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View Full Version : MBA 11" just how powerful is it?




barebackbadger8
Jan 15, 2011, 08:46 PM
sorry guys i know this as been asked many times but would like your advice!
my current laptop is a netbook (asus eeepc 1000h) and to be honest it almost does everything i want it to do.
i say almost because i only use it for itunes, web surfing, emails and video converting for my iphone but its painfully slow (i know its a netbook lol)

i was looking for a macbook pro to do all the above, but for xmas i was given a shuttle pc (new) and i now use that video converting (for my iphone)

so now im thinking a MBP is over kill for just web, itunes and email!

but im worried a MBA is just a more expensive netbook, will the MBA do web surfing, with mail open in background and listening to music??

the 11" screen doesnt bother me, im used to the 10" my asus has. also to be honest i like the small/compact size.

so basically im asking, is the MBA all that? or should i get the MBP?
its my wedding present off my wife to be, and my budget is a £1000 which in the uk gets you either of those for £700 for MBA and £850 MBP with cashback



miles01110
Jan 15, 2011, 08:52 PM
but im worried a MBA is just a more expensive netbook, will the MBA do web surfing, with mail open in background and listening to music??


Yes. Any Mac since about 2002 can do that.

barebackbadger8
Jan 15, 2011, 08:56 PM
Yes. Any Mac since about 2002 can do that.
i know most mac's can but wasn't sure what market the MBA was aimed at, so i wasn't sure if it had the power to multitask

St. G
Jan 15, 2011, 09:00 PM
BBB, you've got my new favorite username. Thank god for Top Gear teaching me that for y'all, badger = beaver.

Aatos.1
Jan 15, 2011, 09:06 PM
i know most mac's can but wasn't sure what market the MBA was aimed at, so i wasn't sure if it had the power to multitask

The MBA is an excellent choice for your stated usage.

I would caution you to put plenty of thought into the size you choose. The 13" is still very light & portable while offering a lot more viewing area thereby making for less scrolling while browsing the web. It's also easier on your eyes even if you have perfect 20/20 vision.

Personally I've had every size laptop display in one inch increments (approx) from 10.2 thru 17". For all around usage I find 13.3" ideal.

barebackbadger8
Jan 15, 2011, 09:13 PM
BBB, you've got my new favorite username. Thank god for Top Gear teaching me that for y'all, badger = beaver.
actually for me, it was an unusual way how i came about the name but as nothing to do with top gear.
we have a huge badger problem by my house, they tip the bins etc looking for food. anyway one morning they had tipped the whole streets bins and and food/rubbish etc was everywhere!
that same day i went to work and was asked for a name for my online dreamteam (football in uk/soccer in the us) and i said "**********badgers" the guy running the dream team said i couldn't have that name because children were in the dreamteam aswell. so i was thinking of another name that mean't ********** and i just thought of bareback..... hence barebackbadger!

barebackbadger8
Jan 15, 2011, 09:17 PM
The MBA is an excellent choice for your stated usage.

I would caution you to put plenty of thought into the size you choose. The 13" is still very light & portable while offering a lot more viewing area thereby making for less scrolling while browsing the web. It's also easier on your eyes even if you have perfect 20/20 vision.

Personally I've had every size laptop display in one inch increments (approx) from 10.2 thru 17". For all around usage I find 13.3" ideal.

well i thought of the MBA cuz i have no problem viewing my 10" asus (1024 x 600) its ok for me actually. not sure what the MBA resolution is but as long as 1024 x 600 is an option i should be ok

queshy
Jan 15, 2011, 09:18 PM
The 11" is quite fast, you will not be disappointed if that is your intended usage.

barebackbadger8
Jan 16, 2011, 11:53 AM
The 11" is quite fast, you will not be disappointed if that is your intended usage.
yes it is! thing is in the past i have brought well beyond my means.
thinking i would do this and do that, so i made a list of what i did over a 1 year period on my netbook
that list consisted of:
web browsing,
listen to itunes/music regular
listen to online radio via the web browser
write documents
converted 3 videos for my iphone
watched films/tv shows that i downloaded/digital copy (none in HD)
ran malwarebytes many times (lol)

all the above obviously not at the same time, the most as been web browsing, listening to online radio or itunes music, and having windows mail open

bostonte
Jan 16, 2011, 12:35 PM
I have been very happy with my 11" MBA.

