11" Users, Sway me!

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ryancqualls, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. ryancqualls macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2011
    inb4 there are a thousand of these threads, I assure you I used the search function.

    Here is my personal situation. Since finishing college a few years ago I no longer need a powerhouse computer. I used to DJ / Produce music / remixes and edit school projects in FCP.

    I haven't really worked those hobbies back into my life and don't really make time for them anymore.

    I am living in Los Angeles as a comedy writer / performer and I'm pretty focused on a very "low-tech" career which requires very little equipment.

    My current machine: MBP C2D 2.5 4gb 500 Hybrid drive.

    Previous machines iMac 15" G4 1Ghz, Powerbook G4 1.67 2GB

    I always needed a robust computer to run ProTools (always had to have a firewire 400 port back in my recording days) but now I need something that I can take around with me anywhere, is good for social networking, text editing, celtx, browsing, and youtube video watching.

    I have been sold on the 11" Ultimate but keep thinking about external monitor solutions leading me to believe the jump from using a 15" mac for 6 years to an 11" will be too drastic.

    The 13" seems too large and might prevent me from throwing it in my bag and taking it to writing sessions around the city. That is my only concern.

    My girlfriend is a graphic designer and has a current gen 21.5 iMac which I am free to use for any heavy lifting which sways me more towards the 11. I mean if I am going to buy a laptop, I should buy a laptop not another desktop replacement right?

    so I ask you MacRumors, wat do?
  2. joefrank64k, Mar 20, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011

    joefrank64k macrumors 6502


    Feb 12, 2008
    I have the 11" with everything (4gb ram/128GB SSD) EXCEPT I stuck with the 1.4 GHz instead of the 1.6 GHz.

    I went this route because, similar to you, I wanted something that I could take anywhere, but I was particularly interested in maintaining as much battery life as possible.

    In a review I read at AnandTech (http://www.anandtech.com/show/4000/apples-11inch-upgraded-macbook-air-review-do-16ghz-and-4gb-make-a-difference) I noticed that the 1.6 GHz knocked the battery life down a few %...it didn't look like much on the surface but when I looked at the actual minutes lost, it was as much as 25 24 minutes with 1.6 vs. the 1.4.

    So my 11" could be described as an "Ultimate -1" I guess. As for how it works, it's fantastic. The screen is beautiful. Everyone who sees it for the first time says something like "That's an 11"? It looks bigger than that." Apple really did a fine job on the resolution.

    The SSD makes the MBA feel like its got much more under the hood...programs open quickly, docs save quickly, switching between apps is fast. I use MS Office 2011 and Acrobat Pro with zero problems, it plays YouTube HD perfectly and Angry Birds works great with the multi-touch trackpad. :D

    For portability, this really is almost like "an iPad with a keyboard"...it's crazy small, wakes from sleep in an instant, battery life is great. I have both a 1st gen MBA 13" and an iPad Wi-Fi+3G, but since my 11", they both stay home. I got the tethering option with AT&T through my iPhone and when I'm out of Wi-Fi range, it works GREAT!!! So great that I've cancelled my iPad data plan (but that's for another forum topic!)

    Bottom line, get one...you won't be sorry! :D
  3. artivideo.nl macrumors 6502

    Jan 10, 2008
    The Netherlands
    you should read that test more carefully.

  4. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    The 13" is definitely not too large. In fact, I don't believe the mobility benefits of the 11" outweigh the cons vs the 13" MBA.

    The 13" is faster and has more storage options. It also has an SD card slot. The real advantages come with usability of things like the display which gives you the same desktop space as your old 15" MBP as it and the 13" MBA are same resolution. In addition, the palm rest on the 13" gives you ample space while the 11" is too small causing the palms to rub across front edge of the 11" MBA.

    I really believe it would be a mistake for you to at least not fully consider the 13" MBA. Threads like this one do the OP a disservice as the OP has led himself into only wanting pro arguments for the 11" MBA.

    I have owned both and other MBAs before the current generation. I can tell you Tue current 13" MBA is my favorite Mac ever and serves as my primary Mac. If you're planning to use this as your primary Mac I definitely would believe you would benefit more by having the 13" MBA. The weight and size differences don't give a big edge to the 11" MBA in terms of mobility. In addition, for the minor mobility advantages of the 11" MBA you get a ton of disadvantages vs the 13" MBA.

