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DaDalle
Mar 11, 2012, 03:17 AM
Hi there,

I currently own a 27" iMac from 2009 with 3,06 GHz C2D. And now I'm thinking of buying a new Macbook Air 11" i7. I've read several reviews and also compared benchmarks of booth computers. And it seems like the MBA is outperforming my iMac.

So I was wondering if I still need my iMac, since the MBA does better in performance. I would use the MBA along with a Display so the 11" would just work fine for me.

What do you think? Is it advisable to use a MBA as only computer? Or should I keep my iMac?

Cheers Dalle



miles01110
Mar 11, 2012, 03:20 AM
What do you think? Is it advisable to use a MBA as only computer?
There's no reason to advise against it, unless you have specific needs for a more powerful machine.

drsox
Mar 11, 2012, 03:41 AM
I did what you are thinking to do.
I don't game, so no need for a big GPU but what I do miss are :
1. Fast file transfers. Moving DVD .iso files around a net is very slow on the MBA. Max data rates with a USB-Gigabit LAN adaptor are no better then 18MBps. Max WiFi rates are 12MBps. My previous Intel PCIe NIC used to achieve 90+MBps.
2. DVD recoding. Converting formats is very slow on the MBA and IMO overtaxes the CPU.

The MBA is brilliant as a laptop and more useable - better than the iPad that I also have. To fix the above problems I'm looking at getting a second MacBook (the new Pro possibly - if it has a Gb NIC) to act as a "mostly static desktop" unit. I thought about a TBD but it doesn't fix the CPU horsepower issue.

DaDalle
Mar 11, 2012, 08:10 AM
But is the CPU really that bad? I thought it'll boost up to 2.9 GHz if it needs to? That wouldn't be a huge difference between my iMac which hast 3,06 GHz.

Wel yeah, the graphics might be a problem. But I don't game either so I could live with that. Who knows, maybe the next generation has better graphics.

drsox
Mar 11, 2012, 08:19 AM
Depends entirely on what you want to do. For everyday work (spreadsheets, internet, email, photo fiddling) it's fine. To transcode a 40GB dvd file from .iso to .mkv would have taken 2 hours. Too long. Plus the fan was working at 4000+ rpm.

The best thing is the SSD. If you have never used a SSD, then it's a game changer. All my PCs for the past 4 years have had SSDs for system drives - never go back.

DollaTwentyFive
Mar 11, 2012, 08:39 AM
I did what you are considering. Had the 11" MBA and a mid 2010 21.5" iMac. I sold the iMac and bought a TBD. Loving that I just have one computer so I'm not always trying to synchronize files.

I'm not a gamer and not a super power user. I just do basic stuff like surfing, email, scanning photos, documents and spreadsheets, etc... No photo or video editing. So far I have had zero problems.

Depending on what your needs are, I say go for it.

DaDalle
Mar 11, 2012, 08:44 AM
Sounds great!

Today I've found someone who offers me 900 for my iMac. I can get the TBD for about 920 due to student discount. This sounds just fine for me.

I think I'll go for it.

Thanks for the replies :)

Boyd01
Mar 11, 2012, 09:22 AM
I replaced my dying 2008 15" MBP (2.4ghz C2D) with a 13" MBA and am finding it faster at everything. I also used an iMac with specs the same as yours for a lot of video editing over a period of years and the MBA also feels faster than that.

I'm surprised about the comment above regarding compressing files for DVD's, but he doesn't say what model Mac he's using for comparison. I did one quick test where I exported a 140MB XDCAM full HD clip to an 852x480 h.264 clip. It took my 4 year old MBP 72 seconds while the MBA did it in 42 sec. I did another quick test in Photoshop with a 12,000x12,000 pixel file and the Liquify filter took 104 seconds on the old MBP but only 26 seconds on the MBA.

So the MBA is currently my only Mac, and after about three weeks I'm finding that it meets all my needs fine. I use an old 23" Apple Cinema Display as a monitor at home.

Coming from the older iMac, I'm pretty sure you will find that everything is faster on the MBA, but things that involve disk access will be dramatically faster (like a factor of 4x or 5x).

DenniZ
Mar 11, 2012, 07:19 PM
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Sounds great!

Today I've found someone who offers me 900 for my iMac. I can get the TBD for about 920 due to student discount. This sounds just fine for me.

I think I'll go for it.

Thanks for the replies :)

Why don't you keep your iMac as a backup and use its monitor as an external, I'm pretty sure you can use it as an external monitor as well?

