11 inch air with 1.4ghs or 1.6ghz?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ssb333, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. ssb333 macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2008
    I am strongly thinking of getting the 11 inch air. I can't decide ion the specs. Any help or insights on performance would be greatly appreciated as this is my second mac (first one in 3 years).

    4GB of ram no question
    64Gb of SSD
    1.4gh or 1.6gh? Will the .2ghz really make a big difference? Also, you can only get the 1.6ghz if you choose to get a 128GB SSD so, I have to spend extra $180.

    I will mainly be using this to watch Movies (I do that heavily) and surf the internet this included heavy useage of Hulu, YouTube and downloading bit torrent files. So, will computer suffice or heat up a lot and slow down? Can I keep an YouTube tab + Facebook + VLC player up w/o slowing it down?

    I also fly a lot twice a month, so I need a good battery life. Will my heavy video use drain the battery life from 5 hours to let's say 2 hours in a single charge?

    It's a lot of money; I just don't want to buy it and then regret it because it heats up too much or makes too much noise or more importantly is too slow.

    Thank you for your help.
  2. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    It used to be the big bottleneck was CPU speed. Now, bottleneck is more hard drive, which the flash addresses and graphics. Apple made the choice to go with an 'older' CPU so they could give faster GPU and fast hard drive.

    So what I'm trying to say is the CPU speed is less important. That said, me personally? I would spend the extra for the bigger SSD and faster CPU AND I would definitely upgrade the RAM.

    So basically, the top of the line. That's like $1399 though.
  3. MikePA macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2008
    Unless you are compute intensive, upgrading the CPU would be the last thing I'd spend money on. First would be the SSD, then memory, then the CPU, if at all.
  4. ssb333 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2008
    What does intensive mean exactly? I watch a lot of videos and have a lot of tabs open. VLC player + YouTube + HULU + 2 other windows is this intensive?

    I am not going to use photoshop or any other video/photo editing software.

    I have like 5 ultra portable external hard drives, so not worrying about HD space. Also, planning to get an airport extreme and hook up some hard drives to it so I can wireless access it anywhere in the house.
  5. MikePA macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2008
    Not in my opinion. Compute intensive for me is opening a complicated spreadsheet that has a lot of formulas in it, changing some values then waiting for all the cells to change. What you describe sounds like application that can use more memory.
  6. MattZani macrumors 68030


    Apr 20, 2008
    Depends how long you're looking on keeping it.

    If it is 2 years or more, you might start to think "Damn i wish i'd gone for the 1.6Ghz now", and its not that much more to upgrade, if it was a 2.4Ghz to 2.5Ghz i'd say no, but its quite a considerable amount, its an extra 1/7th of the power.
  7. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    I would agree with the above posts on the CPU, it would be the last thing to upgrade. The C2D is not a bad processor, and frankly it can suit a very large segment of all users. The nerds want you to believe you must have a quad core i7 or it's crap, when they are to ignorant to realize very few programs even take advantage of quad core CPU's, let alone put 2 cores anywhere near max.

    The first and maybe the only upgrade I would purchase on the 11" is the ram. The basic reason is with 2 gigs OSX, Safari and iTunes alone can eat up nearly 1.8gigs leaving very little if you have several programs open. The additional ram can boost performance only second to having an SSD which happens to be standard.

    I have yet to see any Youtube video of the 11" running movies but there is an article (will look for the link and post it shortly) stating the reviewer had played 3 or 4 youtube video's with the baseline 11" MBA with no issues, no stuttering, no heat and no noisy fan as the past MBA was notorious for.

    For watching movies it shouldn't be an issue, the iPad can stream any of the Youtube 1080p, Netflix, Hulu etc... easily without a stutter or slow down. Flash video will always be a challenge for Safari/OSX, Adobe simply hasn't not optimized it as it has been for Windows. Running Plex should help with some of the slowdown vs Safari, or even Chrome imo handles online video a bit better.

