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Old Mar 12, 2011, 06:44 AM   #1
v2kea412
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MBA or new 15 MBP

Since my 15" MBP 8GB/500GB/Hi Res AG is on backorder from Macmall and is facing cancellation, I was curious if I shouldn't go with a 13" Ultimate Air instead...

I always run my Win7 Bootcamp in VMWare Fusion concurrently with OSX. Mostly a web development machine, with Adobe CS3 on my Mac side, and the typical Eclipse stuff.... On the PC side, run the Office apps, and some MS SQL Studio client...

Doing all of this on an Early 2008 MBP, so not sure if the MBA would be just fine or not... The gent at the Apple Store insisted that if i was going to be doing a lot of VM stuff, that the MBP would be the better choice....

Any thoughts?
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Old Mar 12, 2011, 07:00 AM   #2
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I can't commit on the Windows junk (I couldn't imagine putting that crapware company software on my machine, it's like why buy a mac, if I have to put winhoes on it?)

.....

In regards to web development! It's a dream and easy on a MBA (I have the ultimate) thats what I do, I play with dashcode, and the usual html, css, javascript ... I intsalled the trail version of Adobe (just for their fonts , not a fan of the bloated software overall) and then erased the trail, but I can say pixelmator works great and it's very capable from a design perspective for web work and much cheaper too $30 ... The SSD makes things soooooooo much faster/snappier not to mention the 4GB ram and that 2.13 processor ... Sorry to hear about your 15" pro on back order.

....

You should be more then okay for the mac stuff... as for windows, it's sad anyone would put their beautiful mac through that horror process of having anything microcough on their machine. but to each their own

.....

Get the Air ultimate (you won't regret it).
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Old Mar 12, 2011, 07:06 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by v2kea412 View Post
Since my 15" MBP 8GB/500GB/Hi Res AG is on backorder from Macmall and is facing cancellation, I was curious if I shouldn't go with a 13" Ultimate Air instead...

I always run my Win7 Bootcamp in VMWare Fusion concurrently with OSX. Mostly a web development machine, with Adobe CS3 on my Mac side, and the typical Eclipse stuff.... On the PC side, run the Office apps, and some MS SQL Studio client...

Doing all of this on an Early 2008 MBP, so not sure if the MBA would be just fine or not... The gent at the Apple Store insisted that if i was going to be doing a lot of VM stuff, that the MBP would be the better choice....

Any thoughts?
Hey v2kea412,

I was sort of in a similar situation on trying to decide between these two models. I believe there have been Air owners confirm that applications you want to run work great on the Air. However, the 2.0, or 2.2 Quad Core is way more powerful as you probably know. I ended up going for the 15" because I think it is more future proof, and it will handle what I need without any doubt. Our needs are different though, as I do audio stuff. If you can get by the sexy slimness of the Air, the MBP offers so much more.

Knowing all this, I still had a really tough time deciding on which to buy!

Another member said it to me sort of like this, I can't remember word for word, "if you like the looks of the machine go for the Air, if you want your machine to be capable of doing the work you are asking it to do, get the MBP".

He was 100% right, and I knew it. lol. Don't get me wrong though, I believe the Air is an outstanding machine, and can really put it in gear, but again, the MBP was more practical for my specific needs.

P.S. you can always drop an ss drive in the 15" as well to turbo flame it up a bit.
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Old Mar 12, 2011, 08:57 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by v2kea412 View Post
Since my 15" MBP 8GB/500GB/Hi Res AG is on backorder from Macmall and is facing cancellation, I was curious if I shouldn't go with a 13" Ultimate Air instead...

I always run my Win7 Bootcamp in VMWare Fusion concurrently with OSX. Mostly a web development machine, with Adobe CS3 on my Mac side, and the typical Eclipse stuff.... On the PC side, run the Office apps, and some MS SQL Studio client...

Doing all of this on an Early 2008 MBP, so not sure if the MBA would be just fine or not... The gent at the Apple Store insisted that if i was going to be doing a lot of VM stuff, that the MBP would be the better choice....

Any thoughts?
I faced this dilemma from a different perspective. I run everything you mention here, albeit run Win 7 in Parallels. Difference between me is that I already own the 15" i7, Hi-Res AG etc etc...with an ssd. I know this is crazy but my 13" air is quicker, and runs these tasks no problem. At work I run my Win 7 VM while working on mac progs, with word and excel always and working on files, with the occasional Pandora playing. It doesnt glitch on me whatsoever. From time to time the fan will kick in which can be a bit loud but typically cools off quickly. Also depends on if the laptop is on my lap o on the desk, obviously cooler on the latter........I am sure at some point I will hit a bottleneck which would not occur with my 15" but I havent run into it so far, throwing everything I got at the 13".

