How much performance will I lose vs a 3yo 2ghz MacBook?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by DaSal, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. DaSal macrumors regular

    Mar 19, 2008
    The Netherlands
    So I have a 3 year old white MacBook, that has served me well and I love. However, the new 11" MacBook air looks amazing and I'm very tempted to get it. The thing is, I do use my MacBook for some work, mostly InDesign.

    I was wondering how much performance I'll really lose? I know the MacBook air 1.6 is 400mhz slower, but on the other hand the hard drive will compensate for some of the loss. Also, I might gain some performance by getting it with 4gb ram vs my current 2gb.

    I was just wondering, for design work like InDesign and Photoshop, how big will the performance difference be? Will I get roughly the same, thanks to the faster HDD and more ram, or will it be noticeably slower. The performance of my current MacBook is good enough to be productive, but if it were much slower then it'd start to get tedious.

    Any advice?
  2. TSE macrumors 68030

    Jun 25, 2007
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    You will most likely actually gain a small bit of performance, especially from the SSD and Graphics Card.

    However, I would considering holding onto your MacBook unless it doesn't suit your needs anymore.
  3. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    Anything that uses the GPU will be orders-of-magnitude faster. Anything disk-dependent or RAM dependent will be noticeably faster. Things that are CPU-dependent will be a wash at 1.6 GHz, and slightly slower at 1.4 GHz. (The 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo has enough improvements over the original 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo to make it about the same.)
  4. joshualander macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2006
    Numbers aren't everything.

    The 11" 1.4GHz MBA will be perceptively faster than a 2007 MacBook, due to faster RAM, faster cache, much-improved GPU, and lightning-fast SSD.

    If you doubt me (which you're free to do!) bring your MacBook to your local Apple Store or Specialist, set it next to an 11" MacBook Air, and perform your very own benchmark testing!
  5. kdoug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2010
    Iowa City, IA USA
    A friend of mine brought his daughters 3 year white MB in for me to tidy up and as I was working on it, I couldn't help but think what a "slug" it was to use. I forgot how much I hated spinning balls.
  6. DaSal thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 19, 2008
    The Netherlands
    I hoped that this might be the case, however benchmarks do not support this? On Geekbench the Air 1.6 gets around 2200 points and my MacBook 2ghz around 2800 (similar to the Air 1.8).

    However perhaps I might still get a performance increase out of the ram and ssd... (I know all average computing will be faster because of the ssd, I'm just worried that InDesign might not be)
  7. dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    The Air will be significantly faster. Most benchmarks just check CPU. You learn quick that CPU isn't everything. Thats the wonder of the Airs. The SSD more than makes up for it, and the GPU picks up the rest.

    What I did was put the programs I typically use on a USB flash drive. Take it to an Apple store and actually run them on the Air.
  8. bowlerman625 macrumors 68020


    Jun 17, 2009
    Chicago, IL area
    I was in the Apple store last weekend and was playing around with the current MacBook. It seemed less peppy than my new 11.6 maxed out MBA. Amazing!
  9. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    Assuming you are using the X3100 GMA the 320M is 5-10x faster assuming the GMA 950 the 320M is 11-34x as fast, considering CUDA I'd be willing to bet that the MBA is way faster
  10. DaSal thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 19, 2008
    The Netherlands
    I think I'm gonna go ahead and buy one. I just really hope the performance for productivity apps will be at least on par with my old MacBook, if it's noticeably slower that'd be a little disappointment.
  11. pandamonia macrumors 6502a

    Nov 15, 2009
  12. DaSal thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 19, 2008
    The Netherlands
    I did. Extensively. The problem is that when people review the performance of the new Airs, they tend to compare it to other laptops in it's price class that aren't ultraportable, say, the 13" Macbook Pro's, or even the 15" ones. I understand that while the SSD might make many things snappier than on a Pro, say, browsing, or iPhoto, when doing processor intensive things such as rendering the Pro will easily overpower the Air. I feel that when people judge the ability to be productive on the Air they compare it to laptops such as the Macbook Pro, that, yea, have way faster processors.

    I'm not looking to compare it to a Macbook Pro. I don't need the performance current Macbook Pros have. The performance on my 3 year old 2ghz white Macbook is perfectly sufficient. The thing is, reviewers might say that the Air isn't appropriate for productivity, but those reviewers would say the exact same thing about the Macbook I currently own, if they reviewed it today (as it has hardware that is, like the Air, not up to par with modern Macbooks or Macbook Pros). Like I said, however, in my case, I find the performance of my current Macbook to be perfectly sufficient to be productive. I'm just looking for a smaller form factor, and slightly better battery life.

    And since reviewers tend to hold the Air (quite obviously) to modern performance standards, their subjective opinion of "not fast enough to be productive on" is not the most useful to me. One mustn't forget that most reviewers get their hands on many state-of-the-art laptops equipped with Core i5 processors, and then, of course, the Air is going to be "too slow for productivity", compared to the i5 or high clocked Core 2 Duo laptops.

    That's why I turned to the forums. I know that the Air has a slow processor compared to the 2.4ghz Macbook, far slower than the i5 Macbook Pros, and I know that compared to them it's very poor for heavy work. I was just looking for experiences and opinions to get a better idea of how the new Air stacks up to my old laptop. If it's speed is comparable to what I have now, I'll be a very happy man and very much enjoy the added portability.

    PS - Thanks for the link. It's nice to read that the 1.6 gets you a noticeable performance boost. And interesting that it's not hugely slower than the 1.8ghz 13".
  13. BeyondtheTech macrumors 68020


    Jun 20, 2007
    I was concerned about this as well. I had a late 2007 black MacBook with a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo processor. I beefed it up to 4GB 667MHz DDR2 and 640GB 5400RPM SATA before selling it off on CraigsList for $650 last month.

    On Wednesday, I ended up buying the base model of the MacBook Air 11.6" with the 1.4GHz CPU, 2GB 1066MHz DDR3 memory and 64GB flash drive.

    Over the past few days, I've been playing with it extensively, using Adobe Photoshop CS5, GameSalad, Corona SDK, Xcode, Safari, YouTube, Office 2011, etc., and I can tell you that the speed and performance of the Air just seems faster than that old MacBook, given the lower numbers in the Air's technical specs.

    Chalk it up to the GPU, faster memory and bus, not to mention an SSD that runs circles around a 5400RPM drive, and you can say that Apple really tweaked out their settings, at least to make me feel that I didn't take a step down.

    That, plus I'm carrying around it as easy as my iPad, and in my old iPad sling case. At only 2.3 pounds, I literally took a large weight off my shoulders.

    Overall, a happy camper.
  14. illitrate23 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 11, 2004
    i also had an old black MacBook, but i've given that to my dad now, the MBA11 does feel faster in general use.
    haven't tried playing StarCraft2 on it yet. but then, i never tried it on the old MacBook either because if i'm playing a game i want the big screen of my iMac. but for everything else i do, all the 'work' type apps i use, i definitely feel the MBA11 is bit faster than the old MB.
    the benchmarks are based on raw number crunching, but i think in real-world scenarios, you'll find it as good if not better than your old machine.

    and it's pure sex to look at :D

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