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View Full Version : Performance: RevB 1.86 120HD vs RevA 1.6 64SSD




nman040
Aug 3, 2009, 10:23 PM
Hey guys, I'm about to take the plunge for a Macbook Air and based on stuff I've read on the forums many recommend SSD over the 1.8" HD for performance reasons.

Right now I've a choice between a

i. Rev A 1.6 with an SSD or
ii. Rev B 1.86 with a 120GB HDD.

1) Based on the other specs besides the type of storage, it's a no brainer that 1.86 would perform better. What I'm wondering is whether the HDD in the Rev B 1.86 is THAT big a bottleneck that it would justify me getting the RevA? (not taking price into account, purely specs)

Sorry if this a stupid question but I'm really clueless as to how much better an SSD is compared the the "ipod HDD"

2) How do the Rev A and Rev B fair againt each other in terms of heat?

3) Just curious: How would a RevA 1.8 SSD fair against a RevB 1.86 HDD?

Thank you for your time :)



EspressoLove
Aug 4, 2009, 12:16 AM
Disclaimer: Never had MBA, though investigated it closely, as it's extremely close to my "dream machine" - so I have some thoughts.

non SATA (Rev.A! & B?) is a HUGE NO GO!!!
IDE/PATA HDDs/SSDs are so few, and whole spec is so yesterday - you just isolating yourself from any future possible upgrades ...

So if you fancy something now, also think about how it'll fare in the not so distant future (X18M's getting 320Gb @ 150$ :eek::rolleyes::D)
You practically guaranteed to pull your hair when they say - Oh sorry SATA only :cool:

EspressoLove
Aug 4, 2009, 12:25 AM
Though what I'm waiting for is : 2.0Gz Arrandale, 4GB, 1440x900 OLED screen :rolleyes::D
Macworld'10 ? Please?!!!

That or MBP'13 getting rid of DVD :eek::eek::eek:

nman040
Aug 5, 2009, 12:30 AM
Disclaimer: Never had MBA, though investigated it closely, as it's extremely close to my "dream machine" - so I have some thoughts.

non SATA (Rev.A! & B?) is a HUGE NO GO!!!
IDE/PATA HDDs/SSDs are so few, and whole spec is so yesterday - you just isolating yourself from any future possible upgrades ...

So if you fancy something now, also think about how it'll fare in the not so distant future (X18M's getting 320Gb @ 150$ :eek::rolleyes::D)
You practically guaranteed to pull your hair when they say - Oh sorry SATA only :cool:

Thanks for your feedback. Looks like Rev B is the one to go for since it has SATA.

How significant would be the performance gains be if i upgraded the HDD to an SDD in the 1.86?

What about heat? I heard the Rev A tends to heat up quite a bit. How much better is Rev B in heat management?

Thank you for your time

ayeying
Aug 5, 2009, 01:01 AM
Only rev A used a PATA connection. rev B has the SATA 3.0gbps.

Scottsdale
Aug 5, 2009, 02:08 AM
Well, the PATA vs SATA isn't the issue between these two. In fact, running the SSD PATA drive will be faster throughput than running the SATA-II HDD.

The BIGGEST issue here is the Nvidia 9400m. The rev B with Nvidia 9400m GPU has about 4X the graphics capabilities. In fact, the 9400m is what made the MBA incredibly capable!

Also, the CPU is much nicer in the rev B, as it uses a Penryn 45 NM process CPU, which doesn't have overheating problems experienced by the original MBA with 65 nm process Merom CPU.

SATA-II allows faster throughput, but one would need an SSD to experience the necessity for that.

Also, the rev B has Mini Display Port paired with the 9400m. This allows an external monitor up to 30" to be attached!

I would buy the rev B given those two... however, I strongly urge you to spend a little more and buy the rev B SSD version. It will be incredibly faster than the HDD. It's definitely worth the extra $150! Heck, it's worth far more than that!

The rev B 1.86 GHz with SSD is extremely capable. Snow Leopard will make it even better when it's released next month!

Then, for $100 more you can buy the rev C 2.13, which exceeds the 2 GHz barrier suggested for some HD video players like iTunes! In addition, more battery power, a USB ethernet attachment, and non-throttled GPU.

Best wishes.

EspressoLove
Aug 5, 2009, 10:06 PM
In addition, more battery power, a USB ethernet attachment, and non-throttled GPU.

