13" Macbook Pro or 13" Macbook Air?

iThink Apple

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 27, 2011
567
58
What would you recomend? I'm looking for performance ;)


13"Macbook Air

Specifications
1.8GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7
4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
256GB flash storage

Or

13" Macbook Pro

2.8GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7
4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM — 2x2GB
750GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
 

BreakGuy

macrumors 6502a
Nov 23, 2009
818
0
NZ, South Pacific
?? I really want a SSD thats why i'm leaning towards the Air but not as fast....Right?
A SSD will give you faster boot up/shut down times and quicker hard drive searches. A faster CPU will give you better application performance, especially when gaming or video/graphic editing.
 

nostylluan

macrumors member
Feb 10, 2012
65
0
a harddrive doesn't do anything in performance besides load times. this can be seen in gaming during loading screens.

a CPU is really useful in gaming since it allows more action, physics, units on the screen... its performance. if you want your apps to run fast, you want a quicker cpu.

all an SSD will do is load things faster, besides that don't worry about it.

once something is loaded, its in the RAM and the harddrive sleeps until you load another thing.

RAM is good for having lots of things opened... so if you like to multi task, "alt-tab" then you'll want more than 4gb of ram... if you run 1 app at a time plus instant messenger/browser than 4gb will last you another year... (8gb is standard in 2012)
 

NickZac

macrumors 68000
Dec 11, 2010
1,758
1
?? I really want a SSD thats why i'm leaning towards the Air but not as fast....Right?
The MBA has integrated flash memory. It's speeds are nowhere near as fast as if you were to buy a MBP and put a SATA3 (6.0 Gbps) SSD in it. The MBA favors the portability.

If you want maximum performance, the 15 inch may be a better buy given it has independent graphics and a quad core CPU. With that said, the dual core i7 Sandy Bridge is an impressive CPU and the 13 inch MBP delivers a lot of performance for the price. You can also go as high as 16 GB of RAM on the MBP, where as IIRC you are limited to 4 GB with the MBA.

As far as a SSD, IMO it makes computing more enjoyable in general, but it does little for CPU-intensive tasks. Load times and transfer times are great, but if you are running CPU-heavy apps, then a more capable CPU is what is going to do them quicker/more efficiently.

Best bang for your buck would be to get a MBP with the cheapest hard drive and cheapest RAM option. Then buy either 8 or 16 GB of RAM from someone like Crucial, Corsair, Kingston, Samsung, Toshiba, etc. as well as a SATA3 SSD like the Crucial M4, Intel 510 or 520, Samsung 830, etc. Those SSDs will give speeds that are over twice that of the MBA's integrated SSD. Combine that with more and faster RAM (if you go to 1600 mhz), a better SSD, and graphics, and you get more performance.
 

lamboman

macrumors 6502
Aug 13, 2011
394
2
Best bang for your buck would be to get a MBP with the cheapest hard drive and cheapest RAM option. Then buy either 8 or 16 GB of RAM from someone like Crucial, Corsair, Kingston, Samsung, Toshiba, etc. as well as a SATA3 SSD like the Crucial M4, Intel 510 or 520, Samsung 830, etc. Those SSDs will give speeds that are over twice that of the MBA's integrated SSD. Combine that with more and faster RAM (if you go to 1600 mhz), a better SSD, and graphics, and you get more performance.
Buying an SSD and more memory, or even buying a higher end system, will not make a difference unless you actually use it. If I had a 15" MBP with an i7, 16GB of memory, and an SSD, it would not be a single bit quicker for what I use my 13" for.

To the OP, the bigger question is, what are you going to use this system for? The performance of a system is completely dependent on what you will use it for. Nobody can give a completely accurate answer to your question until you provide us with that piece of information.
 

iThink Apple

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 27, 2011
567
58
How much would 256GB SSD be? Could you please point me out to some good ones? Even 512GB TY!!
 

squeakr

macrumors 68000
Apr 22, 2010
1,547
1
a harddrive doesn't do anything in performance besides load times. this can be seen in gaming during loading screens.

a CPU is really useful in gaming since it allows more action, physics, units on the screen... its performance. if you want your apps to run fast, you want a quicker cpu.

all an SSD will do is load things faster, besides that don't worry about it.

once something is loaded, its in the RAM and the harddrive sleeps until you load another thing.

