2011 Air vs Late 2011 Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ugahairydawgs, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. ugahairydawgs, Apr 4, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012

    ugahairydawgs macrumors 68030


    Jun 10, 2010
    Trying to decide between the 2011 13" 1.7 i5/128GB Air and the late 2011 13" 2.4 i5 500GB Pro.

    Did some searches online and haven't really been able to find much in the way of direct comparisons between the two (only the 2011 Air vs the early 2011 Pro). Not looking for anyone to make the decision for me, just trying to make sure I have everything covered.

    Came up with a pros list for each and it currently looks like this:

    Air Positives
    • Higher resolution
    • Flash storage
    • Lighter

    Pro Positives
    • Faster clock on the CPU
    • Upgradable RAM
    • More internal storage

    Am I missing anything obvious there? I know the optical drive isn't listed for the Pro, but I'm not entirely sure I really care about that. Are the processors on the two apples to apples, with clock speed being the only difference? I want this laptop to last me several years and I worry about the Air's processor and the fact that you can't upgrade the RAM in terms of its ability to keep up with OS updates and the increasing size of apps.
  2. Barna Biro macrumors 6502a

    Barna Biro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Zug, Switzerland
    The Pro also has an Optical Drive and a few additional ports.
  3. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    Dont' get caught up in the specs. Reviews have showed that the performance gap between the MBA 13" and the MBP 13" (2011 models) is only around 15% or so. Not a big deal at any rate.

    The MBA 13" 2011 is a much sweeter machine than the MBP 13": lighter, better resolution, flash memory, and only 15% slower.
  4. bogatyr macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    I originally bought a MBP 13", late 2011 model just over a month ago. This was to be my personal laptop. I liked it a lot, so much so that I ordered a MBA 13" for my work laptop - previously I've never owned or used a Mac, only Windows machines.

    I ended up liking the MBA far more than the MBP. I sold my MBP for a $200 loss and bought a MBA 13" to replace it.

    They perform the same (I had a 256GB SSD that I installed in my MBP and 16GB of RAM) for me. So it came down to form factor and screen resolution. I hated the bulk of the MBP after receiving my MBA. Also the palm rest for me cut into my wrists on the MBP. The MBA palm rest is tapered down so it doesn't cause me any discomfort.
  5. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    Pretty much my same experience. The performance gap between the 2011 MBP 13" over the 2011 MBA 13" was hardly significant enough to justify the extra weight and lower screen resolution.

    2011 was the year of the MBA in my opinion.
  6. Karolis macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2008
    Pro would last much longer than Air because you can future-proof MBP by putting 16GB RAM and a decent SSD in it which you can replace later with even better one. If you're looking for a computer to last as long as possible definitely go for a Pro.
  7. bogatyr macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    You can upgrade the SSD in the MBA as well if you need more space. So the difference is 16GB of RAM vs. 4GB which isn't very significant when you run with an SSD (swap file is quite fast).

    Add in the MBA's resolution and thinness and I think it's pretty clear.
  8. chuges macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2011
    Not sure if you can wait this long, but the new pro's/air's are supposed to come out in a few months and they're rumored to have pretty significant changes, including a potential merging of the 2 lines. The announcement may reveal a new proair product that has the best of both worlds (ssd + ram replacement), and at the very least release pro's and air's that have higher specs that will hold you over in the next couple of years
  9. Yggbert macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2011
    If you need an optical drive or the extra hard drive space then I would get a MBP. Otherwise I would get the Air because the SSD will make it seem faster, of course you could just upgrade the MBP to an SSD by either getting an optical drive caddy or replacing the HDD. I'd only go that route if I was planning on some 'real' video/photo editing, but if I was thinking of doing that I'd be looking at the 15" Pro, not a dual core machine.

    Shoving 16GB of RAM in there isn't really future proofing, by the time 4GB is a bad amount of RAM your processor will be ancient. Even 2GB of RAM is only finally starting to seem old. (though, for gaming 2GB has been looked down on for a while) Of course a lot of RAM can be important for video editing and so on, but when you're worrying about that stuff why would you even have a 13" Pro, you should be looking at a quad core machine if you're serious about video editing, in which case both the Air and 13" MBP are redundant.

    A 13" MBP with 16GB of RAM just seems ridiculous to me. It'll still be slower than any 2012 or 2013 MBP with 4-8GB.
  10. bogatyr macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    I know this is a bit of nitpicking but I have to say it.

    If it seems faster, it is faster. The speed to the end result is what matters, not individual components. The laptop with the least amount of bottlenecking is the faster laptop. A HDD tends to be a larger bottleneck than a ULV processor these days - when comparing dual core to dual core in everyday tasks.
  11. Karolis macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2008
    Air with 4GB ram is good enough only for a few years while MBP with upgradable components could easily last 4+ years. I would choose Air over Pro only if I would buy new computer after 2 years. Anyway, this is personal choice.
  12. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    This is 100% correct.

    Upgrading RAM is all good and dandy, but the truth is that by the time you're required 16 gb RAM, your CPU and GPU will be simply ancient. So you'd be simply swapping one bottleneck for another. What's the point boosting your RAM to a huge 16gb RAM while being bottle-necked by an outdated HD3000 or a 5400rpm HD?

    Upgradeability is not that huge of a factor if you ask me, at least for 95% of consumers out there.

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