MBA vs MBP question

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by sarakaki, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. sarakaki macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2011

    I currently have an old MB and need an upgrade. I've been reading a lot on this site but was wondering if someone could point out the main reasons to get a MBA over a MBP? It will be mainly used for photo/video editing (family stuff), internet, and some office work. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Both MBAs (11! and 13") can do what you want and if you can live without Firewire and Gigabit Ethernet, you can use the MBA for your needs.
  3. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    The MBA is cheaper, lighter, thinner, and faster at anything that's disk latency bound (such as startup and launching apps).

    But if you need to use DVDs, CDs, firewire devices, plug-in ethernet, or require more than a few ten's of GB of storage, all without carry any accessories, then the MBA a no-go. The MBA is also not the fastest at tasks that require minutes of CPU crunching, nor does the MBA 11 have the longest battery life.
  4. kettlecorn macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2011
    Depends. If you're talking about anything other than the Ultimate MBA, then yeah. But the Ultimate 13" MBA is faster than a 13" MBP in many ways.

    I gave up my 13" MBP strictly for a 13" MBA Ultimate. The 13" MBP is 2.4 ghz (i guess you can pay $300 extra for the 2.66 though), 4g, 250gb HDD. The MBA ultimate 13" is 2.13 ghz, 4gb and 256 SSD. Having had both, the MBA and the MBP processor's speed differences are not noticeable. The ram is the same. The one thing that IS noticeable is the SSD. The SSD changes the entire computer and if we're comparing a stock MBP 13" to a stock MBA 13" Ultimate, the MBA is faster because of the SSD.

    I did put in an aftermarket SSD into the MBP so that can be another route. If you do that, depending on the SSD, the loadup and bootup speeds will be equal, slower or faster by fractions of seconds so it would be equal.

    Basically a MBP with a 256gb SSD would cost nearly the same or just a little less than the Ultimate 13" MBA, making them "equal" in terms of performance to cost ratio.
    Then, its just a matter of features. MBA is lighter, thinner, portable, screen is hi-res at 1440X800, battery life is more efficient. MBP (with a SSD) would be heaver, bulkier, lower screen res at a mere 1280X800, but has an optical drive, backlit keyboard, slightly better colors on the screen.

    It was worth it to me to give up the backlit keys and optical drive and the firewire, (all of which i dont use) for portability.

    Battery life on the MBP is worse than the Ultimate MBP but in my experience, a MBP with a low power draw SSD will be equal or just as good as the MBA. I had a Corsair with .5w idle and 1.5w active and the SSD alone extended my battery life by A LOT.
  5. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a


    May 19, 2009
    Midwest US
    I have both a base-model 2010 13" MBA and a current model Core i5 15" MBP. The wonderful thing about the current 13" MBA is that the screen is incredibly good ... as good as my 15" MBP but without the extra weight.

    If the machine is going to sit on your desk most of the time (my MBP is almost always docked to a 24" Apple Cinema Display) then a 13" MBP is probably the better buy. But if portability and a quality screen are your concerns, the MBA is certainly the way to go.

    My only regret is that I did not wait until the 13" "Ultimate" was available at the local Apple Stores. My only consolation is that I really don't push the MBA - I use it when I travel - and no one can tell what's under the hood. Having owned a Revision "A" and "B" MBA, I can tell you the new iteration is the machine to have.
  6. aznguyen316 macrumors 68020


    Oct 1, 2008
    Tampa, FL
    kettlecorn basically hit up on the main points that one would compare. I myself have looked over those points concerning my own 13" MBP which is equipped with one of the better SSD's on the market for a Mac w/ SF1200 controller, yet I cannot get away from wanting a higher resolution screen. I think kettlecorn mistyped as the resolution is 1440x900, same as standard 15" MBP models. Anyway, the screen has been my main concern even before I bought this. The weight and thickness aren't bad but feels quite heavy vs a MBA when I messed with them at the Apple Store. The nice thing with a MBP is that it's very upgradeable yourself while you're basically stuck with your config with the MBA. You can help "futureproof" a MBP moreso than the MBA (although SSD's are being released for the MBA).

    For example, I have been able to drop in a 120GB SSD, remove my optical drive to put in a 250GB storage Momentus XT drive, tossed in 8GB ram which cost me $68 shipped and have a faster CPU. Even with all that, and the fact I'm often hooked up to an external samsung TV, I crave for higher native resolution on the laptop itself. If I could afford a 15" with high res I would but at this point I am unsure.
  7. kettlecorn macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2011
    oops yeah i meant that resolution. typo

    I was worried about future proofing which is why i just went with the maxed out specs. I figured not anytime soon am i going to use 4gb and even if i was able to upgrade it past that, my needs dont require me to do so. I dont need more than 256 SSD either so I hope i futureproofed myself for a few years. The only way i can think of the MBA getting any "Better" is a better graphics card or processor WHILE keeping the good battery life and im not sure i see that happening anytime soon. if it does, not really that big of a deal anyway since I never max out this cpu/gpu. Kind of like wanting 500 hp instead 400hp for daily commutes.
  8. Jman14 macrumors 6502

    Apr 17, 2008
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    The main points as stated above; Cheaper, lighter and more portable. It's also faster due to the SSD, and even faster with 4GB RAM. What are the specs on your MacBook?
  9. jfrancis04 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 11, 2010

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