Hope this helps...
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Old Mar 12, 2011, 12:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by christophermdia View Post
i faced this dilemma from a different perspective. I run everything you mention here, albeit run win 7 in parallels. Difference between me is that i already own the 15" i7, hi-res ag etc etc...with an ssd. I know this is crazy but my 13" air is quicker, and runs these tasks no problem. At work i run my win 7 vm while working on mac progs, with word and excel always and working on files, with the occasional pandora playing. It doesnt glitch on me whatsoever. From time to time the fan will kick in which can be a bit loud but typically cools off quickly. Also depends on if the laptop is on my lap o on the desk, obviously cooler on the latter........i am sure at some point i will hit a bottleneck which would not occur with my 15" but i havent run into it so far, throwing everything i got at the 13".

Hope this helps...
+1
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Old Mar 12, 2011, 12:25 PM   #6
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The 13" MBA will work wonderfully for all your Mac work.

But, in Windows you're going to get more fan noise. Don't be too alarmed by that because the 13 and 15" MBP's can roar up pretty loud when running Windows, as does the Sony Z12 in our office just running word and surfing via explorer.

Bottom line, would the 15" MBP handle those tasks better? I think so. Can the 13" MBA do the work? Absolutely. I push my Air in Windows often, the fan noise is noticeable, the reason it bugs me I think is the only time I hear the fan is when I run Windows. It's whisper quiet and fast in OSX.

Tough call. Personally after owning quite a few 13 and 15" MBP's I'd buy the MacBook Air FOR SURE. The size, weight, ease and pleasure of use is more important to me than raw power. My 13" MBA is my main machine too and it doesn't choke when running windows at all, therefore it handles the tasks for me.

But, if the Air won't handle your tasks then you have no choice but to go MBP, I'd suggest trying the Air during the 14 day exchange period, if it won't cut it then go MBP.

Hope that helps.

Post back what you end up buying!
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Old Mar 12, 2011, 04:53 PM   #7
v2kea412
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Originally Posted by entatlrg View Post
The 13" MBA will work wonderfully for all your Mac work.

But, in Windows you're going to get more fan noise. Don't be too alarmed by that because the 13 and 15" MBP's can roar up pretty loud when running Windows, as does the Sony Z12 in our office just running word and surfing via explorer.

Bottom line, would the 15" MBP handle those tasks better? I think so. Can the 13" MBA do the work? Absolutely. I push my Air in Windows often, the fan noise is noticeable, the reason it bugs me I think is the only time I hear the fan is when I run Windows. It's whisper quiet and fast in OSX.

Tough call. Personally after owning quite a few 13 and 15" MBP's I'd buy the MacBook Air FOR SURE. The size, weight, ease and pleasure of use is more important to me than raw power. My 13" MBA is my main machine too and it doesn't choke when running windows at all, therefore it handles the tasks for me.

But, if the Air won't handle your tasks then you have no choice but to go MBP, I'd suggest trying the Air during the 14 day exchange period, if it won't cut it then go MBP.

Hope that helps.

Post back what you end up buying!
I know exactly what you mean about fan noise...my current MBP fans run constantly with my Win7 VM running...so i guess i would be use to that noise! I should know next week if I can go the MBA route...

The only other piece is the memory, where at the moment I can run only win7 and osx concurrently... With the MBP, I was getting the 8GB so i could run a couple more linux VMs also... But in love with the lightweightness of the MBA....

We'll see! Thanks for all of your posts!
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 05:25 AM   #8
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I'm in the exact same position right now.
Should I go for the ultimate MacBook Air or should I go for the base model 15" MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Pro has a quad-core processor and a great GPU, but the air has SSD and it feels so much faster for opening applications. I also really like the high res screen (Same resolution as the 15" MacBook Pro). The MacBook Air is also more beautiful than a MBP.

But I keep thinking the MBP would be more future-proof.. Right now I also use FireWire 800 for my external hard drives on my 13" MBP. The FireWire-port (and Thunderbolt) is a lot faster than USB 2.0.

I just can't make up my mind..
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 08:49 AM   #9
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After having the Air and using SSD I wouldn't have any laptop now that didn't have it. I would rather buy last years MacBook Pro with and SSD than this years model without it. It simply makes that much difference. So, if you are leaning toward getting the new quad core model keep in mind having a Ferrari engine won't be a lot of use to you if you straddle it with a three speed transmission. Hard drive is where bottlenecks occur.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 08:54 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by GuntherS View Post
I'm in the exact same position right now.
Should I go for the ultimate MacBook Air or should I go for the base model 15" MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Pro has a quad-core processor and a great GPU, but the air has SSD and it feels so much faster for opening applications. I also really like the high res screen (Same resolution as the 15" MacBook Pro). The MacBook Air is also more beautiful than a MBP.

