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View Full Version : Falling out of love with the Air--may ditch for a second 15" MBP




puma1552
Aug 17, 2009, 08:10 AM
In November I picked up a top-o-the-line 15" uMBP (2.8/4/320@7200), my first mac. I was really apprehensive about buying a 15" machine, as my two previous laptops had respectively been 12 and 13.3 inches; when I got the 13 I swore I'd never own a laptop larger than a 13 inch, as I've always felt laptops should be small, portable, and light or there would be no point. I knew I wanted something better than the uMB though, and never even considered it due to the crappy screen. I knew it was MBP or MBA, but went with the MBP because I felt as a primary laptop the Air may not be quite sufficient. Once I got the 15" MBP I loved it to death right from day one.

Then in January when I was well hooked I decided I didn't want to bring this beautiful and pristine laptop into work (teacher) where it would inevitably get full of chalk dust etc. Also by then I had picked up a 24" ACD and was using the MBP as a desktop replacement and loving it.

I decided to get a Rev. B Air based on the positive reviews, and since my work load as a teacher is pretty light (no photoshop or anything of the sort). I thought two MBPs would be a little facetious/pointless. At that, I went with the base 1.6/120 Air. It's been a good computer, no problems or anything of the sort. The 4200 RPM drive sure is a bottleneck at times though.

I find myself falling out of love with it; not sure why since it's everything I ever used to want in a laptop in terms of portability, etc., and in that respect it's great. I don't think I ever fully came to love the wedge profile compared to the slab-sided hunks of aluminum all other Apple laptops have been like. And, though currently sufficient for my needs, it surely will/has become a grossly outdated performer. I keep thinking things would be different had I went for the SSD model, but I'm not sure. Even had I wanted it, the price was exorbitant--$3200 USD here in Japan (the base model was $2200 as it was, ouch). I couldn't justify an extra grand for a secondary computer.

I sold some camera gear this weekend and was on the edge of making the trip to the Osaka store to pick up a 2.13/SSD MBA, and I almost did it. But I didn't. The Rev. B has a piss poor resale value now thanks to Apple's price drops so even after the sale I'd be out $1k to make that upgrade literally for absolutely nothing other than an SSD and 500 MHz processor speed increase. Everything else in the laptop is literally exactly the same. Not to mention, surely there is a case redesign around the corner with a 2.X/4/256SSD configuration coming. I decided at the very least to wait, and hope that a case redesign delivers something beautiful to fall back in love with.

Now that the matte 15 inch MBPs have popped up, and seeing pics yesterday and today, I find myself lusting after one. I have a glossy one, so at least the aesthetic changes in the matte make me more able to justify two MBPs now--one of each. I have zero need for a matte screen, but it's an elegant machine.

I'm a teacher at two schools. I live right behind one, so I walk to work right around the corner. The other school, I drive to so I just put the laptop on the passenger seat next to me and drive to school. At both schools, I put the laptop on the desk at 8 AM, and take it off the desk at 4 PM. I have no meetings or presentations or anything of the sort where I move the machine around during work. Thus, neither of these situations warrant an extremely portable machine.

I fly/travel a bit, but purely for leisure and never for work so I never need to bring a laptop with me.

I'm not a college student anymore, so I definitely don't have to worry about lugging a lappy around campus with me.

I don't know...I'm just looking at the elegant though dated wedge-shaped weakling 1.6 Air with an iPod harddrive which I've seemed to fall out of love with, and then looking at the new matte 15 inch MBPs and falling in love with them just as I did my glossy MBP.

I should note, I love my glossy screen and have no problems with reflections, even when I do bring it in to work for fun just to get it out of the house on days I have no classes and don't get my hands dirty. I do not work outside. I do not need matte nor glossy, both are perfectly usable to me.

Portability is nice, but the reality is I don't really need it. That said, I have zero interest in getting a desktop because it's too much hassle (at some point I'll be moving back home to America and don't even want to think of transporting/shipping a desktop, and I have always thought computers should be in laptop form whenever possible--just so much easier and convenient if/when you want it to be), and I don't care for the 13" MBP--I'd rather keep the Air in that case.

