2011 MBP 13 vs 2010 MBA 13 Stress Test

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by macdud, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. macdud macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2011
    I did some real life tests today at the apple store comparing side by side the new entry level MBP 13" vs. a MBA 13". Here is what i found:

    - opening certain apps is still faster on MBA 13" (itunes, iphoto..)
    - safari opens possibly a split second faster on the MBP, its basically instant

    now for a stress test, i opened itunes, played an mp3 with visualizer turned on, then open a vimeo video with HD on and full screen:

    - MBA started dropping frames on the video, zero hiccups on the MBP

    getting more hardcore, i open a new tab in safari and play another vimeo video at the same time, with HD on and full screen:

    - MBA is dropping mad frames, still zero hiccups on the MBP

    now super hardcore mode, i open a third tab in safari play yet another HD video at the same time, also open iphoto, imovie project & garageband, and play them all together ( sound was muted ;) ):

    - MBA vimeo video is basically unwatchable, MBP drops a few frames here and there but is still very watchable

    Of course in real life use it's probably rare that one would stress his computer so much, but still this test concludes to me that the MBP 13" is way superior to the MPA 13" even with the so-called inferior graphics of the Intel HD 3000. The MBA is bottlenecked by its slow C2D cpu. The MBA was only superior in opening certain apps where indeed the MBP slow HD is the bottleneck..

    (btw, I also performed the same test on a white macbook and it performed worse than even the MBA)

    The real MBP downer imo is the screen, the higher res on the MBA gives it a significant better real estate, also the glare on the MBP is horrible due to the glass panel. At screen brightness 1-6 bars on the MBP, it was basically unusable in the store due to so much reflection, where as on the MBA, even at 1 bar i could read a web page fine.

    For light use, i'd say the MBA is therefore a better overall option, but for power users that want a 13" there really isn't any alternative than the MBP atm ..

    PS: The test video was hype williams new video which is very high def ( http://vimeo.com/20366842 )
  2. Miss Terri macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2010
    US East Coast
    I'm interested in this. I don't know much about this, so I'm asking, not challenging, but...

    Do you know for sure it was the processor type and not (or not also) the amount of RAM, and or the processor speed (ghz)?

    I ask because here's what I'm thinking:

    White Macbook: -- Core2Duo -- 2.4ghz --- 2 gigs RAM
    2011 base MBP: -- i5 ----------- 2.x ghz -- 4 gigs RAM
    2010 MBA: -------- Core2Duo ---??mhz? -- ??gigs RAM

    In other words, could the white Macbook or the MBA have achieved parity (or been closer anyway) with more RAM or a faster (albeit Core2Duo) processor?

    I'm not nitpicking - and I love experiments - but I just like controlled variables :p
  3. macdud thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2011
    Unfortunately there were no 4gb RAM floor models to test, but you are right, those would have made the test more accurate, i'll call tomorrow see if any stores are equipped with 4gb units..
  4. AppleGoat macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2010
    I just did the stress test on my 13" 2010 MBP, I stopped at the dual vimeo HD and visualizer part. No hiccups. My fan didn't even run. Since this test involves multiple applications running simultaneously it must be contingent upon memory and both 13" MBP are equipped with 4 gigs. There are tests where the new CPU will rape my C2D though.

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