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TatsuTerror
Jan 15, 2008, 09:29 PM
Hello everyone, I'm looking into purchasing my first Apple computer at some point in the near future, and wanted your opinion...the following is my situation...

I use my computer, most of the time, for the following:


Web Surfing
Word Processing
Simple Photo Editing

However, I also use:

Photoshop
Adobe Illustrator

Would purchasing a Macbook Air with the solid state drive and maxed out specs give me sufficient power to run these programs smoothly? I know it's no MBP or Mac Pro, but as long as it'll run them relatively quickly, that's fine with me. Upon purchasing I'd take the computer to school every day, so the weight difference (and size) is what's driving me towards the MBA. What do you think is the best solution here? (Note: I'm not interested in buying a MacBook, the plastic is too cheap for my liking, and with the extra two pounds I might as well get a MBP.)



iW00t
Jan 15, 2008, 09:54 PM
A good question would be: do you have another computer as your "main" machine? The Macbook Air "may" be considered "powerful", but while it is "powerful" it is no Macbook Pro, nor is it a Macbook (non Pro) either. It is just a over glorified extra expensive small computer for people who actually need it that small.

The way it looks to me you want something small, but it is still not a need. Some people however absolutely require that.

ChadBrommer
Jan 15, 2008, 09:58 PM
I think it really comes down to what else will you be running. If you are just running photoshop I don't think there will be a problem. If you're surfing the web, listening to music, downloading content, and using photoshop, you should just buy a MBP because you won't be happy with the Air.

TatsuTerror
Jan 15, 2008, 10:08 PM
A good question would be: do you have another computer as your "main" machine? The Macbook Air "may" be considered "powerful", but while it is "powerful" it is no Macbook Pro, nor is it a Macbook (non Pro) either. It is just a over glorified extra expensive small computer for people who actually need it that small.

The way it looks to me you want something small, but it is still not a need. Some people however absolutely require that.
1) This would be my main machine. With the SSD though, I'm sure the speed would become comparable to the Macbooks. Plus, while I'm running Photoshop or Illustrator, I'm just running those programs.

2) Nobody needs a computer that is two pounds lighter...however, I think taking a computer to and around school every day (and on many plane trips) can warrant considering shedding off two (or more) pounds.

CapitalQ
Jan 15, 2008, 10:13 PM
I think it really comes down to what else will you be running. If you are just running photoshop I don't think there will be a problem. If you're surfing the web, listening to music, downloading content, and using photoshop, you should just buy a MBP because you won't be happy with the Air.

Is that a joke? The MacBook Air has TWO GIGABYTES of RAM. You will have absolutely no trouble running Illustrator, Photoshop, Safari, iTunes, downloads and a number of additional programs at the same time.

Jesus, it's like you people think the Air is some type of handicapped machine for toddlers.

ChadBrommer
Jan 15, 2008, 10:16 PM
I'm not saying that at all, but if look at it from a processing point of view, if there is going to be any real labor intensive processing, MBPs are the way to go. In addition to that, doing photoshop work on a 13" screen makes screen real estate very important. I mean, I'm not professional or anything, but working on my 21" monitor makes me want more space sometimes.

paul.b.davis
Jan 15, 2008, 10:18 PM
Yeah, I run all of those app at once on 2 gigs of ram on my 2.2 MBP and have never maxed out my RAM, you should not have a problem running one at a time

TatsuTerror
Jan 15, 2008, 10:20 PM
I'm not saying that at all, but if look at it from a processing point of view, if there is going to be any real labor intensive processing, MBPs are the way to go. In addition to that, doing photoshop work on a 13" screen makes screen real estate very important. I mean, I'm not professional or anything, but working on my 21" monitor makes me want more space sometimes.
That's where externals come in handy, with an ultra-portable with the power to be my main computer.

ChadBrommer
Jan 15, 2008, 10:27 PM
I totally agree, but if we start talking externals, that kind of totally removes the portability aspect of it. I'm speaking from a personal point of view, but if you're going to do anything photoshop wise that isn't just editing family pictures and what not, and have a little extra money(like $200), go out and buy a MBP.

