Need help deciding on new laptop

I know that the people who use this forum are mainly windows users as I am, but I am still interested in getting a Mac for my laptop.

Although I know I want to purchase some MacBook model, I am stuck on deciding between the 2011 13" MacBook Air 1.8GHz and the 2011 15" MacBook Pro 2GHz. Which ever one I get, I will be bringing it to school and so I will be doing word editing, web browsing, and maybe playing portal and TF2.

I like the MacBook Air because of its portability and high resolution for a thirteen inch display, but its lack of ports and a cd drive is quite the compromise considering the high price.

On the other hand, I like the MacBook Pro because of its great performance, but its bulk and not-so-great resolution are down sides to me. Also, I'm not sure if the hi-res display is a worthwhile option if I have a 24" 1920x1200 monitor that I could hook it up to at home.

Any Ideas on which one I should choose? I have about $1800 to spend but may be able to stretch that up to $2000. Also I might consider a windows laptop if anyone has a good suggestion, although I don't want the Vaio z because that is too expensive for me.
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  1. Just a question, why would you prefer a mac vs a Win machine (not a fanboy question)?

    For all the reasons you listed for a laptop, you can get a great one for half the price. $1000 will get you a lot of laptop these days. Macs are nice, but I find them a tad overpriced.

    Not to mention you would have yourself an extra 800-1000 for other things. Even a new laptop 3-4 years down the road.
  2. But here's a few if you are willing to budge away from the Mac lineup:

    Satellite P750-04S 15.6IN I7-2630QM GT540M 6GB 750GB DVDRW WIN7HP

    Win 7

    i7 2630 (2.0Ghz)

    6GB ram

    GT540m 1GB video card

    1366x768 Res ( a bit low but you mentioned you have an external display which this supports, this laptop uses HDMI out which most do)

    •Ports: Bridge Media Adaptor (SD Card, SDHC Card, SDXC Card, Multimedia Card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Mini SD Card, Micro SD Card), 1x USB 3.0, 3x USB 2.0 RJ45, external microphone port, headphone port, RGB, HDMI

    750GB HDD

    Approx $899 (canadian).

    ASUS N53SV-XE1 Core i7 2630 Quad Core 15.6IN HD 500GB 4GB GeForce GT 540 WIN7 2MP Webcam Notebook


    1 HDMI, 1 USB 3 , 1 ESATA port. 1366x768 resolution (which won't matter if you have and HDMI capable LCD).

    These are decent mid - range laptops that would fit your bill nicely. They aren't overly powerful in the graphics department, but that shouldn't matter as the games you listed are quite old anyways.

    The reason I listed these laptops is they have very good connectivity features - USB3, HDMI out ESATA plus SD connectors as well (somewhat standard on laptops these days).

    I'm sure someone else can give some other nicely built laptops in your range. Let us know if you still want to go the MAC route.
  3. I know that the windows laptops would give me much more performance for about half the price, as I was originally considering getting a Alienware M14x. Personally, though, the windows laptops are too plasticy for me and also too chunky. For these reasons I have decided to go down the Mac path but may install windows on them in the future.
  4. First off the Mac Book AIR has a crappy integrated Intel HD Graphics FYI, so I will list the MBP first, heres a few ideas:

    MBP 15" $1849

    MagSafe power port
    Gigabit Ethernet port
    FireWire 800 port (up to 800 Mbps)
    Two USB 2.0 ports (up to 480 Mbps)
    Thunderbolt port (up to 10 Gbps)
    Audio line in Audio line out
    SDXC card slot
    Kensington lock slot

    4GB RAM

    Radeon 6490 256MB + HD 3000 Intel graphics

    500GB 7200RPM HDD

    15" Glossy (some people like matte screens)

    Backlit keyboard

    This is one of the more basic models. To add other features would add $100's of dollars.


    13" $1299

    4GB Ram

    128GB SSD

    I like the Mac Book Pro due to the better hook up options than the MBA. Plus a dedicated video card (although kind of weak) and a nice backlit keyboard.

    The Mac Book Air is very portable though, which would be nice for lugging around.
  5. MSI GT780DXR

    Intel Core i7 2630QM

    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570M (DDR5 1.5GB)

    1TB hard drive

    12GB DDR3 memory

    USB 3.0

    HDMI Port

    click here
  6. I Like the MacBook Pro option, and was also aware of the graphics included on the MacBook Air. I considered the MacBook Air because the graphics were suitable to run TF2 at low settings around 30fps. The only change that I would make to that configuration is that I would get a different hard drive that I would install, the Seagate Momentus XT ST95005620AS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache 2.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s with NCQ Solid State Hybrid Drive -Bare Drive, and also would upgrade to the screen to the glossy hi-res.
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