New Macbook or 1.5yr old Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by NYU02, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. NYU02 macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2007
    I currently have a MBP that is around 1.5years old. Runs well with no problems. Its the 2.2 core 2 duo model. I have the opportunity to sell it for a good price and I wanted to get the air but someone told me to look at the new MB. I dont need all the power I had with the Pro but I dont want to get rid of it for something much less powerful. So, my questions are this (keep in mind i want something lighter):

    1) Are the new MB just as powerful or close to just it as the old 2.2 MBPs? (I see on my old MBP it was 4MB shared where the new MP is 3MB shared) Is that a big deal?

    2) is it worth upgrading? I really like the new design and screen.

    3) How bad is the performance of the air compared to pro if I'm not doing any intense editing etc...

    Thank you very much,
  2. Molopo macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2008
    In most cases, the Air performs BETTER than the pro (the latest SSD model). No one quite knows how the HDD model will compete mainly because it hasn't been shipped anywhere yet, but you can basically guess. The only downside of the air VS the Al macbook is processor speed (though they have the same FSB), maximum installable ram, hard drive options, and the lack of a user replaceable battery. The air beats the macbook in many other areas, however.
  3. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    1. Not a big deal. My friend has a MBP and for daily use both our machines feel snappy. Very hard to tell the difference between a MBP and a MB for anything that isn't graphics intensive.

    2. This thing feels solid as a rock. For that alone I think it's worth it. Incredibly sturdy and sexy looking in terms of design. Almost worth it just for the style points alone. Screen, however, is a big downgrade from what you're used to on the MBP.

    3. Negligible. It'll even feel snappier if you got the SSD version of the Air as I'm assuming you have the HD version of the MBP.

    The usual deal breakers though, between choosing between the MB and the MBA are these:

    a. How important are black levels and viewing angles to you? If they are very important do not get the MB.

    b. How important is having more than 2 gigs of ram for you? If it's very important do not get the MBA as the ram is soldered on and not upgradeable.
  4. NYU02 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2007
    thanks everyone for your replies so far...

    I definitely think im going to switch out of my MBP. I really want the air but the new MB looks great too...This is where I'm really torn. If I got the MBA I would get the SSD. If so, which would you get? the MB or MBA with SSD? Also, you asked if 2gig wouldn't bother - if 2gigs is enough to run programs then it wouldn't. The most intense work I use my computer for is iMovie or some simple web program. Do I need 4gigs. Which will make the computer faster SSD or an extra 2gigs? Also, if I do get the air and put fusion on, will 2gigs not be enough?

  5. six.four macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2008
    1. As stated in the post above, the performance difference is small. The main difference is that the new MB/MBP use penryn chips compared to your older Merom. While performance is similar, the penryn chips are able to achieve better battery life and run significant cooler (65nm merom vs 45nm penryn).

    2. Worth upgrading is dependent on what you do with your laptop. Since you say the pro was too powerful for your needs anyways, then perhaps the MB is right for you. It's worth noting the screen on the unibody MB is inferior to the MBP. I find the glass screen a bit too reflective.

    3. If you're not doing any intense editing, you can probably expect to feel a snappier system with the air's SSD.

    The Air's SSD is snappier than HDD for sure, but I think a more accurate statement would be in most cases in tasks that are not GPU/CPU intensive the air performs better than the pro. To generalize "for most cases" and say the Air performs better than the Pro is just incorrect. In any CPU/GPU intensive task, the air does not even compare.

    The SSD in the new Air is inferior to the Intel X25 that have been released (1.8" and 2.5"). If you're looking for snappy - pick one up for your MB/MBP.

    Are you considering a rev B MBA SSD? If you're considering a previous gen MBA with SSD, do note that it is SIGNIFICANTLY inferior to the rev B SSD. The rev B uses a 2nd generation SSD which is a vast improvement to the rev A SSD.

    1. 2gb seems like enough for what you do.

    2. Since you don't seem to use any programs that are resource hogs, you will probably find an SSD more worth your money.

    3. There are plenty of people that run fusion with only 2gb. It really depends what you plan to run in fusion.
  6. NYU02 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2007
    thank you six.four.

    a couple more questions, I really appreciate it.

    1) with fusion. it uses or splits your memory only when in use correct. After you close fusion the 2gigs go back to the apple?

    2) I am considering a rev B MBA. I'm deciding between a top line MP with 4gig or MBA rev b. with SSD. In your opinion understanding what I'm using it for (as an everyday average user) which would I enjoy more?

    Thanks again,
  7. pscraig macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2008
    Also keep in mind the issues with the SR MBPros-my 2.2 had the early stages of the GPU issue, and froze at least once per day.

    My new Macbook 2.4 is solid as a rock.

    FWIW I run Fusion on 2GB and it runs fine-I use some database and graphics apps in Windows and they run fine.
  8. six.four macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2008
    1. You can actually dynamically allocate how much resource you wish to delegate to VMware Fusion. And yes, once it's closed, it will free up the resources.

    2. Rev B MBA (SSD) will run you $2500. The upper model MB w/ 4gb will only run you $1750. If money is of any concern - go for the MB. I only suggest the MBA for those who value portability as a top priority and are using it as their second computer. Otherwise, there is no reason to spend more money for a less capable laptop (minus the inferior screen). Quite frankly, the unibody Macbook isn't that much bigger/heavier than the MBA. For the difference in the price, you can purchase an intel X25 SSD and it will run circles around the MBA.

    If this is a primary computer for everyday use, I would highly suggest getting the MB over the MBA.
  9. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    1. It's not immediate, but eventually yes. For example, I do some pretty hefty multitrack stuff in Garageband. When I quit VMWare Fusion and then try to play some of my stuff in Garageband (lots of software instruments and effects) I get an error telling me that Garageband can't do all the computations in real time and the playback stops. After a few minutes this problem goes away. My guess is everything works smooth only after the swapfile pages get loaded back into memory, which doesn't seem to happen immediately.

