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  1. #1
    Hey, new here and some questions
    Shadow496's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location
    Seattle, WA, USA
    Posts
    4
    Specs:
    MacBook Air, iPod Touch, iMac 20" 2.4 GHz
    Hey, new here and some questions
    Hi! My name's Alicia.

    Well, my current laptop (a three year old Gateway) is kind of falling apart a bit (one of the keys has come off and I can't snap it back on!). It still works alright but gets hung up a lot more often than it used to and certain programs I use and need crash a lot. So basically I'm looking at getting a new laptop when I'm on break back in the States in June.

    I know I want to switch to Apple, that's a given. My dilemma is whether to choose the MacBook or the MacBook Air. I'm studying in London (ie traveling heavily with a quarters worth of stuff), and go to school almost every day. I wouldn't mind taking my laptop with me to use between classes/at lunch/in the library if it didn't add so much weight in my bag. I'm also applying to law school this fall so I'll probably continue to be using this computer in the same manner there as well (if I get in). I guess what I'm getting at is portability is a huge point for me and is really causing me to lean towards the Air, although I do recognize the MacBook is nearly as portable. I've asked other places and have universally heard "don't get the Air, it's not meant to be someone's main computer!" I recognize that it's largely to due to the lack of optical drive which is why I'd plan to buy the superdrive. I also know the specs of the Air aren't as strong or as upgradeable as the MacBook or MBP. Lastly my school here and both the law schools I've looked at have campus wide WiFi as well as my home so that's handy either way. I have the money for either really.

    All I'm truly planning to do is surf the 'net/research, word process, watch a few DVDs, maybe hold my 2.5 GB iTunes library and a few photos I might take. I'm not asking a whole lot out of it really. I'm also most likely getting an iMac this fall, I've wanted a desktop for a while and I recognize a larger screen will be easier on my eyes when working my thesis (my program allows us to do our thesis from home during the quarter following the completion of full time study). So either way the laptop will likely be a part time computer after October.

    OK...so here's my questions:
    1) Am I missing anything major that should swing my opinion to one side or the other between the MacBook and MacBook Air? I admit I've by and large made up my mind, but I am still open to other opinions. I'd like to see what the new MacBooks look like (if that rumor is true) but I don't think I could deal with this laptop for another quarter here at school (it's difficult enough waiting until June!) and by this fall I might as well wait until next year and get something brand new for law school.

    2) I may end up putting Windows on either or both of the computers using BootCamp, would the Air be able to support that? One of the schools 'highly recommended Windows laptops' but I see that there is a way around it if it becomes an issue. I almost wonder if they didn't say that because the school is located in Seattle n' all.

    3) One of my favorite computer game that I do play is The Sims 2 (and will probably want the Sims 3 when it comes out next year). This would definitely go on the iMac. I see that almost all the expansion packs and the base game are available on Mac but I've already paid for the Windows version and it seems silly to double dip if I don't need to. Does anyone know if I'd actually need to install the full version of Windows to run my current Windows versions or would Parallels be able to do that without rebooting? How does Parallels work anyway?

    Anyway, sorry for the long post but I'm hoping the background information will help a little bit in giving me advice. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Hey, new here and some questions
    Kilted1's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    1,133
    Specs:
    2 iMacs 17+20" 2.16GHz 2GB RAM 500MB HDD 256MB Graphic card. 60Gig 5th gen iPod with Video
    I think if I were you trying to chose what to buy amongst the present line-up . I'd go for a Macbook pro 15" . You'll find it a lot more usefull although a little heavier. I concider the Air to be a second computer. Like you said.However others may tell you differently. Read up on the tests and reviews

    My son uses a Macbook at school in a windows only environment using VM ware Fusion. You could use Bootcamp and XP for your windows games

    He uses the Mac for Music and films and Tomb raider at present. He has also made a small film and edited for class work all on his Mac

    I hope this helps in some way... Good luck with your purchase
    Now with Leopard

    I was Member of the month April 08

  3. #3
    Hey, new here and some questions
    Jaygray's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 04, 2008
    Posts
    1,115
    Specs:
    Unibody MacBook Pro 2.26, 4gb RAM, 500gb HD
    Isn't the HD on the Air significantly smaller? I think it's 80gb.

    If you partition off 30gb for Bootcamp/Windows and Leopard takes up 10-15gb (just guessing on that figure) over half your HD is filled without ever turning the thing on.

    I'm not sure I would go for an 80gb drive if I was planning on also installing Windows...

