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View Full Version : Would a Air fit me?




Spartan_aG1
Aug 12, 2009, 03:08 AM
I'll be going to college this fall and will be dual majoring in Graphic Design and Photography. I have been thinking of a Mac to get and the 2.13/SSD MBA gets my attention.

I like the idea of the Air being extremely portable since I'll be carrying it around campus most likely all day. It seems like an advantage.

Would it be powerful enough to run the Adobe suite and Aperture lightly as well as handle a college students workload?
I'm thinking of getting the Air for my first two years of college as I'll only be taking G.E. and lower division courses then upgrading to a more powerful Mac as the workload gets tougher.

Would the MBA be fine?



GoCubsGo
Aug 12, 2009, 03:15 AM
For graphic design and photography I don't not recommend owning an Air as your only computer. I have one and it's great but it's taxed running Aperture and handling large raw files.

Spartan_aG1
Aug 12, 2009, 03:19 AM
For graphic design and photography I don't not recommend owning an Air as your only computer. I have one and it's great but it's taxed running Aperture and handling large raw files.

I don't plan on running large RAW files, probably like 15MB files at the most.

GoCubsGo
Aug 12, 2009, 03:42 AM
15 mb is a large RAW file. I'm running or have ran similar sized files using Aperture and iPhoto and it works but with Aperture alone it is taxing. Fans are blasting and all. I would say if you're serious the baseline MBP would fare better for you. Plus it's heavier but not that much heavier.

Since your major will probably require something like Photoshop and other Abobe programs, it's hard for me to support the idea of the Air being your only computer. I guess for me it would come down to the memory. Everything else is very capable. Get 4Gb of ram in there somehow and I'll sing you a differet tune.

JasG
Aug 12, 2009, 08:23 AM
I love the AIR and think it is plenty of computer for all sorts of people. But it is not the right computer for a college student, especially one doing the work that you are planning to do. I have two sons in college, one just starting, and the MACBOOK Pro is the perfect machine for them. The 13 is just a pound and a half heavier and you guys still young and strong.

You can put more memory in it. You can put a larger hard drive.

And perhaps most important of all: it is much more rugged. The AIR is wonderful, but it will have a harder take taking the kinds of use/absuse that you are going to give it day in day out at college.

The screen is also more durable on the Pro. That glass cover that so many people complain about is really really durable.

I love the AIR, but it is not for you.

Scottsdale
Aug 12, 2009, 03:19 PM
I have to disagree with a few of the others here. I am a consultant and work with many who really use the MBA intensively. I know of an Aerospace Engineer who works on a MacBook Air over 95% of the time. One of my best friends uses Final Cut and Adobe Studios intensively and often on his MBA.

If you are concerned about lightweight for ultra portability the MBA is the best.

I definitely recommend the new MBA with SSD. It is definitely powerful enough for your needs. You can get quite a bit of battery life if you turn the display brightness down.

The MBP is more powerful and has far more memory capabilities, but you will be fine with an MBA.

Good luck with your decision.

ayeying
Aug 12, 2009, 03:43 PM
I second, agree with Scottsdale here.

I work with RAW files, 10-11MB size and it runs fine in Aperture. Normally, I run this on an external monitor running at 1680x1050, clamshell mode. Fans do go blazing because its CPU/GPU intensive, but it works without any hiccups.

jdechko
Aug 12, 2009, 04:04 PM
Sorry, but I have to agree with jessica. If you're going to college, I think the expandability of the MBP will outweigh the benefits you'll see by using an Air, even if you're going to upgrade in a couple of years.

MattSepeta
Aug 12, 2009, 04:48 PM
Why on earth would you even consider getting a MBA??? Sure, you shave off some weight, and its a neat little guy, but for Graphic Design/Photo???

Get a 15" MBP and look at your photos/designs at a larger size. If you are that concerned about the weight of the computer, spend the extra bucks saved at a gym or something! At least you will have a fully competent computer then.

iBookG4user
Aug 12, 2009, 04:55 PM
Why on earth would you even consider getting a MBA??? Sure, you shave off some weight, and its a neat little guy, but for Graphic Design/Photo???

Get a 15" MBP and look at your photos/designs at a larger size. If you are that concerned about the weight of the computer, spend the extra bucks saved at a gym or something! At least you will have a fully competent computer then.

You do realize that the 15" MacBook Pro is more expensive than the MacBook Air, nay? So you wouldn't actually have any extra money to spend at the gym ;)

And I also agree with Scottsdale here, the MacBook Air is powerful enough. I use it with Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4 with the RAW files on my 40D. And while it is a bit slower than my MacBook Pro, it is perfectly useable and I would recommend it. My younger sister has the 13" MacBook Pro and I can feel a big difference between the weight and size, I much prefer my MacBook Air. So I say go for it :)

Scottsdale
Aug 12, 2009, 09:31 PM
The thing is people are so concerned about RAW POWER. 4 GB RAM is MORE. 2.66 GHz CPU is MORE. 250 GB drive is MORE.

The software you will be using will run perfectly fine on the MBA. I think the MBA is fun, fast, and is a real performer. With SSD all the normal operations will be fast. The way I make my MBA match more capabilities is by using MobileMe, an AEBS (with attached drive and printer), and a 24" LED ACD. I find that my MBA feels like a Mac Pro when connected to ACD. Also the remote access to files makes drive space limitations a non-issue.

Carefully consider the pros and cons for you. Don't just think you need more power, because the MBA is plenty powerful enough.

ayeying
Aug 12, 2009, 09:35 PM
I just noticed your name having "Spartan" in it. Just a shot in the dark, but is the college you're heading off to San Jose State University?

