New Macbook Air upgrade question (Replacing my MBP)

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by carrako, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. carrako macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2008
    So got a question...

    Looking into replacing my late 2008 Macbook Pro soon, but was wondering what I could expect from replacing it with the new "soon-to-be-released" 2011 MBA in terms of speed differences, etc.

    MacBook Pro (late 2008)
    2.66 Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB 1066mhz DDR3 Ram
    500 GB HDD
    Nvidia geforce 9600m gt 512mb


    New 13" MBA (rumored specs)
    Intel i5/i7
    4GB Ram
    128GB SSD

    I make a living as a graphic/web designer so my most heavy apps come from the adobe suite. Would this upgrade be significant, noticeable and worth it i guess is the question... For the price, it seems like a nice upgrade on paper. Do a lot of my heavy lifting during the day on my new 27" iMac, so this would supplement it when out of the office, etc.
  2. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Wouldn't be surprised if they used dual core i3's or i5's in the MBA's due to heat and battery considerations (cough) marketing (cough) forced upselling (cough).

    Maxing your ram out and installing a good SSD may make up for any performance gap between the models. Or at least a good 7200 rpm or hybrid drive if you haven't done so already.

    Oh, and Owww Mah Gawd, doncha just LOVE the screen on the iMac?
  3. PaulWog Suspended

    Jun 28, 2011
    It's actually going to be a trade-off.

    Your biggest upgrade is going to be from the SSD. You'll notice that. The processor will be a slight upgrade (assuming we see the 17W i5/i7). The graphics will actually be a downgrade (nothing huge, but still definitely noticeable; the 9600M is supposedly better than the 320M by a bit, and the 320M is better than the HD3000 which is incorporated with the new i5/i7's).

    It's unfortunate that the 2008 model offers advantages over new 2011 models (even though we're looking at high-end Pro 2008 vs. Air 2011... it's a 3 year gap, which should be significant in the tech world).

    Anyways, if you want portability, the upcoming Air will be a nice product. If you require the purchase to be an upgrade in horsepower, then I'd recommend you steer clear of the Air until next year's refresh. (Remember that this advice is assuming they will be using the 17W i5/i7 processors, and assuming that they will be using the HD3000 graphics only in the refresh; this isn't a far-fetched assumption, looking at what the Macbook Pro 13-inch models are using currently.)

    If by some strange twist of fate they manage to incorporate some sort of low wattage 64xx graphics solution from AMD into the 13-inch Air, I'd be very surprised. But if they managed that, it would be a clear-cut upgrade for you.
  4. Oppressed macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2010
    Based on these specific needs the new air would be a breath of fresh air. (of course pun intended) This computer would blow your current one out of the water. Your work mainly takes advantage of the CPU, and just as long as you don't want to do heavy 3D work in the future this upgrade should be huge and last a long time.
  5. carrako thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2008
    yes definitely. new iMac screen is amazing. Cant get enough of it.
  6. carrako thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2008
    Huge thanks for the help and insightful opinion. Yeh that was my initial assumption regarding the 3 years in tech. I would think the new 2011 Air would be pushing past my 'once high-end' MBP. I think i will just wait till "whenever" these new MBA are released and look at my decision then. Another thing for me is battery life, and my current MBP with its original battery is just plain awful! That alone would be huge to have a longer lasting battery.
  7. orfeas0 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 21, 2010
    Athens, Greece
    wait, really?? the sandy bridge in the air will be 1,6 or 1,7ghz i think (with turbo up to 2,3 maybe more).
    But will they be better than a 2,66 c2d without being in turbo mode? and even in turbo!?
  8. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Yeah, I think I'll wait for a) specs to be announced, and b) proper benchmarking before I call this one.
  9. Patriot24 macrumors 68030


    Dec 29, 2010
    Clock speed isn't everything. Surly a current chip at 1.87 isn't slower than a Pentium chip at 3.66 from 8 years ago.

    To be clear, I don't claim to have the benchmarks or exact comparisons of the chips in question. I'm simply pointing out that clock speeds are not the best measurement of overall efficiency/performance.

    As soon as the new Airs are released they will be benchmarked by many sources and we'll have the answers.
  10. PaulWog Suspended

    Jun 28, 2011
    Yep. The processors are better.

    GHz is a measure of cycles per unit of time. What a processor can do in one cycle differs greatly from one technology to another. Sandy Bridge is the superior technology. I would advise you don't pay too much attention to the GHz of a processor, unless if you're comparing one to another within the same line (so one Core 2 Duo to another, or one Sandy Bridge i5/i7 to another). And even within the same line of processors, there's things to pay attention to that can make a big difference.

    It's just the graphics that will be taking a hit if he can't get anything better than an HD3000. But if he finds the 9600 to be more than enough, then the Air should be sufficient at worst and pleasing at best when it comes to graphics.
  11. Scarrus macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2011
    Need to ask you tho. Do you really need something as small as the Air or is your current MBP small and light enough for you. If it is I'd highly recommend the new 15" BMP, even the base model. It will rock your world in terms of performance compared to your old one or the not yet released Air. And you can always slam an SSD in there if you feel the need to.
  12. hcho3 macrumors 68030

    May 13, 2010
    You are going to lose the graphic card performance. I hope you don't game.
  13. carrako thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2008
    No gaming at all. Just high memory and CPU task oriented work. Multiple adobe apps running at the same time working with larger files.

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