    Also, while MBA is thinner, it doesn't necessarily take up a smaller footprint that a basic MB. It's just a centimeter thinner. If you traded in your 200 page spiral bound notebook for a 100 page model, this would make up for the centimeter of extra width required in your backpack (and the 2 lb weight difference).

    Personally, I'd suffer with carrying the extra centimeter and 2 lbs around and save the $700.

    (I guess if I'm going to measure the width with the metric system, I should convert the weight as well. What is 2 lbs? Almost a kilogram? )

  4. #4
    Hey, new here and some questions

    Member Since
    Mar 04, 2008
    Posts
    477
    Hey, my name's Alycia

    I would also say to go with the Macbook. I think it'll just make your whole life easier because of the optical drive thing and also, you get more power for less money.

    I understand the appeal of the Air though, it is pretty cool. Are you planing on buying a iMac within the next year too? If so, and you really want the Air, I think once you get the iMac it'll make working with the Air easier because of the Remote Disc thing.

  5. #5
    Hey, new here and some questions
    iApple's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 20, 2008
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    204
    Specs:
    2.66ghz Core 2 duo iMac (20in), 320gb HDD, 4gb DDR3 1066mhz, iPhone 3g (8GB), Nano 4g (16GB)
    I would have to say go with the good ol' macbook. Like Alycia said your getting a lot more power for a lot less money. Also if you have the money a 15 inch macbook pro is also another option, but it doesnt sound like you need that much power so i think a high end macbook would suit you quite well. Good luck!!

  6. #6
    Hey, new here and some questions
    getuptogetdown's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 01, 2008
    Posts
    323
    Specs:
    15" Matte Macbook Pro 2.5Ghz 4gb RAM 250gb HD, 60gb iPod Classic maxed, iPod shuffle
    I agree with people saying the macbook. It's small enough to travel and the air is flashier than it is anything else.
    Loving my MBP more and more everyday

  7. #7
    Hey, new here and some questions
    JohnTheMacGeek's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 05, 2008
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    874
    Specs:
    Mid 2009 MacBook Pro  Mid 2007 iMac  4G iPod Touch  iPhone 4S  iPad
    I'll throw my HO in here and vote for the MacBook for all the reasons you have already read.

  8. #8
    Hey, new here and some questions

    Member Since
    Apr 28, 2006
    Posts
    2,542
    Specs:
    iMac Core Duo 20", iBook G4, iPhone 8GB :)
    I'd say go with the Air. That machine is really portable! The macbook is a good notebook, but the Air is something else. If you get the optical drive, you don't have anything else to worry about. You already say you have wifi internet at home and college.

    If you were planning on photoshopping or something then go for the macbook. But if it's mainly word processive, watching movies, internet surfing, and the occasional iPhoto-ing, then the Air is a perfect notebook.

    Let's not forget that there are a lot of injuries that are caused by lugging a heavy notebook around. This is only a step in the right direction...

  9. #9
    Hey, new here and some questions

    Member Since
    Mar 21, 2008
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    45
    Specs:
    MBP 2.6GHz - 4GB
    If you will only need the optical drive when you are home, then the Air may work for you. But, if you find that you need it more often then not, then the size issue favors the MB, and you only have to carry 1 device around! Also, the capacity of the MB versus the Air could loom large as well if you have to use a VM or BootCamp Windows. Lastly, the cost keeps coming back to me as far as the $700 savings for a better machine. I just can not make a real case for the Air over the MB.... chalk me up for another vote for the MB! Best of luck with your choice and your scholastic endeavors!

  10. #10
    Hey, new here and some questions
    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location
    The Republic of Neptune
    Posts
    7,637
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow496 View Post
    All I'm truly planning to do is surf the 'net/research, word process, watch a few DVDs, maybe hold my 2.5 GB iTunes library and a few photos I might take. I'm not asking a whole lot out of it really. I'm also most likely getting an iMac this fall, I've wanted a desktop for a while and I recognize a larger screen will be easier on my eyes when working my thesis (my program allows us to do our thesis from home during the quarter following the completion of full time study). So either way the laptop will likely be a part time computer after October.

    OK...so here's my questions:
    1) Am I missing anything major that should swing my opinion to one side or the other between the MacBook and MacBook Air? I admit I've by and large made up my mind, but I am still open to other opinions. I'd like to see what the new MacBooks look like (if that rumor is true) but I don't think I could deal with this laptop for another quarter here at school (it's difficult enough waiting until June!) and by this fall I might as well wait until next year and get something brand new for law school.
    I'm actually inclined to say go with the MacBook Air. If the cost is no issue, you have an external drive for backup, expect to tote the laptop around quite a bit (especially if carrying that with school books) and are fully expecting to get a desktop later anyway, then I'd go with the Air. If you wind up not getting a desktop, perhaps you could consider a larger external monitor for use with the Air at home. As long as you are OK with the 13" screen, the Air will suit your needs just fine, and I think you'll appreciate the weight savings in the long run. I don't know why anyone thinks it can't serve as a primary computer anyway... I'd like to hear one solid reason for that.

