Drawbacks to the MBA?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Sully151, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2013
    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!

  2. macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    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.
  3. macrumors 65816


    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.
  4. macrumors regular

    Dec 8, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Don't you think that's a bit of a stretch?
  5. macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2009
    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.
  6. macrumors 68000


    Feb 16, 2009
    :rolleyes: The Mobility Radeon 9700? lol


    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
  7. macrumors 65816


    NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200

    Graphics ram is not everything, the GPU is just as important, the MBA does not have one.
  8. macrumors 68000


    Feb 16, 2009
    That is incorrect.

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

    (higher is better)

  9. macrumors 68040

    Jul 18, 2011
    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. :p
  10. macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2012
    It is not possible to not have a GPU in a computer. It only integrated or dedicated one. :D
  11. macrumors member


    Sep 21, 2010
    My 2005 powerbook has better graphics than the macbook air.

    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
  12. macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2009
    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.
  13. macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2012

    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. :mad:
  14. macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011
    You're saying that a GPU from 2004 is better than a GPU from 2012?!

    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

  15. macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2009
    +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.
  16. macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2011
    Yeah, for me, it's the MagSafe and SD card slot. I would actually like an SD card slot.. I didn't think I did at first, until I bought my Nikon DSLR...
  17. macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2012
    Uuh, if youre complaining about the magsafe 2 youre just searching for something to moan about. It works great and I can't see how you could break it without doing things to it that are just plain dumb.
    If you're using it for what you say you are using it there are no draw backs. I can't think of a reason to buy an external monitor if you're also buying an iMac. I can't think of a reason you would have to exchange large files if you're also having an iMac and if you do, just use an external HDD and its beeped in a few minutes. I can't think of a reason to hook up an external mouse and keyboard if you're also having an iMac. And why the hell would you game on a MBA when you're having an iMac?

    The only drawback I can think of is the battery life. You would want it to last a full day's of work when you're travelling and it's just not doing that (but which laptop is?).
  18. macrumors 6502

    Aug 22, 2007
    I really like mine a lot. Drawbacks are inability to upgrade RAM and cost of SSD (so get it right when you buy), and the display quality isn't as good as MBP -- it's a little washed out. The super-portability is fantastic (no need to be any smaller/lighter IMO), and it's plenty fast for everything I do with it (similar to the OP's list).
  19. macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2012
    Virginia, USA
  20. macrumors 68000

    Mar 29, 2009
    Drawbacks: No quad-core, no optical drive, no ethernet, can't upgrade it.

    If any of those are a deal-breaker get a Pro.
  21. macrumors 68000


    Feb 16, 2009
    OP was mentioning rMBP, which does not have an optical drive.
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 4, 2012
    Well when I booted it up for the first time immediately I was put off by the screen size (13 inches). Everything felt SO small I was like how the hell am I going to use this thing? But that was because I came from a 15.4 inch laptop on 1366x768 res so everything felt gigantic there. However it took barely two days before my eyes adjusted and now the screen doesn't feel small at all to me. If you have poor eyesight I can see how this would be a problem though.
  23. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2012
    Boston (aka Red Sox Nation)
    been running a 11" MBA for over a year, mostly home use.
    drawbacks are limited screen space and sound/speakers are horrible.
    other then that its a solid machine.
  24. macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    No, it does not.
  25. macrumors 65832

    Dec 9, 2011
    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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