Can someone explain what EXACTLY a refreshed MBA will let me do?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by zub3qin, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. zub3qin macrumors 65816


    Apr 10, 2007
    I have scoured this forum for months- but I am still confused.

    The latest MBA ultimate (13.3/4/128 or 256) according to all these threads seems to be able to do almost anything people throw at it.

    People say they have no issues with photo editing. Even light video editing seems possible. Things like handbrake seem to be the only issue evidently due to the processor.

    So I ask, what real-world applications will the refreshed MBA with presumably an i3/5/7 chip offer that we can't do with the C2D? This isn't a rhetorical question. Obviously there are going to be things that will be better with the refreshed MBA. What are these things?

    Is the new i3/5/7 chip going to be as fast as the new MBP or is there some throttling that will occur due to heat issues in the MBA?

    If there is no video-editing in my future or mega excel spreadsheet number crunching, what other possibilities would a refreshed MBA allow? Is Lion or HD video playback affected in any way?

  2. amt-austin macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2010
    It would let you play blu-ray rips (not transcoded) in their original high Mbit rates without dropping frames and stuttering
  3. alexandero macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2004
    Besides the fact that we might see larger SSDs and more RAM for the same price plus a Thunderbolt port, anything that is CPU bound will be faster. So if you're working with iMovie or Aperture you'll notice the speed increase, if you're a musician using Ableton Live (or similar apps) you'll notice it too, if you're a coder and need to run test suites or compile things frequently you'll notice it, if you're using a CAD program renderings will be faster, if you're using complex databases their access will be faster,...

    Plus, it very much depends on how often you update your hardware. Personally, I try to keep it for approximately three years, and while a C2D might feel fine right now, I'm unsure if it will be able to handle all the apps of 2013 and 2014 properly.
  4. zub3qin thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 10, 2007

    Is this likely given the pricing of ssds?
  5. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    I doubt it. 512GB is still way to expensive to be put into the high-end MBA. If the high-end stays with 256GB, then it is unlikely that other models would receive bigger SSDs. Of course this depends on when the update will be as SSD prices are dropping all the time.

    As for the other things, C2D does everything what Sandy Bridge does, but slower. Most things are not CPU intensive so you wouldn't see difference in basic usage. MBAs use LV and ULV chips with lower TDP so they won't be as fast as the new MBPs are, especially when compared to 15" and 17".
  6. zub3qin thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 10, 2007
    So your vote would be to get a current mba rather than wait for refresh as the refresh will offer little extra?
  7. TrollToddington, Apr 1, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011

    TrollToddington macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2011
    As far as I'm concerned, I need much faster processors in order to run Synthogy Ivory Grand II (min requirements C2D @1.8GHz, recommended C2D@2GHz). I know the 13" MBA meets those requirements but at a price I am not willing to pay. In addition, I like the 11" because of the portability factor.

    Besides, apart from the initial startup speed, the base 11" Air does not feel any faster than my 2010 base iMac 21.5" i3 @ 3.06GHz. The slow processor neutralizes the advantage of having SSD.

    I know the Air was not designed for the power users but I'd welcome more processing power any time. 64GB of storage is fine. After I'd seen the 11" air I gave up considering a MBP.

    Edit: Just checked the storage used on my iMac. I think 128GB SSD would be more appropriate for my needs.
  8. alecgold macrumors 65816


    Oct 11, 2007
    Its really simple. Compare the last MacBook pro 13" with the previous version. The steps in between are not that big that it makes you run to the store, wanting a new one. Well some do, but for most users you can easily skip an update. The MBA got a huge step forward this time, usually the next version is likely to be an update not a big leap forward. If there is going to be an ulv sandy bridge, I'm not sure how much faster it will be: it could easily become flawed with the same problem as the first MacBook air, that was crippled by a CPU that stepped down when it got loaded. I don't think Apple will do that again.
    I just bought a MBA 13" maxed out, because I need a new laptop and because I think that model will last me at least two years.
  9. lshirase macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2008
    There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with the current gen MBA. For the average user (you), it will run everything flawlessly. If you need a new computer now, buy the current MBA.
  10. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    Given how long it took to get the last-gen MBA refreshed, I wouldn't be betting on any refresh of the current MBA for some time.

    Buy what you need NOW, because waiting until the "refresh" to solve your needs simply means your needs will be different by then as well. Its a useless exercise in self-denial.

    You can always sell this generation when the new one comes out. The only "loss" you'll experience in value can be chalked up to a rental fee if it makes you feel better about it.
  11. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    Buy it and enjoy it now! The refresh could be spring/summer 2012 ... that's a long time waiting when you could be enjoying your Air now instead of speculating what SB may do better.

