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View Full Version : Considering buying Macbook Air. Need your suggestion




umerwahla
Mar 20, 2011, 12:53 AM
Hi folks,

I am considering buying my first Macbook but I am unable to decide between the following MBA" and MBP 13"

My main use for this maching includes:-
- Surfing
- Reading
- Word and Excel document editing
- Photo Editing (will be using Photoshop). I am an amateur photographer
- App devlopment

As of now, I DO NOT plan to do the following:-
- Video editing
- Gaming
- 3D modelling


The following are the points, for and against that I an think of for both machines. I would really appreciate input from MBA and MBP users such that I can make an informed choice

1) MBA 13" 1.86GHz Processor and 4 GB RAM
Why I want it:-
- love the display. I have used the MBA and 2011 MBP side by side and MBA display just feels so much better. More vibrant and higher resolution
- I am guessing it will be comfortable to use even after hours of use on my lap
- I only need it for reading, surfing, document editing, listening to music, iphone app development and photo editing
- feels very snappy in booting up, waking up and app loading.

Why Im afraid to get it:-
- It is already 6 months in to the 1 year apple product cycle for MBA.
- I am not sure if it has good resale value. If Apple comes up with a new core i3 or core i5 MBA end of this year, i would want to sell this and get the newer version
- I am not sure how it will perform when using applications like Photoshop. Photoshop is part of my plans for my new machine


2) MBP 13" core i5 model with 128GB SSD
Why I want it:-
- If I get 128 GB SSD (thats enough space for me), it is only around 50 dollars more expensive than the MBA but comes with a lot more horsepower that will future proof it
- Heavy photo editing using photoshop certainly wont be an issue

Why Im afraid to get it:-
- cannot match the MBA screen and visual pleasure
- with SSD, will it give the same MBA'esque snappy performance when loading apps and when booting up or waking up???
- might not have a good resale value with SSD if I plan to sell it and get MBA when it is released with updated processors



dudeofswim
Mar 22, 2011, 01:11 AM
snip
I was in pretty much the same position. App Development and all.
Everything I used to do on more powerful machines, I now do on the MBA with exception of video rendering.
Photoshop loads in 1 bounce/3.5 seconds. Xcode is ready to go in exactly 2-4/2-5 seconds. It's fast at building. The keyboard is nice, (No backlight for the keyboard though)
Its easy to keep on your lap. (no overheating). Your main concern is photoshop. It's a non issue IMO. I use my mba (1.86 + 4gb) for the same reasons you seem to want to and it works great.
Don't settle for the MBP. Even with the SSD you'll be burdened by a heavy machine/potential overheating. With the MBA you just want to pick it up and start working. And the 13" MBP doesnt even come with a discrete GPU.

Overall for your needs (from my personal experience) the MBA is the way to go!

MBP:

2.3GHz dual-core
Intel Core i5
4GB 1333MHz
320GB 5400-rpm1
Intel HD Graphics 3000
$1,199.00 or
1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
4GB memory
128GB flash storage1
NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics
$1,399.00
Add ~$200-250 for a 256GB storage on the MBP and its the same really. Also you can use cloud storage for a lot of files.

munkees
Mar 22, 2011, 01:46 AM
I do post photo editing and fake tilt shift, which is very CPU, intensive, especially on a 3000 8MP batch of images, in aperture 3.

use QT7pro to create time lapse movie

I then import into iMovies for final editing, add sound (songs made with garageband loops) and published.

This can all be done on my MBA 11" ultimate (1.6 processor with 4GB RAM). This is slower than my iMac, but this little computer, for non CPU tasks is zippy, and light. easy to carry, yet powerful enough to do a big computers task.

Nachos
Mar 23, 2011, 02:58 AM
I do app development, photoshop and pretty much everything els you wrote on my MBA. Is really is a fast little mac. Its just a joy picking it up and to start working on it. As you mention the screen resolutions really is a lot better, and the colors are more realistic compared to a glossy screen which is a big advantage when doing photoshop work.

My advise is to go with the MBA ;)

HiddenGem
Mar 23, 2011, 03:05 AM
I do app development, photoshop and pretty much everything els you wrote on my MBA. Is really is a fast little mac. Its just a joy picking it up and to start working on it. As you mention the screen resolutions really is a lot better, and the colors are more realistic compared to a glossy screen which is a big advantage when doing photoshop work.

