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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > 13" MacBook Air vs. 15" MacBook Pro: Which Should I Get?

13" MacBook Air vs. 15" MacBook Pro: Which Should I Get?
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freudling
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Oct 17, 2011, 02:32 AM
 
We got robbed. MacBook Pros gone. Don't you just love Vancouver's East Side?

Now, which computer should I get? My unibody MBP 2009 was heavy, hot, and loud. However, I like its power and big screen.

MBAs are light, quiet and more cool. Smaller screen but same resolution. Images will be smaller on screen though due to smaller pixels.

Usage: work... some travel... but I'm big on tablets so use those when not using my Pro. The Pro that is now stolen. Medium Photoshop work. Heavy iWork use, Email, and heavy Web use. Daylite and other databases. Skype, etc.

Which one should I get?
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 17, 2011, 04:33 AM
 
I still like the 15"ers. Don't they do a higher res option (than the Air)?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 17, 2011, 05:22 AM
 
A MacBook Air will be able to handle that just fine. If you travel a lot and carry your computer with you, I'd get the Air. Power-wise, it'll serve your needs just fine. If you were happy with the performance of your 2009 MacBook Pro, then the Air will be plenty (since it is significantly faster). I'd probably get an external screen though. It is also cheaper.

If your computer almost never leaves your home, I'd consider the 15". Since you mention that you didn't like the heat and noise from your old machine, I suggest you get the low-end model. There have been reports that the high-end 15" runs very hot. I'd get the high-res screen, though.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
freudling  (op)
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Oct 17, 2011, 10:34 AM
 
Good points, especially about the Air being more powerful with its i5. My Pro was a dual core.

Keep em coming.
     
freudling  (op)
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Oct 18, 2011, 02:38 PM
 
Got the entry 15.4" Core i7.

Pretty sick. I just can't squint regarding the small pixels on the Air. When I'm not using the big daddy, I'll be using a tablet. An Air I realized doesn't make sense to me: it's trying too hard to be like a tablet, where what I really need is a desktop replacement.
     
SierraDragon
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Oct 18, 2011, 03:10 PM
 
Enjoy. I hope you got an SSD. If not, add one into the optical drive slot, the performance improvement is huge on all apps. 2.5" laptop HDDs are lame.

-Allen
     
freudling  (op)
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Oct 18, 2011, 03:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Enjoy. I hope you got an SSD. If not, add one into the optical drive slot, the performance improvement is huge on all apps. 2.5" laptop HDDs are lame.

-Allen
Ya, I wish I could afford it. I will in a few months. Can't wait to go SSD. Better battery life, cooler, and way faster.
     
Mojo
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Oct 28, 2011, 05:40 PM
 
Standard drives are not lame (but that comment certainly is...)

SSDs are an expensive fad. If shaving 30 seconds off the boot-up time and faster app start-up times are worth hundreds of dollars to you, then go for it.

Sometime in the future SSDs will likely be the standard drive in portables, if not all computers. Presumably their prices will be substantially lower than they are now. Until then, expect to pay a significant premium for an SSD that has storage capacity comparable to a regular drive.
     
P
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Oct 29, 2011, 04:36 AM
 
If you're comparing to a 2.5" HDD in a laptop, SSDs are enormously faster on everything. Given how the sales volumes are going, they're certainly not a fad.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
cgc
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Oct 29, 2011, 06:18 AM
 
I partly agree with Mojo and P...SSDs are an expensive add-on that is hard for most people to justify. Sticking with a fast 2.5" HDD isn't a bad option as they are pretty fast. Until SSDs drop to a more reasonable price I'm waiting as well...funny we pay $2K+ for a computer but balk at the SSD but gotta draw the line somewhere.
     
freudling  (op)
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Oct 29, 2011, 03:08 PM
 
SSDs are hands down way better than platters. There's no question. The speed improvements you gain are remarkable, the battery life improvements significant, the less heat... a plus. The problem is price. If they were cheap everybody would be using them.
     