But at the same time, my Air still fits my needs for the most part and I don't need the power of a MBP for a work machine...it's simply a want, I guess.

Yeah so I don't really know what the point of this post is...I guess I'm just torn between keeping what I got til it bottoms out on the depreciation curve and/or dies beyond worthwhile repair, or waiting and selling it off for a possible new Air design, or selling it off and getting another beautiful MBP.



uberamd
Aug 17, 2009, 08:16 AM
To me you just sound bored. You want a new computer just to have a new computer. The fact that a matte screen is justification for you to consider a new uMBP despite the fact that you already have one, and enjoy the glossy screen and admit you have no use for a matte screen just strengthens my point that you are bored.

Lets think logically here. Do you really need two systems? Is your MBA covered in chalk dust? Is it tattered from transportation between work and home? If not, why even have 2 laptops?

puma1552
Aug 17, 2009, 08:23 AM
I like your thinking.

As for two laptops, it is never necessary, but it IS nice and I don't think I could ever see myself going back to just one system. Not to mention living in rural, rural, rural Japan in a town of 5,000 people with an average age of over 70 with no bars, no shopping, no restaurants, etc., if one of my systems went down and I didn't have another one to use/work on for the 2+ weeks I wouldn't have a computer, I'd probably blow my head off.

That and now that I think about it, I do actually need two systems because I don't have a laptop at one of my schools, and the one at the other one is a fifteen year old Japanese keyboard/Japanese windows 98 machine that's locked to the desk so I couldn't take it back and forth if I wanted to.

uberamd
Aug 17, 2009, 08:31 AM
I like your thinking.

As for two laptops, it is never necessary, but it IS nice and I don't think I could ever see myself going back to just one system. Not to mention living in rural, rural, rural Japan in a town of 5,000 people with an average age of over 70 with no bars, no shopping, no restaurants, etc., if one of my systems went down and I didn't have another one to use/work on for the 2+ weeks I wouldn't have a computer, I'd probably blow my head off.

That and now that I think about it, I do actually need two systems because I don't have a laptop at one of my schools, and the one at the other one is a fifteen year old Japanese keyboard/Japanese windows 98 machine that's locked to the desk so I couldn't take it back and forth if I wanted to.

Maybe a 13" Macbook Pro would solve your problems. Its smaller than the 15" so you have better portability if needed, however its got the aluminum slab look you like with the 15". I think its smarter to have 13" & 15" than two 15"ers. But thats just me.

Nimiety
Aug 17, 2009, 08:34 AM
Out of curiosity, do you think your current predicament would be the same if your air had the SSD (thereby making it "seem" faster, smoother, less of a bottleneck, etc)?

puma1552
Aug 17, 2009, 09:02 AM
Yeah I'm not sure on the SSD. Even if I had the SSD, I'd still be saddled with a screen that for all intensive purposes is garbage in comparison to a MBP/ACD screen, lines or no lines, which they mostly all have lines as a further insult. Doesn't help that Apple exclusively is using the junk 9C90 on the Rev. C Air (new ones anyway, some refurbs are popping up with better screens)

I'm currently typing on my Air hooked to my ACD and even with a MUCH nicer color profile than factory, the Air screen looks like absolute yellow trash compared to the ACD with it's gorgeous spot-on factory profile. Sure, the ACD is an IPS panel so it's not a fair comparison but I get the same results when placing it next to the MBP...that's always bothered me and a 2.13/SSD model won't fix that either.

As for the 13 inch MBP...I just don't care for it, not sure why. If I'm gonna go down to a 13 incher, it would (is) gonna be an Air. True it's a slab-side, but that thick of a black bezel doesn't sit well with me. Even though it's the same as the Air's bezel size-wise, it just looks crappy to me on the 13 inch MBP. I can't explain or justify that.

