1.86 SSD or 2.13 SSD (refurb)? Real world speed difference? Longevity?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by michael1019, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. michael1019 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    #1
    I've tried to do my homework, but I've yet to find a definitive answer. Is it worth the extra cash to go up to the 2.13? I know it's a small amount, but that could be a new mouse, or a super drive. I've seen tests that indicate the rev b 1.86 is actually faster than the new 2.13. Confusing.

    This will be my only personal mac. I'm a graphic designer (adobe cs4) but I don't do much design work on my personal computer (I have a nice iMac at work). The usual facebook, email, web browsing, YouTube, hulu....nothing crazy.

    Thanks for the help guys.
     
  2. mhnajjar macrumors 6502a

    mhnajjar

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    #2
    I would get the 1.86.

    BTW, why don't you try to get a revB 1.6 and install a Runcore SSD on it?

    I think that would be the best solution since the MBA would be just a secondary machine. I myself would not even bother spending the money for the SSD now, but it all depends on your needs :)
     
  3. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #3
    Since the MBA "throttles" the CPU, at times they would essentially be running at the same clock speed - at least that's the way I understand it.

    I owned a rev B (v 2,1) MBA with 1.86 CPU and 128 GB SSD. I enjoyed it and found it very exceptional to handle HD and all other tasks. Once it was stolen, I waited for the rev C (v 2,1) MBA with 2.13 CPU and 128 GB SSD. I noticed almost no difference initially. However, I do find that the CPU usage is lower on the 2.13. Also, the newer MBA includes a slightly better battery. When I was running Leopard, I got about 25 extra minutes from the 2.13 GHz (that has changed and getting much less on Snow Leopard). Also, I really think the 2.13 ran HD video and Flash better when on Leopard (however, since SL it's actually worse).

    I think Apple screwed all Macs with Snow Leopard and the huge step backwards with OpenGL. One can easily notice that OpenGL performance is far superior on Leopard. By checking xBench marks, SL is reporting 25 points less out of 150 than Leopard. SAD!

    Also with the 2.13 you will get a network adapter (USB). That wouldn't be included on a refurbished 1.86/SSD. It's a $29 part I think.

    I would see much greater benefit in the short term by buying a rev B 1.86 and upgrading the stock SSD to a Runcore SSD. Subtract the price you could sell the stock SSD for and it's a worthy upgrade. I never had problems with my 1.86 with Flash or HD. But even the new 3.06 GHz iMacs are reporting problems with Flash... it's definitely a problem with Snow Leopard and OS X in general not playing well with any video performance or Flash. Run Windows 7 in boot camp and HD performance/Flash would be smoking fast.

    Finally, if you're planning on keeping it for several years, I think the 2.13 might be worth the upgrade. In the long run, the faster the CPU, the better it will stand the test of time. Remember that most HD apps, like iTunes, recommend a 2 GHz CPU for HD video playback.

    Good luck.
     
  4. michael1019 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 14, 2007
    #4
    Thanks a lot for the detailed info. It sounds like it
    may come down to how long I'll own the machine. I'm really surprised to hear about the issues with SL. I also wasn't aware of the battery improvements. When you throw in the network adapter I guess it becomes a "why not" and not the "no brainer" that I would have expected.

    Would I be wrong in concluding that the difference is largely negligible?

    Thanks again
     
  5. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #5
    If the thermal conduction is absolute perfect, the downclocking to prevent overheating would be:

    2.13GHz -> 1.86GHz
    1.86GHz -> 1.6GHz

    But we don't live in a perfect world... so, it's actually more of something like:

    2.13GHz -> 1.6GHz
    1.86GHz -> 1.6GHz

    Your choice. Both processors, if heated over excess of 70 deg C would drop speed. The 2.13GHz has a more drastic drop, due to an higher voltage of 1.10V for 2.13GHz instead of 1.05V for 1.86GHz. When the temps are high enough, the system automatically drops to 1.00V, which in both CPUs are 1.6GHz.

    What would I choose? Most likely 1.86GHz so I can use the extra cash for something else, like the Runcore SSD which would give you more performance than a 300MHz boost.
     
