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MBA 13" or MBP 13"+SSD

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

Hi! I am thinking about buying a new MacBook as my MacBook White ('10) is become to slow for me. I am forced to choose between two base models:

 

-MBA 13" (2012) + 8Gb of RAM

 

-MBP 13" (2012) + SSD

 

The price difference between these two options is not that big so that is why I am considering both options. I am not a hard-core computer user: my MB is mainly used for studies, YouTube, iPhoto + some photo editing on Pixelimator, iMovie; moreover, I would like to leave playing games an option (games like Angry Birds, Civilization V, Sims 3, Half-life 2, SimCity 5 etc). However, I would like to buy this computer for a longer period of use (2-3 years). At the moment I am leaning to MBA due to its - primarily - portability. However, does the processor difference (between 1,8 and 2,5ghz) is noticeable? MBA superiority in some factors comes form its SSD but what about MBP with SSD - how much "faster" would it be with it? Lastly, is it even possible to get everything form MBP+SSD according how I use a computer? (I was looking for some benchmarks to compare MBA vs. MBP+SSD but could not find any) Thank you for your answers!!!

post #2 of 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by thomasasz 
However, does the processor difference (between 1,8 and 2,5ghz) is noticeable? MBA superiority in some factors comes form its SSD but what about MBP with SSD - how much "faster" would it be with it? Lastly, is it even possible to get everything form MBP+SSD according how I use a computer? (I was looking for some benchmarks to compare MBA vs. MBP+SSD but could not find any) Thank you for your answers!!!

In terms of CPU, the MBA doesn't seem to differ much from the MBP for certain benchmarks:

http://www.macrumors.com/2012/06/18/benchmarks-for-new-13-inch-macbook-pro-beat-macbook-air-previous-macbook-pro-by-10-15/

The MBA will throttle down quicker though so you'll see a bigger difference during gaming and video encoding:

http://techland.time.com/2012/05/22/apples-metal-macbook-gaming-problem-theyre-still-hot-as-you-know-what/

"After two, maybe three minutes, the frame rate dropped from 30 to 25 and held there (same area, same effects level). Still no big deal. I find 25 perfectly playable in most games. But after a few more minutes, the frame rate fell again to a much more noticeable 20, dipping into the really jerky single digits during intense fights. The culprit, I realized immediately, then kicked myself for forgetting: CPU throttling — technically “dynamic frequency scaling” — an innate, not-bypassable feature whereby the CPU drops to lower speeds to keep from exceeding its thermal maximum. In other words: a failsafe to prevent your processor from going POOF."

The MBA SSD is pretty fast:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Xv1dvsDw1c

A 3rd party SSD would be about the same but for around the $200 Apple charges for 128GB, you can get double the storage by doing it yourself:

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-830-Series-MZ-7PC256N-Internal/dp/B005T3GPXY

Plus you get a spare HDD that you can use for backups.

If you are looking in the $1299-1399 price range, it might be worth holding off to see if a Retina 13" arrives soon. If it does, I expect it to be $1499-1599 and should have a 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM and possibly a dedicated GPU too. It will also be very portable and have a much better quality display.
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