Will I be as happy with a 13" MBA as with a 15" i5 MBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by hbomb168, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2010
    I bought a 2010 15" i5 MBP last year, which ended up getting liquid damaged after 3 months. Now I have enough money to buy something new. I was going to get the same computer but have been considering a 13" Ultimate MBA with 4GB RAM, 256GB Flash storage, and 2.13GHZ Core Duo. They both are about the same price. My usage is mainly for surfing the net, iTunes, and maybe the occasional game (Starcraft 2). I've heard good things about the flash storage vs. HDD. Will this MBA be a decently fast computer for 4-5 years? Or should I just buy another 15" MBP?
  2. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    Detroit, Michigan
    Based on what you wrote, I think the MBA will do fine for you. But only you can truly answer your own question regarding happiness. ;)
  3. macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2010
    I was looking to upgrade to either the MBA or the 15" i5 as well and ended up with the MBA. For my usage it was plenty enough to last me a few years. Honestly the SSD makes it feel faster than using a 15" MBP with a mechanical drive. I'm sometimes constantly opening and closing programs and the load times are near instant.
  4. macrumors 68000


    May 1, 2005
    Florida West Coast
    I have an ultimate 13" after having an i7 15" Pro. I love this machine. Should be fine for what you want to use it for.
  5. macrumors 68020


    Oct 16, 2007
    United States of America
    I have a 15" i5 and I do certainly have appreciation for it's raw processing power, but after using my 11" MBA with the 128 SSD, I'm tempted to upgrade the HD from it's stock 5400rpm 320GB to at the very least a 500GB Seagate Momentous XT (which I already use in an enclosure as my external for my 11" Ultimate and just LOVE IT) or a 256SSD sometime in the very near future...

    The SSD in the 11" has REALLY spoiled me in terms of raw speed...:D
  6. macrumors 68000

    Oct 21, 2009

    for your needs you don't need to spend so much cash on a computer. I would save the cash and get the 13" air base model and upgrade to 4gb of ram. The ultimate is more cash than its worth
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2010
    ^what he said^

    base 13" model, with upgraded ram is good...save money for some external storage backup.
  8. macrumors regular


    Jun 5, 2008
    Get a MBA. It is so much lighter...
    And that is my main and primary reason why i got one.
    Shouldn't a ideal laptop be light and small but yet powerful at the same time?
  9. macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    I always like getting the best specs as I can (but thats not the point I guess)
    Whatever you get... keep all liquids away from it!!
  10. macrumors 6502


    Oct 18, 2010
    Las Vegas
    obviously the i5 is going to last you longer.
    But for what you are doing the ultimate 13" would be perfect.
    It's equivalent to a 13" MBP but half the size with SSD.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    replaced mine with macbook air 13 ultimate..couldnt be happier
  12. macrumors 6502

    Jan 4, 2011
    This is a snappy Macbook Air. A Core i5 isn't a monster by any means, the core 2 duo isn't terribly different.

    Now if you were coming from an alienware M17x Core i7 Extreme Edition with 8GB or RAM and dual SSDs in RAID 0....thats a big difference.

    But as someone said, only the owner knows whats best for him/her.
  13. macrumors 68000

    Aug 20, 2010
    I'm slightly more taxing than a basic laptop user (some media editing, processing) and went from a 15" i7 w/8GB ram + SSD -> 13" MBA 1.86 w/4GB ram and have no regrets.

    It all depends what you do daily. I just didn't need the umph in my i7 and love the size, lack thereof, in the MBA.
  14. macrumors 65816

    Nov 3, 2009
    You want a laptop that will last you five years? Thats asking alot.
  15. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2010
    Is it? My iMac's still going strong almost 6 years later, and its a PowerPC.
  16. 2IS
    macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    An i5 destroys a C2D in terms of computing power. That's not even a question. The question is whats more beneficial, the processing power of the i5, or the speed of having an SSD. Most people will benefit more from the SSD.
  17. macrumors 65816

    Nov 3, 2009
    The fluidity and smoothness of the MBA beats my i5 iMac every time. Even thought the i% destroys the C2D in benchmarks. The only time I notice a difference is video conversions and I don't do much of that. I've never used such a responsive GUI as with the MBA.

