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Buying New Laptop (Macbook pro vs air)

  1. Apr 18, 2016 #1


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    I'm a physics student looking a new laptop. The main uses for the laptop is coding (python, matlab), maybe basic simulations, ocassional gaming (starcraft and hearthstone), watch movies and do essays. The simulation part is just basic things, for more complex stuff i have access to a computer cluster.

    After a lot of research i'm between this two models. I like a lot the macbook pro, it has a lot of power, i like the hdmi port but i really don't care about the retina display. On the other side i like the lightness and portability of the macbook air. I really don't know if i'm going to miss the second thunderbolt or the hdmi port.

    Is the macbook air powerful enough for my needs or should i look for a macbook pro?

    ps: English isn't my native language so there may be some gramatical error
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 18, 2016 #2
    Alienware area51 far better value for money faster more ram more data better everything except a tiny bit heavier.
  4. Apr 18, 2016 #3
    it is the best for both gaming and watching films it has power unmatched bar custom computers and comes with a free backpack that is great for carrying it. it can write essays like any laptop can and it has an epic keyboard lighting system
  5. Apr 18, 2016 #4
    Whenever you post anything about asking for help on buying a Mac, you'll always get some custom PC fanboys trying to get you unnecessary hardware. If you asked about what kind of custom hardware to get, you'd get the Mac fanboys trying to get you to simplify. Neither will actually help with the specific question you asked.

    If you're using it for regular computing and not hardcore gaming (neither game you mentioned take a lot of power) then I would recommend the Air over the Pro. Like you said, if you need power, you can use your cluster. I have a Pro and the only time I ever strain it is during compilation of huge projects and intense database activity, neither sustain their usage for long.

    You may find that there is some software that won't run on your Mac, so I would invest in a virtualization system as well. For example, nothing on Mac or Windows even comes CLOSE to Valgrind, which is one of the most important developers tools IMO.
  6. Apr 18, 2016 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    Go with the pro.

    The air is designed people doing mostly lighter weight task like browsing or writing reports whereas the pro can handle matlab and simulations better.
  7. Apr 19, 2016 #6


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    Well, I wonder why one is called pro whereas the other is called air then :smile:
  8. Apr 19, 2016 #7
    Pro is the powerful computer for work, Air is designed to be as light as possible.
  9. Apr 19, 2016 #8


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    Gold Member

    Yes, I know that. I was just being a bit satirical. Sorry :oops:
  10. Apr 28, 2016 #9
    If you want to to work on it, you'd better buy pro. Air is just an entertainment tool towards me.
  11. Apr 29, 2016 #10
    Pro is a better system, but I have a first gen Air that is still quite capable for many applications.
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