I think what I'd ultimately like to see is this:

--Upgrade my glossy MBP when they finally stick in USB 3.0, a high-res screen (maybe OLED?? Pipe dream...), 2.8 GHz Quad-cores, a 320 or 500 gig SSD and 8 gigs of RAM for a few hundred bucks from the factory. That's a ways off. Would use that as my pristine desktop replacement.

------

--A redesigned non-wedge Air with a high-res screen without QC issues Apple refuses to acknowledge, and a 2.4/4/256SSD configuration with a six hour battery and the lack of the fans needing to spin to 6200 on simple tasks. 2 USB ports because Japan can't seem to get with the wireless network program despite being able to absolutely murder anyone else's internet speeds in the world despite being hours away from the relay test station and through a USB ethernet adapter no less as the salt in the wound to the rest of the world's internet speeds. Replace current Air with this...

...or...

--Pick up a 2.8 GHz standard-config matte MBP and use it as a secondary machine well beyond the time they upgrade the MBP to the specs above that I'd like to see as an update to my glossy.

uberamd
Aug 17, 2009, 09:13 AM
I say wait. No need to buy now for the sheer purpose of getting a computer to get one. Wait until next update and see if anyone comes through the pipes.

puma1552
Aug 17, 2009, 09:22 AM
That's probably what I'll end up doing, at least for now. Have some other things I'd like to take care of financially.

But damn if my fan is ramping up to 6200 for NO REASON and then staying there til I shut off the computer isn't annoying when the CPU temp is only 57*C then I don't know what is...it's probably the thing I hate the most about the laptop.

(Yes I've done the SMC/PRAM stuff, no change)

uberamd
Aug 17, 2009, 09:33 AM
That's probably what I'll end up doing, at least for now. Have some other things I'd like to take care of financially.

But damn if my fan is ramping up to 6200 for NO REASON and then staying there til I shut off the computer isn't annoying when the CPU temp is only 57*C then I don't know what is...it's probably the thing I hate the most about the laptop.

(Yes I've done the SMC/PRAM stuff, no change)

I installed Coolbook on my Air and it has resolved most annoying heat/fan issues.

Scottsdale
Aug 17, 2009, 09:44 AM
A 2.13 GHz MBA is far superior to a 1.6. More than anything though drives are the biggest bottleneck in a computer. The HDD version of the MBA is too slow to be fun. The SSD feels 10X FASTER! Night and day.

When my rev B 1.86 GHz/SSD was stolen, I tried a HDD version for a day as it was only a few months before I expected, and we got, an update. I couldn't stand it. It wasn't FUN to use. It was incredibly SLOW. My rev B MBA felt like a Mac Pro. My rev C MBA feels like a Mac Pro in terms of actual speed with the SSD. The thing is it's so small, lightweight, and portable that it's the ultimate in portable. At the same time, I plug it into a 24" LED ACD and it does exactly what I need and expect it to do and more.

I have totally adjusted to wireless connections to drives, printers, and Internet. MobileMe is a dream with it. The whole setup is incredible! There is no way I could live with an HDD version as it's far too slow, and that isn't comparable to a MBP in any way. At the same time an SSD MBA is faster than a MBP with HDD by a large margin, and that's what I expect for speed/performance.

I suggest that anyone who hasn't OWNED a MBA rev B/C SSD hasn't discovered/experienced the truely amazing Mac that's incredibly FUN. Anyone who starts a thread stating they have "fallen out of love" with their MBA, has had an original MBA, a 1.6 GHz MBA, or a HDD version MBA. To truely "experience" the joy, fun, and unreal performance of an MBA one MUST OWN a rev B/C MBA with SSD. Anything less is NOT the real deal! It must feel faster than a MBP, yet be more portable, and one absolutely MUST have an AEBS (w/HDD)/Time Capsule, attached printer, MobileMe, and a 24" LED ACD to experience ALL that the MBA is and should be! Without all of that, the MBA is lacking. With all of that, everything is accessible and makes for an exceptional experience with a Mac system.

