2010 13" MBA Ultimate or 2011 13" Base

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by anirudh, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. anirudh macrumors 6502

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    India
    #1
    I tried searching for this in many threads, but came away a little confused :confused:

    My needs are browsing, watching videos (downloaded and youtube), connecting to a lcd (didnt know if it would be relevant) and running windows. I am deciding between the two machines 2010/13"/4gb/256gb/2.13 vs. 2011/base and the difference in cost is about 300 dollars.

    Now I know that theres a speed difference between the two, but how substantial is it? Backlight and TB are not requirements for me.
     
  2. austinguy23 macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Both work just fine (i.e. Plenty fast) for those activities so it comes down to screen size preference and sensitivity to price. Oh, and storage capacity preference.

    By the way, the CPU speed difference is pretty significant but only for CPU intensive tasks like playing the latest big games, etc, not browsing or watching movies.
     
  3. EuStoN macrumors newbie

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    NJ
    #3
    if your main use of the computer is just browsing, just buy the 2010 256gb.... unless you want to run parallel all day. Having both mac os and window ox running at the same time, you might need the 2011~~
     
  4. VMMan macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    2011 MBA with Core i5 is significantly faster. A C2D isn't worth even a big discount for most people who will need a computer for at least 2 years.
     
  5. anirudh thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    I run windows from bootcamp so I dont think I will need the extra processor boost for that.

    My main concern is having read plenty of posts saying how the 2011 air fans go crazy when doing something as simple as playin flash videos and that they run generally hotter than the 2010 models. I am coming from a 2010 13" mbp with specs in my sig. how does the 2010 13" Air ultimate compare to that?

    it boils down to these concerns:

    1. for ocassional gaming, how much better is the 2010 than the 2011
    2. how much hotter and louder are the fans in the 2011 compared with the 2010
    3. how much longer does the 2010 battery last

    appreciate all your help and hope you had a wonderful christmas :)
     
  6. jmgregory1 macrumors 65816

    jmgregory1

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    #6
    Get the 2011 - the fan issue is not as much of an issue as people make it out to be. Sure, you'll get the occasional jump in fan speed and sound, but for me at least, I'm never bothered by it.

    And as far as comparing it to the mbp - I just helped my wife setup her 2011 13" mbp for work and it was really slow doing some very basic things - compared to my mba ('11, 13" base model). The ssd drives are just so critical to performance that I can't ever see going back to an optical drive.

    Can you not get to an Apple store to do some playing around?
     
  7. simsaladimbamba

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    located
    #7
    But the MBPs use HDDs not ODDs to store data on, though I understand, that once you go SSD, you can barely accept HDDs as main drives anymore.
    I even upgraded my 2007 iMac with an SSD, and now it feels plenty of fast again.
     
  8. Wossox macrumors newbie

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    Nov 15, 2011
    #8
    1. for ocassional gaming, how much better is the 2010 than the 2011

    The 2010 is much better. It's mainly a windows drivers issue though. When running Skyrim in windows 7 64bit the 2010 will get around 10 fps more than the 2011 with the same graphic settings in the same in-game environment. it's around 25 compared to 35 fps on low settings. But it's playable on both though. They'll both run most games fine with the exception of games using new high end graphic engines like battlefield 3, the witcher 2 etc..

    2. how much hotter and louder are the fans in the 2011 compared with the 2010

    I don't know about the 2010, but the 2011 is very, very loud when handling games and the fan will also kick in when using apps like Skype. When the fan is running 6500 i think it's one of the loudest laptops i've owned. Luckily it only reaches this level when gaming or doing relatively heavy media processing. I think it's because of the integrated graphics solution featuring only one heatsink and one fan. It doesn't get very hot at the enclosure though, only the cpu temps go above 90, but I believe sandy bridge processors are better designed for operating at these temps than the core2duo. The 2010 has two fans so i assume it would be more quiet and maybe cooler.