TatsuTerror
Jan 15, 2008, 10:35 PM
I totally agree, but if we start talking externals, that kind of totally removes the portability aspect of it. I'm speaking from a personal point of view, but if you're going to do anything photoshop wise that isn't just editing family pictures and what not, and have a little extra money(like $200), go out and buy a MBP.
Why? Work out of the house all day with a nice light portable computer, come back and work on an external screen. It's the best of both worlds. As far as photoshop, I do graphic design with both that and illustrator.

Swift Sketcher
Jan 15, 2008, 10:35 PM
I use Photoshop and Flash al the time. They run perfectly fine. Although I do plan on updating my RAM in about a year.

ChadBrommer
Jan 15, 2008, 10:40 PM
Yeah, but I mean really, it's going to be tough to do any type of real photoshop work on the road if that's what you mean. I just can't see the merit in it unless you are like a die hard road warrior. $200 more gives you the bigger screen, 2.2Ghz Processor instead of a 1.6, 60 gigs more in the hard drive department, an optical drive, and presumably (I haven't seen the total run down) a better graphics card.

ChadBrommer
Jan 15, 2008, 10:41 PM
I did miss, however that he said it would be maxed out. But I mean, that's mad expensive unless you are on the go every waking minute of the day.

TatsuTerror
Jan 15, 2008, 10:46 PM
Yeah, but I mean really, it's going to be tough to do any type of real photoshop work on the road if that's what you mean. I just can't see the merit in it unless you are like a die hard road warrior. $200 more gives you the bigger screen, 2.2Ghz Processor instead of a 1.6, 60 gigs more in the hard drive department, an optical drive, and presumably (I haven't seen the total run down) a better graphics card.Oh...sorry, there's a misunderstanding. When I do Photoshop work I'm on a larger (20-30) inch screen most of the time. Off of that I'm usually just word processing or browsing the web.

ChadBrommer
Jan 15, 2008, 10:48 PM
Then you'd probably be fine, in fact, I don't think you'd even need the maxed out one.

TatsuTerror
Jan 15, 2008, 10:49 PM
Price aside, which do you think would make a bigger improvement, the SSD or the increased RAM?

ChadBrommer
Jan 15, 2008, 10:53 PM
I would personally go RAM, but that's just me.

iW00t
Jan 15, 2008, 11:02 PM
1) This would be my main machine. With the SSD though, I'm sure the speed would become comparable to the Macbooks. Plus, while I'm running Photoshop or Illustrator, I'm just running those programs.

2) Nobody needs a computer that is two pounds lighter...however, I think taking a computer to and around school every day (and on many plane trips) can warrant considering shedding off two (or more) pounds.

I see, you are a college student drawing a high income flying around the country attending various conferences for the many clubs and societies you join, affairs like "Aunt Jeannie's bake club".

By the way SSD makes absolutely *zero* impact on Photoshop and Illustrator, once everything is loaded into RAM it is all blazing good. If the image is big enough to need scratch disks, well the processor is going to hamper you, isn't it?

And don't forget you have no swappable batteries, which means you are going to be tettered to a wall socket. Best of both worlds indeed.

Is that a joke? The MacBook Air has TWO GIGABYTES of RAM. You will have absolutely no trouble running Illustrator, Photoshop, Safari, iTunes, downloads and a number of additional programs at the same time.

Jesus, it's like you people think the Air is some type of handicapped machine for toddlers.

It isn't, but acting as though the Macbook Air is like so powerful with its 1.6Ghz processor isn't doing you any wonders either.

That's where externals come in handy, with an ultra-portable with the power to be my main computer.

External drives? How are you going to connect them to your Macbook Air? Using a high speed USB 2.0 connection?

It doesn't even have wireless USB for crying out loud, what a cutting edge computer indeed.

Price aside, which do you think would make a bigger improvement, the SSD or the increased RAM?

RAM, definitely. It is soldered onto your logic board so whatever you order it with will be... pretty much all you are ever going to have on that machine.

Why? Work out of the house all day with a nice light portable computer, come back and work on an external screen. It's the best of both worlds. As far as photoshop, I do graphic design with both that and illustrator.

Depends on your definition. For men who are strong enough to tolerate 2 pounds more a Macbook Pro will be the best of both worlds, bar none. Your definition of "best" come with too many caveats for me to accept, sorry.

