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Old Jan 3, 2013, 07:25 PM   #1
Sully151
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Drawbacks to the MBA?

Hey All,

I have finally decided that it is time for a new computer (actually 2)

I am currently on an archaic iMac running an Intel Core 2 Duo and 2 G of memory.

Anyway, I am going to be getting a laptop very soon and a new iMac in the next few months if the world and my wife are on the same page as I am.

That being said, I think I am looking at the 13" MBA. I am going to probably max it out with the exception of the 512 GB flash.

It will be used for regular day to day use, a little photo/video editing (the brunt will be done on the iMac, I assume) and will be used for travel.

I have read a lot of positives for the MBA, but what I want to know is what are the negatives? Are there any faults that would/should lead me in the direction of the rMBP?

Thanks in advance!

Sully
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 07:43 PM   #2
zedsdead
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It sounds perfect for what you want to do with it.

The only other choice would be the rMBP should you want a retina screen, but it doesn't sound like you need it.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 08:14 PM   #3
Stingray454
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In my opinion very few drawbacks. I'd say:

- A little tight on screen space (I'm normally on a 27" iMac, and use the 11" Air) - if you're using it for desktop work I recommend and external screen and it's no problem at all, but enough for surf/mail/movies.

- Wouldn't mind another USB port. I usually want to connect a mouse, keyboard, usb-stick and a phone charger to it.

- Have to use a USB-to-ethernet adapter or wireless (or thunderbolt-to-ethernet, but I currently use and external monitor in that port). I use gigabit LAN for my desktop computers / network storage, but the Air on WiFi, which means transferring large files takes longer. Guess it's fast enough, and there's really no way to fit an ethernet port on the air, so.. guess this boils down to needing more USB / TB ports as well

- When connected to a large display, it doesn't feel _quite_ as smooth when scrolling as I'm used to. For example, when scrolling a full-screen browser window full of images. I guess the HD4000 isn't quite as fast as my desktops GPU.

However, all of the above are very small issues for me. Screen size is OK on the 11" most of the time, especially when moving the dock to the left/right side. When stationary, I can connect it to a monitor anyways. WiFi is fast enough in 99% of the case, and I use a USB keyboard that gives me two extra USB ports on the keyboard. You can also use a Thunderbolt display that has a USB hub built-in. The graphics lag is barely noticeable in the 2012 Air, and the GPU is fast enough to do decent gaming on, but maybe not on an external display.

Overall, the 2012 Air is awesome. I went with 2Ghz i7 / 8 GB / 256 GB, and I use it daily for both professional work, surfing/movies and when traveling. Best computer I ever had.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 08:03 PM   #4
rabidz7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sully151 View Post
Hey All,

I have finally decided that it is time for a new computer (actually 2)

I am currently on an archaic iMac running an Intel Core 2 Duo and 2 G of memory.

Anyway, I am going to be getting a laptop very soon and a new iMac in the next few months if the world and my wife are on the same page as I am.

That being said, I think I am looking at the 13" MBA. I am going to probably max it out with the exception of the 512 GB flash.

It will be used for regular day to day use, a little photo/video editing (the brunt will be done on the iMac, I assume) and will be used for travel.

I have read a lot of positives for the MBA, but what I want to know is what are the negatives? Are there any faults that would/should lead me in the direction of the rMBP?

Thanks in advance!

Sully
For what you are doing it will work, but for anything else it will be bottlenecked by the (nonexistent) GPU.

My 2005 powerbook has better graphics than the macbook air.

----------

Also, you can only get a graphics card in 15" macbookpros. The 13" is stuck on integrated.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 08:11 PM   #5
danistyping
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Originally Posted by rabidz7 View Post
My 2005 powerbook has better graphics than the macbook air.
Don't you think that's a bit of a stretch?
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 08:28 PM   #6
53x12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabidz7 View Post

My 2005 powerbook has better graphics than the macbook air.
The Mobility Radeon 9700? lol

----------




Quote:
It will be used for regular day to day use, a little photo/video editing (the brunt will be done on the iMac, I assume) and will be used for travel.
Sounds like the MBA will be more than enough computer for you. Plus you would save some money over the 15" rMBP (cause why go with the 13" rMBP if you are going to get a rMBP?).

I sold my MBP to get my MBA. Best decision I have made. Especially for someone like you that travels a lot. You will appreciate it.

