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Base 13-Inch MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air

makitango

macrumors regular
Apr 15, 2012
174
235
People really need to understand a few things before recommending stuff.

1. Given the fact the multi-core results in the Air not having an x4 multiplier on the 4-core design but still maintaining an x2 score on the 2-core design, it seems that cores 3 and 4 are not perfoming as expected. Wattage can be an indicator to lower performance but there are plenty other metrics that differentiate the MBA CPUs from the MBP ones. The Pro's CPUs do their cores justice which is why I believe the Y-series talk started in the first place.

2. Turbo mode and thermal factors: In theory this offers a boost but the wording suits it well, a boost. More of a sprint than a marathon, it helps fire up an unlaunched application, but it practically consumes thermal reserves in a heartbeat and you're most likely to return to normal clock speed soon therafter. If you compare both laptops in a real-world situation you will realize than short-term boosts on the Air will draw more power than it would on the Pro.
There is an advantage in the thermal design of the MBP, and another one in the MBP with the 10th gen CPUs as well as 4 thunderbolt ports which is the second fan, helping sustain stress even more. This has a positive side effect on battery wear and tear since it being exposed to higher temperature can significantly reduce its timespan. However, if you are more than casually encountering situations where your device gets hot, use the ability to actually being able to use it on your lap without it getting uncomfortable as an orientation as to whether or not root for an iMac if you actually can do your work/whatever stationary. If you can't keep it on your lap with reasonable temperatures that also means that the battery charge will be rather short.

3. What is light work/usage?
One can do such simple things like opening text edit or, the famous all-rounder, work in spreadsheets or watch a video on youtube. You might be surprised however, what an open youtube tab requires in terms of power. Also, do you consider a user who just surfs the web, watches a simple video online but has 5 windows open with 15 tabs on each, plus a spreadsheet app, a text app and Mail a pro user? Sure you don't but that doesn't make system demand light use per se, and the device temperate will say the same.

4. Touch bar
The physical keyboard is a tool that enables you to keep your eyes on the screen, the touch bar negates than benefit. IMO that's a major design flaw.

My rule of thumb is to choose a laptop which will stay cool and not warm for most of your tasks. If your use case keeps the machine under stress make sure you really need a laptop instead of a fixed workstation.
 

GuruZac

macrumors 65816
Sep 9, 2015
1,302
2,660
At these price points, I would just buy a 256GB 12.9” iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard for a little more.
 

bullett007

macrumors newbie
Nov 17, 2016
10
3
Bought 2018 MBA when it first came out. A month ago I upgraded to the quad i5 MBA... and I'm switching back to the 2018. The thermals on the 2020 are absolute garbage. It runs at a slower clock speed (1.1 vs 1.6) and while the turbo boost is higher it only can sustain it for seconds if you're lucky.

On my 2018 I could stream a Plex show and code a website all day without a problem. On my 2020 the fans are screaming the whole time and everything else is crawling.

I got an Apple Rep that was AMAZING who arranged for a full 100% refund even though I'm outside the 14 day return window.

As someone who also went out and bought the 2018 MBA and was considering the upgrade to the i5 2020 model so this is interesting to read. As I type this I've got 8 apps open, including 12 tabs in Safari over 2 instances, iStat Menus, Alfred, etc all running and I never really notice any heat coming from the 2018 MBA, if I start doing something intensive and I start to hear the fan kick in, sometimes I'll manually ramp it up to max for a little while to keep the device as cool as possibly before the heat reaches thermal limits, when that process finishes I set it back to system controlled and carry on about my day.

Think I might hold off a purchase for now and see where Apple are going to go with ARM MacBooks in the future.
 

trusso

macrumors 6502
Oct 4, 2003
455
1,110
So, just to be clear: “Touch Bar is a joke to the vast majority of MBP purchasers” isn't your actual position either?

Maybe instead of incorrectly citing a logical fallacy, make an argument that you’ll actually stand behind?
No, it is.

Folks like yourself insist on quibbling over technicalities, as if that proves the original statement wrong.

Have fun, pal. I have better things to do.
 
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ericwn

macrumors 603
Apr 24, 2016
5,984
3,886
All reviewers say , air base processor fine, macrumors says , give Apple 100 dollar more ... mhhh ... why would that happen?

Dualcore vs Quadcore I believe.

Apple is not using an accurate picture of the 13” Macbook Pro in multiple webpages with asymmetrical bezel and symmetrical bezel. What the hell??

So you’re saying this is a Pro for the Air or how does this belong in the context?

For me for example yes

That’s interesting, how do you measure and what are the results? Thanks!

Which one will still be working fine in 6 years time? I have a mid 2014 MBP i7 with 16GB Ram. It is still working fine but is no more supported by my company. So I need to upgrade soon. Would a maxed out MBA (i7, 16GB RAM) be better than a similar priced MBP (2GHz i5, 16GB RAM)?