RAM is good for having lots of things opened... so if you like to multi task, "alt-tab" then you'll want more than 4gb of ram... if you run 1 app at a time plus instant messenger/browser than 4gb will last you another year... (8gb is standard in 2012)
Wrong on so many levels. The SSD directly affects performance as the storage is the main bottle knock in any system and has been for years. The faster you can get the data to the CPU to be processed the faster the CPU can process its data. For performance, a system needs to be looked at as a whole and not the individual pieces (and the GPU is what gets the gaming experience to its peak, not necessarily the CPU, especially with the newer games written specifically to offload the graphics handling and processing to the GPU). Storage is constantly being used during the processing stage as it is being accessed to allow for data swap and when not being used it is idling to allow for quicker access (not sleeping).

Having said this, the best performance you are going to see is with the MBP and an upgrade to an aftermarket SSD and RAM.

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How much would 256GB SSD be? Could you please point me out to some good ones? Even 512GB TY!!
They are going to be several hundreds at this point (a 512 will run you about, not quite, but about 1/2 the cost of the MBP). I would recommend something smaller and either the optibay route (utilizing the already included HDD for extra storage or repurpose it into an external HDD by getting a case. A 256 is going to be roughly $300-320ish if not on sale, we really haven't fully hit the $1/gig price range yet so keep this in mind for average pricing. I have a 180 GB and still have some free space, but I have to carry lots of VM images for work and have no music or photos on the system. I would recommend as above and put your music and photos/ movies on an external or opitbay route as they will run fine at the slower speeds.
 

iThink Apple

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 27, 2011
567
58
Wrong on so many levels. The SSD directly affects performance as the storage is the main bottle knock in any system and has been for years. The faster you can get the data to the CPU to be processed the faster the CPU can process its data. For performance, a system needs to be looked at as a whole and not the individual pieces (and the GPU is what gets the gaming experience to its peak, not necessarily the CPU, especially with the newer games written specifically to offload the graphics handling and processing to the GPU). Storage is constantly being used during the processing stage as it is being accessed to allow for data swap and when not being used it is idling to allow for quicker access (not sleeping).

Having said this, the best performance you are going to see is with the MBP and an upgrade to an aftermarket SSD and RAM.

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They are going to be several hundreds at this point (a 512 will run you about, not quite, but about 1/2 the cost of the MBP). I would recommend something smaller and either the optibay route (utilizing the already included HDD for extra storage or repurpose it into an external HDD by getting a case. A 256 is going to be roughly $300-320ish if not on sale, we really haven't fully hit the $1/gig price range yet so keep this in mind for average pricing. I have a 180 GB and still have some free space, but I have to carry lots of VM images for work and have no music or photos on the system. I would recommend as above and put your music and photos/ movies on an external or opitbay route as they will run fine at the slower speeds.
Thank you so much!! So which SSD 256gb would you recommend?
 

lamboman

macrumors 6502
Aug 13, 2011
394
2
Crucial m4 is widely regarded as the best choice. One of the highest performing drives in real world situations, and is rock-solid. The Sandforce-based drives, such as the OCZ Vertex 3, are more reliable than they used to be, but some of the problems still persist.

You still haven't told us exactly what you will be using the system for. Performance isn't necessarily everything; keyboards, displays, size and weight, have to be considered.

More than likely is that the i5 MBP will be sufficient for your usage too.
 

squeakr

macrumors 68000
Apr 22, 2010
1,547
1
I would take the time and read the sticky at the top of the MBP forum regarding the SSD selection. It has lots of good information. Currently the most recommended drives are the Crucial M4, Intel 320/520, and the Samsung 430/830 (the 520 and the 830 being their SATA 3 versions). I have a Sandforce based Corsair Force 3 and have no issues, so it I would recommend lots of research and reviews.
 

