Why does the Apple Store tell me I won't be happy with an Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by bigmac7, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. bigmac7 macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2007
    I have gone to the Apple Store twice lately to check out the Macbook Air and the 13 inch Pro.

    Every time an Apple employee will come over and ask about what my needs are etc. I tell them, I'm a college student, not sure of my major yet, but sometimes I do a little bit of video editing. Nothing really ever major, just some small hobby stuff. Occasionally I'll make some sort of video at school. I've been doing this on my current 2008 Aluminum MBP with 2gb of ram, and its sloooow, but I'm managing. I feel like if my current computer could do this, then the air will be a breeze at doing it.

    The Apple guy will immediately tells me that I won't be happy with the Air and that I am just paying for a smaller enclosure. He will then take me to the 13 inch MBP.

    Is there really that much of a performance difference between the two, in which I would not be happy with the Air? It kind of seems like I'd be happier with the air, with the fast SSD, and the better resolution, but they never mention that.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    For occasional video editing a MBA will be fine. My advice is to simply tell the idiots at the Apple Store what you want, and politely decline their offers to "help." They just latch on to buzzwords (in your case, "video") and follow the SOP.
  3. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    I do some video editing with FCPX on my 13" MBA
    It isn't ideal, but it gets the job done
  4. GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2010
    As a former Apple Store specialist I can tell you why you're being directed to the MBPs:

    1. You mention video editing
    2. You mention you're coming from s MBP

    Apple employees are trained to look for these behaviors or patterns to a fault.

    Don't listen to those employees. The 13" MBP is the worst computer and biggest rip IMO. In terms of the difference between power of 13 MBP and MBA, you're right, it's not much. In fact the Air will be faster for everyday usage withies SSD.
  5. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Strange that. For exactly the same money as the basic 13" MBP you get an 11" MBA with a reasonable processor, 128 GB SSD, and 8 GB RAM. The question that you have to answer to yourself is whether 128 GB is enough or not. If it is enough, you could very well go for the 11" MBP. The faster SSD makes up for the slower CPU; the bigger RAM helps, and you do get a smaller enclosure.

    If 128 GB is not enough, then the 256 GB SSD is expensive.
  6. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    No, there isn't. The 13" Pro just has a slightly faster version of the processor that's in the 13" Air. The base i5 on the 13" Pro is roughly the same speed as the i7 on the top of the line Air. The primary reason the Air is relatively costlier is that it uses SSD.

    The 13" Pro is somewhat of the odd man in Apple's notebook lineup. It's for someone looking for an "old school" notebook with massive storage and an optical drive at a relatively low (by Apple standards) price. It does have a nicer screen than the Air, but it is lower resolution, and it isn't IPS like the Retina MacBook Pro so it isn't spectacular, either.

    The 13" Pro's Firewire port used to be an advantage for video editing, but now you can get a $29 adapter for your Thunderbolt port to get Firewire, so it is less of an advantage now. My advice is to get the Air. It is Apple's new consumer PC, and it will be significantly faster than your 2008.
  7. jahala macrumors regular


    Feb 7, 2008
    The reason you are being directed to the Macbook Pro is because of the video editing. Video editing is highly processor intensive and the significantly faster processor on the Macbook Pro makes a huge difference. The SSD in the Macbook Air makes just about everything else faster, but when it comes to video editing, the processor is the key component.

    I was doing video editing on a 2010 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 11" Macbook Air with 4GB RAM. Working with standard definition video was slow but workable. Working with HD video was unusably slow, so I upgraded to a 1.8 GHz i7 11" Macbook Air with 4GB RAM. I can now edit my high definition video in iMovie, but my 2008 Aluminum Macbook with a 2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo and 8 GB RAM is still faster for video editing because the processor has a significantly higher clock speed.

    I usually work off external USB hard drives because I only the 256 GB SSD on my MBA and the Macbook's drive is almost full, but having edited videos from the internal drives in both computers, I feel confident in stating that the gain from having a faster processor outweighs the gain from a faster hard drive.

    If your work is mostly video editing, you will be happier with the Macbook Pro. If your work is mostly other typical college stuff with occasional video editing, you will be very happy with an i7 Macbook Air. I cannot speak to the i5 Macbook Airs because I have never had one.
  8. indiawebdesign macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2012
    Is MacBook Air Good for APp Development

    I am looking for Macbook Air and want to use it for App Development. Will it be a good proposition?