    Bottom line, the SSD and the new GPU will more than make up for a bit slower clocked CPU.
  8. brianfast macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2010
    Is a 14% speed increase worth the upgrade cost? I would say maybe, because the clock speed is very low.
  9. jclardy macrumors 68040


    Oct 6, 2008
    The problem with these minor CPU increases is that the only way you would really notice it is if you had the 1.4 and 1.6 side by side doing the same thing. Yes the 1.6 GHz is faster but not so much that you will see a huge difference. You could always wait for the benchmarks if you want to see that.
  10. ssb333 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2008

    Thanks Man! You've really put it into perspective and easy to understand terms :)

    I can make up my mind now. Still would like to see some videos and comments of running 4 or 5 simultaneous YouTube videos playing and watching a steaming site online to see how that handles.
  11. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    Please don't take this personal, but if I may use this statement to point out what I think many people miss.

    Yes if you do the raw math, it is a 14% bump from 1.4 to 1.6... however if you take a bit to understand how the CPU works you may never see that gain simply due to the fact the CPU's will scale down their speed based on load. The one application that could max out any processor is Handbrake, for that yes, you would see the 14% increase in the form of less time to encode a video. The daily uses from email, surfing, music, watching a movie even will never run both cores at 100%. Apple loves the fact people buy on the "spec list" as it makes them a TON of money, as do every other manufacturer that loves how clueless people are about their needs. Again.. nothing personal, just trying to convey (albeit poorly) the reasoning behind the "upgrade/spec list" that companies use.

    I won't even go into the fact for video playback the GPU shares/shoulders a large percentage of the load in the process, making the CPU even less a factor. CPU's typically only become a factor to overall system speed for things such as encoding video (Handbrake) or rendering, heavy video editing, compiling etc... The CPU has outpaced and been so far advanced to the bottle necks of the slow traditional hard drives that the SSD is finally going to catch up, even to the 1.4Ghz chip, and let's not overlook the fact it is TWO 1.4 Ghz CPU's and many programs would still run on P4's with Win XP as probably 75%+ of corporate users run. I use a 1.2ghz P4 Dell at the office with 1.5gigs of ram and have more spreadsheets, internet windows as well as a our sales software running 8 hours a day and never think about how old and by today's terms slow the hardware seems.

    The media consumption aspect of the computer usage rarely even has the CPU breaking a sweat so to speak. The addition of the SSD storage and improved GPU will make the 11" MBA feel as fast as some of the baseline MBP's unless your looking to do the encoding, compiling data etc...

    Again nothing personal as your facts are correct, just trying to save some people $100 bucks they may never use. As for the replies, when they come about "future proofing", I can only say, sure if your the type that keeps your machine for 4+ years then maybe it's worth it. My guess is, if your following tech on a forum such as this your updating to the "latest and greatest" tech more often than any future proofing you could possibly do. :)
  12. ssb333 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2008

    Thanks again for your explanation. I don't think you've offended anyone at all-quite the contrary.

    I was skiddish because I've been using a DHELL for the last 3 years (what a mistake that was). My DHELL XPS 1330 has 3 gigs of ram 250gb hard drive sata and 2.1ghz of processor speed. Yet when I do simple things like You Tube + Face Book + VLC player running at the same time my computer makes more noise than the opera and is hotter than Nevada. It will slow down to a point that I will have to leave it alone for 5 minutes :(
  13. powerbook911 macrumors 68040


    Mar 15, 2005
    Honestly, in a year, when they have a 1.8x in the 10watts for the 11 inch model, having the 1.6 will mentally feel less behind.

    However, today, the difference is minimal. I'll probably get the 1.6 if anything to make it a little closer to the 13 inch models.

    You must say that the 13-inch model with the 2.x offering is getting you near normal macbook pro performance.
  14. coelacanth macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2004
    as someone else said, CPU upgrade is the last thing I'd consider.

    Unless you do extremely CPU intensive stuff all the time (MBA isn't the right choice anyway) I bet you won't feel any difference in day-to-day stuff.

    I'd definitely upgrade the RAM though.
  15. celo48 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 9, 2010
  16. ct2k7 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2008
    London or Florida
  17. rareflares macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2004
    Washington D.C.
    I had a similar decision to make a long time ago (circa 2004) in buying the Powerbook G4 1.33 Ghz or the 1.5Ghz.

    My brother got the 1.5 Ghz and I got the 1.33 Ghz.

    Needless to say, the difference was negligible in day-to-day usage and they both felt outdated at the same time (about 3 years later).

    It really isn't that big of a difference.

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