Air vs. Pro

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by shuey20, Mar 13, 2014.

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  1. shuey20

    shuey20 Notebook Enthusiast

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    So I'm considering buying a Macbook. Unsure between the Air with i7 or the Pro Retina with the i5. Both configurations have 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. I know the benchmarks between the two. How do the real life performances of each compare and which one would you recommend? I will be studying engineering next year, and the schools software is compatible wih Mac. Which of the two would you recommend or are there any other configurations that would be better? Would like it to be below $2000 give or take a hundred. Thanks.
     
  2. jook33

    jook33 Notebook Evangelist

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    engineering + mac? just because the software is compatible does not mean the hardware is, if you are going to or plan to run some serious professional programs, stray away from the macs, they simply do not offer the advantages and performance that professional windows laptops do that are required for engineering (depending which one you are going into), just my advice..
     
  3. shuey20

    shuey20 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I'm going into electrical engineering. The school recommends Mac and Dell. Any recommendations? I'd like 8GB Ram, 256GB SSD, i7 processor or i5 with equal power. I'd like a 13-14 inch screen and lightweight as it will be used for college.
     
  4. infzy

    infzy Notebook Geek

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    Right now, I would definitely pick the MacbookPro Retina. The Air needs a refresh to be competitive.

    The Pro is quite close in size to the Air -- it is slightly less wide, not a whole lot thicker really, and is only half a pound heavier. For that you get so much more. Much higher resolution and more ports / connectivity options. Though the Pro has a bit less battery life (9hrs instead of 12 on the Air).

    Note that the Air uses the U (Ultra low-voltage) line of Intel processors, instead of the Pro which uses the M (mobile? anyway more powerful) line. I would expect the i7 on the Air to feel less powerful than the i5 in the Pro. Although Apple doesn't like to publish the exact model numbers, you can do some careful googling and find direct comparisons between the processors.

    I recommend checking the MacRumors Buyer's Guide: Mac Buyer's Guide: Know When to Buy Your Mac, iPod or iPhone

    Disclaimer: I own neither of these products, I've just been shopping around (and decided on an imported Panasonic from Japan lol).
     
  5. Fat Dragon

    Fat Dragon Just this guy, you know?

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    What a school recommends means little. At best, they've got specialized Mac and Dell repair centers on campus and are getting a stipend from those manufacturers to make the recommendation. At worst, someone just pulled the two names out of a hat when making a recommendation. Mac is obvious: Apple is inescapable on a college campus, so might as well affirm the students' decisions. Dell likewise: for years they were the number one laptop vendor by volume, and they're a name everybody knows.

    In reality, as you'll find from browsing these forums, most major manufacturers offer machines that would be good for the professional software needs of engineering, with the most notable being the professional lines from Lenovo, HP, and Dell. Mac's mobile offerings typically offer far less performance per dollar, with much of the margin being taken up by the perception of Macs, part of which is pure posturing and part of which is based on the turn-of-the-century belief that Mac was superior to Windows for professional applications, particularly in the 3D, video, and audio fields. The reality is that they're typically inferior performance machines that excel primarily in style and profit margin.
     
  6. Jarhead

    Jarhead 恋の♡アカサタナ

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    Well, to be fair, EE doesn't really have any special GPU needs like mechanical or the like require, so OP can get away with not having a workstation-class laptop. However, OP, is there any particular reason you're wanting an Air/rMBP? Have you used OSX for awhile now, or have any OSX-only programs you're required to run, or are you just considering buying one just because? If it's the latter, I can't really recommend either system since neither would bring you any advantage over a comparable or better Wintel system. That said, I'd recommend a decent business-class system such as a Dell Latitude E6xxx, Lenovo Thinkpad Txxx/Xxxx, or a HP Elitebook 8x0 G1; those systems will have a far better build quality and aftersales support than what Apple is willing to offer, giving you a far better deal than with the two choices you ask about (these laptops can survive pretty much any physical abuse you throw at it, whereas my campus IT department's replacing MBPs left and right since students can very easily ruin their systems due to slight mishaps). Plus it's nice to have that NBD warranty these laptops offer (as in, if something's wrong, they'll be at your dorm within a business day or two to fix it on-site).

    My campus is also a Dell/Apple shop, and Fat Dragon's right about the recommendations being pointless. At least my university tries to be somewhat helpful (recommending engineering majors the Dell Precision M4x00), though for the most part they are only interested in selling you a system rather than really recommending a good laptop for you or the other students. They get a cut of the profits from university laptop sales, so they're no better at recommending you a system than Apple recommending you buy an Apple, Dell a Dell, Lenovo a Lenovo, etc.
     
  7. Jobine

    Jobine Notebook Prophet

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    MB Air vs Pro?

    Lenovo T440s + Aftermarket SSD :)
     
  8. Ichinenjuu

    Ichinenjuu Notebook Deity

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    I would not recommend a Retina screen with school software. Pretty much guaranteed it will not be retina-compatible, and it will appear pixellated and blurry, which can definitely affect your ability to use it.
     
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