Future Proof: 11'' Ultimate vs 13"

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Oppressed, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. Oppressed macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2010
    This is yet another 11" vs 13" thread, but with a more specific question. I recently bought the 11" ultimate, and I am quite happy with it. I'm still within the return period and although the form factor is fantastic I'm very interesting in insuring my investment is good for the long haul. What I use it for is web and moderate gaming. (World of Warcraft and Starcraft 2) I got to reading a bit and I'm curious about the performance boost with going from 1.6 ghz to 1.8 ghz with the double L2 cache size and faster front side bus.

    My question is how much of a boost is that really? I realize the sheer speed difference is minor, but what about the L2 cache and FSB?
  2. torbjoern macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2009
    The Black Lodge
    I wouldn't worry too much if I were you. There is no such thing as a future-proof computer anyway. Not even the 13" Ultimate is future-proof (though I wish it was!). RAM and SSD counts for more than the CPU as well, and it seems like you have prioritized wisely.
  3. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    Future Proof? There is no such thing.

    Buy the computer you like and enjoy it!

    Waiting/worrying about future tech doesn't work. If an upgrade comes, and you 'need' to upgrade save up and do it ... that's the reality of the tech world ...

    So forget about it, buy the best computer you can afford that suits your needs and enjoy.
  4. Moz316 macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2010
    Speaking from a Hardware perspective.. They are both out of date. The new models will no doubt have Thunderbolt, and most likely include Sandy Bridge processors.

    Speaking from a software perspective.. My MBA 13" runs all my programs just fine.. As long as it serves its purpose for you, no need to worry about future proofing. Make sure you get 4gb Ram though.
  5. iVeBeenDrinkin' macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2008
    In approx six months, there will be an 11" MBA with an i3 or i5, a better GPU, and thunderbolt. All the current MBA's will be dated.
  6. alecgold macrumors 65816


    Oct 11, 2007
    Yup. And the old ones will still be working perfectly. So no need to wait, just buy as you need and work with them.
  7. negatv1 macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2005
    I can't really see the industry coming together and saying "That's it. We can do no more". So, unless that happens you'll never meet a future proof computer.

    Buy what you need/want today and be happy with it. Sooner or later (probably sooner), you'll be impressed by a newer model.

    That said, I have the 11-inch "Ultimate" (amongst other machines) and it is hands down the best portable machine I have ever owned... to this point.
  8. Oppressed thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2010
    Ok I understand the fact that future proofing my device may be a lost cause, but back to the original question. What could one expect in terms of performance upgrade going from an 11.6" ultimate to 13.3''/1.8/4gig/128ssd? Taking into consideration the double L2 cache size and faster front side bus.
  9. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Not much. You're still trying to play games on an underpowered machine.
  10. GreyMatta macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2007
    take into consideration that on the 13" games will have to run at a higher res to be at the native res for the display. Which I think will offset the small CPU upgrade
  11. Oppressed thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2010
    Excellent point did not think of this.
  12. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    Future Proof doesn't happen unless the technology does not change. RAM gets cheaper, SSDs get cheaper, processors get faster, etc.

    Any computer you buy today is outdated to some extent.
  13. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    2010/2011 has given rise to two phrases that I would personally love to be sent into the bowels of hell forever more. These are;

    'Future Proof'. Nothing, absolutely nothing is or possibly can be future proof. The two words together alone are an oxymoron in themselves, implying that something bought or done today will somehow miraculously halt the effect's of 'time'. I would love to future proof myself against these effects of time, and indeed as a human race we spend billions on 'products' that promise that if bought today they will some how defy the natural law of 'aging'. It simply can not be done.

    The other big phrase technology wise that is banded about;

    'Smart Economy'.... Something governments and politicians like to throw around when they have no knowledge of what they are talking about or how to get us out of the holes we are in.


    OP buying a MacBook Air now is fruitless if you are worried that it may be outdated. Technically as others have already testified it is outdated and no matter what 'upgrades' you purchase for it - it is not going to stop the effects of time or lesson the technological leaps that will inevitably follow.

    Just enjoy and rest assured that you can always sell it later for a small loss and upgrade to 'newer' but none the less 'not future-proof' technology later.
  14. Beau10 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 6, 2008
    Downtown San Diego
    My definition of future proofing is a bit different than it was say 10 years ago, where I could hold onto a machine a good 3-5 years and expect it to be worth little once I was done with it.