Eug
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Oct 29, 2011, 03:23 PM
 
Check out the Air pixel density. I was considering the 11" Air until I tried out a 11" Windows laptop with the same resolution as the 11" Air.

I'm now using a 13" MacBook Pro, because the pixel density is much lower. I found the Air's pixel density squint-inducing.

P.S. To speed up the 13" MacBook Pro, I got a 128 GB SSD. Ginormous update. Very, very Snappy™ now even with its Core 2 Duo. I liked it so much I put another SSD in my 11" Windows laptop for the times I do actually take it somewhere. The Windows laptop still isn't so Snappy™, but at least it's much more tolerable now speed-wise.
     
Mojo
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Oct 29, 2011, 03:50 PM
 
Be sure to personally check out an MBA before buying or get it from a retailer with a good return policy...

I was ready to buy an 11" MBA until I spent 1.5 hours working on one. Within 15 minutes I developed a headache and severe eyestrain symptoms lasted for hours after I stopped using it.

There are lots of complaints about current Mac LED displays on the official Apple forum. Apparently the problem affects some users who are sensitive to the type of color LEDs used in current Macs. My 13" MBP also caused me some problems but I was able to significantly reduce the effect by adopting the calibration suggestions offered on the Apple forum. Adding a Power Support anti-glare film eliminated display reflections and reduced the glare to an acceptable level.

My early 2008 15" MBP which also has LED backlighting does not cause me any problems. I think that Apple switched to different displays in subsequent portables.

I say that SSDs are a "fad" because the cost-benefit just doesn't pencil-out, yet people keep keep saying that standard HDs "suck" while an SSD is "essential." There are some benefits when using an SSD, but at their current cost I think that for many users the cost differential doesn't make much sense. My 13" MBP running Lion is a lot faster than my Macs running Leopard and Snow Leopard; I don't need to spend $600+ for an SSD that is the same size as the stock HD in order to gain more speed. YMMV, of course...

If you can resist the "latest and greatest" Siren call of the new MBPs you can snag a great deal on the early 2011 models. Apple has recently had the base model 13" MBP for $929 in its refurb section. Some retailers are selling it new for around $1000. Students at schools with a bookstore that sells Macs may discover even better deals; I have saved up to 40% on previous-generation Macs at university bookstores.
     
CharlesS
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Oct 29, 2011, 05:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
I say that SSDs are a "fad" because the cost-benefit just doesn't pencil-out, yet people keep keep saying that standard HDs "suck" while an SSD is "essential." There are some benefits when using an SSD, but at their current cost I think that for many users the cost differential doesn't make much sense. My 13" MBP running Lion is a lot faster than my Macs running Leopard and Snow Leopard; I don't need to spend $600+ for an SSD that is the same size as the stock HD in order to gain more speed. YMMV, of course...
What? SSDs hardly meet the definition of a "fad." If anything, SSD adoption is going to increase as the price goes down, which it has been slowly, but steadily, doing over the last couple of years. You yourself cite the price as the only thing keeping you from getting one. Once the price gets low enough to hit a critical mass, it will probably become quite rare to see a new laptop without an SSD in it — HDDs will be reserved for niches that need huge amounts of hard disk space, which for most ordinary users is not the case.

Already SSDs are being used in many netbooks/small notebooks (including the MacBook Air), and virtually all tablets, smartphones, music players, etc. Do you really think all those applications are going to go back to using spinning discs?

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Eug
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Oct 29, 2011, 05:12 PM
 
A Core 2 Duo with SSD feels noticeably faster in general usage than an i5 with platter HD.

Since my laptop isn't my primary machine, 128 GB is more than enough for my MacBook Pro. In fact, I could get by with 96 GB, but I like having > 50 GB free for the times I load on large video files or lots of photo images. Right now with 128 GB I have 72 GB free. The drive cost me $189, well worth the cost. With a 96 GB drive I'd only have 40 GB free.

