Good choice on purchase (vs MBA)?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by millerb7, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. millerb7, Dec 4, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010

    millerb7 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    So, my old 2007 MBA sold for some good money. Time to upgrade. Before I sold it I bought a OWC SSD which is still brand new in box. Haven't used it yet.

    Fast forward to today. I go to apple store with my heart SET on a 13" MBA ultimate. I LOVE the size factor.

    I ended up walking out with a new MBP 15" i5. Same exact price. I'm going to put the OWC SSD into the MBP tomorrow and then put the original HDD into a pocket USB enclosure.

    Right call?

    I just dont have that "BAM" factor from the MBP that the MBA gives me. I assume because it's similar to what I had. Not as thin.

    But after the SSD is in, it'll have better GPU, better processor, more ram, faster SSD. Just all around better. Not sure why I'm so skeptical.


    Maybe after the SSD goes in I'll get that "BAM" factor? I think that was some of the appeal of the MBA to me, the speed. My MBP will be faster potentially though.

    Worst case I have until Jan 8th (holiday return period) to decide if I don't like it. Pay the 10% fee and buy the 13" MBA ultimate.

    It just frustrates me because I know the MBP is superior in every way performance wise after I install the SSD.
  2. jenzjen macrumors 68000

    Aug 20, 2010
    It is the size & speed of the MBA that gives you that BAM, that's why you're still not sure if you'll get it from the MBP. I had an Intel G2 SSD in my 15" i7 hi-res, and I loved this machine - it gave me the BAM - but the MBA gave me more BAM and haven't looked back selling that 15" for the 13" MBA.
  3. InfinitySquared macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2010
    While obviously I can't speak of your usage patterns, I would recommend you stick with the MBP.

    I'll admit I was always one of those people who was rather skeptical of the need for a laptop like the air - overpriced and underpowered. I always saw the 13" mbp or even the white macbook as being sufficiently portable to suite just about anybody's needs.

    After some first-hand time with the new macbook air, my opinion has radically changed. I love it.

    That being said, it's still hard to justify spending so much money on a computer with such diminutive performance. I take on enough cpu and gpu intensive tasks right now that, were I buying a new laptop right now, the air simply couldn't be my first choice.

    So what it comes down to is this: What do you use your computer for? You're not going to see light tasks magically get any faster on the machine you purchased. But if you're fond of gaming, or have any aspirations in photoshop, etc., then you will definitely notice the difference.
  4. Stvwndr219 macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2009
    This. I'm sure you'll come close/match the speed of your air after you upgrade the SSD; you'll really love the extra screen resolution too. :)
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I think the MBP provides better options for upgrade and customization. While it may not have that "bam" option, it is a great work horse and isn't that why you bought it
  6. millerb7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    This is what worries me some though. Technically my SSD is twice as fast as the MBA SSD. Yet I keep reading people think the MBA is faster.

    My tasks on the laptop will be:

    Chrome and firefox both open at same time, debugging with firebug
    Coda open (writing some code by hand)
    iTunes open listening to music
    iChat open
    IRC open
    Mail open
    Transmission open downloading stuff

    Those are what I have open almost every time the machine is on.

    I would think like to open Photoshop and/or pixelmator and edit 1 or 2 images. Nothing intensive. Don't wanna have to close stuff down.
    I also like to watch stuff in hulu or netflix too. Closing down stuff to do that is okay if need be.

    Occasionally I toss in a virtual machine of win7 too.

    Doing all that stressed my 2.2GHz C2D with 2GB ram MBP to death.

    That is a usual day working on my machine. I've heard the MBA can handle all that but once I get the MBA 13" ultimate there is really no more upgrading.

    The MBP after I put the SSD in I can still go up to 8GB ram. It would easily handle it all.

