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Looking to buy MAC today, Need help!!!

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by bwsteg, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Hello, I am looking to purchase a MacBook Air (???) today but need some advice. Looking at the specs on the Air and Pro, I notice the difference in processor speed but am aware that the Air has new Hardware.

    Ok, I will use the laptop for normal browsing, not much else but I do care about speed (how long it takes to power up, open up folders, etc). I love the current speed of my desktop PC (specs = Intel core i5-2500k 3.3GHz with 8.0gb ram.

    So basically is the mac air base (lowest price) comparable with my PC, specs wise or how quick it will be? I have a standard harddrive, not sure if 5400 or 7200. I know the air has SSD.

    Any ideas or help will be much appreciated. Or should I go with the Pro?
  2. macrumors 68000


    the 13" air and 13" pro will essentially be the same. The only difference would be the weight and graphics (air having the better of both).

    If you go for the air, I would say get the base i5 model. You could get by with 4GB of RAM, but I would suggest getting 8GB just in case, since you cant upgrade it later.

    If you would like to personally upgrade the hardrive and RAM of your macbook, then go with the pro.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    The MacBook Air's SSD will more than likely make up for any speed differences between the processors in both your PC and the MacBook Pros you're comparing it to. It would be wise to configure it out to 8GB of RAM though since you cannot change this later on and since your current system has 8GB of RAM.

    Truth be told though it sounds like you won't be pushing the machine at all even in it's base configuration. Boot / shutdown times are typically less than 10 seconds with MacBook Airs, closer to 25+ seconds with the MacBook Pros. Beyond that the MacBook Air will still either outperform or match the speed of the MacBook Pro for typical activities such as browsing, iTunes, iPhoto, etc.
  4. macrumors 6502

    I'm not worried about size or weight since it will mostly be in the house 95% of the time. As far as upgrading myself, not looking to do that as well.

    I am more concerned about the speed. I want the mac to be comparable to my current PC. The Pro has the better processor speed but its older and the HD isn't SSD.


    Exactly the type of info I was looking for. So the SSD should make up the difference in speed between the Air and my current PC. I am not too interested in the PRO since its the older model. Thanks for the reply.


    My processor is Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core

    Mac Air is 1.3GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 2.6GHz

    Numbers wise, seems like a big difference to me although I am not computer savy
  5. macrumors 6502


    Buy refurb
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    On paper it does sound like a big drop but in real world use you won't see a dramatic difference unless you regularly perform heavy tasks that require loads of calculations per second, real time rendering, etc... For the majority of what you do you will see speed increases from the much quicker read/write times that the SSD offers.

    For what it's worth we just had several in house developers at work replace their older MacBook Pros with MacBook Airs. The lead developer had switched several months ago and sung such high praises of the SSD speed benefits that the others decided to make the switch once their upgrade time arrived.
  7. macrumors 68000


    Ohhhhh, well I will stop you now and say you may still notice a speed difference between the quad core and dual core; but IF you are only going to be browsing, you probably wont really notice it since its not really processor heavy.

    Number wise:
    dual core at 1.3Ghz -> 2 x 1.3 = 2.6GHz
    quad core at 3.3GHz -> 4 x 3.3 = 13.2GHz

    so yeah the quad core would be about 5 times faster than the air number wise. But unless you are working the processor, which browsing wont really do, you wont ever notice.

    Best advice I can give is to go the the Apple store, or a bestbuy or something with macbook display models, and do what you would normally do on your computer. Open a browser, open a lot of tabs with different websites, and see how it handles.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    For 'Total Ghz' (whatever that's worth), you'd be better off comparing turbo speeds:
    dual core at 2.6Ghz -> 2 x 2.6 = 5.2GHz
    quad core at 3.7GHz -> 4 x 3.7 = 14.8GHz

    So that's less that three times the 'Total GHz'. That's further reduced with the generational difference. Then you have to consider that unless you're working on specific tasks that can take advantage of all four cores, you'd struggle to ever even use that capacity. At the end of the day, there's no effective difference in processing power for general computing tasks.
  9. macrumors 6502a

    It doesn't work that way.

    OP - here is a head-to-head comparison.


