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james4cet
Dec 2, 2010, 12:56 PM
Hi there,
I just recently sold my rev a mba and was originally planning to buy the new 11 inch mba. However, I have now discovered that my max. budget is 1000 and for that money I could choose from the following options...

A) 1.4ghz, 4gb ram, 64gb ssd mba 11" + office for mac + usb midi keyboard
B) 1.6ghz, 2gb ram, 128gb ssd mba 13"
C) MBP 13" 2.4ghz, 4gb ram, 250gb hd + usb midi keyboard + office for mac

Each of the three has its pros and cons. Im really in love with the MBA, and it's light weightness. Also it's instant on ability, and the fact it opens apps straight away. IMO its awesome! However, I'd like my 2nd mac to last at least 4 or 5 years. my previous mac became really slow, showing up the infamous beachball every time I loaded Safari, it became a pain. I'm just not sure whether the 11 inch MBA would be able to cut it. My usage daily is just heavy web browsing, iTunes, Office, and occasionally video editing in FCE 4 & iMovie. Also i'd be uploading photo's to iPhoto. Speaking of which, thats where the 13 inch MBA shines for me, it has an SD card slot!! :D

But if I go with the 13 inch MBA, although it has many advantages, I don't feel it has that much increased portability over the MBP, and also I feel theres less value for money. A MBP has all those features plus more, yet it lacks that sparkle, the ssd, the instant on ability...

So I just wanted to ask you guys what you think about my situation. What laptop would you recommend?

P.S I'd love to have a MIDI keyboard to take advantage of Garageband '11 so I can learn how to play the keyboard! :D

P.P.S Forgot to mention, im 16 and will soon be starting sixth form/college and after that university. so portability would be good for me :)


Thanks!



millerb7
Dec 2, 2010, 01:08 PM
No way to get the 13" 1.86 w/ 4GB ram? Seems it would be no more expensive then the MBP w/ extras.

I honestly think whatever you get, you almost need 4GB ram.

justaregularjoe
Dec 2, 2010, 01:09 PM
First of all, I would suggest that you not waste money on Office. OpenOffice might not be as pretty, but it is free, works with all of Office's formats fairly well anyway, and is finally catching on on the large scale.

Secondly, If you want to do anything GarageBand but look at crawling progress bars, avoid the MBA like the plague. One review (I forget what website now, of course) called it an awesome "Windows 7 netbook." There is your real world benchmark. [Also, can you even connect a MIDI kb to an MBA? I'm not sure as I am not a music guy, but my instinct says no. Again, not sure, but you may want to look into that.]

MBP will be much faster simply by numbers, but will also give you much better performance for what you are looking to do.

Good Luck in whatever you decide to do!

james4cet
Dec 2, 2010, 01:15 PM
Thanks guys for the quick reply! I will have to look more into the MIDI keyboard situation. I thought it was as simple as plugging it into USB, but I guess I may be wrong. I'm still not completely sure about the MBP though. Of course I'd love to get next year's updated version, which would give me the best of both worlds..but I can't wait a near 6 months, so I do not have that option.

As for OpenOffice, I'll deffinately try that, and I guess if I don't like it I can go ahead and purchase Office 11 at a later date.

The only things drawing me away from the Pro are the increased portability and fast SSD :)

foiden
Dec 2, 2010, 01:17 PM
Yep. Midi (for quite some time) generally can connect to any machine with a USB port. All the Apple music programs work with midi keyboards connected directly or via a cheap Midi wire to the USB slot.

Garageband works, but the biggest slowdown is trying to do multiple tracks and use the software keyboard interface. It's better with midi. Garageband is also a bit of a resource hog due to all sorts of expensive layers used for any instrument patch you bring up.

Logic Express is actually easier to throw more tracks at it, before the system is taxed, but you are going to be more responsible for layering your own audio effects.

As your primary mac, it's almost a no brainer. Go for the more power for less. Airs are for extra travel, extra lightweight activities that serve great as a secondary. You're likely not to involve as much big activities on them, though the high end 13" is capable of a little bit of heavy lifting and a definite nice photography organizer/editor, on the go.

justaregularjoe
Dec 2, 2010, 01:24 PM
...As for OpenOffice, I'll deffinately try that, and I guess if I don't like it I can go ahead and purchase Office 11 at a later date.

