MBA 13" vs MBP 13" (again)

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2011
    Hi folks

    I know this has been posted a lot during the past, and therefore I apologize in advance.

    I'm gonna buy a new MacBook since my previous BlackBook died last week.

    Do I choose the MBP or MBA

    I'll be using it as my main computer and need to bring it with me for my trips to the university.

    If I had to pick right of my head I'll go with the MBA 'cause of the mobility. Though I cannot help thinking about the (nearly) 1ghz I'll be missing in performance (MBA i5, 1.7ghz vs MBP i5 2.4ghz)

    According to benchmarks the difference is minimal. I'm not gonna use it for games, video, graphics or any other high-cpu programming. But just for word, browsing and so on. Maybe occasionnaly for netflix

    So I think my question is: Would I be missing the performance in the cpu? And DOES the Air really comes close to the Pro in performance?

  2. dzigg macrumors member

    Feb 20, 2007
    Since all you'll be doing is word, browsing, etc, MBA makes more sense for you, because of its portability. Carrying it around in campus makes a BIG difference.

    Also the SSD will actually make the MBA feel much faster for everyday usage than the MBP..

    Go with MBA, you won't regret it..
  3. xlii macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2006
    Millis, Massachusetts
    I would get the 13" MBP.

    The advantages of the 13" MBA are:
    less weight
    flash drive
    better screen resolution

    The advantages of the 13" MBP are:
    costs less
    better cpu
    more memory
    more disk space
    longer battery life
    more ports

    The 13" MBP isn't exactly heavy. To me it is as portable as the 13" MBA. You can also bump up the memory to 8 or 16 GB and also put in a flash drive if that is what you want.

    In the end it's your call and your preference as to what you think is important to you.
  4. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2011
    Yeah, I really don't need the power of MBP, but I think it's the feel of "getting more for the bucks"-kinda thing! :D

    IF I did buy the MBP I would put a SSD in it. The old harddrives is way to slow for me..

    I tried out the MBP in a store today and felt the weight of it.. It's a bit bulky now is it..
  5. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    Any laptop feels bulky once you have handled a MBA...:(
  6. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2011
    Hah, true that! :eek:
  7. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    The 1.7GHz i5 and 1.8GHz i7 in the MacBook Air turbo boosted to speeds very close to the 2.3GHz i5 in the MacBook Air (the i7 and 2.3GHz i5 had almost identical CPU scores). Even though the Pro just got a 2.4GHz i5, I still don't think the difference will be that noticeable. That might change with Ivy Bridge if Apple is able to cram a quad-core i5 into the 13" Pro, but for now, I think the 13" Air and 13" Pro are still very close. If you add a 256GB SSD to the 13" Pro, it jumps to $1799. The $1699 top of the line Air compares very favorably with that system.
  8. convergent macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2008
    Without hesitation, I say get the MBA. I just upgraded my 2008 MBP to a new MBA - 13" 1.8Ghz. I couldn't be happier. This things flies. At any point in time, I usually have running at the same time - Lotus Notes, MS Office 2011 (all 3 apps), OmniFocus, DevonThink (w several Gig of databases open), Mail, Adium, Safari (with about 10-12 tabs), Pathfinder, RadioShark, and several other random apps. I've even run Adobe Lightroom while this other stuff was all running. The MBA flies. I'll note, that I also have Filevault turned on, AND I have to run Symantec Endpoint Protection as a requirement for work.

    I am normally running it connected to the Thunderbolt display, however the primary thing I'm getting from that is the gigabit ethernet port. If you need to be doing a lot of transfers over the wire rather than WiFi, you may want to get an ethernet USB dongle. Note that the Apple one is 100BaseT only. There should be some Thunderbolt gigabit ones coming out, but in the interim there are low cost 3rd party USB dongles that "claim" Gigabit ethernet.

    So for your use case, I'd say the MBA would be perfect. Whatever you get, the SSD is going to give a much greater performance gain than a change in CPU speed. If you price a MBP with SSD vs. the MBA, the MBP is a lot more expensive.
  9. Xikum macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2011
    I have a 2010 MBA, and my girlfriend has a 2011 MBP, so maybe I can help.

    Since your not doing anything intensive, the MBA makes more sense. Its lighter and easier to fit into your bag, although the MBP is hardly heavy by laptop standards. With the work that you are doing, I don't think you will realise the CPU difference-with basic browsing/office work, I realise no difference between me and my girlfriends MacBooks.

    Oh, and I think another poster mentioned turbo boost on the MBA; I could be wrong, but I'm quite sure that Apple disabled the Turbo boosting on the MBA because of heat management.
  10. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2011
    So it isn't the same cpu in the two machines? Never heard of the turbo boosting-thing?

    This is my thought exactly. I'm going on vacation and have to buy a new laptop now 'cause of the cheap prices down there. So I can't wait till next year (ivy bridge). So IF this is the case; the MBA13 i5 being almost as powerfull as the MBP13 i5 there shouldn't be much doubt in this matter.

    Although the MBP is more "future-proof" I know myself to well, being eager to get the lastet model in about 3 years so no need for future here :)
  11. scarred macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2011
    Do you love Glossy displays?

    Do you need a dvd drive? (be careful before saying yes to this one)

    Do you need a lot of HD space?

    Are you going to be doing a lot of CPU intensive things? Compiling software... rendering videos...

    Do you want to play the latest games? (15 or 17 mbp only)

    Those are the reasons to jump to the pro line.

    In my opinion though, if you need those things, you should jump to the 15inch MBPro (unless the $ of it scares you away).