    Who wants SB in their Air's yet anyway. If you think about it no one should. These chips are raising temps in all MBP's ... imagine how that's going to work in a thin MBA ... it's not.

    MBA's may even skip the SB chip and go next gen in Spring 2012...

    Those waiting for an update this year are going to be disappointed.
  12. jamesryanbell macrumors 68020


    Mar 17, 2009
    Sandy Bridge is a compromise. Wait for Ivy Bridge....which means BUY NOW and enjoy. Then upgrade when Ivy Bridge launches.

    Enter the Sandy Bridge defenders. You defend, I'll be using my MBA AND waiting for Ivy Bridge.
  13. Sodner macrumors 68020


    Jan 12, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I love my 13" MBA. Fast, compact, whisper quiet.

    GET IT!
  14. zub3qin thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 10, 2007
    Thanks for all the advice.

    The last question is which SSD do I get?

    I want my MBA to be a primary computer, but I am not against using an external HD to manage some media (if I don't feel huge slow-downs with this technique).

    I currently have a black Macbook 2GB RAM, 2.0 GHz C2D. 320GB HD
    Of the 320HD, I have used 160GB or so.

    Music takes up 9GB
    Photos take up 50GB
    My Apps folder is only 8 GB
    Docs take up 12GB

    There may be a lot of "garbage" on my HD now, but will a 128GB SSD be enough? I have Parallels and XP running, but I'm thinking I won't need it with the MBA. I'm uncertain how to learn how much that is using up. Is that all in a partition?

    A refurb'd 13 MBA with 4GB RAM/128 SSD is $1189
    Just going to the 256 SSD brings me out to $1529 (with a 2.1 GHz C2D)

    I hate to pay $400 more just for the bigger SSD.

    1) When using iPhoto and ITunes, is it hard to set it up so you are storing on the ext HD, and is it SLOW to edit or view photos off the external HD?

    2) What size SSD should I get? How do others manage to not use so much HD space?
  15. lshirase macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2008
    primary computer? go with the 256GB option. Assuming that you're going to keep it for a few years, i think it's a good idea to have excess space at your disposal.
  16. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    I think you may be right, these MBA's are more than suitable for most users, hell my BMB from 2007 is a C2D 2.2, if it had the graphics of the MBA I'd be pleased, but not too, as I really want (not need) the 11". The small form fact is amazing, and since I am so pleased with my 1st Gen iPad's 9" screen, the size of the screen on the 11" as well as its horsepower will suit me to a T
  17. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    Definitely agreed there. The point of the Air is to be super portable, so to always have to be hooked up to an external is kind of a bust.
  18. vader_slri macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2009
    If you need a computer right now and the current MBA fulfills your requirements, by all means, buy one.

    A refreshed MBA, like any other refreshed computer, will be faster. The updates will likely be spec bumps. Will it be noticeable or even needed by you? Only you can answer that question. But the fact is, you seem to need a computer now, so your only choices are the computers available now. Whether or not a refreshed MBA model will be available later this year is kind of irrelevant, unless you can afford to wait.
  19. zub3qin thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 10, 2007
    $400 extra just for 128GB more of SSD storage seems crazy.

    How do others with a 128 SSD do it?
  20. 2IS macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    You do realize not everyones storage needs are the same right?
  21. scyon macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2010
    I recently bought a refurb 13" MBA Ultimate. Before I bought it I was looking at getting a 13" MBP with 128GB SSD that was about the same price. Given that I wanted an antiglare screen I figured I might as well get the bigger SSD as well.
  22. Manzana macrumors 6502a


    Jul 19, 2004
    Orange County, CA
    This is so true.

    As far as HD size, keep in mind that 3rd party solutions are available but still very expensive ($580 for 250 GB @ OWC) though the price will surely come down. In this case my suggestion is to go with the ultimate edition since you get a faster processor WITH a faster bus and the extra storage.
  23. christophermdia macrumors 6502a


    Sep 28, 2008
    I have a 256gb 13" and I just carry all my big photos and music on an external. Takes up almost no room in my bag and to be honest I havent pulled it out even once. For music I prefer pandora anyway, and pictures I just sync up the last 2 months of pics I have......

    I am using exactly 79.05 GB with everything I can imagine installed, including 4 full length movies, Parallels with Windows 7, Office 2011, Photoshop CS5, Xcode, and ~6GB in pictures. I think 128 would be fine for most people as they would have half of what I have installed...
  24. Pfsteel macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2010
    You mention parallels - what's windows 7 like running on an MBA?
  25. Hastings101 macrumors 68020


    Jun 22, 2010
    It will allow you to open up portals to other worlds and release demons upon the Earth, that's why I predict a Macbook Air i3/5/7 release in late 2012.

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