Macbook m3 as MBA 2013 i5 replacement?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by SchodMC, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. SchodMC macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Location:
    Germany
    #1
    Hi folks,

    This weekend my MBA 2013 i5 died because of a cup of water. :( Repair it wouldn't be worth the money I think. Because of this I'm looking for a new Mac. What I have to say is, that my MBA 2013 with the i5 processor always was enugh for my needs, until today. I never had the feeling that the system was to slow. Everything was fine and I was totally happy with that MBA.

    But I'm a little bit disappointed that Apple stopped to add innovations to the MBA series. Seems to me that they decided to let it go. Because of this I don't whant to buy an other MBA right now. I'm wondering if the Macbook m3 will be good for me (I know, at first I will check out the keyboard at the Apple Store, and also the only one USB-C Port is not a big probem for me ;)). I'm going to use the system for the following:

    • OS X - of course. But what I hate is a GUI that wont work fluidly and has shuttering anoimations.
    • MS Office 2016 (mostly creating (small) Documents with Word)
    • Tools like DEVONthink, Things, Curio
    • iTunes for music and film playback (up to 1080p - don't need 4k for now)
    • Video streaming (Youtube, Netflix, ...)
    • A little bit of xcode (doesn't matter if the compilation of the code needs a few seconds more)
    • (Lightroom, more or less).
    • Gaming (well, very simple games like old ones with dosbox or adventures like Day of the Tentacel, deponia, ...)
    • Steam InHouse Streaming
    I also have a powerful Windows machine that I use for Softwaredevelopment and Gaming. Lightroom can be moved to that machine, too, so it is not a dealbreaker.

    The video streaming (e. G. netflix) should work without shutering on an external 1080p tv. And it would be very nice, if the Steam InHouse streaming works in the same way.

    Well, will all of that work fine with the Macbook m3?

    Thanks for help
    Marc

    P.S.: The m5 is not an option for me, because I don't need the more of storage. And a 13" MBPro Retina is cheaper than the m5. Also, waiting to the upcomming WWDC isn't an option, because I need that MacBook in the next few weeks, now next few month.
     
  2. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #2
    Wow, I'd forgotten about DotT... That was a fun game back when it was new, I can imagine it's still fun.

    While some of the stuff you mention I'm not familiar with, I know my 2015 1.2/512 rMB does fine for my needs with Lightroom, better than my 2011 MBA. The other light stuff should be fine as well. As you say you have something else for heavy lifting.

    I'd say it's worth giving it a shot -- nothing in your list is jumping out to say NO! DON'T DO IT!, and the rest is subjective in terms of what you are satisfied with. That last bit you can only really know by trying it.
     
  3. SchodMC thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Location:
    Germany
    #3
    Oh yeah, it is. I think I will buy the remastered version, too. It's worth for that game. :)

    Well, thanks for your answer. I have an other question for you as user of that book. When switching to 1440x900 with that book, is the display still sharp or is there a notable quality loss to the retina optimized resolution?
     
  4. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #4
    Pretty much the very first thing I did after initializing my rMB was switch to 1440x900. It's gorgeous, looks so good I don't notice the loss of 1.3" vs my MBA13 display. Of course all that is very subjective, so if you have any chance to go see one in person do so.
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #5
    You can't actually change the resolution (at least not in the display menu), but you can select the scaling factor. By default it's 1280x800 (i.e. windows etc are as big as they would be on that resolution, but sharper), but you can also opt for 1440x900 for more space. I personally use that and while it makes things a bit smaller, it's so sharp that everything is still easily readable.

    As for the MacBook suiting your needs, it should be fine. Netflix streaming is a piece of cake and Steam's InHome streaming is essentially just streaming as well, so it's more dependent on your network than the computer it is streamed to. Practically anything your 2013 MBA does can be done on the MacBook.
     