Also, if you get the right drive your battery life may increase significantly. The first SSD I put in made the computer feel very fast, but it actually made my battery life worse. I returned that one and got a new much lower power model, and now my battery life is much better. If I am to have a meeting somewhere for much of the day and need my laptop, I used to always bring my laptop and charger. Now I just bring the laptop.

A laptop platter drive can feel sort of decent for some use if you get a 7200 rpm model and if you never spin down the drive, but that wastes far too much power, and a 7200 rpm drive often means an extra paid upgrade cost anyway. If you spin down the drive in idle times to save power, then the machine feels like molasses. However, you still have to content with the high seek times with platter drives. With my SSD, it idles at 0.2 Watts, but access after idle is instantaneous, and of course seek times are uber low.

I will say I don't bother with SSD for my iMac though. With the iMac with a desktop 7200 rpm drive that never spins down, it feels decent enough. Not so much with a laptop. If you need lots of space on a laptop drive, one compromise is to get a hybrid drive. It has a built in tiny SSD that "learns" what apps you launch the most and what data you use the most and keeps them loaded. A 500 GB hybrid includes an extra 4 GB SSD in the controller, and that goes for about $130. Unfortunately, Mac users had some incompatibility issues with them last year. I don't know if the issues have been fixed yet but I'm guessing yes because I haven't heard of any issues with them lately.
( Last edited by Eug; Oct 29, 2011 at 05:30 PM. )
     
Mojo
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Oct 29, 2011, 06:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
What? SSDs hardly meet the definition of a "fad." If anything, SSD adoption is going to increase as the price goes down, which it has been slowly, but steadily, doing over the last couple of years.
You must have missed my first post where I noted essentially the same thing:

"Sometime in the future SSDs will likely be the standard drive in portables, if not all computers. Presumably their prices will be substantially lower than they are now. Until then, expect to pay a significant premium for an SSD that has storage capacity comparable to a regular drive."

You yourself cite the price as the only thing keeping you from getting one.
Nope... I never wrote that. Price isn't the only thing keeping me from buying an SSD. I can afford to buy whatever I want, but that doesn't mean that I will do so if I cannot find a reason to justify the cost vs. the benefit...

Do you really think all those applications are going to go back to using spinning discs?
No, I do not think that will happen. Kindly read what I wrote above...

I refer to the current obsession with SSDs among some Mac users as a fad because SSDs are a nascent technology that is currently relatively expensive, with benefits that are not commensurate with the cost for many users.
( Last edited by Mojo; Oct 29, 2011 at 06:39 PM. )
     
cgc
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Oct 29, 2011, 07:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by freudling View Post
SSDs are hands down way better than platters. There's no question. The speed improvements you gain are remarkable, the battery life improvements significant, the less heat... a plus. The problem is price. If they were cheap everybody would be using them.
Desktops are hands down better than laptops. There's no question. The speed improvements you gain are remarkable, no battery life to worry about, heat's not a major concern.. (my point is the user's the determiner of the value)

I think the speed gain of an SSD isn't nearly as important or noticeable as the capacity of a typical HDD for the average user...when price is factored in most people would opt for a traditional HDD. My wife does many common tasks with built-in (Intel) graphics GPU and doesn't have any complaints. Same thing for her 5400RPM drive...no worries there. But if her HDD ran out of space you bet I'd be going to the store ASAP to get a larger HDD. The geeks and nerds within MacNN (myself included) are part of the small population who would consider an SSD for the speed gains and sacrifice space.
     
Eug
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Oct 29, 2011, 08:02 PM
 
The problem is that for a lot of people, once they use SSD it's hard to be satisfied with a 5400 rpm platter drive.

