Pro 2010, 2011 or Air 2011??

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Danindub, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. Danindub macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2008
    Hi Guys,

    I'm struggling to come to a conclusion, so I ask for opinions.

    I am due a new laptop from work. I have a choice of:

    - MacBook Pro 13" 2010 (2.4 Ghz C2D, 8 GB RAM, 250 GB HDD)
    - MacBook Pro 13" 2011 (2.3 Ghz i5, 4 GB RAM, 320 GB HDD)
    - MacBook Air 13" 2011 (1.7 Ghz i5, 4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD).

    And I can't decide. Once I decide I can't change my mind :(

    I generally use computer for browsing web, some games (flash-based, Civilization 4 etc.) , assignments for college. I'm also trying to get into photography (as a hobby).

    I put together my pros and cons of each, but that did not help at all, so if anyone could simply mention their preference and maybe short explanation "why?" I would really appreciate it.

    My pros and cons:

    - Pro 2010
    Pros: Good graphic perofrmance (Civilization 4 works well), beautiful screen (colour gamut), fast enough, very quiet, even at high CPU usage. Plenty of storage and cheap to upgrade (RAW pictures are BIIIG). 8 GB RAM (overall performance benefit)
    Cons: Slow processor, relatively heavy, limited screen real-estate.

    - Pro 2011
    Pros: Very fast processor, beautiful screen, plenty of storage and cheap to upgrade, fast wi-fi (up to 450 Mbps)
    Cons: Poor graphic performance, not supported with many games (ie. Civilization IV, people reporting issues), relatively heavy, limited screen real-estate.

    - Air 2011
    Pros: Fast processor, extremely fast storage (overall performance benefit), very light and portable, reasonable screen real-estate.
    Cons: Poor colour gamut (colours washed out), poor viewing angles, poor graphic performance, very loud fan when CPU usage is above 30% for a period of time.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Quinoky macrumors regular


    Sep 18, 2011
    Groningen, Netherlands
    I wouldn't go for the 2010 version, since that 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor is really getting old. Technology moves fast, so you are going to want to have a decent processor to last you through a few years.

    As far as the 2011 Air vs the 2011 Pro goes.. I think it depends on whether you want it to be user upgradable or not. If you get the 13" Pro, you will not only get a faster processor, but also the option to upgrade the RAM or storage along the way. Especially with the SSD market moving so fast nowadays, this might prove to be very useful in the future. Therefore, if you want a future proof machine, I'd say the Pro 2011 is more for you. Otherwise, go for the Air 2011.
  3. yly3 macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2011
  4. ste1164 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2009
  5. TheJing macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2011
    Somewhere in Europe
    I would go for the 2011 Pro since you can upgrade it yourself.
  6. bigjobby macrumors 65816

    Apr 7, 2010
    London, UK
  7. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I've owned both the 2011 Pro and Air, bought em at the same time and ended up keeping the Air. The screen on my Air is excellent, colour really isn't any worse than it was on the Pro. Viewing angles are a bit less, but it's not especially noticeable.

    If you use the Air, then use the Pro, going back to 1280x800 feels like a huge downgrade. That and the ridiculous speed of the SSD were the two biggest factors in making the decision.
  8. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I'd go for the 13" Air. CPU is pretty fast when it turbos up, SSD is terrific to have, and screen resolution is good.

    If you could go up to a 15" Pro, I would choose that other the Air, but based on your 3 choices, I'd pick the Air.
  9. philipt42 macrumors 6502


    Jun 26, 2009
  10. yanki01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 28, 2009
  11. Gurutech macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2006
    I wouldn't go with 2010 because C2D is getting old pretty fast compared to the current ones. If you don't do processing intensive tasks, why not go with Air? It's way lighter, and SSD really makes difference.

    If money is issue, you don't really have any choice but C2D MBP.

    For 2011 MBP vs MB Air, it all comes down to the ability to upgrade ram and weight. SSD in Air does make a huge difference, but you can still upgrade MBP's hard disk. If you really want to take your laptop to anywhere, MB Air shines. But not able to upgrade memory really hurts Air product. You probably are going to need more than 4 gig.
    Air is a great product if you have another desktop to back you up, but it's not suitable for heavy users' main computer.

    2010's nVidia 320m is still an integrated graphic. Yes 320M is slightly faster than Intel HD3000, but it's insignificant to justify C2D.
    You can compare mobile graphic chips in this link.

