PDA

View Full Version : How do high-end MacBook Pro users feel about the latest MacBook Air 13"?




hajime
Aug 8, 2012, 12:35 AM
Hello, I have a question to users who have owned both the higher-end MacBook Pro model and the latest MacBook Air 13".

I have been using two MacBook Pro 17" for a few years. I am feeling the weight and want to get a newer computer. The MBPr is lighter but I don't like the fact that are lot of applications look bad on such an expensive machine. It may also be difficult to use it on the bus. Now, I am considering to get the latest MacBook Air 13" rather than the MBPr 15". How do you feel about the latest MacBook Air 13"?

Any experience appreciated. Thank you.



w00t951
Aug 8, 2012, 12:58 AM
I have a 2010 MacBook Air that I use sporadically, and I dread the times I must use it. The display is sharper than my 2011 MacBook Pro, but this machine with its dual core processor and 4GB of RAM is so slow. I'm sure the latest machines are faster, but I wouldn't consider an Air until they come with quad core processors.

Panini
Aug 8, 2012, 12:59 AM
A lot of my friends have one and I can certainly say it will not replace your macbook pro if you used it to its fullest extent.

That being said, it will be a replacement for 99% of your needs. It does pretty much everything (including 1080p playback [even though the screen isn't 1080p] without choppiness). The current iGPU is almost as good as the early 2011 dGPU.

The MBA is actually able to run certain games very smoothly such as team fortress 2, and it is a worthy replacement for all but the most processer intensive applications. Power-wise, it will not disappoint.

The main reason people go with the Pro is for storage, cd drive, and screen size. If you're willing to sacrifice on those fronts, the 13" Air might be perfect for you.

hajime
Aug 8, 2012, 04:12 AM
I plan to max out the RAM. I don't play games. If I do 3D work, I probably turn to my MBP 17" or a powerful HP workstation instead. I probably use it for web browsing, Microsoft Office (Words, Excel, PowerPoint), Keynote presentation (is the air good enough?), Adobe Master Collection CS6 (Illustrator, Photoshop Extended, etc.) Anybody tried Adobe Premiere on the Air? Does it work well on the Air without lag?

I don't have good eyesight. Are the letters on the 13" Air too small to read for a long period of time?
Reading for a short period of time in stores is no problem for me.

ixodes
Aug 8, 2012, 04:57 AM
I plan to max out the RAM. I don't play games. If I do 3D work, I probably turn to my MBP 17" or a powerful HP workstation instead. I probably use it for web browsing, Microsoft Office (Words, Excel, PowerPoint), Keynote presentation (is the air good enough?), Adobe Master Collection CS6 (Illustrator, Photoshop Extended, etc.) Anybody tried Adobe Premiere on the Air? Does it work well on the Air without lag?

I don't have good eyesight. Are the letters on the 13" Air too small to read for a long period of time?
Reading for a short period of time in stores is no problem for me.
I believe you'd find the 13" MBA ideal for your needs. I have both the current line of MBP's & MBA's. The MBP's are excellent for the very resource intense R&D work I do. Yet for anything less than that kind of heavy computational work flow, I find my 13" MBA an ideal solution.

The display would be quite nice for anyone with less than perfect eyesight since unlike my hi-res MBP's the fonts, icons & other on screen elements are of ample size for easy reading.

Therefore I can suggest the MBA for you with great confidence.

urkel
Aug 8, 2012, 05:26 AM
.The MBPr is lighter but I don't like the fact that are lot of applications look bad on such an expensive machine..
Do you base this opinion out of experience or off of Internet whining. Because, based on your listed needs, it seems that the MBPr is what you need to replace your 17" and im not sure this whole "apps look bad" reasoning is based on actual facts.

