View Full Version : Late 2008 MBP vs 2011 MBA

Jul 21, 2011, 11:04 PM
Hey guys,

Would like some advice on this.

I'm looking to upgrade my aging 15" 2.4ghz c2d MBP w/Geforce 9600M (the first unibody MBP) to a new machine. I was originally planning on getting an iMac + laptop (MBA) to replace it, but if I can get away with just getting the one new machine I'd rather do that.

I'm looking at the 11" top spec MBA, or possible the 13".

I'm a fairly light user but I do some photo editing in Aperture and play the odd game such as starcraft 2.

Would I be seeing any improved performance from the MBA at all, or potentially worse performance? Remembering my MBP has a dedicated 256mb graphics card.

If I won't see performance increase in photo editing or gaming, then I guess I'll have to go to the iMac + laptop setup, or just hang onto my MBP for another year.

Jul 22, 2011, 05:46 AM
No comments?

Peter Harrison
Jul 22, 2011, 05:52 AM
I'm curious too, because I have a late 2008 MBP as well, but mine is 2.66GHz and 512MB dedicated memory. I assumed it would be a step down getting the new MBA, but a bunch of people have been telling me that the new MBA is performing better than the top range 2010 MBPs!!! I find this a bit hard to believe, but if true means I'd definitely be upgrading seeing as my MBP is two years older than them!

Jul 22, 2011, 08:11 AM
I'm going from early 2008 MBP to the 2011MBA with 256GB ssd and i5. I'm expecting a slight downgrade in gaming performance, but rarely game anymore. More or less looking for better battery life, and a smaller computer that still has a punch. I would say even my 8600GT M out performs the Intel 3000 in games. Dedicated cards, even old ones really make a difference in gaming.

Jul 22, 2011, 08:28 AM
The SSD and the Core i5 would make a noticeably difference in Photoshop and Aperture. I believe they are mostly CPU-intensive rather than GPU-intensive, so the Intel HD 3000 shouldn't be much of a hindrance. As for gaming, the HD 3000 is somewhere in between the NVIDIA 9400m and 320m, so I'm guessing that if you leave your MPB in 9600M mode you'll notice a drop in frame rates. WoW works OK in low-detail from the reports I've seen. The MacBook Air isn't really a gaming machine.

I haven't seen any tests involving StarCraft 2. Perhaps wait for the Anandtech review, since he usually does a thorough job testing graphics performance. It isn't like Apple is going to run out of these machines any time soon.