What do you mean by that?

ayeying
Aug 5, 2009, 10:15 PM
Battery is up from 37 wHr on the Rev A and Rev B to 40 wHr.

The ethernet dongle is free now, before it was like 19 bucks.

And the GPU is throttled still. 300MHz Core speed for us while the MB/MBP (13" or 15" or 17") has 450MHz Core speed

EspressoLove
Aug 5, 2009, 10:52 PM
Battery is up from 37 wHr on the Rev A and Rev B to 40 wHr.

The ethernet dongle is free now, before it was like 19 bucks.

And the GPU is throttled still. 300MHz Core speed for us while the MB/MBP (13" or 15" or 17") has 450MHz Core speed

Wow, somehow I missed that (battery upgrade & free dongle) - guess I'm watching MBPs closely, to fit my 'dream machine' bill :cool::D

P.S. are you sure 13"MBP is not GPU throttled?

Scottsdale
Aug 5, 2009, 10:58 PM
The price dropped today to $1349 refurbished for a rev B MacBook Air with 128 GB SSD running at 1.86 GHz!

This is an incredible deal, and I think you should seriously consider this MBA.

Good luck.

ayeying
Aug 6, 2009, 12:55 AM
Wow, somehow I missed that (battery upgrade & free dongle) - guess I'm watching MBPs closely, to fit my 'dream machine' bill :cool::D

P.S. are you sure 13"MBP is not GPU throttled?

The Aluminum MacBooks didn't have underclocked video cards so... I'm not sure why the newer 13" MacBook PROs would.. either case, it is a minimal difference unless you're playing something like Crysis at all high.

nman040
Aug 7, 2009, 06:12 AM
Thanks for your replies everyone. Very informative.

Rev A is definitely out of the question then. I have another query. Given two choices:

1) Rev B 1.86 128SSD - Refurbished
2) Rev C 1.86 120HDD - Brand new

I'm currently in New Zealand and the price difference between the two are just $100 between the two (with the refurbished one being $100 cheaper)

Besides the type of storage the two have, do the CPUs and GPU, chipset between the two differ at all? Or are the exactly the same?

Are there any notable advantages the Rev C has over the refurbished Rev B? Besides the higher capacity batt in the Rev C? Does it make a difference considering the Rev B runs an SSD which drains less battery (am I right to say this?)

Which one should I go for?

Thanks again

Jobsian
Aug 7, 2009, 07:13 AM
Oh Certainly the Rev B/128SSD Refurb. Certainly. The SSD is a paradigm shift in speed.

Jobsian
Aug 7, 2009, 07:14 AM
Plus the Rev B isn't far off Rev C, in fact because of Rev C's aggressive throttling, some benchmarks are better on B.

nman040
Aug 7, 2009, 07:19 AM
Oh Certainly the Rev B/128SSD Refurb. Certainly. The SSD is a paradigm shift in speed.

Hypothetically, if the rev C 1.86 had an SSD, how would it differ from the Rev B 1.86 besides the lightly higher battery capacity and USB ethernet adapter (which I couldn't be bothered about)

thanks

Jobsian
Aug 7, 2009, 07:25 AM
Hypothetically, if the rev C 1.86 had an SSD, how would it differ from the Rev B 1.86 besides the lightly higher battery capacity and USB ethernet adapter (which I couldn't be bothered about)

thanks
The GPU is also apparently faster - I haven't seen the official clock speeds, but Apple do say the Rev B GPU is "4x performance" and the Rev C GPU is "6x performance"

nman040
Aug 7, 2009, 08:11 AM
The GPU is also apparently faster - I haven't seen the official clock speeds, but Apple do say the Rev B GPU is "4x performance" and the Rev C GPU is "6x performance"

Ah right. I assumed they were the same. Thanks for pointing that out.

I just revisited this review:

http://www.macworld.com/article/141296/2009/06/macbook_air_mid09.html?lsrc=top_1

Many say that SSD is faster HDDs (in respect to MBA's).

If that's the case, based on the benchmarks (scroll all the way down) why is it that the HDD models (Rev B 1.6 & Rev C 1.86) perform better in tasks such as Compressor, iMovieHD, iTunes 7 encoding and Quake 4 frame rates (in the case of Rev B 1.6 vs Rev B1 1.86)?

