Changed from 'ultimate' 13" to base... thoughts

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by h00ligan, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    First, here's why. You can skip to the part about what I notice

    I have a very powerful desktop I can do basically everything wicked fast on. Photoshop, video editing. It's a 2500k clocked to 4.5 with 16 gigs of ram. It was 400% faster (at least) than the ultimate.

    I wanted a machine to do on the run photoshop and general surfing... the ultimate, with student discount/ $100 iTunes gift card, applecare, etc.. $1920-ish.

    Problem is this: The air screen (either brand) is not good enough, it's not going to be a primary machine, I'm moving to subscription music, I have also a windows domain controller and a home server.. so I don't need storage.

    I decided I would forego applecare and try to upgrade within a year (my last mbp lasted 4 + years) hoping they get a thinner pro out. In the interim, that was just too much cash to have into a recreational machine. So I saved the $600 and dropped down.

    Things I notice between the two (it's early days and I will update this as time goes on a bit):

    When just web surfing, so far there is a tangible difference in battery life. I understand automated tests show it's not that much, that is not my experience thus far. It may change but for now it seems i'm getting 30-45 mins more on the i5

    The mac app store is noticeably less responsive on the i5 - never really beach balled on the i7

    I obtained Samsung SSD in both machines

    I have now had one of each panel. I don't really notice a difference in viewing angle - I do notice the LG seems to have more natural color vs more vibrant of samsung - this is after calibrating both.

    The wake from sleep issue doesn't seem to be hitting me on the i5 (I have a feeling that's a coincidence)

    After analyzing the space I need considering I cull photos quickly, require a 20gb boot camp partition - store encrypted docs on dropbox, use spotify and stream from my home server.. and will be getting iTunes plus - the space recs are irrelevant.

    I will be spending more time on the air than the desktop, but it won't be doing as much 'serious stuff'

    Obviously for tasks like word processing, internet browsing, email - there is no difference...none

    The i5 starts a couple of seconds slower - maybe this will change due to indexing.

    At idle, the cpu runs 5-9 degrees cooler (c) and the enclosure runs 4-7 degrees cooler (c) - the temps ramp up and fall considerably faster than on the i7, which seemed more linear.

    Neither machine is particularly suited to gaming.

    Photoshop CS 5 is very similar between devices. Without benching it, I'm guessing most people won't notice. Nor will I

    I'll add more if I think of it - if you have any specific questions I will try to answer. At the end of the day, I felt nearly 2k was too much money to sink into a machine that frankly wasn't that well suited to photo editing, didn't have the speakers for real multimedia, and the price difference is effectively an of both worlds.

    I also bought 'the one' bag when there - which carries the air, iPad and has enough room for a compact camera. I will be starting another thread about bags and protection though!

    In case you can't tell - I feel the majority of people not video or photo editing will be just fine with the base model.
  2. AlvinNguyen macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2010
    So what you are suggesting is for photoshop editing purposes the $400 extra for the i5 ($300 for 256gb ssd + i7 upgrade) isn't worth it? I'm planning on selling my 2011 i7 2.3ghz 17" MBP and use the air until the new iMac comes out next week and add that on as a new machine. The air right now with its SSD actually suits me better than the $3200 MBP.
  3. h00ligan thread starter macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    Correct - if you have the right workflow. I don't amass thousands of photos in one catalog. I shoot, cull, develop, finalize, and export large jpg to an iPhoto library to be synced with an iPad.. as well as putting things on various online sites for sharing.

    If you are the type of person that shoots at 8 fps and doesn't like culling.welll.. the 256 makes sense. I don't need to store my 60gb iTunes library, or 2 tb of video, etc.. I have a server for that... I can tell you that recreationally, i wound up with 8.5 gb of photos in lightroom in 2010 - I'm BRUTAL when I cull.

    The processor - I don't really see a reason for it. If you factor in not buying applecare or that processor - you can amortize that cost over 2 additional years, take the depreciation and wind up about even selling for the next model.