    3. how much longer does the 2010 battery last

    The battery life of the 2011 is great. for me it lasts a full work day with word, mail and a couple of windows in safari open. It really depends on how much the fan is spinning, so i would imagine that for cpu and gpu intensive tasks the 2010 would last longer, but then again the core2duo is actually a very old laptop processor. And in a few years it will not be able to handle web browsing without making the fans run at full speed.

    I bought my 2011 because of thunderbolt. Since the airs doesn't feature usb3 until next year, i thought i've just buy one with thunderbolt and hook it up to a small dock. But it's been a year and basically no peripheral has been made featuring thunderbolt, and i'm starting to worry that the industry will skip out on intels venturous endeavour at least for mainstream usage. By god, i wish i owned a laptop with usb3 or just firewire800 for that matter. My thunderbolt connection is like any other thunderbolt connection just sitting there doing absolutely nothing. And I think it's beginning to stare at me.

    Hope this was helpful

    Best regards
    Sam
     
  9. anirudh thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    grrrr.. and the confusion continues! what a mindf**k :mad:

    at this point i am leaning towards the 2010 (just slightly). the i5 seems to be faster while video processing, which i dont do any of. any other areas the i5 would come in handy? sorry for the n00b question, but what would be typical real world processor intensive apps? also i am guessing both the 2010 and 2011 would play 1080p videos (downloaded) and youtube flash videos equally well?

    ----------

    also, if i could get any opinion from 2010 ultimate owners, did you experience any kind of slowdowns? if yes, then how annoying and frequent were they? and what application typically caused them?

    sorry for asking so many questions, but i bought an air the first time they were released, and the experience was so frustrating even while getting basic things done. this time i wanna make sure i get it right :)

    ----------

    your name makes me think you run VMs the whole day :D which would justify the need for an i5 processor. but never having used an i5 myself, i am not sure if i would need it for the things i mentioned. please feel free to correct me if i am wrong.
     
  10. macdudesir, Dec 26, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011

    macdudesir macrumors 6502

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    Jan 16, 2011
    #10
    1. I don't think the 320m is an appreciable difference in speed IMO...maybe 1 or 2 FPS...but not much..
    2. I don't know about the 13 inch, but i have a 2011 11" macbook air (in my sig) and the fans don't come on (audibly) for flash video...(unless maybe its a movie) And even at full tilt, the fan isn't annoyingly loud.
    3. I didn't have a 2010 Macbook air...but apple quotes the same battery life the same...

    Also, the C2D is VERY old...VMMan is right, it won't last 2 years...i believe the i5 will show in everyday tasks...most people may not know it, but I'm pretty sure it does...

    Edit: I'm pretty sure i saw many post saying that the 2010 macbook air couldn't run flash 1080p perfectly back when it was released. (don't quote me on it though)

    Edit2: here you go...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgrfqaqXSyY
     
  11. calvol macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 3, 2011
    #11
    Get the 2010 MBA. It runs cooler, battery lasts longer, and has better graphics with the C2D/320M. The C2D is fine for your usage profile. The only reason to get a 2011 is for TB or backlight. The i5/7 chips run hot with their implementation of TurboBoost to make up for the weaker Intel GPU.
     
  12. 2IS macrumors 68030

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    Jan 9, 2011
    #12
    You don't, you just need 4GB of ram.

    I'd go for the 2011 model.
     
  13. anirudh thread starter macrumors 6502

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    India
    #13
    read in another post that you have a 2010 UMBA 13". are there any slowdowns you have experienced? how do hi def flash videos and downloaded 1080p videos play? is screen mirroring to a lcd and playing hi def videos smooth?

    again, thanks for all your help
     
  14. Kendo macrumors 68000

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    Apr 4, 2011
    #14
    It doesn't sound like you're a CPU intensive user. Going from 128GB to 256GB of SSD space is infinitely more valuable than the C2D to i5 especially for your use.
     
  15. Wossox macrumors newbie

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    Nov 15, 2011
    #15
    Ha, I didn't realize this was the issue. I agree! Please, please buy the c2d! I bought the 256 and i'm in desperate need of more storage. I'm using final cut for minor projects and i'm running bootcamp, and i always have to carry external storage with me for most of my data files, video and audio. I really believe 128 is less than you think.
     