    Strongly consider refurbished if money is the problem. For $1189 you can get a 13" MBP with 128GB storage, 4GB RAM, 1.86GHz C2D, and the extremely valuable and beautiful 1440x900 LED backlit 13.3" display.
  5. tim100 macrumors 65816

    May 25, 2009
    what do think about the mba still having c2d? is now a good time to buy mba?
  6. Pushkar macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2009
    SW London, UK
    if you can wait till around October - then Apple will probably release a new specification, i'm sure they're trying to implement the i3/i5 chips but battery and heat is probably an issue.

    But to be honest, if you use an Air to just browse the web, edit documents and nothing too heavy, you won't notice a big difference. :D
  7. tbobmccoy macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Considering the MBA was last updated after over a year... I think that now is definitely a "neutral" time to buy it; check out the buyer's guide for this question. One thing to note might be that Apple could delay updating the MacBook Air until the Ivy Bridge processors and chipsets comes around, sometime at the beginning of 2012. I myself might wait to buy one for my wife until that time, since her old PC is tolerable at the moment.

    None of that is to say the C2D isn't a good processor; it is, but its antiquated in today's tech terms. The new i-series processors have a much smaller power draw, and when the MBA are updated to them (eventually), I expect battery life to increase as well as processing speed. Hopefully the IGP that Intel will be forcing on us won't suck too horribly :(
  8. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    Most of the time the processor sits idle anyways... unless one is doing video encoding or something else that requires a ton of CPU work, the C2D is almost never taxed. I have iStat Menus running so I watch my CPU usage all the time basically.

    Although having played with the MBA and new MBPs in store, I would say that personally if I had to edit large RAW photos, I would lean towards the MBP since some adjustments in Aperture with the MBA and RAW take longer to process... not impossible, but it does seem that heavy lifting really is the realm of the MBP.

    I still think it'll be towards the year end before you see a new MBA refresh, maybe Oct-ish as that's around the time of the last ship date for the processors used today.
  9. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    I also have the Ultimate - 1 (1.4GHz, 128GB & 4GB), I've been living with it for a couple of months now and so far love it. I also have an iMac so it makes a great secondary machine when I'm out and need to stay connected. I thought about an iPad but I really wanted OS X and a keyboard so when it was announced it was the perfect companion. It replaced a 13" MBP that I enjoyed however after picking up the 11" MBA it felt like it weighed 40 lbs and frankly I didn't need it's power. While I have to admit I don't think any MBA is good as a primary computer unless all you do is web based work it's a great companion machine. Mine is quick for web based work, very quick. But do anything that is CPU intensive it's painfully slow. For example I ripped a movie on it using Handbrake and it takes about an hour for a 2 hour film. I did the same thing on my iMac (it's a late 2007 2.8GHz core 2 Duo) and it takes about 20-25 minutes. However if I am using MS Office the MBA is quicker due to it's SSD than the iMac.

    I recommend one but before you pull the trigger assess the type of work you do to decide if it's the best solution for your needs. If you can use it as a secondary machine then sure it's great.
  10. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    I would go with the 11 inch MBA. Sometimes "less is more" and the MBA is the perfect example of that. Think of the MBP as your grandfather's portable. Today's technology in that size is way more power than regular people need.
  11. joefrank64k macrumors 6502


    Feb 12, 2008
    OK, here is a graph...


    And another...


    And another...


    The high-end for loss of time was actually 24 minutes, not 25. :rolleyes:
  12. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    The MBA is incredibly capable... I cannot get over all of the C2D crying all over these forums. The MBA is so capable because Apple attacked the points that truly needed upgrades, and those don't include the CPU. We would all be amazed by Macs that get incredibly better over five years if we didn't have to worry about Intel's marketing of the CPU.

    Intel would have everyone believe that the only way to make a computer faster is by installing a new Intel CPU. That is absurd, and the MBA is Apple's proof that Intel's marketing is absurd. Apple attacked the true bottleneck in today's computers, the drive and drive controller. In addition, it's software that takes advantage of hardware, and there is a world of opportunity there which Apple attacked with instant on technology.

    Another problem with Intel's pitch is it knows it can sell chipsets to Apple when Apple switches beyond C2D. Intel has played disgustingly dirty, and I believe illegally pushed Nvidia out of the chipset market. The end result is we're all forced to use Intel's chipset even though Nvidia had a contract to be able to sell chipsets with Intel CPUs. Since Intel was losing business, all of Apple's low-end Mac business, it had to play dirty. It then played technicality cards and WE ARE THE LOSERS. Apple doesn't lose, we lose. We lose the capabilities of 5x GPU and we're forced to use USB 2.0 forever. I cannot believe the US JD hasn't acted upon Intel's obvious anti-competitive actions.