The apps I've seen on the MBPr look amazing and if there are any that don't then it wont be long before they're optimized for it. The MBPr is an amazing machine if you can afford it.

hajime
Aug 8, 2012, 05:37 AM
Do you base this opinion out of experience or off of Internet whining. Because, based on your listed needs, it seems that the MBPr is what you need to replace your 17" and im not sure this whole "apps look bad" reasoning is based on actual facts.

The apps I've seen on the MBPr look amazing and if there are any that don't then it wont be long before they're optimized for it. The MBPr is an amazing machine if you can afford it.

I asked Mathworks about Matlab/Simulinks. They said that the icons and graphics are not optimized yet.

equisol
Aug 8, 2012, 06:34 AM
Since the purchase of my new 13 " MBA (June 2012), my MBP is collecting dust. The 13" MBA does everything, even without a DVD drive, if needed it finds any other computer on your network and will use its DVD drive. So no big deal.
The 13" MBA is extremely light and powerful. Just my 2 cents.

drbrog
Aug 8, 2012, 06:36 AM
I have both 2012 MBA and rMBP. The MBP replaces a 2006 mac pro and serves as a desktop replacement. It is connected to an Eizo display but the native screen is fine. I have no issues with its appearance. The Air is wonderful for travel.
I love them both.

jmoore5196
Aug 8, 2012, 07:19 AM
I have a 2010 MacBook Air that I use sporadically, and I dread the times I must use it. The display is sharper than my 2011 MacBook Pro, but this machine with its dual core processor and 4GB of RAM is so slow. I'm sure the latest machines are faster, but I wouldn't consider an Air until they come with quad core processors.

I jumped in here because my experience is exactly the opposite.

I have a mid-2011 2.0GHz i7 15" MBP and one of the new 11" i7 MBAs. Both have 8GB of RAM. Side by side on my desk, the new Air literally runs rings around the MBP ... so much so that I'm thinking of selling my MBP and buying a 2012 13" MBA to replace it.

I'm sure most of the speed differential is due to the HDD vs SSD. The MBP seems constantly ... laggy.

Most of my workload is CS5.5 and light audio editing. You may not consider that "high end," but it's certainly real world activity that pays the bills.

wolfpuppies3
Aug 8, 2012, 07:46 AM
2010 MBPro and four times faster than my 2011 11" MBA. All three are maxed out, the only way I know to buy a Mac. My MBPro is used almost exclusively as a desktop with a 27" Apple monitor, blue tooth keyboard, blue tooth smart mouse.

I Highly recommend the 2012 13" MBA, mine is

2.0GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
512GB Flash Storage
Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
VGA Adapter 065-C0T9

Diversion
Aug 8, 2012, 08:07 AM
Well, I had a 2012 Macbook Pro 15" with the 2.6ghz quad and 1gb 650M gpu.

I returned it and grabbed a base model of the 13" Air and like it a lot more. However, it's probably because my situation changed a bit - I decided I wanted more gaming performance so I have a Sager with 680M en route to me.. and since I don't feel like lugging around a 17" 9 lb brick, I wanted to keep the Mac experience and always wanted an ultrabook.. The new Air is perfect for me, I get my Mac experience back and it's really fast and has excellent battery life.

I have a friend with the original Air and those feel like slow Netbooks compared to the 2012 Air.. The Ivybridge powered Airs feel just as fast as the Pro I returned. I also owned a early 2011 Macbook Pro 15" for a year and I feel that the 2012 Air is just as fast in everything I do so far. Of course, I don't expect to do any CPU intensive work like video encoding (I do this on occasion) but even then, I bet the Air could handle the occasional video encode and complete it in a reasonable time frame (overnight perhaps).

jmoore5196
Aug 8, 2012, 10:19 AM
2010 MBPro and four times faster than my 2011 11" MBA. All three are maxed out, the only way I know to buy a Mac. My MBPro is used almost exclusively as a desktop with a 27" Apple monitor, blue tooth keyboard, blue tooth smart mouse.