At this moment I have several browser windows I'm clicking between, the usual Mail/iCal open, Spotify streaming through AirFoil to my Airport Express, AirFlick sending a video to the family TV in the other room, Handbrake doing a video conversion, Photoshop open to resize some photos, and Parallels has been running with an active XP session since I bought it (Steam, mostly).

Everything is extremely responsive.

For what you list you should not have any problem at all.

rrl
Jan 16, 2011, 12:37 PM
Powerful enough? Multi-tasking?

Dude, your netbook is probably a single-core Atom. The 11" MBA ultimate is a C2D with an excellent GPU and 4 GB of RAM.

Based on your requirements, the MBA is overkill.

barebackbadger8
Jan 16, 2011, 12:39 PM
I have been very happy with my 11" MBA.

At this moment I have several browser windows I'm clicking between, the usual Mail/iCal open, Spotify streaming through AirFoil to my Airport Express, AirFlick sending a video to the family TV in the other room, Handbrake doing a video conversion, Photoshop open to resize some photos, and Parallels has been running with an active XP session since I bought it (Steam, mostly).

Everything is extremely responsive.

For what you list you should not have any problem at all.
do you have the entry level MBA?
ive been looking do you think i should go for the 4gb/128gb ssd config and also upgrade to 1.6ghz processor?

2IS
Jan 16, 2011, 12:48 PM
Processor wise, compared to the MBP or most current PC laptops it isn't very powerful. Compared to the Eee PC you're currently using it's quite a bit more powerful, so it can very easily do what you want and then some.

Superdry
Jan 16, 2011, 01:23 PM
Hey BBB, I have just changed my portable machine from a 13" MBP 2.66ghz to the 11" Air (no upgrades) my usage is very similar to yours with the addition of light gaming and iMovie editing. My iMac does any heavy lifting required so I wanted my portable machine to be as portable as possible.

Now I must admit I havnt tried gaming or video editing yet but as for all the rest it feels faster than the MBP thanks to the SSD, go for it, you wont regret it :)

barebackbadger8
Jan 16, 2011, 01:24 PM
Processor wise, compared to the MBP or most current PC laptops it isn't very powerful. Compared to the Eee PC you're currently using it's quite a bit more powerful, so it can very easily do what you want and then some.
sorry for £800 its got to have something about it to justify the price, and not the fact its an apple computer!

Apple OC
Jan 16, 2011, 01:31 PM
the MBA or Pro would be a good choice ... I would wait for the refresh on the Pro.

As for netbooks ... they seem to all have short lifespans

barebackbadger8
Jan 16, 2011, 01:45 PM
the MBA or Pro would be a good choice ... I would wait for the refresh on the Pro.

As for netbooks ... they seem to all have short lifespans
netbooks are cr@p!
i had my MBP a week and was made redundant. luckily i got it from john lewis (a uk retailer) where they give 2 years as standard on there computers, and i was able to get most my money back on the MBP from selling it on ebay.
but needed a pc to do my job searches etc i needed a cheap laptop and for some reason i got a netbook! its ok for web browsing hence netbook. but anything else it struggles massively

i was never that keen on the MBA, but i saw one yesterday in bestbuy.
to be honest i feel in love with it. the guy was given me the usual sales patter but reading reviews (and your kind replies) on the MBA it is a pretty decent piece of kit

2IS
Jan 16, 2011, 01:46 PM
sorry for £800 its got to have something about it to justify the price, and not the fact its an apple computer!

