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Sybrant
Nov 29, 2011, 01:02 AM
So I currently own a 2.4 GHz Intel core 2 duo 3gb DDR3 ram MacBook from late 2008, I believe it's time for an upgrade. I am military, travel often and am deploying in a couple months. I was looking into whether I should get the

MBA
11-inch : 128GB
1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
processor
4GB memory
128GB flash storage1
Intel HD Graphics 3000

or...

MBP
13-inch: 2.4 GHz
2.4GHz dual-core
Intel Core i5
4GB 1333MHz
500GB 5400-rpm1
Intel HD Graphics 3000

the portability of the MBA is spectacular and I love the SSD, as opposed to an optical drive, but where the problem lies is that I'm not sure if the tech specs are enough. I usually do web browsing and what not but I love to play my emulators (i.e. Dolphin) to play gamecube or (rarely) Wii games. I don't want to go through the trouble of purchasing the MBA and finding that it lags when playing Smash Bros. Melee, or Zelda: Twilight Princess on a resolution higher than 720x840 (LMAO). I am well aware that the MBP has the better tech specs but it's a burden to have a large computer stuffed into a ruck sack that has countless articles of clothing like cold weather gear or ballistic goggles. I would love some personal experiences from MBA owners that do emulating or Steam games, thanks everyone!



heyloo
Nov 29, 2011, 01:28 AM
I haven't done any emulating or play Steam games on my MBA but have read multiple threads that these MBAs work decently well with these games. At the same time, I think it's quite 'understood' that MBA isn't really a gaming laptop, although it's capable of handling games at decent fps.

With the amount of traveling that you do, MBA does seem like the logical choice; however I'm not sure if you'd enjoy looking over your shoulder each time a new game comes out - whether it would run well with the MBA. I guess the 13" MBP would feel much heavier compared to the 11" MBA, but when compared to a 13" MBA, the difference wasn't too significant. I had the hardest time trying to figure out which one to get. The MBA won for me as I don't plan on playing games on this MBA (I have a PC for that ;) ) and I could use the SSD and lighter weight. If I had played any games, I'd have gone with the MBP.

Sybrant
Nov 29, 2011, 01:52 AM
Thanks for the reply, this is definitely a difficult decision. I occasionally go into these phases where I'll want to play a pc game really bad and where I just don't care at all for pc games. I'll figure something out.

heyloo
Nov 29, 2011, 01:56 AM
Haha I definitely understand. I do have those phases myself (hence why I built a PC for myself on budget). I'd still think an MBP would be great for you :) That way you'd never have to worry if the next 'phase' wouldn't work on your MBA. But...yeah the decision is definitely NOT an easy one. I was scrambling around my Best Buy for a long time picking one up after another, and I continued to do so even after taking the MBA Box to the check out counter lol.

Macman45
Nov 29, 2011, 02:06 AM
Thanks for the reply, this is definitely a difficult decision. I occasionally go into these phases where I'll want to play a pc game really bad and where I just don't care at all for pc games. I'll figure something out.

A top end MBA and a 17" MBP. If I were you, and it's games you're after, then I'd go with the Pro. Why?

1) More storage space

2) Better GPU setup

As posted above, you really don't want to be wondering if your Air is going to be able to run the latest games. I have no games on my MBA, it's speed is why I bought it and it's used in studio situations for data transfer and short term storage of files which are then bought home and transferred to my iMac and my MBP for further work. The real joy of the Air is it's ultra light super slim form factor...And of course the SSD. I truly think you would be better of with the Pro...These games take up a lot of space and the max on the Air is 256MB, fine for most work purposes, but not great for lot's of big games.

You would very quickly be looking for more external storage if you went with the Air (IMO)

ecib
Nov 29, 2011, 02:38 PM
Sybrant, being in the military, with space being at a such a premium and you travelling so often, the 11" sounds perfect for you. I travel a lot with my 13" MBA and it is awesome, but I bet your packing constraints are much more severe than mine.

That being said, you MBs are not really gaming machines.

So what about an iPad? It seems like it could work for you. You do mostly web browsing and play some games, while needing something super portable. The iPad is insane for traveling and web browsing, and it has a tremendous amount of games available in the iOS platform. The only question is can the iOS game catalog serve up the kind of content you want?

I dunno, seems like a potential option worth mentioning anyway...

waloshin
Nov 29, 2011, 02:55 PM
Go for the 13" model well worth it.

vitzr
Nov 29, 2011, 03:00 PM
I have both an 11" & 13" since I travel internationally for business. It's really personal preference as to size. I find myself using the 13"'more & more since it's not much larger than the 11, has a far more comfortable keyboard & of course the larger display which makes a big difference.

The keyboard on the 11" is pretty small & cramped.

As far as games, that's where the real trouble is, since Macs aren't design for even the most modest of games. Many will argue this point but only cause they're so single minded & pro Apple.

I really like my MBA's since I've given up the idea of gaming on them.

This morning I ordered one of the just released, new Sony VAIO Z models. They now have two tiers of pricing, the lower priced models are worth checking out. They have what you need for a good gaming experience. I was very pleased to see this line refreshed just a week ago.

AdrianK
Nov 29, 2011, 03:11 PM
The only difference that you need to worry about between the two is the CPU performance.

The 11" 1.6 i5 MBA scores 4608 in geekbench and the 13" 2.4 i5 MBP scores 6096; 1/3 more than the MBA.

You'll definitely want the extra CPU grunt for dolphin.

tusctodd
Nov 30, 2011, 04:35 PM
Apple has a return policy.

1) Buy it
2) Try it
3) Works: Keep it
4) Doesn't Work: Return it
5) Profit!

KPOM
Nov 30, 2011, 06:20 PM
If it's gaming you are concerned about, the 13" Pro won't be much better than the 13" Air since it also uses the Intel HD3000 (albeit one with a faster base speed). The 15" Pro has a discrete GPU.

Regarding the CPU, is a 13" Air an option? There is a big step up between the 1.6GHz i5 in the 11" and the 1.7GHz i5 in the 13" model. Alternative, consider the $150 upgrade to the i7 in the 128GB 11" model. The 1.8GHz i7 is much closer to the performance of the 2.4GHz i5 in the base 13" Pro (I think it specs about 85-90% of the 2.4GHz i5).

Abazigal
Dec 1, 2011, 07:46 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

I like the idea of the iPAD as well. It's light, has longer battery life and probably easier to use in a variety of situations and positions.

johnhurley
Dec 1, 2011, 07:54 AM
So I currently own a 2.4 GHz Intel core 2 duo 3gb DDR3 ram MacBook from late 2008, I believe it's time for an upgrade.


There won't be any significant gaming differences between the mbp 13 and the mba line.

Lots of people loving the mba 13 and 11 inch models but not sure if lacking a built in DVD drive is a relevant factor for you when deployed.

If you are wanting to have a machine that you can just pop in a DVD and watch a movie ... the mbp should not be overlooked. The weight and ( slightly larger ) size difference between mbp 13 and mba 13 is pretty minimal.

I do like my mba 13 and the ssd is much faster than stock hard drive in mbp 13.