Maybe you can even find it on sale later on if you end up hating OpenOffice. (To me, its just preference; some hate it as they cannot use files at work if their employer has the latest, blah blah, but some love it for its openess, and especially it's price tag. :D


The only things drawing me away from the Pro are the increased portability and fast SSD :)

MBP's are not killer heavy or large at all. I would not worry about that. People get along fine with traveling with 15" models. As for the SSD, you can always get an after market and throw it in, it's really not too difficult a process with a bit of patience.

Yep. Midi (for quite some time) generally can connect to any machine with a USB port. All the Apple music programs work with midi keyboards connected directly or via a cheap Midi wire to the USB slot...

My bad, I thought they were FireWire Only devices. Thanks for clearing that up.

Wang Foolio
Dec 2, 2010, 01:28 PM
The kitted out 13" MBA's get benchmark scores very similar to the 13" MBP, so processing speed isn't a huge issue. The SSD really makes a big difference. The reviews that criticize the lack of power are usually the ones testing a base model 11.6". And even then, compare it to an Intel Atom netbook with crappy low RPM HD.

Sure the base model 11.6" doesn't run circles around many computers these days, but they aren't exactly sluggish either.

The 4GB RAM would definitely be a worthwhile upgrade for any MBA. If I were you, looking at what you want to use this thing for, I'd definitely be looking at the base model 13" with 4GB upgrade. The extra ~$100 will be worth it if there's any way you can make it happen. The 13" have 1.86 processors btw, not 1.6 :) The faster FSB as well. Bonus :)

IMO there is no reason to be looking at the 13" MBP right now, unless you absolutely can't live without the HD space and DVD burner. If the MBP's get turned into supercharged MBA's in a few months (rumors are swirling about dropping the optical drive and adding SSD's as standard) then you might regret getting the current 13" MBP today.

And finally, there is no reason why a USB keyboard shouldn't work just peachy with any of the above.

james4cet
Dec 2, 2010, 01:28 PM
Awesome. thanks for your help guys, much appreciated! I think I'll go for the Pro then :). Btw, I won't be using Garageband heavily, just for learning to play the keyboard tis all :) im a beginner in that area :)

foiden
Dec 2, 2010, 01:30 PM
My bad, I thought they were FireWire Only devices. Thanks for clearing that up.

I'll be shocked if they made them mandatory for Firewire. Midi (even the most advanced forms) sends way too little data to require something that fast. We're talking about the same data that (even with a small orchestra amount) pretty much fits in the bandwidth of an ancient Sound Blaster card.

USB is more than enough. There are some special boards that communicate with firewire, but depending on your studio decisions, you may not have them. I, myself, haven't used firewire though I did welcome the capability on my Macbook Pro. So far, between USB M-audio recording devices and USB-midi, I've been quite happy with what I've done with them.

And yes, a 2009 MBP 13" can drive an entire Hollywood-level-like Orchestra (and then some) through it and handle it like a dream. That should help you figure out what you need. I've done it before, actually. Just an example of what last year's MBP 13" did with 4GB of ram.

http://files.me.com/akaimizu/y42og1.mp3

^ This was distributed, a while ago, as the "Forces of Nature" work. Now, if your studio work is anything matching or less than that effort, then you should have nothing to worry about.

justaregularjoe
Dec 2, 2010, 01:34 PM
The kitted out 13" MBA's get benchmark scores very similar to the 13" MBP, so processing speed isn't a huge issue. The SSD really makes a big difference. The reviews that criticize the lack of power are usually the ones testing a base model 11.6". And even then, compare it to an Intel Atom netbook with crappy low RPM HD.

Sure the base model 11.6" doesn't run circles around many computers these days, but they aren't exactly sluggish either.

The 4GB RAM would definitely be a worthwhile upgrade for any MBA. If I were you, looking at what you want to use this thing for, I'd definitely be looking at the base model 13" with 4GB upgrade. The extra ~$100 will be worth it if there's any way you can make it happen. The 13" have 1.86 processors btw, not 1.6 :) The faster FSB as well. Bonus :)

IMO there is no reason to be looking at the 13" MBP right now, unless you absolutely can't live without the HD space and DVD burner. If the MBP's get turned into supercharged MBA's in a few months (rumors are swirling about dropping the optical drive and adding SSD's as standard) then you might regret getting the current 13" MBP today.

And finally, there is no reason why a USB keyboard shouldn't work just peachy with any of the above.

