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MBA 2012 Performance using Adobe CS and TBD

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Jacobi, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie


    I'm thinking of purchasing a base 13" MBA with 8 gigs of RAM. This would be my only computer, and in addition to basic usage, I'll need to do some work with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign (CS6). A few questions I have:

    1. How does the 2012 MBA perform when using these apps with no external display?

    2. How do these apps perform when using a Thunderbolt Display? How is the Air's performance with a Thunderbolt Display in general?

    3. How is the quality of the Air's own display? Is text crisp and legible on the 13" screen? How are colors? I will be using the Air with no external display a fair amount of the time.

    4. For my purposes, would upgrading to an i7 make much of a difference?

    Thanks in advance for the help!
  2. Guest


  3. macrumors member

    Hi Jacobi!

    I'm driving a July 2011 MacBook Air and use the CS6 suite EVERY day, running many of the apps concurrently -- InDesign, Illustrator (with some HUGE files), PhotoShop, and DreamWeaver. My MBA 13" only has 4-GB of RAM.

    CS6 sings on this thing! It's great. I have no complaints.

    With no external display, I am cramped for space at times. It's just something to get used to. Luckily, the two-finger scrolling helps. The pinch-to-zoom also helps a lot. (I think that only works in InDesign, though.) Having each app running in its own space also helps a lot. The short of it is that you can create a great working environment by using the tools that Apple built into the machine: gestures, spaces, and Mission Control.

    While I do have the dongle (I love saying that word!) to use an external display, I haven't even connected it to the Air yet. I'm certain it would help a lot if you want to have your palettes in one display and your work in another. With the way the CS6 apps are configured, though, I haven't found a need. Plus, since the Air is SO mobile, I often find myself on my couch working.

    The Air's display is great. Everything looks fine to me. Of course, YMMV. I will say this: it's BRIGHT.

    I would recommend going the i7 route. If anything, you'll future-proof yourself a bit. Mine only has the i5 because I bought a refurb. Were I to buy new, I'd bump to the i7 -- especially since it's only a $90 upgrade.

    I hope this helps. Enjoy your Air when you get it!

  4. macrumors newbie


    I use PhotoShop CS5 on 2.26ghz C2D laptop for light work load, and I'm sure the new MBA can handle the CS6 without an issue. You may want to research on any bugs that CS6 may have with OS X Mountain Lion before moving ahead. :D

    P.S: you will get tons of screen real estate with external Display. You may want to calibrate the monitor and change profile under Display when you do any color changes. How important is matching colour with your images and would MBA will deliver to your satisfaction that everyone has different opinion of?
  5. Guest


    FWIW - I use CS 6 on an iMac w/ ML and they work well together.
  6. macrumors newbie


    Thanks! Good to know and appreciate for the confirmation! :D
  7. rkdiddy, Aug 8, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012

    macrumors 65816


    Really? I've used my Wife's maxed out mid-2012 Air with zero issues running CS. The Air is a little powerhouse. Even running DW, IL, PS and iTunes - powering my 24" ACD, all at the same time, I've had zero slow downs. I think the only time you would see an issue would be HD video editing.

    If you're really on the fence, you could always order an Air and try it out for 2-weeks. If you find it doesn't work for you needs you could return it. HINT: You can download a 30 day trial from Adobe so you don't have to worry about deactivating/activating your new computer to try it out.

    I'm currently using rMBP (with 16GB) and I'm still kicking around returning it for a maxed out Air. However, this screen is going to be hard to give up. :confused:
  8. Guest


    Yes, really; no offense meant. However, I never said that CS won't run on a MBA, I am glad that you are satisfied with yours. The MBP has a more robust GPU and CPU than the MBA. And, if the rMBP becomes available with 16 GB RAM that would be really benefit for running CS 6. It is pretty clear that CS runs better with more RAM on iMacs and Mac Pros, so why won't more RAM be better for laptops as well? Pricing out a 13" MBA and 13" MBP with similar specs, the prices are very close. My recommendation is to wait to see what the 13" rMBP brings. Your recommendation may vary.
  9. macrumors 6502

  10. macrumors 6502

    It really depends on what you're doing. Dreamweaver and Flash have basically no GPU acceleration and won't stress your RAM or CPU much. I think InDesign is the same way. Illustrator now has accelerated support for gaussian blur and is 64-bit, but many people will not need that much memory. Photoshop puts more demands on your system, but it will run on a 2GB machine decently if you're doing small images.

    Video editing is really where you start needing a very beefy system with CS.
  11. Guest


    That is certainly true, different apps use different resources. PS & Video are the big resource users.
  12. macrumors 65816


    I'm using CS6 almost every day with several of the apps you mentioned and it runs great. The display is great, but the screen real estate is definitely crippling for certain tasks. That shouldn't be as much of an issue on the 13", but it's something to think about. As far as performance goes, it isn't an issue.

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