Please help me decide what my next computer will be
September 21, 2011 11:35 PM   Subscribe

Macbook Pro or Air for SPSS?

Hello, my crappy white 2008 macbook is dying. RIP. I'm debating between a pro and an air. My crappy macbook handles SPSS ok, but my postdoc definitely upgraded it by installing SOMETHING manually for me - I'm guessing he enhanced my memory? Experts, weigh in? Sorry I'm so useless on this one.

Pro pros: more HD, more processing, bigger screen, DVD drive
Pro cons: heavier, hotter, my friend says his air is actually faster than his pro despite the 1.6 GHz.

Air pros: lighter, more comfortable, cooler (literally. heck, figuratively, too)
Air cons: less processing, less memory, more expensive (unless I go for the 11 inch). No DVD drive.

I don't have my music, I don't play video games, I don't edit video or use photoshop. I mostly word process and browse the web. AND do some data editing on SPSS. Does anyone have SPSS experience with Macbook Air? i know my professor uses Pro with data analysis software with no problem, but I worry about Air.

Any advice appreciated. Thanks!
posted by namesarehard to Technology (10 answers total)
Ugh, when I say data editing, I meant data analysis. Too much wine, sorry.
posted by namesarehard at 11:36 PM on September 21, 2011

And I checked my old email correspondence with postdoc - yes, he upgraded my RAM to 4, which would be what I get in the Air. Now I'm done thread-sitting
posted by namesarehard at 11:44 PM on September 21, 2011

Unless you do resource intensive analyses on very large data sets with 100,000's of data point or more, SPSS will run fine on the Air. And even if it is the case, I'm not sure any laptop would really be the right choice.

The Air is absolutely not faster than a Pro of the same generation, though it may be faster than older MBP's. See here.
posted by drpynchon at 11:44 PM on September 21, 2011

I seem to remember from when I installed SPSS on my old Macbook (2gig, Core2Duo, forget what speed) during undergrad that on OS X it's a Java application. Is that still correct?

If so, while I'm a big fan of the Macbook Air, I'd lean towards the Macbook Pro.
posted by Pinback at 12:12 AM on September 22, 2011

If you are getting a Pro with a regular hard drive vs. an Air with the SSD (only choice), it might be faster for the applications you are using inspite of the GHz difference. The storage makes a big difference in data- but not memory- or cpu-intensive tasks.
posted by hariya at 12:14 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

FWIW, I use R — not SPSS, granted, but a similar sort of application — on my Air, and I have experienced no problems.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:32 AM on September 22, 2011

How often will you have to carry it? If rarely, the bigger screen and more ports are an easier to bear cost. If you need to carry it all of the time, the weight savings of the Air becomes much more important.

And, yes, speaking from experience, the two to four pounds you aren't carrying with the Air makes a real difference.
posted by eriko at 3:28 AM on September 22, 2011

Since you didn't describe the analysis you're doing, I have to assume it isn't too heavy. You should be fine on a new Air, but the best thing to do is find someone who has one and run a scripted analysis on it to know for sure.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:09 AM on September 22, 2011

Well, i went with a 13 inch macbook air. Drain on the wallet, but it seduced me. Thanks for your thoughts - I hope you're right about the SPSS.
posted by namesarehard at 4:12 PM on September 22, 2011

Unlike other PC makers, you can return Macs without a restocking fee. If the Air doesn't work out, trade it in for a Pro.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:05 PM on September 22, 2011

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