1) OP said he is on a budget of 1000 pounds. The maxed out 13.3 is too much for his wallet.
2) MIDI keyboard. As in Electronic Piano keyboard. I was wrong, but had been under the impression that they were not USB compatible devices.

gwsat
Dec 2, 2010, 01:54 PM
I would recommend the entry level 13 inch 2.4GHz MBP for the OP. To get comparable power in the MBA lineup would require the OP to buy the 13 inch Ultimate MBA, which costs 50% more than the entry level 13 inch MBP. My grandson started college this fall and has a 13 inch 2.4GHz MBP. He loves it. In short, it seems to me to be the Mac of choice for the student on a budget. The only downside to the 13 inch MBP, compared to the 13 inch MBA, is that the MBP is 1.5 pounds heavier than the MBA, which should hardly be a disqualifying defect for a healthy teenager.

james4cet
Dec 2, 2010, 01:55 PM
Just on an SSD note, if I upgraded the MBP with a SSD, which one would you recommend that I can buy easily in the UK? And also, how much does one of those static wrist things ,needed to upgrade anything inside the macbook, cost?

I would probs upgrade to 8gb ram in the future, so would that be worth it too? And would I see a performance increase with increased ram and ssd?

Thanks.

james4cet
Dec 2, 2010, 01:56 PM
I would recommend the entry level 13 inch 2.4GHz MBP for the OP. To get comparable power in the MBA lineup would require the OP to buy the 13 inch Ultimate MBA, which costs 50% more than the entry level 13 inch MBP. My grandson started college this fall and has a 13 inch 2.4GHz MBP. He loves it. In short, it seems to me to be the Mac of choice for the student on a budget. The only downside to the 13 inch MBP, compared to the 13 inch MBA, is that the MBP is 1.5 pounds heavier than the MBA, which should hardly be a disqualifying defect for a healthy teenager.

Thats exactly what i'd describe myself as, student on a budget. Thanks for your help, much appreciated :)

foiden
Dec 2, 2010, 03:10 PM
Sounds like it's sorted. You should do great with that purchase. And yes, it'll handle an incredible Music load if you want to. It's mainly a choice of software and instruments, as to how professional you want to go with it. One could definitely create a cheap overall-cost fine-arts studio with that unit. One of my favorite decisions as I have a portable studio that hangs quite well with the big boys. Plus, you can pack your stuff in a bag, (condensor mics, M-audio, everything) and do a nice on-location recording session even if your client had to do it in like a 7 foot square room. Then finish off the production to make it sound almost like they did it in a recording booth, on stage, etc. Want to take that as background music? Score it behind video? Include Surround sound foley mix? etc? It'll cover you.

Yeah, I know you say your needs are little. But I just wanted to give you an idea of what options you have beyond that. Scoring movies with it, is very possible. So yeah, I think you pretty much future-proofed any odd idea of going bigger with your music.

millerb7
Dec 2, 2010, 06:35 PM
Just on an SSD note, if I upgraded the MBP with a SSD, which one would you recommend that I can buy easily in the UK? And also, how much does one of those static wrist things ,needed to upgrade anything inside the macbook, cost?

I would probs upgrade to 8gb ram in the future, so would that be worth it too? And would I see a performance increase with increased ram and ssd?

Thanks.

You would see a HUGE performance increase with the 8GB ram and SSD.

I would suggest OCZ SSD. It's probably one of the best that you can get in the UK. It uses sandforce controller, and tops out the 3.0 SATA read/write speeds. It also doesn't degrade in speed over time as much as the others.

OWC is probably one of the best, but it's hard to get in the UK I'm told by a UK friend.

Just take note, that MOST (including OCZ, excluding OWC) SSD's require you to have Windows in order to update the firmware. They don't suppose OSX version of their firmware upgrade tools. OWC is one of the only ones to currently do that to my knowledge.

SubaruH6
Dec 2, 2010, 09:21 PM
I was in the same boat as the original poster.
My santa rosa macbook pro had died and i couldnt wait for a the next revision of the macbook line.
I wanted a macbook pro. But i decided that the macbook air 13 1.8 with 4 gigs was the best bet at this time.
The cons for the macbook pro were the 13 inch was older release and something newer is coming sooner rather than later.
Screen resolution was lower than the macbook air and lower than my dead macbook pro.
Pro's were cost are interesting. I could easily afford to buy it, upgrade ram and hard drive's to SSD.

