MBP 13" or MBA 13"?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Almufid, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. Almufid macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2011
    Heya guys,

    I know there are similar titles as mine, but I have one further question which haven't been answered.

    I currently have a MBP 13" 2011 with 2,3 GHz i5 and 4GB ram. Now I am upgrading to either one of the two newest MBA or MBP 13" and thought that since I don't play games on my mac and never use the optical drive, the MBA 13" would be fine.

    My only concern is though, since I've been using my MBP 13" 2,3 GHz i5 for almost a year now, I don't want to go back to something slower and I'm not really a tech expert, but are the speeds of these two different? Because I know the new Air might have some hardware, that my old MBP doesn't have. So please comment which one is fastest. And what if I upgraded MBA to 8 gb, would it then sort everything out?

    MBP 13":

    2,3 GHz i5
    4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
    320 GB
    Intel HD 3000

    Or MBA 13"

    1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor
    Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz
    4GB memory
    128GB flash storage
    Intel HD Graphics 4000

    Help is much appreciated, thanks! :)
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Fastest for what? The speed differences between the two launching a browser or opening iTunes are minimal. That tends to be the limit of what people asking this question actually do with their machines.
  3. Almufid thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2011
    I ment in general, but yeah opening iTunes and browsers would definitely be one of them. But other things as multitasking between ftp programs, browers for example? Or watching HD movies on it

    More specifically I would like to know if the turbo boost on the Air gives it an advantage in speed?

    Hope my question isn't too stupid, I just don't want the sense of going back to a very slow mac if you know what I mean
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Processors usually don't make a difference in how fast or slow someone multitasks. Any modern computer is capable of running multiple FTP sessions simultaneously, and command-tabbing between them takes a minimal amount of time. HD movies don't run any better or worse with modern hardware, either.
  5. na1577 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 20, 2008
    In general, the Air would be faster. Faster graphics, SSD instead of HDD, newer processor (which is more important than the clock speed).
  6. Almufid thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2011
    Miles well then I won't be experiencing any true difference.

    Well that's the answer I was looking far - just didn't wanted to go back to something slower or laggy. That would be downgrading -.-'
  7. lamboman macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2011
    The MBA is the faster machine out of the two, but not by much in processor performance.

    However, I've always believed that if choosing between the MBP and MBA, focus should not really be on power, more on features. The performance of both machines is so close that it becomes a secondary consideration.

    Unless you absolutely need an optical drive, or the superior colour reproduction of the MBP display, or you hate the MBP keyboard, you really might as well just go for the Air. There simply isn't a reason to avoid it now you can get 8GB of memory in it.

    EDIT: Now that I've actually read the OP properly, I see that you already have the MBP. Honestly, unless you absolutely need to for the reasons above, I wouldn't bother; it would be a move that will bring virtually no performance increase.

    For the money, grab an SSD, more memory if you need it, and an external display for when you are at home, if you really want to spend the money on something worthwhile.
  8. ZacT94 macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2012
    That's not the newest MBP 13". This is:

    2.5 GHz i5
    4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    500 GB 5400rpm HDD
    Intel HD 4000

    For general tasks, the Air would be faster, but for multitasking, the Pro would be better for you.
  9. Almufid thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2011
    Well thank you guys, I'll just go with the MBA - no need for the MBP :)


    Oh yea zac, sorry if I'm confusing, but I meant a comparison between my current MBP and MBA. t
  10. ZacT94 macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2012
  11. Almufid thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2011
    While we're at it guys, should I then upgrade to 8 gb or won't it make any difference in general? Like except if I start editing movie, pictures and stuff..
  12. Devyn89 macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2012
    Having 4GB in my Air, I haven't noticed anytime where I thought I needed more ram. That said I have only had the computer for a little over a week so obviously I haven't done everything I ever do on a computer with it yet.
  13. Almufid thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2011
    Hmm yea, thought 4gb might be enough, but let's see if there are any other advice :) thanks though
  14. bf2008 macrumors member