Hey, don't kill the messanger, I didn't make the pricing. The MBA is my first Mac, i've been mainly a PC guy most of my life, but use both now so I think I have a fairly neutral opinion on the subject and here's my take on pricing...

If you're looking for pure price:performance ratio, Apple laptops fall well behind. You can easily get more performance for the same or even less money by going with a Windows laptop. (speaking specifically on processor here)

That said, pure performance isn't the only thing you're paying for with the MBA. The build quality of the MBA is pretty solid, better than any other laptop i've owned. High end Lenovo and Sony Vaio laptops are probably the closest thing you can get to it as far as pure build quality, but even they are made of plastic vs aluminum, and that costs money.

Form factor, it takes R&D to make a laptop this thin, with this much battery life while managing NOT to use a weak Atom processor. That costs money too.

SSD. Most laptops don't come with a SSD and you'll find that pricing on those that do are right in line with what the MBA costs, or perhaps even more.

I chose an Apple product this time around simply because I wanted to educate myself on the product and learn how to work my way around the OS. I'm in the IT field and I hate telling a client "i'm not sure" when I get asked a question related to Mac's. I chose the MBA specifically because it was the one that most impressed me and it's also the product that will catch the eye and help strike up a conversation with potential clients when i'm out in the field using it.

jdavtz
Jan 16, 2011, 02:36 PM
The MBA can absolutely do what you're asking of it.

You don't need to upgrade to 1.6 GHz.

You probably don't need to upgrade to 4GB RAM, as "hard-disk" (SSD) swapping is so much faster than with a traditional hard disk. But I'd upgrade this before the processor if you have £80 spare. In 2-3 years 4GB might well be minimum-spec to run lots of software, who knows?

Storage space - only you can answer. 64GB isn't much, for me. See what you currently have in use on your netbook, and what you *actually* want to be carrying around on the laptop.

barebackbadger8
Jan 16, 2011, 05:00 PM
Hey, don't kill the messanger, I didn't make the pricing. The MBA is my first Mac, i've been mainly a PC guy most of my life, but use both now so I think I have a fairly neutral opinion on the subject and here's my take on pricing...

If you're looking for pure price:performance ratio, Apple laptops fall well behind. You can easily get more performance for the same or even less money by going with a Windows laptop. (speaking specifically on processor here)

The MBA can absolutely do what you're asking of it.

You don't need to upgrade to 1.6 GHz.

You probably don't need to upgrade to 4GB RAM, as "hard-disk" (SSD) swapping is so much faster than with a traditional hard disk. But I'd upgrade this before the processor if you have £80 spare. In 2-3 years 4GB might well be minimum-spec to run lots of software, who knows?

Storage space - only you can answer. 64GB isn't much, for me. See what you currently have in use on your netbook, and what you *actually* want to be carrying around on the laptop.

2IS: i wasn't being funny buddy was just asking thats all :)
i know mac's tend to be overpriced but i feel you get what you pay for! i know what the MBP's can do, i had one. but wasn't sure about the MBA and what market it was aiming at.

jdavtz: my asus is 160gb and its only my itunes on there (23gb) all my videos/photos are stored on my external hdd!
however i think i will go for the 128gb and 4gb ram option, but i won't be getting it for a few months, so ill be hoping for a MBA refresh

on a side note when do apple refresh the macbooks? because i know apple tend to be a bit anal when it comes to announcing things on certain months

hcho3
Jan 16, 2011, 05:40 PM
Macbook air is awesome. As long as the screen is not too small with 11.6 for you, then it works fine.

barebackbadger8
Jan 17, 2011, 04:10 PM
Macbook air is awesome. As long as the screen is not too small with 11.6 for you, then it works fine.