MBA 13 fully loaded was too expensive, and close enough in price to a mbp that i'd would have gone mbp over mba. Had a hard time paying close to $1800 for a core 2 duo processor....


MBA 1.8 with 4 gigs of ram and 128Gigs was a calucalated bet that there will be third party hard drive upgrades in the future. WHile upgrading ram will be a pain in the rear. the 1.8 is seems way faster in computing than the mbp with a santa rosa core 2 duo.

I'd didnt need the extreme portability, but it's nice. What sold me over the 13 mbp was that the air was newer, and when the new mbp come out if i'm not happy i'm sure it will be easier to sell a mba than a old 13 inch mbp which might get dropped from the mbp line up...

just my reasons :)
Super happy with the mba

miata
Dec 3, 2010, 04:02 AM
I was in the same boat as the original poster.
My santa rosa macbook pro had died and i couldnt wait for a the next revision of the macbook line.
I wanted a macbook pro. But i decided that the macbook air 13 1.8 with 4 gigs was the best bet at this time.
The cons for the macbook pro were the 13 inch was older release and something newer is coming sooner rather than later.
Screen resolution was lower than the macbook air and lower than my dead macbook pro.
Pro's were cost are interesting. I could easily afford to buy it, upgrade ram and hard drive's to SSD.

MBA 13 fully loaded was too expensive, and close enough in price to a mbp that i'd would have gone mbp over mba. Had a hard time paying close to $1800 for a core 2 duo processor....


MBA 1.8 with 4 gigs of ram and 128Gigs was a calucalated bet that there will be third party hard drive upgrades in the future. WHile upgrading ram will be a pain in the rear. the 1.8 is seems way faster in computing than the mbp with a santa rosa core 2 duo.

I'd didnt need the extreme portability, but it's nice. What sold me over the 13 mbp was that the air was newer, and when the new mbp come out if i'm not happy i'm sure it will be easier to sell a mba than a old 13 inch mbp which might get dropped from the mbp line up...

just my reasons :)
Super happy with the mba
The OP is looking for a system to keep for 4-5 years. It is always emotionally satisfying to the get the latest gadget, but often the more rationale decision is to go with the more mature product. The nice thing about the MBP is that you can grow it over time with RAM and SSD upgrades. An MBA with 2 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage in 2-3 years is going to be a joke.

ditosou
Dec 3, 2010, 06:36 AM
If I have to choose today a primary mobile MAC computer the choice would be the new MBA 13"... I have no doubts about that...

In my case, owning a MBP 15" i7, the selection goes to the new MBA 11".... portability and low weight... perfect for me for something between a primary and secondary machine :)

ps: I guess that it will turn into the primary computer for me very fast....

ABG
Dec 3, 2010, 06:59 AM
Hi there,
I just recently sold my rev a mba and was originally planning to buy the new 11 inch mba. However, I have now discovered that my max. budget is 1000 and for that money I could choose from the following options...

A) 1.4ghz, 4gb ram, 64gb ssd mba 11" + office for mac + usb midi keyboard
B) 1.6ghz, 2gb ram, 128gb ssd mba 13"
C) MBP 13" 2.4ghz, 4gb ram, 250gb hd + usb midi keyboard + office for mac

P.P.S Forgot to mention, im 16 and will soon be starting sixth form/college and after that university. so portability would be good for me :)


Thanks!

Are you accessing the Apple Education Store?

On the Higher Education Store the base 1.83Ghz 13" MBA is 944.70 - upgrading to 4Gb RAm makes it 1,014.03 incl. VAT.
The base 13" MBP is 858.93 incl. VAT

If you are going to college you should be able to access the Further Education store as a minimum - I don't think the discounts are a big but they are still worthwhile.

FWIW if you need to keep the machine for a while the MBP is a better bet as its can be upgraded quite easily.

KPOM
Dec 3, 2010, 07:42 AM
The OP is looking for a system to keep for 4-5 years. It is always emotionally satisfying to the get the latest gadget, but often the more rationale decision is to go with the more mature product. The nice thing about the MBP is that you can grow it over time with RAM and SSD upgrades. An MBA with 2 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage in 2-3 years is going to be a joke.

Arguably, so would the 13" MacBook Pro. It's hard to argue that the Core 2 Duo has the staying power to last another 4 years in a primary notebook. It's already a 4 year-old design. Apple has squeezed about as much power as it possibly can out of it in the current MacBook Air and 13" Pro by hooking it up to an advanced integrated graphics adapter in the GeForce 320m and the faster SSD. The next updates will have to incorporate the Core i-series to improve.