My advise is to go with the MBA ;)

How can the colours look more reaslistic when anandtech clearly show it has a lower colour gamut than the Pro machines.

Nachos
Mar 23, 2011, 03:15 AM
I have worked on both and i really think the MBA screen looks more realistic.

HiddenGem
Mar 23, 2011, 03:22 AM
I have worked on both and i really think the MBA screen looks more realistic.

I currently have a Air 13" and am considering returning it as the screen colours aren't as good as my brother's 15" 2009 Pro and the 15" screen feels more comfortable to work with. Otherwise, the Air is good, but overpriced for a C2D machine.

Nachos
Mar 23, 2011, 03:36 AM
I currently have a Air 13" and am considering returning it as the screen colours aren't as good as my brother's 15" 2009 Pro and the 15" screen feels more comfortable to work with. Otherwise, the Air is good, but overpriced for a C2D machine.

I disagree about the screen. I agree that it is a lot of money for a C2D machine, but the price is not alone decided by the CPU. It has a good GPU, an amazing screen, SSD with lots of space. Besides with the air you also pay for design, portability and weight. I agree that it is a lot of money, but the fact is that if you don't do VERY CPU heavy things the C2D is more than enough. It's not as outdated as people thinks, besides in most computers the hard drive is the bottleneck and the SSD pretty much fixes that.

HiddenGem
Mar 23, 2011, 04:39 AM
I disagree about the screen. I agree that it is a lot of money for a C2D machine, but the price is not alone decided by the CPU. It has a good GPU, an amazing screen, SSD with lots of space. Besides with the air you also pay for design, portability and weight. I agree that it is a lot of money, but the fact is that if you don't do VERY CPU heavy things the C2D is more than enough. It's not as outdated as people thinks, besides in most computers the hard drive is the bottleneck and the SSD pretty much fixes that.

Fair point. But the C2D came out about 4 yrs ago. You only really noticed the screen difference beside a Pro machine, even my old 4 yrs 15" pro, however the 13" is much whiter in comparison.

May I ask what machine you had previously?

dvasa
Mar 23, 2011, 04:49 AM
i do have a laugh when reading some of the comments here
here's some fact's, i use my machine for....

Maya
After Effects
Logic Pro + Lots of Plugins
Office
Web + Mail
Parallels

on all fronts this machine impresses me still everyday.
funnily, the C2D are actually better at some things than the CoreI's

MAYA - when i render a certain object on my MBP i7 2.66 2010, it takes quite a bit longer to render a fluid than my MPA 1.6 - some processors are better at certain things than others...in fact my 1.6G MBA rendered this particular scene faster than both my MBP 2010 and my MacPro 2006 quad...

Logic Pro - then on to logic, i've composed, edited & mixed a track to about 75% completion using incredible headphones and and this air mostly on public transport. the power really astounded me. i can attribute some of this performance to the SSD and instant response because sometimes the CPU is sitting at peak but doesn't stop playing - often those spikes cause playback to stop!

Parallels - i run my work XP image on this laptop and it's performs incredibly well; very fast startup and stable - more stable than a PC in general

the graphics are decent for this machine, same as the other 2010 machines with lower graphics so....

another things about these C2D - logic for example uses nearly all the CPU, as much as it can get in the Air but on my MacPro, logic's performance monitor is saying it's using loads but system is reporting only 50% across the board and sometimes it chokes...

these air's are great machines and you may be able to get more performance in certain areas out of these machines than a more powerful one

HiddenGem
Mar 23, 2011, 06:00 AM
i do have a laugh when reading some of the comments here
here's some fact's, i use my machine for....

Maya
After Effects
Logic Pro + Lots of Plugins
Office
Web + Mail
Parallels

on all fronts this machine impresses me still everyday.
funnily, the C2D are actually better at some things than the CoreI's

MAYA - when i render a certain object on my MBP i7 2.66 2010, it takes quite a bit longer to render a fluid than my MPA 1.6 - some processors are better at certain things than others...in fact my 1.6G MBA rendered this particular scene faster than both my MBP 2010 and my MacPro 2006 quad...

Logic Pro - then on to logic, i've composed, edited & mixed a track to about 75% completion using incredible headphones and and this air mostly on public transport. the power really astounded me. i can attribute some of this performance to the SSD and instant response because sometimes the CPU is sitting at peak but doesn't stop playing - often those spikes cause playback to stop!

