MacBook Air vs. MacBook.

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ThZebr, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. ThZebr macrumors newbie

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    Nov 25, 2010
    #1
    Alright. So, I'm turning sixteen and my mom is giving me a choice of MacBook Air and a MacBook. Personally, I like the look of the MacBook Air, plus the portability would be nice for any traveling I might do. But, my main issue isn't with that.

    I need to know how well the air would run. I generally have several programs running at once (I currently use an older Imac, 2006/7 or so.) I generally have photoshop (cs4), Itunes, Aim/MSN and maybe a download or two running at any given time. Not to mention I run flock (internet browser, comprable to Firefox—runs on the same platform.) and surf the web for twitter/tumblr/facebook/ect. Not to mention I'm constantly saving things to my computer, though USB drives and an external hard-drive can be used to save things later on when I need it.

    I need to know if the air is practical in this situation, or if I should go with the regular macbook?
     
  2. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #2
    None of that stuff is intensive, even if all run at the same time. You could get away with any laptop built in the last 5 years.
     
  3. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #3
    Either will work for your needs
     
  4. molala macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    The current MBA is faster than the current MacBook. And either one will handle the tasks you mentioned.
     
  5. mgmusicman94 macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Those aren't really intensive programs so the air would work, but also remember it doesn't have an optical drive so if you like making cds and whatnot then you're screwed. and also, the macbook gives you more bang for your buck, it's faster and is more substantial. either one will work though.
     
  6. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #6
    Yeah, now if they would only start selling DVD burners you plug into the USB port. :rolleyes:
     
  7. lucashungaro macrumors member

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    #7
    The MacBook is faster?? :confused:
     
  8. ThZebr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    Hmm. alright. Well, thank you guys! You're a gigantic help, really. C:

    Thank god, though, I don't generally run CDs very often, and when I do I suppose I can pop it into this computer and put it in a flash-drive, then? Or something along those lines. My main concern was the photoshop and being able to run it simutaneously with other less-straneous programs. But as long as you guys are sure it should work fine, :)

    EDIT — which is faster, MacBook or Air?
     
  9. lucashungaro macrumors member

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    #9
    The Air is faster. My previous computer was a MacBook Aluminum with 2.4 Ghz and 2 GB of RAM (the same specs as the current MacBook made of plastic). Bought the Air 13'' Ultimate and never looked back. It is *much* faster. Almost everything you'll do with your computer is I/O-bound, meaning that the flash storage will get you a performance boost that no HD can match.
     
  10. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #10
    Wouldnt the mb with an ssd be faster than the mba?
     
  11. Mr. Savage macrumors regular

    Mr. Savage

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    #11
    ;)
     
  12. lucashungaro macrumors member

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    #12
    Hmm, maybe. Depends on the SDD quality. Apple did an amazing job with the MBA's storage, it's faster that most SSDs out there, except for beasts like OCZ Agility 2, Intel X25 and friends. Also, it behaves very well without TRIM, which OS X doesn't support yet (most SSDs out there will have a serious performance hit without TRIM after some time).

    Anyone knows what's the SSD Apple uses to equip it's BTO MacBooks?

    PS: more info about MBA's flash storage performance here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3991/apples-2010-macbook-air-11-13inch-reviewed/4
     
  13. KPOM macrumors G5

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    #13
    Apple doesn't offer BTO MacBooks with SSD. It's standard in the Air, and available in the MacBook Pro for a premium.

    To the OP, which MacBook Air would your mom buy for you? I would recommend 4GB if you are going to be using Photoshop, even if you need to come up with the extra $100 yourself. If it's the 13" Air, it would be faster in most tasks than the base MacBook by virtue of the speedy SSD. You could put an SSD in the MacBook, but you'd need to buy and install it yourself.

    I'd definitely go for the Air. Also, be sure to thank your mother. It's a nice gesture.
     
  14. lucashungaro macrumors member

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    #14
    Uh, right, I should've checked. Anyway, what's the SSD they use on the Pros?

    So, for a MacBook with 4 GB it would be 1,099. Add a good SSD with 200 GB, like this one and it is now 1,729. Plus installation costs if you can't do it yourself.

    I think it's not a good deal as it seems the MacBook is about to be refreshed (or, maybe, even discontinued in favor of the new Airs?). The Pros are rumored to be refreshed soon too.

    But you told us you can get a MacBook or an Air. What Air would it be? What's your budget?
     
  15. ThZebr, Nov 25, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010

    ThZebr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15

    I'm going for either the 11-inch MB Air, or the 13 MacBook. Both of which are the same price. They aren't the high end of the spectrum, but still.


    Haha, my mother is currently being showered in thank-you's/i-love-you's by me, you don't even knowww. I'm ecstatic about getting my own laptop. But, yeah. C:
     
  16. jayo123456 macrumors regular

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    Jun 29, 2010
    #16

    numbers are just numbers.

    it's real world (noticable) performance that counts. And coming from a OCZ sandforce, it's seriously the same as what apples using.


    case in point:

    2010 air's (a very underrated laptop performance-wise). Many will look at the numbers, and see 1.8ghz, 2gb ram, 128 hd.... and wonder how the heck does anyone get work done on that? Well, again, it's just numbers. Anyone that owns one will attest to how fast these things are.
     
  17. lucashungaro macrumors member

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    #17
    So it all comes down to portability. The 11'' is an amazing piece of portable hardware. For some tasks it'll be on pair with the regular MacBook and it's much easier to carry around.

    That said, I have some reservations about using it as a primary computer. From what you've said, you don't need a lot of hardware power, but having some extra juice there is always a good thing, just in case™. That little Photoshop you use may get a bit slow and annoy you.