  9. Nioxic macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2011
    ive done some minor editing of video on my 2011 macbook air, and it works nicely

    although its just a video i recorded on my iphone.. nothing special. it works..

    wasnt as fast as my desktop, but it was fast enough :)
  10. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010

    But the 13" Pro does not have a significantly faster processor. The 2.5GHz i5 Turbo Boosts to 3.1GHz. The 2.0GHz i7 in the Air (optional) Turbo Boosts to 3.2GHz. Both are dual core. Even the option 2.9GHz i7 in the 13" Pro Turbo Boosts only to 3.6GHz. Sure, it will be a little faster than the MacBook Air, but not significantly faster. The 15" Pro is a different story, since it has two more processor cores.
  11. jerryobr macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2010
    Interesting Comparison

    FWIW, I just did what looks like an interesting comparison between a 13" MBA and a 13" MBP on the Apple store web site. If you go into the Store, select MBA, then select Compare with other models, the two 13" products come up side by side.

    The base models are the same price. With the MBP though, you get a faster i5 processor (2.5GHz vs 1.8GHz). I don't do video editing, but for those who do, this may be significant. With the MBP you lose the weight advantage of the Air, but that may or may not mean anything depending on why you are considering the Air in the first place.

    To get a faster processor in the Air, you have to first select the 256GB SSD option for $300. Then you can select a 2.0GHz i7 for an extra $100. So now, for the Air you are at $1600 and still have only 4GB RAM and a 2.0GHz i7. Even though the Air now costs you $400 more, the base MBP still has the faster processor, albeit an i5 though. Doing a somewhat similar cost upgrade on the MBP, you have a $300 option that gives you a 2.9GHz i7, 8GB RAM, and a nicely sized 750GB HD. This would put you at a $1500 MBP cost.

    Thus, at a savings of $100, the upgraded MBP offers a significantly better deal: 8 vs 4 GB RAM, 2.9 vs 2.0 GHz i7, and 750 vs 256 GB HD. You can bump the Air up to 8GB, but at another $100 cost increase. The base MBP offers a better performance deal than the base MBA, too. At this point it becomes personal preference based on how much video editing you do, the manner that you factor in weight and styling, and whether the extra MBP performance out-weighs the MBA advantages of weight and HD speed. Very personal.
  12. MiamiC70 macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2011
    Why would you even remotely base your decision on what an Apple store employee says? Do your research and come to your own conclusion and then buy the device that YOU feel will best suit your needs.
  13. jamesnajera macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2003
    Things I considered when getting my new MBA13" vs MBP13".

    HDD Space
    If you are going to do a lot of video editing the 256GB or even 512GB might not be enough from the MBA. However I would recommend getting a external HDD for Video editing and "scratch" space.

    8GB Max for MBA, 8GB for MBP13" (upgradable to 16GB with Crucial.com)

    MBA13" 1440x900 vs MBP13" 1280x800

    2GHz i7 dual core MBA vs 2.9GHz i7 dual core

    Video Card
    Both have the same video card, the MBP13 does not have discreet graphics.

    I do not need a DVD drive and assume you have already made your decision on peripheral devices like that.

    Overall the weight and resolution sold me. I can use external USB3 or Thunderbolt Storage for video editing. Hope that helps.
  14. Wokis, Aug 4, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012

    Wokis macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2012
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Doing plenty video editing on my MBA. I've mainly used 720p with Apple ProRes codec and FCP 7 has been my platform. USB 3.0-disk as scratch disk, no problem!

    edit: I'll add to it that how CPU intensive editing will be will depend largely on the codec. If you set your timeline to H.264, you're likely going to want a better CPU since the codec is pretty CPU-intensive whenever things needs to be rendered. ProRes on the other hand appears less intensive, but is likely at a higher bitrate requiring higher disk transfer speed. Both are lossy codecs but gee I would bet on ProRes preserving better quality as well. I never edit in H.264 though and never receive footage in it other than from some popular still cameras. In which case I'd convert it.

    Yesterday I got an order to do a quick graphical effect in Adobe After Effects for a show and decided to do it on my MBA for my convenience sake, both for myself and that I could easily take the MBA to the editor's room for feedback.

    In my experience, even 2D VFX can really go further in pushing your CPU than video editing normally does (unless you're some kind of a true filter freak or working with online, colour grade, editing). Nevertheless, to the MBA I went.

