2011 17" MBP vs 2018 MBA

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Wyatt128, Jun 1, 2019.

  1. Wyatt128, Jun 1, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019

    Wyatt128 macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2009
    Hi all!

    Backstory: My Late 2011 17" MBP 16GB ram i7 -2860QM (8,3)'s graphics are failing and I need a new laptop. (I put my logic board in the oven and got another 10 months of life, but after a second try, I'm getting vertical bars after just a few days. And this software fix ( https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...ntel-integrated-gpu-efi-variable-fix.2037591/) did not stop the vertical bars so I suspect the end is near. )

    Im considering a 2018 13in MBA w/ 16GB ram

    I ran Geekbench 4 on my current 2011 MBP and got

    Single Core 3485
    Multi Core 11357

    The new 2018 MBA has

    Single Core 4006
    Multi Core 7399

    I primarily use my laptop for web browsing, but may get into coding (PHP / Python most likely).

    The Single Core score on the MBA is higher, but I'm wondering will I be taking a step backwards in speed since the Multi Core score is a lot lower? Perhaps I will not see a big impact because I’m not doing Video/Graphics work. I don't currently use my laptop for gaming and if I did, would probably be very light casual variety.

    I'm not concerned with portability or battery life as I will only use this laptop while on the couch at night for a couple of hours. Given the closeness in price, it seems like I would be better off with a 13" MBP.

    I am really bummed to have to go down in screen size (but there will be an increase in resolution to make up for it). However, even if a 16-16.5" redesign appeared later this year, I don't have $3k in my budget for a laptop right now.

    I also don't think $2400 is in my budget for a 15" MBP. However, given that the new keyboard replacement program means I can get an 2018 MBP and have the 4th gen butterfly keyboard fix for the next 4 years.....I may be able to justify going out for the lowest cost 15" MBP 2018 deal I can find.

    TLDR: Need new computer to replace my failing 17" amazing MBP on a *modest* budget, weighing cost vs screen size, vs speed.

    All advice is appreciated!

    Edit: From the advice I’ve heard so far I am seeing 2 paths emerge- 2018 MBA or 2018 15” MBP 2.2ghz.

    If I’m just browsing the web will the MBP or watching YouTube will the MBP run hotter and fans get loud? I was always shocked that my 17” MBP would get loud and hot from these basic tasks. I know Apple has always had an issue with heat because of the focus on thinness over heat dissipation
  2. Baja63 macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2019
    Ever think of just getting an iPad Pro 12.9"? It's a great browsing and media consumption device. I understand that you can use Pythonista to do some Python dev. The Brydge keyboard looks like a good solution for input.

    I have a 2014 15" MBP and have been in the same quandary. I just don't have the money to spend on a new MBP and don't see a performance improvement with getting a MBA (poor multicore score). Luckily, my MBP doesn't have any issues so I'm just sticking with it for now.
  3. Wyatt128 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2009
    I really prefer the “stability” of a laptop on my lap. The Brydge review on MR mentioned how the screen can become top heavy and I want something solid.

    This is gonna be my sole machine and I Dont want to be constrained to tablet OS environment (although maybe I’ll find some reassuring news with iOS next week )
  4. KevinRightWing macrumors regular

    Jul 15, 2007
    Houston TX
    I mentioned this on another thread earlier today, but I have the same laptop as you and sent it in to powerbookmedic.com and they fixed it for $300. I highly recommend their service. Laptop actually runs cooler than it used to.
  5. Wyatt128 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2009
    Hey Kevin. Thanks for that suggestion but I’m Not going to invest more money in this old laptop. I’m planning on getting $200-300 on eBay for it as parts. I’ve got the anti glare screen and it’s in very good condition. I really want a new laptop.
  6. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Whatever you get. Get 16GB RAM, as you planned, if you want it to last a while. That's usually more critical than the CPU. Check the B&H Photo, Macmall, Best Buy, Microcenter and the Apple Refurbished store for deals.

    Speedwise if you are coming from a hard disk drive. The MBA will likely feel faster for your described uses. Given the much faster SSD it uses. Even if you have upgraded your MBP to an SSD. The MBA SSD will feel faster.

    The 2018/2019 MBP 13" are better deals with their quad core CPU. They are much faster. Paired with 16GB RAM. They'll last much longer for your uses than the MBA. Even the 2017 MBP is better. While it is a dual core CPU. It will outperform the MBA. You definitely get more for your money.

    While you mention budget several times. You never actually say what your budget is. I know it is under $2400. In which case you can grab a refurb 15" 2018 for $1999.
  7. Wyatt128 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2009
    I upgraded to a Samsung EVO SSD so I’ve seen some enhanced performance (I should of made that clearer earlier).

    As for budget.... basically I’m either buying the MBA until I can get a 16-17” in the next couple years.... but only if I’m able not not have poorer performance which is my main question and can only go off the geek bench scores. I’m only web browsing basically with maybe some coding. The single core scores are better but the multicore is lower.

    If I’m gonna have worse performance because the MBA is a much more basic Mac then I’d consider spouting for the MBP and having it for 4 years until the keyboard program ends.

    There’s a 7-8 year difference in macs but the multicore score is noticeably different on paper....so I do t want a “worse” laptop.
  8. cinnabun814 macrumors member


    Apr 2, 2018
    My personal opinion is the MacBook Air. For the simple reason that the latest OS updates will be available for it for years to come.
  9. Wyatt128, Jun 4, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019

    Wyatt128 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2009
    Going back to the geekbench scores that I posted for the 2 machines....would the OS performance on the 2018 MBA be more noticeable 5-6 years from now. Is OS more of a multi core task or single core task?

    If it wasn’t for the failing GPU I would be perfectly fine keeping the 2011 MBP even longer.
  10. LegacyUser12 macrumors newbie


    Nov 27, 2016
    Heard that! Tablet OS constrainment is awful.
  11. Yaboze, Jun 20, 2019 at 6:52 AM
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019 at 4:56 PM

    Yaboze macrumors 6502a


    May 31, 2007
    The Garden State
    Isn't the 2011 a quad core and the MBA a dual core? That could explain the higher multi core benchmark. The 2011 has fallen off the radar for MacOS updates, so the MBA would be better in the long run.

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10 June 1, 2019