I Highly recommend the 2012 13" MBA, mine is

2.0GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
512GB Flash Storage
Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
VGA Adapter 065-C0T9

It's taken me quite a while, but I'm slowly coming around to your way of thinking.

Beanoir
Aug 8, 2012, 10:25 AM
It's taken me quite a while, but I'm slowly coming around to your way of thinking.

Whats that, big headed?

I'm sure his MBA (all suped up the "only way he knows how") is quicker than an old 2010 MBP, but i'm sure if you were comparing apples with apples it would be slower than a fully loaded 2012 MBP, especially for some tasks given the RAM configuration thats possible in the new MBPs.

Omurices
Aug 8, 2012, 10:53 AM
I have a 17" MBP and it works the way I want it whenever I work on tasks that requires the performance + high resolution (other than rmbp) to work standalone. However I only use it 1 hour a day on it for design work, photo editing, or video editing/converting, and rest of 10+ hours, I'm on mid 09 MBP 13 (w/ 8gb ram, 160gb SSD (3GB/s transfer) and iPad2 for email, research, coding, reading, and watch video. I'm on mobile 60% of my day, so it has been working out for me well to carry smaller devices. I'm going to replace the 13" mbp and ipad2 to 13" MBA this week to get more power (c2d on 13 is getting slow for my use) and I spend more hours on iphone.

I did think about getting 11" MBA again, but battery life and 16:9 screen view (I personally can't work on 16:9 view as it bothers my eyes and concentration-personal preferrence) has steered me away to the 13" MBA 8GB ram, which gives an hour or two more battery juice with normal work environment resolution (personal preference). Also you're getting the 15" mbp resolution on 13" MBA, which I think it is good portable device to carry for work and sd card slot is a bonus IMHO.

I'm not sure how much horsie you need, but I've gone longer route to find out that only work that I need more power is required is at home or workstation, where I can keep my 17" mbp, and quickies on mobile computer.

Another question for yourself is, do you keep all your work in the local drive or cloud/external drive(s)? Try to priorities your work on the spreadsheet and what type of tasks and what time of the day do you need the most power, but that's my only recommendation.

I've gone with my heartbeat for purchases on devices previously and at least 50% of my purchases were more of "nice to have" than Practical/usability in actual situation.

Hope you make the decision that best for you and your work.

Dornblaser
Aug 8, 2012, 11:04 AM
It really depends on what apps you use. I found that the then maxed out MBA did not work well with CS 5 and real work flow. Some of the CS apps are RAM hogs. I haven't used Premiere on an MBA but I suspect that would be a stretch. Sure the SSD used as a scratch drive really makes a difference but not enough of one. A 15" MBP with 16 GB RAM and flash storage would be a much better option in my opinion. If you are interested in the 13" form factor I would suggest wait to to see if the upcoming 13" rMBP will be available with 16 GB RAM. MBA are nice machines but they don't have the RAM and guts that the MBP's have.

Omurices
Aug 8, 2012, 11:55 AM
It really depends on what apps you use. I found that the then maxed out MBA did not work well with CS 5 and real work flow. Some of the CS apps are RAM hogs. I haven't used Premiere on an MBA but I suspect that would be a stretch. Sure the SSD used as a scratch drive really makes a difference but not enough of one. A 15" MBP with 16 GB RAM and flash storage would be a much better option in my opinion. If you are interested in the 13" form factor I would suggest wait to to see if the upcoming 13" rMBP will be available with 16 GB RAM. MBA are nice machines but they don't have the RAM and guts that the MBP's have.

I do agree with you on the performance of MBPs, and SSDs are known for slower writing to the disk. It may also depend on how large of file(s) to be dealing within Adobe CS on MBA too. Small files may work well, but it may be a different story if working with 1GB Illustrator template file.

hajime
Aug 8, 2012, 07:38 PM
It really depends on what apps you use. I found that the then maxed out MBA did not work well with CS 5 and real work flow.

By "the then", which model and configuration are you talking about?

