Friday, July 22, 2011

13-inch Apple MacBook Pro versus Sony Vaio VPCSB16FG/B

If you are looking for a well built thin-and light laptop these days, you might want to consider one of these two. The entry level 13-inch MacBook Pro or the Sony Vaio VPCSB16FG/B.

MacBook Pro

Price. Okay, lest start at price. We are looking at the higher end of the thin-and-light spectrum here. Both these laptops will set you back around 60K. The Apple MacBook Pro will set you back Php61,990 while the Sony Vaio VPCSB16FG/B will set you back Php59,990.

Sony Vaio SB
General specifications. Both these laptops come with very similar specifications. Both run on Intel Core i5-2410M processors, come with 4GB or RAM and 320GB hard drives. Sony promises six hours of battery life, while Apple promises seven.In the real world it is probably more 5.5 hours versus 7, unless you add Adobe Flash support to you web browser of the MacBook in which case battery life should be even. The MacBook has a 13.3-inch 1280 x 800 pixel resolution screen, while the Vaio has a 13.3-inch 1366 x 768 screen. Again not much there. They both come with back-lit keyboards...

So what distinguishes the two?

1) Operation System. The MacBook runs on MacOS and  the Vaio runs on Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit). If you prefer Windows over MacOS, than it is an easy choice. Get the Vaio. If you prefer MacOS, than it is an easy choice too. If you are open to both, read on.

2) Graphics. The MacBook runs on Intel's HD 3000 graphics with shared memory. The Vaio has an Intel HD 3000 graphic processor and an AMD Radeon HD 6470M and allows you to select which card to use depending on what you are doing. It also has 512MB of dedicated memory for the video.
From a review by PC World Australia The AMD Radeon HD 6470M scores 5185 points in 3DMark06, while the Intel does 3760 in the same test. The Radeon adapter also gives you DirectX 11 support. 

I know you have all seen tests with Intel HD 3000 graphics with higher benchmarks. It depends on the processor. The integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 speeds depends  on the CPU. A i7-2720QM CPU clocks the graphics chip at 650 up to 1300 MHz. In a Core i5-2410M CPU clocks the graphics chip at 650 up to 1100 MHz

3) High speed data transfer. The Vaio uses the USB 3.0 (5Mbps) while the MacBook uses the Thunderbolt Port (10Mbps). The problem is there really are not many Thunderbolt peripherals available. It is not hard to find a USB 3.0 external hard drive these days.

4) Weight. As thin as they are, Apple's MacBook Pro's are not particularly light. Apple's MacBook Pro's come in a 4.5 pounds. Considering the 13-inch MacBook Air weighs 3-pounds, I do not know why the MacBook Pro weighs so much. 

The Vaio? Well it tips the scales at 3.79 pounds. This actually makes is a ultraportable, rather than a thin-and-light.

So which is the better choice? In terms of operating systems, I am OS neutral. I use Windows and MacOS and am happy with both. These article is being written on a laptop running Fedora 15 Linux. 

The Apple will give you better battery life, the Vaio will give you the option to run faster graphics and and weighs 0.8 pounds less. Right now I prefer USB 3.0 versus Thunderbolt, but it is too early to tell which of these two becomes standard. They are both good choice, but I would go with the Vaio. Apple has to trim a few ounces from its MacBook.

Caveat: My main laptop is a 13-inch MacBook Air, which weighs 2.9 pounds. I carry my laptop a lot so weight is important to me, and I do tend to get very biased for lighter devices.


  1. I would prefer the Vaio. That is because I am very used to the environment in my line of work. But if I'm in the graphics business then I might go for the Mac. However this might be the case if I am doing my main work with another Mac. In what I am doing I work with PCs anyway.

  2. Thanks for the input. Between these too, I prefer the Vaio too.

  3. i am starting into digital photog & i noticed most pro photographers use a macbook pro. is there any reason for this esp since most ultraport (mac or PC) have almost the same specs? now that mba/mbp (cept the 15/17in) use integrated graphics, is it better i opt for PC-based w/ dedicated gpu like the aspire 4830tg (same i5-2410 bt nvidia gt540 2gb?

  4. i was at powermac megamall & the guy said that the mbp 13in price going down to p54,995. I dont know if this has anything to do with the rumor of a new mac air/mbp 15in coming out but if it is so, would getting the mbp 13in be better than the vaio S or would the dedicated graphics still be a vote for the vaio s?

  5. Unless you want some software that runs better on Mac OSX I prefer the Vaio S because it is lighter, has discrete graphics and is less expensive.


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