Can the 13" Air replace my old MBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by vp719, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. vp719, Nov 28, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010

    vp719 macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2007
    I'm growing tired of my mid-2007 15" Macbook Pro (2.2 GHz, 2 GB RAM, 160 GB Storage) and am on the fence between the 13" Air and the latest 13" MBP (I'm just finishing up college so price is a factor here). As an avid Apple fan I obviously want the latest and greatest, which in this case would be the Air, but I'm just not sure the investment is worth it. I don't want to shell out $1300+ for the Air and have it perform at a lower level than the $1000 Pro.

    As I said, I'm a college student so I primarily use my mbp for Office work and some Photoshop/Dreamweaver. I use iPhoto regularly (~15 Gigs) and iTunes (~30 Gigs). I rarely edit movies, and any movies I record, download, or watch I store on my 2 external hard drives (500 GB and 1 TB). I usually am multitasking (Quicktime/iTunes, Safari, Word, iPhoto) and use Spaces constantly). Portability is a big plus w/ the Air, I hate carrying my pro around now, just too heavy and bulky.

    So would I be better off getting the baseline 13" MBP or the 13" Air (and if so, I'd upgrade to 4GB RAM, but is the 256 GB HD necessary?)

    Thanks! :apple:
  2. lucashungaro macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2010
    São Paulo, Brazil
    The 13'' MBA outperforms the baseline 13'' MBP on every operation that uses disk I/O. It actually outperforms any MBP with an HD as most of our daily operations on computers are I/O-bound. A slower processor clock only slows you down on tasks that are almost or entirely processor dependent (like video encoding on Handbrake and the like).

    I recommend the 13'' MBA Ultimate for more comfort and room to breathe. Unfortunately you can't get the 2.13 Ghz processor with the 128 Gb model.
  3. GreenFrog macrumors member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I have the exact same MBP as you (bought it as a freshman in college, now a senior and about to graduate next year) and I just bought the 13" ultimate (full specs: 256 hd, 4gb ram, etc) for around $1700. I haven't received it yet but I know I won't be regretting this purchase. I tinkered around with the MBA 13" at the apple store and I was so taken aback by how quick it was.

    My MBP is an ancient time machine in comparison. Booting up takes minutes. Applications take several seconds to load (it takes around 30 seconds to launch word or excel and have it running functionally). My MBP is just all-around slow now. I have no hard drive space and I don't even have that many applications or music.

    When I bought this MBP, it was the top-of-the-line version at the time (sans the 17", of course) and it has served me well over the past three years. But it's now time to retire this hunk of aluminum crap and move on with new technology.

    I have faith that I will be able to use my MBA for the next 3-4 years, EASILY.
  4. vp719 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2007
    Thanks for your input. Looks like I'll be going w/ the 13" MBA.

    One more question - If I go w/ 4GB RAM and 256 GB Storage, is the 2.13GHz processor necessary or will 1.83 suffice? I don't do much gaming or video processing, and even though it's "just $100" I'm in college and $100 is $100.

  5. millerb7 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    1.86GHz will work fine ;)

    I have the 2007 MBP 3,1 15" myself. I'm selling it and buying the 1.86GHz, 4GB ram, 128GB SSD MBA. I only have 120GB HDD in this MBP right now, with
    60GB free haha... so I'm not to worried about running out of space with the 128GB model. To me $300 IS NOT worth going from 128GB to 256GB SSD. Later down the road I'm sure an even bigger, even cheaper, aftermarket SSD will come out for these things and I'll buy that then. The SSD is the only thing that's easily user-changed in the MBA. Ram is damn near impossible so get the 4GB to start.
  6. cleric macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    I have the 1.86 and would have upgraded to the 2.13 since its only $100 more except I didn't want to pay for the bigger drive cause I'm never going to use it. If I were you I would just max it out at that point.
  7. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2004
    Wow, I feel like you guys who think a 2.2Ghz Santa Rosa MBP is a "hunk of aluminum crap" should just do a fresh install of the OS. Or to really speed it up, spend ~$300 and put 4GB RAM and an SSD in there.

    Your MBP will feel just as fast as a brand new MBA - at a fraction of the cost.

    I just helped a buddy put an OCZ 200mb/s SSD + 4GB of RAM into his 2.2Ghz MBP, and he says it's like he bought a new computer. :D

    My point is, a brand new 13" MBA is an awesome machine, but a 2.2Ghz MBP is not a hunk of junk. If you're buying 'cause of the weight savings and just wanting a new toy, that's fine, but the 2.2Ghz MBP is still a hugely powerful machine for 99% of what people do with their computers. If you disagree and still think it's a piece of junk, leave it out at the curb, but tell me your addy first ;)
  8. millerb7 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    Well mines about 4 years old. It's not like I upgrade often or anything ;)

    It could last another 4 years or die tomorrow. No warranty.