I can’t see it making much of a difference that far in the future.
 
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imnotthewalrus

macrumors 6502
Nov 20, 2015
376
650
earth
I’ve never had a Touch Bar (and never a MacBook Pro) but I am excited about trying it out as I’m almost certain I will be purchasing a loaded 13” MBP very soon.
Though I do not have one, I am not a relentless opposer of it like most members here. This Apple support video will give you a sneak peek on what to expect.
 

ericwn

macrumors 603
Apr 24, 2016
5,984
3,886
I can. The competition loves to copy Apple 100 percent of the time when they do something customers like/love. How many touchbars you see on Windows laptops? I'll wait while you count to zero.

The competition went ahead and integrated touch in the entire display. There goes the 100% copying claim. Courage.
 

QuarterSwede

macrumors G3
Oct 1, 2005
9,462
1,543
Colorado Springs, CO
Argh. Enough with the tired memes! We’ve been seeing comparisons where the low-end computer is only “best for web browsing and making spreadsheets“ for at least 20 years now.

For the most part, the increase in processor power over time has dramatically outstripped software’s increasing demands for that power. The new, low-end Air can likely run circles around most higher-end laptops from the first half of this decade.

I realize an Apple-centric forum is probably the wrong place to say this, but - people need to become more cynical regarding marketing claims.
That’s just what I was thinking! The Air is more than capable to even code with. It’s a downright excellent computer.

My son is using a 2013 i7 MBA to mod Kerbal Space Program. That’s basically lighter coding in Unity. It does so admirably.

Based on the article, I’d save money and get the MBA no questions asked. The lightness of it combined with higher speed RAM makes the CPU gains moot honestly.
 

RichP74

macrumors regular
Dec 16, 2012
146
38
Apple seemed to have nailed it (at last) with the present Macbook range and it's real good to read of happy buyers. Hope your wife isn't job hunting too long.

Thanks friend.. yeah, it's still pretty fresh. Her work laptop got yanked out from under her, I'm still working and making enough bread for us to get by, I still feel lucky compared to so many friends and family.
 

freddiecable

macrumors 6502a
May 16, 2003
641
158
Sweden
It is quite odd that the Mac Book Air thin profile is NOT being mentioned as a benefit in the comparison? Only the weight difference is mentioned as a benefit. The number 1 reason for me choosing Air is that it is thinner.
 
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unculturedswine

macrumors newbie
Apr 24, 2018
6
10
Utah
As someone who also went out and bought the 2018 MBA and was considering the upgrade to the i5 2020 model so this is interesting to read. As I type this I've got 8 apps open, including 12 tabs in Safari over 2 instances, iStat Menus, Alfred, etc all running and I never really notice any heat coming from the 2018 MBA, if I start doing something intensive and I start to hear the fan kick in, sometimes I'll manually ramp it up to max for a little while to keep the device as cool as possibly before the heat reaches thermal limits, when that process finishes I set it back to system controlled and carry on about my day.

Think I might hold off a purchase for now and see where Apple are going to go with ARM MacBooks in the future.

I'm with you on ARM, I'll stick with the 2018 and wait for those to come out. I'm disappointed in the 2020, I was expecting much better performance with Quad core. I know the GPU is a big upgrade but my 2012 MBP seemed a lot smoother.

As for fans, they're on WAY more on the 2020.
 

Val-kyrie

macrumors 68020
Feb 13, 2005
2,057
1,351
That is possible but it is more complicated than just that reason. Running at lower brightness also increases battery life, increases display life, and allows you to purchase less expensive and more panels. Just because a panel can run at max brightness does not mean that it should.

There is no technical reason to not allow the panel to run at its full brightness. Just like every other panel on every other laptop, if you want longer battery life, turn down the brightness. Same with panel longevity--in a computer or on a TV--the longer [a panel is used] and [the] brighter a panel's setting, the shorter its lifespan. Apple's panels are better than those on 90% of the Windows laptops, and they easily run 3 years or longer, so longevity is not really an issue. Moreover, artificially limiting the brightness has nothing to do with the cost of its panel. Your objections are simply excuses.

The ONLY possible rational reason raised by the article is that there is slightly better color accuracy when run under macOS than under Windows, but whether that is really a result of brightness or a result of the OS, I am uncertain. The difference is very minor and this panel is not designed for professional work regardless.

I will not make excuses for Apple. I simply post findings like this so that people better understand the hardware, and whether limitations are based in hardware or are artificially imposed. The same happened on iPhone SE. Apple has artificially limited the function of haptic touch in notifications. The hardware is fully capable, but Apple has chosen to limit the hardware in its software in order to segment its iPhone lineup. Be prepared for more of this as Apple transitions to ARM.
 
