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Macbooks 13.3 Pro vs 13.3 Air

  1. Feb 13, 2015 #1
    I'm looking into getting a laptop this summer if I'm able to get into an REU. I was looking at macbooks, just because they are reliable, have long battery life, and still has the power I need for programs like Mathematica or Sage, since it will be used for research, the computing will probably be heavier than your average calculus class.

    Can anyone speak towards the price vs. performance between the newest 13.3" Pro vs the previous model or the 13.3" air, or even previous model air?

    Basically I'm looking at 4gb of ram and 128gb ssd. All models I'm considering have the 2 core i5, different generations, obviously.

    Keep in my mind, this isn't a question about Mac vs PC price vs performance. I know I could get a much more powerful windows laptop for the same price. My main concern is reliability. I need this laptop to last me through my program, my last academic year, and then most of the way through grad school. So at least 3 years.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 13, 2015 #2


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    Science Advisor

    Generally, the Macbooks are more reliable, mainly because they use more expensive components. Their latest incarnation of OSX is way better than it was a couple of years ago. But - after 3 years, you are stuck with a 3 year old CPU, graphic card, memory etc.

    On the Mac everything is dead easy - or totally impossible
    Jerry Pournelle
  4. Feb 13, 2015 #3
    So then probably wouldn't consider anything earlier than 2012?
    Seems like there is about a $200-$400 difference between the '12 pro and an equivalent new '14 pro. But these '12s are pretty much all used or "refurbished"

    And only about a $100-$200 difference between the '13 and '14 models.

    And also a new air vs pro there is about a $100, if I decided to just go brand new, I feel like I would just spend the extra $100 for the pro.
  5. Feb 13, 2015 #4
    Mac performance is usually very good for many years. I have a first gen Air and it still runs great. Only problem is I can't advance OS past Mountain Lion.
  6. Feb 13, 2015 #5
    I've thought about a used mac, but I was worried about battery life, but your Air's battery life is still good?
  7. Feb 13, 2015 #6
    No it's bascially dead and has to be plugged in :D
  8. Feb 13, 2015 #7
    That is a bit unsettling, how old it is?
  9. Feb 13, 2015 #8
    First generation, so made in late 2008
  10. Feb 13, 2015 #9
    I imagine the newer models' batteries last longer, but how long ago did you notice your battery start to go?
  11. Feb 13, 2015 #10
    Yeah I wouldn't worry about it. Noticed 2 years ago.
  12. Feb 13, 2015 #11
    Cool, thank you for your input. I still have a few months before I need to get one, but I can't help but start shopping early. Hopefully prices will go down a bit by then.
  13. Feb 13, 2015 #12
    I wouldn't bet on it. Apple hold prices pretty well until the next product release.
  14. Feb 13, 2015 #13
    Yeah, that's what I'm hoping, that the 2015 models will be out before the summer.
  15. Feb 17, 2015 #14


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    Staff: Mentor

    That's a good strategy if you can wait. I've bought most of my Macs when they were on sale after a successor model was announced.
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