Has Anyone Gone Balls to the Walls on the new MBA?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Vesuvio Cat, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. Vesuvio Cat macrumors regular

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    Jan 30, 2010
    #1
    13", i7, 8 GB, 512 GB SSD?

    I'm wondering if this is a logical purchase or just a "why not?" purchase. There is no way I am getting the new MB with the specs it has (and it's a 1st gen), and I'm supremely happy with my rMBP (mid-2013) that is fully decked out on specs. But a 12 hour MBA with full specs seems like a good purchase. Is there any reason not to go all the way on a light little tiger that will probably survive five or six years? Airplanes and meetings are delightful with a MBA.

    My only reservation is the screen. I had an 11" MBA that I ended up selling because I didn't like the screen and battery life. But the 13" seems to compensate in some respects.. Even though the new MB has a Retina screen, I'm thinking it will be outdated within one year because of its sub-prime specs.
     
  2. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #2
  3. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #3
    I've been rocking that combo for a year now. It is awesome. I think the screen is fine.

    HOWEVER.

    Comparing it against the rMPB 13" Retina screen pushed me over the edge. I'm giving my MBA to my wife (who has a 2011 4GB/256GB model) and I am getting a maxed out rMBP 13". That Retina screen sure is growing on me...
     
  4. Abbara macrumors member

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    Feb 11, 2014
    #4
    Kinda depends how important portability is for you...

    I mean, at $1750, you can get a better performing rMBP. So value wise, it's starting to look a bit expensive. The MBA imo is awesome for being a really awesome base model laptop in terms of value. At $1k getting a 13' decent workhorse with insane battery life in a slick design is something that was impossible for everyone else until recently with the new Dell XPS and Asus.

    But if you spend $700 extra for upgrades, I'd say you might as well get a RMBP. Better screen, better performance, new touchpad which might get a lot of software support the next 6 years.

    Also the MBA 13' is only tiny bit bigger than the MBP, which has thinner bezels and is a bit smaller. So the portability aspect is really in the weight, I'd say. The thinness helps, too. But neither the weight or the thinness are insanely different. At the thickest point it's a 1mm difference, that's tiny, and the thickest point is often what matters when it comes to fitting it in your bag. (it's not like you can stuff a mouse or keyboard or w/e at the thinnest point of the MBA).

    The weight can be a deal-breaker, it's just a pound but it can be a 'magic barrier' for some. I don't know... if you're carrying books, a pound doesn't seem to make a big difference. If you're just carrying the Macbook, both are more than light enough.

    For me the air is awesome because of its battery (12h vs 9-10ish) and awesome value at $1k. But I fear if you get the i7 that battery will take a small hit, and maxing it out reduces the performance:price ratio for me.

    So it really depends what is important. The main things to consider for me are:
    Performance: MBP
    Screen: MBP
    Battery: MBA
    Portable: MBAish (MBP is a bit smaller, barely thicker, but a pound heavier)
    Value: MBPish unless you get a base model MBA

    Throw in the touchpad, and I'd definitely choose MBP, unless that pound and 25%ish more battery is really important. It can be.

    What do you use it for? If I had the money to max out a MBA, I instead just might get a base MBA 2014 for $800ish (or stick with the 2015 MBP). Sell it in a year, and get an upgraded 2nd gen MB, or Skylake rMBP 13" if the MB still isn't good enough value next year. Again really depends on your usage. I feel Skylake is going to be one of those events every 3y or so that either performance takes a leap, or battery takes a leap, or a bit of both, putting both the RMB and RMBP solidly beyond 10h of battery and with good enough performance for your regular consumer/pro, respectively.
     
  5. Dweez macrumors 65816

    Dweez

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    #5
    I've got the described machine and it's my road warrior. Put simply, it kicks butt. The screen has never been an issue for me, since i use an external monitor when at home.
     
  6. Traverse macrumors 604

    Traverse

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    #6
    "Balls to the Walls?" Sounds painful.