    From what you say you need, the MBA 13 is the better choice.
  12. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2011
    Well.. I don't hate it! :p

    No, I've never used a dvd on my prev BlackBook. Got Netflix, iTunes, Vudu, Hulu and whatnot on my AppleTV

    No, I have a external hdd and NAS-server

    Only word, excel, powerpoint, safari, mail and a bit netflix (maybe)

    I got a ps3 and an xbox 360 for gaming. Won't play on my mac - and never had

    I guess I don't need the performance power in MBP after all...
  13. abz1981 macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2011
    go for 13" MBA

    If I was you I would go for the 13" MBA. I tell you why. I had the 13" MBP 2011 base model. My usage was just safari, itunes, pages and thats it really.

    I decided the MBP was too good for what I was using and went for the 13" MBA and I am really happy with my choice. Your usage is similar to mines, so 13" MBA would be great for you.

    PLus the MBA is much lighter and I dont miss having the dvd and cd drive either.
  14. jamesr19 macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2009
    Go for the MBA then!

    You're more likely to think "if only i'd got the Air" if you got the Pro. I know a lot of my course mates with MBP 13/15" and they look at the MBA and go wowww that's nice! It weighs so little you can take it anywhere without it being a hassle...sometimes I panic incase I forgot to put it back in my bag after being out somewhere! The MBA is plenty powerful for your needs (and more) and the SSD makes everything seamless
  15. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2011

    Yeah, it sounds like a no-brainer by now. People just wan't the fastest cpu on the market, not considering what the actually need. Like myself ;)

    And IF I would use a bit indesign (only for covers on my papers and job appliences), then I should be able to run that, right?


    Great info, thanks! Nice to hear that the MBA is powerfull enough for daily needs!
  16. abz1981 macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2011

    It should be fine for a bit of indesign. However not used it for myself so one of the other posters should be able to confirm that. Or even better an Apple Store sales person should.

    However I remember when I got my first portable mac the MBP I just wanted it because it was a MBP and didn't care at the time, what the specs were etc.

    However I only used the MBP for basically 10% if even, for what it is capable of being used for.

    So therefore I thought I might as well sell it and go for the MBA, its the best decision I made in my life :)
  17. ecib macrumors regular


    Jan 4, 2011

    No question MBA. I have a MBA 13" and my girlfriend has a MBP 13", both 2011. You won't notice a difference in speed, and if you do, it will be the MBA that is faster, not the MBP, because of the SSD (for the tasks you described).

    Especially as a student, get the MBA, the MBP is a brick compared to it.

    The only reason to consider the MBP is the disk drive imo, which you may need to have access to to download software for a class from a disk in a textbook or something. Just a corner-case to keep in mind. That and storage space, if you need it for music and stuff. I personally have a 1TB drive that I keep my music on, but I understand wanting to have most of it on you at all times.

    Either way, they are both insanely good machines. You literally can't make a bad choice.
  18. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2011
    Thanks for your reply! Is sounds nice! A lot of people have a MacBook pro! In my class 80 procent with macs are pro.. I guess it was the right choice a couple of years ago (Pro vs Plastic mac) but now with the air, it's a much harder choice! So you don't miss the power of her MBP?

    Yeah, I do have a lot of music (about 200gb) and planed to buy a NAS. I already have a external drive with space to fill my need but would like to acess it without cables and whatnot
  19. ecib macrumors regular


    Jan 4, 2011

    The MBP has no power above and beyond the MBA for what you are using it for. With any computing device, you have to be careful to keep your use-case in mind and not just blindly compare specs.

    For what you described the MBA will be more than sufficient, and actually faster than the MBP. Now, if you start going crazy with the Photoshop and switch your major to Graphic Design, well, then suddenly the MBA is not looking so hot compared to the MBP.

    I use my MBA for surfing the net, streaming music, spreadsheets, streaming movies, etc. My MBA with the solid state drive opens up applications faster, and is just snappier than my girlfriend's MBP because of it. I occasionally mess around with some photoshop and recording music on it too. In these cases, her MBP renders a little faster than my machine. That is the difference. If you are doing a lot of processor intensive tasks (sounds like you're not), the MBP has a faster processor, so it will perform better. If not, the SSD of the MBA is going to be faster opening up your browser, word processor, and other applications, as well as powering up.

    But if you want to keep all your music right on your computer (my biggest pet peeve with my MBA), that's a great reason to go with the Pro. You can get gobbs more storage.

    For what you described I just think you will be far happier with the MBA. The weight makes a large difference when you're carrying it around as a student too.
  20. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2011
    Yeah you're right! Sounds like our need are pretty much the same. Thanks for your help :p
  21. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    You can always configure a MBP with the SSD. Price will be about $100 difference when compared to the MBA.
  22. bpereira23 macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2011
    Just take into account (which no one has mentioned here), the Air is not built nearly as solid as the Pro. I am typing on a brand new air and constantly the keyboard makes these cracking noises and is just a lot more delicate feeling than the pro. I am considering for the pro or holding out till next year for the big refresh with the Pros, which is possible to have no optical drive any longer. I have to say the air is definitely light but I agree with what your thoughts were before, better bang for the buck. And seriously, who cares about 1 pound. The pro now has 500 gb standard hard drive vs 128 or 256in air (128gb is a way better deal btw). Just my thoughts...:rolleyes:
  23. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2011
  24. Brandon0448 macrumors 6502


    Aug 2, 2011
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Get the Air, you will get far more benefit from the portability over the small performance gains.
  25. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2011
    Although I'll properbly gonna buy an iPad 2 aswell, then the portability is quite appeeling!

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