So, don't use an SSD-endowed MBP until you're willing to spend the money on an SSD.
     
freudling  (op)
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Oct 29, 2011, 08:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by cgc View Post
Desktops are hands down better than laptops. There's no question. The speed improvements you gain are remarkable, no battery life to worry about, heat's not a major concern.. (my point is the user's the determiner of the value)

I think the speed gain of an SSD isn't nearly as important or noticeable as the capacity of a typical HDD for the average user...when price is factored in most people would opt for a traditional HDD. My wife does many common tasks with built-in (Intel) graphics GPU and doesn't have any complaints. Same thing for her 5400RPM drive...no worries there. But if her HDD ran out of space you bet I'd be going to the store ASAP to get a larger HDD. The geeks and nerds within MacNN (myself included) are part of the small population who would consider an SSD for the speed gains and sacrifice space.
You do realize you're trolling? Don't do it in my thread.

This thread about the Air vs. the MacBook Pro. And anybody who doesn't understand/believe/whatever that SSDs are superior hard drives to platters is simply incredulous, trolling, ignorant, or all of these things and more.

If you look at the data... if you observe real world performance, there is no comparison and no doubt about it. Modern SSDs are way faster and way better than platters. It wasn't always like this, but the tech and the software in Lion and Windows has caught up.
     
freudling  (op)
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Oct 29, 2011, 08:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Check out the Air pixel density. I was considering the 11" Air until I tried out a 11" Windows laptop with the same resolution as the 11" Air.

I'm now using a 13" MacBook Pro, because the pixel density is much lower. I found the Air's pixel density squint-inducing.

P.S. To speed up the 13" MacBook Pro, I got a 128 GB SSD. Ginormous update. Very, very Snappy™ now even with its Core 2 Duo. I liked it so much I put another SSD in my 11" Windows laptop for the times I do actually take it somewhere. The Windows laptop still isn't so Snappy™, but at least it's much more tolerable now speed-wise.
Yup, if you had read this thread, I believe I mention this. Pixel density an issue. Too much strain.
     
Mojo
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Oct 29, 2011, 09:04 PM
 
If you are an early-adopter of new technology you usually pay a premium, and SSDs are no different in that regard. For some people the advantages of the new technology are worth the cost, particularly if it makes them more efficient in their work and they save time and therefore money. Then there are the folks who must have the latest-and-greatest thing, whether they actually need it or not, they are willing to pay the price and they can afford it. People in either group don't need my advice regarding their purchase decisions.

My comments are for the majority of people who don't really need an SSD and money is part of the equation, especially when making a purchase means taking on more debt. A cost-benefit analysis is the logical thing to do; most professionals that I referred to earlier do this when considering a major purchase. Why pay more if it doesn't provide a tangible benefit? People with limited funds should endeavor to get the most bang for the buck and save money by avoiding unnecessary purchases.

When I was researching my recent MacBook Pro purchase I figured out what I would be doing with the Mac now and at least three years into the future. I decided that a base model i3 CPU and integrated graphics would be fine for me. An additional $300 for a 10% CPU speed increase doesn't make sense for me (I don't need a larger internal drive either). I took part of the money that I saved and upgraded the RAM to 8GB, which does provide tangible benefits for me, including bumping-up the shared VRAM from 384MB to 512MB.

Now, if I was doing work that required more processing power and better graphics performance now or in the foreseeable future I would have happily paid for a quad-core Mac with a more robust GPU. And if I should suddenly require a different Mac for some unforeseen reason, I'll simply sell the MBP to help finance the new purchase. Since I paid only $900 for it on sale, I should be able to recoup much of my purchase cost within the next three years or so...

My criticism is reserved for the people who insist on dismissing older technology in favor of new, more expensive technology, even when there are compelling reasons for some people to stick with the older version for the time-being. Many people don't need to upgrade their computer as often as technophiles on forums like this one think they should. I know of Macs that have been used up to 15 years by their owners; it's an extreme example, but my point is that technology often moves at a much faster pace than many people actually need to meet their needs.

