Macbook or Macbook Air

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by LaurentBeuk, Jul 8, 2015.

?

I will use google chrome (youtube, ...), basic tasks (word, excel), netflix, movies, ...

  1. Macbook entry level

    57.9%
  2. Macbook air 13 inch entry level

    42.1%
  1. LaurentBeuk macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    #1
    Ok i'm in the market for a new notebook. The tasks i will do are pretty basic:
    - internet (google chrome): netflix, youtube, macrumors, ...
    - word, excel, powerpoint, ...
    - watch / download a movie
    - watch / download a song
    - itunes
    - mail
    - messaging

    I like my computer running smoothly (i have a macbook air 13 inch entry level model now)

    What should i buy?
    The macbook entry level
    A macbook air around the same price
     
  2. imaccooper macrumors regular

    imaccooper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #2
    Both will do everything on your list so I think it comes down to what you want to pay (you could easily get the entry level of both machines) and the form factor. If those were my uses then I would go for the base MacBook, but there are a couple of reasons to go the other way such as lack of ports or less battery life if those are important to you.
     
  3. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #3
    @LaurentBeuk if you can cope with the lack of ports and smaller screen, go MacBook.
     
  4. LaurentBeuk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    #4
    Thanks. But I read online that the Macbook doesn't have many countries power at all and that you can see a difference with even basic tasks
     
  5. darkgremio macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    #5
    I have a Macbook and it runs excellently, I use it for very basic things like you listed. Sometimes I play World of Warcraft, but very sparingly. I get decent FPS as well usually around 40-50 FPS on low setting, I don't really need elaborate graphics on a laptop, just enough to get by; thats why I have a gaming tower.

    I have found also with El Capitan performance has greatly sky rocketed. I have no regrets buying this laptop, the limited usb port selection sucks and everything, but I bought the adapter and I keep it stationary so I can charge and use an external display for video editing and use my portable HDD.

    I have both a MBPr and this computer, and I find myself using this one all the time, due to the portability the battery life and it charges so much faster it seems

    Ergonomically the keyboard I find is very smooth and reduces keystroke time. I could keep droning on about this computer, but I think you get the idea already.
     
  6. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #6
    "Many countries power"? -For your needs it will be quite sufficient.
     
  7. LaurentBeuk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    #7
    No idea what i ment :) autocorrect i guess.
    I know it will have enough power for netflix, youtube, web browsing, pages, numbers, ... But will it do it instantly? I hate computer with which i have to wait. My basic macbook air medio 2011 is coping brilliantly though
     
  8. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #8
    Yes, the Macbook will do those tasks instantly. That's largely a factor of RAM and disk access speed, both of which the Macbook has plenty of.
     
  9. LaurentBeuk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    #9
    Ok. I just saw the 13 inch macbook pro is the same price as the macbook... Also it's only 500 grams heavier.
    Does it have any downside besides being a bit heavier?
     
  10. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #10
    500 grams is an awful lot when the Macbook only weighs about 950 grams total. :)

    It really depends on what you value. Do you want something that is smaller and lighter than your current Air, or would you be ok with something a bit heavier? How do you use the device? Do you want to be able to carry it with you everywhere, use it comfortably on your lap, on a small table at a cafe/train/plane/etc? or do you mostly sit in once place, maybe at a desk or table when using it?
     
  11. LaurentBeuk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    #11
    You're right... I will use it on a couch, in bed, on a desk, ...
    I'm just not convinced of the processor... It seems quite weak. Isn't it the same one they use in some tablets?
     
  12. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #12
    It's a processor that's designed with acknowledgement of the fact that processor power has been outstripping most people's needs for a number of years now. It focuses on efficiency rather than raw power. Most of the time a computer is in use, the CPU is sitting idle. When the user opens a program, loads a webpage, etc. the CPU usage spikes for a moment, but then quickly falls back to idle. The Core-M processor in use here reflects that, so it is optimized to burst to a high speed very quickly, then immediately return to a low power state.