    2. For your needs, go with the MBA with SSD. Macbooks are great value at the low end but once you start getting into the upper models with all the bells and whistles you get better value from the higher end products like the MBA and MBP.

    Plus, you're already accustomed to the nice viewing angles and the deep blacks of the MBP screen. Going from that to the MB screen is quite a shock, whereas going from the MBP to the MBA screen you won't notice much of a difference.
  10. NYU02 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2007
    here are the two main issues holding me back on the air.

    1) 2gig vs. 4gig on the MB - Is that a big issue?

    2) I know they all the models are new but are they going to redesign the MBA again soon to look like the new MB and MBP? That would bug me.

    The ram and the performance worries me. Are my fears overdone?

    Thanks again everyone,
  11. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    Hah, two opposite advice! I was assuming though that money isn't a big issue since you didn't mention it, but if money is an issue that would considerably change the advice.
  12. NYU02 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2007
    I didn't say money is an issue? where did I say that? The performance and ram are the issue. I don't want it to be so slow
  13. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    1. This depends primarily on if Apple will provide an update to their junk bootcamp drivers in the future. I'm crossing my fingers hoping that they will do this. If so 2 gigs is then not a problem, because you could always just bootcamp Windows when memory is an issue. 2 gigs is plenty fine if OSX and Windows run separately. It's annoyingly tight under VMWare if you're used to a speedy Windows desktop machine. If you've never used a speedy Windows machine you won't be bothered, but if you have it will frustrate you.

    2. Could be anybody's guess, but I figure if they could have redesigned the MBA they would have done it with the last update. Since they didn't I'm GUESSING (could be totally off) that getting things like the glass trackpad into the MBA was a "bag of hurt" and not worth the trouble.

    If you're worried about performance and you will use VMWare a lot the MBA will be annoying. But if you're not going to use VMWare a lot, or are willing to use bootcamp once it gets fixed, the MBA will be much more enjoyable to use.
  14. Molopo macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2008
    I really have to disagree with you here. Yes, the old pro out-performs the air in processor intensive tasks, but not by an incomparable margin. The air still has a faster FSB than the pro, and that makes up for some of the ground lost by slower cores. More L2 cache also means that the processor does most menial tasks faster. Judging from what the TC's needs are, I think that is more important. As far as the GPU goes, I will agree that the old MBP certainly has a considerable lead over the air.

    In any case, for the purposes you need a laptop for, neither laptop will be too slow for you. I think you'd really like the Air's form factor, and it doesn't seem like you need all the power that the macbook has. Might as well trade off unneeded power for some portability.
  15. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Umm...I recently saw some bench marks from Macworld that showed it differently. Where are you getting your info?
  16. CoreyMac macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    I was torn between the Rev. B SSD Air and the 2.4 MB w/ 4GB RAM myself, needless to say I settled for the MacBook 2.4 w/ 4GB RAM. (Ordering this coming week) It just makes more sense to get a more capable machine that is better prepared for the future. Sure the Air is skinny and light, but the new MacBook isnt much larger in reality. They have the same footprint, the Air is 0.7" thick the MB is 0.9" thick. If 1.5lbs is that big a deal to you go for it, but the MacBook trumps the Air in every single way with the exception for weight and screen quality (Of which the MB is still very good, just not as good).

    The 2GB RAM as a PERMANENT spec in the Air is really a disappointment for me as 2 years down the road your $2500 laptop is going to be very hobbled by this guaranteed, while the $1700 MB will still be chugging along damn well.....the new trackpad not being in the Air was also a major disappointment. That thing is great
  17. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    2GB RAM is okay for Fusion+XP. For Fusion+Vista, you really need to have 4GB; i.e., Al-MB (not MBA).

    Having said that, you must check out the screen of the Al-MB in person before you buy. The blacks don't show well, especially under dark lighting; i.e., black appears more like dark grey rather than true black. Make sure you are okay with this before you buy.
  18. ahmad123456789 macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2008
    need to remember that the aluminum macbooks can also be upgraded to ssd. MBA sucks. you pay a lot of money just for partability. in my opinion the macbook is very portable and better machine than the air. i has 2.4.. and the nvidia graphics in the air are not working a full speed on the air because of heat. IN THE MACBOOKS THEY WORK AT FULL SPEED....
  19. aaquib macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    Did you consider the MB with an SSD? It would cost a bit more, but would completely trounce the MBA in any of the specs.

    I would personally get the MB.

    - The 2GB of RAM is soldered and therefore not upgradeable. Even though you may not even use the full 2GB at the moment, isn't it nice knowing that as technology grows, you have the potention to load up to 6GB on your MacBook?

    - The HDD/SSD is never going to be upgraded either. You can get a MB now, and then if you ever think of getting an SSD in the future, just pop out the HDD and get an SSD in there.

    - The NVIDIA GPU runs at full speed on the MB, but is slightly reduced for the MBA. Not a big deal, but the speed reduction is there.

    - The processor in the MacBook will destroy the MB in any processor intensive task.

    The only reasons I can think of for getting the Macbook Air is if you truly need the extremely portability of the MBA. Despite what people say, the difference IS noticeable. In your hands, with your books, in your bag, it's noticeable. Also, the MBA has a much better screen in terms of black levels, and viewing angle. Not to say that the MB is bad, but the MBA is simply better.
  20. StuBeck macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2008
    Get a Macbook with an SSD if you don't want the Macbook Pro anymore. Or get the MB and an Acer Aspire One or MSI Wind so you have a small portable machine.

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