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cfitz7111
Mar 11, 2010, 01:10 PM
Hi

I wanted to get macbook air owners users thoughts on my problem.

Ok
I finally have the funds to buy a "getaway" laptop, as in getaway from the wife, kids, noise, etc.

I have limited funds, around $800 or so, so I have narrowed my choices down to these three options:

Used MacBook Air (about $800 on eBay)
New White unibody MacBook ($799 at microcenter)
New HP mini 311 hackintosh ($400)

I need the machine to do basic work, web, email, iWork, MS Office, iTunes.

Any hardcore stuff I would still do on my desktop mini, iPhoto, iDVD, iMovie, etc.

I need the machine to, multi task from app to app as I fill out job applications online.

Any advice would be helpful and much appreciated.



silverblack
Mar 11, 2010, 01:38 PM
I have/had experience with 2 of the 3:

1. MBA - $800 from ebay most likely buy you the 1st gen MBA. If you read the rest of the MBA forum, the general consensus is to stay away. Reasons are low performance and hinge problem. It also has the shortest battery life of all 3.

2. Mini 311 is, IMO, the best hackintosh netbook (nicest screen, DDR3 ram, easily upgradable RAM and HDD). However, the main feature of this netbook - Nvidia ION - is NOT utilized in OS X. You cannot watch 1080p HD movie without stuttering in OS X (no problem in Windows).
Finally, hackintosh is like iPhone jailbreaking. It is not a one time effort, but a continuous battle with every Snow Leopard. You never know whether the next update will kill the support. Finally, I and many hated the trackpad. It's too smooth, and doesn't support 2-finger scrolling.

3. I don't have a Unibody Macbook, but I have the last version of the black MB. Assuming they are similar, I would recommend this choice. It will be most future-proof. It is also the most capable in performance out of the 3. The downsize is the heavier weight in comparison.

It all comes down to how much you value weight over performance. This is where we can't choose for you.

cfitz7111
Mar 11, 2010, 01:47 PM
Thanks for the heads up on the rev. A Air's.

I had heard many good things about the 311, but have never seen one in person, which is scary in itself. I thought there was a BIOS flash that will get the 311 running the Ion card, maybe I am wrong, it's been known to happen, well at least according to my wife :p

MickeyVee
Mar 11, 2010, 02:16 PM
I have an MBA Rev A but souped up with the runcore SSD. (had the hinges relaced too :)
I also have an HP311 running Windows 7.
Had the blackbook equivilant of the white MacBook. (replaced it with the latest Mini)

Of all three, the MBA is the coolest and is quite fast with the Runcore SSD.
The Mac Mini is the workhorse.

My getaway machine actually is the HP 311. Smaller than the MBA, it fits in a leather zipped folio for travelling (the MBA doesn't) and Windows 7 is not so bad. Use it during my train commute and for surfing in front of the TV. It networks nicely with the Mac's and I transfer files all of the time. Hook it up to my main audio system via usb to a DAC and it's wonderful for iTunes. HDMI output is great to my Sharp 46 HD TV. For what you want, I wouldn't hackintosh it.

If you want to stick to the Mac OS, get the white book. If you don't mind Windows 7, get the HP 311.

Scottsdale
Mar 11, 2010, 05:09 PM
If you have to run OS X, I would say the new WhiteBook is by far your best option of those options you listed. The WhiteBook was just updated. It actually has a bigger HDD than the 13" MBP. It also has the 7-hour battery, nice display, Nvidia GPU, and now plastic unibody form factor.

I would make sure your MicroCenter option is the new "unibody" WhiteBook. If it's not, definitely look into paying $100 more and getting the new WhiteBook. The battery alone is worth it, but the design, display, and trackpad updates are great too. The new MB is by far the best value from any current Mac notebook right now. I actually think it looks better than the aluminum 13" MBP (I love the all white look instead of the ugly black keys and black bezel from Hell). If the MBA had aluminum capped keys, instead of these horrific black keys, it would be the most beautiful Mac ever!

I wouldn't buy an original MBA unless you could get it for around $400 or less. At $400, it could be worthy. A penny more than that just doesn't make up for all of its problems... in my opinion. I believe the value has to be compared against newer MBAs. If you can find a rev B for $800, that's a completely different story. I wouldn't buy a netbook over an original MBA. The original MBA has a full-sized keyboard, 13" display, and real OS X. I have a friend who just bought a rev B 1.6 GHz with 128 GB SSD for $650. In general, people pay too much for original MBA's because they don't realize how inferior they are. Since the newer MBA's are widely differentiated from the original MBAs, sometimes people sell 1.6 GHz rev B MBAs very cheaply not knowing their true value and compare them to the original MBAs. The MBA option definitely requires some patience to find the right rev B MBA for the lowest price.

Consider what $500 can buy you, an iPad. I think that will do most of what you want. Wouldn't multi-task, but you could do one thing at a time on it. Microsoft Office will be there as well as iWork. However, missing Flash would suck... but if you have a Mac mini, do you really need Flash? Yes, it would suck to not be able to browse to video sites and watch TV on Hulu. The iPad missing Flash is really going to ruin its potential, in my opinion. But paying for content or converting DVDs to iTunes would provide optimal viewing on an IPS display.

Also consider a PC ultraportable. There is another thread just made of the Dell V13. It's the size of the Adamo (weighs around 3.25 lb), and it sells brand new for $449 with Ubuntu or $549 with Windows 7, Core Solo CPU, 2 GB RAM, 250 GB HDD, and even 13" display (again beats out the netbook).

I would definitely select a new WhiteBook if I had to run OS X. A netbook is going to provide far inferior Hackintosh, display, typing, and performance capabilities. The iPad would be a decent choice if you didn't care about loss of Flash and lack of physical keyboard. A PC ultraportable could be a wise choice - Windows 7 is actually quite amazing, and I would actually consider a V13 if I wanted to save money or didn't want to worry about the kids destroying it or it being stolen or whatever. If you could somehow get a rev B MBA, in your price range, that is going to be your most rewarding experience for extreme portability yet MB-like function and performance.

Good luck whatever you chose.

anwarsumar
Mar 27, 2010, 02:27 AM
New White unibody MacBook will be the best option. I must tell you, it impresses me every time i use it
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ddd269
Mar 27, 2010, 11:19 AM
How about this one...

Refurb 13" MBP from Apple $999 (http://store.apple.com/us/product/FB990LL/A?mco=MTA4MzIzMzA)

You can stretch couple of hundred dollars for a waaay better upgrade, can't ya? ;) It will be a great machine to have... small (relatively) and not that much heavier than the MBA (relatively).

I personally don't like the netbooks because of their limits. Screen size, resolution, etc. I think a 13" notebook is a good balance in portability and usability. If $200 is a stretch, then the Macbook is a good choice.

I say, spend it! Don't tell you wife I said that.