    What that means is that for most 'average' workflows, you will see very little, if any, performance difference between this processor and a more powerful one. What Core-M does not have is the ability to sustain that high load for a period of time. So playing an intensive game, or rendering a high resolution video, for example, will quickly cause it to heat up to the point it must throttle to control the temperature. The reality is though that most people aren't doing that kind of work on these kind of devices very often. If they are, this isn't the right chip or the right laptop. Your described usage sounds like a perfect match, however.
     
  13. LaurentBeuk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    #13
    Thank you. Excellent explanation. So this will be at least just as fast as my macbook air medio 2011 13 inch entry level with the i5 processor and 4GB ram?
     
  14. AFEPPL macrumors 68020

    AFEPPL

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    Sep 30, 2014
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    England
  15. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68020

    Ulenspiegel

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2014
    Location:
    Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
    #15
    You will hear fairy tales about the rMB. Take it with a grain of salt.
    While it is a good machine for some, it won't satisfy the needs of others.
    zhenya's explanation is objective and correct, reflects the main point:
    "What that means is that for most 'average' workflows, you will see very little, if any, performance difference between this processor and a more powerful one. What Core-M does not have is the ability to sustain that high load for a period of time. So playing an intensive game, or rendering a high resolution video, for example, will quickly cause it to heat up to the point it must throttle to control the temperature."

    I think it is clear that I would choose a new MacBook Air 13" or rMBP 13" over the rMB anytime.
     
  16. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #16
    Then I presume you need a laptop that has that kind of power available on a regular basis or are at least willing to pay the penalty of carrying a heavier, larger, louder computer with you everywhere. That's a perfectly fine choice. It's clear, however, that most people still assume that CPU power is the primary determinant in how fast a computer feels, when that is no longer true for many, many people, and hasn't been the case for a number of years now.
     
  17. oldmacs macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Location:
    Australia
    #17
    Macbook Air... Though the lack of 8GB of ram is an issue.
     
  18. LaurentBeuk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    #18
    Do you think that since the macbook is the first generation it will improve a lot next year?
     
  19. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #19
    That's a tough question. It will definitely improve, but I expect that the improvements will be incremental - a chipset that is capable of driving a 4k external screen at full 60hz, for example, perhaps a screen that consumes a tad less power. I don't think this is the same thing as say, the first Macbook Air which was hampered by a 4200rpm drive that was miserably slow (and only 80GB in size), 2GB RAM, and Intel graphics that were significantly outclassed by the competition. Today's Macbook, in contrast, is better equipped in nearly every metric than most full-sized laptops sold on the market. The only compromises are in raw CPU power, number of ports, and the 4k limitation (which is truthfully pretty much an edge-case - very, very few people today relative to the whole market, are looking to drive a 4k display).
     
  20. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68020

    Ulenspiegel

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2014
    Location:
    Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
    #20
    I need sustainable performance w/o lag and throttle. For me personally it is worth the "penalty", like for you - I guess - to pay the "penalty" of a Core-M processor, smaller screen, no ports and considerably shorter battery life.

    P.S.: Louder computer? It's been always used as an argument. I wonder how many people ever heard the fan working in a MacBook Air.
     
  21. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #21
    That's the thing though - many people assume there will be throttling or significant lag when doing rather normal computing tasks. Most people don't spend most of their time on their computer rendering video or doing much of anything where the CPU is highly utilized. Most of the time it's just added weight sitting their idle, consuming excess power. Fine for a desktop or mobile workstation. Pointless for an ultraportable. None of those are penalties for me - I WANT the lower power consumption. I WANT the smaller screen - 12" high resolution has turned out to be perfect for me. I have every port I need, and 9-10 hours of battery life? Considerably shorter than what?

    I hear the fan on my wife's Air nearly every time she uses it, sometimes from across the room. Yes, I want a silent, cool computer when I'm using it in quiet spaces, often on my lap. I've been building silent computers starting with desktops for nearly 20 years.
     
  22. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68020

    Ulenspiegel

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    Nov 8, 2014
    Location:
    Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
    #22
    I am happy for you and incredibly. The rest is a "no comment" category, especially the MacBook Air's fan part.
     

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