MBA performance compared to my current machine

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jfrancis04, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. jfrancis04 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 11, 2010
    I am thinking about going in on a Macbook Air and I'd really appreciate some feedback.

    Current System
    -2008 Macbook
    -160 GB HD
    -2 GB RAM
    -2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    -Snow Leopard

    Potential System
    -2010 13in Macbook Air
    -128 GB Flash Storage
    -4 GB RAM
    -1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

    I have my Macbook sold for $675 if I want to take it, which I would then use toward the purchase of my new Air.

    1.) What differences in performance would I see between the two machines, if any?
    2.) Do those differences warrant spending $800 (after my trade-in) for a new MBA?

    I am now out of college and use my computer for basic functions. Lots of work with photos, occasional audio editing, and (on very rare occasions), video projects in iMovie. My Macbook has had no problem meeting my needs. I'm just wondering if the Air would suit them better/worse/same?
  2. iExpensive, Feb 3, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011

    iExpensive macrumors 6502


    Oct 18, 2010
    Las Vegas
    Everything except video editing will feel much faster.
    Whether you feel that the $800 is worth it is a personal choice. Do you think instant on will benefit you? What about portability?
    Since you dont do much video editing I think you'll find it a nice replacement.
    Can you try it out at a Apple Store or Best Buy?
  3. jfrancis04 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 11, 2010
  4. 2IS macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    And even the video editing the MBP may not be all that much better at given the 2GB of ram.
  5. DudeMartin macrumors regular

    Dec 2, 2010
    Chicago, Illinois
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    You will definitely see an improvement!
  6. mrJnC macrumors regular

    Jul 18, 2007
    That was the same Macbook that I replaced with a 1.6GHz 11.6" MBA. I was originally quite concerned that the hit in processor speed could make the daily use feel slower or sluggish than the current notebook.

    The MBA has been amazing in terms of how fast it is in daily use. Apps launch in one hop. Time Machine backups occur in seconds, not minutes. Perhaps the time required to perform a heavy lifting computation task is about the same or less even, but the OS feels so much more "agile" that it seems like a multiple x increase in speed. I would highly recommend it.

    Also, the difference in mass makes my old MacBooks feel like boat anchors.
  7. jfrancis04 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 11, 2010
    Thanks for all the feedback everyone. Very helpful for my decision.
  8. Jman14 macrumors 6502

    Apr 17, 2008
    I would assume, you would be feel a big improvement over your MacBook.
  9. bella92108 macrumors 68000

    Mar 1, 2006
    It's all about the flash storage. It makes the most underspec'd system feel like the fastest system I've ever used.
  10. foiden, Feb 4, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011

    foiden macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2008
    Since you mentioned the 2008 Macbook. Something which I also had, but upped to 4GB and a 500GB Harddrive. You'll probably notice an improvement on just about every aspect of computing. Video editing, as one poster said, will probably be more or less the same. You wont get as big of a leap in performance as the other stuff.

    Why the 2008 Macbook and even video editing took a hit, even with a faster processor is the memory. The current MBA 13" has a much faster overall memory architecture as well as better L2 cache. That will make the difference in at least seeming that your video editing performance barely takes a hit. Of course, there's also the intel 3100 being an issue, too.

    Otherwise, your impression will likely be "Wow". Easily. It impressed me with a 2009 MBP 13", which impressed me over the 2008 MB. The leap for you will be quite neat to see. Especially with the new 1440x960 resolution. You'll be running major things easily in a window on the desktop which the 2008 MB struggled to do in full screen. And yet with the same resolution that took up most if not all of your 2008 MB screen..

    But it's more than flash storage that does this. Your 2008 MB had touted a faster CPU speed in numbers, but it was held back fiercely by the architecture. The bottleneck killed its potential. Now you have a machine with a significant L2 Cache boost in which every other part of the computer (bus speeds, memory transfer, everything) is way faster than the 2008 MB. Remove the bottleneck, accelerate the CPU with some cache, and voila; a machine that basically puts the 2008 MB far in the dust.

    I sold that Macbook quickly afterwards, because its use was overwritten, and this is even with 4GB of ram on it, which actually was what helped make the video-editing decent to use, on the thing. That same model with 2GB definitely took a much bigger hit to video-editing performance.
  11. kx22 macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2011
    I had the same configuration as you. But my situation was a bit different.
    My Macbook got stolen. The insurance gave me around €1000 for it. So I only needed another €400 to buy this Air. In your situation I wouldn't spend 800 dollars to replace something that is almost similar in specs. Although the new Air is a tremendous machine with great looks it is not really worth spending money if it isnt needed. Unless you really need a new laptop I would buy it.

    There isnt a big noticeable difference between the 2 machines. The Air does have a better videocard, by a lot tbh. And the Air is much faster starting programs. But on the other side, it does get hot fast. I goes up to 75 degree. Thats a bit extreme. its even to hot to hold it for a long time. But this only happens when i play a game or streaming HD.
    Even with video converting there is no difference between the 2008 2.4ghz and the 1.86 now. It still takes 10 minutes to convert a 700MB video to iPhone format.

    Hopefully this helped u a bit.
  12. topmounter macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    FEMA Region VIII
    I just sold an almost identical 15" MBP (except mine had 4GB of RAM) and replaced it with a fully-loaded 13" MBA.

    My first business trip with it is next week, but so far I don't miss the MBP one bit or feel like I've compromised on performance or capability at all.

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