View Full Version : Advice for buying/setting up MBA
Feb 16, 2011, 12:30 PM
I want to get an 11" MBA as a complement to my iMac to use when I want to escape from the home office and for (non-business) travelling. Basically I think I'd be using it for surfing the 'net and word processing, though I also want to iTunes and iPhoto libraries available. I've never owned a laptop before so I apologize if the following questions are obvious to experienced users.
1. How much RAM and storage space should I be looking at? Would the 2GB/64GB suffice or should I go for 4/128? Money is definitely an issue.
2. Will I need the external Superdrive?
3. Should I get the AppleCare?
4. What's the easiest way to transfer my current files from my iMac? I do have Time Machine set up and used it last time when switching Macs but I don't want all the stuff on my iMac going to the MBA.
5. How do I keep the iTunes library updated when I get new content? Is that where Home sharing comes in?
6. If there any point in waiting for the rumoured Sandy Bridge update or just go for the current model?
Many thanks in advance—I really do appreciate your help.:D
Feb 16, 2011, 01:06 PM
I can't help with all your questions, but in regards to the AppleCare I would at least wait until your standard warranty has almost expired (don't wait too long either of course!). Considering you're going to carry your laptop around there is a chance it might get stolen or damaged and AppleCare won't cover either. If that happens in the first year you would have bought the AppleCare for nothing and you can add it at any time until the original warranty expires anyway.
After that it would probably a good idea considering there's an SSD in the MBA and it might wear out, especially if you read/write large amounts of data. Also a battery replacement is very hard to do yourself with these.
Superdrive: Probably don't need it unless you desperately want to install something on the go, burn discs or watch DVD's. For both things (except the disc burning) there's usb drives as an alternative too. At home you can just use your iMac.
Transferring files: Considering you're not going to transfer everything it's probably best to copy it manually although that won't keep it up to date. I have no experience with music syncing (I don't have much music at all).
128GB SSD would probably be handy if you want to carry lots of music and photos with you. It depends how much. Consider that 64 is not a lot and OS X takes up more than 10GB (and the sleep image takes up either 2GB or 4GB on the SSD depending on your choice of RAM).
2GB RAM would be advisable considering it's impossible upgrade to 4GB in the future so if you ever do need it you're stuck. But I think what you're planning to do won't absolutely require 4GB.
Sandy Bridge: You can always get something better if you wait long enough. I agree with all those that always say: If you need it, buy it now (unless a release is really imminent such as with the MBP at the moment).
If you don't need ultra-portability you could also wait and see what the next-gen MBP turns out like, it is rumored to be lighter and more MacBook Air-like, and according to the rumors it won't be more than a few weeks.
Feb 16, 2011, 01:10 PM
It really depends on what you plan on using the computer for. To start, if money is an issue, you probably shouldn't even be looking at an MBA because the bang for buck is much higher in the MBPs. That being said, since you already have an iMac, I would go with the same model I have (11" base upgraded to 4 GB RAM).
Since you have an iMac to handle all your heavier tasks, a lower end MBA would be able to handle browsing and basic tasks just fine. I recommend the 4 GB RAM simply because you might want to future proof it, so that it's at least guaranteed to run smoothly on Lion.
Applecare is really up to you. For the MBA, Applecare comes to around 25% of the cost. If you plan on keeping the MBA for a while, you should probably buy it. Otherwise, Applecare might also help your resale value.
Feb 19, 2011, 10:37 AM
Just bought a 13" MBA Ultimate to complement my old legacy PC and it has worked out great. My purposes are similar to yours with regards to potable word processing, photos, and music - a great choice!