    If you really need to buy it now and can't wait for the next MacBook update, I would go with the MacBook. If you can, get it with 4 GB right from the beginning. Otherwise you can wait some time until you get enough money to get more memory and a good SSD. Then it would be as fast as the 13'' MBA ultimate, or even faster.
     
  18. zstar macrumors member

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    #18
    The 11-inch MBA would be noticeably faster in real world less-intensive processor tasks (i.e. word processing, browsing, itunes etc.) but less powerful in terms of raw gaming performance.

    Off-topic: I just turned 16 and my parent's got me the 13" ultimate! The new macbook air's are really fast, more than sufficient for your needs. Good luck with yours! :)
     
  19. KPOM, Nov 25, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010

    KPOM macrumors G5

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    #19
    Storage is another consideration. For $1000, you get 64GB of SSD space on the Air vs. 250GB of HD space on the MacBook. The base Air comes with a 1.4GHz processor to the MacBook's 2.4GHz. While the SSD helps a lot, don't underestimate the 1GHz difference on CPU-intensive tasks.

    You might also consider getting the base 13" MacBook Air for $1198 on Black Friday, even if you agree to spring for the $200 difference. It's $101 off. That would give you 128GB storage and a 1.86GHz processor. Unfortunately, the deal is only on the 13" model.

    Finally, another consideration for Black Friday is the 13" MacBook Pro. It is $1098 and is smaller than the MacBook, though bigger than the Air. It has 4GB but only a hard drive.
     
  20. lucashungaro macrumors member

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    #20
    For sure! I got the 13'' ultimate and it's now my only computer. For my needs (I'm a software developer) it's outstanding. I also need to carry it over everyday using public transportation, so the form factor and weight is really important. :)
     
  21. Jayratch macrumors newbie

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    #21
    It's not really a direct comparison.

    Thzebr, I'm not entirely sure whether the people in this thread have really addressed the actual comparison.

    In terms of performance, both the Macbook and the Macbook Air will be a step up from your current Mac, so I wouldn't really worry about whether they can handle it. I own an aluminum Macbook (2008) which is very similar to the current plastic one, and previously owned the first plastic Macbook; I am typing this on my loaded 11.6" Air.

    Based on how you describe your use, I think that the storage might be the biggest concern with the Air. Even though the SSD is blazing fast, the base model drive is a fraction of what you get in a regular Macbook. 64gb will not go very far as a main computer, unless you are careful in managing your storage. Basically, you will need to figure out which files you really need all the time, and put the rest on an external drive.

    There are a few other compromises with the Air, but they're mostly trivial. Compared to the Macbook, you lose the ethernet and Kensington lock slot, which, if you're 16, you might not even know what those are. (Sorry.) You lose the light-up battery level indicator. And you lose the ability to upgrade your RAM and hard drive down the line, although upgrades for the SSD will probably come out eventually.

    You would probably benefit from upgrading the storage, RAM, or both. If you have any bargaining/haggling power with your mom, try to get at least the RAM upgrade. Mine is maxed out with RAM, storage, and CPU, and I absolutely love it. The biggest benefit of the Air is its size- and the benefit is huge. A few days ago I had to bring my Macbook to school for the first time in a month (needed to rip some CDs and haven't bought the external drive yet) and I couldn't believe how bulky and heavy it seemed. The Air will spoil you with its portability.

    Ok, well to cut to the chase. It sounds like you've used external drives before, so if you are already comfortable with the idea of using externals when needed, you are ready for the Air. Take the plunge. The bottom line is that if you get the MacBook Air you will not only love it, but you will be the envy of your friends, and your backpack will thank you for it.

    Good luck, and congrats on the awesome gift.
     
  22. Lilo2618 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 26, 2010
    #22
    Macbook air 13" VS Macbook PRO 13"

    I going to buy a new mac, and I have a budget about 1300$, so I'm looking to get the new 13 " macbook air, but I also need something that I can rely on, so which one has higher performance the air or the pro, as the processor of the air is 1.86 GHz but it has 6MB cache, while the pro has 2.4GHz but it has a 3MB cache only...
    so which on is faster overall.. discarding the RAM issue as I'm going to upgrade the RAM of the air to 4GB
     
  23. dmelgar macrumors 68000

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    #23
    The MBP CPU is faster. Disk access is faster in the MBA. If you don't need the portability, get an SSD for the MBP.
     
  24. lucashungaro macrumors member

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    #24
    Hehehe, I got a little confused and was talking about a 13'' MBA until I… asked him which one would it be. :p

    You are right, it's not a direct comparison. The machines can be used to do the same things, sure, but are really focused on different needs.

    ThZebr:

    You can do a constraint analysis:

    11'' MBA: small storage space, small screen (with a decent resolution, though - and you can use an external display at home) good video card and a processor that can be slow at times. No optical disk drive. Just released (more time until the next model). Fast as hell for its size and category.

    MacBook: slow storage (albeit large), good screen size, good processor and video card. More battery life (but not double as it seems from the specs, the test applied on the MBAs is heavier). Bulky when compared to the MBA. At the end of its lifecycle.

    If you think the compromises of the MBA will make you uncomfortable, you should avoid it. The same applies to the MacBook. Anyway, it's not a direct comparison as they're really two different beasts, it's just a matter of comfort and fulfilling your needs.

    Sorry about the earlier confusion and good luck!

    Thanks guys for the good idea interchange. Different opinions and experiences = more informed people. :)
     
  25. mgmusicman94 macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Yeah, but that's just another expense and burden to carry around.

    Sorry, I was thinking MacBook Pro. I dont really know the MacBook specs.
     

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