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Author Topic: 13" MBA vs 13" MBP  (Read 2015 times)


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13" MBA vs 13" MBP
« on: March 26, 2011, 11:09:06 PM »

I had hoped to wait a couple more months but for various reasons I now need to make a decision in the next week or so. Any thoughts on aspects I may have missed gratefully received! :-)

I use a MacPro in the office for all my heavy work. I've been using a late 2008 15" 2.53 MBP (first unibody) for tethered location shooting with a 1DsMkIII (12"PB before that). However I travel o/s reasonably often and lugging the 15" round the world through 10-12 flights is a pain (cue the violin). I had planed to buy a 13"MBA but with the new 13"MBP now on the scene the choice is a lot harder. A MBA with Sandy Bridge & Thunderbolt would be perfect but I doubt if that will happen in the next few days!

Obviously the new 13"MBP has a heap more performance than the MBA (specially as spec'd below) but as I hardly ever use Photoshop 'on the road' I'm not sure that is a major factor. Size & weight are however so the MBA's 1kg vs the MBP's 2kg is VERY appealing (15"MBP 2.5kg)

The main purpose of the laptop is using it as a big viewfinder when shooting in a location studio environment, as per:

As you can see the much more powerful iMac didn't produce better shoot/import/view times and my MBP takes about the same time as well so I assume the 13"MBP would be similar. For comparison the 12"PB took 90 secs!

The MBA has the same 1440x900 res as my 15"MBP, rather than the 1280x800 of the 13"MBP.

I normally use a FW800 card reader to download my CF cards but using SD cards instead solves that problem with the MBA.

I would however have to change to using USB (with chargers) for back up to my external HD RAID pair. A lot slower but normally done after the day's shoot so not a major problem.

When optioned as I'd like, both the MBA and MBP are almost identical in price (not inc shipping).

MBA 2.13GHz/256GB/4GB + 2 x 16GB SD cards (B&H) AUD$2324.00

MBP 2.7GHz/OWC 240GB SSD/OWC 8GB + mounting for extra HD in optical drive bay AUD$2361.00

So basically I'm thinking while the MBP would provide a much faster experience normally, it probably would be about the same for the uses I'd put it to, for the same price but half the weight.

Have I missed anything? Sorry for the long post.


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Re: 13" MBA vs 13" MBP
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2011, 03:10:50 PM »

I can't speak to the Air 13, but can tell you that I love my Air 11". For me, the perfect on the road, portable computer. I do a lot of writing and typing on it as well, and its a great computer for that.  My needs are to be able to download images to lightroom, review, and backup to external drive. Works well for that, Runs OSX well, and it performs well, which was a surprise to me, expecting a slow machine as a trade off for size and weight. Recommend the upgrade to 4 Gig ram.
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