  18. macrumors 65816

    Nov 3, 2009
    Eh probably just me. I rarely keep a Mac longer than a year.
  19. macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    For the usage you've outlined, you're going to Really, REALLY enjoy the new 13" MBA. I've got a 17", 2010 i7 with 8gigs of RAM for video editing in the field when necessary...Just picked up my wife one of the 11" MBAs with the 1.4ghz proc and 4gigs RAM and I'm blown away by the performance of this little machine. Easily my favorite Mac ever built!

    For every day tasks and for most every day people...this thing flat out hauls A$$! It's amazing....I've known and read about the SSD performance boost but I was ignorant. Forget raw processing speed...the solid state system put together in the MBA is all about speed and not wasting time. Color me amazed!

    I'm not so sure I'll be able to hold back from buying one of my own:)

    I suppose the only thing that would raise an alarm for me with the OP's question is the ability to play "the occasional game like SC2". For now, it's going to work. The MBA does have a discreet GPU which is cool. However, future games...as you're looking for a 5 year system, may be a lost cause. Buy the most RAM you can afford, as it's not user upgradable at this point. This will help in the future gaming realm.

    But for your typical tasks...surfing, email, etc. You'll be flat out BLOWN away!

  20. 2IS
    macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    The i5 destroys the C2D in everything, not just benchmarks. THe smoothness you feel isn't becuase of the processor, it's becuase of the SSD. I'm not comparing the MBA to the MBP, i'm comparing the i5 to a C2D.
  21. macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2005
    if u don't mind carrying around a brick for more nerd processing power, then get the 15er.

    otherwise, for most real world folks who don't need squeeze out every ounce of juice from that lemon (or apple), the mbp's innovations takes the cake.
  22. macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2009
    The Black Lodge
    How about longevity of the computer? I would guess that a 15" MBP i5 outlasts a 13" MBA by far, considering OS updates requiring more RAM - which is not upgradeable on a MBA.
  23. macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    FEMA Region VIII
    I just replaced my ~3 year old 15" MBP with the ultimate 13" MBA and I'm very happy with the performance.

    Can you really play Starcraft II on an MBA?
  24. torbjoern, Jan 28, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011

    macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2009
    The Black Lodge
    I'm in the market of a new Mac, and depending on what happens in the next upgrade, my choice will probably be as follows:

    [B][COLOR="SeaGreen"]//Assuming all non mentioned specs are equal to or better than today[/COLOR][/B]
    [B][COLOR="DarkOrchid"]if[/COLOR][/B] (the MBA 13" gets a backlit keyboard)
            I'll buy the MBA 13" fully loaded.
    [B][COLOR="DarkOrchid"]else if[/COLOR][/B] (MBP 13" continues [B]&&[/B] screen res >= 1440x900 [B]&&[/B] CPU > C2D)
            I'll buy the MBP 13" and eventually install SSD later.
            I'll buy the MBP 15".

    It might seem totally irrational that the lack of one more or less cosmetic feature can cause me to go for a (nearly!) twice as heavy computer instead, but there is a rationale behind it after all; I cannot accept the removal of a backlit keyboard in a $1800-computer, nor can I accept less than 1440x900 in a 13" computer (MBA 13" has it, MBP 13" doesn't). C2D in the MBP 13" is blatantly absurd this long after ix has been released - and frankly, I'm not even sure if they will continue the MBP 13" or not.

    When SSDs become cheap, I can install it in my MBP 15" later when I can afford it. According to my estimates, that will take shorter time (counting from MBP 15" purchase) than the lifespan of the MBA 13" anyway.
  25. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    Wow, all that for a backlit keyboard?


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