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  1. #1
    Question 2015 MBP vs 2018 MBA?
    I have an early 2015 13" Retina MacBook Pro on baseline specs (2.7GHz i5 (not sure what gen)). I am considering updating my Mac to the newly released MacBook Air 2018 (1.6GHz i5 8th gen).

    I have read various concerns over the 2018 MBA and its specs. Many seem to be concerned about its power, and how limited it appears to be for the price. Naturally, this has made me hesitant to proceed.

    To be clear, I do not do video or photo-editing on my Mac. I do - however - multitask frequently. It is normal for me to have 20+ browser tabs open, as well as Microsoft Office applications, etc. I am a student, so qualify for the relevant Apple discount (takes new 2018 MBA down to around 1080 as opposed to 1200).

    If you have the know-how (either by being tech-savvy or owning/using both of these products) can you please provide your input and advice on whether the MBA 2018 would be a suitable replacement? Additionally, I would like to know: is the 2018 MBA likely to be noticeably weaker than my 2015 MBP (based on my usage)? Finally, would you recommend making this upgrade (based on the information I have provided)?

    I am generally opposed to the MacBook (regular) since it is more expensive and less powerful than the 2018 MBA, and I would rather the 2018 MBAir over the (2017?) MBPro (no touchbar) as the Air seems to be superior in most ways to the Pro (no touchbar) except in terms of power.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    The Pro line is designed to be more powerful both in CPU and GPU standards. The Air sacrifices the power for longer life.

    The first question is your 2015 MBP not doing everything you need it to do? If it is, why bother upgrading to an MBA which you are being limited to due to budget constraint?

    Your use case requires that you have enough RAM to power the applications and a decent enough CPU to manage the work there. The MBA can definitely handle that work with no problem. If you don't do anything more than this, then the MBA is a good option in the future. But if you start down any path of editing or whatever, the dual-core CPU and GPU aren't going to up to the job.

  3. #3
    Thank you for your response.

    In response to your question: my sister (younger) is in need of a laptop, and I've loved my 2015 MBP so know it will achieve whatever she needs it to do. If I do decide to upgrade she will receive the 2015 MBP. But of course I wouldn't want to update if I will have a worse user experience (less smooth, more stuttering, taking longer to do tasks, etc.) in the 2018 MBA.

    I am glad to hear your reassurance that the MBA will handle my daily needs. Thankfully I can't imagine I will ever need to do any sort of heavy tasks such as editing or gaming on my Mac, so I may end up upgrading after all.

  4. #4
    I have an older MBA with the 1.3Ghz CPU and 4GB of memory and my wife used to use it for a lot of browsing/netflix watching and it had no problems doing any of that. My use (developer) is significantly higher and the brief time I was forced to use it in between my MBP's was excruciating. Now my daughter uses it for her schoolwork and it perfectly fits her needs.

    If you can swing it, with your school discount, you should go for the 16GB of memory. You can stick with the 128GB of SSD (but upgrade if you can afford) and grab a large (and likely cheaper) external drive for most of your data. That way you don't fill up the internal drive with too many stuff and cause yourself issues.

  5. #5
    My current early 2015 MBPr only has 8GB of RAM - if I were to opt for 16GB RAM in the 2018 MBA, would this mean I should expect greater multitasking capabilities in the 2018 MBA over my current 2015 MBP with only 8GB? If the answer to that question is yes, then I don't think I'll need the 16GB as my current 8GB of RAM does the job ideally. I am tempted to upgrade the base storage, however Apple charges a fortune for increased storage, so perhaps external storage is best - as you suggest.

    And is 8GB in the MBA likely to mirror the multitasking performance I have currently with my 2015 MBP? Or will 8GB of RAM in the 2018 MBA seem lesser than it does in my current 2015 MBP since it has a weaker processor (1.6GHz vs 2.7GHz)?

    Thanks again for your help.

  6. #6
    If your current machine with 8GB is doing what you need, the 8GBi in the MBA will suffice. You can go to 16GB to do more, but perhaps you can spend that money on the upgrade of the SSD or go external. With my Chrome, I try to keep the tabs in check but once in a while I will open multiple ones when I'm doing some research and for that I've found a nice extension called Suspender that will suspend unused tabs after a period of inactivity. That way, they don't take up any resources and can be re-started when you need them.

    From a CPU perspective, each generation of the CPU will perform better at a lower rated speed than the previous generation one at a higher speed. So a 2.3 GHz 8th gen CPU is way faster than the a 2.8GHz 5th gen CPU.

  7. #7
    I was hoping that would be the case (with regard to CPU generations) but wasn't sure.

    Thanks for the advice!

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