Last edited:

Geordiekeith

macrumors member
May 12, 2006
77
77
Same with panel longevity--in a computer or on a TV--the longer [a panel is used] and [the] brighter a panel's setting, the shorter its lifespan. Apple's panels are better than those on 90% of the Windows laptops, and they easily run 3 years or longer, so longevity is not really an issue.

So you really expect a buyer only wants to get three years out of their Apple laptop?
 

ericwn

macrumors 603
Apr 24, 2016
5,984
3,886
No, it is.

Folks like yourself insist on quibbling over technicalities, as if that proves the original statement wrong.

Have fun, pal. I have better things to do.

I swear I’ve read this exact post the other way around in the comments when the new iPad Pro and magic keyboard thingy were introduced! :)
 

jkozlow3

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2008
909
544
So you really expect a buyer only wants to get three years out of their Apple laptop?

My late 2013 13" MBP is still going strong almost 7 years later! Replaced the battery myself a year or two back with a $50-60 aftermarket battery. And I use my laptop for ~8-12 hours DAILY. Never expected it to last this long but it still works fine! I'll upgrade soon but I'm not actually expecting to see much in the way of improvements for what I use it for. Web browsing, MS Office apps, email, etc.

I usually have ~50-100 Safari tabs open at any given moment. I'm a chronic "open new tab" web surfer! I only have 8GB of memory in my current MBP but will probably upgrade to 16GB in my next MBP for the $100 upgrade based on how many apps and browser tabs I tend to have open at once.
 

IG88

macrumors 6502a
Nov 4, 2016
680
761
Bought 2018 MBA when it first came out. A month ago I upgraded to the quad i5 MBA... and I'm switching back to the 2018. The thermals on the 2020 are absolute garbage. It runs at a slower clock speed (1.1 vs 1.6) and while the turbo boost is higher it only can sustain it for seconds if you're lucky.

On my 2018 I could stream a Plex show and code a website all day without a problem. On my 2020 the fans are screaming the whole time and everything else is crawling.

On Friday, I cancelled my 2020 i5 MBA and ordered a MBP instead. My suspicions were exactly as you described. Appreciate you confirming that.
 

chucker23n1

macrumors 601
Dec 7, 2014
4,643
5,831
People really need to understand a few things before recommending stuff.

1. Given the fact the multi-core results in the Air not having an x4 multiplier on the 4-core design but still maintaining an x2 score on the 2-core design, it seems that cores 3 and 4 are not perfoming as expected. Wattage can be an indicator to lower performance but there are plenty other metrics that differentiate the MBA CPUs from the MBP ones. The Pro's CPUs do their cores justice which is why I believe the Y-series talk started in the first place.

If the Pro's CPUs were available in two- and four-core configurations, you'd have the same problem.

The thermal headroom is limited, and Ice Lake-Y also needs to house a much stronger GPU compared to Amber Lake-Y. The process shrink (from 14nm to 10) only buys you so much, and it clearly wasn't enough to drive four cores at (almost) the same level as two.

It's still a gain, though.

No, it is.

Folks like yourself insist on quibbling over technicalities, as if that proves the original statement wrong.

Have fun, pal. I have better things to do.

Such as putting up the claim “Touch Bar is a joke to the vast majority of MBP purchasers”, and then when I ask for any data whatsoever to back it up, not responding?

Of course it is. I often compare prices to see if there is a significant advantage buying in the US. Often there is not, but if deals and exchange rates happen to work in my favor there is.

Be careful not to run into customs. :p
 

uneeko1ne

macrumors regular
Dec 16, 2017
120
66
Reno,Nv
Off Topic but i really want that wallpaper in the picture, if anybody has the link for it or can direct me to it thank you
 

burgman

macrumors 68020
Sep 24, 2013
2,119
1,594
30% higher price not to be ignored either.

Reason for choosing a device isn’t always about just performance.
Divide the difference in cost/utility over lifespan of usage, it becomes as always, right tool for the job.
 

hudson1

macrumors 6502
Jun 12, 2012
406
192
Of course it is. I often compare prices to see if there is a significant advantage buying in the US. Often there is not, but if deals and exchange rates happen to work in my favor there is.
There's no way to incorporate sales tax (what Europe would call VAT) into the raw pricing of most anything in the USA or Canada. The rates not only differ by state or province, but often also by county within a state and sometimes even for a municipality. Some states have zero sales tax. Most states have sales tax but in most, not all instances, it's less than 10%.
 
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Arctic Moose

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2017
313
315
Gothenburg, Sweden
There's no way to incorporate sales tax (what Europe would call VAT) into the raw pricing of most anything in the USA or Canada. The rates not only differ by state or province, but often also by county within a state and sometimes even for a municipality. Some states have zero sales tax. Most states have sales tax but in most, not all instances, it's less than 10%.
As I stated in a previous post.

That fact doesn't make it any less barbaric.
 
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