Parallels - i run my work XP image on this laptop and it's performs incredibly well; very fast startup and stable - more stable than a PC in general

the graphics are decent for this machine, same as the other 2010 machines with lower graphics so....

another things about these C2D - logic for example uses nearly all the CPU, as much as it can get in the Air but on my MacPro, logic's performance monitor is saying it's using loads but system is reporting only 50% across the board and sometimes it chokes...

these air's are great machines and you may be able to get more performance in certain areas out of these machines than a more powerful one

How is the fan noise when CPU running at peak and heat output?

dvasa
Mar 23, 2011, 06:24 AM
How is the fan noise when CPU running at peak and heat output?

there simply isn't any - note i'm using the 11inch
also the machine doesn't even get that hot so you can comfortably sit with it on your lap for long periods!

teerexx52
Mar 23, 2011, 06:28 AM
I have worked on both and i really think the MBA screen looks more realistic.

I agree. I still think the MBA screen is very good. Not at all inferior to the MBP 13" in my opinion

aneftp
Mar 23, 2011, 08:18 AM
People forget that this particular macbook air has the core 2 duo has 6MB of level 2 cache while the cheaper cores have only 2 or 3MB or level 2 cache.

HiddenGem
Mar 23, 2011, 08:34 AM
People forget that this particular macbook air has the core 2 duo has 6MB of level 2 cache while the cheaper cores have only 2 or 3MB or level 2 cache.

How much effect does that have on performance?

rav16
Mar 23, 2011, 01:47 PM
How much effect does that have on performance?

me too even iam intrested to the answer of this question ? i have the 1.4ghz,4gb ram and 128gb ssd the 11inch bad boy

kappaknight
Mar 23, 2011, 03:38 PM
Hrmm. I'm in the same boat. Thinking about getting an MBA for my wife to upgrade her from her 2007 Macbook. My biggest concern is the refresh - to wait or not to wait. I'm sure everyday tasks like web, email, twitter and videos won't make that much of a difference - but that means if I wait, the resale would be better (and I would feel better about it in the mean time.)

Bleh... waiting sucks. =)

umerwahla
Mar 24, 2011, 09:33 PM
Thanks a lot for the info guys. Now I am pretty confident that I wont feel the need for more power for my tasks. No noise or heat is a relief too.

This just leaves one concern. Its 5 months since Apple introduced the MBA refresh and it might not be more than 7 months to the next refresh. Possibly with Sandy Bridge Processors. I would like to upgrade if MBAs move to Sandy Bridge in the next refresh. In such a case, will I still be able to sell my MBA for atleast 60% of the buying price? Do MBAs have a good resale value?

donster28
Mar 24, 2011, 10:18 PM
In such a case, will I still be able to sell my MBA for atleast 60% of the buying price? Do MBAs have a good resale value?

MacBooks have a very good resale value. I sold my mid 2009 MacBook Pro for $1000 just a month ago - I bought it brand new for $1400 with taxes (that's a 71% recoup after 1 year and so months after.) MBA's should have a good resale value as long as you take care of them, I mean really take care of them! Do not scratch, drop or soil it in any way. Oh and it helps if you don't have any dead pixels.

umerwahla
Mar 24, 2011, 11:09 PM
MacBooks have a very good resale value. I sold my mid 2009 MacBook Pro for $1000 just a month ago - I bought it brand new for $1400 with taxes (that's a 71% recoup after 1 year and so months after.) MBA's should have a good resale value as long as you take care of them, I mean really take care of them! Do not scratch, drop or soil it in any way. Oh and it helps if you don't have any dead pixels.

Thanks for the info.

Also, I am getting 3 year Apple Care at 25% off. Is it worth to buy it if ill prolly sell my MBA on the next refresh? Will it significantly effect the resale value?

donster28
Mar 25, 2011, 12:15 AM
Thanks for the info.

Also, I am getting 3 year Apple Care at 25% off. Is it worth to buy it if ill prolly sell my MBA on the next refresh? Will it significantly effect the resale value?

No probs. Apple Care also helps increase it's value and yes, it's worth getting it specially at 25% off. Also, a lot of buyers do ask for it when they inquire so there's no harm in getting it.