I copy and paste some frames of video files to Illustrator to make snapshot figures. I just use Photoshop to do simple operations. In that case, can the latest MBA handle my needs? I just ordered Master Collections CS6. Not arrived yet.

BigB82
Aug 8, 2012, 11:58 PM
this was a great read. I own 13" MBP i5 and have owned from the original macbook air up til the 2011 loaded 13 inch and have on the way the loaded 2012 13"


What I CAN say is that the newer MBA's are amazing meaning 2011 and 2012. The only real difference 2012 gives is the RAM and ability to upgrade to a bigger SSD if needed. Other than that for the price you can get a refurb loaded 13 for 1199 which is a STEAL if you dont need 8gb of ram!

Its funny I would laugh on these forums several years back as I was new to mac and read the posts about being getting the newest of the new just cause they wanted to vs needed to! I say this cause now I am one of them. 2011 mba loaded works plenty fine but I just want the newer one.

MBA is amazing for the size and what it is truly capable of. I think it runs circles around every machine in my house from the MBP to the 27 iMAC. its amazing!

What I realized owning this MBA is I want to order 3 SSD drives n every machine in my house before year end will run on SSD its ridiculous fast. THAT is a major part of what makes the MBA so fast. The rest is portability design and looks.

I LOVE the AIR and the size and design. I woud love a retina 13 for the fact of having a badass screen not that I need it. It would be cool. I like the form factor but would love better resolution perhaps.

If the form factor is fine to people who have a pro its seriously worth it to invest in a SSD which I am pretty sure will make it as fast or faster than a air?

Hope it helps

gnagy
Aug 9, 2012, 12:20 AM
Its funny I would laugh on these forums several years back as I was new to mac and read the posts about being getting the newest of the new just cause they wanted to vs needed to! I say this cause now I am one of them. 2011 mba loaded works plenty fine but I just want the newer one.


Heh heh, I know what you mean. I just got the Ultimate 13" Air, but as soon as Apple has a retina version, I'm going to swap it.

I'm coming from a 2009 17" MBP, and I can't believe I waited this long to switch to the smaller form factor. The screen is nowhere near as nice as the 17", but at home I can just connect it to a thunderbolt display. The 13" screen is fine when I'm on the go or if I'm sitting somewhere away from the desk.

I'm very happy with the CPU, and even the 3D graphics speed. This new MBA plays SC2 at 60 frames/sec at the native resolution. I know one doesn't buy an Air to play video games, but it actually does rather well in that department, too.

I do a lot of software development, and a bit of photo editing. The Air is great for both of those use cases. I don't plan on going back to a MBP.

h00ligan
Aug 9, 2012, 01:02 AM
It really depends on what apps you use. I found that the then maxed out MBA did not work well with CS 5 and real work flow. Some of the CS apps are RAM hogs. I haven't used Premiere on an MBA but I suspect that would be a stretch. Sure the SSD used as a scratch drive really makes a difference but not enough of one. A 15" MBP with 16 GB RAM and flash storage would be a much better option in my opinion. If you are interested in the 13" form factor I would suggest wait to to see if the upcoming 13" rMBP will be available with 16 GB RAM. MBA are nice machines but they don't have the RAM and guts that the MBP's have.

I agree with this based on the 2011 air. Ram was an issue. 8 is probably enough but quad core may be faster. It all depends if you want 50% more power or 50% less weight.

Blackberryroid
Aug 9, 2012, 08:59 AM
but I wouldn't consider an Air until they come with quad core processors.

The MacBook Air 2012 i7 has 4 cores (Virtual, 2 Cores, 4 Threads), 3.2 GHz.
8 GB 1600 MHz
SSD with 500MB/S read

Those 3 things are amazing to have on a Pro computer, but the MacBook Air is a consumer computer. It is a consumer computer with the power of a Pro computer. It's 2x faster than my MacBook Pro. I was shocked to find that out.

