View Full Version : Macbook Air 11" Ultimate Question

Feb 15, 2011, 05:48 PM
I am thinking of getting a MBA 11" ultimate or just the base model with 4gb ram. I am wondering how this machine will handle things such as web development, picture editing and very light movie editing (Dreamweaver, iphoto, iMovie, photoshop, maybe some garageband if i start fiddling with it although i'm not sure if that is CPU intensive) I know because of the cpu ghz it will not render quickly for videos, which wouldn't be an issue as i could do it overnight. As well, I have another mac. I could just work on the MBA and have the other computer render anything. I am just wondering if anyone has tried using these type of more intensive applications with rendering (say for editing home movies or ripping personal dvds) and your times with a MBA 11". I've been searching but have only found results for the MBA 13" which is a fair step up compared to the 11" CPU speed.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Feb 16, 2011, 09:38 AM
Any thoughts guys?

Feb 16, 2011, 03:32 PM
It will handle those things fine... unless you are in a hurry.

I do mostly ios/android dev on it and it works great even with several apps open in the background ( torrents, itunes, browser ). The android emulator which takes forever to load takes around 15-30 seconds longer than my i3 dell laptop but its something I can live with considering its portability.

Seems like you do a lot of graphical stuff so I think screen size more than CPU may pose a bigger problem to you than the CPU.

I have a 1.4ghz 64gb sdd and 4gb ramm.

Feb 16, 2011, 03:43 PM
An ultimate MBA might be able to handle it however if your doing lots of movie editing I would suggest getting a MBP. Not just because it has better specs, but it has a much wider variety of ports which will allow you to import/export movies much more easily. Just a thought! :)

Feb 16, 2011, 03:52 PM
It will handle those things fine... unless you are in a hurry.

I do mostly ios/android dev on it

So it runs Apple xcode ok? Don't mean to hijack, but this has been on my mind lately.

Feb 16, 2011, 03:53 PM
@sishaw erm I cant see why not.

Feb 16, 2011, 04:10 PM
I use my second gen MBA for web development and it's pretty good except for during hot days. I lie it on a freezer block to solve that issue. In the 11", the hardware should be plenty capable as long as temperatures don't scale the processor speed down.

Feb 16, 2011, 04:17 PM
I agree with wetrix, Apple have really perfected the new MBAs, especially the overheating problem, hence theyve got rid of the slits on the bottom too. Bear in mind you can always overclock it (no more than 15% to be safe) and use apps like smcFanControl to boost the fan and that should keep it cool no probs

Feb 16, 2011, 04:35 PM
So it runs Apple xcode ok? Don't mean to hijack, but this has been on my mind lately.

Yes. Without a hitch.. Except that the ipad simulator does not fit on screen and needs to be scaled down.

Feb 16, 2011, 05:35 PM
So it runs Apple xcode ok? Don't mean to hijack, but this has been on my mind lately.

For iOS development, Xcode builds faster on my MBA 11 than on a year old MBP or on an earlier Mac Pro. Xcode launches faster on the MBA as well. The SSD more than compensates for the slower CPU clock of the MBA.

The MBA can also drive a large external monitor if you want to view the iPad Simulator full size.

Feb 16, 2011, 05:46 PM
Thanks for the input guys!
Most of this stuff are side projects i would not mind getting into or moving towards slowly. Thought i'd ask all the bases for people who have or know a little more about the 11" internally than i do. And i don't expect to do a TON of movie editing. But i do have some videos from paris I know i will cut down and merge together into one at some point most likely etc. And just to fiddle. I like fiddling with things, haha.

Again thanks for the input! :)

Feb 16, 2011, 11:47 PM
Have a look at this review from Matt Gemmell.


Feb 18, 2011, 09:58 AM
thank you for his review.

Feb 18, 2011, 11:05 AM
CPU = 15% faster.

RAM = 100% more.

CPU at 100% = 15% slower.

RAM at 100% = 100,00% slower.

The RAM upgrade is more important than the CPU upgrade.

Feb 18, 2011, 11:46 AM
It should perform fine for the tasks that you have mentioned, I too do web-development and also some light imovie stuff for youtube videos mostly screencast vids, I am using the 13" 2010 Air and during iMovie and encoding stuff the machine gets very hot around 80 - 85 C and the fans kick in loud.

I prefer the Macbook Air over my of all my other task like blogging, web-development and coding but for video editing I feel comfortable more on my iMac.