MBA 13" i7 for University?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by eddkahn, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. eddkahn macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    #1
    As the title suggests, I'm looking for a MBA for uni.
    I would go for the i7 which is a similar price of the base model 15" MBP or the 13" MBP with a SSD.

    I just do general tasks but I download and watch a lot of films on VLC. Would it be fine with 1080p video (my 09 MBP 2.26 core 2 duo struggles with 1080p a bit)

    I also do light video editing with premiere pro (would move onto FCPX if the air could handle it but not too fussed really)

    I was wondering what the screen is like on the MBA as it really is a dealbreaker for me. Also what would be the difference in speed with a base MBP 13" with 256gb SSD to the MBA. Personally I don't think the Mbp 15" is worth it unless you get the higher end model with 1gb graphics and 2.2ghz but what do you reckon (I haven't used a 15" mbp before!)

    Thanks!!
     
  2. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #2

    The 1.8GHz i7 on the 13" MacBook Air is about 90% as fast as the 2.3GHz i5 on the base 13" Pro. Both processors Turbo Boost to the same speeds (2.6GHz in dual core mode), and both GPUs Turbo Boost to 1.2GHz. However, the 13" Pro's chip has a higher base speed of the CPU, and also the GPU (650MHz vs 350MHz), so it will be faster when the processor is fully taxed (such as in viewing 1080p video or doing encoding).

    I don't do photo editing, and usually just view regular video content, but from that experience, I'd expect that the 13" Air could handle it, though the fan would be running pretty quickly during those kinds of tasks. The 13" Pro might be a bit better, though the major jump would be the 15" Pro with its quad-core CPU and discrete GPU, as you point out. The Pro models would also have a FireWire port built in. Hopefully someone will make good use of the Thunderbolt port, and there are some Thunderbolt-to-FireWire adapters on the way, but in the meantime, the Air is limited to USB 2.0.

    On the whole, I'd say go for it with the Air and try the various applications within the 2-week return window.
     
  3. DustinT macrumors 68000

    DustinT

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #3
    KPom's pretty much said everything abou the 13" options that I would have. I'll add, the base 15" is significantly more powerful since it has twice the processor cores plus dedicated graphics. If you do a good bit of video editing the two extra cores will scale very well and it will be 1.5-1.9x faster, depending on what you are doing.
     
  4. ac3320 macrumors regular

    ac3320

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Location:
    CA
    #4
    I'd get a 13" MBA just because they are so light and powerful. Get a NAS for when you're at home don't worry about the smaller HDs on the MBA vs MBP. It's the future! (You don't need no built in optical no 'mo!) <-- Just kidding there. Kind of makes me sad that there are no optical drives in Apple's notebook future. Everyone can scoff and believe that Apple will never do away with CD drives, but is that not what everyone said about 3.5" 1.44 MB floppy disk drives in computers [at all]?
     
  5. JHG722 macrumors newbie

    JHG722

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    Jul 17, 2011
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    #5
    I got the 13'' i7 for school. Love it so far.
     
  6. MattZani macrumors 68030

    MattZani

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    I got the 13" i7 and I'm doing Photography at uni, hoping its gonna cope!
     
  7. mikethebigo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    #7
    It will handle 1080p video just fine. It will also handle light video editing. Maybe someday there will also be a nice Thunderbolt external GPU released for it! That would be pretty cool for doing serious intensive home tasks.

    The screen is worse than the MBP, no doubt about it. The colors just aren't as good. However I still like the screen a lot. Both screens are TN, if you really want a good screen you need to go external IPS anyway. Also, one super important thing about the MBA is that the screen is "glossy" but not "glassy." It is really nice to not have all those major reflections from the glass display.

    The system is a little rocket and will zip through pretty much any task you throw at it. It's not significantly slower than the 13 MBP, but will obviously not be as capable as the 15 with a 1 GB dedicated GPU when it comes to graphics.

    So, really both options are fine! If it were me, I would go with the 13 MBA, but if you really want that extra GPU power, go MBP.
     
  8. cdcastillo macrumors 6502a

    cdcastillo

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Location:
    The cesspit of civilization
    #8
    No one seems to have noticed your real dilemma: The air is more than capable (processor wise) for all that you want to do. However, the much smaller capacity SSD drive in the Air will be the limiting factor for what you want to do (watching LOTS of video, you say, and editing in HD, which translates in enormous video files).

    So, unless you want to add an external HD to the mix and haul it with you everywhere you go (somewhat negating the "portability" advantage of the air), the Air is not for you.
     
  9. ac3320 macrumors regular

    ac3320

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Location:
    CA
    #9
    Since most people don't edit HD files on the go, I assume he'll be doing most of that at home/at the office. Could he not just set up some sort of network storage device? Or even more simply just keep external HDs with most of his data (like the contents of the ~User/Movies folder)? This way, when he's rolling around town, 256 GB (or 128 which ever you get) should be more than enough space for music.
     
  10. LeakedDave macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2011
    #10
    My 2010 c2d 2.13ghz Air did 1080p on VLC really well. Assuming 2011 even better.
     
  11. cdcastillo macrumors 6502a

    cdcastillo

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Location:
    The cesspit of civilization
    #11
    He doesn't say. He only told us he is going to a university and that he will be doing it, not where he'll do it (at a dorm, "on the go", at home). Since everyone seemed to be ignoring this potential bottleneck in the equation, I just pointed it out, and added the thing about the external HD you also mention.

    Just trying to help the OP not to get an unpleasant surprise once he gets the air.
     

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