But I keep thinking the MBP would be more future-proof.. Right now I also use FireWire 800 for my external hard drives on my 13" MBP. The FireWire-port (and Thunderbolt) is a lot faster than USB 2.0.

I just can't make up my mind..
+1, except the 6490M that comes in the base MBP is shown to be severely lacking compared to the top end MBP 6750M.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 09:12 AM   #11
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The 2011 MBPs have a ton of processing muscle... I did a Handbrake benchmark on my 13" Ultimate and it comes close to the 2010 C2D 2.4 MBP... the 15" 2011 MBPs are like 3.5x faster from a CPU only perspective (assuming an app that can utilize all the cores).

If you're getting the MBP you'll want to add your own SSD for sure or pick up the Apple upgrades... the HDD is an ancient dinosaur that is only still there because its so much cheaper (and slower).

For VMs, the absolute CPU performance isn't really that much a factor given its just a development workload, but 8-16GB of memory upgrade options does lend itself nicely to future-proofing VM memory requirements. And the extra cores can be shared to the VM, so things run better in the VM and on the host OS. The MBA can handle this, just that the MBP can do this better. If you don't have an SSD though, VMs are just painfully slow IMO, so the SSD upgrade is a big must have on the MBP.

But I just lifted a 15" MBP the other day, what a brick, I'm so used to the 13" MBA lightness that even the 13" MBP feels a tad hefty. Still if you need/want the extra muscle, you can't go wrong with the 15" MBP (assuming you get an SSD), but you'll probably set it up on a desk more often and move it around with you less so.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 04:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by GuntherS View Post
I'm in the exact same position right now.
Should I go for the ultimate MacBook Air or should I go for the base model 15" MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Pro has a quad-core processor and a great GPU, but the air has SSD and it feels so much faster for opening applications. I also really like the high res screen (Same resolution as the 15" MacBook Pro). The MacBook Air is also more beautiful than a MBP.

But I keep thinking the MBP would be more future-proof.. Right now I also use FireWire 800 for my external hard drives on my 13" MBP. The FireWire-port (and Thunderbolt) is a lot faster than USB 2.0.

I just can't make up my mind..
I was trying to decide between these two models. Ultimately I went with the MBP 15".

Deciding factors for me were as follows.

Pro's 15"

Quad Core processor
Higher screen res with upgrade offering more screen real estate. (1620)
More ports, specifically firewire for fast external drive usage.
I can always throw in a far better SS drive in the 15" such as the Vertex 3 which will blow the socks off of any SS drive out there currently which is exactly what I plan on doing.
ODD. Some like it, some don't, I was for getting rid of it, but on second thought it really is convenient for my needs.
Back light keyboard. This is sooooo nice.

Cons:

Heavier than the Macbook Air

Honestly the only advantage the Air has to the 15" pro in my eyes is the light slim design which actually is a really big advantage for a lot of situations for lots of people. As far as my needs go however, I can't remember the last time I actually took a laptop anywhere. So I can't justify that being good enough of a reason to get the Air over the 15".
Once the Air comes out with Thunderbolt, and an updated processor, I think it will be a whole other ball game though.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 05:02 PM   #13
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Once the Air comes out with Thunderbolt, and an updated processor, I think it will be a whole other ball game though.
I suspect the Air will get similar performance levels to the 2011 13" MBPs when it gets refreshed, quads are just too much to squeeze into the MBA right now.

If they do add Thunderbolt, I'd really like the port to be on the same size as the power cord. Be nice if it becomes future possible to "dock" any Macbook with just power and a single Thunderbolt connection.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 06:09 PM   #14
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I suspect the Air will get similar performance levels to the 2011 13" MBPs when it gets refreshed, quads are just too much to squeeze into the MBA right now.

If they do add Thunderbolt, I'd really like the port to be on the same size as the power cord. Be nice if it becomes future possible to "dock" any Macbook with just power and a single Thunderbolt connection.
I would like the same thing. I do believe that is where we will end up within the next refresh of the Air. One Thunderbolt port takes all. There should be hubs on the market by then that will allow you to to just that. It will be so dope.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 06:41 PM   #15
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I would like the same thing. I do believe that is where we will end up within the next refresh of the Air. One Thunderbolt port takes all. There should be hubs on the market by then that will allow you to to just that. It will be so dope.
So dope?
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 06:51 PM   #16
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I have a 11" air with 4gb ram and really do love it.

However........ it is great for word, email, web browsing etc. but is no way any replacement to do any CAD, graphic work etc [which is what I do].