    For most tasks, the blazing fast SSD will compensate for a slower processor speed, unless you are doing video rendering or other tasks that just chew up processor time.
  10. macrumors 68000


    For basic uses especially the air will absolutely destroy your PC to the point where it won't even be a contest at all. The PC would win on things that need a fast CPU but you dont do any of those things. The air would destory on things that need a fast disk which is basically everything. The pro won't be any faster than the air (retina pro that is) for what you do. The standard pro would be the slowest of all by far


    even that doesn't work, generational changes, changes in bus speeds, hyperthreading of the air vs no hyperthreading of the PC
  11. macrumors 6502

    Thank you all for the help...I just purchased the MacBook Air via Best Buy. I selected the base model with 4GB Ram. I will give it a try, if anything will return within their 15 day return period.

    For my basic browsing needs, is 4GB sufficient using Chrome? I understand that by getting the 4GB, its not upgradeable but should I have gone for the 8GB?
  12. macrumors regular

    Since you've already purchased the MBA with 4 gigs, try using Chrome yourself.

    What matters is your experience, not someone elses.
  13. macrumors member


    Good decision/RAM upgrade

    You made a great decision. Remember to do any software updates immediately after you get it. Also, you may notice a bit of sluggishness while the system indexes for spotlight search. After that you're going to have a blazing fast machine that will last forever on battery!

    P.S. (4GB is fine, you'll never use up that RAM and if you do the system will take memory from the new PCI flash storage(128GB) which is fast enough that you'll never ever worry about things dying because of lack of memory.)
  14. macrumors 6502


    if you are a student, go with the student plan.

    base model 2013 13" 8GB ram MBA 1,139 for students

    and for non students it will cost you i think 1200
  15. macrumors 6502


    Thanks...How exactly do I do the updates? Also I noticed that the OS X Mountain Lion is available for upgrade, do we need to pay for all updates pertaining to operating system?

    Also, as far as security goes. Does the Air have something pre-installed? I usually use Norton 360 on the PC.


    Unfortunately I do not qualify since I am a non student. I will give the base model a try and go from there...
  16. macrumors regular

    Click on the Apple in the upper left hand corner, select updates. Most updates are free, others you have to buy in the app store. The next OSX update you might have to pay for is Maverick, currently being beta tested.

    Not needed on a Mac.
  17. macrumors member



    Click the Apple icon on the top left corner and choose "software update." That'll kick you to the App Store where it will show you all of the updates you need. As far as upgrading your OS, if you bought this new it should come with Mountain Lion preinstalled(minus any updates) so you won't have to pay for anything until Mavericks comes out in a month or so($20-$30).

    Security: I've never ever used any type of anti virus software on my macs because I've found they tend to slow the system unnecessarily/hog system resources and act like viruses themselves. What I do instead is keep important files backed up on a secure disk that isn't connected to the web or my computer longer than it takes to offload important files and once every six months I reinstall a fresh copy of OS X. It's sometimes a pain to set up my computer again, but I've found that this keeps everything running smooth and I don't hang on to files or programs that I never use(because I'd have to actively redownload them). If that's not your cup of coffee, I've not heard bad things about Mcafee for mac.
  18. macrumors 6502

    Is reinstalling a fresh copy of OS simple?
  19. macrumors member


    P.S. If you only have Lion/Snow Leopard and you bought new, bring the computer and your receipt into an Apple Store and they should update it for you.


    Quite, Restart your computer and while it's booting hold down the "option" key. Choose the recovery disk, and you'll see the reinstall OS X option.
  20. macrumors regular

    Why would you want to do this?
  21. macrumors 6502

    ''Ok, I will use the laptop for normal browsing, not much else but I do care about speed''

    Reality check: a 10 y old computer would be enough for you.
  22. macrumors 6502

    Absolutely no need to be doing this with Mac OS. I'd question why someone is giving someone who has little experience of Mac OS advice such as this. Chances are down to his inexperience he'll end up losing something important.
  23. macrumors regular

    Who in this thread suggested the OP re-install OSX?:confused:
  24. macrumors 6502a

    You already have Mountain Lion; this is an "update" to a version of Mountain Lion that is more recent than the version that your MBA may have shipped with. These are free.
  25. macrumors 6502

    Been using the MBA for about an hr now and I can certainly tell the difference in speed. I would say my PC is a 10 and the MAC is a 7.5. It's still quick considering its a small unit.

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