Right now, people can get a rev C MBA with SSD for $1549 refurbished, but to have an all around incredible experience plan to buy a 24" ACD ($599), Time Capsule ($299) with attached printer, DVD drive at ACD ($99), and MobileMe ($40). The complete system allows ALL normal expectations to be met.

Yes, it costs some money. But far less now than ever before. If one cannot afford the whole setup, they should only be using the MBA as a secondary computer as it will be lacking everything that is expected of it...

puma1552
Aug 17, 2009, 09:57 AM
Thanks for the input Scottsdale, I was hoping you'd chime in. That difference in clock speed was part of the reason I was thinking about the upgrade--the 1.6-->2.13 isn't much to snub my nose at, nor is the SSD, but I'm not sure I want to drop a grand to go that route.

Like you said though, the HDD is slow as crap. Apps bounce like ten times before finally launching and then there go the fans. My fans have been 6200 for the last hour and a half. Nothing I'm doing has changed in the three hours I've been using it. One browser, driving an ACD, and iTunes. For 1.5 hours it was happy at 2500 rpm, then all of a sudden 6200 and it won't come down. Annoying more than anything, but I don't like the idea of having to use third party software just to get an acceptable machine. A marvel of engineering (having an engineering background myself), but still room for some more heat management tweaking. That screen HAS to go, too.

The funny thing is--I have all of that stuff you mention, sans mobile me. I have an ACD, a Time Capsule, wireless printing (Canon portable PIXMA iP90v FTW!!), wireless networking, the whole bowl of wax. I have it all. The computer just, well...sucks. I love living wireless, and see it as the only way, and even did my initial Time Capsule backups wirelessly (aforementioned Japanese internet speeds, 120 gigs in under four hours wirelessly, heh heh heh)...too bad my job working for the government can't seem to get with the program.

What really irritates me though is that the Osaka store, last time I was there, didn't even have an SSD model on display to at least try. To this day I have never, ever gotten to even try an SSD in real life. I'd really like to see how nice they are because everyone always says how great they are and I want to see if even Apple's middle-of-the-road SSDs are as great as I hear.

entatlrg
Aug 17, 2009, 11:37 AM
Possibily, had you owned an SSD version you may not ever of made this post.

My MBA with SSD is very zippy, for normal tasks is seems to keep up with my 2009 15" MBP w/256 ssd.

I prefer to use, type on and carry my MBA much more than my 15".

You can read more about my experience in a post I just made in another thread here > http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=8298436#post8298436

Good luck on your decision, I strongly suggest trying a 1.8/2.13 model with ssd before you make any final decisions.

ayeying
Aug 17, 2009, 11:51 AM
That's probably what I'll end up doing, at least for now. Have some other things I'd like to take care of financially.

But damn if my fan is ramping up to 6200 for NO REASON and then staying there til I shut off the computer isn't annoying when the CPU temp is only 57*C then I don't know what is...it's probably the thing I hate the most about the laptop.

(Yes I've done the SMC/PRAM stuff, no change)

Compare the heatsink/fan from the MBA to the MBPs... huge difference there. The fact the heatsink works on the MBA is interesting. I would've gone with a fin design but you only have about 1/8 of an inch clearance to work with. (I think that number might be a little big, probably smaller)

Scottsdale
Aug 17, 2009, 02:01 PM
I can honestly state that I NEVER hear the fan on my rev C MBA 2.13/SSD. I watch streaming movies on it, do some video editing, and etc.

I remember feeling the fan kick on on my rev B 1.86 GHz/SSD just while watching movies.

NEVER have the 6200 rpm issue. I think that's an overworked CPU/HDD combo issue??? SSD changes that for certain, and figure too that it takes a 2 GHz CPU to run HD quality video on most apps like iTunes, and Flash/QT and etc hit the CPU hard... maybe the difference in CPU clock speed really changes that...

