Looking to purchase new mac for law school!!

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Hello all, new here! I am looking to purchase a mac for law school. I have never owned a macbook and am very excited about this purchase. I have a budget of $1200-$1400.

I believe I am eligible for $100 discount as a student, although I may receive 15% off I believe from my aunt who works at apple. I was wondering what you may think is the best mac for me. I will be using the laptop everyday, to take notes, write papers, research, read etc. I love the look of the Macbook Air, but is it worth the price, with limited specs and no disc drive? Is the Macbook pro my only option at this point?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    My choices pretty much are between the following, (I believe, correct me if I`m wrong):



    MacBook Air 11" w/ 128GB - 1.6 GHz dual core i5

    MacBook Air 13" w/ 128GB - 1.7 GHz dual core i5



    MacBook Pro 13" w/ 320 GB. 2.3 GHz

    MacBook Pro 13" w/ 500 GB(don't know if that's necessary) 2.7 GHz



    My concerns are: the MacBook Air's processing speed at 1.7Ghz as opposed to the Pro's with 2.3 & 2.7, is that a huge difference in performance?



    If yes, then my choice is between the two MBP. Is there a substantial difference in the performance of the 2.3GHz v. 2.7GHz? Also, is 500GB excessive? I won't be downloading movies on this one. I have another laptop that I do my downloading (of music, movies, other programs/games) on, as well as my photo storage. I also use an external hard-drive for important files.



    Edit: Is 128 GB extremely low? I won't be using this laptop to do any sort of downloading of misc items, such as movies, pictures, music, games. So in your (or whoever else would like to chime in) opinion, for what I need the laptop, will 128GB suffice?
  • Reply 2 of 18
    Once you use an Air, you won't even consider the Pro to be portable!



    You say you have another computer... the Air can utilize it's optical drive on those rare occasions when you REALLY need to. (or you can buy a USB external.)

    From your stated usage, the Air is plenty powerful... you'll never even notice the difference provided by the Pro processors. (In fact, the SSD will probably make the Air seem faster to you than the Pro... the better processor in the Pro is really only going to shine if you use it... like video editing/encoding/transcoding, photo manipulation, etc.)

    128GB is certainly enough, but if you can afford it, you'll never regret having 256... (though it's possible you could regret NOT having 256.)
  • Reply 3 of 18
    vazelosvazelos Posts: 11member
    TY for the feedback. The only thing is the 128GB is $1,249 and the $256GB is $1,549, for $300 I don't know if I`ll ever need the extra space.... ...



    Anyone else :P
  • Reply 4 of 18
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vazelos View Post


    TY for the feedback. The only thing is the 128GB is $1,249 and the $256GB is $1,549, for $300 I don't know if I`ll ever need the extra space.... ...



    My personal response to that would be...

    If you can pay cash, get the 256... helps future proof your purchase. I wouldn't suggest borrowing money to buy a computer though, so if 128 is all you can afford, then go with that. (You sound like you think that'll be plenty anyhow.)



    You can always get a USB external for storing seldom-used files... or stuff that you don't need while on-the-go.
  • Reply 5 of 18
    vazelosvazelos Posts: 11member
    I`m only worried that the Air is not as durable/sturdy as the Pro. Is this a valid concern?
  • Reply 6 of 18
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vazelos View Post


    I`m only worried that the Air is not as durable/sturdy as the Pro. Is this a valid concern?



    I would say not. The unibody construction makes it extremely rigid and solid, and the kinds of things that can damage a laptop (dropping, liquid, etc.) will apply equally to both the MBP and Air. The primary point of failure on a laptop is the HDD; the SSD on the Air eliminates that problem. There are literally no moving parts on the Air other than the keyboard, and if there are any problems with the electronics they will typically manifest within the warranty period.



    If you're only going to be doing world processing, online research, email and the like, the difference in processing power isn't going to matter at all. If you expect to be doing much HD video editing or 3D modeling, then I would consider the MBP. For everything else, the SSD makes it feel faster than the MBP for day to day use.



    Against all that the Air is much easier to carry around/deploy on a desktop.



    For your purposes it sounds like the downsides of the Air would be:



    --Smaller and slightly lower quality screen

    --Battery life, on the 11" (5 hours vs 7 hours)

    --No optical drive



    If you're typically in the vicinity of an outlet battery life is moot; most people find the screen on the Air to be perfectly fine, just not as quite as nice as what's on the MBP. If you feel like you really need or want the extra screen real estate the MBP is the only way to go. Optical drives are increasingly unnecessary but that's something you'll have to evaluate for yourself.
  • Reply 7 of 18
    vazelosvazelos Posts: 11member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    I would say not. The unibody construction makes it extremely rigid and solid, and the kinds of things that can damage a laptop (dropping, liquid, etc.) will apply equally to both the MBP and Air. The primary point of failure on a laptop is the HDD; the SSD on the Air eliminates that problem. There are literally no moving parts on the Air other than the keyboard, and if there are any problems with the electronics they will typically manifest within the warranty period.