  6. michael1019 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 14, 2007
    #6
    Excellent information. One question, I seethat you went with the 2.13 - have you upgraded to the runcore? What made you choose the 2.13?

    Thanks.
     
  7. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #7
    I bought the system literally when it came out. I didn't even bother going to the Apple store to check it out and play around with it.

    I went to this MacBook Air from a 8-Core Mac Pro and Rev. A MacBook Air... so pretty big drop somewhat, but it saved me a lot of time from managing 2 computers and multiple OSes.

    I went with the 2.13GHz because of:

    1) It's my only machine, so wanted top of the line
    2) At the time, I didn't know about the drastic underclock. I got the system before many of the reviews even came out.
    3) I kinda figured I could somehow keep the system running at 2.13GHz which apparently doesn't work.
    4) I didn't want to wait for a CTO system because the Rev C came with 1.86GHz and 120GB HDD.

    I have not upgraded to a Runcore SSD and frankly I don't plan on to. The original Samsung SSD on this system is fast enough for me and I'm actually being bottlenecked by the lack of ram and cpu speed, not the SSD.

    This is probably going to be my last Air too. I plan on upgrading to a MacBook Pro as my next system, when this system is too slow to meet my needs or when I somehow grow a money tree. 2GB is pretty limiting for me, 4GB is pretty much my new lowest ram point. Hell, I'm pretty sure even 6GB won't last me long (since I use up all 6GB of ram on the iMac within the first hour and throw another 3GB into swap), 8GB would most likely be my needs. Virtual Machines are such a pain when it comes to ram, and I'm running mostly Linux boxes too lol
     
  8. mhnajjar macrumors 6502a

    mhnajjar

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    #8
    SL is running flash perfectly on both of my machines MBA + iMac without any issues.

    I do not know why some of you guys having issues. Would it be 32-bit vs. 64-bit Safari?
     
  9. Beric macrumors 68020

    Beric

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    Jan 22, 2008
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #9
    The question: what are your temps while doing this?
     
  10. caonimadebi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    #10
    If portability is not/no longer your highest priority, you should perhaps think about swapping for a MBP to suit your needs, like I did. With a 2.13Ghz, it would not be difficult to trade to a low-end 15" unibody MBP or 13" plus some cash. A good compromise of portability and budget would be to go for a 2.26Ghz (lots of people on CL are interested, apparently) and some cash, and use that cash to get 4GB of RAM and a decent SSD. You will get a much faster computer, and will be "future-proofed" for a while with the option of 8GB memory down the road
     
  11. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #11
    The very limitation of RAM is actually helped by the Runcore SSD. Think of what happens when your MBA doesn't have enough RAM... swap files. What can improve that greatly? A Runcore SSD running at faster speeds to assist as virtual RAM.
     
  12. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    Yay Area, CA
    #12
    Not enough. A 300 MB/s write/read speed on the Runcore SSD don't match at all with a 3000MB/s write/read speed on the DDR3 ram. After 4GB of swap, the system literally just crashes.
     
  13. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #13
    You're missing the point. The stock SSD is performing at around 30% of the performance (read and write speed) of the Runcore SSD. They are huge differences. It's a big jump from HDD to SSD, and another big jump from stock SSD to Runcore SSD.

    Obviously RAM is faster than an SSD, but the stock SSD is a dog compared to the Runcore SSD. And it makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE in system performance.
     
  14. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    #14
    I understand the point you're trying to make, however, I completely disagree with you considering I have worked with this before on a more powerful system. It just does not compete, even with 2x RAID-0 SSDs. If you want real performance, Ram is it. SSD just helps with opening and loading programs, once loaded, it's not going to help.
     
  15. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

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    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #15
    which MacBook Pro would you buy if you where going to buy now? 13, 15 or 17" ?
     
  16. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    Yay Area, CA
    #16
    If I were to, I'd choose the 17". Call me overkill but I got quite fond of my old 17" and I miss it. However, I don't miss the weight of course.
     
  17. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

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    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #17
    I hear you on managing too many computers and multiple OS's, lol.