    2) I may end up putting Windows on either or both of the computers using BootCamp, would the Air be able to support that? One of the schools 'highly recommended Windows laptops' but I see that there is a way around it if it becomes an issue. I almost wonder if they didn't say that because the school is located in Seattle n' all.
    Yes.

    3) One of my favorite computer game that I do play is The Sims 2 (and will probably want the Sims 3 when it comes out next year). This would definitely go on the iMac. I see that almost all the expansion packs and the base game are available on Mac but I've already paid for the Windows version and it seems silly to double dip if I don't need to. Does anyone know if I'd actually need to install the full version of Windows to run my current Windows versions or would Parallels be able to do that without rebooting? How does Parallels work anyway?
    Parallels basically runs Windows "in a window" inside OS X. It tricks Windows into think it's running on a computer by itself, rather than in a "virtual" one. Most apps run great, but games in particular don't generally run well because the whole emulation environment creates a lot of overhead on the system. With games, you are generally stuck using Boot Camp. Crossover is one alternative... it lets you run many Windows apps and games in OS X without Windows itself. Support is hit or miss... some things work better than others, many not at all. Those that do work though work as if native to OS X... at full speed. I looked over their forum for The Sims 2 and the last forum activity shows it is known not to work. But there's no mention of it being tried on Crossover Games, which I can tell you works GREAT for a lot of games that were iffy on the regular Crossover version that preceeded Games. They've also started releasing nightly builds to the public, and I've seen even better results with that. If I can borrow a copy of The Sims from someone, I may try it with the newer versions and post my results there.

  11. #11
    Hey, new here and some questions

    Member Since
    Jan 06, 2008
    Location
    Hillbank, South Australia
    Posts
    323
    Specs:
    2 x 20" iMac Intel Core 2 Duo
    If money is tight download the free virtualbox and try it,

  12. #12
    Hey, new here and some questions

    Member Since
    Mar 31, 2008
    Posts
    93
    Specs:
    First gen Mac Pro, Dual 2.66
    I don't imagine you'll enjoy playing The Sims, or any game really, on the Air. I was ready to jump on board with you until you mentioned that.

  13. #13
    Hey, new here and some questions
    Shadow496's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location
    Seattle, WA, USA
    Posts
    4
    Specs:
    MacBook Air, iPod Touch, iMac 20" 2.4 GHz
    Wow...opinion's pretty split.

    Yeah, on a daily basis I rarely RARELY find I need optical drive. With the Air the superdrive would most likely stay at home for evenings when I'm back from school and want to watch a DVD and as a back up if something goes really wrong.

    Umm...yeah I wouldn't expect to run the Sims on the air OR the macbook. I think I've come to find that it's really not a laptop game (another reason for why I'm really leaning towards getting a desktop a little later on).

    The space needed to install Windows if needed is definitely a cocern if it comes down to it next fall but if I'm not saving much to the hardrive of the laptop anyway it might be OK.

    Anyway, thanks for the opinions you've definitely given me something to think about!

  14. #14
    Hey, new here and some questions

    Member Since
    Apr 28, 2006
    Posts
    2,542
    Specs:
    iMac Core Duo 20", iBook G4, iPhone 8GB :)
    @lifeisabeach: If you have seen Parallels or VMware lately, you will find that apps run almost like they were native. First of all they are both really fast. Secondly, with coherence mode, the whole thing feels like the Win apps are part of OS X, even with the dock icons and such.

  15. #15
    Hey, new here and some questions
    wcarr3's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 30, 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    208
    Specs:
    MBP, 13.3" || iMac 20" 2.16 GHz C2D, 250 GB HD, 2 GB RAM, || 32GB i-Phone 4 || 32GB AT&T 3G iPad
    I'd say go with the Macbook. I know the Air is the cute and sexy choice, but why limit yourself with no optical drive and a smaller hard drive. I know you say having no optical is not an issue, but it's just may be on of those nice to have things that will certainly come in handy. Plus, nowadays, HD space is eaten up pretty quickly, so a HD bigger that the 80 GB will be a definite plus for you. As with everyone else, this is just my humble opinion.

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