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View Full Version : Speed of new MBA vs upgraded 2008 AluBook




smwatson
Sep 7, 2012, 12:25 PM
So I have a 2008 AluBook (is that still what we call them?) with 2.4GHz Intel C2D & 4GB RAM.

I went into an Apple store today because I'm looking to buy a 13" MBA in the next few months (or maybe a rMBP 13" if it appears). In a nutshell, the guy told me I would see comparable speed from my current laptop if I:

- put 8GB RAM in
- swapped out the HD for an SSD
- replaced the battery

Now I nodded along, but I'm not convinced at all that mine would match or even beat a brand new 13" MBA with 8GB RAM.

Is he right? It would certainly be cheaper. Although I do really want a MBA for the size etc.



jav6454
Sep 7, 2012, 12:29 PM
Do a comparison between them. An upgrade AluBook (yes some people call them that.) can be very powerful.

smwatson
Sep 7, 2012, 12:37 PM
I can't do a comparison without either buying a MBA or upgrading my AluBook - which would defeat the purpose of this thread somewhat ;)

dbdynsty25
Sep 7, 2012, 12:38 PM
There's no bigger upgrade you can make to the 2008 than adding an SSD. It really breathes new life into the machine. Now, the problem is that you're using an old graphics chip and an old processor tech. I went from a 2008 Alubook to a 2011 Air w/ the same specs (4gb ram, 128gb ssd) and the Air would run circles around the 2008 model. Now, its all about price to performance and what's worth it to you.

If the size of the Air is desirable, then by all means, get the Air and don't bother upgrading old technology.

If you are happy with your '08 and just want to squeeze another year out of it or until the 13" rMBP inevitably comes out, just drop an SSD in there and it'll be like a brand new computer.

That's my advice anyway.

knarzie
Sep 7, 2012, 12:49 PM
I've got the unibody MacBook as well. I upgraded from 2 to 8GB RAM and that made a big difference. Changed HDD as well but not an SSD as I need the space.

How much are 250Gb SSD space these days?

Dark Void
Sep 7, 2012, 12:50 PM
Generally speaking, that is "correct," numbers aside - you may notice similar performance between the two in everyday tasks. However, in situations where the CPU is the bottleneck, the 1.8 GHz i5 with 2.9 GHz turbo boost is going to outperform your 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo. I am not sure about the GPU in the 2008 Aluminum MacBook but as technology goes on the Intel HD 4000 in the MBA is going to outperform what you have in your AluBook in situations where the GPU is the piece of hardware being tasked.

smwatson
Sep 7, 2012, 12:52 PM
150-200?

So new battery, RAM & SSD probably < 500. But then my laptop lasts for what, another year? Bit more than a year?

I'm not planning on buying anything until December/January so ideally the rMBP 13" will be around... If not, I'd rather buy a MBA that will be good for 4 years or so.

Would it be comparable performance-wise though? Just seems odd that a 4 year old laptop that cost 1300 would be as quick as a brand new 1500 laptop with a few hundred quid of upgrades.

----------

Generally speaking, that is "correct," numbers aside - you may notice similar performance between the two in everyday tasks. However, in situations where the CPU is the bottleneck, the 1.8 GHz i5 with 2.9 GHz turbo boost is going to outperform your 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo. I am not sure about the GPU in the 2008 Aluminum MacBook but as technology goes on the Intel HD 4000 in the MBA is going to outperform what you have in your AluBook in situations where the GPU is the piece of hardware being tasked.

Its got a Nvidia 9400M.

Dark Void
Sep 7, 2012, 01:06 PM
Its got a Nvidia 9400M.

Thanks, so yeah the Intel HD 4000 is going to outclass that quite a bit - but that does not matter of course if you're not going to be doing anything graphically intense. Those chips are great, I have an NVIDIA GPU as well.

To address the questions before you quoted me - the performance is going to be similar in everyday tasks as I said. The SSD and RAM are really going to breathe new life into your system. Whether or not it will last another year or two is subjective as there is hardware in the laptop such as the GPU and Processor that will effect its lifespan which has nothing to do with removing the RAM or HDD and replacing them. It's important to keep in mind too that those parts are just that - parts, they can be reused or resold after you get your use out of them in your current machine. It's another point to consider in favor of upgrading your computer as opposed to going out and getting a new one.