Full of Win
Jan 15, 2008, 11:04 PM
Price aside, which do you think would make a bigger improvement, the SSD or the increased RAM?

w/o any benchmarks, its hard to say. Also, it depends on what is being done with the specific app. For example, if you are encoding a H.264 file using Adobe Media Encoder, then the extra CPU would be better then memory or faster HD. If you are using dynamic link between AE and Premiere, then the memory will be better (at least that is my experience). If you use RAM preview a lot with AE, then more memory would help.

ChadBrommer
Jan 15, 2008, 11:04 PM
Thanks iW00t, for the backup and the laugh.

TatsuTerror
Jan 15, 2008, 11:16 PM
External drives? How are you going to connect them to your Macbook Air? Using a high speed USB 2.0 connection?External monitor, we were talking real estate, not data.

I see, you are a college student drawing a high income flying around the country attending various conferences for the many clubs and societies you join, affairs like "Aunt Jeannie's bake club".I'm a high school student drawing an income and have very few expenses, and fly around the country for photography. Close enough, though.

And don't forget you have no swappable batteries, which means you are going to be tettered to a wall socket. Best of both worlds indeed.
As long as it's an improvement on the 1.5 hours I get with my current computer, I'm happy.

RAM, definitely. It is soldered onto your logic board so whatever you order it with will be... pretty much all you are ever going to have on that machine.Well, just checked it out and 2gb RAM seems to be the maximum anyways. So I rephrase my question: which would be more beneficial, a SSD or 1.8ghz?

ChadBrommer
Jan 15, 2008, 11:23 PM
You know, if you didn't want someone's opinion, you shouldn't have asked the question.

TatsuTerror
Jan 15, 2008, 11:30 PM
You know, if you didn't want someone's opinion, you shouldn't have asked the question.My question is below...

Would purchasing a Macbook Air with the solid state drive and maxed out specs give me sufficient power to run these programs smoothly? I know it's no MBP or Mac Pro, but as long as it'll run them relatively quickly, that's fine with me.
...obviously the discussion has progressed, but my original question was whether those programs would run well, and it seems the answer is yes. Plus, where did I say I didn't want an opinion? I am well aware that (though I use macs often already) most others' knowledge is superior to mine. Nowhere have I disagreed, I have explained where I'm coming from though, which is important.

iW00t
Jan 15, 2008, 11:40 PM
I'm a high school student drawing an income and have very few expenses, and fly around the country for photography. Close enough, though.
As long as it's an improvement on the 1.5 hours I get with my current computer, I'm happy.
Well, just checked it out and 2gb RAM seems to be the maximum anyways. So I rephrase my question: which would be more beneficial, a SSD or 1.8ghz?

Your income better be high enough. Personally? For what Apple is giving me for the MBA I will gladly get another L lens for the money.

As for your question regarding the 1.6Ghz or the blazingly fast 1.8Ghz option... Hmmm... that's such a tough question to answer... The truth is they both suck!

Technically speaking humans have been using Photoshop since the days of 600Mhz computers so I am sure you will do fine. It is just time spent waiting. And waiting. And more waiting. But I imagine the Macbook Air is going to run applications like Aperture or even the new shareware application Pixelmator so very fast with its great GPU.

Plus, with a 64GB drive you can hold so many RAW files. All of which can be speedily backed up through a USB2.0 connection! W00t!

I am making too many assumptions about you, for one thing you might prefer to be a "green star" and shoot fully auto all the time, but I digress...

TatsuTerror
Jan 16, 2008, 12:00 AM
Plus, with a 64GB drive you can hold so many RAW files. All of which can be speedily backed up through a USB2.0 connection! W00t! I've always used USB hard drives for storing photos, so it isn't an issue for me. No need for all the sarcasm.

I am making too many assumptions about you, for one thing you might prefer to be a "green star" and shoot fully auto all the time, but I digress...Wrong again, sorry.

Justinerator
Jan 16, 2008, 12:12 AM
for $3,000, you might as well get a mbp max'd out. sacrifice a little portability in order to get features up the yin-yang. :D

TatsuTerror
Jan 16, 2008, 12:26 AM
That's a good point -- didn't think about that, I just saw the MBP as less expensive. I'm gonna play around with the customization of it and see what I can come up with!