    Anyway, spec wise, you won't regret going with MBP 2011.
  12. hotgrease macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2010
    Air. Way better resale value and the SSD. Why upgrade the Pro when you can just start off the the SSD to begin with? Also the Pro will be outdated much sooner than the Air (they might even get rid of the 13" Pro next rev). You don't want to be the guy with the outdated looking computer! (j/k of course, but not really). If you want the Pro then just sell the Air when you get it, buy the Pro, and pocket the $500 difference. You can get the 2011 13" Pro at MicroCenter for $999.
  13. henry72 macrumors 65816


    Jun 18, 2009
    New Zealand
    I'd say go for the Pro 2011 model. It's a really nice laptop, the colour looks much better than the MacBook Air so this will help when you're doing photos editing ;)
  14. Blues003 macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    I have not seen the SuperDrive mentioned in your list of Pros, which makes me believe you have no need for it.

    Also, I noticed you're talking about the 256GB SSD MBA there, which is quite expensive. IIRC, that setup is around 1650€ here, while the MBP 13'' 2011 is 1250€. As such, I also deduce that the 400€ price difference is not a Con for you.

    Being so, my advice would be: Go for the 2011 13'' MBP, and upgrade it with a SSD in the aftermarket. You can still keep the HDD in the SuperDrive slot, thanks to the wonders of Optibay. Or if you're really rich, just get a big SSD and keep the SuperDrive.
  15. Danindub thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2008
    Thanks all.

    I haven't mentioned optical drive, as I have no use for it, I do live in the cloud :)

    Price is not an object at all - as I mention i'm getting it from work, so I don't care what it originally cost, though get-most-expensive-and-sell-it-for-profit obviously isn't an option.

    Looking at the air and pro 2011 right now, the display quality of pro is just so much better, colours are rich and saturated.

    What also frustrates me with Air is that any semi-CPU-instensive (above 30%) activity is causing fan quickly to go mental, really annoying when playing games for instance (or watching Youtube...).

    Plus... PRO is just sooo pretty with the edge-to-edge glass and black bezel :D
  16. Blues003 macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    If price is not a problem, then get a MBP with a big-ass SSD :D
  17. Danindub thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2008
    I'm still limited to given choice (see first post on the thread).
  18. BadaBing!! macrumors 6502


    May 16, 2010
    I have pretty much the same use as you and I went with a MBA 13in. Mostly for SSD + screen resolution but also because it's soooo small and easy to carry around.
  19. fireman32 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 30, 2010
    Raleigh, NC
    I would go with the 2011 Pro. I just bought the 13" a few weeks ago and I upgraded to 8GB of ram. I use this mainly for photo editing and I am quite happy with it. The Air while nice and light is not upgradable and I will be getting an SSD in the near future.
  20. endless17 macrumors member

    Mar 8, 2011
    what profession? the poor color gamut of the Air means little unless you're using Photoshop, Premiere or the like on it.

    i'd opt for the 2011 Air - it's light, fast and completely functional for the majority of computer tasks. you're not going to game well on any of those machines. Also, the chips inside the 2011 MBP/Airs are such that any intensive task (including watching flash videos in some instances) will be enough to get the fan working. these are hot chips, and Apple's thermal cooling design takes a back seat to the body.

    Ivy Bridge will help a lot, but you'll need to wait at least another 6 months.
  21. Danindub thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2008
    Hi All,

    Thanks for all your input.

    Just to follow up on this, I opted for 2011 Pro.

    Upgradable (already put in 1TB HDD, 8 GB of RAM :), more storage, gorgeous display, hd webcam, quiet at reasonable CPU usage, look like better battery life, faster wi-fi.

    I found 256 GB SSD bit limiting (my photos collection alone is some 90 GB in size), poor colours just frustrating, and high-resolution screen difficult to read with small font used (for example facebook) with computer on my laps. Also, this probably doesn't make much sense , but I found it a little too light (it sooner slips right off the table then magsafe is going to detach...)

    Thanks again :)
  22. henry72 macrumors 65816


    Jun 18, 2009
    New Zealand
    Cool. So you have both SSD + HDD on your MBP now? What kind of 1TB HDD did you get? How does it fit inside your Mac?
  23. Danindub thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2008
    No, SSD was in the MacBook Air. Pro came with basic 320 GB HDD.

    I got one of them new WD 1 TB drives (WD10JPVT), they just recently released with single platter (9 mm) rather than the older one that had 2 (12 mm, WD10TPVT). I've noticed it's very fast (partially because of the data density). Obviously it's nowhere near SSD but I'm happy with result.
  24. punchwalk macrumors regular

    May 16, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    I think you'll find that the 2011 MBP is similarly afflicted. Try streaming 720p video using a flash-based delivery method (e.g. YouTube); the fans will be roaring at high speed in no time (granted, the consensus seems to be that Macs don't play well with Flash for some unknown reason). Spinning up a VM, doing work in Photoshop, or playing most games will elicit the same response. Don't get me wrong, I love my MBP but you don't have to work it too hard before it needs to aggressively cool itself.

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