    I personally would prefer a rMBP for the screen and smaller footprint, but I think the MBA is a wonderfully crafted machine.
     
  7. buchacho macrumors newbie

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    Dec 16, 2008
    #7
    One thing I'm wondering that is not mentioned, and maybe it's because it's not an issue, but what about heat? If the MBA runs cooler (which is my guess it does), it would be a more comfortable machine to have in bed or on your lap along with being somewhat lighter. I just went with an 13"/i7/8GB/256GB, so I'll see how it goes...
     
  8. Abbara macrumors member

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    Feb 11, 2014
    #8
    Air definitely runs a bit cooler, but... Heat tends to be a problem when you run something pretty intensive and the CPU maxes out for long periods of time. In bed, or an airplane, on a couch, you tend not to edit large videos or w/e, but rather do email, youtube, chat, skype, blogging etc.

    Anyway it's a factor but I don't think it's a dealbreaker for most people.
     
  9. Paulg2uk macrumors regular

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    Jun 15, 2008
    #9
    I was actually thinking of going full spec on the MBA. I've been wanting to get something with more portablity for work and band rehearsal. I have a RMBP 15" mid 2012 at the moment but its proving difficult to cart about everywhere so I thought of getting an air.

    I'm waiting till the launch of the rmb just to see what its like and then I'll sell my RMBP and go for the air. I plan on keeping it for a few years so if i can max it out then I will. It would interesting to hear from anyone that has maxed out the MBA to see what its like.
     
  10. Dweez macrumors 65816

    Dweez

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    #10
    It's somewhat off topic, but I must comment. Using a computer in bed? :mad:
     
  11. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #11
    Funny, but I never really tried this until I got my 2013 11" MBA. My 2008 MBP got too hot to hold in your lap. :p But the 11" MBA with its 16:9 screen is a great movie player (especially with a friend :D ).

    Last summer I hooked up an AppleTV to a little 15" LCD monitor on a swivel mount next to the bed though, so I am not using the MBA in bed as much.
     
  12. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a

    z31fanatic

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    #12
    It is not a logical purchase at all unless you have money to burn or don't know the value of money.

    $1800 gets you a much better computer.
     
  13. happyfrappy macrumors 6502

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    Location eh?
    #13
    I'd never touch the "new" MacBook, adapter hell is unrealistic and the thinness war has gone overkill.

    CTO-ing a MacBook Air 13" wouldn't work for me, cost wise it'll be cheaper to opt for the 13" rMBP.

    On the topic of using a MBA vs 13" MBP/rMBP in bed, heat wise they're quite similar... if you want a toasty experience try a 12" PowerBook G4 :eek:
     
  14. jmoore5196, Mar 19, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015

    jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a

    jmoore5196

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    #14
    This isn't necessarily true. I've had both a maxed-out 13" rMBP and a maxed-out 11" MBA. The retina MacBook Pro is handicapped by the display; it will stutter, drag or lag when pushed by higher-end applications.

    To me, the "better computer" is the one that makes you more productive or more efficient. I sold my retina MacBook Pro because my MacBook Air does a much better job keeping up with processor-intensive tasks. The "ultimate" 13" MBA would be worth every penny to a dedicated power user. When using Creative Cloud apps in particular, I don't think you can buy a better laptop without moving to quad-core processors.
     
  15. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

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    #15
    It's perfect for me, love RETINA, so wish :apple: Would put one in each of the 11"&13" MBA's, especially :apple: 11" MBA, which I believe is one of :apple: Crowning beautiful achievements, small, sweet,awesomely light, so perfect for most Seniors, as a do all computer:p
     
  16. Dweez macrumors 65816

    Dweez

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    #16
    Now that's beginning to make sense... :cool:
     
  17. Abbara macrumors member

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    Feb 11, 2014
    #17
    You could as far as I know simply lower the resolution to a 13" equivalent of what the 11" is doing (so MBP non-retina) and not have that problem, yet still have a much more capable MBP than the 11". Sure if resolution was fixed then I'd agree it'd be an issue.