Dornblaser
Aug 9, 2012, 11:40 AM
I agree with this based on the 2011 air. Ram was an issue. 8 is probably enough but quad core may be faster. It all depends if you want 50% more power or 50% less weight.

Yes, that is the ultimate decision point.

Beanoir
Aug 9, 2012, 11:46 AM
I agree with this based on the 2011 air. Ram was an issue. 8 is probably enough but quad core may be faster. It all depends if you want 50% more power or 50% less weight.

8gb isn't enough if you're doing serious work in CS apps, and it's not all about RAM anyway, CPU is important, especially for rendering.

Dornblaser
Aug 9, 2012, 11:57 AM
8gb isn't enough if you're doing serious work in CS apps, and it's not all about RAM anyway, CPU is important, especially for rendering.

That's my opinion as well which is why I recommend folks wait to see if the coming 13" rMBP has a 16 GB option.

Bigsmoove
Aug 9, 2012, 12:12 PM
Heh heh, I know what you mean. I just got the Ultimate 13" Air, but as soon as Apple has a retina version...I do a lot of software development, and a bit of photo editing. The Air is great for both of those use cases. I don't plan on going back to a MBP.

may i ask what kinda programming? i'm looking at one to replace this big 17" HP i use for java dev...

thanks.
ck

h00ligan
Aug 9, 2012, 12:39 PM
8gb isn't enough if you're doing serious work in CS apps, and it's not all about RAM anyway, CPU is important, especially for rendering.

That could be for illustrator and the others. I have 16 in my desktop machine and while it's nice I've done som layer heavy work and upsizing without too much of a problem with 8. But I admit my use case is photoshop only.

jjhoekstra
Aug 9, 2012, 01:11 PM
There are only two real reasons why you would need a pro: a. you need the retina display or b. you need to do long runs of full power CPU use. The cooling of the pro is able to cope with long runs of high cpu use far better than an air. But long runs should be done on a MacPro anyhow, as part of a custer of Macs. So get an air and enjoy the money you saved.

Yebubbleman
Aug 9, 2012, 01:32 PM
Hello, I have a question to users who have owned both the higher-end MacBook Pro model and the latest MacBook Air 13".

I have been using two MacBook Pro 17" for a few years. I am feeling the weight and want to get a newer computer. The MBPr is lighter but I don't like the fact that are lot of applications look bad on such an expensive machine. It may also be difficult to use it on the bus. Now, I am considering to get the latest MacBook Air 13" rather than the MBPr 15". How do you feel about the latest MacBook Air 13"?

Any experience appreciated. Thank you.

You are comparing apples and oranges and at opposite extremes. Yes, the 13" Air is lighter than a 17" MacBook Pro, but you lack up to two extra processing cores, a discrete GPU, many ports and connections, and removable/replacable drives and RAM. If these are no sacrifice for you, then you had no reason to be using the 17" MacBook Pro to begin with. If they are, the 13" Air is not the Mac for you. It's that polar of a difference.

That being said, to compare more similar Macs, say the 2012 13" MacBook Pro and the 2012 13" MacBook Air, for instance, is much more fair of a comparison, and if that's the comparison you want to make, it becomes a question of importance. Do you want removable/replacable drives or are you the type that will never open your computer at all? Do you like the convenience of an internal optical disc drive, or are you fine with an external (if any at all)? SSD or Hard drives? Weight vs. Minimalism? Ethernet and FireWire 800 or do you not care? The answers to those questions dictate the recommendation.

