MBA 13 (Mid 12) vs MBP 13 (Early 11) on steroids

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bart., Nov 10, 2012.

  1. bart. macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2012
    Hello everybody!

    I have currently owned the MBP 13" Early 2011 with i7 2.7GHz, 8GB RAM and 7200rpm HDD included.

    I wish to upgrade the computer and seems like I have 2 options:

    1) upgrade RAM to 16GB + add 500GB SSD and install current HDD in OptiBay

    2) buy MBA 13 Mid 2012 with i7 2.0GHz, 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD + external HDD on USB 3.0

    I know all the advantages and disadvantages between them. Better resolution, mobility, more ports etc etc.

    My main question is about performance. Which configuration should be faster?
    I check the results at however there were for the standard versions (MBP 13 with 4GB RAM and HDD 5400RPM vs MBA with 4GB RAM and SSD 128GB). 4 times more RAM makes difference, right? :)

    I use the laptop mainly for editing pictures (Lightroom mostly, I don't use 100 layers in Photoshop) and editing movies in Final Cut Pro X / Premiere with encoding it in Compressor 4.

    So, which laptop would be better for this job? Ah, and I use external LCD (1900x1200) for this, so the native resolution is not an option here (even if i wish to have 1440...).

    Can you help me? :)
  2. Barna Biro macrumors 6502a

    Barna Biro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Zug, Switzerland
    Upgrade the one you have... Once you put the SSD in, it will be fast.
    The CPU is also slightly faster than what you'd get with the MBA.
    ... and of course, if you need more RAM, it doesn't hurt either.
  3. bart. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2012
    I thought a performance of Ivy Bridge is a way way better than the Sandy Bridge. Are you sure that the current CPU is faster than the one installed in the MBA?
  4. Barna Biro macrumors 6502a

    Barna Biro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Zug, Switzerland
    It's not "way way faster"... At best, you'll see a 10-15% performance increase when comparing the high-end CPU models. Realistically speaking, you'll notice no difference performing normal tasks ( even when performing "non-normal" ones, the "difference is still quite insignificant ).

    Personally, I see no point in getting the MBA over what you have...
    ... just upgrade your notebook and you'll be fine.

    Again, it's my opinion... the final decision will still need to be yours ;)
  5. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    I agree, upgrade the system you've got. Your CPU is faster and you are able to run more RAM. With a good SSD, it'll fly.
  6. richnyc macrumors regular


    Nov 8, 2012
    Definitely upgrade, unless you need portability of MBA.

    First, just pop in an SSD and watch your 'old' MBP fly;) Then, if you run many apps at once, esp. FCP, Photoshop, Aperture, Lightroom and the likes, replace RAM with 16GB and you'll see a 'little' improvement to your system overall.

    But the SSD upgrade is going to make your MBP look like it's on steroids;)
  7. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    I just went thru something similar...I wanted something newer to be able to gift my Whitebook 5,2 2.0Ghz nVidia 9400m with 4Gb RAM and a Crucial m225 128Gb SSD to a family member = it was still a good working machine but it was getting a little slow for my needs.

    Being at an FPO address, Apple won't ship to Military addresses directly and we also have an additional USPS restriction of no Lithium batteries being shippable.

    I had a choice of a NIB 2011 13" MBP for $806 (MD313LL/A) or an open box 2012 13" MBA 4Gb RAM/128Gb SSD for $1070.

    The MBP has a faster mobile CPU vise the ULV CPU in the MBA.

    The MBA has a higher resolution screen than the screen on the MBP.

    The user can upgrade the RAM on the MBP as well as the HDD/SSD vise non-replaceable parts on the MBA.

    The MBA is 1.5 lbs lighter than the MBP.

    The MBP has a built-in ethernet port and the other ports are the same as the MBA (but the Air has USB3 over the MBP when switching from 2011 to 2012 models).

    I decided to go with the 2011 13" MBP because I had 8Gb RAM already, was able to snag a lightning deal from Amazon on a Crucial M4 512Gb SSD & I had a spare 60w Magsafe adapter already...I have a faster processor, more RAM 4x's the SSD space internally = $1,155.00, no tax and no shipping cost:D

    This will meet my needs until Broadwell hits the 11" MBA's and hopefully gives them battery life close to the current 13" laptop modes to give me the portability and form factor I really want!
  8. bart. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2012
    Thanks for the informations!

    I like the portability and hi-res of the MBA however as the switching to MBA would be double cost and no performance improvement I will stay with the current MBP for another year or something. In the meantime there is a chance that Adobe will support Retina and the new MBP or MBA will be my choice.

    So, now I have to check which SSD, OptiBay and RAM to buy ;-)

    PS. I'm curious if I'd posted this thread in the MBA subforum, not theMBP...if the answers would be similar ;-)
  9. NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2007
    That was a great deal on the 2011 MBP NIB, the refurbs were over $900 until recently.
  10. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    I'm happy with it and I won't be wanting for more internal space anytime soon like I may have been had I gotten a MBA (as I wouldn't have sprung for any :apple: SSD larger than the 128Gb model):p.

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