2010+2011 MBA Comparison - trying to rationalise my want for the new 2011 MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Jobsian, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. Jobsian macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009
    I'm trying to figure out why I have such a strong, possibly irrational desire to get the new model. I already have the ultimate 11" MBA and not to exaggerate but simply put I'd place it as the best notebook ever crafted. Let's compare both new ultimate models:

    2010 Ultimate 11" Vs 2011 Ultimate 11" Comparison:

    CPU: 1.6 C2D Vs 1.8 Core-i
    I rarely push the CPU to the limit except a little video encoding. Core-i's seemingly heat quite a bit.

    Spec verdict: Major upgrade.
    Practical verdict: Very little upgrade in my function. Could even be a downgrade if heat/fan noise increase.

    GPU: 320m Vs Intel HD 3000
    I don't game/use programs that push the GPU.

    Spec: No upgrade.
    Practical: No upgrade in function.

    SSD: 128GB SSD Vs 256GB SSD
    I'm always having to juggle data between SSD and Time Capsule. 256GB would let my MBA breathe.

    Spec: Major upgrade.
    Practical: Major upgrade.

    RAM: 4GB Vs 4GB
    No upgrade.

    Battery: ? Appears to be the same according to Apple's site (5 hours)
    This could have been the game-changer for me. If tests do show any significant battery improvement, it'll be a massive upgrade for me as I'm always zeroing my current MBA battery.

    Ports: x2 USB Vs x USBs + TB
    I can't imagine what I'll be using TB for in the near future at least.

    Spec: Upgrade.
    Practical: No upgrade yet.

    That's it in terms of changes isn't it? No difference in size, weight, screen etc. Backlighting's back however I don't use it much and is just another battery drain for my use.

    When you deconstruct it on paper it doesn't seem like it'll make a lot of sense to upgrade already. I do acknowledge that my desire for the new model is at least partly irrational (thanks Apple marketing/vulnerable brain!). Nevertheless a battery life improvement would weigh very, very heavily for me personally and along with the SSD improvement I think it would justify my purchase.

    Time to see some tests...
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Where are you getting your data on how the Core-i will "seemingly heat quite a bit"?

    The spec upgrade processor wise seems great, the SSD size even more so. However, I don't see why you would need the upgrade if only to chase current tech. Rationalizing it due to space limitations seems ok enough but frankly, I don't know that I'd move just for that based on your current needs. In the end it is your life and your money. Make the decision based on what you find is best for you.
  3. Jobsian thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009
    I don't have any benchmark info, just anecdotes I've picked up mainly on this site. Not aware of validity.

    Will do, though desperately suppressing urge to click on buy now!
  4. stockscalper macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2003
    Area 51
    Sure this upgrade will make a difference, a big difference. Now, your computer will also double as a George Foreman grill and you can take it camping with you and grill burgers on it :D
  5. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    The 11" model now has Stereo Speakers.

    That's enough to justify the updgrade ;)
  6. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    For 11" MBA buyers at least it's a true upgrade. For 13" MBA buyers there seem to be more cons than pros in my estimation.

    I have been worried the 13" would take a step backwards to ULV CPUs and that happened today.

    I want to not just read the published numbers but real world results of users. Did anyone notice the lack of mention of graphics comparison for graphics tasks on the new MBA page at apple.com? It was far different when the 320m was advertised.
  7. drewyboy macrumors 65816

    Jan 27, 2005
    well looks like apple just can't win right now in the eyes of some consumers. they focus on graphics w/ the 320m in the '10, but get crap about using the C2D. Then in the '11 they focus on CPU and hands are tied so they get crap for not having the decent GPU. My only gripe is not being able to upgrade to 8GB Ram. as the saying goes, "damned if you do, damned if you don't"
  8. Jobsian thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009
    True, I think Apple just bit the bullet and acknowledged that they're going to endure this phase of the graphics card market/politics.

    And yep if I was a 2010 13" Ultimate owner, tbh my life would be easier as there's absolutely no way I'd be upgrading to the current 13" model.

    I'm surprised there's no battery improvement though given the reduced overall TDP. Hmm
  9. Jobsian thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009
    Haha keep going... I think spending time looking at the website, by the day's end I'll be swayed :D Or should that be :(
  10. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I wonder if there is a mistake in the battery life marketing? I figured if Apple did this it would be to get an extra hour or two from the 13" MBA. Seems odd. Where is that savings of 12w from the Nvidia GPU?

    I am guessing/hoping that it means Apple chose not to underclock/throttle the CPU at all.
  11. uofawildcats96 macrumors member

    Jun 4, 2009
    I bought the low-end 13" Air exactly two weeks ago, so I can take it back and exchange it for the new one. Are you saying that I'm better off keeping the old Air? :confused:
  12. KandyKane macrumors 6502

    Mar 23, 2009
    If they can put the 256 SSD in the new air, can we put it in our 2010?

    I also have the irrational desire to upgrade... but it IS pointless. I do miss the backlit keyboard though... and my air is on it's stand on my desk, 95% of the time...
  13. CapnJackGig macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2011
    Unless you really want a backlit keyboard, the 2010 model is the better option.
  14. Jobsian thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009
    That's what I'm thinking, and underclocking/throttling the same processor on the 11"
  15. Zalmoxe macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2011
    Why is the 2010 model (13") a better option? I'm considering an upgrade so any advice on this point would be welcome.
  16. drewyboy macrumors 65816

    Jan 27, 2005
    I think I'm going to take the dive for this one. Seeing as how Ivy Bridge isn't going to bring any realistic increase in the GPU, Intel says 20%, which really isn't much considering how low the 3000 already gets.

    Now why I'll get this one, CPU and RAM. I do web dev, with some super light photoshopping and some casual video editing, like a video every 2-3 months. Which is why CPU and RAM will be better for me. Only gaming going on is minecraft ;)

    There is one thing though... seeing what apple did w/ the Mac Mini has put a small wrench in my thought process. It is possible we'll see discrete in MBP 13" entry next time round if they drop the optical, quite possible. Which then brings me too, is it possible for apple to cram a discrete in the 13" MBA next version? All these things makes we want to wait, but I hate the waiting game. I need to sell my i3 iMac, and get the MBA so I can be portable. Working from home is driving me bonkers. Plus I don't see all that much difference btwn 13" MBA + MBP, plus MBA is cheaper and seems to fit what I need it to do. I'll have to wait for benchmarks to be sure though.
  17. Krevnik macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2003
    The 320M was also the bridge chip for the system. Sandy Bridge replaces that and still draws power. The 12W savings number is really high too.

    Consider this: the battery in the 13" is rated as 50 W*h. If I divide that number by the number of hours it's rated for, then I get: 50 W*h / 7 h = 7.14W. 7.14W is the active power draw of the entire machine, display and all in order to hit 7 hours. You aren't going to see 12W savings on any component in this scenario. That rating is likely peak power draw for the entire chip, including the bus functions.

    In previous versions of the Air, I was able to push the current draw from 0.75A to 1.25A just by upping the display brightness from minimum. That's 2.5W assuming a 5V source (probably a little low). But the fact that I can increase consumption by 50% just through the display tells me that the CPU/GPU may not even be a major factor in battery life these days. At least not in these machines.
  18. Jobsian thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009
  19. Jobsian thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009
    Ty for the detailed insight, confirmed by benchmarks

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