Instead of getting a tbd

Ps I also use a 11 inch MacBook air as my main computer and it does most things fine day to day wise, plays half life 2 well too.

beyondthesmile
Mar 11, 2012, 11:21 PM
I have a 13" MBP. I love it, but plan to get an 11" MBA as a secondary/work/travel computer. I get the feeling that I may end up loving it and using it just as much, if not more, than my MBP.

I think it depends on your uses. Many people I know use an MBA 13" as their only laptop and are very happy with it.

buddybd
Mar 11, 2012, 11:47 PM
What you MIGHT regret is the screen space. Going from 27" to all the way down to 11" is going to be a huge change for you.

I personally won't be able to manage that's why I have a desktop PC as well, but other than that the MBA is powerful enough for everyday tasks.

gentlefury
Mar 11, 2012, 11:51 PM
I had to use my MBA as my primary computer for a week while my Mac Pro was bring repaired. I plugged it into my monitor, plugged in my keyboard and mouse and closed the display. Honestly, I didn't really notice a difference at all.

kulimer
Mar 11, 2012, 11:57 PM
I've researched half a year before buying my MBA 13". It is my ONLY computer, no problem at all. I spent about 12 hours with my MBA, no kidding. I do research, programming, emails...

I do not recommend the 11" to anyone unless you are traveling to a different place daily. Even then.

Bigger screen size is easier to the eyes. Some on this forum also complained about the poor battery life in 11".

The MBA is the most portable laptop out there (as of the time I am typing), Having a 13" instead of 11" of the most portable really shouldn't be a complaint for you.

Whether you get the 11" or 13", I do not make a penny, but I do want you to get the best one.

gentlefury
Mar 11, 2012, 11:59 PM
I've researched half a year before buying my MBA 13". I do not recommend the 11" to anyone unless you are traveling to a different place daily. Even then.

Bigger screen size is easier to the eyes. Some on this forum also complained about the poor battery life in 11".

The MBA is the most portable laptop out there, Having a 13" instead of 11" of the really don't give you any trouble.

I don't make a penny whether you get the 11" or 13", but I do want you to get the best one.

I have the 11" and use it for 10 hours a day every day. I would recommend it to anyone!

kulimer
Mar 12, 2012, 12:09 AM
I have the 11" and use it for 10 hours a day every day. I would recommend it to anyone!

Now what do you use it for? watching movies?

HstephenG
Mar 12, 2012, 12:17 AM
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Why don't you keep your iMac as a backup and use its monitor as an external, I'm pretty sure you can use it as an external monitor as well?

Instead of getting a tbd

Ps I also use a 11 inch MacBook air as my main computer and it does most things fine day to day wise, plays half life 2 well too.

I agree with the above! Even if you cannot use the iMac as an external, it should be going fine for a good while yet if your uses are modest. Sounds like you will not really be saving money by selling either unless you go with a cheaper display option.

gentlefury
Mar 12, 2012, 12:24 AM
Now what do you use it for? watching movies?

I use it for everything. I have even used it on a commercial. Plugged into a 24" display.

kulimer
Mar 12, 2012, 12:34 AM
I use it for everything. I have even used it on a commercial. Plugged into a 24" display.

There's no such thing as everything. Maybe you can tell us an example of your usage on a daily basis.

gentlefury
Mar 12, 2012, 12:45 AM
There's no such thing as everything. Maybe you can tell us an example of your usage on a daily basis.

On a regular daily basis I have Safari, Skype, Messages, XBMC, Mail, and Calendar open at all times. I also take notes in meetings, and on my break occasionally play games.

A few months ago the studio I was working with didn't have a piece of software I needed....I own it and had it on my MBA...I was able to work with full 2k plates in real time and MANY layers of vectors with no slowdown at 1920x1200 on a 24" display. I also did some 3D camera tracking with no problem.

All of these are things I do on my Mac Pro.

froa
Mar 12, 2012, 12:48 AM
If you are feeling good with unplugging & plugging the cables couple of times a day, Macbook Air + External Drives + External Monitor just fits most of your needs.
Otherwise, get a iMac +Air group.

JHUFrank
Mar 12, 2012, 01:10 AM
MBA is my only personal computer. I do have a workstation at my job. Most of the time when I need to use it I RDP or VNC to the thing from my MBA. When I am in my office, I plug my MBA into a 24' Samsung monitor and use a decent logitech wireless kb and mouse.

DaDalle
Mar 12, 2012, 02:19 AM
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Why don't you keep your iMac as a backup and use its monitor as an external, I'm pretty sure you can use it as an external monitor as well?

Instead of getting a tbd

Ps I also use a 11 inch MacBook air as my main computer and it does most things fine day to day wise, plays half life 2 well too.

