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gan6660
May 17, 2010, 09:12 PM
Hi, I was wondering the opinion of the MBA owners on how the MBA can handle the tasks I do.

1. windows 7 ultimate and bluray playback

2. play videos on tv through mini-displayport to hdmi

3. handbrake

4. youtube and other flash videos


Thanks in advance for your help.



halledise
May 17, 2010, 09:36 PM
Hi, I was wondering the opinion of the MBA owners on how the MBA can handle the tasks I do.

1. windows 7 ultimate and bluray playback

2. play videos on tv through mini-displayport to hdmi

3. handbrake

4. youtube and other flash videos


Thanks in advance for your help.

have a look-see this thread - it should answer most of your queries for you:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=734123

Scottsdale
May 17, 2010, 09:45 PM
Windows 7 on my v 2,1 MBA is by far better than OS X on my MBA. The h.264 acceleration is much better in Windows 7. In addition, the Nvidia 9400m drivers are much better and more performance driven in Windows. Just need to manually update the drivers via Windows Update or Nvidia's own drivers on its site.

I haven't played videos from MDP to HDMI. I cannot comment there. However, I know there's a third-party connector available and now audio seems to be going through somehow because of latest updates. But you shouldn't rely on me for this. What I can say is the MBA does an amazing job of playing movies and HD videos on my 24" LED ACD through Mini DisplayPort.

Handbrake works great. I have always used handbrake to move DVD movies to computers for my kids.

YouTube is good but not great if HD. The problem currently lies in the browser. On Windows 7, the MBA is stunning for all HD and Flash video playback. In OS X, most apps do not have access to APIs needed for advanced acceleration and h.264 usage. This will change over time, as Apple finally offered API access to h.264 on the Nvidia GPUs. However, as of right now it pretty much doesn't have that access in most apps. However, when running HD videos outside of a browser, the HD playback is amazing. Just as good as could be. Always always use Windows 7 when wanting to do entertainment focused computing. Flash can be problematic, but it does better with the latest Mac version that's finally getting h.264 access via API from Apple.

Unfortunately Apple just hasn't given us the drivers to do equivalent OpenGL and GPU acceleration in OS X. It is a problem on ALL OS X computers not just the MBA. Notice on MBPs that the CPU usage is 120% or higher for anything intensive. At the same time, OS X 10.6.3 improved OpenGL by almost a full 100% from 10.6.2. When Apple "upgraded" to Snow Leopard, we lost about 30% of OpenGL capabilities. Apple redeemed itself with 10.6.3 update. Supposedly Apple is going further with 10.6.4. However, it just doesn't have the mindset to give us complete performance capabilities in OS X. I wonder if it's about writing "safe" drivers and not providing low-level API access to ensure stability over performance and capabilities?

It is odd, but Windows 7 provides at least triple the graphics performance from the same Macs that don't fair well in OS X. Windows is the place to be for graphical entertainment like games or HD video playback.

If we get an MBA update tomorrow, or at WWDC in two weeks, we could expect up to 80% better performance from the 320m and maybe better CPU performance if the CPU is de-throttled. There's always the possibility to get a Core series CPU and dedicated GPU also which could change the game further for the MBA. It is also possible that we would get an MBA with a Core series CPU and be STUCK with Intel's GMA HD for graphics. If that happens we will all be better off in Windows all the time or just sticking with the C2D Nvidia MBA we already have.

Good luck.

gan6660
May 18, 2010, 02:25 PM
Thanks both of you. It definetly seems like the MBA would be fine for my needs. After I got my iPad I want a super portable computer and the MBA seems like the right choice!

DiamondGCoupe
May 18, 2010, 04:32 PM
NO get a MBP, the Air can barely handle Parallels, videos on YouTube will start to lag after about 5 minutes (same with flash) can't play hardly any games for more than ~10 minutes at a time (have to turn it off and let it "cool down". Unless you are only going to be browsing the web and writing a paper, the MBA is not for you. New MBP can't be beat not to mention TWICE the battery life and RAM for the same price. Get SSD either way.

mtraven
May 18, 2010, 04:46 PM
ive got an original MBA(revA) and use handbrake ALOT --it works, however the unit gets VERY hot. My MBP on the other hand, processes video much faster and doesn't get hot. is like comparing a porche & a civic, sure they will both go 90mph, but the civic is being pushed a lot harder than the porsche and will ultimately fail first.