no the screen size is more than enough, ive put up with this 10" asus for about 18months now so the 11.6" will be a godsend :D

bit freaky this, went to work and was presented with a new laptop.
its a lenovo edge 11.
its got:
intel i3 1.33ghz cpu
4gb ram
320gb HDD
W7 Pro
same as this one, but mine as 4gb http://www.misco.co.uk/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=500691&CatId=3589

now got to say this machine is proper quick, now i want to know how does the MBA compare to these specs?
does the i3 make that much difference?
i aint bothered about HDD space and the 4gb ram is what i would put in the MBA.

anyway if the MBA is anything like the lenovo (speed wise) i will be well chuffed

barebackbadger8
Jan 18, 2011, 05:33 PM
will the MBA be ok to use for like a 2-3 hour a night usage? for just basic web surfing

Ronnoco
Jan 18, 2011, 10:58 PM
no the screen size is more than enough, ive put up with this 10" asus for about 18months now so the 11.6" will be a godsend :D

bit freaky this, went to work and was presented with a new laptop.
its a lenovo edge 11.
its got:
intel i3 1.33ghz cpu
4gb ram
320gb HDD
W7 Pro
same as this one, but mine as 4gb http://www.misco.co.uk/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=500691&CatId=3589

now got to say this machine is proper quick, now i want to know how does the MBA compare to these specs?
does the i3 make that much difference?
i aint bothered about HDD space and the 4gb ram is what i would put in the MBA.

anyway if the MBA is anything like the lenovo (speed wise) i will be well chuffed
I've become so spoiled by the SSD in my MBA 11" that I am now going to upgrade my 15" i5 MBP to an SSD when the new SSD's are released in mid February...
If I had a choice between a Lenovo i3 or a MBA Core 2 Duo with SSD, I'd take the MBA/SSD in a heartbeat...the SSD makes THAT much difference...

hcho3
Jan 18, 2011, 11:01 PM
If you are trying to find the best value for your money, then apple laptops aren't for you at all...

You can buy much better laptops at 999 dollars. Apple computers costs more because they have Mac OS, better build quality and you are definitely paying more for the brand. But, apple laptops also have good resale value in the future.

If you want to get newest intel processors, then MBA ain't going to fit your style or needs. MBA ain't designed to run latest games and softwares.

2IS
Jan 18, 2011, 11:09 PM
will the MBA be ok to use for like a 2-3 hour a night usage? for just basic web surfing

Yes

Superdry
Jan 19, 2011, 01:35 AM
will the MBA be ok to use for like a 2-3 hour a night usage? for just basic web surfing

Absolutely, most of the time thats what mine is used for.

orfeas0
Jan 19, 2011, 06:36 AM
If you are trying to find the best value for your money, then apple laptops aren't for you at all...

You can buy much better laptops at 999 dollars. Apple computers costs more because they have Mac OS, better build quality and you are definitely paying more for the brand. But, apple laptops also have good resale value in the future.

If you want to get newest intel processors, then MBA ain't going to fit your style or needs. MBA ain't designed to run latest games and softwares.

i disagree. it's not all about performance. with the MBA cost, you're paying for the thin/light/small case of aluminium.
BBB, go for it, get the 11,6 MBA (no need to upgrade , neither the ram or the cpu). with the built-in SSD, core 2 duo cpu and the awsome Nvidia 330m , it will do more than enough for your use. compared to the asus eee PC, i would say its 3-4 times faster, maybe more. Just think of the boot time, it requires 10 seconds for a full boot!! im not even talking about the instant-on from sleep. im talking for a boot from scratch.
it's a quality machine for a good price (imo). you won't regret it.
and since you also do some video converting, the gpu will help quite a lot :)

barebackbadger8
Jan 19, 2011, 12:38 PM
i disagree. it's not all about performance. with the MBA cost, you're paying for the thin/light/small case of aluminium.
BBB, go for it, get the 11,6 MBA (no need to upgrade , neither the ram or the cpu). with the built-in SSD, core 2 duo cpu and the awsome Nvidia 330m , it will do more than enough for your use. compared to the asus eee PC, i would say its 3-4 times faster, maybe more. Just think of the boot time, it requires 10 seconds for a full boot!! im not even talking about the instant-on from sleep. im talking for a boot from scratch.
it's a quality machine for a good price (imo). you won't regret it.
and since you also do some video converting, the gpu will help quite a lot :)

hcho3: im not trying to find the best value for money, i have owned mac's before and i believe you get what you pay for...
if you want a ferrari don't expect to pay ford prices!