    Loaded up trapcode plugins, plenty of particles, things moving around and getting drawn. Rendered at full (albeit SD) resolution with no annoying waiting times. You know it's not annoying when the client doesn't grunt at you for not pre-rendering :)

    It was a good experience and I feel I can continue using the MBA for things like this. I can't imagine that it wouldn't suite your purposes.
  15. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    You make a fool of yourself with that statement. You can't compare a processor that is three generations old with a current IVY bridge simply by comparing clock speed. With that mentality I've been downgrading for the past few yeras because I had a socket 478 Celeron I managed to overclock to 3.6ghz. Surely this is faster than your 2.8ghz c2d, no?

    The ivy bridge is much more efficient, and I'd be suprised if that processor really is any faster.

    In a phrase, it's marketing. They think their "pro" must be pro, and therefore good. Much better than the lowly air. People buy into that crap a lot too, as I've seen countless posts asking "which should i get?" with the consensus being "get the pro, it's soo much better than the air" when the tasks described are limited by ram, or graphics (which are the same). The computers used today for even basic tasks are orders of magnitude faster than the high end video editting computers of 2002. Yet we struggle to do the same tasks that old computers did with ease. I remember when a pentium II would be plenty for word processing and web browsing. While it's true the requirements of many websites have increased, it's also a factor of patience, and that as computers become a higher speed our tolerance for waiting diminishes.
  16. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    If anything, it was the extra RAM, not the clock speed, that improved your video editing speeds. The i7 in the 2011 canTurbo Boost to 2.9GHz. Plus, it can process 4 threads at a time vs. 2 for the Core 2 Duo, and has a more efficient design. Comparing processors across generations is an inexact science, but the 1.8GHz i7 was roughly equivalent to a 3.5GHz Core 2 Duo.
  17. GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2010
    Exactly. If a 2.8 ghz C2D was faster than the current processors there would be outrage. it has to do with how they're threaded and designed. Today's processors are designed very well to say the least.
  18. sviato macrumors 68020


    Oct 27, 2010
    HR 9038 A
    I'm deciding between a 13' MBA or MBP as well and I have a question about the storage: The MBA comes with a 128gb SSD and it costs like $400 to upgrade to 256gb... I don't think I'll have enough $ to get the 256gb right when I buy the laptop, but should I need more storage later on is easily upgradeable?
  19. GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2010
    No, it's not easy.
  20. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    Yes, it is easy. You void your warranty (not a user serviceable part), however, and it is fairly expensive.

    OWC sells MBA 2012 upgrade kits: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Aura_Pro_Air_2012

    About voiding the warranty: If you keep the original SSD and swap it back in before taking the MBA to Apple for service, you'll be fine. If you leave the upgrade SSD in, it's up to the service guy whether they'll do the repair for free.

    EDIT: Apple won't help you with/sell you an upgrade SSD.
  21. Lynn Belvedere macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2012
    You are comparing the entry level Macbook pro ($1199) against a maxed out Macbook Air ($1599).

    The maxed out 13" Macbook Pro ($1499) has a 2.9GHz core i7 that turbo boosts up to 3.9GHz. It blows the i5 out of the water.

    Dollar for dollar, the Pro has a much faster processor. No question about it.
  22. KPOM, Aug 5, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012

    KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    The 2.9GHz i7 Turbo Boosts to 3.6GHz. It's faster, yes, but "blows it out of the water" is a bit of an overstatement.

    Put a 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM into the base MacBook Pro (with the i5) and it jumps to $1799 vs $1699 for the maxed out Air. Dollar for dollar, the 13" Air and 13" Pro overlap significantly.
  23. SlickShoes macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2011
    The SSD is going to be so much faster than the 750GB 5400rpm HDD in the macbook pro though, that is one thing people should really consider, try out two macs one with old mechanical HDD and then try an SSD the performance increase on almost every task is insane.
  24. Titanium81 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2011
    It's very easy... get an External Hard Drive. Now that the MBA has USB 3.0 files transfers are lighting fast.
  25. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    You can also try going up to 6 gigs of ram and a faster HDD or SSD on the Macbook to recapture some of that new mac smell. It won't give you a new mac, but really speed it up for roughly a fourth the cost of a new system if you shop around for a good deal on a 256 gb SSD.

    I could tell a noticeable difference back in the day in going from the stock drive to a good 7200 rpm machine in my macbook ce back then. Still keep the machine on my avatar.

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