    Nowadays people resell and upgrade more often, esp. in the Apple world where resale is unusually high. Machines are far cheaper, more commoditized.

    So now here it is: *don't* buy maxed out machines if you're concerned about this, unless you absolutely need the upgrades. Generally they won't pencil out value-wise (ie. the difference between base and ultimate is approx 40% more... is it 40% more machine?). You'll lose out on percentage-wise when it comes to resale... the demographic for used machines doesn't care nearly as much about specs. When it comes down to the basic dollars and cents calculation this could be the difference between upgrading annually vs. every 2-3 years. Now *that's* future-proofing.
  15. TheXFactor macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2011
    Ha, that's too funny. Two words that don't work in the tech industry. "Future Proof"

    I actually like to buy products after they have been out for a bit. I like to call them battle tested by others rather than me. I read the reviews too. In the past I bought several products as soon as they came out and regretted it. It's a vicious cycle and you can't avoid it.
  16. BENJMNS macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2005
    i have both the 11 and 13 ultimates. one thing that bugs me about the 11 is that it can't even run youtube hd at full screen. the 13 runs 'em with nary a hiccup.

    output this to a 27" ACD and it's even more apparent. not a deal breaker, but disappointing that it can't do something so basic today.
  17. hithere, Apr 12, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011

    hithere macrumors member


    May 19, 2006

    I think someone is a bit too extreme here.
    Of course "future proof" does not mean that the machine you get now will last until 2025. Yes, any computer will be surpassed by new models.

    The problem is when, not if.

    The first iphone got obsolete very quickly (no gps, no 3g) while from the 3g onwards evolution was somehow slower. Those who got a powerbook g4 just before the intel transition were left with a machine that was at least 50% slower than who got an early macbook pro (and the early core duo MBP of 5 years ago are not noticeably slower than the current MBA, at least with geekbench tests).

    So, future proofing exists, at least up to a degree.

    Concerning the difference between 11 and 13 inchers, my opinion is that they will be soon left way behind by the sandy bridge models. My opinion again is that the 11 is more "future proof" because it will be a slower computer but who cares, it will be lighter, portable and it will become somewhat an ubernetbook.
  18. Oppressed thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2010
    Thank you for helping me articulate what I originally meant. I know that technology purchasing is a game of leap frog, but I don't want to have just bought an iPhone 1 when a 3G is around the corner. To accomplish this I want to purchase something that is good now and will stay decent for the time being. Like buying a 3GS when an iPhone 4 is coming soon. Is it just as good as the iphone 4? No, but it still gets the job done better than an iPhone 1 vs a 3G.
  19. GreyMatta macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2007
    i run 1080p youtube on my 11" fine (fans dont even come on)
  20. BENJMNS macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2005
    compare it to one on a 13. it's smoother.
  21. Stingray454, Apr 13, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2011

    Stingray454 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 22, 2009
    You're doing it wrong :)

    I play 1080p youtube videos on my 11" ultimate, and it takes about 20% CPU for the player itself (about 30-35% counting all the apps I have running). Never a framedrop or a stutter. I think you're running an old Flash plugin, update it to the latest (10.2.156-something I think it is) and it will run a LOT smoother.

    Granted the SB processors are faster, they're still not THAT much faster. The SB onboard GPU (that will be used on the Air, no doubt) is actually worse than the 320M.

    I think the CPU increase vs the GPU decrease will leave gaming in about the same place it is now. Probably a few fps up or down, but nothing revolutionary.

    Other than that, my current 11" handles everything else I do with it with no problem at all, so even if a CPU bump is welcome, it won't change much.

    Thunderbolt is nice, but right now there are hardly anything to use with it. I'm sure I'll get a TB-equipped computer in the future, but I don't think I'll need it before 2012 at the earliest.

    My point is - there's little point waiting for upgrades, get the computer you want now, you'll be happy with it for a long time to come.
  22. BENJMNS macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2005

    sorry meant to add outputting to 27" acd... 13 ult no prob... 11 will stutter

    since when did youtube require flash?
  23. GreyMatta macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2007
  24. Over Achiever macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

    Jul 22, 2002
    Toledo, OH, formerly Twin Cities, MN
    No studder on an 24" HD display at 1080p resolution. 11 ult.
  25. Stingray454 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 22, 2009
    Install this:


    I checked before (standard install) and after this install. There was a CPU decrease of about 70% when watching youtube video in HD. That should help, the 11" shouldn't have any problem displaying HD content, even on a 27" screen. At least mine hasn't.

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