and if so, what are your feelings?
and if so, what are your feelings?
Just this guy you know
My 11.6" (4GB/128/1.6) arrives tomorrow-- I'll let you know after I fiddle a bit. I'm switching from a 13.3" Rev A MBA and looking forward to it.
We have both in house now (4G ram, 128G SSD), and a 13" MBP (2.53 ghz, OWC 200G SSD).
The 11", depth wise, is as wide as the iPad. It is about 1.5 inches longer, and although it is spec'ed at 1 lb heavier, it really does not feel like it. Maybe because they both have that dense, stiff feel.
The trackpad on the 11" is shorter than on the 13", and the upper and lower row of the keyboard are slightly compressed as well (function keys and control, option, etc.). At first you really notice this if you are used to a MBP, but after a while the feeling sort of fades, and you are just using the thing. Resolution on the 11" is fine, I would not want it higher on that size of a screen. I think of the 11" and iPad equally portable, but obviously do things very differently.
The 13" feels smack dab between the 13" MBP and the 11" MBA. For "real" work, the extra screen resolution is lovely. The weight delta between the 13 MBA and MBP is very noticeable. The weight between the two MBAs is noticeable, but not like between the 13 MBA and MBP.
When we ran xbench against all three (11 and 13 MBA, 13 MBP), and practically speaking they were all very similar. Unfortunately we did not save the numbers! The OWC SSD in the 13 MBP is a little faster than the apple "disk", but both are miles ahead of spinning platters. Of course CPU speeds measured differently, as you would expect (1.4, 1.86, and 2.53, respectively). Disk numbers between the 11 and 13 (both 128G) were nearly identical. Graphics were nearly identical, taking into account the CPU speeds. When selecting about 10 apps on the 11", and then opening them all at once, all apps were open within 3-4 seconds. Fast enough for me. For regular work, mail, web, photo sorting and modest editing, all three should feel similar performance wise. If you are doing heavy CPU work, the 11 will naturally be the slowest.
The choice between the two really comes down to weight, dimensions, screen resolution, and perhaps the SD slot. Performance is very similar (since most activities do not peg the CPUs), and they both feel the nearly the same, both physically and response wise.
What else can I tell you?
Since they're all in the house and it's so easy to do, it would be great if you could run xBench on of them again and report the numbers --- while it may not be any more relevant than you're realworld impressions about them being close, it does help us geeks calibrate the differences in our heads
Here we go - long post!
Between yesterday and today, the SSD on the 13" MBP had been swapped out for the original 250G spinning disk.
13" MBACode:Results 143.66 System Info Xbench Version 1.3 System Version 10.6.4 (10F3061) Physical RAM 4096 MB Model MacBookAir3,1 Drive Type APPLE SSD TS128C CPU Test 111.69 GCD Loop 186.65 9.84 Mops/sec Floating Point Basic 86.62 2.06 Gflop/sec vecLib FFT 74.91 2.47 Gflop/sec Floating Point Library 179.81 31.31 Mops/sec Thread Test 209.24 Computation 268.00 5.43 Mops/sec, 4 threads Lock Contention 171.61 7.38 Mlocks/sec, 4 threads Memory Test 139.86 System 154.34 Allocate 259.38 952.51 Kalloc/sec Fill 118.91 5781.57 MB/sec Copy 139.42 2879.63 MB/sec Stream 127.86 Copy 122.54 2531.03 MB/sec Scale 121.55 2511.18 MB/sec Add 134.76 2870.64 MB/sec Triad 133.77 2861.74 MB/sec Quartz Graphics Test 111.20 Line 101.90 6.78 Klines/sec [50% alpha] Rectangle 112.33 33.54 Krects/sec [50% alpha] Circle 101.07 8.24 Kcircles/sec [50% alpha] Bezier 121.46 3.06 Kbeziers/sec [50% alpha] Text 123.15 7.70 Kchars/sec OpenGL Graphics Test 102.07 Spinning Squares 102.07 129.48 frames/sec User Interface Test 126.43 Elements 126.43 580.25 refresh/sec Disk Test 205.98 Sequential 146.18 Uncached Write 220.00 135.08 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Write 197.03 111.48 MB/sec [256K blocks] Uncached Read 67.30 19.69 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Read 346.83 174.32 MB/sec [256K blocks] Random 348.57 Uncached Write 149.40 15.82 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Write 510.58 163.46 MB/sec [256K blocks] Uncached Read 1183.20 8.38 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Read 505.47 93.79 MB/sec [256K blocks]
