Loaded 13 inch macbook air or pro or base config + upgrades?

I'm off to college this fall and I need a new computer. I'd mostly use it for email, web browsing, itunes, word documents, powerpoints, school stuff, to and from class, etc. I don't do gaming, but occasioinally edit photos and videos, but not very often.
I hate slow computers, and I need a lot of memory, as I have a huge music/video library.
So here's the two options I'm looking at...

MacBook Air, 13 inch
•2.0GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
•8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
•512GB Flash Storage
$2,199.00

MacBook Pro, 13 inch
•2.9GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
•8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM — 2x4GB
•512GB Solid State Drive
$2,399.00

I'm going to school in Manhattan so I need something ultra-portable, and I love the portability of the air, and I think I'd be fine not having a built in superdrive as I don't do much with those but well idk. Some people say the Pro is more durable for mobility. Plus I've been looking into DIY upgrades and am almost wondering if I should get a base configuration of the Pro and upgrade it myself because that might save some cash? Idk I don't know that I'd trust myself not to mess that up though. Is the Pro worth the extra $200 for comparable specs? I've read that it's easier to upgrade later down the road, unlike the air, but I'm not sure the drawbacks in weight would be worth it? I use a lot of memory, but I believe you can update the hard drive on the air, its the RAM you can't change right? So like the Pro, I could also upgrade the Air later. Does anyone know if there would be much difference between these two particular models in boot speed, downloading speed, etc? Which better fits my needs?

Any input is greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

1 Answer from the Community

  • Megan -
    My Inclination would be go for the 13" MacBook Pro i7 w/8 GB - but with the std. 750 GB, 5400 rpm drive, not SSD. This std config is 1,499.00. ($100 off if you are education) It may have better batt. life than an SSD as well.

    That way you can take extra $ from the outset for software like MS office, iWork Pages, Filemaker Pro or an Adobe program.

    I'd try it with the large 750 GB drive but if you are handy with small tools and really need more speed go to MacSales.com and get an SSD and kit to use your original drive as a large external and/or back up. MacSales (OWC) has easy to understand videos showing you how and their staff is really helpful.

    The unibody MacBook Pros are very easy to get inside and upgrade yourself and are more rugged against shock and abuse than the Airs.

    Just my 2¢. - Ben from NJ

    • Answered by Benjamin B from Princeton
    • May 6, 2013