View Full Version : Can a MBA handle CPU intensive programs?

Apr 20, 2011, 10:50 AM
Question for the masses...

I am not doing any photo editing, but I going to be running GNS3 which is networking simulation program used to simulate Cisco and Juniper networking devices and it is very CPU intensive.

I am currently running it on a 13'' MBP 2.4 ghz C2D and it runs at 75-85% cpu.

If I maxed out the MBA , do you think that it could handle it or am I just wasting my time and money and I should just get the 15'' quadcore as planned?

Thanks in advance!

Apr 20, 2011, 11:30 AM
Can it handle it? Yes, it will run. However will it run slower? Yes I would expect it to run slower. If this is your primary usage of a computer, I'd go with the quad-core i7 15" MBP.

Apr 20, 2011, 12:41 PM
2.4GHz Core 2 Duo is 12.5% Faster than the 2.1GHz Core2 Duo in the fastest MBA.

Assuming that this simulation is purely CPU bound, It makes sense that your simulation would run at almost the same speed, but at a higher level of CPU use. I would guess that the MBA fans would be working pretty hard as well to handle a sustained 85% - 95% CPU activity.

If you are running this program all day long, it probably makes more sense to go to the faster Processor in the 15" MBP.

If this is something you only do occasionally, and the bulk of your use fits the MBA capability better, then maybe you are willing to trade a bit of performance for portability.

Demosthenes X
Apr 20, 2011, 03:07 PM
If you wait for the MBA refresh (which might be a long wait - no one really knows, though rumours suggest this summer) it will probably get Sandy Bridge. In which case, absolutely it will be able to run your CPU-intensive apps, probably better than your current machine.

Apr 20, 2011, 03:35 PM
We run CS5 on a 13 inch Air, runs fine.

Apr 21, 2011, 12:06 AM
We run CS5 on a 13 inch Air, runs fine.

The Suite is CPU intensive but not 'all' the time.