The "New" MBP 13" vs. MBA Thread

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jhgnag, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    #1
    Hello,

    Any thoughts on the new 13" MBP vs. the 2.13 MBA? I just received a MBA a few weeks ago and could return/exchange for a MBP if I decide to. I really like the MBA, but have two concerns (RAM and battery life). I use mostly as a home and second travel computer. I mostly use just e-mail, web, office, Aperture (RAW file), and an occasional movie when travelling. I do have my photos on an iMac where I do most of that work.

    Anyway, here's how I see it...the MBP has the MBA beat in processor, RAM (existing & upgradable), battery life, ethernet speed, Firewire, optical drive and price. The MBA has a better hard drive (128 SSD) and of course smaller and lighter.

    For me, it seems the question comes down to if the smaller size/weight and better drive of the MBA make it a better choice for me than all the performance and price benefits of the MBP. Am I missing anything here?

    Also, I know the MBP didn't get the processor everyone was hoping for, but how much would I be giving up with the current revised processors.
     
  2. macrumors 68020

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Location:
    BOSTON.....LA.....MILAN
    #2
    Just a quick word about battery life. When I briefly had the Rev. B MBA, I got roughly 3 - 3.5 hours of battery life in a full charge during my "normal" work conditions (wifi on, screen close to max brightness, running Firefox). Though the current 13" MBP claims 10 hours I'm guessing it is closer to 7.5 - 8 hours. That is still very significant and you need to decide how important that alone will be in your decision. I think it's very safe to say that if battery life is important to you, you should grab the MBP. Also while I loved the toting that MBA around, I really don't find the current MBP's (4.5lbs) to be all that much heavier in my bag.
     
  3. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    Location:
    Orlando
    #3
    This is a great post and thread! I am kinda in same boat considering the new MBP or "new" mba? You say the 1.5 lbs. isnt really that much heavier, and I am wondering if it will make to much of a diff. lugging around school? The MBP has more power and battery and really more economical. I am interested in getting the 13 in MBP with SSD but not sure if I should go with the lower end processor or higher end procesor, will there really be much of a difference? Of course I also want this machine to last for a few years as well. Any suggestions?
     
  4. macrumors regular

    PandaOnslaught

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2010
    #4
    i lugged a 14lb laptop around and when i got a 8lber it was much much lighter 1.5lbs would make a difference, but you get used to it regardless of the weight. i don't like MBA's too much because they are essential really expensive net books. the new MBP 13" its great in every respect. i would get that, just my preference, though, some people really love their MBA and i respect that so i wont say anything bad about it
     
  5. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    Location:
    Orlando
    #5
    Thanks for your insight. I agree the MBA is kinda an expensive netbook, though of course much more powerful. I wish Apple would ditch the cdrom drive on the 13in. and decrease its form factor, maybe that will happen in years to come, but I need a notebook before July (i have to get used to the OS, never used OXS before). When I picked up the 13 in MBP it seemed to feel lighter than 4.5 lbs, kindal like the design of it helps perhaps, and though the MBA is nice, I can easily justify a 500 purchase (ipad) over an 1800 purchase (MBA with SSD) in which u will lose some ports in there and lets be honest it is easier to pick up something without a keybpard (ipad) than any laptop. I tend to web surf on my droid a lot (been a verizon customer for years, but will buy iphone once comes out), so picking up a device like the ipad is conducive, and then the 13 in mbp for real work.

    I dont know, Apple eems to have given some options but at the same time they are hard options to contemplate since a few products kinda coincide, anyone else feel like that?
     
  6. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #6
    My only problem with the MBA is the non-upgradable 2GB RAM.

    I understand why the RAM is hard-wired, but 4GB should be standard or at least an option considering it is a premium-price product.

    This is coming from someone who uses a MBP as my only computer though, not to supplement a desktop. I only have 3GB on my MBP, but that significantly increases the available headroom after taking into account OS-occupied RAM.
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    #7
    Sounds like a lot of people is choosing MBP over MBA. Maybe Steve is deliberately set up the line up to get rid of MBA?

    In 2008, MBA is one of a kind. Now, there’s so much competition that Steve doesn’t wanna spend effort in MBA. Steve:”Heck, might as well let MBP cannibalize MBA!”
     