I have taken to thinking that many of us would benefit by avoiding online Mac forums unless we have a specific problem or we are considering a purchase. It's just too easy to get sucked into the rampant consumerism and obsession with attaining product perfection that is reinforced in many places online.
     
CharlesS
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Oct 29, 2011, 10:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
No, I do not think that will happen. Kindly read what I wrote above...

I refer to the current obsession with SSDs among some Mac users as a fad because SSDs are a nascent technology that is currently relatively expensive, with benefits that are not commensurate with the cost for many users.
I did read what you wrote. You said solid-state was a fad:

fad |fad|
noun
an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, esp. one that is short-lived and without basis in the object's qualities; a craze: prairie restoration is the latest gardening fad in the Midwest.

Merriam-Webster defines it as:

: a practice or interest followed for a time with exaggerated zeal : craze

• She's always interested in the latest fads.
• once the fad for that kind of music had passed, nobody would have been caught dead listening to it

If you're saying it's a fad, you're saying that it's very popular now but is going to fall out of fashion, after which time all the devices that currently use it would presumably move back to HDDs. If that's not what you meant, then you used the wrong word. I'd say it's the opposite of a fad — not very popular right now due to its price, but steadily becoming more so, and due to become the norm once the price becomes sufficiently low.

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Eug
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Oct 30, 2011, 01:01 AM
 
For a laptop, I'd much rather have a Core 2 Duo with SSD than an i5 with platter drive. Much better would be an i5 with SSD though of course.
( Last edited by Eug; Oct 30, 2011 at 01:09 AM. )
     
imitchellg5
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Oct 30, 2011, 01:08 AM
 
SSD is a trend, not a fad. Trends become widespread in the future.
     
Mojo
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Oct 30, 2011, 01:22 PM
 
Charles, is that really the best that you can do?

When you have to switch the discussion to a dispute over terminology it indicates that either you did not understand my main point or you would prefer to avoid it altogether because you don't have a proper rebuttal.

At any rate, I'll concede that "fad" may not be the best term. How about "trendy fad?" In this case it refers to "a technology followed for a time with exaggerated zeal that will presumably become widespread in the future."

Feel better now?
     
P
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Oct 30, 2011, 02:01 PM
 
Mojo, I'm not sure what you are saying here. "fad" means that you think that it is something that will fade out. Just about everyone in this thread disagrees with you. If that's not what you're actually arguing, then it's no real debate, just a misunderstanding.

Ssds improve the one speed characteristic of computers that has been unchanged since the mid-eighties. That improvement is roughly a factor of 100. For CPUs, that sort of improvement takes about 10 years to materialize. It's no wonder that anyone who has tried an ssd wants one.
     
freudling  (op)
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Oct 30, 2011, 02:01 PM
 
Anybody who thinks SSDs are a fad or trend or other like term is an idiot and knows nothing about computers, or the future.
     
CharlesS
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Oct 30, 2011, 02:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
Charles, is that really the best that you can do?

When you have to switch the discussion to a dispute over terminology it indicates that either you did not understand my main point or you would prefer to avoid it altogether because you don't have a proper rebuttal.

At any rate, I'll concede that "fad" may not be the best term. How about "trendy fad?" In this case it refers to "a technology followed for a time with exaggerated zeal that will presumably become widespread in the future."

Feel better now?
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Mojo
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Oct 30, 2011, 03:03 PM
 
[QUOTE=P;4124224]Mojo, I'm not sure what you are saying here. "fad" means that you think that it is something that will fade out. Just about everyone in this thread disagrees with you. If that's not what you're actually arguing, then it's no real debate, just a misunderstanding. /QUOTE]

I agree.