CPU, Memory, and graphics performance between the two MBAs all roughly scale to the processor differences. The processor speed of the 11" is 75% of the 13", and the tests show the 11" has between 75 and 85% the speed of the 13" in these tests.Code:Results 166.74 System Info Xbench Version 1.3 System Version 10.6.4 (10F3061) Physical RAM 4096 MB Model MacBookAir3,2 Drive Type APPLE SSD TS128C CPU Test 132.98 GCD Loop 218.18 11.50 Mops/sec Floating Point Basic 106.39 2.53 Gflop/sec vecLib FFT 88.39 2.92 Gflop/sec Floating Point Library 209.08 36.41 Mops/sec Thread Test 200.37 Computation 351.76 7.13 Mops/sec, 4 threads Lock Contention 140.08 6.03 Mlocks/sec, 4 threads Memory Test 182.42 System 207.74 Allocate 302.79 1.11 Malloc/sec Fill 161.02 7829.35 MB/sec Copy 202.93 4191.35 MB/sec Stream 162.60 Copy 154.51 3191.40 MB/sec Scale 152.75 3155.76 MB/sec Add 173.68 3699.70 MB/sec Triad 171.71 3673.37 MB/sec Quartz Graphics Test 141.87 Line 125.92 8.38 Klines/sec [50% alpha] Rectangle 168.58 50.33 Krects/sec [50% alpha] Circle 125.66 10.24 Kcircles/sec [50% alpha] Bezier 146.50 3.70 Kbeziers/sec [50% alpha] Text 151.82 9.50 Kchars/sec OpenGL Graphics Test 123.46 Spinning Squares 123.46 156.62 frames/sec User Interface Test 181.34 Elements 181.34 832.26 refresh/sec Disk Test 237.07 Sequential 155.84 Uncached Write 250.05 153.53 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Write 281.54 159.30 MB/sec [256K blocks] Uncached Read 65.95 19.30 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Read 338.52 170.14 MB/sec [256K blocks] Random 495.15 Uncached Write 288.49 30.54 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Write 510.67 163.48 MB/sec [256K blocks] Uncached Read 1426.30 10.11 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Read 512.09 95.02 MB/sec [256K blocks]
The disk tests surprised me, specifically the write tests. When we ran these numbers yesterday, I do not recall there being such a difference. I very quickly grabbed these numbers, and did not do a reboot prior to running the tests, take the average of a bunch of runs, etc. Perhaps something else was going on with these machines. Disk performance really should be very similar, given that they are running the same disk.
Here is the MBP. Recall the disk is spinning metal, not SSD in this test.
Predictably, disk performance is horrible relative to the SSD MBAs. If I recall from the tests we did yesterday when the 13" MBP had an OWC SSD, the OWC was a little faster than the SSDs in the MBAs, probably in the 15-25% range. One of the read tests was actually faster on the MBA SSDs, but not by much. These are decent SSDs I think, although I wonder how they will do as they fill up (a common problem is performance drops when SSDs fill up). My test macs were pretty empty (office and a few other apps were installed, but no VMs, large files, etc).Code:Results 188.87 System Info Xbench Version 1.3 System Version 10.6.4 (10F569) Physical RAM 4096 MB Model MacBookPro5,5 Drive Type Hitachi HTS545025B9SA02 CPU Test 179.27 GCD Loop 296.01 15.60 Mops/sec Floating Point Basic 144.45 3.43 Gflop/sec vecLib FFT 117.84 3.89 Gflop/sec Floating Point Library 283.72 49.40 Mops/sec Thread Test 205.00 Computation 344.35 6.98 Mops/sec, 4 threads Lock Contention 145.94 6.28 Mlocks/sec, 4 threads Memory Test 184.22 System 215.49 Allocate 266.22 977.66 Kalloc/sec Fill 183.81 8937.20 MB/sec Copy 211.65 4371.54 MB/sec Stream 160.87 Copy 154.16 3184.14 MB/sec Scale 150.57 3110.71 MB/sec Add 170.85 3639.38 MB/sec Triad 169.97 3636.09 MB/sec Quartz Graphics Test 187.52 Line 164.14 10.93 Klines/sec [50% alpha] Rectangle 213.03 63.60 Krects/sec [50% alpha] Circle 180.16 14.69 Kcircles/sec [50% alpha] Bezier 191.21 4.82 Kbeziers/sec [50% alpha] Text 196.23 12.28 Kchars/sec OpenGL Graphics Test 151.16 Spinning Squares 151.16 191.75 frames/sec User Interface Test 247.28 Elements 247.28 1.13 Krefresh/sec Disk Test 45.86 Sequential 102.22 Uncached Write 130.37 80.05 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Write 127.23 71.99 MB/sec [256K blocks] Uncached Read 59.35 17.37 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Read 148.11 74.44 MB/sec [256K blocks] Random 29.56 Uncached Write 10.25 1.09 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Write 79.55 25.47 MB/sec [256K blocks] Uncached Read 61.57 0.44 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Read 111.41 20.67 MB/sec [256K blocks]
For day to day work, and even modest photo work, you will not see much of a difference between the three machines (assuming an SSD in the 13" MBP). Only when doing batch processing that is CPU intensive will you notice it. I say this because most everything you do with a machine touches the disk (opening apps, accessing photos, playing music, etc.). When an SSD is (roughly) ten times faster, the machine feels completely different. CPU on the other hand is rarely pegged during routine use, and even then it is only for a second or two. Of course batch processing, video, etc., is the exception, and likely you will not be considering any of these three machines for those purposes anyway, opting for the faster i5 and i7 chips in the bigger MBPs (or iMac/Mac Pros).
