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MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro (opinions)

127044 Views 101 Replies Latest reply: Mar 10, 2012 6:19 AM by pkpkpk RSS
  • JE13 Calculating status...
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    Sep 27, 2011 9:13 AM (in response to Jeremy Thompson1)

    Jeremy Thompson1 wrote:

     

    An above average day for me would be opening up, Photoshop, Illustrator, Espresso and Vwarefusion then running Safari,Firefox,Chrome, Mail to test site builds.

     

    Photoshop, illustrator work usualy just cutting up psd's ready for site builds.

     

    MBA cope with that?

    Dude, I think an Air--at least a 13" top of the line Air, could more than cope with that. Remember that Apple pretty much invented (or re-invented if you like) the ways computers now work so that we can have several programs running at once. If you're doing your work in photoshop, Safari/Firefox/Crome/Mail, etc. get less energy. Bring any of them forward and they get more as needed. Your computer is **** smart and it knows how to juggle (it also has a lot more space and energy to spare). It's not like in the old days when any open program got the same amount even if it was "at rest" thus depleating hard disk and RAM and getting you that dreaded "You're out of room!" message--which often meant you needed to upgrade to a more powerful machine.

     

    You really can have all those programs up and running and not slow down the Air or run out of room. At least, that's what I think. You'll have to take the plunge and try out the computer yourself to know for sure. If you do, get back to us and let us know how you like it.

  • nafnaf0 Calculating status...
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    Sep 27, 2011 10:10 AM (in response to Jeremy Thompson1)
    Having a go on both in a store is not a great test though as dificult to gauge speed as both seem similar.

    The speed of the Macbook Air and MacBook are very similar. A fair comparison can be made with the base 2011 13" Air ($1299 USD) and the base 2011 13" Pro w/the 128GB SSD ($1449 USD).  No matter which one you get you should DEFINETLY GET A SSD it is the most important part of your computer, everything will start up much much quicker.

     

    Processor wise the base 13" Air has the i5-2557M which takes 763.0 seconds to calc pi to 32 million digits. For comparison the base 13" Pro has the i5-2410M which takes 763.3 seconds to calc pi to 32 million digits (source notebookcheck.net mobile procesor list). The calc of pi esentially measures the single thread speed of your processor, which is what you will using most often.  As you can see the two are nearly identical.  Even though the scores did not reflect it, the Pro should be a little faster in reality since it Turbos up to 2.9GHz vs. 2.7GHz for the Air. 

     

    Yes they have the same integrated graphics (Intel HD 3000). Given these facts the 13" Pro and 13" Air will behave very simialrly.

     

    An above average day for me would be opening up, Photoshop, Illustrator, Espresso and Vwarefusion then running Safari,Firefox,Chrome, Mail to test site builds.

     

    Photoshop, illustrator work usualy just cutting up psd's ready for site builds.

     

    MBA cope with that?

     

    The Air will have NO problem doing these tasks. The processor will tear through those apps, the SSD will start them up really fast and allos for fast savings, 4GB should be enough for most tasks (you can upgrade to 8GB yourself for very cheap ~$60 (it is just plug and play)).  The Intel HD 3000 is very competent and can even play WOW in medium settings with 40 fps. 

     

    The Air is the laptop of the future, join the future my friend. It is also a terrific terrific value.  THe larger screen real estate will also be good for you when you are doing multiple tasks.  Make no mistake this is not the 2010 Air which was still slow processor wise.  The 2011 Air has mainstream modern day CPU performance, it will be faster than the giant 3 year old XEON servers that you might have at yoru work. 

  • j_bm Calculating status...
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    Sep 27, 2011 10:35 AM (in response to nafnaf0)

    I have both a 15" MBP i7 and the new i7 MBA (13"). The MBP is provided by my office and the MBA is mine. Hands down I think the MBA is faster than the MBP. I use programs like Photoshop while running a local postgresql server, apache tomcat and sometimes multiple jetty instances and multiple eclipse sessions. The MBA sometimes makes the MBP look like its standing still. Large Mven builds run as much as 3 times faster on theMBA.

     

    I think this is probably because of the SSD drive. My MBA will boot in about 15 seconds whereas the MBP (with a similar configuration) takes about 2 minutes. The major difference between the two is the SSD drive. If the MBP was mine I'd put an SSD in it. Then I think it would take the MBA.

     

    I use the MBA for just about everything. When connected to the 27" LED display you wouldn't even know it's an MBA.

     

    Not that I'm biased or anything liket that but the MBA is definitely the future!!! And now with the BookEndz docking station life is good!!!!!!!

  • JE13 Level 4 Level 4 (3,920 points)
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    Sep 27, 2011 2:08 PM (in response to Jeremy Thompson1)

    Jeremy Thompson1 wrote:

     

    I should have said if i was to get the MBP it would be the lower 15inch with an SSD.

