Macbook 13 Air vs Pro i7 vs Pro i5. Some observations

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by danpass, Sep 17, 2011.

  1. danpass macrumors 68020


    Jun 27, 2009
    Miami, FL
    My typical usage:

    iMovie open
    Aperture open
    Safari open with usually 8-10 tabs open

    So I started out with a new MBP 13i5 in early August. Perfectly fine machine, timing wasn't right so I returned it.

    Then I remembered the refurb models and got an MBP 13i7. This time I swapped in 8gb of 1333mhz ram. The i7 was a bit snappier but with the 8gb it really flew.

    Being a refurb it was older so it had the louder Hitachi drive and the screen was yellowish compared to the i5. It also had a screw that wouldn't lock down (I noticed this right out of the box). It also had some odd blackout situation where the screen would go dark. The light was on so it wasn't the computer shutting down. This happened right out of the box and a reboot eliminated it. I swapped in the 8gb and it never happened again. Then in preparation for a visit to the :apple: Genius I put in the OEM ram again and a couple of days later the blackout happened again.

    I returned the refurb.

    Yesterday I picked up a Macbook Air 13i7. As mentioned by many others the colors are more matte than the Pro screen but the screen is not as reflective. Photography is a big hobby of mine but I don't see the color situation being a big factor. While higher resolution is obviously different in technical terms I would simply classify it as being crisper than the MBP.

    The lack of a DVD drive is, so far, a non-issue. I'm going to pick up an external drive and mess with it for a few days. I don't expect it to be an issue in the future, especially as I have a PC for any burning duties anyway.

    The only two drawbacks, both of which were expected; slower render times in iMovie and running out of ram.

    The SSD speed actually takes care of render time in Aperture.

    The iMovie situation is about 40% slower, so noticeably slower than the i7. Expected, so not a deal breaker.

    Now .... the 4gb ram.

    This may be a deal breaker. Aperture alone takes up lots of jee bees of rams.
    So far the SSD speed is minimizing the impact of the swap file.

    But it really would be nice to expand to 8gb. It made for some real speed difference in the MBP.

    Otherwise great battery life from the MBPi5 and the MBAi7, about equal timing when doing similar tasks. The refurb i7 must have been sitting around for a while. At one point it was down to 96% health (remember these are supposed to be new batteries) after just the first week.

    I'll give it about 10 more days with this MBA and see. A new laptop is not critical and I'm curious what may come out in the next couple of months, especially if the MBA may soon accept more than 4gb of ram (pure conjecture as I haven't heard any rumors about that)

    Maybe an MBP i5 again, put in the 8gb, and with an SSD in the future it would really fly.
  2. zzz99 macrumors regular

    May 31, 2010
    A nice post, but I don't agree with this part.

    I rather to have it as external drive, because they don't last long, my average is 200 DVD per year, and that is also the life cycle for the DVDRW lens in my last 2 MBP. It is expensive to replace the super drive, but Samsung external USB DVDRW is just 40bucks.

    I can't go back to MBP 13", it is way to heavy to bring it to work everyday.

  3. danpass thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jun 27, 2009
    Miami, FL
    I finally got the external. I went with the :apple: SuperDrive for kicks.

    I installed Windows 7 and then Solidworks CAD

    Works great :D


    I may yet go back to the MBP13 due to the ram situation and yet keep the superdrive for the heavy lifting.

    This way, when traveling, I'll just take the 'internal drive' with me :D
  4. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    yup, if you do serious work with video/audio, 4gb ram is a deal breaker.

    return it, get an mbp 13" with an SSD and be happy.
  5. Boe11 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2010
    Bolded is the key. Sometimes we buy things for the high and once it wears off, convince ourselves that there's something wrong or insufficient about it so that we can buy something else and get that temporary high again, and just repeat the process compulsively. I say this, not to lecture you, but because I've done this exact same thing a lot and as of late, have tried to be more objective and identify this behavioral pattern. When I first got into macs, it was the worst. I bought a 13" MBP, then decided to get a 15" so I could do my light gaming on it and sell my windows desktop, then decided an Imac would suit my needs better, then decided I missed the portability and had to go back to a MBP, and so on.

    If you want to return it to get another MBP, that's fine, but just make sure you're being objective. I'm sure before buying the MBA you realized it would be slower in these areas and at one point considered the trade off to be worth it.

    Macs are great machines, and I think that too many of us in the community spend too much time obsessing over things that don't matter all that much at the end of the day, when we should be spending time enjoying our computers :)
  6. stockscalper macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2003
    Area 51
    That's what you get with Intel crappy integrated graphics.
  7. jjfcpa macrumors member

    Feb 25, 2009
    I've got the MBA/i7 and I love it except for one thing. Only 4 gig of ram. I do both Mac and Win development so I'm running Win7 in VMware all day long and switching back and forth between OSX and Win7.

    If I had 8 gigs of ram, I'm sure things would run much faster. Occasionally, I get the beach ball in Windows and just have to wait till it recovers. I've got 1.5 gigs of ram allocated to Windows and the rest to OSX.

    What I really like is carrying the MBA around. Beats the heck out of my MBP 15" but I sure wish they would pack in more ram.

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