As far as negatives:

- 13" is the largest screen
- can't upgrade RAM after sale
- not as many ports as rMBP
- only integrated CPU
- speakers aren't as good as rMBP
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 08:30 PM   #7
rabidz7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danistyping View Post
Don't you think that's a bit of a stretch?
Quote:
Originally Posted by 53x12 View Post
The Mobility Radeon 9700? lol

----------

As far as negatives:

- 13" is the largest screen
- can't upgrade RAM after sale
- not as many ports as rMBP
- only integrated CPU
- speakers aren't as good as rMBP




Sounds like the MBA will be more than enough computer for you. Plus you would save some money over the 15" rMBP (cause why go with the 13" rMBP if you are going to get a rMBP?).

I sold my MBP to get my MBA. Best decision I have made. Especially for someone like you that travels a lot. You will appreciate it.
NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200

Graphics ram is not everything, the GPU is just as important, the MBA does not have one.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 08:36 PM   #8
53x12
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Originally Posted by rabidz7 View Post
NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200

Graphics ram is not everything, the GPU is just as important, the MBA does not have one.
That is incorrect.

Intel HD Graphics 4000 = 134
NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 = 2

(higher is better)

http://novabench.com/gpuchart.php?a=1
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 06:31 AM   #9
Abazigal
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There aren't really any drawbacks I can think of without it sounding like I am grasping at straws. I feel the macbook air looks and works great, and is reasonably priced to boot.

If I had to complain, it would be that the price of their spec upgrades is so expensive.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 06:39 AM   #10
AndyWong
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Originally Posted by rabidz7 View Post
NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200

Graphics ram is not everything, the GPU is just as important, the MBA does not have one.
It is not possible to not have a GPU in a computer. It only integrated or dedicated one.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 06:56 AM   #11
nightmars
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My 2005 powerbook has better graphics than the macbook air.[COLOR="#808080"]

----------
So let's see whether your powerbook or my MB Air 11" from 2010 (or any 2012 MB Air) can fire up Portal 2 ;-)

or Duke Nukem Forever
or Doom 3
or Quake 4
or Most Wanted
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 08:02 AM   #12
Stingray454
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Originally Posted by nightmars View Post
So let's see whether your powerbook or my MB Air 11" from 2010 (or any 2012 MB Air) can fire up Portal 2 ;-)
For reference, I play World of Warcraft on my 2012 Air sometimes. Works like a charm. Though I usually limit the fps to 30 manually, this keeps the computer nice and cool while playing while it almost never drops below 30 fps. If I disable the FPS limit, I can get anywhere from 30-100 while doing quests / instances / raids, but with louder fans and hotter computer. So yeah, a bit better than the powerbook.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 08:05 AM   #13
tgif1386
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Mba

The only draw back I have is the power charger. It is easy to break and not durable. And it costs a fortune to have it replaced.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 08:10 AM   #14
AdrianK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabidz7 View Post
NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200

Graphics ram is not everything, the GPU is just as important, the MBA does not have one.
You're saying that a GPU from 2004 is better than a GPU from 2012?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nightmars View Post
or Doom 3
Funny you should say that, it might be able to. I know the FX5200 is the desktop card, but it might work (just not very well) :P

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Mac Requirements:
Operating System: Mac OS X 10.3.8 or later
CPU Processor: PowerPC G4/G5 or later
CPU Speed: 1.5GHz or faster
Memory: 512 MB or higher
Hard Disk Space: 2.0GB free disk space
Video Card (ATI): Radeon 9600 or better
Video Card (NVIDIA): GeForce FX5200 or better
Video Memory (VRam): 64 MB
Media Required: DVD Drive
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 08:17 AM   #15
Stingray454
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The only draw back I have is the power charger. It is easy to break and not durable. And it costs a fortune to have it replaced.
+1 on that, or at least for the magsafe. The Magsafe 2 is just SO much worse than the 2010/2011 magsafe (I've had both). Disconnects all the time, you barely have to touch it. Though I never had any of them break.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 01:30 PM   #16
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My 2005 powerbook has better graphics than the macbook air.
No, it does not.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 01:33 PM   #17
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I have a maxed out 13" and I really love it. It's a great mix of (relative) power and portability. I'm hoping it will last me a while.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 01:55 PM   #18
beysus
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The thing about my Air that bothers me every now and then is the screen. Overall I like the colors and I really have no problem working with it for hours, so the screen itself isn't really bad but sometimes I can't really tell whether those jeans on an online shop are black or blue. I usually double check then with my iPhone and my sister's MacBook Pro where I can clearly tell the difference. Maybe I could calibrate it better but oh well...