However, if you want a new laptop, by all means go out and get one.

gpat
Sep 7, 2012, 01:20 PM
I'd say the AluBook w/upgrade can easily last another 2 years for casual computing.
And you can OptiBay it. Something you won't be able to do with MBA and rMBP.

robvas
Sep 7, 2012, 02:32 PM
I had a maxed out Alu 2008 MacBook (SSD+8GB) for a few months. Nice machine but it doesn't hold a candle to my 2011 Air in speed. Or battery life ;)

In theory I could have loaded up enough stuff to use all 8GB and that would have given it the advantage. For day-to-day use I could have continued using it, but the Air is noticeably faster.

http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph4528/39859.png

smwatson
Sep 7, 2012, 02:39 PM
^ that's more like it!

jbzcar
Sep 7, 2012, 02:58 PM
I had a maxed out Alu 2008 MacBook (SSD+8GB) for a few months. Nice machine but it doesn't hold a candle to my 2011 Air in speed. Or battery life ;)

In theory I could have loaded up enough stuff to use all 8GB and that would have given it the advantage. For day-to-day use I could have continued using it, but the Air is noticeably faster.

Image (http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph4528/39859.png)

Awesome graph! I have never seen it all put together in one place like that before. :p

I just got my '11 11" i7/4GB/256GB Air last week. Coming from a late-2008 15" uMPB with a 2.8ghz C2D, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB OCZ Octane SSD. They are close according to the graph, but I can definitely feel an improvement day-to-day.

I never once saw over 4GB of RAM utilization, so the drop to 4GB isn't a huge deal for me.

Much better battery life, too. :p

Obi Wan Kenobi
Sep 7, 2012, 03:38 PM
That would make your AluBook fast, but you will still be contending with the 2008 chipset. For most tasks it would be fine. It depends on how much you need the extra processor power that an i5 or i7 would give you. If you're doing lots of video editing, I suspect you wouldn't be going for a 13" MBA anyway.

I think the real question you need to ask yourself, is whether you want to spend all that money on keeping an old machine going, or whether you want to buy a current model.

stchman
Sep 7, 2012, 04:00 PM
Generally, if you spend more than 25% of what it would be to upgrade to a new machine, it's not worth the money for the upgrade. I am going to assume that the 2008 AluBook is a 2008 Aluminum Macbook Pro.

Newegg prices:
256GB SSD - $200
8GB RAM DDR2 - $50
New battery - $75

That's a grand total of $325.

Now a 2012 13" MBA with 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD is $1575 with i5 and $1670 with an i7.

$325 x 4 = $1300.

Therefore the upgrades are financially sound.

The C2D in the 2008 model is going to be completely outclassed by the i5 or i7 of the MBA and you could say that the HD4000 is better than the 8600M in the 2008 MBP.

smwatson
Sep 7, 2012, 04:09 PM
its a MacBook not MacBook Pro, but I agree roughly though I think you'd have to revise prices upwards for UK market.

In fact - am I right in thinking this has a max RAM of 4GB?

stchman
Sep 7, 2012, 04:48 PM
its a MacBook not MacBook Pro, but I agree roughly though I think you'd have to revise prices upwards for UK market.

In fact - am I right in thinking this has a max RAM of 4GB?

I was under the impression that Alu part meant aluminum. What does AluBook mean then?

dbdynsty25
Sep 7, 2012, 05:04 PM
I was under the impression that Alu part meant aluminum. What does AluBook mean then?

The 2008 unibody aluminum MacBooks weren't "PRO" models back then. Just normal MacBooks. And to the OP...yes, that model was limited to 4GB from what I remember.

Kaylor
Sep 7, 2012, 05:07 PM
I was under the impression that Alu part meant aluminum. What does AluBook mean then?

Apple released one generation of macbooks made with an aluminum chassis.

robvas
Sep 7, 2012, 05:12 PM
its a macbook not macbook pro, but i agree roughly though i think you'd have to revise prices upwards for uk market.

In fact - am i right in thinking this has a max ram of 4gb?

8gb

seek3r
Sep 7, 2012, 05:51 PM
Apple released one generation of macbooks made with an aluminum chassis.

The 2008 unibody aluminum MacBooks weren't "PRO" models back then. Just normal MacBooks. And to the OP...yes, that model was limited to 4GB from what I remember.

To be fair they're identical to the following release of the Alu 13" pro. Literally, they're the same model (A1278) with the glass on the front changed.

They have a max of 8GB of memory.