    I assume you meant you are selling the mbp to wait for the next iMac.. what kind of storage do you have available? $300 buys a NAS.
  4. go4theko macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2011
    you should return the base and save your cash. period. unless you want to rent a mba until the new pros come out. which will probably be 4-6 months
  5. SpiffyChee macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2005
    This is an interesting point you bring up. I have a "powerful" desktop (By that I mean it was top of the line 2 years ago)... and I have found that my i7 air is able to perform every intensive task I've ever done on the desktop just as well! I even loaded up 100,000$ CAD software that I use at work for circuit board design and it works better than the older workstations we have at work.

    I'd sell my desktop if I could get much out of it... (which I can't cuz PC computers have horrible resale value.)

    The ONLY thing that is different for me is I can't play games on "VERY HIGH" anymore. But I'll build a new desktop for that in a few years for $1500 and solve that.

    I love my air to pieces and I can't wait to try it on apples thunderbolt monitor when it comes out to see if it can still handle well.

    Had I got the i5 I bet my other PC would get more use in the future. At this point with my i7 I'm pretty darn sure I'm gonna turn my pc into a dust magnet except for the occasional LAN parties with friends.
  6. h00ligan thread starter macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    That's basically the idea. When I bought the air I sold my 4 yr old laptop. The way I figure - the loss we see on well cared for macs is not that great in 6 months - I'm ok with renting.

    This is another part of the thought process - base models lose much less (based on %) than the higher end ones.
  7. misterneums macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2009
    I think that everything you've stated pretty much makes sense. I originally was looking at an upgrade i7 in an 11"--ended up just going with a base 13." Ended up being a little bit more than what I was intending on spending, but I've been super happy with it.

    I've also have a PC which I use for some gaming. It's actually starting to get quite old. (Core2Quad Q6600, 8 gb ram, XFX 5870, OCZ Vertex 2 90 GB SSD.) It currently is my workstation that I do my Photoshop work with. Maybe eventually I'll look at getting it on my Air.
  8. Pipper99 macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2010
    Fort Worth, TX
    Interesting points. Thank you for your observations.
  9. OSMac macrumors 65816

    Jun 14, 2010
    If you have the time, could you try making an iMovie photo slideshow on both with music track , then export to h264 1080P.

    Note how then feel when editing, fan noise and how long a encode takes.
  10. vader_slri macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2009
    Just wondering - in your situation, how did the base 13" end up being more expensive than the 11" with i7? If anything, it should be the other way around, at least in North America.

    Cheapest 11" configuration eligible for i7 upgrade is $1199 plus $150 for the i7 = $1349
    Base 13" = $1299
  11. h00ligan thread starter macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    I'm sorry, I no longer have the i7
  12. misterneums macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2009
    I was a little tired when I wrote that last night. I do believe you're correct. For me, with the educational discount, it would have been ~1284. Of course, the educational discount on the 13" base is 1249. So yes--it would have been more for the option I didn't chose.
  13. onthecouchagain macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    Tell us more about the bag. Very interested. Im shopping for the right bag for my air 13.
  14. taeclee99 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 4, 2002
    Anywhere but here
    BTW, which screen do you have now?
  15. misterneums, Aug 3, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011

    misterneums macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2009
    The title states that he went from 13" i7 to base. I would assume that means he went from 13" 1.8/4/256 to a 13" 1.7/4/128.
  16. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    I used both machines as well, and agree with most of your comments. My only disagreement would be on the App Store issue - it beachballed equally on both machines for me. I'm assuming the slowdown is primarily related to pulling in dynamic content, which wouldn't be noticeably faster on the I7.
  17. taeclee99 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 4, 2002
    Anywhere but here
    Ummm...I was asking about the screen not the model.
  18. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    I've had both machines and do agree the i7 is faster at most tasks. But the difference was very minor. Heat is small difference. About 5C more on the i7. But I went i5 as it was on sale at Best Buy. Would I love an i7? Yes. But had to give up a cooler laptop for a very small speed increase. But I'm still debating it. :D
  19. misterneums macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2009
    Apparently I cannot read.

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