Here is an excerpt from my original post that is the essence of my point:

"My comments are for the majority of people who don't really need an SSD and money is part of the equation, especially when making a purchase means taking on more debt. A cost-benefit analysis is the logical thing to do; most professionals that I referred to earlier do this when considering a major purchase. Why pay more if it doesn't provide a tangible benefit? People with limited funds should endeavor to get the most bang for the buck and save money by avoiding unnecessary purchases."

I'm not hopeful that it will be better understood now since the focus seems to have switched to my choice of words instead of the point I was trying to make...

Oh well, I tried. Forget what I wrote and kindly carry on without further input from me.
     
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Oct 30, 2011, 06:12 PM
 
But I disagree with that part too. If you're truly making a cost-benefit analysis of things, comparing the oncost of getting an SSD with that of getting a slightly faster CPU, the SSD wins by so much that it isn't even funny. Now, I could wish that Apple offered an MBA-style SSD together with a regular HDD, or in place of the optical, as so many are doing as an aftermarket add-on, but if the choice were an 128 gig SSD or a 500 gig HDD, I'd pick the SSD. 128 gigs is a lot to carry around with you, and you can make it work - even you don't, an external HDD is cheap enough and about the size of the power brick.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
cgc
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Oct 31, 2011, 09:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by freudling View Post
You do realize you're trolling? Don't do it in my thread.

This thread about the Air vs. the MacBook Pro. And anybody who doesn't understand/believe/whatever that SSDs are superior hard drives to platters is simply incredulous, trolling, ignorant, or all of these things and more.

If you look at the data... if you observe real world performance, there is no comparison and no doubt about it. Modern SSDs are way faster and way better than platters. It wasn't always like this, but the tech and the software in Lion and Windows has caught up.
Of course I know SSDs are faster, consume less power, generate more heat than traditional HDDs. Mojo made the comment disputing SierraDragon's claim SSDs are "lame." You said "SSDs are hands down way better than platters. There's no question. The speed improvements you gain are remarkable, the battery life improvements significant, the less heat... a plus. The problem is price. If they were cheap everybody would be using them." then we got side-tracked arguing SSD pro/con vs HDD. If speed, heat, and battery use were the only concern then SSds crush HDDs but storage capacity and price are a concern for many which is the crux of the discussion. My "trolling" was an attempt to illustrate this as people have different needs from their computers and speed/battery/heat may not factor in one bit.

Hope you enjoy your 15.4" i7...should last a long time.
     
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Oct 31, 2011, 10:55 AM
 
The issue is whether or not SSDs have reached a price point where they are worth buying. If you don't need masses of space on your internal disk then you can get one of the smaller SSDs and they are probably a good investment at this point in time since they are not much extra and you get the aforementioned boosts in speed and battery life. Also worth noting that SSDs are more reliable/robust than HDDs.

Larger SSDs are still stupidly expensive. They'll get there eventually though.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
imitchellg5
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Oct 31, 2011, 12:31 PM
 
Not to hijack this thread, but my late-2008 15" MacBook Pro has a bad logic board and I'm thinking about replacing it with the top-line 13" MacBook Air. I travel between Denver and Seattle about every other week for work these days, so it'd be a huge plus. The downside is that I take a lot of photos for my job. I'm not using a professional DSLR, but I am shooting in RAW, which means right now I have about 130 Gb of work and personal pictures. I'm thinking about just getting a G-drive mini? Does anyone know if the Air has enough firepower to do small edits in Aperture?
     
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Oct 31, 2011, 01:11 PM
 
I said
Enjoy. I hope you got an SSD. If not, add one into the optical drive slot, the performance improvement is huge on all apps. 2.5" laptop HDDs are lame. -Allen
I reiterate: The performance improvement is huge on all apps. 2.5" laptop HDDs are lame.

Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
If you are an early-adopter of new technology you usually pay a premium, and SSDs are no different in that regard. For some people the advantages of the new technology are worth the cost, particularly if it makes them more efficient in their work and they save time and therefore money. Then there are the folks who must have the latest-and-greatest thing, whether they actually need it or not, they are willing to pay the price and they can afford it.

