MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air

boomdog

macrumors regular
Original poster
Hi all,

A few months back I was about to purchase my new system and desperately wanted to know which one to go for. I ended up getting a new MacBook Pro with i7 and dedicated graphics. I'm certain this is far too much machine for me but I love the instant speed it affords. For Christmas, my family and I were able to buy my partner a nice new MacBook Air with an i5.

I wanted to offer the macrumors community the opportunity to see how these machines compare. If you are thinking about getting either and want to see how they perform just let me know what you would like me to test and I'll create a side by side video for you.

To be honest I'm interested myself as the MBPr was more than twice the price but I'm not sure how to compare their performance. I know it doesn't really matter beyond everyday use but just interested.

If you'd like me to test anything or know some nice tests to perform, let me know.
 

ToomeyND

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2011
423
184
The comparisons have already been completed for you here ...

http://www.everymac.com/ultimate-mac-comparison-chart/

Just choose the models you want to compare, side by side.

Hope it helps.
Wow, according to that site, the 1.7 i7 11 inch air is faster in every respect than the 2.4 i5 13 inch rMBP. Pretty crazy. Doesn't make sense to me.

I compared the two here. Perhaps the L doesn't represent the current pro, but it seems to.
 

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TorontoSS

macrumors 6502a
Nov 9, 2009
522
73
To be honest would be good to know how you feel just about everyday use with both? How do both feel?
 

AnorexicPig

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2012
368
10
Winnipeg,Canada/New Delhi India
Wow, according to that site, the 1.7 i7 11 inch air is faster in every respect than the 2.4 i5 13 inch rMBP. Pretty crazy. Doesn't make sense to me.

I compared the two here. Perhaps the L doesn't represent the current pro, but it seems to.
It won't mean anything in terms of real world usage. Also, note that MBA has an ULV processor.
 

ToomeyND

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2011
423
184
It won't mean anything in terms of real world usage. Also, note that MBA has an ULV processor.
I understand that processor intensive activities are not all that common, but can you explain why it would not mean anything in real world usage?

Isn't it showing a more efficient processor?

And I know that the MBA has an ULV, but what exactly is your point of bringing that up? Does it mean it will typically be running in "power save" mode and not be as fast?

I know that my questions sound like a smart-a$$ response, but I really do want to understand what you wrote. I definitely do not understand this stuff as well as most on these boards.
 

Alphabetize

macrumors 6502
Oct 6, 2013
451
48
Trying out the machines side-by-side at an Apple Store would be the best way to find out what suits your needs, but in my opinion, the 2013 MacBook Air is better than most of the retina MacBook Pros.

I did a number of tests on all of the available machines, and the difference between certain tasks was miniscule. While the MacBook Pros export photos and encode videos faster, they aren't much faster than the MacBook Air. For example, exporting 100 .PNGs in iPhoto on the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro took 1:14 to complete. The 13-inch MacBook Air completed the same task in 1:30; just a 16 second difference.

For me, the MacBook Air won out because it did not have as many choppy animations as the retina MacBook Pros. Mission Control was very choppy when I had only a handful of applications open, but on the MacBook Air, with the same apps open, there was no choppiness.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,049
1,106
NYC
Wow, according to that site, the 1.7 i7 11 inch air is faster in every respect than the 2.4 i5 13 inch rMBP. Pretty crazy. Doesn't make sense to me.

I compared the two here. Perhaps the L doesn't represent the current pro, but it seems to.
The MacBook Air processor, although base clocked lower, actually turbos up to a higher speed than the i5 from the MacBook Pro. So for some tasks it is indeed faster.
 

AnorexicPig

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2012
368
10
Winnipeg,Canada/New Delhi India
I understand that processor intensive activities are not all that common, but can you explain why it would not mean anything in real world usage?

Isn't it showing a more efficient processor?

And I know that the MBA has an ULV, but what exactly is your point of bringing that up? Does it mean it will typically be running in "power save" mode and not be as fast?

