MacBook Pro or air and which specs?

Having a hard time deciding between MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Here's what my situation is:

- university student with a major in neuroscience and a minor in computer science
- main uses include word processing, running parallels with the latest windows os (can't be laggy), video streaming, music, tons of Internet tabs open at once (research), reference managers, sometimes a bit of video editing (major editing can be done at school though), website design, SPSS/SAS (statistics software), neuroimaging data analysis, coding/programming. Often times I'll need many of these things running at once spread over many desktops (ex iTunes + lots of Internet tabs + reference manager + to do list + word processor with multiple windows + maybe eclipse and/or parallels and/or MATLAB)
- might need to run Linux or some such

I'm tied to my laptop day and night although I'm also broke and will have to take out a loan for the laptop.

So I don't need it for gaming or anything but I think it's safe to say I will be using it for more intensive purposes than your average student.

Thoughts on which system and what specs I should go for? I'm willing to spend more if needed, but only if it will actually be worth it.

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  • Answer

    Your usage ins't particularly light, so depending on when you actually need the laptop, I would suggest:

    MacBook Air (If you need it now):
    • Intel Core i7
    • 8GB RAM
    • 256 or 512GB SSD (Depends on how much media/files/information you wish to locally store on MacBook Air, from the looks of your usage you may need the 512, but you can always get external drives, etc.)

    MacBook Pro with Retina Display:
    Wait until the fall for Intel 4th generation processor updates. (Get the rMBP if you're willing to wait 2 or 3 months)

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  • You will probably be able to get by with a Macbook Air 13 in. 256 Gb+, 8Gb RAM, and 1.7 i7 Processor. If you want it even faster, the Macbook Pro with Retina Display 13in. 2.6 Ghz with upgraded 3.0 Ghz i7 Processor

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