I cannot comment specially on your video needs(blueray and such) but I will tell you that when I watch a lot of movies or connect to a large external display, the system starts to lag over not that long of a time.

the air is a great portable computer, I love mine, but for the types of things you are doing, I think you are better off with a pro...

halledise
May 18, 2010, 06:57 PM
the Air is fine for your needs despite the naysayers - yet if you don't mind the additional bulk and weight then by all means go for the MBPro as it is somewhat up spec'd from the Air

DiamondGCoupe
May 19, 2010, 07:54 AM
the Air is fine for your needs despite the naysayers - yet if you don't mind the additional bulk and weight then by all means go for the MBPro as it is somewhat up spec'd from the Air

Hey I love my Air but it's not the best when it comes to performance. At the time I only bought it for law school and had an additional laptop. But due to it's portability I pretty much only use it now. For someone who is buying a laptop and this will be there only computer (or even only laptop) and are planning to do anything more than browse the web and write papers, go with MBP. 1.5 pds and 10x performance, 2x battery life same $$. I doubt it's an issue with the difference in RAM. Computer works solid when it's "cool" but after heavy usage, it must be turned off for ~10 minutes to cool down. I'm sorry but video lag from YouTube in less than the max amount of video time (10 minutes) is ridiculous! Not to mention Steam is avail for Mac now so that adds gaming, never would have went MBA. Heck I'm trying to sell mine to put some money towards a new MBP.

Les Kern
May 19, 2010, 08:22 AM
The Air is very nice for what it can do and does, but it's at the very lowest as far as specs for what you want to do, and performance will be "iffy".
If you decide to get it know that you will eventually be disappointed, maybe even angry. I have two of the things so I speak from experience. IMHO, get the Pro.

flynz4
May 19, 2010, 09:44 AM
Hi, I was wondering the opinion of the MBA owners on how the MBA can handle the tasks I do.

1. windows 7 ultimate and bluray playback

2. play videos on tv through mini-displayport to hdmi

3. handbrake

4. youtube and other flash videos


Thanks in advance for your help.

Your signature line states that you own an iMac. I guess my advice would revolve around your use of that machine.

With a powerful enough desktop system, do you really desire to be transcoding video with Handbrake, or will that be performed on iMac? Also... do you really want Windows 7, and if so, will be be via Parallels or Fusion?

i have an iMac and everything of significance performance wise is done on that machine. An example is handbrake video transcoding. Because of that, I find the MBA to be best laptop that I have ever owned because of its advance portability. However, if you do not have sufficient access to the iMac, requiring the MBA to be your single machine, than the decision gets tougher, and you might want to consider the MBP.

In my case:

27" i7 2TB iMac
MBA rev C w/SSD
64GB iPad 3G
32GB iPhone 3GS

Is a near perfect combination... allowing me to choose the best "tool" for each job that I want to do.

/Jim

Scottsdale
May 19, 2010, 11:53 AM
The thing everyone that bashes the MBA is missing the fact that the OP asked about Windows 7 on the MBA. Windows 7 is unbelievable on the MBA. I am running Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate and it's unreal how capable this MBA is with the correct drivers and API afforded by Microsoft with Windows. Windows allows all the access to make Flash, HD videplayback, and OpenGL fly on Windows. Nvidia's drivers for Windows are at least 4X better driven for performance for graphics than Apple's ****** attempt at writing drivers for Nvidia's GPUs.

Let's face it Apple isn't good at graphics and it's not because the Nvidia 9400m isn't capable. This GPU is amazingly good for an integrated GPU in use since October 2008. What people don't realize when they're running OS X is that Nvidia doesn't write the drivers for the 9400m on OS X. Apple writes the drivers, and Apple is notoriously horrible at writing drivers for graphics... I don't know if it's going for "safe and stable" or if they're just plain stupid or what? 10.6.3 was a huge performance boost because they have written better OpenGL drivers for the 9400m.

In all fairness, Apple is starting to care about the Mac OS X users a little more (apparently its focus is on iPhone OS 4 so it's going to let others fix its OS X by not being so over-controlling and realizing it isn't good at this). With recent low-level API access given to third-party developers like Adobe for Flash and HD Applications by other companies, h.264 acceleration should get infinitely better. We can only hope that other third party applications start using OpenCL to help take advantage of the technology, and Apple learns from the h.264 access that its users will benefit from having more performance driven systems.

