MacBook Air 13 or Next-Gen MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by James4894, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. James4894 macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2010
    I currently use my iMac i5 Quad Core for my main computer. I run Aperture, Photoshop, Flash, Word, and Safari on it. I also have a MacBook Pro 13 (the lower end model on Apple's Website). I use it mostly for word processing, surfing the Web, and occasional Photoshop and Aperture.

    I am planning to replace to MacBook Pro with a MacBook Air 13 (the lower end one with 4GB RAM). I can probably sell the MacBook Pro for about $800. Should I buy the MacBook Air or wait for the next-gen MacBook Pro 13 (hoping it comes in 2011)?

    Does anyone want to buy my MacBook Pro 13? It's in absolute perfect condition.

  2. applepearpp macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2010
    first, do you really want to replace a MBP with a MBA? given what you do, a MBP is way more suitable than a MBA

    second, you should wait until like early or mid Jan to sell your laptop. I actually sold my 15" mbp about a month before the Oct event in hope there'll be a real upgrade for mbp. guess what, i am stuck with a 5 years old laptop until the next upgrade, god know when that will be. so yea, make sure you sell it not too early and not too late.

    but ultimately, i think you should keep your MBP or sell it and buy a new one. MBA is really more leisure oriented than work oriented.
  3. foiden, Nov 14, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2010

    foiden macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2008
    It does depend on what you do. Contrary to some of the reports here, the MBP 13" inch is actually quite suitable to certain aspects of heavy lifting that the MBAs can't do as well. Even for the MBP 2009 model, which handles a little worse for games due to the older Nvidia chip. (If the Starcraft 2 demonstrations are to go by, the MBA 13 2GB ram plays the thing at all medium settings better than my 2009 model does with mostly low settings with a couple of medium selections) However, the 2009 model still outperforms them for certain CPU intensive tasks and especially music work, from my tests.

    Even these MBAs, in music, may allow you to out basic ideas together, they lack the power to handle large music works (Heck, all the in-store 11 and 13 inch models (2GB ram) start to choke beyond 2 internal instrument tracks in GarageBand), while then MBA 13" late 2009 allows me to push an entire orchestra through the thing without a hitch in Logic Pro Studio. And yes, I do work with 30+ tracks working with multiple layers of realtime channel effects, chewing about a gigabyte of data for 1 song, with all the recorded audio, etc. Now to be fair, there are certain instruments in Garageband (while using Garageband) that unfairly tax the system beyond a larger piece in Logic Pro Studio. My simple test of two tracks of Solo Star (Keyboard Synth) and Upright Bass (while using mac keyboard entry) is actually really taxing on the CPU. (as simple as it sounds to do this test, you'll be surprised that you can actually do a nice small band in Logic Pro Studio well within the power necessary to do these particular 3 instrument tracks together in Garageband. I think it has something to do with the real expensive audio effect layers that default to Solo Star, particularly the echo and reverb ones) But my Macbook Pro still handles it a bit better than the MBAs do. It's at least possible and doable without locking any tracks, while even with locked tracks, the MBAs I tested, were brought to their knees. On the other hand, they would probably do a bit better, with that test, with an actual USB musical keyboard attached since it's less taxing on the system to use. Mac Keyboard entry requires a good deal more resource to avoid input lag (but then again, with a real small unit such as the air, you're likely to want to input your little ideas without the use of a large and bulky external keyboard.

    On the other hand, I use my MBP as my main workhorse computer, even though it's also a portable. It's just not as portable as the MBA.

    My Garageband tests is actually my own personal benchmark I use, across Macs, to see how well the CPU/HD Access/Memory/Bus speeds work together in harmony. It's actually surprisingly a more taxing test (in a short amount of time) than a lot of folks use for other applications. However, the test doesn't work the Graphics Chip. That test is pretty much specifically for testing everything else.

    The only thing I wish I could test, in store, is the 1.6 model MBA 11. While the processor is still not the 1.86 of the 13", I'm curious if the slight performance gain (in this particular test) for the 13" has more to do with the frontside bus difference than the processor. The 13" one has the frontside bus speed to match my Pro.

    I'd also wish they had a 4GB in store model to see how that improves working with HD iMovie video in iMovie. Another thing my 13" 2009 model seems to outperform the Air 13" model on. I really suspect it's the amount of ram in the display models.
  4. MikeinJapan macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2010
    MacBook Air or Next gen MBP or next gen MBA or next next gen MBP or Next next gen MBA or next next next gen MBP or next next next MBA or next next next next gen MBP?

    It can go on for ever. If it works for you now it will next year. If you need it now but it now.
  5. foiden, Nov 14, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2010

    foiden macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2008
    Good point. If there's one thing that seems constant, as of late. Is the power necessary to do work and productivity. For good light content creation (or programming), the Airs seem to have more than enough power to work with. I don't see these tasks getting much more demanding of your computing use for the next 5+ years. In 5 years, you'll still be able to use Word Processors, Excel Spreadsheets, Photo-editing, light video/audio work, just as well as you always could. Even with newer programs. Most of them don't increase the needed power much. Or in the case of Aperature, the demands actually went *down* going forward. Particularly from 1 to 2.

    Seems it's mainly gaming (going forward) that keeps demands going up.

    But I would agree that the Air may suit the need better if only because it's super lightweight and very portable. Only because you already have a workhorse Mac with large internal drive-space. You don't necessarily need 2 of them. It's not only super light (though the 11 inch feels significantly lighter in your hands) but you can close the unit and immediately pick it up and hold it anyway you like, without having to wait for the sleep state. That's a pretty nifty usability feature of the all SSD design.
  6. Corax macrumors 6502


    Apr 27, 2009
    Willemstad - Curaçao
    I've replaced mine with the Air, and I'm so glad I did.
    When you already have an iMac, go for the Air. You'll love the speed, high resolution display and super low weight portability.
  7. Boston007 macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2010

    I'm in the same position as you. I have a Mac Pro and an old Powerbook G4 and an Acer netbook. I am trading in the Powerbook G4. I need a bigger screen than my 10" netbook and larger keys so I need either the 13" MBP or the MBA. I'm getting the air. I don't need the weight and extra power of the MBP. The MBA is perfectly suited for my needs which are less powerful things I do on my Mac Pro.
  8. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'm in the same quandry, I need something bigger then the 11" and so that leave the 13" form factor.

    I'm currently leaning towards the MBP for a number of reasons, first, I have more options when it comes to expandability, i.e., more ram, storage is easily upgraded. I have more ports and an optical drive. Plus I get a backlighted keyboard is important. I got spoiled at how good a backlit keyboard is when typing in low light situations.
  9. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    It depends on what you want to do. The 13" Ultimate MacBook Air should be OK for light Photoshop work, but it won't replace the iMac. The Pro is due for a refresh in January or February. If it gets an i5 and a discrete GPU, then it might well be suitable as a replacement for the iMac.

    If the Pro is fine for now, I suggest keeping it for a couple more months and seeing what happens after the refresh.
  10. Boston007 macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2010
    The original poster stated "and occasional Photoshop". He is NOT getting this to REPLACE his iMac but to SUPPLEMENT it.

    Therefore I think the MBA is good for him
  11. JonLa macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2009
    I suspect January is too early for a refresh of the Pro line...
  12. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I saw that, but if he's considering a MacBook Pro, an obvious consideration if it gets the Core i5 is whether it could replace a Core 2 Duo iMac.

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