MacBook Pro Buyers' Guide

MacBoo Prok

Apple's new line-up of MacBook Pros is now more tempting than ever. Each model now has top quality displays, FireWire 800, and 7 hour battery life. And for those who want the smallest and lightest and are willing to sacrifice the FireWire and battery life to get it: there is the fabulous MacBook Air.


The most transportable are the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13" models. Where size and weight are the key issue you will no doubt choose the Air, but the 13" MacBook Pro offers identical screen, battery and RAM capabilities of the larger models.


If you require the room for many palettes while you work in the field then you will opt for the 15" or 17" models. The 17" also has the added option of a matte finish screen to cut down on glare and reflection.

August 11, 2009 - A few hours after this page went up Apple announced an AntiGlare screen option for the MacBook Pro 15" models (cost is an additinoal $60).


The MacBook Air tops out at 2 GB of RAM which is great for email and office productivity but if you need your MacBook Pro to be a real workhorse and run heavy duty design or sutdio software then each model in the range can be fitted out with up to 8 GB of RAM.


Naturally the Air has the smallest storage but if you require greater speed than its stock 4200 RPM drive you can always order it with the 128 GB Solid State Drive (SSD). The MacBook Pro can be ordered with up to 500 GB drives or an up to 256 GB SSD. In the 15" and 17" lines these drives can be ordered as 7200 RPM for highest speed. What does all this mean? Well, just remember that hard drives will slow down as they fill up while SSD's retain there speed no matter how full they get.

Maximum Productivity

If you can rule out the Air becuase you need more performance and the 17" because you want more portability you can still have it all by mating a MacBook Pro 13" or 15" with Apple's wonderful 24" LED Cinema Display. It is the perfect MacBook Pro companion, offering a gigantic workspace, speakers, an iSight camera and even a power takeoff to feed your MacBook Pro wihtout unpacking your power supply.

Comparison Chart

We have charted out the salient details to help you narrow things down
(click on a name to go that spec page at

MacBook Air MacBook Pro 13 MacBook Pro 15 MacBook Pro 17
screen 13.3" glossy
(1280 x 800)
13.3" glossy
(1280 x 800)
15.4" glossy
(1440 x 900)
17" glossy or matte
(1920 x 1200)
processor 1.86 -2.13 GHz 2.26 - 2.53 GHz 2.53 - 3.06 GHz 2.8 - 3.06 GHz
memory 2 GB 2 - 8 GB 2 - 8 GB 2 - 8 GB
storage 120 GB
(4200 RPM)
or 128 GB SSD
160 - 500 GB
(5400 RPM)
or 128 - 256 GB SSD
250 - 500 GB
(5400 or 7200 RPM)
or 128 - 256 GB SSD
500 GB
(5400 or 7200 RPM)
or 128 - 256 GB SSD
weight 3 lb. 4.5 lb. 5.5 lb. 6.6 lb.
battery up to 5 hours up to 7 hours up to 7 hours up to 7 hours
price $1,749 - $2,099 $1,399 - $3,909 $1,999 - $4,939 $2,899 - $5,299