    May 28, 2008
    You've got a 2011 MBP and are thinking of upgrading to a 2012 MBP or MBA? Of course you can do whatever you want with your money, but I'd just get 8GB or maybe 16GB of ram, and a 256GB SSD. You'll get an identical machine to the 2012 (pretty much), for 20% of the price.
  15. BeginnerXP macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2011
    I also agree about upgrading your current MBP to 128GB SSD, and maybe removing optical drive and use the current HDD for media storage, that way you will get large speed boost in overall usage plus enough storage for songs/movies, if you don't use VMware/Parallels then 4GB ram should be enough for now. This way you can save money for bigger upgrade next year.

    Of course if you want better portability then it's good idea to get MBA and upgrade ram to 8GB, as it's not too expensive and you can't do it afterward.
  16. smartalic34 macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2006
    To echo the posters above, unless you are pushing the CPU or GPU to the max with demanding applications, there isn't much (performance-wise) that the new MBP or MBA can offer. Things like web-browsing, watching HD movies, using iTunes, and using programs like Microsoft Office apps won't be sped up by the newest processor or graphics chip (not perceptibly, anyway).

    What will make a difference in day-to-day usage and performing mundane tasks like opening iTunes is:

    1) RAM and 2) storage drive

    If you upgrade your current machine to 8GB RAM and put in an SSD, it will actually run faster and smoother than a 2012 13" MBP with standard RAM and hard drive. RAM is not just for opening programs, it's for running them - web browsing for long periods of time, editing movies... it all uses RAM. If while running applications you experience a slowdown, go to Activity Monitor located in the Utilities folder of the Application folder, and go to the System Memory tab - there you will see if you have any RAM free... if not, you know you need more.

    If you want increased portability, I can't blame you for getting a MBA. However, for performance, upgrading your current machine is probably a better way to go (though if you have the money burning a hole in your pocket, there are worse ways to spend it - you just won't be experiencing much of a performance boost for the money).
  17. Almufid thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2011
    Thank you all for your advice - and your concerns, but I've decided to get a MBA for the sake of portability. Here's a screenshot of my normal use, doesn't 4 GB seem like enough? And that's a maximum of what I use

    And another question, will 8 GB speed up the overall performance such as boot up time and time it takes to open safari etc.? Or will the 8 GB only make a difference if one uses more than 4 GB? Like extra memory that kicks in

    Attached Files:

  18. Almufid thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2011
    By the way you guys, I don't want a lightning fast mac, I just wanna be sure that the new air won't be slower than my current pro :)
  19. smartalic34 macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2006
    The extra RAM will only matter if you use more than 4 GB - think of it as a bucket filling with water - you only use the top of the bucket once the botom is filled :)

    However, what complicates things a little is that OS X will keep some processes "inactive" - for example, if you use iTunes, then quit iTunes, not all of the RAM that was used for iTunes is freed - some is kept as "inactive" (the blue part of the pie chart) so that when iTunes is re-opened, it is faster than the initial time (which is why everything is slower when you first restart your computer - everything must be loaded into RAM and there is no inactive/saved RAM).

    Therefore, I ask: is that screenshot after 5-10 minutes of use, or had it been awhile since a restart? That screenshot tells me 4 GB is likely to be fine, but with the MBA, the RAM is non-upgradeable, so if you are planning on keeping the machine for more than a year or two, it might be advisable to get 8GB RAM, as software is only going to get more RAM-hungry over time as newer versions are released.

    The processor in the MBA may be a hair slower than your current machine, but not something you will notice just using things like Safari and iTunes. However, the SSD in the MBA will give you faster boot-up times and better performance in certain tasks. In other words, performance will probably be at least comparable, and boot time will be improved.
  20. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    The CPU difference will be minimal, the flash/ssd storage over the HDD will be most significant. I recommend the MBA.
  21. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    If you can, I would wait for retina 13" MBP rumored to arrive in few months.

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