    The fact that you can also, under non-high end applications (e.g. outside of gaming) use retina, like when watching a movie or doing med-level photo editing, is a plus.

    Beyond that though, does a maxed out MBP really struggle on tasks a maxed out MBA handles fine, just because of a retina display? Maybe if the MBA was maxed out and the retina MBP wasn't... but a maxed out MBP is pretty beastly. That doesn't mean it'll never struggle, there's always a task too heavy you can imagine. But looking at specs and past experience I'd imagine that a task that a maxed out MBP would struggle with is definitely not one that a MBA can do just fine.
     
  18. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a

    jmoore5196

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    #18
    I actually tried that approach without any discernible improvement. The lag was still apparent and, for me, disconcerting.

    My 13" rMBP was a 2.8GHz i7 with 16GB RAM. Maybe today's faster processors would make a difference.
     
  19. Abbara macrumors member

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    Feb 11, 2014
    #19
    But that can't be right, as in it's not because the MBA is faster or anything. There's no way that the MBA will run a application smoother or faster than a maxed out RMBP, especially not at the same resolution.

    I've seen a few topics on this and everyone says that their machine runs fine, butter smooth and fast, but there's something with the UI.

    That's obviously a software issue, and its been reported with specific OS versions and it reported that updates helped and made it a rare occasion.

    In fact in every single thread I came upon there was at least one guy saying 'oh yeah I had this too on my 2012 MBA' or something to that effect. Doesn't seem to be a retina or MBP only thing.

    I mean don't get me wrong, I won't sit here and deny this is happening, or that it's a problem. It obviously sucks. If you say your MBP has issues running applications your MBA doesn't, I believe you. But it's highly unlikely and unusual. Again I believe you but it's like saying your MBP has better battery than your MBA, that may be true but that's not the way it works for most people and not the way it was designed or supposed to work. I wouldn't be surprised if clean install or an OS update wouldn't fix it, and that if it wouldn't, that there wasn't any rare issue with your parts somehow.

    I mean if you read a thread like this: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4373147

    That's just issues with either software or hardware or both, that most people are not experiencing, and that can be fixed. You get people reporting 5 fps on a MBP opening mail, that just has absolutely nothing to do with it being 'retina', or being a 'mbp'. You can get bad parts or a software issue like that on a MBA, too.

    For all intents and purposes, a normal maxed out MBA is simply never going to outperform a normal maxed out rMBP, especially not if the MBP lowers the resolution to non-retina.

    The fact you still had problems when you had the same resolution on better hardware means your MBP had some kind of a software issue or a bad part.
     
  20. helloshirosan macrumors member

    helloshirosan

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    Jan 12, 2014
    #20
    The 13"/i7/8GB/256GB that you have mentioned with the one you have gone with. This is the recent 2015 update you're talking about right? If so, this is the one I want to buy. Can you let me know how you like it and all the pros/cons? I will be coming from the original aluminum unibody mid-2009 13" macbook pro (i5/2.26 GHz/8GB/160GB)

    Thanks!
     
  21. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

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    #21
    My late 2015 MBAir 13 matches these specs and I have never been disappointed in any way. 95% of the time this MBAir is running Wondows 7 Pro via BootCamp and it is fast. I need AutoCad and Photoshop in the field and it has meet or exceeded all of my wishes.

    4GB might be fine for OSX but 8GB will remove any limits for your Air.
     
  22. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a

    jmoore5196

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    #22
    The Creative Cloud apps which were problematic on the rMBP (since sold, for this precise reason) run smoothly on my MBA and my 15" rMBP.

    I've had an iteration of every Apple laptop since the PowerBook 100, so I like to think I can troubleshoot a problem like this. I gave up in frustration and sold the MacBook Pro.

    Your implication - that the rMBP is just a superior computer to the MBA - just isn't true in all cases. I'm sure that for 95% of all users, the rMBP is the better choice. It wasn't for me.
     