    Also, you do know your buddy isnt getting those speeds on his MBP if it's the same o es we have right? They are not 3.0 but 1.5's

    My MBP pro works great. Has 6GB ram 2.2ghz and all. I bought a SSD but am going to return it. I installed the 6GB ram and am selling with laptop. If I doesn't sell after a week on eBay I'll install the SSD and keep it until it dies. It's by no means a hunk of junk. It's just old is all. I'm scared it'll die any day. Already got a little distortion a couple times.
  9. vp719 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2007
    I know my MBP is still a solid machine, but like he said about I've ran it had for 3-4 years now and am worried it's just going to die one of these days. Just felt like it was time to upgrade (plus, yes, I wanted a new toy :apple: )

    That being said, just placed my order for the MBA 13 Ultimate :) Counting down the days til it gets here.
  10. foiden macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2008
    The Ultimate 13" is nice, but pricey. Then again, you pay for both form factor and SSD. (Mainly SSD). Of course, you want to make sure you use Time Machine once you start to really use the thing. Outside of any possibility of a manufacturing defect, these things are generally built to last. However, SSD is still a relatively new technology. It's fast, it's silent, but HDDs have been in use for decades. No one is really sure the life-expectancy of the SSD drives beyond 3 years, but it pays to back them up very much like HDDs were 10+ years ago.

    With the Ultimate, you'll probably hardly notice any drop in performance, when it comes to rendering stuff from your specs. The screen-size will be a bit smaller, but you wont lose any resolution on it. Now particularly because your MBP is before they upped the color gamut on the displays, you'll probably notice a crazy upgrade to the visuals on the new Air. Even with my expanded gamut 13" Pro, ultra-high resolution photos look incredible on the Ultimate. But for someone who hasn't owned one, I'd expect the wow factor to be increased.
  11. Neuronal macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2009
    I have the same MBP as you do - I upgraded to an SSD about two years ago, and saw a definite improvement in performance. That said, I have been using the 13" Ultimate for several weeks now, and I'd say the posters are right on: real-life performance is about equal to or a tick better than your current rig, but between the better display and the form factor there is a ton of Wow! that makes it a joy to use. I think you will be very happy.
  12. millerb7 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    REALLY good to hear this. I'm glad that somebody chimed in who had actually put a SSD into their MBP. I was considering doing this vs buying the MBA. I'm glad you feel it's able to hold up.

    What about the 1.86 vs 2.13 processors? I was going to stay with the 1.86 BUT do 4GB Ram for virtual machine of windows 7?

    Huge diff. between the 1.86 vs 2.13? Anybody wish they got one or the other after owning the opposite?
  13. foiden macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2008
    I can't tell you about the 1.86. I also don't think I've used it to the capacity to really tell. The in-store versions were fine yet I didn't have the utilities and/or time to work them out like I've done for this 2.13. What I did find out is that the 2.13 CPU alone is enough to drive smooth 1080p HD flash video, even on less-optimized players. The advent of the new flash beta 10.2, it does seem that I wont have to worry about that as much now that most of the work is on the graphics chip. This would make the entry 11" capable of driving the video with this new optimization.

    I do plan on doing some use with Aperature and Photoshop Elements, in the future. This is where I'll likely make the most use of the CPU.
  14. PirateP macrumors 6502


    Aug 3, 2010
    Naboo Land
    I've really put the 1.86 to the test, and performance wise, it is extraordinary.
  15. millerb7, Dec 1, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010

    millerb7 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    UGH... All I need to decide is if the 2.13GHz is worth $400 more. The 128GB is fine for me.. so my two options are:

    1. 1.86GHz 4GB Ram, 128GB SSD
    2. 2.13GHz 4GB Ram (which only comes with 256GB SSD)

    $400 difference.

    Decisions decisions.

    WHAT I DO:

    Text-based apps and browser work all day doing coding (part of my job)
    Some photoshop work (1-3 images at a time tops, and not often)
    Watch LOADS of movies that's I've downloaded.
    I SELDOMLY use handbrake (once a month or more), but when I do, I don't want it to take 5 years.
    I normally have these apps open at once: Chrome, Coda, Firefox, iTunes, Mail, iChat, IRC... maybe once a week I throw in Photoshop.

    Option 1, or Option 2?