  8. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    #8
    once Apple work out cooling issues in such a small and elegant form factor, you will indeed see an Intel Core i-something processor with 320M graphics and 4 gb memory.
    patience - Steve ain't not going to ditch the Air.
    just give it time for the iPad to get established around the world and then … …
     
  9. macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    #9
    It sounds like you don't really need a very light laptop. My understanding of the air is that it's for people who are on the road all day and do mainly internet work.
    I like the MBP a lot more, and I think it's much better computer (especially much cheaper), so would change it if you still can.
    About your hard drive comparison, you're not really comparing like with like. You can also get solid state drive on the MBP if you want. (I still think they are too expensive nowadays, maybe worth to wait one or two years and upgrade later but it's up to you).
    Good luck with your decision!
     
  10. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    #10
    Weight is definitely a factor. I'm carrying a Dell E6400 on most work travel (every week or two), so the 3 lbs. is a big consideration since I'm bringing a 2nd laptop on most trips.

    Granted the MBP is only 1.5 lbs. more. 50% more for the computer, but considering my entire bag probably weighs 12ish lbs., that's less than a 10% increase in total weight.

    I want a 2.5 lb. MBA, 4 GB RAM, with 10 hours of battery life for $1500. Choices...choices....
     
  11. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #11
    The 13" MBP wastes weight and thickness because it has an outdated and irrelevant optical drive in it. Other than that, it's one hell of a system that will obviously blow away the MBA.

    But the truth is, do you NEED that extra performance or do you just want it because it's "better?" I have a theory that basically hypothesizes that in our minds we think we "deserve" more for our money. We don't like the value proposition for an MBA right now because it's the same price as it was nearly eleven months ago for the exact same MBA. We read 4 GB of RAM here or 8 GB of RAM there, and we want it. We read new processors at 20% faster and we want them. We read 1 GB VRAM over 256 MB shared VRAM and we want it.

    What is it that truly benefits us? The advantages are NOT the components but what the user experiences. The advantages of the MBA - lightweight, super thin, full-sized keyboard and display even though thin and lightweight, backlit keyboard, large trackpad, mini display port that drives a 30" ACD, LED backlit display that looks beautiful, ultra cool aluminum and design that just feels amazing like a tool, a faster computer than most other Mac notebooks to the business user by reducing the bottleneck of the drive, and an OS that just works.

    What would we prefer more? An MBA with a Core 2 Duo CPU and integrated graphics OR an MBA with a Core i7 and dedicated graphics? Why? Would we actually use any of that power? Some of us would, sure. But I don't think most of that means anything to the average MBA user. What we should be looking for are other innovative improvements and worry less about the CPU being the latest and greatest. Now, we absolutely NEED more RAM if we want to run two OSes at the same time, and that's the only thing we all probably really need out of this next update. Wouldn't it be better if Apple gave us a few new innovative features and kept with the C2D and Nvidia GPU if that could provide us with the best experience? I would love to have an MBA with an aluminum capped keyboard. How simple does that sound? How much would it cost? A $1 maybe? How much would it add to my experience? I would love it for the feel and the look. What else would I benefit from? How about a new IPS display that looks gorgeous? What else sounds good? A better audio/speaker system. What else could I really use? Some new innovative feature like not just a glass trackpad but an OLED trackpad that displayed the same screen as the display we look at so gave users an iPad like experience with the trackpad to pinch and zoom on what we want. What other things would I truly enjoy? How about black aluminum? How about new wireless tech to send the display signal wirelessly? How about a USB 3.0 port? Or LightPeak? How about less bezel space? How about removing space around keyboard to make the footprint smaller but still give us a 13" display and full sized keyboard?

    There are much better ways to make the MBA better than just upgrading the CPU. The CPU isn't the real bottleneck in today's computers. Graphics are a constraint, but most of the time the user is waiting on the drive system. The point is I can be fine with C2D for some time to come, if Apple would focus on what truly gives its users an amazing experience.

    I want an amazing experience from my MBA first and foremost. I hope Apple ignores the idea of going forward with the most powerful every component and gets back to what makes the MBA amazing, innovation through creativity.