I'd recommend that the OP consider waiting until after the holidays for the expected refresh of the MacBook Pro. It is likely, IMO, to get the Core i5 processor and a discrete GPU, which would give it far more staying power if it is expected to last 4-5 years as a primary computer. I'm guessing (and this is pure speculation), that the 13" will lose the internal optical drive to make room for the more advanced hardware, and that Apple might work hard to get the weight to 3.9 lbs so they can advertise a sub-4 lb weight. Sandy Bridge is expected to be announced formally at CES in early January, which makes a late January or early February announcement of a MacBook Pro update more likely.

millerb7
Dec 3, 2010, 07:55 AM
I'm in a similar situation... my MBP 2.2GHz C2D is about to go.

I'm debating between the 13" 1.86 4GB ram or the 13" ultimate.

The upgradability of the 13" MBP is undeniable. It technically has the capabilities to be a MUCH better machine. I guess I'm just stubborn and really like the form of the 13" MBA.

My main goal is go get the MBA now, and then hopefully sometime next year (possibly for my birthday in March) pick up a new iMac.... we shall see.

I think for your purposes though, it's hard to pass on the MBP, and any normal person would get that... even in my situation. Cheaper, bigger, faster, etc.

I guess I'm not normal though.

gwsat
Dec 3, 2010, 10:03 AM
Thats exactly what i'd describe myself as, student on a budget. Thanks for your help, much appreciated :)
James -- You are welcome. I should add that my grandson, who is now a university freshman, got an entry level 2.4GHz 13 inch MBP last summer. He uses it heavily and has been very pleased with its performance.

james4cet
Dec 3, 2010, 10:23 AM
Hi again everyone, thanks for yet more replies! :) Firstly, I think I'm going to go and get myself a 13" MBP base model, and then upgrade with an SSD. I'm looking to see if I can get the OWC in the UK, and if I can the price of that, and then the next best thing which I believe also begins with an O. The thing thats holding me back atm though is the SSD firmware problem. If i need windows to update the SSD, then that would hold me back from buying the MBP and I'd probs go for the 13" MBA. 8GB RAM would be something I'd probably do in the later years, so will the SSD alone increase performance notably, and will it be faster, or as fast as the new MBA's flash memory?

Thanks.

UPDATE: OWC SSD is too expensive for me. nearly 400 euros, which must be about 350. ouch. will look elsewhere :P

millerb7
Dec 3, 2010, 10:30 AM
Hi again everyone, thanks for yet more replies! :) Firstly, I think I'm going to go and get myself a 13" MBP base model, and then upgrade with an SSD. I'm looking to see if I can get the OWC in the UK, and if I can the price of that, and then the next best thing which I believe also begins with an O. The thing thats holding me back atm though is the SSD firmware problem. If i need windows to update the SSD, then that would hold me back from buying the MBP and I'd probs go for the 13" MBA. 8GB RAM would be something I'd probably do in the later years, so will the SSD alone increase performance notably, and will it be faster, or as fast as the new MBA's flash memory?

Thanks.
Most 2.5" SSD's you put into MBP are FASTER than the MBA's SSD. I believe the MBA's is ~180mb/s where as the OWC is 285mb/s.

As far as both getting faster... I think the 285mb/s is close to capping the SATA II speeds... correct me if I'm wrong though.

Adding JUST the SSD into the MBP will increase performance a HUGE amount, you will notice a night and day diff. The read/write speeds will go from somewhere in the ballpark of 70mb/s to upwards of the high 200mb/s with the OWC or OCZ.

A base model MBP with a nice SSD will be faster hands down than the MBA. Faster processor, faster SSD I/O speeds, same RAM. You can then upgrade the RAM later down the road.

DAMN IT! As I sit here and tell you all of this... I am almost talking myself out of the MBA 13" Ultimate and into a MBP 13" and putting in my 120GB OCW SSD I have sitting in my room (which I was about to return).

james4cet
Dec 3, 2010, 10:37 AM
Thank you! Haha, well a MBA 13" ultimate sounds awesome to me! If I had the money I'd probably get that tbf. I've found an SSD that has read speeds over 300 MB/S. Im guessing that's fast? Also, you say that a MBP with an SSD would be faster, yet I've heard reviews that say the MBA is faster booting etc. than a MBP with fast SSD. Am i wrong? Do you think I could expect boot speeds of around 10-20 secs in a MBP with this SSD?