    You can get with this, or you can get with that! <--- Best commercial ever!
  16. foiden, Dec 1, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010

    foiden macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2008
    I was in the same boat as you. Technically, I could've went with a lower config, but I had a specific bonus given to cover the costs outside of my salary. Made the decision easier, plus made me consider that this could be an Air I know I can keep for a while longer.

    As for your specific needs you posted. I would imagine the 1.86 should handle things just fine. Power-wise, the 11" Ultimate could handle it with no problems. The 4GB ram is probably the thing that'll help the most. But rarely given it seems you keep a rather low capacity workload. Of course, the difference is that you may salivate for that 13" screen resolution for default screen real-estate.

    Handbrake may be your biggest demand and thus the only possible exception to my assessment. The bad thing is that I actually haven't really used handbrake to much capacity to have a better idea of what you need. If you're comparing 2.13 to 1.86, the ratio to time may be the best simple estimate. Obviously, it shouldn't be drastically longer, but if you have times with which it took your MBP to churn out the conversions, it'll be an easier estimate. Take note, between 2007 and now, FSB speeds and general architecture have increased (perhaps some increased Cache sizes). This actually allows some C2D processors to (in real performance tests) outspeed a slightly higher speed qualification of C2Ds running on older architecture due to those various things.
  17. millerb7 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    After 30 min. in the store I liked the 13" real-estate screen size much better... I like the footprint of the 11" but staring at a screen all day 24/7 doing coding and reading, the 13" was MUCH easier on the eyes. I do have an external 19" monitor... hmmm... If the 1.86 can cut it, I'll prob. go for that.. not sure I want to spend the extra $400.
  18. a2applegirl macrumors regular


    Jun 16, 2010
    It all depends on what type of files your movies are. Your movies will run more smoothly, with the 2.13 processor, especially if they are ripped bluerays. Photoshop will run fine on either version. Handbrake will run better with the 2.13.

    If your movies are mostly 720p the 1.83 processor will be fine.
  19. millerb7 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    Mostly 720p the occasional 1080
  20. a2applegirl macrumors regular


    Jun 16, 2010
    The 1.83 processor will be fine. :)
  21. diehldun macrumors 6502a

    Nov 15, 2003
    Sorry to re-hash an old thread, but I'm kind of in the same predicament except I'm also considering the 11" Ultimate to replace my 2.2GHz SR MacBook Pro. How does an 11" Ultimate compare, performance-wise? As long as it's "equal" to that of what I have right now, I would be content.

    I'm starting to think a 13" Ultimate would be a better compromise, a softer landing (if you will) than jumping from this to an 11" Ultimate. But if a maxed-out 11" is comparable to what I'm currently using...
  22. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2004
    In Raw processor performance, the T7500 (2.2Ghz SR) will smoke the SU9600 (1.6Ghz).

    Geekbench scores are almost 1000 pts apart.

    The Graphics card on your SR MBP is also gonna be more powerful (the 8600M beats the 320M - discrete vs. integrated).

    But depending on what you use the laptop for... it may not "feel" that different. Does your 2.2Ghz SR MBP have 2gb of RAM? Or 4GB? Do you do much more than surfing/youtube/email?

    The 11" Ultimate is only $1399 USD vs. the 13" Ultimate being $1799 so that's a consideration I'm sure.

    Again, I'll ask whether you need the smaller size, or are just looking for an upgrade? Is your 2.2Ghs SR MBP feeling sluggish? 'Cause an SSD and a RAM upgrade will probably breathe *years* of new life into it. And cost ~$300 instead of ~$1400+
  23. mark28, Dec 13, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010

    mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    He can put in a SSD in that 13" 2010 MBP that is much faster than the Toshiba Flash modules inside the MBA at the same price. The MBP outperforms it also at I/O since there are SSD's that are hitting the SATA limit.
  24. BENJMNS macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2005
    so i bought my mom a new mbp right before the new mbas came out.

    whenever i go over for dinner and i surf the net with her max out 13" MBP, it def feels slower and much bigger than my 13" mba.

    it's no joke. sure, it's quite a bit more dough, but hey u get what ou pay for. the diff is palpable.

    it's freakish fast.
  25. gwsat macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    My 13 inch Ultimate MBA has turned out to be just as fast as my old 2.4GHz Santa Rosa MBP, which has 6GB of RAM. I run Windows 7 in VMware Fusion's Unity mode with a couple of Windows apps open on the OS X desktop, along with half a dozen OS X apps, 24/7. The MBA handles the setup with total stability and with at least as much speed as the MBP gives me. I couldn't be happier with my MBA. Like Apple tells us, it just works.:)

Share This Page