  16. jmgregory1 macrumors 65816

    jmgregory1

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    Chicago and a few other places around the world
    #16
    With Intel releasing TB to the pc world this coming year, you'll start to see a much broader offering of external drives - making getting the 256 less of an issue. Memory is cheap, relatively speaking, and the difference between c2d and the i5 is drastic, even if you're not running cpu intensive programs.

    With an external TB ssd drive, you'll have seamless performance compared to the internal drive and have a system that will be relevant for more than 1 year as TB offerings proliferate.

    I still say getting the cheaper 2011 model is going to be far and away the better option for both today and tomorrow, which is how you should always look at your tech purchases. Getting something that is just good for today will bite you in the end, forcing you to have these same conversations sooner than you expect as you look to upgrade again when you can't do what you thought you'd be able to do.
     
  17. anirudh, Dec 27, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011

    anirudh thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    its not that i am against the 2011 model. even the price difference doesnt matter to me. but if i am going to spend a premium, i want it to perform like one. believe me, if i hadnt heard all the issues about the fan, heat, noise and dismal graphics, i wouldnt have given the 2010 much thought.

    i agree, mostly those that have problems post on these forums, but still, i cant help but be a little apprehensive about the 2011 mba. and with my country not having a 14 day return policy :( i need to be absolutely sure before i buy either
     
  18. 2IS macrumors 68030

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    Jan 9, 2011
    #18
    The GPU deal is WAAAYYY overdone by the pro-320M crowd here at MR. I own a 2010 model and have worked on several 2011's. The fans on mine are not any quieter. My 2010 gets loud when I'm watching video's particularly HD ones or when i'm skipping.

    If I didn't already have my 2010 and was in the market for a new laptop, there's zero question that I'd opt for the 2011 model.
     
  19. anirudh thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Interesting. Do you find that the HD videos stutter on the 2010? Or if the air slows down or freezes at all?
     
  20. 2IS macrumors 68030

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    Jan 9, 2011
    #20
    Have not had a problem with the video's I've played so far. BTW, i meant Skype-ing in the previous post not skipping.
     
  21. Wossox macrumors newbie

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    Nov 15, 2011
    #21
    Interesting, I actually thought the cheaper one was the 2010 ultimate and not the 2011.. Hmm.. then perhaps I too would go with the 2011
     
  22. anirudh thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #22
    in my case it is! gettin the 2010 ultimate + applecare until 2013 for 200 dollars less than a new 2011 13" base. so now which one :D
     
  23. calvol, Dec 27, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011

    calvol macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    I have three 1080p videos on my HD, and all play seamlessly, temps stay under 60C. Flash plays with no flicker, temps stay under 75C. I stream 1080 HD movies from Vudu to my Samsung LED TV with Displayport-to-HDMI cable, no flicker delay whatsoever.

    BTW, I'm still using Snow Leopard. I'm very happy with the 2010 Air balance of performance--graphics, battery life, and temps, didn't upgrade to Sandy Bridge, and will skip Ivy unless battery life is 50% longer. If you think you want a TB display in the future, get the 2011. The main thing I don't like about 2011 is the peaky temp profile-- which is caused by TurboBoost ramping from 800Mhz to 2.9Ghz clock frequency (or thereabouts depending on i5 or i7). C2D is more muted, and with Coolbook I can squeeze another hour or so out of the battery life.
     
  24. macdudesir macrumors 6502

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    Jan 16, 2011
    #24
    please look at the link i posted earlier.

    EDIT: didn't see you already decided...
     
  25. MattZani macrumors 68030

    MattZani

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    Apr 20, 2008
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    UK
    #25
    I have an '11 13" ultimate, and notice no stuttering, slowdown, battery issues or loud fans. I don't understand what people are complaining about.

    Currently have Mail (Checks every minute for new), Safari + 3 tabs, Twitter for Mac and iTunes open playing 320kbps, and its sat at 60c on a sofa, if I mute it I can't even hear the fans.
     

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