Justinerator
Jan 16, 2008, 12:29 AM
That's a good point -- didn't think about that, I just saw the MBP as less expensive. I'm gonna play around with the customization of it and see what I can come up with!

glad to be of service ;)

GFLPraxis
Jan 16, 2008, 12:47 AM
To answer your question and cut through all the subjective opinions around here:

Yes.

None of the applications you list really utilize the graphics card, which is the area the MacBook Pro is far superior in. All of those applications work GREAT on my 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook (not Core 2). Since the Core 2 is ~10% faster, a 1.8 GHz Core 2 Duo should be equal to my 2 GHz Core Duo...

So a 1.8 GHz MacBook Air should be almost identical to my machine in performance (I too have 2 GB of RAM), except you ALSO have the solid state drive.

You'll want an external drive if you're working with any large files, and that's a pretty big disadvantage. But in terms of performance, you shouldn't have any problem, as long as you get Photoshop CS3 to get the universal binary.

Shaduu
Jan 16, 2008, 01:52 AM
Trust me, an Air will be fine. I run Photoshop and Illustrator CS3 on my 1GHz 512MB machine all the time, and yes, while it's a little sluggish at times it's hardly what I'd call unusable.

JackSYi
Jan 16, 2008, 12:47 PM
To answer your question and cut through all the subjective opinions around here:

Yes.

None of the applications you list really utilize the graphics card, which is the area the MacBook Pro is far superior in. All of those applications work GREAT on my 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook (not Core 2). Since the Core 2 is ~10% faster, a 1.8 GHz Core 2 Duo should be equal to my 2 GHz Core Duo...

So a 1.8 GHz MacBook Air should be almost identical to my machine in performance (I too have 2 GB of RAM), except you ALSO have the solid state drive.

You'll want an external drive if you're working with any large files, and that's a pretty big disadvantage. But in terms of performance, you shouldn't have any problem, as long as you get Photoshop CS3 to get the universal binary.



Trust me, an Air will be fine. I run Photoshop and Illustrator CS3 on my 1GHz 512MB machine all the time, and yes, while it's a little sluggish at times it's hardly what I'd call unusable.

Thank you for that. The most helpful and relevant answers. (That wasn't sarcasm)

khashiguana
Jan 30, 2009, 04:07 AM
I using Photoshop, illustrator, Dreamweaver, Listening to music, and surfing web at same time with my vaio (1.67 Ghz 2GB ram with shared Intel Graphic Card with Heavy Windows Vista Ultimate + Aura Theme) But when I doing some advanced photoshop it went slow. Believe me Mac OS X is too faster than Vista Ultimate and i've plan to buy MBA 1.8Ghz 120GB, Obviously MBP is better than MBA, But with Macbook i think you glad for macbook air ultra portability than 120Hz processor and more Hard Space. If you really getting mad for MBA (Like ME;)) stop thinking more and get it now. But MBP is better choice for power user!

uniforms
Jan 30, 2009, 08:08 AM
I have 2nd version of MBA with SSD. I run Photoshop and illustrator with no problems what so ever. I do miss having a big screen as I have a Power Mac G5 with two processors and 23" Cinema display. However, I travel a great deal and most of the photoshop work is done when away on the MBA. I added the new 24" LCD display the my set up and ever since then I've not turned on the G5. I love having everything I do on one machine. It may not be the fastest, but compared to machines three years ago, I'm a VERY Happy camper! I love cutting the weight I have to carry around with me and the MBA really helps. So my vote is MBA, and if you can afford it, get the display to go with it. I LOVE my MBA....oh and I had the 1st generation too, it was awesome, but not having a bigger hard drive really hurt. The new one seems faster. I love it! Buy yours!

Bluefusion
Jan 30, 2009, 08:53 AM
Your income better be high enough. Personally? For what Apple is giving me for the MBA I will gladly get another L lens for the money.

As for your question regarding the 1.6Ghz or the blazingly fast 1.8Ghz option... Hmmm... that's such a tough question to answer... The truth is they both suck!

Technically speaking humans have been using Photoshop since the days of 600Mhz computers so I am sure you will do fine. It is just time spent waiting. And waiting. And more waiting. But I imagine the Macbook Air is going to run applications like Aperture or even the new shareware application Pixelmator so very fast with its great GPU.