I think someone with a rev B/C SSD MBA running at 1.86/SSD would never have the same complaints nor "fall out of love" with the MBA. Just my opinion, as I absolutely am amazed by everything this little Mac can do!

harrymcfly
Aug 17, 2009, 02:51 PM
I also have the rev C MBA 2.13/SSD and never hear the fan unless I press my ear up close to the computer (as compared to my 2007 white Macbook which was quite loud). Heat hasn't been any more or less of an issue than with said white Macbook.

Jobsian
Aug 17, 2009, 03:54 PM
As some have echoed above, Puma the 2.13GHz with SSD is a beauty to run, when testing it in Apple stores I'm always astonished at how fast it is compared with my expectations of the meager materials before me.

Reading what you've written, and speaking personally Puma, I haven't seen a rationale that's compelling enough to warrant an upgrade at this stage. And like myself (waaay too often!) you convey a kind of enthusiasm about a new product that doubtless corporations love hearing, their powerful marketing dep'ts very raison d'Ítre is to infuse these irrational feelings.

I say wait buddy, the approximately 2-yearly major mobile processor upgrade, in this case Intel Arrandale 32nm, is coming very soon (late this year or early next year). Get a machine with one of those fresh.


As for two laptops, it is never necessary, but it IS nice and I don't think I could ever see myself going back to just one system. Not to mention living in rural, rural, rural Japan in a town of 5,000 people with an average age of over 70 with no bars, no shopping, no restaurants, etc., if one of my systems went down and I didn't have another one to use/work on for the 2+ weeks I wouldn't have a computer, I'd probably blow my head off.

That and now that I think about it, I do actually need two systems because I don't have a laptop at one of my schools, and the one at the other one is a fifteen year old Japanese keyboard/Japanese windows 98 machine that's locked to the desk so I couldn't take it back and forth if I wanted to.I have to say, I find this glimmer of insight into your time in rural Japan as fascinating as anything I've read on these usually dehydrated forums!

entatlrg
Aug 17, 2009, 07:09 PM
I'd say, life is short, if you're curious and want to know for sure try the MBA for the 14 days, then you'll know for sure if it's the right move for you.

I would never own two 15" MBA's though ...

puma1552
Aug 17, 2009, 09:44 PM
Well I think that in both the MBA and MBP camps, there are going to be some fantastic upgrades coming in the next year, ones actually worth waiting for as they will be more than minor spec bumps...2.X/4/256 with new screens and possibly new case designs along with a new processor architecture and hopefully a longer battery for the Air, and the new processor architecture for the MBPs along with hopefully hi-res screens, USB 3.0, and maybe even Blu-Ray if we are super lucky.

When I bought my MBP in November it had an equally impressive array of new features compared to the ones available just days before their release--unibody construction/new case design, mini display port, glass trackpad, etc.

I'd like to maximize the justification and performance/$ ratio by upgrading both computers again when such big upgrade steps is taken, so for now I guess I'll just hang on to what I have.

At that, I just sent home the 210,000 yen ($2200) I'd been hanging onto to possibly put towards the new MBA/MBP...also gotta start thinking about getting my gf a new lappy (possibly 13" pro) for Christmas...priorities, priorities.

Thanks for all the input guys.

Scottsdale
Aug 18, 2009, 03:42 AM
Possibily, had you owned an SSD version you may not ever of made this post.



That was my thinking and point exactly.

I couldn't imagine falling "out of love" with my MBA. At the same time, when my rev B 1.86/SSD was stolen, and I had to replace it, I went with a uMB. I didn't want to spend $2499 on another MBA (as I expected a rev C soon thereafter) and I couldn't deal with how slow the HDD model was. I have to buy a Mac when it's initially introduced, or the value goes down drastically and I see no point. I was so glad I waited for the new MBA to rebuy the MBA. It saved me a bunch of money, and got me a really nice Mac.

Bottom line, the MBA without SSD is just an ultra-portable that seems "average." Falling in "love" with an MBA requires the SSD/Nvidia GPU/and at least 1.86 Penryn CPU!