Thanks :D

foiden
Dec 3, 2010, 10:50 AM
For me, and one big reason for keeping my 13" MBP is future drive technology. (And yes, it can have 8GB of ram, too).

SSDs are still in their infancy. They're only going to get better. And you're definitely going to continue to see them usable in 2.5" drive connections. The nice thing about having the machine with a removable standard laptop drive is that you can keep upgrading to better drives. SSDs will gain size, lose cost, gain longer life cycles, etc. Just as Hard Drives did. I expect the cycle to repeat with SSDs. As they do that, my MBP will be right there with it.

miata
Dec 3, 2010, 11:19 AM
Arguably, so would the 13" MacBook Pro. It's hard to argue that the Core 2 Duo has the staying power to last another 4 years in a primary notebook. It's already a 4 year-old design. Apple has squeezed about as much power as it possibly can out of it in the current MacBook Air and 13" Pro by hooking it up to an advanced integrated graphics adapter in the GeForce 320m and the faster SSD. The next updates will have to incorporate the Core i-series to improve.

I just don't see CPUs improving over time like they used to. It seems like more of the industry focus is around power savings and stuff like that. On the other hand, data is growing like crazy so being able to expand internal storage and add external FW800 drives is future proofing. Newer OS and application versions usually need or want increasing amounts of RAM so being able to upgrade is a real plus.

millerb7
Dec 3, 2010, 12:38 PM
Thank you! Haha, well a MBA 13" ultimate sounds awesome to me! If I had the money I'd probably get that tbf. I've found an SSD that has read speeds over 300 MB/S. Im guessing that's fast? Also, you say that a MBP with an SSD would be faster, yet I've heard reviews that say the MBA is faster booting etc. than a MBP with fast SSD. Am i wrong? Do you think I could expect boot speeds of around 10-20 secs in a MBP with this SSD?

Thanks :D

To be honest I'm not 100% sure about the boot speeds on a MBP...I haven't stuck my SSD into it yet because if I sell I'm selling without the SSD. I would HAVE to assume it would be around 20 maybe 30 sec. though.

The big debate with SSD's now is what controller to have on them, due to OSX's lack of TRIM support. Some say go sandforce all the way, other's say there is another which is better and more specific to non-trim OS's (toshiba I think).

I purchased an OWC and have heard good things about them and OCZ. The rest of the brands seemed more of a toss-up if they were good or not.

KPOM
Dec 3, 2010, 12:49 PM
I just don't see CPUs improving over time like they used to. It seems like more of the industry focus is around power savings and stuff like that. On the other hand, data is growing like crazy so being able to expand internal storage and add external FW800 drives is future proofing. Newer OS and application versions usually need or want increasing amounts of RAM so being able to upgrade is a real plus.

But my point is that Intel already had made significant improvements in newer processors that are available today. The Core i3, i5 and i7 support hyperthreading. That essentially makes a dual-core processor act like a quad-core processor, which has significant potential to improve multitasking performance. They also eliminated the front side bus and made other smaller performance improvements.

For external drives, USB 3.0 or eSATA would be better than FW800. Even FW800 is only about half the theoretical throughput of modern SSDs. While Light Peak will provide even better performance, it isn't out yet.

james4cet
Dec 3, 2010, 12:53 PM
To be honest I'm not 100% sure about the boot speeds on a MBP...I haven't stuck my SSD into it yet because if I sell I'm selling without the SSD. I would HAVE to assume it would be around 20 maybe 30 sec. though.

The big debate with SSD's now is what controller to have on them, due to OSX's lack of TRIM support. Some say go sandforce all the way, other's say there is another which is better and more specific to non-trim OS's (toshiba I think).

I purchased an OWC and have heard good things about them and OCZ. The rest of the brands seemed more of a toss-up if they were good or not.

Think I may change my mind and go for a MBA. Unless there's any chance if I went to an Apple store, they could install the SSD drive for me?

KPOM
Dec 3, 2010, 12:59 PM
Think I may change my mind and go for a MBA. Unless there's any chance if I went to an Apple store, they could install the SSD drive for me?