  6. Mockenrue macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    #6
    The OP's story is very much like mine. My 2013 i5 MBA met its maker at the hands of a glass of water too. I bought the entry level 2016 m3 Macbook with some hesitancy about the performance, keyboard, and screen size. My use cases do not include gaming, but I've had no trouble with the scenarios that I use: web browsing, video streaming, Spotify via USB DAC, productivity apps, and remote desktop to my work PC. Speed is just fine, the screen is night-and-day better, and the keyboard grew on me quickly. Besides looking better, video seems to be much more stable on the rMB too. I especially like the fanless and mostly solid state form factor, but the biggest surprise is that I don't hate the trackpad click. I've turned off haptic feedback on every mobile device that I've owned until this one. I mostly still use tap to click, but the taptic thing is really well done and I don't mind it at all.
     
  7. AFEPPL macrumors 68030

    AFEPPL

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2014
    Location:
    England
    #7
    Without doubt you can replace it with a rMB.
    The M3 is more powerful than the 2013 MBA.
     
  8. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #8
    Yes, the new macbook will be as fast or faster than your old MBA in almost all respects - the one minor point possibly being the retina display refresh.

    The CPU is as strong, the GPU is stronger, the storage is much faster.

    edit:
    the way the retina scaling works with retina displays you will not notice the display going fuzzy at non-native resolution. The only drawback is that different scaling factors can impact performance somewhat, but I believe on the retina macbook the performance hit is there already in its "default for display" resolution.
     
  9. SchodMC thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Location:
    Germany
    #9
    Well, according to this thread (http://forums.macrumors.com/threads...mpared-to-recent-airs-and-pros-chart.1969613/) the performance is equal on single core, and slower than the MBA 2013 i5 on multi core usage.

    Thank for all replies. What I know for now is, that the MacBook m3 will be fine for my needs - today. Will be a good machine to write my documents, stream films, listen to music. Even game streaming with steam will be fine (I saw a video on YouTube where someone uses the Playstation 4 streaming with the MacBook m3 - no problems at all).

    The only doubt I have is about the future. 3 Years after I bougth my MBA it still runs fine, even a little bit snappier than after I bought it because of changes inside OS X. But 2013 it was state of the art. If I now buy a MacBook that has the same performance like a MBA three years ago, will I always be able use that machine flawless with a snappy OS after two or three years? Will it still be performant enough with the OS that of these days? That's the question.

    I won't by that book to replace it after one year. I will stay with it until it dies. Because of this I'm wondering if a MBPr 13 will be the better choice for me to have a book for the next tree years. The only drawback for me will be the design. My first Mac was a MBP 2011. After a lot of writing, I sometimes had a little hurt at my wrist because of the sharp edge where the thenar stays. The design of the air was wonderfull to write a lot of text. And even if the MBPr is thinner as the MBP, it still is not that thin as the air. Well, hard time these days to buy a mac. :-(

    What are your thouhgs about this?
     
  10. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #10
    FWIW, you can upgrade the 256GB model to the M7 processor for $250 US. I don't think you will necessarily need this, but if you have any question at all about the speed of the device, or how long it will remain useful for you, updating to the fastest processor for what will be a relatively nominal cost is probably not a bad idea. I don't think considering that you can buy the rMBP for that price should be part of the decision - if you want the MBP - buy that. You buy the retina MacBook because you want an ultra-portable computer.
     
  11. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #11
    Three years of use should be no problem. In case it does start to feel too slow after two years (e.g. if your workload becomes heavier), just go ahead and sell it to fund a new one. Macs have great resale value, so using one until it dies isn't always the best strategy from a financial perspective.

    The development in CPU and GPU performance is also slowing down as Moore's Law is no longer applicable, and because of that the current machines should stay usable for a longer time as well since OSs can't be made more resource hungry.
     
  12. SchodMC thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Location:
    Germany
    #12
    I think you're right. An m7 update is not necessary. And also not an option because of the price. The m3 with the USB / HDMI Adapter from Apple cost me 70 EUR less than an rMBP with 256GB Flash (will buy in Germany).
     
  13. AFEPPL macrumors 68030

    AFEPPL

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2014
    Location:
    England
    #13
    rMB all the way, MBA is totally out of date and i couldn't live with the screen.
    Plus the pricing is not that far off. faster storage too and more of it..