    If you're only going to be doing world processing, online research, email and the like, the difference in processing power isn't going to matter at all. If you expect to be doing much HD video editing or 3D modeling, then I would consider the MBP. For everything else, the SSD makes it feel faster than the MBP for day to day use.



    Against all that the Air is much easier to carry around/deploy on a desktop.



    For your purposes it sounds like the downsides of the Air would be:



    --Smaller and slightly lower quality screen

    --Battery life, on the 11" (5 hours vs 7 hours)

    --No optical drive



    If you're typically in the vicinity of an outlet battery life is moot; most people find the screen on the Air to be perfectly fine, just not as quite as nice as what's on the MBP. If you feel like you really need or want the extra screen real estate the MBP is the only way to go. Optical drives are increasingly unnecessary but that's something you'll have to evaluate for yourself.



    Thanks for the response! I am only considering the 13" MBP and MBA ..

    I probably won't get into any serious HD video editing or 3D modeling but I can see myself doing some amateur stuff and exploring the advantages of a macbook over a windows pc. I love the air's design/portability and overall appearance.



    I agree that optical drives are rather unnecessary and I do have another functioning laptop if I need to use a cd/dvd so I`m not worried about that. In school there are outlet's everywhere so the battery life @ 5 hours is more than enough.



    At this point I am heavily leaning towards the Air. I have a question though, I read somewhere when researching about it being a "toss up between what SSD you`ll receive when purchasing an Air", not too sure what a user meant by that one, anybody know?



    Can anyone comment on the speakers of the MBA v. MBP and is there an HDMI port on the MBA?
  • Reply 8 of 18
    vazelosvazelos Posts: 11member
    Also question: Is it worth $100 to upgrade from the i5 (1.7GHz) to the i7 (1.8GHz) ?
  • Reply 9 of 18
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vazelos View Post


    ... Is this a valid concern?



    No.



    Also, the $100 dollar difference (i7 vs i5) MIGHT be enough to keep the computer useful to you for 4-5 years instead of 3-4 ...

    $100 for another year of life seems like a pretty good deal.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    Keep in mind, assuming you have good eyesight, the 1440x900 pixels high resolution display of the 13" Air is a huge advantage over the 1280x800 13" MBP.
  • Reply 11 of 18
    vazelosvazelos Posts: 11member
    Is there anything a Mackbook Air can't do that a Pro can?
  • Reply 12 of 18
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vazelos View Post


    Is there anything a Mackbook Air can't do that a Pro can?



    Burn a CD/DVD without using an external drive.
  • Reply 13 of 18
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vazelos View Post


    Is there anything a Mackbook Air can't do that a Pro can?



    There's no ethernet connector on the MBA, so you'd need a USB adapter if you ever need to go wired internet, and there's no optical out on the headphone jack.



    There's no HDMI (not on the MBP either) but you can get MiniDisplayPort/Thunderbolt to HDMI adapters for cheap. However, if you're planning to run sound/video over HDMI to a flatscreen TV, make sure the adapter you get supports audio.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    Hmmm so the overall consensus is MBA over MBP? for the 13" ?
  • Reply 15 of 18
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vazelos View Post


    Hmmm so the overall consensus is MBA over MBP? for the 13" ?



    That'd be MY choice.... your mileage may vary.
  • Reply 16 of 18
    Only thing is now I have to recalculate the costs and everything, I was hoping to get an employee discount from a girl I know that works there but apparently she can't for some reason.. I was banking on a 15-25% now I have to see what fits my $1600 budget.
  • Reply 17 of 18
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vazelos View Post


    Only thing is now I have to recalculate the costs and everything, I was hoping to get an employee discount from a girl I know that works there but apparently she can't for some reason.. I was banking on a 15-25% now I have to see what fits my $1600 budget.



    Dropping down to 128GB of storage isn't bad. What's important is the 4GB of RAM because that cannot be upgrade. The SSD actually come in a Blade format that is removable so it's not impossible to upgrade the SSD storage as you can see here:



    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Aura_Pro_Express



    Keep in mind in a couple of years the pricing of these SSD upgrades should be halved.



    Once you've used a computer with a SSD you will not want to go back to booting your computer off a spinning disc. We've all gotten used to lethargic storage and it's a quick adjustment to SSD where apps launch quickly, Spotlight searches are returned with much improved speed and there's no vibration from a spinning mechanism.



    I've also decided to go with a 13" but i'm sticking with 128GB of SSD and I'm only going to run the essential apps that I need and I won't be carrying 30GB of music on it either. If I do plan to store music I'll put the tracks on a SD card and play them from there or I'll use Spotify or some other service for my audio streaming needs.



    Where the Macbook Pro would come in handy is if you needed to do something that required significant CPU crunching. That's where the faster processors would prove their advantage. For daily computing needs the Air is often faster because it's not hampered with slow storage subsystem.



    cheers
  • Reply 18 of 18
    still don't know which i should purchase! ahhh
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