Jono, maybe I will answer a little differently this time. I think of the MBAs like I think of my iPad. While I have not used them for any length of time, they seem to lend themselves to being picked up any old way (so light), using them whenever (fast wake up), and not worrying about power. Those are some of the major selling points of the iPad for me. Add the app store and I'm good!
With my MBP 15", I seem to always pick it up carefully, wrap it underneath my arm, and then get under way. And I am nearly always looking for a place to plug in the power.
Thanks so much for all the information. It's been really helpful.
I ordered mine (13" 4Gb 256Gb) on line, it said '3 days to shipping', today it said 'shipped', with estimated delivery 17th November, so I guess they must be making them on Mars!
In the end, the SD card slot was the deciding factor - not so much because of the slot itself, although of course it's useful, but so that I have two USB ports free rather than needing one for a card reader.
My 13" MBP had already found a good new home!
Terry - although I hear what you say about the 3G, it's not really so relevant in Europe, generally speaking one is using a machine like this when in a different country, where the rates for 3g data are so outrageous (currently around $5 per Mb) that one doesn't want to use it for anything but email (and the ipad's good for that). Personally at least, I'd always have an ipad with me anyway, and I can't imagine when that wouldn't be enough for the sort of stuff one would use a 3G connection.
Just this guy you know
Color me "Not Sold" for my needs -- and yes Jono, that means no Air love here . IMHO the Air should have more like a 20 hour battery -- then it at least gives me a real reason to consider it over a MBP. I realize it would weigh a bit more, but the extended time would be worth it to me.
To be honest though - I'm not expecting to see a great deal of difference between the 13" MBA and MBP - but I'll enjoy the extra screen real-estate for programming.
When I'm on a pleasure trip, then the weight does really matter (hand luggage weight is often controlled in European airlines), and it's mostly there for emergency rather than action - I may use it for a little light Aperture use, but I think it should manage that okay.
Just this guy you know
Jack, I think you are right, in that the MBP will be faster when doing serious crunching. During most of my laptop compute time, despite my IT ego, I am not doing serious crunching.
(Windows XP Windows 7 and Aperture all running at once is the way to test a machine )
Only trouble is that according to Apple, despite the fact that it's already shipped, I won't see it for a fortnight
Just this guy you know
does email -
has books to read on the beach / evening etc.
does videos on flights
backup for the camera cards (I'll usually do selections / culling on ipad)
it's also acceptable to use in bars (see previous item)
has omnifocus (from which my life is run)
. . .. would you like me to carry on?
The iphone is . . . well, a phone and email when away from hotel
The MBx is just in case a client has a crisis and I need to do something significant - or indeed go visit a client on the fly (it's happened). If the weather is ghastly and there's nothing good to do, then I might use it for Aperture etc.
The other time it gets used (mba or mbp 13") is at home in the evenings updating clients over RDP, again, a little light programming.
the 13" air has two significant advantages over the MBP:
1. the higher screen resolution - for programming where necessary
2. it's considerably lighter
Basically I can't travel without a computer which can be used for 'serious' work - even if I'm not planning to do it (if I AM planning to do it, then it's the 17")
Just this guy you know
Thanks for the performance comparison--very interesting. I'm still in the camp of the 100,000's who will/or have bought one of these. It is a tool that works great for certain types of users--including photographers. Of course, a tower on wheels with a honda generator would offer the best performance, but in my case pulling one around an NFL field to transmit images would be silly (but interesting!).
I do agree that Apple should have considered a 3G chip--if the air is designed as the ultimate portable machine for business/student types, you'd think internet everywhere would be a priority. Probably more an issue of what carrier--so a removable sim chip would have to be shoe-horned in. But the Windows guys have figured it out (i.e., the small Sony portables)
For the folks here that want adequate performance to handle large files, the Air is a non-starter. For us who shoot cameras that spit out moderate files for web posting or magazines, the Air works as a super portable machine. The Air can be strapped into a small back pack carrier and whipped out to do real time processing--it sure beat the netbooks class machines. In my case, this means having the computing power with me during shooting versus having to secure a MacBook Pro somewhere and go back and forth to it.
