MBA VS MBP Performance.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Jordanish, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. Jordanish macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2012
    Hello everyone,

    Im just curious i want to buy a laptop tomorrow, im locked between the MBA and MBP like most people. Personally the MBA appeals to me more, but im curious as to which will perform better when doing some light gaming like WoW and D3 when it comes out.

    If there are pros and cons to each side, could you please help me out.

  2. TheRdungeon macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2011
    they'll be the same, air possibly a little worse because of slower processor and the fact that the resolution in the air is higher
  3. Jordanish thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2012
    Ah true true,

    They will both be the entry level versions of the 13inch MBA and MBP, but i can get the MBA cheaper, so i was considering getting that.

    So there is no real gaming loss between the two options?

  4. TheRdungeon macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2011
    nah man they're the same because they both use the built in graphics from the processor instead of the 15" and 17" which have seperate graphics cards. Air is probably the best option if you're not looking at doing upgrades
  5. Blues003 macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    Wirelessly posted

    The Air used Ultra Low Voltage chipsets while the Pro uses Low Voltage chipsets. Coupled with the Air's higher resolution, you should expect a slight but noticeable lower gaming experience on the Air than the one you'd get on the Pro.
  6. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    How can you get the MBA cheaper? Entry 13 MBA is £1100 versus £1000 for MBP here
  7. Swain macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2011
    If you want to game on a mac, you're better off buying a 15" MBP, (or the allegedly 15" Air if it comes out). From what I've been reading the GPU of the 13" isn't really powerful enough to game.
  8. lamboman, Mar 24, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012

    lamboman macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2011
    The 15" Air will more than likely be the same as the 13" model inside; same integrated graphics. Otherwise, there would be virtually nothing to split it from the MBP (upcoming, if it carries the same profile as the MBA).

    The 13" is not a gaming machine. The bottom end 15" MBP is the current one to go for if you want a gaming notebook Mac.

    If you look at Argos, they might still have a few of the early 2011 MBP 13s at a reduced price, this is how I got mine.

    Also, the Apple Refurb store has some fantastic deals going right now.
  9. outz macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2007
    just beware the air comes with 4GB of ram, which you cant upgrade since it's soldered to the board.

    that alone was enough to make me choose a mbp over an air.
  10. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    On both machines, WoW will play, and D3 will play the the very minimum quality settings.

    Neither machine is very capable at gaming.
  11. Success100 macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2012
    there are already about 16,000 threads about this...just google it! :)
  12. Ohrstrom macrumors 6502


    Mar 18, 2012
    If you wait for the release of the next generation of Mbp's/Mba's the performance is likely to increase a bit and especially Intels ivy bridge GPU, HD 4000, is said to be a nice bump in performance. If you want to a buy a gaming laptop tomorrow (mac) you should get the 15"... My friend plays Skyrim on a early 2011 Mbp 13", it works but the fps aint exactly yummy.
  13. nostylluan macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2012
    do not buy the current MBA. wait for the update.

    as for the MBP... you have to choose between 512mb video or 1gb video.

    in starcraft 2 this means medium to high settings. in warcraft it means lag or no lag in ogrimmar/stormwind.

    you could also wait for the laptops to be upgraded, why now? your choice
  14. lamboman macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2011
    The performance increase of Intel's HD4000 graphics will be up to 50% over the current HD3000. Note that while this is a good increase, it doesn't mean that the 13" MBP will become some monster gaming machine. It's still weak, just...less weak.
  15. Risasi macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2011
    I am curious to see how an Ivy Bridge MBP 13" would stack up against a Sandy Bridge 15" MBP w/ 6490m GPU. I anticipate similar performance.
  16. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    The processor in the MBP is about 10% faster but since both use the same integrated graphics that's probably going to be the bottleneck for gaming so I doubt you'd notice any framerate difference playing on both at the same resolution.

    The MBA has a higher native resolution so expect it to have a slightly lower framerate if you play both laptops at their native resolution though.

    Out of the two I would personally pick the MBA, but like some have suggested the 15" MBP is more of a true gaming machine but of course it's not in the same price segment.

    If you can wait for Ivy Bridge and its HD 4000 integrated graphics which will be in both the next 13"MBP and MBA (that's if they don't merge) you could get about 40-50% better framerate which is considerable. There's no release date so far but it's probably coming this summer.
  17. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    I doubt it. The integrated graphics upgrade isn't going to fill the gap between Intel 3k and 6490M
  18. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    No loss. Both are unsuitable for gaming, so it's a loose loose situation.
  19. Jordanish thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2012
    Very true, but if you were to pick between the two for better performance and how much would the difference be as a percentage what would you consider?

    Because im happy with the performance with both, but im tied between which one will let me lightly game better when i wanna play wow.

  20. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

    Mar 18, 2010
    If you need something right now, buy a 2010 MBP or Air. You'll get better gaming performance out of them than either of those 2011 models, and you can get them way cheaper refurbished from Apple.
  21. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    If you get a MBP 13 with the i7 2.8 GHz, 8 GB of RAM, and install a SATA3 Solid State Drive, the difference is substantial. We have both the most recent Air and the 2011 Pro 13 and it is very pronounced. If you are using memory hoggers or CPU-intensive programs like CS, then the MBP is the way to go. With the Air, you are limited to 4 GB of RAM. With the Pro, you can go as high as 16 GB. Also, the 1 GB difference in processor speed is pretty big as is the speed difference between the MBA's built in flash hard drive and a SATA3 SSD.
  22. JHUFrank macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2010
    I agree Steele. Cover your eyes, wave your hands around and make a random pick. If I wanted to game lightly on an Apple laptop, it would be on the high end 15 with all the trimmings. The 13' MBA and MBP are really bad gaming laptops, but both are very capable workhorses. In our house, the wife has the MBP with 8 gigs of ram and a regular hard drive. I have the MBA.
  23. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    The Pro. The native resolution is lower, so less demanding for the graphics card, the CPU is faster, and you can upgrade RAM to 8 or 16 GB if you want (and put a SSD, which I always recommend).
  24. negativzero macrumors 6502a

    Jul 19, 2011
    If you're gaming, aside from 4gb ram, make sure you don't chose some wimpy ass low capacity SSD or you won't have enough space for D3 and WoW.

    That said MBP is still miles ahead for gaming and the 15" will handle both well.
  25. Razzz macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2011
    I will be getting a 17inch decked out 2012 macbook pro, primarily for diablo 3, call me a dick all you like, i want gaming, portability, and a MAC

    don't say its not portable unless your a starving african.
    plus i have a macbook airrrrrr

    get at least the 15inch man you won't regret it, but compared to the 13mbp vs mba i would go air ALLL the way, it will get hot but seriously the screen is NICE, you will appreciate it. or wait for 2012 get a lot more, your call

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