I never fell in love with my original MBA... was anything but love... it was a bore! It was slow, and it overheated... and the fans sounded like a helicopter. It was a NOVELTY! That's it, without Nvidia GPU/SSD/and Penryn CPU running at near 2GHz the MBA is just a novel concept. With all the technology that is available in high-end rev B/C, it becomes incredible... a shear joy to own/use.

My original MBA froze absolutely all the time, and the dreaded beach ball meant reboot or it would stick indefinitely. The Nvidia GPU made the MBA really capable of all video/graphics/entertainment demands. The SSD makes it really quick. The faster Penryn CPU makes it really capable as a Mac computer and the ability to run all the apps a normal Mac user would expect without overheating, lock-ups, and dreaded beach balls of death.

I cannot wait to see how the MBA form factor evolves. Until then, I will definitely be "loving" my rev C MacBook Air!

uberamd
Aug 18, 2009, 07:51 AM
That was my thinking and point exactly.

I couldn't imagine falling "out of love" with my MBA. At the same time, when my rev B 1.86/SSD was stolen, and I had to replace it, I went with a uMB. I didn't want to spend $2499 on another MBA (as I expected a rev C soon thereafter) and I couldn't deal with how slow the HDD model was. I have to buy a Mac when it's initially introduced, or the value goes down drastically and I see no point. I was so glad I waited for the new MBA to rebuy the MBA. It saved me a bunch of money, and got me a really nice Mac.

Bottom line, the MBA without SSD is just an ultra-portable that seems "average." Falling in "love" with an MBA requires the SSD/Nvidia GPU/and at least 1.86 Penryn CPU!

I never fell in love with my original MBA... was anything but love... it was a bore! It was slow, and it overheated... and the fans sounded like a helicopter. It was a NOVELTY! That's it, without Nvidia GPU/SSD/and Penryn CPU running at near 2GHz the MBA is just a novel concept. With all the technology that is available in high-end rev B/C, it becomes incredible... a shear joy to own/use.

My original MBA froze absolutely all the time, and the dreaded beach ball meant reboot or it would stick indefinitely. The Nvidia GPU made the MBA really capable of all video/graphics/entertainment demands. The SSD makes it really quick. The faster Penryn CPU makes it really capable as a Mac computer and the ability to run all the apps a normal Mac user would expect without overheating, lock-ups, and dreaded beach balls of death.

I cannot wait to see how the MBA form factor evolves. Until then, I will definitely be "loving" my rev C MacBook Air!

I can't personally see how anyone could justify the incredibly high price of the SSD Macbook Air. I realize now its less money, and its a more feasible upgrade, but before the Rev C and the price drops, how on earth could anyone justify that extremely high cost for a simple SSD drive? That blows me away.

Yeah, I love my Rev A Air. 80GB HD, runs plenty fast, I don't get the beach ball constantly, apps launch plenty fast, and its a great experience. But before the Rev C it was what, $800+ more for the SSD? And you people paid that much for a SSD? My goodness.

I guess I don't see how the HDD caused that many problems for people. With the HDD, my Air boots in under a minute, shuts down in 8 seconds, launches apps in 10 seconds or so, and never hangs on me. I can compile applications with ease, run Windows Vista via boot camp if needed for class, and more. What the heck were you guys doing with your Air that caused the HDD models to perform so horribly?

entatlrg
Aug 18, 2009, 09:35 AM
It's human nature for people to buy things they 'want' not necessarily 'need' like iphones, designer jeans, sports cars, latte's and yes for some they'll prefer to spend their hard earned money on an ssd ... that's why 'products' are made, it's not too big a deal really...

You're referring to a 4200 rpm HD ... very sluggish and poor performing in any computer compared to a 5400/7200 or ssd drive ...

I paid full price for my ssd revB Air ... looking back it's one of the better purchases I've ever made .... it's real pleasure owning/carrying and using a real fast, super thin lightweight machine ... looking back I'd do it again, this time with less thought and hesitation :)