As for the 15" rMBP vs. the 15" MBP, yes, software looks crappy TODAY. Tomorrow everything will look awesome. Though if you're still using pre-Final-Cut-Pro-X versions of Final Cut Studio, it will ALWAYS look crappy. IF you're using earlier Intel-native versions of Photoshop, it will ALWAYS look crappy. If you are gaming with games older than Civilization V or Diablo III, it's a crap-shoot. Really, it's the web content that I'd be more worried about; but honestly, retina displays on notebooks (and eventually, desktops as well) are not going to be a passing trend; things will eventually update. The odds of everything updating by the time you're ready to discard the machine are slim though. In terms of OS X support, my guess is that, if any disparity at all, the 2012 rMBP will be supported for slightly longer than the 2012 MBP. Otherwise, the two machines have a very similar "which feature set is more important" debate, the results of which dictate the recommendation. That being said, it is likely that the 13" MacBook Pro and the 15" (non-retina) MacBook Pro as we know them today will disappear come next revision; the former likely replaced by either a retina version of the MacBook Air or a dedicated 13" Retina MacBook Pro with the latter simply getting discontinued in favor of the next rev of the current retina design, which will likely get some sort of price decrease to better situate itself as a mainstream MacBook Pro. That all said, analyze your values when it comes to your Mac and the best machine for you should, at that point, be a no-brainer. Good luck.

w00t951
Aug 9, 2012, 09:44 PM
The MacBook Air 2012 i7 has 4 cores (Virtual, 2 Cores, 4 Threads), 3.2 GHz.
8 GB 1600 MHz
SSD with 500MB/S read

Those 3 things are amazing to have on a Pro computer, but the MacBook Air is a consumer computer. It is a consumer computer with the power of a Pro computer. It's 2x faster than my MacBook Pro. I was shocked to find that out.

Virtual cores? Then my Macbook Pro is an 8 core beast. No, we're talking about a dual core ULV i5/i7 vs. a quad core i7 with clocks that are much higher.

Dornblaser
Aug 9, 2012, 09:55 PM
Let's be serious folks. The MBA is a High School, College, everyman's econo-machine. It IS NOT a professional's man tool. It does not even have the screen of the iPad.

Nova Sensei
Aug 9, 2012, 11:01 PM
Let's be serious folks. The MBA is a High School, College, everyman's econo-machine. It IS NOT a professional's man tool. It does not even have the screen of the iPad.

And how exactly did the "professional man" conduct his affairs before the advent of the amazing retina screen?

Let's not delude ourselves into thinking that the retina screen somehow makes people better than they previously were. It's a sharper image, but it's the same image.

gnagy
Aug 9, 2012, 11:50 PM
may i ask what kinda programming? i'm looking at one to replace this big 17" HP i use for java dev...

thanks.
ck

Right now, I do mostly iOS development. The Air will work for Java as well.

I disagree with Dornblaser. My Macbook Air is faster than my 3 year old 27" iMac, in almost every way. As long as you're not doing professional photography or video editing, the Air's display is fine. It's definitely fine for software development.

h00ligan
Aug 10, 2012, 12:17 AM
Let's be serious folks. The MBA is a High School, College, everyman's econo-machine. It IS NOT a professional's man tool. It does not even have the screen of the iPad.

If by professional you mean photographer or artist......maybe. They do make external monitors that are good though.

nightlong
Aug 10, 2012, 12:33 AM
I have both 2012 MBA and rMBP. The MBP replaces a 2006 mac pro and serves as a desktop replacement. It is connected to an Eizo display but the native screen is fine. I have no issues with its appearance. The Air is wonderful for travel.
I love them both.

You don't find going back to the MBA screen difficult after the rMBP?

feeth
Aug 10, 2012, 01:20 PM
Deleted

lucasberg
Aug 10, 2012, 02:00 PM
If by professional you mean photographer or artist......maybe. They do make external monitors that are good though.

Exactly. The MBA and a great external display is a fantastic setup.
Also, the MBA serves me and many other graphic designers just fine, the higher resolution screen wins over the MBPs slightly better colours in my book.

lionmanpt
Aug 10, 2012, 02:43 PM
You don't find going back to the MBA screen difficult after the rMBP?


I can tell you from my experience that it is not difficult it is SUPER difficult :)