MBP vs MBA Turbo Boost


macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 17, 2011
I just found out about what the turbo boost does (other than assuming I knew what it does). So I have a 13" 2011 MBA i5 4GB RAM 128GB SSD 1.8 GHz (turbo boost to 2.8 GHz).

I am looking at the 13" 2012 MBP i7 8GB RAM 128GB SSD 2.9 GHz (turbo boost to 3.6 GHz); how significant of a performance upgrade would I see in running simple tasks and more intense programs?

I mainly use large excel and powerpoint files (graduate student) and if I decide to go into computational work I could use this computer for modeling purposes.

I understand the MBAs are the "future" of computers but the MBP has additional ports and an optical drive. I want to keep the SSD option since I don't think I would go back to a HDD (they're so snappy!).



macrumors 601
Jul 17, 2010
Somewhat significant. The boost at 3.6 will be the more obvious enhancement to Office and non-optimized applications. When fully maxing out they are rather close.
See Geekbench averages below (perfectly multithreaded for less than 1 minute of load) So many other thing come into play. The MBP will last at this speed longer prior to throttling down due to heat than the Air, for example.

MBA: 6105
MBP: 7841


macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2012
Perth, Western Australia
In reality - it depends.

Be aware, turbo boost is not sustainable. If you are doing stuff like rendering, transcoding, etc you'll find that heat will cause the machine to reduce its turbo speed. How much depends on how hot the machine gets.

The MBP is specced to run at 2.9ghz all day long. The air isn't.

The pro will likely be able to run higher turbo speed longer due to better cooling, also.

Not sure, but also the GPU may run faster in the pro due to the higher spec CPU. Not all HD3000 are the same, higher grade CPUs run them at a higher clock rate.

Also, you'll get a boost in large jobs from the ability to upgrade to 16gb of ram on the pro.

If performance is your primary requirement in a 13" chassis, go for a pro with SSD over an air.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 17, 2011
I decided to go with the 2.9 GHz i7 8GB RAM 128GB SSD MBP. Thanks for the advice guys!