I know that my questions sound like a smart-a$$ response, but I really do want to understand what you wrote. I definitely do not understand this stuff as well as most on these boards.
I can explain to you in basic language, as in I had a 2012 MBA, and I upgraded to my rMBP last month, and I notice no change in speed, the processors today are no longer the bottleneck when doing even stuff like working in Aperture.

My friend has a 2013 MBA i5, and it has what 1.3 GHZ, and even that laptop flies. RAM is more important nowdays, unless you do stuff like video editing or video encoding.
 

ToomeyND

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2011
423
184
I can explain to you in basic language, as in I had a 2012 MBA, and I upgraded to my rMBP last month, and I notice no change in speed, the processors today are no longer the bottleneck when doing even stuff like working in Aperture.

My friend has a 2013 MBA i5, and it has what 1.3 GHZ, and even that laptop flies. RAM is more important nowdays, unless you do stuff like video editing or video encoding.
Thanks! I don't expect to be doing any of that stuff anytime soon, so I should be good.

I am awaiting two refurbed 11" 1.7 i7/8/512 for the wife and myself. Neither of us need the 512, but the 256 were sold out in the refurb store, and then the only option would have been 4 gigs of ram. I'm super excited to have them. On top of that, the 512 refurbed costs about the same as the 256 new, so I'll look at it as a bonus. :)

This will be the first time having the 11" screen. I'm nervous about it being to small, but I travel a lot, and I'm stoked about how darn small and light that thing is!
 

AnorexicPig

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2012
368
10
Winnipeg,Canada/New Delhi India
Thanks! I don't expect to be doing any of that stuff anytime soon, so I should be good.

I am awaiting two refurbed 11" 1.7 i7/8/512 for the wife and myself. Neither of us need the 512, but the 256 were sold out in the refurb store, and then the only option would have been 4 gigs of ram. I'm super excited to have them. On top of that, the 512 refurbed costs about the same as the 256 new, so I'll look at it as a bonus. :)

This will be the first time having the 11" screen. I'm nervous about it being to small, but I travel a lot, and I'm stoked about how darn small and light that thing is!
You will enjoy them :D
 

Dave Meadows

macrumors 68040
Nov 10, 2010
3,488
1,615
I can't believe it but I spilled a glass of water on my 2007 MacBook Pro (15"). I don't use it for gaming, just web browsing, email and a bit of word processing. Do you think I should consider getting the Air as a replacement instead of another pro?
 

gochi

macrumors 6502
Mar 31, 2011
289
1
just remember to get the highest resolution possible (the mbp gives you the 1680x1050 hires option which is best)
 

Dave Meadows

macrumors 68040
Nov 10, 2010
3,488
1,615
Yeah, I'm thinking I'll get another pro but can't decide between 13" and 15". The one I have now is a 15. I suppose it comes down to how the insurance works. I mean is it a replacement or what it's worth now? It was a 2007 model.
 

Dominus Mortem

macrumors regular
Aug 3, 2011
149
13
I can't believe it but I spilled a glass of water on my 2007 MacBook Pro (15"). I don't use it for gaming, just web browsing, email and a bit of word processing. Do you think I should consider getting the Air as a replacement instead of another pro?
You can't really go wrong either way. Both machine platforms are very portable (some might argue that the 15" rMBP isn't). The biggest differences for stock machines it that retina display. If you want the crispest, prettiest screen with the sharpest text you've ever seen, get that. If none of that matters, pocket a few hundred bucks and go with the MBA.
 

majordude

macrumors 68020
Apr 28, 2007
2,352
4
Hootersville
Well, a few years ago I had the same choice: top-of-the-line Air or an upper end rMBP.

I ordered the Air.

