MBA or MBP with solid state?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by scottlaughlin, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. scottlaughlin macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2011
    Hoping this has not been asked already, but I am looking at two options, and I would love your opinions on the pros and cons. Choosing between two options - what do you think?

    1) 13" Macbook Air with 4gb upgrade: $1399


    2) 13" Macbook Pro with 128 Solid State Drive upgrade: $1449


    Will adding solid state to the Pro make it as fast or faster than the Air? For $50 more, it seems like a good idea. Am I missing something?

    I do mostly SEO work. So MS Office, light photo editing, and everything else online / in the cloud. I like the design and light weight of the Air, but also like the full featured-ness and faster processor of the Pro.

    Has anyone else considered the pros and cons these two options? I like the Air because it looks sexy, but that is not the smartest reason to shell out cash - what do you think between these two option?

  2. IngerMan macrumors 65816


    Feb 21, 2011
    I had the 2010 MacBook unibody for about 13 months, After owning the new MBA 13" for a week. I will never go back to the big brother laptop. The portability and speed of this machine is fantastic. I have a 2008 iMac, but I don't see sitting in front of it very much with my new beauty. I use the cloud for my old file storage.
  3. iPhone1 macrumors 65816


    Apr 2, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Sounds like a MBP would suit you better.

    An SSD in any 2011 MBP will blow the MBA away. C2D vs. i5 or even an i7? Yah, you do the math.
  4. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    except for lower screen resolution … … :eek:
  5. Gen macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2008
  6. namtaB macrumors regular

    Feb 22, 2011
    The MBP with the SSD should theoretically be faster b/c of the better processor. But I'm wondering how much quicker it will be. There's no question the MBA is quicker than a MBP with a HDD, we're talking 15s bootup for the MBA versus 30s bootup for the MBP. But I can't imagine the MBP with SSD to be that much quicker than the MBA even with a better processor. I'd rather have the weight savings and streamlined design even if the MBP has a quicker bootup time than 15s or is 0.00058s quicker to load an application.
  7. iPhone1 macrumors 65816


    Apr 2, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Yeah, I don't know what Apple was thinking. An i7 with a crappy resolution. Maybe they'll get it right next year and at least offer an option.
  8. scottlaughlin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2011

    These are helpful comments - keep 'em coming. Thanks!
  9. chiamac macrumors member

    Oct 20, 2010
    I have a maxed out 2010 13" MBA and do SEO, PPC, use Photoshop/Illustrator CS5 (occasional 100-200 MB PSD files), Parallels with Windows 7 64-bit with Office, Dreamweaver, do occasional webinar 30min to 1hr recordings and video conversions (wmv -> flv/mp4) and it runs like a dream. For my needs, I will never go for MBP until they're indistinguishable from MBA.

    If I were you, go for the MBA. You will LOVE it. The 1440x900 display is a total no brainer. And the size/weight difference is HUGE. I got mine a week after it came it and I still smile with amazement every time I pick it up.
  10. TrollToddington macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2011
    We tested the speed of loading of Eclipse with PHP and SVN plugins on my colleague's MBA 13" and my 2010 21.5" i3 base. The loading speeds were pretty much equal on both machines which means the slower processor of MBA took its toll.

    I wonder why people praise those low-frequency C2D machines so much, speeds of 1.4GHz or 1.8GHz are so ridiculous given it's 2011. A base 13" MBP with SSD should blow the MBA out of the water. The argument regarding screen resolution sounds ridiculous, too.

    Your question basically is whether you need better portability or productivity. MBP weights like a ton when compared to the tiny-shiny MBA.
  11. mtkagan macrumors member

    Sep 29, 2008
    i just bought a 11in mba last week and my gf just got a 13 mbp this past weekend. I LOVE the size and form factor of the 11 mba. I just throw it in a bubble envelope and into my backpack it goes. awesome for carrying around school, i never let it shut down, just open it up and start taking notes where i left off. I do like the high res of the mba 11 and 13, but the colors are very dull when i compared them to my gf's 2011 13in mbp. I also do photo work on the field and when I'm away from home (27 i7 imac) i need something to process my raw files and the connectivity of the mbp with the added ports is a big plus for me. Needless to say the mba is going back and im getting the base model 13 with ed discount and with the difference iwill be getting a 128 ssd and do an optibay solution. It also depends if you upgrade your computer a lot. If you do then the 13mba will be more than enough to hold you over until the next revision with sandybridge. if you dont then the mbp with ssd combo will last you a long time, not to mention its ram is upgradeable in the future if you ever need it
  12. ritmomundo macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    That was my reasoning when I first bought my 13 MBP, but since abt a month after buying it, I wished I had bought the MBA, just because of the lighter weight/portability. There is a noticeable difference if you've got the machine on your lap for a couple hours, IMO. I now have the MBA (no longer have the MBP), and I couldnt be happier.
  13. emx620 macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2011
    If you're looking to get a MBP with a SSD, I'd say go for a faster 3rd party SSD like an Intel SSD or the OCZ Vertex 3s are really fast too. The 2011 with a fast SSD is going to outperform the Air easily -- the SSD is the only faster thing on the Air, so once that's removed, it has no performance advantages.
  14. bri1212 macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2008
    So how much would a third party processor cost to buy and have installed SSD on the new MBP 15"?
    Is this a replacement for the hard drive already installed, or in addition to?
    Would this void the warrantee and Apple Care?
  15. Delirium Dunne macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2011
    2009 MBP with Vertex 2 SSD

