Air for graphic design?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by elixate, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. elixate, Dec 27, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010

    macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    #1
    I'm considering buying the MBAir 13" - I'm a graphic designer and was wondering if it'll be able to handle programs such as Photoshop and InDesign? I'll probably have two of Adobe's programs open at once as well as my web browser, I'm worried that it'll lag the laptop.

    I'd get the MBP but I bring my laptop with me in between classes and it's pretty heavy.


    EDIT: just to clarify, I already have a 15" MBP but I had to get it fixed a few weeks back and it hasn't been the same since. It's laggy and I have to restart it a lot, every once in a while it even turns it self off without warning. I thought I'd rather spend more money on a new one rather than getting it fixed again.
     
  2. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    #2
    i've seen (because my Air is still on its way from orderingsite) an Air with 4 GIG of ram opening all avaible apps without any problem. Was a good stress test. I think i can find the link for it :) brb



    edit : here it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIfToizR-zs
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    #3
    can't see why not - my daughter runs CS4 on an early 2008 MBPro (2.4 C2D with 4gb memory and a 5400rpm HDD) successfully and the new Air's are specced waaay faster than that.

    should be sweet.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Beanoir

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Location:
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    #4
    Thats all very well, but the stress on the system isn't opening programs, it's the using them that the MBA could struggle.

    It depends what graphics the OP is wanting to do, because one person's idea of "graphic design" is different to another's. Using the Adobe programs to their full and with large files, is not great on an MBA, hence why professionals pay 3 times as much (or more) on a proper desktop.
     
  5. macrumors regular

    deedas

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #5
    I'm still not using my MBA as a work machine but for the heck of it I installed PS CS5 and though not as quick as I'm used to on my PC, it'd handles it's on fairly well. I say go for it but make sure you get 4GB RAM. Do not get any less.
     
  6. Moderator emeritus

    Hellhammer

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #6
    I wouldn't get MBA if graphic designing was my profession and MBA would be my main computer. Faster computer = less waiting = more money. If MBA will just be a secondary computer, then it should be fine
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    fswmacguy

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    #7
    Lots of Photoshop or Illustrator layers? Go for a desktop like an iMac or Mac Pro (you can find some very affordable refurbished Mac Pros).
     
  8. macrumors 6502

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    Oct 25, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #8
    I can assure you that is not correct.
    Photoshop runs ok on the MBA, but the MBP from early 2008 is a faster and more solid machine for heavy-duty apps - I have both and did some testing .

    It all depends on the kind of files one is working with, though.
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Beanoir

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    #9
    hmmm...are you sure..?
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    #10
    An i5 MBP with 8GB of ram will be A LOT more capable for high-res print images and video work in things like After Effects or even some light editing in Premiere Pro.

    I would not be too keen on doing a lot of video or hi-res work on an Air.

    Web development and graphics for web should be fine on the Air, esp the 13".

    4GB was the laptop max only a year or so ago and the Core 2 Duo in the Air is a ULV but seems to run fairly powerful to spec. Meaning, the 2.13GHz in the Air is not going to be much slower than a 2.4GHz in terms of the Core 2 Duo family. Heck, the 13" even has 6MB of cache. Nice.

    With the 320 graphics, these Airs are pretty legit work devices.
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2002
    #11
    My Macbook Pro from 2006 has crappier specs than this and I use it for design, but I do web stuff exclusively. It's connected to an old 23" cinema display.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    #12
    Thanks everyone for the replies.

    I'm used to opening a number of applications at once... at most 5. I always have these apps open: Skype, Stickies, iMail, Firefox/Safari. Photoshop and InDesign some times, occasionally together. What's the worst that could happen if I have too many open at once? Lag?
     
  13. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    #13
    The worst thing, in my opinion would be it would take you just a little longer to complete the work, that's all. Only a year or so ago people were using the Core 2 Duo running all the same programs we run now and was getting work done fine. They just got a bump in the amount of time it took and it gave them some extra time to work on other projects when the newer processor came out. Also remember they was using slower physical hard drives and not as good video cards and the Air has SSD and A really good NVIDIA graphics card that make things work a lot faster on their own.

    Unless, you job has very stringent time lines on when things need to be done, the MacBooK Air would be just fine for you.
     