After seeing the screen, I hated it. The colors were too flat for me. I had owned a 17" MBP in the past and while it wasn't HD, it was sharp and colorful. The Air wasn't. I later determined that I had received an LG Air and not a Samsung Air. I really didn't want to go through 10 Airs before I got the screen that I wanted I exchanges it for an rMBP and (THANKFULLY) it was a Samsung screen. :D

Best computer I have ever owned.

I know that Apple has stopped sourcing screens from Samsung so I'm not looking forward to my next l dread thinking about my next Apple notebook. LG just can't hang with Samsung and I'll never buy an LG HDTV just because of this experience.

Seriously. The LG Air's screen SUCKED! :mad:
 

Dave Meadows

macrumors 68040
Nov 10, 2010
3,488
1,615
Called in at my local store and wow the 13" looks small! It's not put me off though. I guess if I get a 13" I'll just get used to it. Can I just ask, is it worth getting one with the i7? Also, seeing I have a 2TB time capsule does the hard drive not matter as much?
 

cdubb80

macrumors member
May 15, 2011
63
0
You can't really go wrong either way. Both machine platforms are very portable (some might argue that the 15" rMBP isn't). The biggest differences for stock machines it that retina display. If you want the crispest, prettiest screen with the sharpest text you've ever seen, get that. If none of that matters, pocket a few hundred bucks and go with the MBA.
i'm also considering the MBA vs 13 rMBP

if you are mainly using a 2nd external monitor does that negate the advantages of a retina display?

i like the air's portability/battery life but concerned that because i need to use VMware fusion to run window's 7 having more than 8gb is useful.

also i look at X-rays/other scans so retina display might be an advantage
 

366Gunfighters

macrumors newbie
Sep 23, 2010
4
0
Louisville, KY
I recently compared three modern Macs with the following task:

Use iMovie to process a 4GB video, straight from a Canon 60D (.mov file) as follows:

Adjust white balance.
Save as file (Sharing menu).

The mid-2013 entry-level 13" Air took 12 minutes.

The late-2013 entry-level 13" MacBook Pro took 8.5 minutes.

The late-2012 Mac mini Fusion Drive 2.3 quad i7 8G RAM took 7 minutes.

I think this is a fair real-life comparison of processor, RAM, and HD (SSD).
 

366Gunfighters

macrumors newbie
Sep 23, 2010
4
0
Louisville, KY
i'm also considering the MBA vs 13 rMBP

if you are mainly using a 2nd external monitor does that negate the advantages of a retina display?

i like the air's portability/battery life but concerned that because i need to use VMware fusion to run window's 7 having more than 8gb is useful.

also i look at X-rays/other scans so retina display might be an advantage
By "2nd external monitor" I assume you mean a single external monitor along with the laptop's display. It will not negate the retina display of the laptop, but it will not be a retina display. At best, it will be its native resolution, i.e. 1920 x 1280 for an HD display. The laptop's display remains retina.

VM Ware Fusion is an issue because Windows does not know what a retina display is, and sometimes cannot scale it. If you're looking at diagnostic images, you really need to get with your facility's biomedical engineer to determine what will work.
 

cdubb80

macrumors member
May 15, 2011
63
0
By "2nd external monitor" I assume you mean a single external monitor along with the laptop's display. It will not negate the retina display of the laptop, but it will not be a retina display. At best, it will be its native resolution, i.e. 1920 x 1280 for an HD display. The laptop's display remains retina.

VM Ware Fusion is an issue because Windows does not know what a retina display is, and sometimes cannot scale it. If you're looking at diagnostic images, you really need to get with your facility's biomedical engineer to determine what will work.
Yah, I meant a single external monitor hookup.


Mmm, so retina display is an issue then as the VPN software to access images works well on windows XP/7, and is barely functional on Mac OSx. I mainly just need to look at X-rays, and occasional CTs and MRIs.
 

Dave Meadows

macrumors 68040
Nov 10, 2010
3,488
1,615
Right, decided on a 15" MacBook Pro 256GB flash but can't decided whether to upgrade to 16GB from 8?