11.6" MacBook Air + Older Mac?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by nathanielonfire, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2011
    Hi guys,

    I'm in the market for a new Mac, holding on desperately to my 12" PowerBook G4. It's still a great machine for what it can do, but I'm definitely feeling the software (and hardware) crunch when it comes to Intel-only software and Flash video online. Certain sites (Huffington Post, for example) are so Flash-heavy, I can't even scroll, and YouTube only works because I'm patient. :D

    When the 11.6" MacBook Airs came out last year, I was super-excited about the prospect of being able to upgrade to a computer that didn't feel huge like the 13" MBPs (I'm sure I would get used to it, but after spending so much time on my PB, they feel massive). I've played with them at the Apple Store and although the screen feels miniscule, I could probably get used to it.

    I know MacBook Airs aren't exactly designed to be primary machines and that usually, you should have a desktop Mac or some sort of more powerful machine to handle stuff like graphics processing, remote disc, etc.

    So would keeping the 12" PowerBook after getting the MBA be a good idea? I'm not a power user by any means (browsing, email, writing, Excel, occasional non-3D games, Flash video, NO Photoshop or even iPhoto or iMovie or anything like that) but for the odd chance that I need an optical drive, would that be a good idea? The screen size isn't necessarily the biggest issue;the fact that people say there are problems with kernel panics and Flash video makes me worried the most.

    I guess it boils down to:

    1) keep PowerBook and get a MBA to become my primary machine.
    2) get a 13" MBP after the refresh and keep the PowerBook for Classic.

    Both are going to be more powerful than what I have, for sure, but I'm curious to know what others would do in this situation.

    Thanks for your advice!
  2. macrumors member

    Sep 3, 2010
    San Francisco
    When I got my MacBook Air, I stopped using my MacBook Pro. The 11in screen is more than enough for everyday use. As far as the optical drive is concerned. I wouldn't keep that old laptop around just to use its optical drive once in a blue moon. Just spend a little more money and get an external optical drive.
    You will be surprised how little you will need an optical drive.
  3. macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2010
    What do you use your Powerbook for?
    Will you be moving this laptop around a lot?
    Do you need to burn CD/DVDs?

    My advice is, get the 13" MBA.

    - The screen size will do you well
    - There will be enough power to blow away your Powerbook G4. I went from a 15" powerbook g4.
  4. thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2011
    If I keep the PowerBook, I will run Tiger on it and keep it as a Classic machine with the occasional use of Remote Disc for the MBA. Right now, I'm using the PowerBook for everything I described (word processing, email, browsing, Excel, etc.).

    I take my PowerBook with me pretty much wherever I go (school, work, coffee shops, library) and I use it on my desk at home during the day and in bed at night.

    I'm not a big CD/DVD user, but I figure I may eventually come across some situation where I need an optical drive and I'd rather have something that I could use, instead of nothing.

    To me, the smaller size of the 11.6" Air is justifiable over the 13". I'm hesitant to get a 13" Air for a number of reasons. Footprint is a bigger issue for me than thinness, so I would get the $999 white MacBook or a 13" MBP rather than the 13" because the price difference isn't that much and I'd have comparatively more bang for my buck, so to speak. The 11.6" intrigues me primarily due to its size.
  5. hfg
    macrumors 68030


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    Why don't you sell your PowerBook on eBay, then use some of the cash to purchase a small external optical disk drive (either the Apple SuperDrive or a Netbook USB drive) for the new Air?
  6. thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2011
    I may sell the PowerBook, but I would prefer to keep it just because it's my only PPC machine and I could keep it around for running Classic stuff, should I get the urge.

    Getting a netbook USB drive might be the most affordable way to go. I don't see myself using it all that much though, otherwise, I would probably opt for the 13" MBP.
  7. macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2010
    The MBP is a waste for exactly what you stated that I highlighted

    The 13" footprint is NOT big, that 11" screen is going to kill you when you need to read notes and documents for school. After a couple hours forget about it.

    The MBP is completely overkill for your needs IMO.

    How often are you running classic stuff? I traded in my 15" PowerBook G4 and got $360 for it. I put that towards my MBA.

    I use my MBA for school mainly. I have a fellow student who has the 11". I also have a 10" netbook I used BEFORE the MBA. I'm sorry, for ME, these little netbooks are niche products. It's difficult to read after a couple hours.
    The 13" is the sweet spot minimum size screen, IMO.

    UNLESS, you keep a monitor at home and hook up the 11" to that. Then you have a different story.
  8. thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2011
    A baseline 13" MBA is $1,299. A baseline 13" MBP is $1,199. Even though a MBP is overkill, I really don't want to pay more for less computer by buying a 13" MBA.

    As for the white plastic MB, ew. Once I got the aluminum PowerBook, I swore I'd never go back to a plastic computer.

    I'll admit, I'm completely enamored with the 11.6" screen size, perhaps unrealistically. And while 13" may be an acceptable size, I feel like for the amount of hauling that I do, it's probably best to NOT go bigger than what I'm used to. But it's definitely an option.

    I don't do anything important in Classic, just all those old games from when I was a kid in the 90s that have so much nostalgia attached to them, I just can't get rid of them. I'd like to keep the PowerBook simply because it's been with me for so long.

    I think the external monitor idea is good because, in the off-chance something is too small or too uncomfortable to read, I at least have an option. I have an HDMI TV I could use, potentially.

    Thanks for your help, Boston. :)
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2003
    Area 51
    Just get the Ultimate 13" Air. It will have enough power to do everything and you won't need another machine.

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