MBP 15" (2011) vs. MBA 13" (2012)?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jennyjimin, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. jennyjimin, Dec 4, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012

    jennyjimin macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dear All,

    I understand that the MBP is more upgradeable than MBA, and with the full upgrade, MBP always wins in terms of performance. But with the spec as is below, how would they fare?

    MacBook Air 13" (mid-2012)
    1.8 DC i5/4/128

    MacBook Pro 15" (early-2011)
    2.0 QC i7/4/500

    Since MBA has the SSD advantage, it may actually "feel" faster for normal operations, right? It would be appreciated if someone can actually compare the two models directly, either by benchmarking or real-world experiences.

    Also, despite the physical size differences, the screen resolution is the same. Would MBP 15" still be better in terms of the screen size/work efficiencies?
  2. NewishMacGuy, Dec 5, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012

    NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2007
    For processor intensive tasks the 2011 cMBP-15 will be significantly faster, and the reverse for read/write intensive tasks.

    For most of what you (likely) do day-to-day the MBA will feel faster, but that's just the illusion produced by a much faster hard drive.

    Here's the BIG problem with the MBA as specced - these days 4GB doesn't leave you any headroom at all for running 10.8.2 with a moderate workload. You'll pageout. Certainly pageouts to an SSD are nowhere near as bad as pageouts to a 5400rpm drive (which will contribute to the illusion that the MBA is the faster of the two machines), but in the end you'll be bumping-up against that 4GB RAM limit in short order, and you'll feel it but not be able to do anything about it.

    I have the same cMBP-15 as you're considering, but upgraded it to 16GB / 750GB MoXT hybrid, and it absolutely flies. The only real bummer is that the base dGPU is a little weak.
  3. jennyjimin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dear NewishMacGuy,

    Thank you for the reply.

    I was concerned about the RAM in MBA, mainly because it is not upgradeable.

    I will have to spend more time thinking about this, then.

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