    The problem with Tuesdays MBP updates was they offered NOTHING new other than a better resolution display option in the 15" MBP. All previous updates I can remember featured things that gave the user a better experience, whether it be as simple as a glass trackpad, or beautiful as an LED backlit display, or obvious as a backlit keyboard, or even as simple as sure beauty in the form factor/case via an upgrade to solid aluminum rather than various parts glued together. We got nothing new in terms of INNOVATION. That is what scares me the most. The MBPs are really nice, but I expect some real innovation and Apple isn't delivering there because it's too focused on the iPads. Think of the MBA. There has been nothing new at all since October 2008. The design and case have been exactly the same since March 2008. We did get new features with October 2008, but wouldn't we expect more for our money now two plus years later? I want a computer that just works for both OSes so I need 4 GB of RAM, and I also want a computer that is innovative and offers true advantages over PC counterparts. There isn't a feature of the MBA not available for a PC counterpart, or specifically the Sony Vaio Z. In addition, the quality of every component on the Z is better. Think about when the MBA was introduced in October 2008, nobody even came close on 1/2 the components and innovation, whereas now every other company has competing products that use all of the same features of innovation. Where has the innovation gone with Apple and its Mac computers?
     
  12. gri
    macrumors 6502a

    gri

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    Location:
    New York City, aka Big Apple
    #12
    Well said - and probably easily answered: into the iPad. Seems like Apple truly stopped being Apple Computers Inc. They seem to delay the new OS for the iPad/Phone OS. I think they see that this is a golden road, and the iTunes store is the money machine that needs iPads and iPhones - not Macs. So Macs are updated half-heartedly as shown with the last update.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    #13
    Thanks for all the responses and in particular Scottsdale for your input in the forum and PMs (yes, I do read and enjoy the long posts).

    What you are all saying makes sense. What I need vs. what I "think" I need. Three considerations keep resonating to me: RAM, battery life and size/weight.

    I did to a few tests w/Aperture after I installed 4GB RAM from the 1GB in our 2.4 Ghz iMac today. I have a few thousand pictures in my main file. Most 7-8MB RAW files. What I noticed right away is that adjustments happen real time, rather than waiting a second or so to appear. Also when flipping between pictures, they now instantly load vs. "Waiting to Load" for a few seconds. I guess I am seeing some of the benefits of additional RAM.

    Then, I looked at the same pictures that I had copied to the MBA. They take 4 seconds to load each time I click the next arrow. Then wirelessly accessed my iMac Aperture file wirelessly w/the MBA. Pictures were taking about 6 seconds to fully load. I'm not sure if the delay is due to the 2 GB RAM on the MBA, or because I accessed the file wirelessly.

    One thing I'm concerned about is if I upgrade my camera from my 5 year old Canon 20D and all of a sudden am dealing w/15 MB files.

    I absolutely LOVE this MBA. It's just a great size and performs well. But...I am seriously considering the 13 MBP. I decided today the 15 is just too big and heavy. The 13 MBP gives me some headroom on RAM and battery, but obviously at the cost of size and weight.

    One more consideration, although I don't really want the optical drive, it would be handy for those family trips when the wife wants to play a DVD for the little one. As I did it last week, I had to Handbrake a DVD, then I was paranoid the whole time it played that I was draining my battery life.

    Decisions...decisions.

    One more question. Am I giving up ANY performance with the revised MBA 13 (other than the SSD) vs. the 2.13 MBA? Any ideas where to get and how much a 256 or 512 SSD would cost for the MBA if I decide to go that route?

    Thanks.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    #14
    Scottsdale, can you elaborate on this. Is this relative to the updated MBPs as well?

    Thanks.
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    #15
    Just not true.
    Did we get a 10 hour battery replacing the previously 7 hour battery on the 13", or didn't we?

    I think that's quite an unfair assessment.
    3 hours longer battery life on the 13": is that a better user experience or not?
    Doesn't a hi-res display display a "better experience" to the user (SOME users), or does it?
    I mean… shall we count the number of times people on this forum have wished for a higher resolution display on the 15" MBP?
    On the other hand… who can spot the difference between LED backlight or not - and who could, back in the day…?

    Besides that, I'm pretty much d'accord with everything you wrote in your previous post.

    Quite on the contrary.
    The iPad is the future of personal computing.
     