My comments are for the majority of people who don't really need an SSD and money is part of the equation, especially when making a purchase means taking on more debt. A cost-benefit analysis is the logical thing to do; most professionals that I referred to earlier do this when considering a major purchase. Why pay more if it doesn't provide a tangible benefit? People with limited funds should endeavor to get the most bang for the buck and save money by avoiding unnecessary purchases.

My criticism is reserved for the people who insist on dismissing older technology in favor of new, more expensive technology, even when there are compelling reasons for some people to stick with the older version for the time-being.
The thing is, you are wrong. Clearly you have not used an SSD laptop at length, because SSD is not just some cutesy new feature. SSDs impact overall daily performance more than typical CPU or GPU improvements do, and Apple SSDs have been successful in MBAs since 2008. They are not bleeding-edge technology.

Performance is a key component - perhaps the key component - of a new computer purchase. And for "people with limited funds" who do not need top performance an SSD provides HUGE real-world performance enhancement, cost effectively.

Real-world, SSDs can literally change workflows:

• When Photoshop, or a browser or other app boots in 3 seconds it is no longer necessary to have a plethora of apps open all the time sucking (sometimes leaking) RAM and system overhead.

• When RAM is topped, page outs occur to the SSD, which is orders of magnitude faster than page outs to a lame 2.5" laptop HDD. E.g. HDD laptop users of Aperture with 2 GB RAM crash the app, while MBA users of Aperture with 2 GB RAM just experience slowdowns.

• An MBA with SSD takes under 20 seconds to start up. The quick startup allows folks to routinely turn off and restart instead of sleeping. That workflow change routinely clears memory leaks, saves battery, etc. Sleep mode has been causing issues off and on pretty much forever.

Every app operates "snappier."

This thread is MBA vs. MBP. For folks who want a small display (which personally I definitely do not), the SSD of the MBA provides a very large benefit to MBA buyers that MBP buyers must pay extra for. And for folks considering larger MBP sizes, the fact that it only cost +$100 to add SSD is a large value-add for the top boxes.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Oct 31, 2011 at 02:14 PM. )
     
SierraDragon
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Oct 31, 2011, 01:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Does anyone know if the Air has enough firepower to do small edits in Aperture?
Absolutely yes, the 2011 MBAs will run Aperture, but limited by the MBAs lesser graphics. The 4 GB RAM also is limiting but the SSD ameliorates the effect of page outs and a (important!) Referenced-Masters workflow deals with the limited SSD storage capacity. Limited editing will be fine; set Preview size to the pixels of your largest display and a 128 GB SSD will hold your entire Aperture Library. Some photogs are very happy with 2011 MBAs and Aperture.

Obviously the stronger MBA you get the better, especially as regards graphics choices; and get at least 128 GB SSD.

Get maximum RAM and evaluate page outs during your normal workflow. If you get any page outs (I get zero with 8 GB RAM) try switching to 32-bit operation.

I run Aperture on a 2011 17" MBP with 128 GB SSD and have been pleasantly surprised that the Referenced-Masters workflow works well even with USB2 connection to external drives. The fact that the referenced Aperture Library is on the SSD makes it all rock.

Originals are Finder-copied to the SSD from the camera card, the card is ejected, backups are made, then Masters are imported into Aperture from the SSD by reference (i.e. "Storing Files: in their current location" on the SSD). After editing is complete (may take weeks or months), from within Aperture I relocate the referenced Masters to an external hard drive for long-term storage.

HTH

-Allen Wicks
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Oct 31, 2011 at 02:12 PM. )
     
imitchellg5
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Oct 31, 2011, 03:19 PM
 
I'd get the i7 MBA with the 256 Gb HDD.
     
SierraDragon
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Nov 1, 2011, 10:07 AM
 
Nice. Note it is SSD not HDD; the SSD is what makes it work well.
     
   
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