now i know there are many faster pc's/laptops compared to apple's selection but that doesn't bother me one iota!
by showing the lenovo i wasn't comparing the specs to price ratio, i just wanted to know how the MBA compared spec wise?
i know apart from the ssd on MBA and i3 core processor on lenovo are similar but processor power can be deceiving, the i3 lenovo is running W7 pro 64bit where as the MBA is a C2D but as sdd and is running mac osx.
so i wanted to know how much of a difference will that make?
i will still pay the extra £300-£500 for the mac

orfeas0: yea i have made my mind up, been down the MBP route and although i loved it and was gutted to see it go, i want something different from my laptop
so its defo the 11"MBA for me, think ill get the 128gb ssd, 1.6ghz and 4gb edition.
now it may be over kill for my needs, but money is tight for me.
so i would rather spend the extra £300 now than have to worry about specs in the future!
plus now i do my video converting (for iphone etc) on my shuttle pc so the MBA would be purely for fun things :D

Ronnoco
Jan 19, 2011, 01:39 PM
so its defo the 11"MBA for me, think ill get the 128gb ssd, 1.6ghz and 4gb edition.


I have this same version of the 11" and it is a terrific machine...couldn't be happier with my choice...you will love it...:D

Bierkameel
Jan 19, 2011, 01:55 PM
My 11" also has the max specs and I love it, it's amazing fast, I also run Parallels on it with a XP VM and installing that is no problem, running a VM an lots of other programs at the same is no problem for this machine.
It's even faster then the Dell E4310 I3 with Intel SSD I had before the macbook.

barebackbadger8
Jan 19, 2011, 03:57 PM
the more and more i read/hear about the MBA the more i want it NOW!
but got to save some pennies, then hopefully 2 months down the line ill get one!
that is unless i go to bestbuy and get it on buy now pay 12 months later :D

carreragt7
Jan 19, 2011, 03:57 PM
I have this same version of the 11" and it is a terrific machine...couldn't be happier with my choice...you will love it...:D

Ditto. Went from using a 13" 2.26ghz 8gb RAM MBP to the maxed out 11" and I really do like the 11" more, I don't notice any real difference in terms of daily usage. Haven't tried any heavier programs on it yet (CS5, etc) but I didn't get this as my main machine so it is perfect for me.

Ronnoco
Jan 20, 2011, 03:23 AM
Ditto. Went from using a 13" 2.26ghz 8gb RAM MBP to the maxed out 11" and I really do like the 11" more, I don't notice any real difference in terms of daily usage. Haven't tried any heavier programs on it yet (CS5, etc) but I didn't get this as my main machine so it is perfect for me.

I've owned many many Macs (several PowerBooks, iBooks, MacBooks and currently I own a 15" i5 MacBook Pro), and I've loved them all but I must admit that this 11" Air is by far my favorite Mac of all time...it is just so much fun to use and it is just a piece of art to look at...The gang at Cupertino hit this one out of the park IMO...destined to be a classic...

wisty
Jan 20, 2011, 04:05 AM
no the screen size is more than enough, ive put up with this 10" asus for about 18months now so the 11.6" will be a godsend :D

bit freaky this, went to work and was presented with a new laptop.
its a lenovo edge 11.
its got:
intel i3 1.33ghz cpu
4gb ram
320gb HDD
W7 Pro
same as this one, but mine as 4gb http://www.misco.co.uk/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=500691&CatId=3589

now got to say this machine is proper quick, now i want to know how does the MBA compare to these specs?
does the i3 make that much difference?
i aint bothered about HDD space and the 4gb ram is what i would put in the MBA.

anyway if the MBA is anything like the lenovo (speed wise) i will be well chuffed
I think the CPU is about 30% faster than the slowest MBA. If you are still CPU bound on a regular basis, you should use a desktop PC. $500-$1000 should get you a nice system that can utterly destroy anything portable.