Yes, I do have an LG screen and no, I don't want to start discussing about it

It might be taken into consideration since you mentioned photo editing.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 02:30 PM   #19
Sully151
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Thanks for the info, everyone. I stopped by the apple store today and the salesperson all but talked me out of the 13" rMBP and basically told me to save some cash and get an Air.

Since, hopefully, it will be my secondary computer, it seems to make sense.

Silly question, but without an optical drive, how do you watch movies and store music? All through an external?
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 09:52 PM   #20
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The fan tends to kick up at full blast almost the instant I open some games, but I guess that's to be expected on a base model 2011. Other than that, I love it. I've only got 2GB RAM and I've been warned about that, but so far, no issues in that regard. I think you'll be very happy if you get one!

As for movies: I've got my bare essentials on my drive (around a dozen or so) and then I will rent the occasional movie on iTunes, but 99% of my movie watching is done on my big screen.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 03:10 PM   #21
JoshMKB24
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I can't think of any drawbacks. I have had a few MBPs and an iMac and iPads/phones and this is great for what you want to do with it.

I use mine for travel and just sitting on the couch. Its great because its very very light so fits in a bag nicely when traveling and when you are on the couch for extended periods, it doesn't get very hot on your lap. I have an 11" MBA though, not a 13, but can't imagine the 13 would be that different.

The only drawback I can say, and this is being very nitpicky, is it does get a little warmer on my lap than the 15" retina does. I'm assuming because it is so thin the little bit of heat that it does generate you can feel. I'd say go for it!
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 04:19 PM   #22
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Small text

I've only had my 13-inch MBA for a couple days so take anything I say with a grain of salt.

But I would say one draw back that I didn't anticipate is that the higher pixel density of the MBA makes certain apps that were optimized with the older MBPs in mind have text that is a bit too small. Not an issue with browsers because you can always zoom in. But some apps like the old Papers app don't have the ability to change text size and the text is very small (upgrading to Paper2 gives text size options)

My eyes are definitely having an adjustment period although I remembered the same thing when I moved from my old thinkpad (really low resolution) to my MBP so I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually.

Also on my particular machine the backlighting is a bit uneven at the very bottom of the screen. But that might just be an issue with mine.

I'm still debating whether or not to keep mine. It is a great machine but honestly not as huge a step up from my 2009 13-inch MBP as I expected (in both weight/form-factor and performance terms)
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 10:05 PM   #23
Poisonivy326
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I think there's a huge drawback to the 11" MBA. Not so much the 13" but the 11":

1. Doesn't have an Sd card
2. The display ratio makes the screen look weirdly compressed and hurts my eyes the way the 13" and iPads don't.
3. Base configuration is a joke at 64 GB. Yes I know you can order more but $999 for a machine with 64 GB HD?

I'd love to personally own a 13" MBA but wouldn't touch the 11" one. I think it's Apple's weakest offer.
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 10:26 PM   #24
Dr Charter
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I think there's a huge drawback to the 11" MBA. Not so much the 13" but the 11":

1. Doesn't have an Sd card
2. The display ratio makes the screen look weirdly compressed and hurts my eyes the way the 13" and iPads don't.
3. Base configuration is a joke at 64 GB. Yes I know you can order more but $999 for a machine with 64 GB HD?

I'd love to personally own a 13" MBA but wouldn't touch the 11" one. I think it's Apple's weakest offer.
I'm inclined to agree with you as far as a primary machine is concerned. There are too many limitations. However, I love the base 11" for it's price and portability, particularly when flying coach or sitting at a small Starbucks table. I still have room for books or papers because of that small footprint.

I don't use SD cards, haven't been bothered by the compression you speak or and with an iMac at home 64Gb hasn't bothered me. I think the base model is a decent value as a secondary computer that I only use for a few hours a day.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 08:21 PM   #25
rabidz7
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No, it does not.
Well, it kind of does.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sully151 View Post
Thanks for the info, everyone. I stopped by the apple store today and the salesperson all but talked me out of the 13" rMBP and basically told me to save some cash and get an Air.

Since, hopefully, it will be my secondary computer, it seems to make sense.

Silly question, but without an optical drive, how do you watch movies and store music? All through an external?
Movies on itunes and music online. http://www.allflac.com is good for music. you can put things on usb drives like you do cd's and dvd's.
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