G-Mo

macrumors 6502
Nov 6, 2010
465
2
Auckland, NZ
My 2c

Im going to chime in on this with my 2c. I have both the current top of the line MacBook Air 13 (1.8GHz i7, 4GB RAM, 256GB Flash) and an early 2011 MacBook Pro 13 (2.4GHz i5, 8GB RAM, 750GB 7200rpm HDD).

I had the MBP first, and picked up the MBA about a month ago because I wanted to reduce some weight as I am often traveling with a MacBook and an iPad. I reduced my on machine data down to about 115GB by moving iTunes and archiving out of use projects and documents to an external HDD. I've been using the MBA as my primary machine for about 3 weeks with some and/or all of Mail, iTunes, Safari, Firefox, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, eCub, iBooks Author, Pages, Word and Dreamweaver running.

I love the snappiness/respponsivnes of the MBA, especially the almost instant on/off and zero bounce application launches, unfortunately, when in full go mode with almost everything running I was regularly maxing out the RAM, and suffering performance issues. The processor never struggled for my workload.

Now, I've been running with at least 8GB on all my machines for the last few years, so I have never had this issue before. As a result, today I am going to pick up a Crucial M4 256GB SSD for the MBP (might upgrade the RAM to 16GB while I'm at it!) and sell off the MBA. I have no doubt if the Air had 8GB RAM it would be amazing for my needs, but, I am keen to see how the upgraded MBP operates. (May order the OptiBay kit and put the 750GB HDD internal and keep my barely used SuperDrive outside over USB.)
 

Arni99

macrumors 6502a
Feb 26, 2011
529
248
Vienna, Austria
I purchased the MBP 13 2,4Ghz today, upgraded the RAM to 8GB and restored the system via Firewire 800 from my external HDD within 2 hours and the best of all... I saved lotsa Euros. Had SSDs in my PCs and Notebooks and went back to HDD after 2 years...I don't regret my decision :D!
8GB RAM and plenty of HDD space is more important to me than a speedy bootup or shutdown.
Also had the MBA 11" i7 with 256GB SSD...but the max. 4GB RAM and missing FW800 changed my mind and I sold it.
 
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NutsNGum

macrumors 68030
Jul 30, 2010
2,849
323
Glasgow, Scotland
I've had both. I found I preferred the feel of the Pro in the hands as it felt more solid, but I preferred almost everything else about the Air.

Personally, if I were you, I'd wait a month or so and see what the refreshed Pro looks like. Chances are it's going to have a significantly improved screen and there's the possibility of an SSD, also.

The current 13" Pro screen for me was not brilliant for working on for extended periods, I just found the resolution to be too low. If the screen is upgraded and it gets an SSD, the Pro will be a no-brainer.
 

G-Mo

macrumors 6502
Nov 6, 2010
465
2
Auckland, NZ
If you want performance go Pro if you want portability go Air.
This is greatly generalized...

If you want portability and can rely on wifi only, no optical media and basic tasks (mail, music, surfing, productivity), go Air.

If you want performance and portability go MBP 13" (with an SSD, mine weighs in around 4.1lbs, 1.2lbs heavier than the Air).

If you want real performance, go MBP 15".

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I've had both. I found I preferred the feel of the Pro in the hands as it felt more solid, but I preferred almost everything else about the Air.

Personally, if I were you, I'd wait a month or so and see what the refreshed Pro looks like. Chances are it's going to have a significantly improved screen and there's the possibility of an SSD, also.

The current 13" Pro screen for me was not brilliant for working on for extended periods, I just found the resolution to be too low. If the screen is upgraded and it gets an SSD, the Pro will be a no-brainer.
If they refresh the Pros as above, I'll sell my current MBP and upgrade first week.