Purchase Advice between MBP and MBA

in General Discussion edited January 2014

I have a old Macbook Pro 2.4ghz Intel Penryn Chip (Early 2008) that i'm looking to upgrade. I'm looking at either the Non Retina display updated Macbook Pro or the updated Macbook Air. Just wondering what you guys would recommend given a spending limit of under $1800 before tax. I'm a college student and dabble a little with photography and HD video, but do want portability. I could go either way as far as having an optical drive or not. Heres the two different choices/configurations i'm looking at right now:


Macbook Pro (Non Retina Display Ivy Bridge Chip) - $1,789.00


  • 2.3GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz

  • 4GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB

  • 500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm

  • SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

  • MacBook Pro 15-inch Hi-Res Antiglare Widescreen Display

  • Backlit Keyboard (English) & User's Guide



Macbook Air (Ivy Bridge Chip) - $1,629.00


  • 2.0GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz

  • 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM

  • 256GB Flash Storage

  • Backlit Keyboard (English) & User's Guide

I just want your guys' input on what you think is a better bang for your buck. 


  • Reply 1 of 3
    nhtnht Posts: 4,522member

    There are different kind of mobile users:


    • I shlep this thing around campus with 20 lbs of other crap and constantly pull it in and out of my bag to use.  More power is great but until my textbooks are on the iPad carrying more stuff just sucks. I take the bus back and forth from campus.


    I'd likely pick the MBA


    • I carry my laptop to and from work every day.  When i get to work it sits on my desk.  When I get home it sits on my desk.  In between it's in my backpack sitting in the trunk of my car.  When I'm on the machine I'm using photoshop, aperture, etc.


    I'd likely pick the MBP


    • My laptop has more frequent flyer miles than George Clooney's character in Up in The Air.  I am the pro's pro.


    I'd spring for the MBP retina...which is out of your price range.


    Which reminds me of your final question.  In terms of bang for the buck the 15" MBP is clearly better.  Larger screen, dedicated GPU, faster, etc.


    However, with a $1700 total budget for my computing needs I would get one of two things:


    13" 2.5Ghz i5 MBP $1100.

    Crucial 256GB M4 SSD $220 (Amazon)

    16GB RAM upgrade $120 (Amazon, Newegg, wherever)

    LG IPS235T 23" IPS monitor $220 (Amazon)

    Cheap USB3 enclosure for the 2.5" drive that came with the MBP.  $20.


    Total $1680 - $100 Back to School gift card


    Losing the dedicated GPU on the 15" MBP sucks though.  So my option 2 is this:



    Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.0GHz quad-core Intel i7 - $1229


    Originally released February 2011

    15.4-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display, 1440-by-900 resolution 

    4GB (2 x 2GB) of 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM

    500GB Serial ATA @ 5400 rpm 

    8x double-layer SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

    Intel HD Graphics 3000 and AMD Radeon HD 6490M 



    Crucial 256GB M4 SSD $220 (Amazon)

    16GB RAM upgrade $120 (Amazon, Newegg, wherever)

    Cheap FW800 enclosure for the 2.5" drive that came with the MBP.  $20.


    Total $1589.  I think you don't get the Back to School gift card.

  • Reply 2 of 3
    nhtnht Posts: 4,522member

    You know, thinking about it, I'd stick the SSD into your C2D MBP and max out the ram at 6GB if you haven't already and see if you can't limp by another year.


    Probably what you want is the 13" Retina MBP whenever that shows up if it has a dedicated GPU.  Not likely but one can hope.

  • Reply 3 of 3
    j120387j120387 Posts: 56member

    Thanks for your input!

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