    So 1.1 is pretty much = to the 2015 entry level 1.4 MBA and 1.3 is better than the i7 2015 2.2


    GeekBench 3 (from the news posts on this forum)
    1.1Ghz M3 is clocking 2500 for Single Core and 5000 for Multi
    1.3Ghz M5 is clocking 3000 for Single Core and 6700 for Multi

    By comparison the MBA number are:
    1.4Ghz 2015 i5 (5250U) is clocking 2400 for Single Core and 4600 for Multi
    1.6Ghz 2014 i5 (4260U) is clocking 2500 for Single Core and 5100 for Multi
    2.2Ghz 2015 i7 (5250U) is clocking 3050 for Single Core and 6250 for Multi
     
  14. izzyfanto macrumors regular

    izzyfanto

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    #14
    The stuttering you will notice on heavy graphic web pages, but as others have said, that seems to be any other Retina Macbook besides the 15 Pro.
    My previous was a 2012 MBA i5 and I now have a 2016 m3. I was curious to see if I would need to return it for the m7. Couldn't be happier with the m3. My workload is similar to you, minus the games. I'd say it'd be great for you.
    I completely agree with this statement.
     
  15. SchodMC thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Location:
    Germany
    #15
    Today I was an Apple Reseller Store and looked to the Macbook. The only one they had was the Macbook 2015 1,1 GHz. I at first created an enviroment, I always used on my MBA (1440x900 & 3 Spaces + fullscreen apps). I only wanted to test the keyboard, but then I took a little closer look to it.

    I startet some apps (pages, numbers, itunes, safari, mail, photos, ...), started Microsoft Word (which a document that had 250 Pages (drawback: only pure text)), started iTunes and the visualization of iTunes (what a sound quality for that little pice of hardware!), started a Youtube-Video with 1080p and testet the responsivness of the book. I simulated more or less my daily needs for that book.

    What should I say - I could not belive it. Seriously - when I look to the book the first time I thought "Apple, what have you done". But I'm really impressed.

    I noted no, really no difference to my MBA 13" i5 2013 - on the first look. On the second look I noticed, that apps seems to used a bit longer to start at the first time - maybe 1 or 2 seconds, not a big deal (except MS Word, which took a long time, but also hang up when closing - I think that was an other problem with word installation). But switching spaces, entering / leaving fullscreen, switching to mission control - everything was like or even better and more smooth compared to my 2013 i5 MBA. And the 2016 m3 model is a little bit faster (a little bit more if we talk about the graphics) than the 2015 1,1GHz.

    The screen of an rMBA 13 seems to be a bit sharped in 1280x800 and 1440x900. But that difference only is noteable when looking very close to the display (round about 10 cm), even if no pixels are visible. So a little bit of font antialising. But On the normal working distance, its realy awsome. Even the 12" is no problem after using an 13" MBA.

    The track pad is unbelivable. It took a while until I remembered that is it force touch. I let my wife and my stepfather test it, too. They don't understand why I was amazed about the touch pad until I switched off the book and let them test again. They where totally irritated what happend to that pad. ;-)

    And the Keyboard: After typing on it 10 minutes, I switched to an MBA and started typing there. It was funny, because at the first moment, the keybord of the MBA feels a little bit strange to me. That told me that I will become comfortable with the new keybord.

    My Conclusion: I think that the Macbook is a worthy replacement for the MBA, and it has enough power for multi media, internet and office work. I don't have a long time test, but what I figured out today after a short while was, that the m3 for me is a little step forward. If it finally will be fine with an external full hd monitor, I never ever will miss my MBA 13.

    Thanks for all of your advices that helped me to take a closer look. You where right, it is a fine MacBook for my needs.
     
  16. SR71 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #16
    Same exact reaction when I first used the new Force Touch trackpad. I hate how much pressure is required to click on the regular trackpads and solely use it with tap to click, but on the MacBook I actually preferred clicking. It just feels right.
     
  17. izzyfanto macrumors regular

    izzyfanto

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    #17
    Same here
     

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