    Just feel kinda "empty" haha. Hopefully when I installl this SSD in about 10 min into the MBP that all changes.
  7. andrewsd macrumors 6502

    Sep 27, 2008
    Nice machine and since you were considering the air it seems as if you don't need an optical drive so why don't you put the ssd in the optical slot and have two hd's or is there not enough room on the 15". I know you can do it on the 17" Also be happy with what you have and you have 30 days anyways.
  8. Wattser93 macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2010
    The color gamut lacks though compared to the MBP line.

    The 15" with an SSD will blow you away. Another benefit of your SSD, Sandforce, the MBA doesn't have that.
  9. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    From what I've been reading the Toshiba SSDs being used, do have background garbage collection so while it may not be "sandforce", it operates quite similarly.
  10. millerb7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    So I installed the SSD. REALLY nice. Really fast. Boots up in about 13 seconds. Faster than I could get the MBA to boot up.

    I think I'm going to do the Optibay, DOES IT VOID WARRANTY THOUGH? That I can't do.

    I LOVE the machine. Only bad part is it's not as small as the MBA. More powerful for sure though no questions asked.
  11. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Technically, any damage you inflict on your machine while installing the optibay, won't be covered. What most people do, is if that they need to send the computer into apple for warranty work. They remove the optibay and replace the optical drive again.
  12. millerb7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    Yeah. I think I'll go ahead and do it, and if I need to take it into the apple store for repair (I always go in to them) I can just swap the optical drive back on.

    I really wanna nab a 500GB WD HDD and put it into an optibay.... I think just a 5400RPM will work just fine.
  13. millerb7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    An external enclosure optical drive would work perfect for me. I use my optical drive about once a month or so.
  14. JKK photography macrumors regular

    JKK photography

    Jul 14, 2009
    Hey, can you link me to the SSD you bought and installed? I'm looking for one to put in a MBP 13". Thanks!
  15. millerb7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010

    This is the one I got. OWC SSD. 120GB.

    I use the stock 320GB HDD in a USB pocket-enclosure. Works fantastic.

    This SSD is insane. Fast speeds and hardly any degradation compared to most.

    It was REALLY easy to install. Just note, when you stick it in, of course the folder with ?-mark will pop up, throw in your install disc... from there open disk utility and format the SSD (journaled, first option)... then it'll reformat and install OSX... bam, golden. Works crazy fast.

    $235 is a lil steep for 120GB but I don't store much of anything on my drive, almost everything is stored on my externals and then use the SSD as my boot drive.
  16. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010

    Care to give us any XBench specs on your OWC SSD?

    FWIW, this is what I get on the 13" MacBook Air Rev D. The OWC SSD should be faster.

    Disk Test 234.48
    Sequential 155.75
    Uncached Write 259.59 159.38 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 280.62 158.77 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 65.41 19.14 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 335.74 168.74 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 474.22
    Uncached Write 293.16 31.03 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 509.26 163.03 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 1537.49 10.90 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 414.99 77.00 MB/sec [256K blocks]
  17. millerb7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    Here is what I got.


    Just ran it.. have quite a few stuff open ATM, not sure how exactly those tests work with having things open/closes etc.

    My MPB is running completely silent, and since I've installed the SSD I have not been able to get the fan to kick on yet, which is a HUGE plus. To me, a MBP 15" running silent/cool is amazing.

    Again, I kinda wish it was as thin as the MBA, but I suppose having all better specs means I have to be a tad thicker.

    This week I'll be doing an optibay I think from maxupgrades or OWC. I'll be doing a 500GB HDD in the optical drive spot (strictly for storage, and don't want it to cut down on battery life to much so 5400RPM is the way to go)... then doing a USB optical drive enclosure for the 1-2x a month I use the thing burning stuff.

    After that, I'll be ordering 8GB ram for xMas and this bad boy will be maxed out for the most part. Just slowly upgrade the size of the SSD as the technology comes along allowing the prices to drop some.
  18. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Nice speeds on the SSD. I do notice that it varies a bit each time I run XBench, but usually not by too much to be able to make reliable comparisons. I'll definitely consider OWC in the future. My mother has a 15" MacBook Pro (late 2008 with the 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo) and I think she'd benefit from an SSD.

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