At the end of the day, I still run Flash and HD applications in Windows with 25% of the CPU usage required in OS X... so there's a long way to go before OS X catches up with Windows. The bottom line is the MBA v 2,1 is incredibly capable and the system is perfectly fine to run Windows 7. It is going to get even better in OS X with the recent changes to the API access for h.264. Luckily Apple used an incredible GPU in the MBA clear back in October 2008 and we're all still benefiting from it (or is it unfortunately we're all still using an MBA from 2008 if we want a damned update).

Everyone needs to keep updating their Flash and HD applications as they're going to get incredibly better in the next few months with the updates coming adding full GPU acceleration for the 9400m in OS X.

wildjohn999
May 19, 2010, 12:29 PM
Scottsdale, are you running Windows 7 under bootcamp or did you just do away with the OSX partition and run Windows 7 only?

Scottsdale
May 19, 2010, 02:14 PM
Scottsdale, are you running Windows 7 under bootcamp or did you just do away with the OSX partition and run Windows 7 only?

No, I run both Windows 7 and OS X. I used BootCamp to make the partition, but I didn't use the BootCamp drivers in Windows (turns out I couldn't with a 64-bit copy of Windows). I manually installed the driver for every component and made the experience amazing. Between the Nvidia-written GPU driver, and Windows Update, every driver can be found to provide a flawless stable experience in 64-bit Windows 7 without Apple's approval or assistance.

I guess Apple doesn't "allow" BootCamp to work with 64-bit Windows so Apple doesn't get "shown-up" in the 64-bit arena. Apparently the true nature of 64-bit Windows 7 is a threat to Apple since it will not allow its OS X users to use a true 64-bit OS X kernel on the "consumer" branded MB and MBAs.

So when I boot into Windows 7, instead of "start" OS X, I get around 4X the graphics capabilities on the exact same MacBook Air, and I can truly experience a 64-bit OS. It is sad really, because I would prefer for Apple to get its crap together and actually give a damn about its customers and the experience they pay dearly for just to own a Mac. Not looking great with Apple abandoning OS X 10.7 development to get everyone possible working on iPhone OS 4... it's too bad, because we're all still here taking it from Apple when it doesn't deserve our business anymore when it comes to the Macs.

wildjohn999
May 19, 2010, 04:54 PM
I get around 4X the graphics capabilities on the exact same MacBook Air

Thanks for the reply about Bootcamp, I too have a copy of W7 Business 64bit lying around, I'll split the drive today and give it a try. I'd like to see how COD4 and Warcraft run on the W7 side of my MBA.

Scottsdale
May 19, 2010, 08:24 PM
Thanks for the reply about Bootcamp, I too have a copy of W7 Business 64bit lying around, I'll split the drive today and give it a try. I'd like to see how COD4 and Warcraft run on the W7 side of my MBA.

There are several sites that have advice to install 64-bit Windows on Mac "consumer" products that Apple deem unfit for a real 64-bit OS... although the hardware is 64-bit and the result of Windows 7 64-bit is stunning once you get it running.

From my memories, ensure that you use the Snow Leopard disk and manually install WiFi drivers in Windows. It is listed all over the web as to the directory location of 64-bit Windows drivers on OS X disk. Once you get the WiFi driver installed, go to Windows Update and update all of the machines drivers. A few of them require a driver loaded first, and I went to Nvidia and downloaded the latest 9400m GPU driver. I believe it was a "desktop" edition driver if I remember correctly.

Just make sure you find a site that helps you out with 64-bit Windows installation on MBA or MB. As soon as you're in Windows, and try to load BootCamp drivers, it tells you that Apple doesn't allow 64-bit Windows to be installed. It basically informs you that Apple doesn't want you to have a better experience in Windows than OS X on your beloved "CONSUMER" $1800/$2500 MBA.

If you are missing anything or have any problems let me know via a PM. I will lookup whatever I have if you need it. I have it written down somewhere, but I don't want to look for it unless you need it.

I expect you to completely enjoy Windows once you get it installed on your MBA. It is truly stunning what this little MBA can do with some real drivers... it's just too bad we have to switch platforms to access the performance capabilities possible for the MBA. I still have hope that OS X 10.6 will get even better, as 10.6.3 was a huge update. I hope it means Apple is trying to catch up in the graphics department.