  14. macrumors 68030

    nateo200

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    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    NY State
    #14
    Everyone on here seams to think you need the 17" MacBook pro with 99999999999999.9308999Ghz proccessor to do any video editing or CPU/graphics intensive work...Its a bit extreme really. Ive done some pretty intensive stuff on some pretty ****** computers in the past and thus I'm not to concerned my 1300 dollar laptop renown for graphics is going to have much trouble doing it. A macbook air with 4gb of ram and a halfway decent proccessor is fine unless your creating gods work of video games or something. Ive seen people doing some rediculous things on just base model MacBook's from a while ago. I mean obviously the more the better but don't go drop 3k on a MacBook because a bunch of keyboard warriors told you it was the ONLY way to go...
     
  15. snouter, Dec 27, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010

    macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    #15
    A base 15" MBP is about the same price as a souped up Air.

    • i5
    • 8GB ram
    • user upgradeable hard drive

    Of course you can do great work on crap computers, most real artists don't seem as concerned with specs quite like the geeks, but... that said, if $1500 will get you this one or that one, I think it makes sense to try to find out what the differences and limitations are.

    The MBP just has a lot more headroom.
     
  16. macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    NY State
    #16
    I was actually just curious about running allot of intensive applications so I did what I think is pretty moderately intensive. I'm running itunes to play a movie, listening to a music video on youtube, uploading some stuff to youtube and adding some minor things to one of the videos I already uploaded as well as just running photobooth to see what would happen. I took a screen shot of my activity window. I'm not sure if you guys think that's intensive but this thing literally has not slowed down one bit with all these things running. I have a MBP 2.4ghz w/ 4GB of ram btw so if I havent noticed ANY slowing down what so ever with all these things running I'm sure a laptop with an SSD, 2-4gb of ram and a pretty damn good proccessor will hold up pretty well...of course I could be wrong but I thought I would try and contribute more...
     

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  17. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    #17
    How come no one has mentioned the screen estate?

    Unless if you plan on using an external display, you will absolutely hate yourself for going with the air.

    Go with MBP 15 highres or MBP 17.
     
  18. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2010
    #18
    It would be interesting to know what kind of graphic design you want to do. I have to create poster artworks every now and then using Photoshop with approximately 40 to 50 layers, several with added layer effects and have to do it on my work laptop, a Windows core 2 duo with 4 GB of RAM. It is so no pleasure to do it, because opening and saving these files takes forever. The actual editing is more or less flawless.

    I haven't dealt with these kind of huge files on my private Macs, because my private DSLR is a 6 megapixel model and I have no need for huge posters. I did however work on pictures with more than 20 layers on my MBA (base 11.6" model, only more storage) and it handled all tasks fluently.

    The question remains: Are your design requirements really intense? And if so, do you work on a tight time schedule? If you'd answer both questions positively, maybe an MBA wouldn't be the best choice. And two thumbs up for mentioning screen size: Photo editing is not comfortable on an Air without an external display attached.

    If I had to choose a main machine for graphic design, it would be the 27" iMac. My wife has a Wacom Intuos 4 XL tablet attached to her iMac and produces astonishing graphics at ease. The mere screen size is a big plus for that kind of work.
     
  19. macrumors 68030

    nateo200

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    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    NY State
    #19
    13" isnt that bad for graphic design...I mean probably not ideal but certainly not as bad as 11" which would kill me even for web browsing even coming from an iPad...
     
  20. macrumors 65816

    MultiFinder17

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    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    #20
    I've used my Air from time to time doing some photoshop work, and it worked alright. It wasn't the most pleasant experience, but for smaller stuff while out and about, it works just fine. If you're looking for a primary working machine though, definitely think about a MBP.
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    gdeputy

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    #21
    a 13" 2.13 air will smoke an early 08 MBP.. way more cache and a MUCH faster HDD. Also, DDR3 ram.

    an early MBP won't touch a brand new MBA Ultimate 13". the extra 300mhz won't make a difference.
     
  22. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    #22
    As for what sort of designs I do, I mainly use Photoshop. I do have a lot of layers (EDIT: just checked my files, most are around 15 MB, no more than 20) but I never use any filters; from what I've read here I guess it won't be that bad.

    I already have a MBP 15" but I find it a hassle to carry with me around in school. I spilled some water over it a few weeks back and ever since I got it fixed it hasn't been the same; I figured I'd rather a little more money to buy a new one instead of getting it fixed.
     
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Beanoir

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Location:
    51 degrees North
    #23
    Hands up who on this thread is actually a real Graphic Designer or similar. i.e. you actually do this for a living, full time, as a paid career. Not a student studying design (thats not the same)....
     
  24. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2010
    #24
    Half raised hand here. My primary task are presentations and trainings, but I create a lot of marketing designs for the company, too. I wouldn't consider myself to be a professional, though. ;)
     
  25. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    #25
    that's what I thought too in my earlier post ;)
     

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