    Well, if that's the case then your choice is a matter of what other things you need besides enough power to do the tasks you named. Obviously, both can do the things you want them to do. You could add RAM to the Pro that you can't to the MBA and with SSD it will most certainly be lightning fast. If your aim is to have the faster and more powerful computer, the Pro would be it simply because you can get more than 4gb RAM.

     

    Then there's price, screen size, and weight. The Pro will cost more, no question and the 15" will be much heavier, not as light. But in exchange you will end up with a more screen real estate.

     

    What matters most to you? We've told you they'll both do the job--what matters more to you in a portable computer? Big screen? Lightness? Cheaper price? More power?

  • j_bm Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 27, 2011 4:02 PM (in response to JE13)

    That is the right question! In my case it's is the combination of portability + power. I love walking into meetings with my MBA knowing that I can do anything I need with it. Having a big screen matters as well which is why the Thunderbolt LED display is a must! I rarely ever use a DVD (can't even remember when was the last time!) so that isn't necessary either. And, when docked the MBA has plenty of expansion capability through its ports so that isn't an issue either.

     

    The one thing that I do think is now a must is the SSD drive. Definitely put the money into that. As for RAM 4GB works well for anything I can imagine. Of course, if you have more it is always welcome but 4GB is a sweet spot. When I went from the 2GB MBA to the 4GB the difference was definitely noticeable.

     

    The gap between the MBA and the MBP is not as large as it may seem. For 95% of us I'd say the MBA will exceed expectations. For me the lightness+form factor+power that the MBA now has hits the spot very nicely. In my case the extra bucks were spent on the 27" display. With this one editing in photoshop has taken on new meaning!

  • muppix Calculating status...
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    Sep 27, 2011 11:47 PM (in response to j_bm)

    I've a 2010 13" MBP for work and have just purchased a 2011 11" MBA, and the Air is so much faster it's scary. I know that some of that speed will be down to it being new, but still - no contest. Bizarrely it also has a higher screen resolution than the Pro, which is nice. The only downside I've found so far is the lack of SD card reader and external display port, but both of those are easily fixed.

  • Kyuss9 Calculating status...
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    Nov 21, 2011 7:00 AM (in response to Jeremy Thompson1)

    Is it possible to buy a 2011 13" MBP with a standart HD, and replace/upgrade it later (when prices come down) with a SSD drive?

  • Aro2220x Calculating status...
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    Nov 23, 2011 10:28 AM (in response to Jeremy Thompson1)

    I've been looking at getting either a 13.3" late 2011 Macbook Air or a 13.3" late 2011 Macbook Pro. They are roughly the same price give or take a hundred dollars (macbook pro gets a $100 student discount, macbook air only gets a $50 discount so it ends up being a $100 price difference). I'm looking at the 13" models because 15" is too big for the tiny lecture tables at university and 11" is too cramped to use. I can plug them into the school's 21 and 27" thunderbolt displays even if they are one generation old (thunderbolt to displayport is backwards compatible).

     

    Here are my thoughts:

     

    • Macbook Pro
      • Faster CPU (50% at least, pretty significant)
      • Larger Hard Drive
      • Screen has slightly better viewing angles / colors
      • More usb ports
      • $100 cheaper for a 13.3" base model over the 13.3" base air
      • The screen is a little more sturdy
    • Macbook Air
      • Thinner
      • Lighter (2.96 pounds vs 4.5)
      • The keyboard is a little nicer to type on (the keys are flatter and feel really solid, the pro's are a little more springy but unless you type 120wpm+ like me, you probably won't care/notice)
      • 1440x900 resolution vs 1280x800 so more stuff displayed on the same screen.
      • SSD means much faster drive read/write/access times
      • SSD is more resistant to bumps since it's not magnetic (strong bumps can demagnatize a regular hdd causing disk errors...probably won't happen but it is a difference and something I need to consider since this laptop will be in my backpack a lot and I sometimes have to run to catch the bus)

     

    I am extremely torn between the two right now. The other thing that is hurting my decision making process is whether or not I want windows. Microsoft Onenote is better than Word Notebook in a lot of ways but not when it comes to actively taking notes in class. Then I think the simplified design of notebook might have the upper hand...the problem is I have a windows desktop at home and I'd need to combine files and once I did that it would be in onenote format and hard for me to see on my laptop unless I made it into a pdf and viewed that.

  • kingjay_q Calculating status...
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    Nov 23, 2011 1:33 PM (in response to Aro2220x)

    Hi,  I have a Pro and the Air and I think I figured out why customers would choose a Pro and why they would choose a Air. If this your only MacBook and plan on keeping in the house and maybe once in while take it with you outside the house the Pro is the way to go. Especially If you plan to put your photo, music and movie library an need a laptop as your media hub or plan to rip dvd or cd. Now as far as the Air is concerned, if you leave your house with your laptop often (school, business, or whatever reason) the air is so much more portable. And even if you carry external portable hard drive it's a pain to lug around the Pro. Performance wise if you get the 4 GB of Ram there is virtually no difference at all. Especially normal use and video editing.

     

    Hope this helps

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