An Apple store likely won't, but an authorized Apple tech likely will install an SSD for you. What you'd want to do first is clone the old hard drive onto the SSD, and then swap them out. I'd save the old hard drive and use it as a backup drive. Otherwise, be sure to completely wipe the data from the old drive with the right utility (a simple format or delete can be undone).

james4cet
Dec 3, 2010, 01:06 PM
An Apple store likely won't, but an authorized Apple tech likely will install an SSD for you. What you'd want to do first is clone the old hard drive onto the SSD, and then swap them out. I'd save the old hard drive and use it as a backup drive. Otherwise, be sure to completely wipe the data from the old drive with the right utility (a simple format or delete can be undone).

So is there an easy way to clone the data to an ssd?

KPOM
Dec 3, 2010, 01:08 PM
So is there an easy way to clone the data to an ssd?

I use Carbon Copy Cloner. There are other good utilities, too.

millerb7
Dec 3, 2010, 01:13 PM
Carbon copy cloner to clone the drive. Use disk utility to zero the drive. I'd recommend a 7-pass zero. Will take overnight to complete.

millerb7
Dec 3, 2010, 01:20 PM
Also, check on this, but I'd assume installing a SSD would void the warranty. I'm not 100% though.

foiden
Dec 3, 2010, 01:27 PM
Not sure about this on a MacBook Pro. SSD would seem to be just another form of harddrive replacement. The MacBook pro was made so you can user-replace the harddrive. It's even documented in the instructions for the thing.

Neolithium
Dec 3, 2010, 01:42 PM
Also, check on this, but I'd assume installing a SSD would void the warranty. I'm not 100% though.
Nope, owners can replace their HDD's and RAM to their hearts content. As long as you don't try doing it while driving through a car wash in a convertible with the top down, should remain covered.

millerb7
Dec 3, 2010, 01:47 PM
Nope, owners can replace their HDD's and RAM to their hearts content. As long as you don't try doing it while driving through a car wash in a convertible with the top down, should remain covered.

Goodto know. Now my debate between MBP and MBA just got harder haha.

15" base MBP (put in my 120GB OWC SSD) or 13" ultimate air (small is sexy).

miata
Dec 3, 2010, 01:54 PM
But my point is that Intel already had made significant improvements in newer processors that are available today. The Core i3, i5 and i7 support hyperthreading. That essentially makes a dual-core processor act like a quad-core processor, which has significant potential to improve multitasking performance. They also eliminated the front side bus and made other smaller performance improvements.

For external drives, USB 3.0 or eSATA would be better than FW800. Even FW800 is only about half the theoretical throughput of modern SSDs. While Light Peak will provide even better performance, it isn't out yet.
True. Things like games or video encoding will be quite a bit faster with hyperthreading and the better GPU, so if those are important then waiting makes sense.

I guess my point is that if you have to pick a system today, the MBPs provide MORE future-proofing than the MBAs due to their expansion capabilities. The CPU and GPUs are in the same ball-park for the MBP 13 and MBA 13.

gwsat
Dec 3, 2010, 02:02 PM
Goodto know. Now my debate between MBP and MBA just got harder haha.

15" base MBP (put in my 120GB OWC SSD) or 13" ultimate air (small is sexy).
I agonized over whether to buy an MBA or an entry level 13 inch MBP but upgrade its RAM to 8GB and replace its stock hard drive with a 256GB SSD. Obviously, a 13 inch MBP tricked out as I had envisioned it would have been more powerful than an MBA but it would also have been 50 percent heavier and cost even more than a 13 inch Ultimate MBA. I decided to spring for the 13 inch Ultimate MBA. I have been using it heavily for the past 6 weeks and could not be happier. Of course, if you got a 15 inch i5 or i7 MBP, the differences between it and the MBA, both good and bad, would be even more dramatic than the differences between the 13 inch MBP and the MBA would be.

millerb7
Dec 3, 2010, 03:34 PM
I agonized over whether to buy an MBA or an entry level 13 inch MBP but upgrade its RAM to 8GB and replace its stock hard drive with a 256GB SSD. Obviously, a 13 inch MBP tricked out as I had envisioned it would have been more powerful than an MBA but it would also have been 50 percent heavier and cost even more than a 13 inch Ultimate MBA. I decided to spring for the 13 inch Ultimate MBA. I have been using it heavily for the past 6 weeks and could not be happier. Of course, if you got a 15 inch i5 or i7 MBP, the differences between it and the MBA, both good and bad, would be even more dramatic than the differences between the 13 inch MBP and the MBA would be.

