest ones get a macbook pro seems like your wanting more of a desktop replacement
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Member Since: Sep 24, 2007
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I am a huge fan of my MBP. It's basically a server that you can fold up and carry with you. I'll admit, the Blackbook is sexy. And more than one of us on this forum has bought it for that reason more than any other.

I'll say this: If Apple brought out the MBA in black? It would fly off the shelves. And if the next MBP revision was in a black case, I'd be crying, 'cause there is no way I can justify a replacement of this before 2012!

Perry M Lynch, CISSP CISA
Mac Newbie, Security not-so-newbie
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Member Since: Oct 25, 2007
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Just get the MB and save your $
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Member Since: Jun 17, 2006
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Don't forget the MBP also has a larger screen and a its higher resolution then the MacBook and the Air. Its one of the major reasons I upgraded to a MBP from a MacBook. Also the MacBook and Air only come in Glossy displays with the MBP you have the choice.
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