Plus, with a 64GB drive you can hold so many RAW files. All of which can be speedily backed up through a USB2.0 connection! W00t!

I am making too many assumptions about you, for one thing you might prefer to be a "green star" and shoot fully auto all the time, but I digress...

Listen, I use a 1.5 GHz G4. It's not fast.

ANY Intel machine is going to be OK with Photoshop. Not perfect, but stop acting like Apple is selling a totally useless product. The Air does what it is intended to do -- be small, light, and still faster than what we used a few years ago for THE EXACT SAME THINGS in a PROFESSIONAL ENVIRONMENT.

The 64 GB drive, in answer to the original poster, is a total waste. Don't tell me you're actually considering it. Hard drive space (next to memory) is THE primary resource in this day and age. I urge you to load up. 64 GB wouldn't even hold my music, much less even the past year of photos. Given how massive Leopard is, you'll have less free space when you TAKE THE MACHINE OUT OF THE BOX than you ever anticipated. Don't do that to yourself.

djrobx
Jan 31, 2009, 01:59 AM
Good lord some of you make it sound like Photoshop is just one step behind running AutoCAD to design the next Mars rover.

I ran Photoshop on a 486DX2-66 back in the day and it worked fine. It really hasn't changed THAT much since then. No, you probably don't want to launch 10 windows VMs and run Photoshop simultaneously in each, but Photoshop and a reasonable sized work surface works swimmingly on the Air.

And of course the SSD will help the overall snappiness. Disk speed is always a huge bottleneck.

As for the 64GB being small - it is, but quite workable assuming you are selective about what you put on it and archive elsewhere (external drive, server, etc.)

effer
Jan 31, 2009, 03:19 AM
If you're doing any work with PS, I can't imagine using anything less than the pro's 15" display. That would be the deciding factor for me.

If you are leaning towards the MBA, make sure you have a suitable 'home computer' or at the very least an external display.

Good luck!

mhnajjar
Jan 31, 2009, 04:51 AM
I do not see how some of you guys are able to use the CHEAP revB screens for your PS work :eek:

I will never trust their quality regardless of the small size for any PS work.

justit
Jan 31, 2009, 10:46 AM
I do not see how some of you guys are able to use the CHEAP revB screens for your PS work :eek:

I will never trust their quality regardless of the small size for any PS work.

So go get yourself a Dell:
http://thegadgetsite.blogspot.com/2009/01/dell-mini-9-better-screen-than-macbook.html

and we'll enjoy our 'cheap' MBAs. :D

mhnajjar
Jan 31, 2009, 02:58 PM
So go get yourself a Dell:
http://thegadgetsite.blogspot.com/2009/01/dell-mini-9-better-screen-than-macbook.html

and we'll enjoy our 'cheap' MBAs. :D

LOL .. I do not know if we are laughing because it is funny or because it hurts too much that we cannot even feel it.

Apple is ripping us off while we are still paying for their products. If Dell can pull off suck a screen on their lowest priced machine, then we deserve better than what Apple is offering us.

Scottsdale
Jan 31, 2009, 03:33 PM
The new MacBook Air 2.0, is an amazing Mac in an "Air" case. The MBA v1 was a slow and incapable machine of being considered powerful. The new MBA 2.0 is truly capable of being most peoples primary and sole computer.

The MBA 2.0 has the following,
SATA-II connection for drive
45 NM Penryn Core 2 Duo
Nvidia GPU Graphics
1066 MHz RAM - 2GB
Mini DisplayPort capable of driving a 30" Apple Cinema Display

The MBA v1 did not have those features.

If you are adding the SSD, I assume you're getting the 1.86 GHz CPU. That is one amazing computer. And it compares with the new MacBook. The CPU is slightly slower than the MB's, but the MBA's has 6MB of L2 cache and the MB's has only 3MB L2 cache.

With the SSD, the MBA 2.0 will fly. It is fully capable of being most peoples primary and only computer/Mac. The only limitations of the MBA 2.0 are the limited ports. So if you have multiple USB devices, you will need a USB Hub. And finally, the last limitation is the lack of optical/DVD drive. You can share another computer's drive or buy an external drive from Apple for $99 new or $79 refurbished.

It will run Photoshop, Creative Suite and other graphics programs fine.