I have a 15" quad I7 MBP on the way with the increased Hi-res screen, and also will put in my 128gb SSD into it. I also have 8gb on order from Crucial and an optibay to put in the extra 500GB HD.

My alternative was a fully specced 13" MBA .

I agree with all the comments I have read about how quick the MBA is, however I really cannot see it competing with the pro in all my needs. This is why I ordered the pro.

I love the air, and everything that goes with it, but unfortunately the reality is that once you get over the SSD [which can be installed in the pro easily] it is still a C2D processor with severe upgrade limitations. I have thought long and hard about what I would want in the computer, and the bottom line from me was portable power.

If you really don't need the power, go for the air - it is a fantastic machine but be aware of its limitations!
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 11:03 PM   #17
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So dope?
Will the term 'straight meat' suffice for you?
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 09:09 AM   #18
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Macmall sucks @ss....

Checked on my order today, and my new MBP won't be in their warehouse until 3/21 at the earliest.... Placed the order on the 8th.... 5-7 days my @ss....
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 09:18 AM   #19
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Will the term 'straight meat' suffice for you?
sorry but "so dope" is one of the stupidest sayings i have ever heard..thats a saying i used in grade 8 involved in drugs and thought i was the sh**

what exactly is the definition of "dope"? where does it originate from?

but that set aside...i dont see the air getting similar upgrades to the MBP in the near future (near meaning by the end of the year)
why?
simple...if the macbook air was so much like the macbook pro performance wise...who would buy a macbook pro over an air? it weighs more and is a pain in the as* to carry around compared to the air...the macbook pro's sales will start to deteriorate..

Last edited by Psilocybin; Mar 14, 2011 at 09:34 AM.
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 11:42 AM   #20
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sorry but "so dope" is one of the stupidest sayings i have ever heard..thats a saying i used in grade 8 involved in drugs and thought i was the sh**

what exactly is the definition of "dope"? where does it originate from?

but that set aside...i dont see the air getting similar upgrades to the MBP in the near future (near meaning by the end of the year)
why?
simple...if the macbook air was so much like the macbook pro performance wise...who would buy a macbook pro over an air? it weighs more and is a pain in the as* to carry around compared to the air...the macbook pro's sales will start to deteriorate..
Honestly, don't be so picky with one's use of chosen descriptive words. It appears you understood the context just fine after all. Cut me some slack, and quit being so insulting.

Remember freedom of speech?

Next, it seems indefinite at some point in time that the Air's design will merge into the MBP's build. Maybe it will make the Air obsolete sooner rather than later, who knows.
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 02:15 PM   #21
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Honestly, don't be so picky with one's use of chosen descriptive words. It appears you understood the context just fine after all. Cut me some slack, and quit being so insulting.

Remember freedom of speech?

Next, it seems indefinite at some point in time that the Air's design will merge into the MBP's build. Maybe it will make the Air obsolete sooner rather than later, who knows.
Freedom of speech works both ways, buddy.
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 02:28 PM   #22
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rope a dope

ah am the greatest
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 02:58 PM   #23
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rope a dope

ah am the greatest
Be careful how you use the word, "dope." Otherwise a socially challenged poster might decide to insult you.
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 03:04 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by v2kea412 View Post
Since my 15" MBP 8GB/500GB/Hi Res AG is on backorder from Macmall and is facing cancellation, I was curious if I shouldn't go with a 13" Ultimate Air instead...

I always run my Win7 Bootcamp in VMWare Fusion concurrently with OSX. Mostly a web development machine, with Adobe CS3 on my Mac side, and the typical Eclipse stuff.... On the PC side, run the Office apps, and some MS SQL Studio client...

Doing all of this on an Early 2008 MBP, so not sure if the MBA would be just fine or not... The gent at the Apple Store insisted that if i was going to be doing a lot of VM stuff, that the MBP would be the better choice....

Any thoughts?
The Apple Store guy didn't know what he was talking about. On my 13 inch Ultimate MBA I run Windows 7 and a couple of Windows apps in VMware Fusion's Unity mode from the OS X dock, along with 5 or 6 OS X apps. I could not ask for better speed or stability. This setup runs just as well on my MBA as it did on a 17 inch 2.4GHz MBP with 6GB of RAM.
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 03:10 PM   #25
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The Apple Store guy didn't know what he was talking about. On my 13 inch Ultimate MBA I run Windows 7 and a couple of Windows apps in VMware Fusion's Unity mode from the OS X dock, along with 5 or 6 OS X apps. I could not ask for better speed or stability. This setup runs just as well on my MBA as it did on a 17 inch 2.4GHz MBP with 6GB of RAM.
It depends on the definition of "a lot of VM stuff". If that means multiple VMs at once, then the 15" MBP with 8GB RAM is a must.
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