  16. macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #16
    All I had to do was confirm that the refreshed 13 inch MBP still weighed 4.5 pounds to end the inquiry. Despite its, in many ways, impressive capabilities, the 13 inch MBP is too heavy for my tastes when compared to the much less powerful MBA and way less capable iPad. I agree with Scottsdale's observation that for many users, the MBA's 2Gb of RAM is plenty. Unfortunately, though, many of us have learned the hard way that 2Gb is woefully insufficient to run the apps we use, think Fusion and Windows 7 in Unity mode or Aperture. If the MBA were cheap enough for it to make sense to buy it for use as not much more than a Web browser and email computer, as the iPad is, a lot more folks would buy it. But, given its premium price, I would be unwilling to buy one until and unless it had the capability to be my every day go to machine, as my MBP is now.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    #17
    What issues/concerns do you have w/Aperture on MBA?
     
  18. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #18
    Look at why you got your 10-hour battery. The battery is 3% larger on the 13" MBP. You got your extra battery by the TDP savings on the Nvidia 320m. Apple didn't give you a 40% larger battery at the exact same weight... miraculous and beneficial that would be for the MBA.

    Everyone wants to think Apple is somehow adding 40% more battery for no added weight or space... that's not how this is happening. Apple is changing the demands of power to give the user the graphics capabilities.

    I have said before that the only real innovation in the MBP updates was only to the 15" MBP and that is IF the user is willing to pay more money for it. In the past, Apple has given true innovation, something that PCs didn't offer at the time. Tell me where those features are on these new MBPs? I even pointed out what they were in the past.

    Now, go time your 10-hour battery and tell me what you really get through normal use. People using the 15" are getting around 5.5 hours. These magical transformations aren't very magical. And these MBP updates didn't take the MBPs to the "next level" as SJ would have you all believe.
     
  19. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #19
    My point is the drive is the bottleneck in the common user's computer. Apple uses an SSD as standard in the high end rev 2,1 MBA. The common user will get a faster experience through normal tasks, on an MBA with an SSD than a standard configured MBP without an SSD.

    Now, the MBP can have an SSD added to it, but they don't sell them standard that way. If you go to the Apple Store, you can pickup an MBA with SSD in it, but you cannot an MBP. You have to build to order your MBP to get an SSD in it. Sure, it's available for the MBP user, but most aren't going to pay more money than a standard configuration. People will buy a low-end or high-end Mac, but unless it includes an SSD in one of those configurations most people are never going to see the advantage of an SSD.

    The real advancements in the speed of computers can come far faster by improving the drives and drive controllers than by upgrading to a faster CPU. But in reality, anyone can BTO an MBP with an SSD.

    That's what I meant about the SSD in the MBA. An SSD in a 2.13 GHz MBA is going to give a user a bigger advantage than a 2.66 GHz Core i7 in an MBP with a 7200rpm HDD FOR COMMON TASKS.
     
  20. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    #20
    I think you just explained why the MBA feels very quick & nimble to me. For 90% of what I am doing, it is just fast...faster than my iMac w/a standard drive.
     
  21. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #21
    Yes, that is why the MBA feels so damned fast. Most just think it's amazing, and they don't know why a 2.13 GHz MBA can be so fast. That is why the MBA with HDD feels so damned slow too!

    If you put an SSD in your iMac, you will feel the exact same thing. It will scream. I am surprised that Apple hasn't used Small SSD and soldered to the logic board to get this kind of speed and performance in all Macs at least from the OS and basic Apps. A 32 GB SSD would make most people truly love their Macs... then use an HDD separate as the removable/upgradeable drive. Most people want an SSD for the speed, but they have to buy one big enough for all of their files. We would all be much better off getting an SSD standard for our OS and application files. Of course an SSD would be faster for all non-OS and non-application files too, but the majority of the speed comes from the SSD running the OS and applications.
     
  22. macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #22
    I have no personal experience with Aperture. I included it as an example of an app that runs better with more than 2Gb of RAM because another poster who does use Aperture said so. He indicated that Aperture ran faster when he upgraded his RAM. Can't recall which thread it was, though. Sorry about that. I can tell you from first hand experience, though, that 2Gb of RAM were insufficient to allow me to satisfactorily run Fusion and Windows in Unity mode on my MBP.
     
  23. macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #23
    So not really a Netbook then.
     
  24. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    #24
    It may have been my post yesterday when I upgraded my iMac to 4GB from 1GB.
     
  25. macrumors 65816

    johnnymg

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    #25
    How long does your Air last on the battery?

    The long "up to 10 hours" of the new 13" was the deal clincher for me. Ordered it straight away.

    I do expect an updated AIR soon and I expect it will have a slightly longer bat life than the current version.

    cheers
    JohnG
     

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