    Right now for my main set up I'm using a 13" MBP with 24 ACD, it's great but when I start traveling more in the New Year and I'll be without an external monitor my eyes will a prefer 15" screen, yet nothing travels better than an MBA .... ah, never satisfied :)
     
  18. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #18
    Um, so if your RAM is used up and swap files are going back back and forth to the SSD, you believe that a stock SSD would be the same speed as the Runcore SSD? That's flat out wrong. The entire system is changed by the Runcore SSD just because of this very reason. Sure 2 GB RAM is operating LIGHT YEARS faster than swap performance... that's NOT my point. My point is in an already limited system of throughput, the drive is STILL THE BOTTLENECK! And this SPEEDS UP THE BOTTLENECK! FACT!

    It's common sense that the Runcore SSD is faster than the exact same MBA accessing EITHER a stock SSD or stock HDD. It changes the system. Read the results on Read and Write speed especially random read/write. And access times and latency all faster.

    I understand that RAM is FAR FASTER than any drive... but I also understand that the Runcore SSD at 3X times the performance is going to affect the entire system based on how the computer works...
     
  19. michael1019 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 14, 2007
    #19
    Just to get back on track...

    I'm leaning towards the 1.86 machine, although some part of me really wants to get the top of the line 2.13. I'm still not quite convinced that the slightly better battery and the small bump in performance is really worth $200. Can someone please tell me that the 1.86 machine is a terrible mistake so I don't feel guilty about getting the 2.13 machine??

    The 1.86 is attractive because I know as soon as apple revised the MBA I'll probably want to run out and buy one. Plus I can use the saved money on a new Magic Mouse and maybe a back up drive.

    What do you guys think?
     
  20. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    #20
    I didn't say Runcore SSD and the Stock SSD run at the same speed for swap. I'm saying for swap, SSDs, even when under RAID-0 is a terrible usage for extra ram. The fact is, the bottleneck on the system is not the drive, it is the ram and cpu. The drive, even when operating at a speed 3x faster then the original stock SSD does not compete with ram. You're limited by ram, not by swap size or swap speed. We all know, a real computer performance when running applications is ram and cpu, not the drive that accesses the storage data.

    Read and Write speed is faster on the Runcore, I don't deny that. Access Times and Latency should not be any faster since there's no rotational or spin up delays. All SSD have extremely fast access and latency, the only real difference is the write and read speed.

    Furthermore, swap on an SSD is bad for several reasons including:

    1) SSDs are not designed for swap, they are designed for storage. You're just degrading the drive faster, sometimes in the same cell area writing and deleting multiple times.
    2) After many writes and deletes, there is degradation in SSD performance as shown in many benchmarks.

    The Runcore will affect how the system works, especially on booting and opening up programs. But once opened, say Word, does it really matter between something 3x faster and 3x slower? They have done comparisons on this already, a regular hard drive vs a SSD may be slower at opening programs, but once loaded, performance is virtually equal.
     
  21. aleksandra. macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 13, 2008
    Location:
    Warsaw, Poland
    #21
    Revision C might be worth it, if only for a bit better battery life and supposedly less underclocked GPU. However if you're going to swap for Runcore SSD, you might consider the HDD model - all the advantages of C without paying for faster CPU, which as stated above doesn't really make much difference - or getting top of the line model and selling original SSD (although I'm afraid market for it will drastically decrease once Runcore becomes common knowledge).

    I'd say backup drive is a much higher priority than Magic (or any other) Mouse...
     
  22. michael1019 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 14, 2007
    #22
    Agreed. Back up drive is definitely on top of the list.

    So I suppose I'm leaning towards the Rev C 2.13 refurb although the differences between that machine and the 1.86 do not appear overly compelling. And I do think that at some point (maybe 6 months) I may upgrade to a runcore SSD, maybe even a 256 SSD by then. It should still make for an extremely capable machine.

    Any last second opinions? I'm ordering around noon pacific, and I'm 90% of the 2.13. I really appreciate all of the opinions offered!
     
  23. michael1019 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 14, 2007
    #23
    My decision:

    So I reversed course (again) and went with a new 1.86 SSD from Macmall - with rebate it came to $1349. I guess I just like shiny new things in pretty boxes. Actually - I'm going to use the $200 to upgrade to a Runcore SSD in the next few months. I'm going to wait a little while so that it'll feel like a new computer all over again.

    Thanks to everyone who chimed in.

    Mike
     

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