I think I'll do this then.
Is there any way to access the USB Ports of my iMac, while I'm in Target Display Mode? (from the MBA)

Medic278
Mar 12, 2012, 03:37 AM
The MBA can feasibly replace you desktop, it is a very capable machine. I recommend you get the larger SSD so you'll have more storage space onboard, or get an external hard drive. Pick up an optical drive if needed and bang your in business. The current MBA will be leaps and bounds better than your C2D iMac, its very fast and very very powerful and will serve you very well. Since getting my MBP and MBA I rarely use my 2011 iMac, which is a shame but a side effect of getting an Apple notebook. Happy shopping!

Moccasin
Mar 12, 2012, 03:48 AM
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I've had the 11" MBA as my main computer for a year and it suits me fine. I am however looking at a desktop solution for editing photos and stuff like that.

Aim not sure yet whether to get a mac mini and display or an iMac. Being a 2010 MBA, it doesn't have Thunderbolt so that is discouraging me from a TB display which allows me to get a mac mini if I need more power

thekev
Mar 12, 2012, 04:04 AM
But is the CPU really that bad? I thought it'll boost up to 2.9 GHz if it needs to? That wouldn't be a huge difference between my iMac which hast 3,06 GHz.

Wel yeah, the graphics might be a problem. But I don't game either so I could live with that. Who knows, maybe the next generation has better graphics.

This statement suggests you're unfamiliar with modern cpus. Turbo boost has limitations. It's not just 2.9ghz for a sustained period of time at will. The imac is obviously clocked higher but with an older architecture. You can't just pick out whichever is larger.

I'm surprised you want to go from a 27" display to an 11". Have you spent much time with a small laptop display? Did you require portability? Personally I'd suggest the 13" especially as it bumps you to 4GB of ram which is the least i'd suggest specifically under Lion. I know I'll get comments that the ssd negates this, but ram is still superior, and the 13" display is much easier to look at for extended periods of time in my opinion.

DaDalle
Mar 12, 2012, 06:10 AM
This statement suggests you're unfamiliar with modern cpus. Turbo boost has limitations. It's not just 2.9ghz for a sustained period of time at will. The imac is obviously clocked higher but with an older architecture. You can't just pick out whichever is larger.

I'm surprised you want to go from a 27" display to an 11". Have you spent much time with a small laptop display? Did you require portability? Personally I'd suggest the 13" especially as it bumps you to 4GB of ram which is the least i'd suggest specifically under Lion. I know I'll get comments that the ssd negates this, but ram is still superior, and the 13" display is much easier to look at for extended periods of time in my opinion.

I would use the Air with an Secondary Monitor which I would use if I'm at home, so the 11" would be no problem for me.

Scepticalscribe
Mar 12, 2012, 05:47 PM
My 13" MBA is my only computer since I sold my 2008 15" MBP a few months ago, and I'm perfectly happy with it. Granted, I'm not a gamer, but I am online, and writing for hours almost every day, and I find the MBA excellent.

gentlefury
Mar 12, 2012, 06:18 PM
This statement suggests you're unfamiliar with modern cpus. Turbo boost has limitations. It's not just 2.9ghz for a sustained period of time at will. The imac is obviously clocked higher but with an older architecture. You can't just pick out whichever is larger.

I'm surprised you want to go from a 27" display to an 11". Have you spent much time with a small laptop display? Did you require portability? Personally I'd suggest the 13" especially as it bumps you to 4GB of ram which is the least i'd suggest specifically under Lion. I know I'll get comments that the ssd negates this, but ram is still superior, and the 13" display is much easier to look at for extended periods of time in my opinion.

I have 4GB in my 11"

FieldingMellish
Mar 12, 2012, 06:52 PM
I've been using my 11 more and more.

thekev
Mar 12, 2012, 08:14 PM
I have 4GB in my 11"

The base 11" model is 2GB which was why I mentioned it. It's also pretty tight on drive space. The upgraded 11" model has 4GB instead and a 128GB ssd. It's the base one that I find really tight, but 4GB of ram is starting to feel kind of slim to me. To clarify I meant 4GB is the least I'd go with in any system today even for casual use.

gentlefury
Mar 12, 2012, 08:57 PM
The base 11" model is 2GB which was why I mentioned it. It's also pretty tight on drive space. The upgraded 11" model has 4GB instead and a 128GB ssd. It's the base one that I find really tight, but 4GB of ram is starting to feel kind of slim to me. To clarify I meant 4GB is the least I'd go with in any system today even for casual use.

But the good thing is, 4gb x 128GB is available in the apple store and best buy.

Snarlyow
Mar 15, 2012, 02:25 PM
To my knowledge, one can't upgrade RAM in MacBook Air