    I have a 2009 13" MBP. It came with a 5400RPM 160GB drive, which was okay, but not really enough storage for my needs back in '09 I upgraded to a 7200rpm 500GB Blue Scorpio, I noticed a marked improvement in the performance.

    Then I bit the bullet and bought a 120GB Vertex 2 SSD... It is the best upgrade ever. Start ups in no time at all, apps launch instantly... All the power of the MBP with the benefits of the macbook Air. Plus the vertex 2 outperforms the apple stock SSD PLUS you can put whatever SSD you want into the Macbook Pro.

    I do think the MBA is an amazing machine, but I do like a little more control, like upgradable RAM and HDD SDD, a firewire port would be handy... Oh and a cheaper price might be an idea....
  16. emx620 macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2011
    You can get a good ~120GB SSD for $200-$250. You can replace the harddrive you buy it with yourself. I'm not sure if it voids the warranty...I'm guessing if you had it serviced by Apple, you'd want to put the original hard drive back in there.
  17. torbjoern macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2009
    The Black Lodge
    The possibility to upgrade RAM and insert your own SSD is the only reason to go with the MBP in this case, considering the intended use as stated in the OP. The screen of the 13" MBP is beautiful but with poor resolution, and it's like a mirror too (which won't be a problem if you actually love glossy screen). The CPU is better too on the MBP - but for intended usage, C2D should be enough.
  18. torbjoern macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2009
    The Black Lodge
    It does NOT void the warranty. The MBP even comes with instructions about how to do it yourself.
  19. bitesmac macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2011
  20. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    MBA as it has a much higher quality/resolution display. It is like having the workspace of a 15" MBP in a 13" 3lb MBA. Amazing computer. It is actually a lot more "Pro" than the MacBook "Pro."
  21. mazstar1980 macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2010
    I'm also considering the two - can someone please tell me what the heat generation of the MBP would likely to be?

    I like the fact I can have the MBA on my lap without burning and heating like my old MB 2007 does. I'm wondering whether the MBP is a heat generator since I do lot of my work on the sofa or bed.
  22. DarwinOSX, Mar 3, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011

    DarwinOSX macrumors 65816

    Nov 3, 2009
    The portability of the MBA is a big deal. Even the 13" seems clunky in comparison. The 15' seems like a boat anchor now. Is far easier to carry around so you use it more.
    I prefer the MBA screen. Not only resolution but it s semi-glossy. I never really minded the glossy screen but this one is just right.
    The MBA is likely a little faster than slapping a third party SSD into a 13" MBP. But there are very fast SSD's coming shortly.

    Of course the MBP has more ports, an optical drive, and faster procs. I would not give up the MBA weight and portability for any of those but YMMV. if the rumors of a Sandy Bridge MBA in June or true I'll buy one of those. SB and TB in a MBA would make it even more killer.
  23. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    As someone who was going to buy on launch day, the new MBP 13" lost ALL interest when they confirmed the 1280x800 resolution. It simply broke the deal for me.

    I truly wonder what was Apple's logic behind that... how come a mobility device (MBA) has a higher resolution than a performance device (MBP)?!? what a way to mess it a launch up!

    So I had to go for the second option: MBA 13" Ultimate.
  24. GekkePrutser macrumors 6502a


    Aug 18, 2005
    I think that's a great advantage of the MacBook Air too. The MBP doesn't have the instant on/deep sleep feature. Even the new MBP didn't get it.
  25. scottlaughlin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2011
    Great discussion. Considering MBA

    What I am NOT hearing in the thread is that the MBA will be underpowered and that I would have regrets not going with the MBP. That is very encouraging. I am leaning now (thanks to this fine forum) toward the MBA. Sounds like I won't really miss the added horsepower of the MBP. I also didn't know the screen resolution is better on the MBA.


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