GoCubsGo
Aug 12, 2009, 09:38 PM
I second, agree with Scottsdale here.

I work with RAW files, 10-11MB size and it runs fine in Aperture. Normally, I run this on an external monitor running at 1680x1050, clamshell mode. Fans do go blazing because its CPU/GPU intensive, but it works without any hiccups.Really? Still feeling that now after you've reported a shutdown while running Windows 7?

entatlrg
Aug 13, 2009, 12:34 AM
geez, every time I read these debates I want to retire my 15" MBP and make my Air my main machine.

I have to say it does the job for me, vector drawing, photoshop, the usual email, surfing and 30 pages open in Firefox.

The only time I'll find the fans really want to run is when I'm plug into my 3G Internet stick for some reason, tethered to my iPhone surfing and emailing it does well.

The Air is a sweet machine, you can add a usb hub that gives you access to printer, hard drives, sd card reader, plug in an ACD and if you don't mind hearing the fans once in a while then you'll likely be really happy with Air, for sure every time you carry it for long periods you'll be pleased, 13 and 15" MBP are noticeably heavier....

Try the Air, you have 14 days, if it doesn't work exchange for a 13 or 15" MBP, post back what you end up buying and write a review please.

Good luck.

ayeying
Aug 13, 2009, 01:01 AM
Really? Still feeling that now after you've reported a shutdown while running Windows 7?

That was my fault. My reapply of the thermal paste was done wrong therefore even with a throttled CPU, the temps were able to hit 105 deg C. I have not suffered any more shutdowns in OSX or Windows (Vista and 7) under clamshell, running SETI@Home when system's idle.

I need to update my review, still working on it.

Scottsdale
Aug 13, 2009, 01:44 AM
That was my fault. My reapply of the thermal paste was done wrong therefore even with a throttled CPU, the temps were able to hit 105 deg C. I have not suffered any more shutdowns in OSX or Windows (Vista and 7) under clamshell, running SETI@Home when system's idle.

I need to update my review, still working on it.

Wasn't that while closed, running Windows, and running games full out for four hours? AND, wasn't that after removing thermal paste or something?

I wouldn't fault the MBA there...

JasG
Aug 13, 2009, 08:15 AM
I was comparing the Air to the 13 MBP for a college student, and my main concern is not the power but the durability and the cost. I love my Air; it is my only machine. But my son's 13 MBP is $500 cheaper and it is going to be much more durable for him hauling it around campus. It is much more likely to last four years of a college students rough and tumble life. For a college student, except one with exceptional computing needs (needs which will often be met by college owned machines) all the talk of power is fun but besides the point. The Air is plenty powerful, and with some ingenuity plenty expandable. But it is not as practical. Of course is money is no object, get the Air, and when it wears out beyond the coverage of Apple Care, just buy a new one.

ayeying
Aug 13, 2009, 11:05 AM
Wasn't that while closed, running Windows, and running games full out for four hours? AND, wasn't that after removing thermal paste or something?

I wouldn't fault the MBA there...

Before removing thermal paste. It had on a "blob" which seemed to have the best control of temperature when cold/slightly warm, but under hot/heavy load conditions, it holds too much heat for the little fan to radiate out into the surrounding air.

Its been on and off through several testing trying to see what works best. I guess I have a lot of time on my hands lol :D

But yes, it was running in clamshell, running windows 7 playing Call of Duty: World at War.

I'm going to update the review in a few days. I've just been a little busy with personal stuff right now

NikFinn
Aug 14, 2009, 04:35 PM
One thing to consider, if you haven't already, is that the odds are you aren't going to be able to get a new computer every year. Is 2GB of ram going to be enough in 3 years? The upgrade-ability sold me on the 13" MBP, even though I was considering the MBA.

Scottsdale
Aug 14, 2009, 08:29 PM
One thing to consider, if you haven't already, is that the odds are you aren't going to be able to get a new computer every year. Is 2GB of ram going to be enough in 3 years? The upgrade-ability sold me on the 13" MBP, even though I was considering the MBA.

That is true, but Macs do hold their value. If it ever is not up to your needs, you can sell it and upgrade. At the same time, I believe Snow Leopard is going to make the MBA last longer. Software companies, and operating systems are moving towards being smaller and more efficient to take advantage of more portable and less powerful computers just like the MacBook Air. It's not going to be a Mac Pro in three years, but I do think that it will hold up quite well.

Actually, I don't think computers have advanced all that much in the last three years. We are still in the 2 to 3 GHz range CPUs, and 2 GB is still plenty of RAM for a normal Mac user just like it was a few years ago. It's the consumers drive to WANT MORE, and the computer makers drive to sell more to make faster computers, but the truth is the software we use doesn't require more. The only software that truly needs the high end stuff is gaming, and for that the MBA isn't the wise choice for sure.

add: And if you look where CPUs are going, same clock speeds but maybe four cores instead of two for mobile Macs. And RAM probably slightly faster DDR3 to 1333MHz in the next few years. Any Mac sold in the last two years that will take advantage of Snow Leopard, like the MBA and the 9400m, will probably run fine for well over three years...

muronero
Aug 15, 2009, 01:28 AM
performances are important.... but creativity is not device dependent.
I could design a logo in illustrator 1.0 using a very old powerbook... or even by hand... whatever machine you are going to buy it will be obsolete in the future, no matter what... money, technology will come and go, but nobody can steal your knowledge.

I use an "air" for my job... some friends of mine use macbooks.... none of these are labeled as pro machines... even if we are all professionals... a macbook air, a mbp, a mb, an imac will do the job... some faster some slower.. but they will do it...

M.