Is there an explanation for this? Are there specific tasks that SSDs excel in and pale in comparison to their HDD counterparts?

Thank you for your time


edit: Just read this in the linked article above (should've read the article thoroughly):

"We also saw several cases in which the lower-end systems, with slower processors but with hard drives rather than solid-state drives, bested their high-end equivalents. Some of these results simply come down to the fact that solid-state drives are faster than physical hard drives at some tasks and slower at others. But on tasks we tend to consider particularly processor intensive, such as compressing video or rendering 3-D objects, the low-end systems also outperformed the higher-end systems. We’re not quite sure why this is happening, though it’s possible that the Air’s thermal-protection systems are aggressively ratcheting down the speed of the faster, hotter processors when they’re asked to perform those tasks, slowing their performance."

Hmmm so SSDs are faster and slower..

What I am most concerned about however is SSDs vs HDDs in basic daily tasks eg web browsing, word processing, itunes, iphoto.
Are SSDs superior to HDDs for the mention tasks? If so could someome explain to me why? I would really like to wrap my head around this (especially since the article pointed out that SSDs are better in some, but not all ways)

Thanks again

darrellishere
Aug 7, 2009, 09:01 AM
I use cool-book on my 1.6 revision b HDD.

While exporting 100 raw images in photoshop, with the cpu un-throttled the cpu temperature rose to 107'c!

I had it on my lap probably with the air vents slightly blocked, but by raising the Air vertically the temperature started to drop to 100 then down to 80/70 when the CPU finished its exports.

Dose this heat do damage? For short periods of time?

My CPU is usually un-throttled, in order to watch HD stuff smoothly but never went passed 85c before. LOL

The chip isn't the bottle neck in my system its the HDD! So go with a revision B SDD refurbished and never wait for your system to catch up with you again! ;)

nman040
Aug 7, 2009, 09:20 AM
I use cool-book on my 1.6 revision b HDD.

While exporting 100 raw images in photoshop, with the cpu un-throttled the cpu temperature rose to 107'c!

I had it on my lap probably with the air vents slightly blocked, but by raising the Air vertically the temperature started to drop to 100 then down to 80/70 when the CPU finished its exports.

Dose this heat do damage? For short periods of time?

My CPU is usually un-throttled, in order to watch HD stuff smoothly but never went passed 85c before. LOL

The chip isn't the bottle neck in my system its the HDD! So go with a revision B SDD refurbished and never wait for your system to catch up with you again! ;)

My MBP C2D 2.16 runs at 80C all the time- I constantly have a lot going on at the same time.

I'd like to get an MBA as a secondary computer for use in uni. I only move my MBP around on weekends when I don't have coursebooks to lug around.

So SSDs perform better in real-world computing then you say.

Thanks for the feedback. Appreciate it.

OT:

Un-throttling is really intriguing. Laptops are throttled a lot aren't they? In the case of my MBP, everything's fine and dandy when it's plugged in. Expose's smooth, dashboard fades in and fades out gracefully, the dock magnifies progressively as you glide the most along- you get the gist haha.

However, the moment it I unplug it from the power source everything gets so choppy it bugs me to the core. So I end up always always plug it in when I'm using it. Hence my batt health of 49%- can't stay unplugged for more than 40mins without it crapping on me (I know i should've calibrated it etc etc).
Is there a program that I could run on my MBP that would make it run as if it were plugged in (un-throttling?)?

darrellishere
Aug 7, 2009, 09:58 AM
It looks like coolbook may be for the MBP too!

"CoolBook is a tool for the MacBook and MacBook Pro computers. It lets you monitor the frequency, voltage and temperature of the CoreDuo / Core2Duo CPU. Registered users can also change the frequency and voltage of the processor. Download CoolBook to find out more. The "Santa Rosa" / LED MacBook Pro is only partially supported. "

http://www.coolbook.se/CoolBook.html

PS The SSD absolutely performs better in real wold computing! I have one in my mac mini and its a dream to use. Hens why I wont one in my air!
You will love it!

Jobsian
Aug 7, 2009, 10:58 AM
PS The SSD absolutely performs better in real wold computing! I have one in my mac mini and its a dream to use. Hens why I wont one in my air!
You will love it!

This, nman, this.

Ask Scottsdale!