Movies in iPads and Airs: sure takes a lot of time to download those suckers--but at least the air can store more than one.
Last edited by fultonpics; 3rd November 2010 at 09:33.
My son left his email on for an afternoon on his phone in France . . . a friend sent him an email of photographs . . . it cost over $1000 in one afternoon - no escape. Currently the only way to make it cheaper is to have a sim card for each country you go to.
. . . . Guess who had to pay
Just this guy you know
I'm actually one of those folks who travels with an iPhone/iPad/MBA -- and all of them fit it my work briefcase.
The iPhone is, well, my phone and I use the 3G for email when I'm running around.
The iPad I use mostly for fun -- especially on trips to Asia and Europe as I really don't have to worry about battery life on long flights. I always have a movie or two to relax with and some sort of game. Since I purchased my m4/3 gear I always travel with a good digital camera now, even on pure business trips. Of late, I've been downloading my SD cards to the iPad (and putting them aside for secondary backup), using the screen to cull the obvious duds and emailing or posting picks from the road. When I get home I hook it up to my desktop machine and import directly into LR3 (both RAW & JPEG). This has worked out wonderfully -- the iPad is a great companion to my GH1/GF1.
I have the original Rev A MBA (added a Runcore 64GB SSD earlier this year) -- it is my pure work machine. No music, no movies, maybe a couple of pics of the kids. I have PS5 and Illustrator loaded to adjust figures for when I use it to give talks (it's main use besides Internet on the road). I adore this thing -- barely takes up any room in my bag, doesn't require a separate laptop bag (the bane of my existence) and with the SSD is perfectly fast. I am now thoroughly addicted to the portability and tomorrow, after nearly 3 years of daily use I will be replacing it with an 11.6" Air -- couldn't convince myself that the new 13" would be different enough to warrant the change, so now I'm going ultra portable. Going to buy a new (smaller) work bag to celebrate. OK, I admit it, I don't need an excuse to buy a new bag
Now, when I travel where shooting is a big component (e.g. meaning that I take the D700) -- I bring the 15" MBP (one of the last ones with the matte screens). Quite frankly, with my eyesight I don't do any serious graphic work on anything smaller.
So I guess my uses are very well-defined. And I think that is the key to using a machine like the Air to it's full potential -- will I be able to adjust a figure or blot on the 11.6" using PS5? Sure, no problem and it will run my keynote talks without a hitch, movies and all. It will be great for writing on an airplane -- can't wait to ditch the tray table paranoia when someone tilts back. Will I use it to do serious manipulation of 20MB D700 files? No, but I wouldn't do that on anything but a 15" anyway...
When you get your MacBook Air you may not want to install Flash if you like to run on batteries!!!!!
From the Ars Technica review:
"We did find (quite by accident) that Apple may have more reasons behind not installing Flash by default other than the stated reason of ensuring that users always have the most up-to-date version. Having Flash installed can cut battery runtime considerably—as much as 33 percent in our testing. With a handful of websites loaded in Safari, Flash-based ads kept the CPU running far more than seemed necessary, and the best time I recorded with Flash installed was just 4 hours. After deleting Flash, however, the MacBook Air ran for 6:02—with the exact same set of websites reloaded in Safari, and with static ads replacing the CPU-sucking Flash versions."
I'm very compulsive about using the "right" tool for the right job, if that requires a bit more of an outlay -- so be it. Besides, I buy my gear for the long haul.
And I'm typing this on the 11.6" -- took about a day to get used to the screen size, now I'm in love with it. It just flies -- something just *fun* about having such a small notebook running full-scale OSX with such alacrity. I have one of the pay-as-you go Virgin MyFi's always in my bag, a great combo. Caught my 16-yr-old son hefting it last night, looks like it is time to hide it away!
For those of you with new (or old) MBAs, John Gruber of DaringFireball had a real nice approach to using Flash, worth checking into as I found it better than dealing with ClickToFlash.
still using my 13" (switched it to the top end model), and it is working great. did a couple events this weekend and no problems at all. stanford has an amazing wireless network and my files just flew out of there at halftime. did an nfl game on sunday and same deal. so far so good--and VERY light.
I use a new 13" MBA as my main work computer. It runs fairly heavy numerical computations. I am just thrilled with it. I have NOT done any photo or video work with it, as I try to keep that on the home desktop monster (and the MBA has no FW, so getting very large files on and off it is problematic).