  23. buchacho macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    #23
    Yeah, it's the new 2015 model. I got it from BHPhoto last night. I like it so far. I was using a 2008 15" MBP. The MBP was starting to really annoy me; things like getting hot while reading in bed, hard disk and fan noise, the glowing LED, sluggish boot time, too heavy for casual reading positions. The MBA is pretty much silent and runs cool in general. I was using Google street view a bit at one point and it did get a bit hot and the fan kicked on, but still seemed cooler than the old machine. I did a Handbrake conversion of an episode of Saved by the Bell and I think it hit around 70fps peak. I am guessing this could be optimized with thread priority settings to get the overall rip speed faster. The SSD R/W was around 1100MB/s. Geekbench was near top of listed results for the model posted by other users. I need to run some heavier apps on it, will try Ableton Live next for a more sleek performance rig. Still getting used to Yosemite... I had been using Snow Leopard. I had initially enabled File Vault, but I found the performance hit was not worth it on the precious SSD. I'd rather encrypt my files in a more localized way if I really need to.

    The major concern I had going in was the screen resolution, but the more I read the more I think it is spec hype. My main experience with retina is an iPhone 5 and yes it is not as crisp, but the distance you use the screen at makes up for it and think if the resolution was much higher, it would be difficult to read text. It probably could be more vibrant and the specs on color gamut sound like they may be more relevant to improving the experience. But the MBA is sharper than my previous 15", having the same resolution, so it looks pretty good for me.

    Cons... Could be a little lighter, be space grey, have a smaller/efficient bezel, have an HDMI port. Having no button on the trackpad is going to take a while to get used to. I am concerned 256GB is too small for the SSD. I had a 500GB HDD on the MBP so I will be leaving lots of old data behind in backups and my NAS. But the price difference was just way too much for 512GB SSD. Since it is a replaceable component, I am hoping a future upgrade will be available that is even faster, more massive, and cheaper in two years.
     
  24. Abbara macrumors member

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    Feb 11, 2014
    #24
    First of all, you just said that your 15" rMBP runs it just fine, while your assumption that a retina macbook is handicapped by the screen should be even worse on your 15" than on a 13" as it has to push even more pixels.

    Again it's another indication that you had a software issue or a faulty part.

    I didn't say superior or ever implied it. indeed I actually prefer the MBA, I think it's a better machine because for me personally, better means better value, more portable and better battery. For me the MBA is a superior device.

    But in terms of superior performance, there's simply no way a same-year maxed out MBA will run applications better than a maxed out rMBP when they run on the same resolution and there are no abnormal OS or hardware issues.

    I mean look at the claim you're making here to suggest otherwise. It's completely contrary to everyone's experiences, contrary to the design of the MBA and MBP lineup, contrary to the specifications of the hardware, contrary to the choices of people who need performance buying a Pro instead of an Air... all while giving absolutely zero evidence or any meaningful argument, except a single anecdotal piece of evidence of your personal experience that could have been an OS/Hardware issue.

    If you presented a story of your MBA getting less battery life than your MBP, again, it may well be true because of some software/battery issue you had on the air, but it says absolutely nothing about suggesting a buying decision for others. Nobody in their right minds would suggest a MBP over a MBA for battery life because by design the MBA has the better battery life and this is the experience that everyone gets, and the reason people buy a MBA instead of a MBP when they want more battery life.

    Suggesting to buy a MBP instead of an air because the Pro gets better battery life because it once happened to you is a ridiculous claim, I hope you agree. Just like claiming a same-year maxed out MBA gets better performance than a maxed out MBP even at the same resolution.

    If you disagree fine we'll leave it at that.
     
  25. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a

    jmoore5196

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    #25
    Thanks! This was a rather costly experience for me, and I'd just as soon move on.

    I think your analogy to the 15" rMBP is faulty, considering the 15" is equipped with a quad-core i7.

    Cheers!
     

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