Intel HD is fast - about half as fast as the MBA's 320M, but can't do OpenCL. So you can't get speed boosts in Photoshop etc.

The HDD is not SSD, so I wouldn't want it. Deathly slow, and prone to failure. Mechanical HDD is not for primary drives anymore (IMO) unless you are talking about a server or something else really specialized.

Overall, it's about as good as the MBA (better CPU, much worse GPU), but needs the HDD upgraded.

Cerano
Jan 20, 2011, 05:06 AM
I think the CPU is about 30% faster than the slowest MBA. If you are still CPU bound on a regular basis, you should use a desktop PC. $500-$1000 should get you a nice system that can utterly destroy anything portable.

Intel HD is fast - about half as fast as the MBA's 320M, but can't do OpenCL. So you can't get speed boosts in Photoshop etc.

The HDD is not SSD, so I wouldn't want it. Deathly slow, and prone to failure. Mechanical HDD is not for primary drives anymore (IMO) unless you are talking about a server or something else really specialized.

Overall, it's about as good as the MBA (better CPU, much worse GPU), but needs the HDD upgraded.

intel hd graphics isnt half as fast.... far from it

barebackbadger8
Jan 20, 2011, 01:45 PM
I think the CPU is about 30% faster than the slowest MBA. If you are still CPU bound on a regular basis, you should use a desktop PC. $500-$1000 should get you a nice system that can utterly destroy anything portable.

Intel HD is fast - about half as fast as the MBA's 320M, but can't do OpenCL. So you can't get speed boosts in Photoshop etc.

The HDD is not SSD, so I wouldn't want it. Deathly slow, and prone to failure. Mechanical HDD is not for primary drives anymore (IMO) unless you are talking about a server or something else really specialized.

Overall, it's about as good as the MBA (better CPU, much worse GPU), but needs the HDD upgraded.

intel hd graphics isnt half as fast.... far from it

nah desktop is completely out the question and i have a shuttle dual core pc by my tv anyway.

ive set my heart on the MBA now anyway, just need to raise the cash not sure i can wait till my wedding for it as my present lol
on the other hand i can guarantee as soon as i buy it, something will change on it.
i remember the mac mini i brought 2 weeks later they changed the processor in it, then when i sold that to buy the white macbook (on the saturday), they changed the processor in the macbook to a core duo from the solo if my memory serves me right the following week

C64
Jan 20, 2011, 04:31 PM
on the other hand i can guarantee as soon as i buy it, something will change on it.
i remember the mac mini i brought 2 weeks later they changed the processor in it, then when i sold that to buy the white macbook (on the saturday), they changed the processor in the macbook to a core duo from the solo if my memory serves me right the following week
It's a pretty safe bet that the MBA will not change until late this year.

barebackbadger8
Jan 20, 2011, 04:41 PM
It's a pretty safe bet that the MBA will not change until late this year.
well my wedding is in November, so i either wait till then which im a sure a new revision will be out! or get it in the next 2 months.... not sure what to do??

C64
Jan 20, 2011, 04:49 PM
well my wedding is in November, so i either wait till then which im a sure a new revision will be out! or get it in the next 2 months.... not sure what to do??
Easy! Sell your fiancé's engagement ring and enjoy the MBA for the rest of 2011 :D

barebackbadger8
Jan 20, 2011, 05:00 PM
Easy! Sell your fiancé's engagement ring and enjoy the MBA for the rest of 2011 :D
:p wish it was that easy buddy
the wedding and everything is paid for now inc our honeymoon to NY then on to Boston, so im working overtime etc to get my MBA sooner!