I'm glad to hear your pleased with it so far. I'm at such a toss up on what to do it's driving me crazy. My MBP is selling as I type this on ebay for good money.... so I'll have some extra cash to play with. It's a 15" MBP 2.2 GHZ non-unibody.

I want to get a 13" this time around... the 15" was just a tad big for my liking, and 11" is to small. I just find it hard to buy a 13" C2D MBP when I could just wait a tad or spend a small amount more and get the i-processors.

MBA is all about size.

gwsat
Dec 3, 2010, 04:11 PM
MBA is all about size.
The MBA is certainly mostly about size and weight but, to Apple's credit, the current models finally offer enough processing power, RAM, and storage to handle all but the most demanding tasks a user would want it to handle. My 13 inch Ultimate MBA runs several Windows apps under VMware Fusion, simultaneously with several OS X apps with as much speed and stability as my MBP with 6GB of RAM does.

james4cet
Dec 12, 2010, 07:39 AM
Just in case some may be wondering what I ended up shelling out for, I got a MacBook Air 11 inch, base model, upgraded to 4gb of ram.

Why?

In the end the portability won me over, as I'm going to end up taking it to college and uni. I want it to last a max. of 5 years, and I'm sure it will. It's not upgradable, but 4gb ram will be just fine for web browsing, using iWork and occasional iPhoto, Garageband and iMovie.

Why not MacBook Pro 13"?

For me it would be too bulky, and slightly too expensive. I previously stated my budget was 1000, but It eventually came in at 900. And the cheapest price for a MacBook Pro 13" base model is 850 on eBay. That leaves me with 50 to find an SSD (I need the speed for fast access to apps) which is pretty impossible! Also, I think the ultra-glossy screen would bother me, and the MBA's 11" screen, while being small and lacking the large colour gamut the Pro has, will be just fine for me. Infact, it's still a good improvement over the Rev A MBA!


My Verdict?

It's in the post and should be arriving in two days :D I'll post a short review once I've used it for a week or two.



Thank you for all of your help!
James.

D-Love
Dec 12, 2010, 03:13 PM
Just in case some may be wondering what I ended up shelling out for, I got a MacBook Air 11 inch, base model, upgraded to 4gb of ram.

Why?

In the end the portability won me over, as I'm going to end up taking it to college and uni. I want it to last a max. of 5 years, and I'm sure it will. It's not upgradable, but 4gb ram will be just fine for web browsing, using iWork and occasional iPhoto, Garageband and iMovie.

Why not MacBook Pro 13"?

For me it would be too bulky, and slightly too expensive. I previously stated my budget was 1000, but It eventually came in at 900. And the cheapest price for a MacBook Pro 13" base model is 850 on eBay. That leaves me with 50 to find an SSD (I need the speed for fast access to apps) which is pretty impossible! Also, I think the ultra-glossy screen would bother me, and the MBA's 11" screen, while being small and lacking the large colour gamut the Pro has, will be just fine for me. Infact, it's still a good improvement over the Rev A MBA!


My Verdict?

It's in the post and should be arriving in two days :D I'll post a short review once I've used it for a week or two.



Thank you for all of your help!
James.
I've had the 11 inch MBA, upgraded to 4 gigs RAM and 128 hard drive. There are times I kind of wish I had the larger screen but then again the resolution is so high on this 11 that it makes the real estate estate seem bigger than it really is. This thing is a real pleasure to have on your lap - no weight, doesn't run hot, and when I do go out with it I get plenty of glances and comments about how awesome it is. The 13, while still remarkably thin, actually seems big compared to the 11. I love this thing.

ReallyBigFeet
Dec 13, 2010, 07:16 AM
T
IMO there is no reason to be looking at the 13" MBP right now, unless you absolutely can't live without the HD space and DVD burner. If the MBP's get turned into supercharged MBA's in a few months (rumors are swirling about dropping the optical drive and adding SSD's as standard) then you might regret getting the current 13" MBP today.

Sage advice.

The 13" MBP was obsolete the moment it was "updated" this past spring. You'd be better served buying a plain plastic Macbook than the 13" MBP at this point.

The next refresh may reinstate its value proposition. But compared to a 13" MBA, you really are paying a premium for a heavier machine with lackluster performance. The DVD burner and larger HD can easily be overcome via external devices if you really need them.