    We don't need Core i7 CPUs... btw, when the MBA gets SB it will be Core i7 and not Core i3 others brag about. The MBA has always had a high end C2D CPU with 6MB L2 Cache which is a heck of a CPU. The replacements are Core i7 CPUs and not Core i3 nor i5. There are possibilities of some low voltage Core i5 CPUs making their way into MBAs, but I think it's obvious that Apple is going to use a quality CPU in the MBA.

    I would be happy with C2D in the next MBA, but that isn't going to happen. I would be happy with Apple just updating the backlit keyboard, RAM, and USB 3.0 on the MBA... but that's not going to happen either. What is going to happen? I guess Core i7 Ivy Bridge has to be the front runner. I believe Apple will use the C2D and Nvidia 320m in the exact same MBA until January 2012, but if it could get IB earlier that would be great (I have no clue on that roadmap). I think IB will bring more capable IGP.

    The problem with the SB HD3000 IGP is in the low voltage and ultra low voltage variants the MBAs use, it's running at about 65% clock speed according to what I have read... what does that mean??? It means much slower graphics than the SB 13" MBP standard voltage 35W CPUs have. I don't think Apple can put a 35W CPU in the MBA, but perhaps that is where I am wrong. In addition, if Apple did use the 35W Sandy Bridge CPU in the 13" MBA it would eliminate the problems I am suggesting with the Intel IGP in low voltage variants.

    I would like to believe AMD is in the hunt for the low voltage Macs. AMD has some amazing CPUs coming down their roadmap. These CPUs have on die IGPs that are quite amazingly capable... perhaps even 5x the Intel IGP in the same TDP envelopes. I would say AMD is possibly a more likely candidate than Sandy Bridge in an MBA update due to the graphics. I also believe that Apple would introduce this AMD chip and chipset, so we wouldn't necessarily see it coming in AMD's roadmaps. Now, the big problem with this theory is Thunderbolt. It is surely in Apple's plans, so AMD isn't likely either.

    There is one last option... discrete GPUs. With Intel's SB, Apple could use an AMD discrete GPU at as little as 7W. Before people say no, we read rumors of Apple using ultra low voltage CPUs and overclocking them by disabling the IGP. So Apple could use a Core i7 SB ultra low voltage CPU at 17W, and use its capabilities all the way up to the turbo boost speeds when needed. This is 17W of CPU, 7W GPU, and uses an Intel chipset so Thunderbolt makes the grade here. Will it fit??? I don't know??? Probably not, but if Apple could do it would they accept the costs? Probably not.

    In my estimation, Apple has to wait until Ivy Bridge to update the MBAs. I don't believe the MBA can take a 35W CPU, but I could be wrong. I don't believe Apple would accept the low voltage Sandy Bridge's IGP in the 13" MBP and even worse would be the ultra low voltage Sandy Bridge in 11" MBAs. Perhaps Apple could use low voltage in the 11" MBAs though due to the savings in TDP.

    The biggest problem with waiting for Ivy Bridge is feeling outdated with C2D CPUS??? Would Apple care? I don't think so. I would guess maybe 5% of MBA buyers actually would care or wouldn't buy an MBA until it gets a Core i-series CPU. Most of those people aren't factoring in the problem of the difference in Intel's IGP in low and ultra low voltage CPUs. I just don't think there's a reason to hurry here. Look, Apple is updating its MacBook Pros once per year... why would it rush to update the MBA? Apple is reversing trends and updating less and less. It used to be the MBP got at least spec bumps every six months or so, but now it's 11 months plus!

    I think the natural time for an MBA update would be October 2011. That is before Christmas and perfect timing. Will Intel have Ivy Bridge available by then even for Apple? Maybe (I don't know Intel's roadmap or if it would rush for Apple). However, I doubt the MBA gets updated until January 2012 or when the Ivy Bridge chips are ready and the IGP becomes more capable.

    I wouldn't hesitate one bit in recommending anyone to buy an MBA right now. If I had to buy a Mac right now, I would buy another MBA. I believe the current MBA is the best Mac ever for normal users. The top 5% that do professional CPU/GPU intensive work don't use MBAs but Mac Pros. The current MBA is faster than any other Mac right now that 95% of MBA users would use for "normal" standard duty uses. Think about what you use your computer for and when you're actually waiting on it... starting up, opening apps, transferring files, depending on Internet connection speeds, and the list goes on. For the top 5% that actually need MORE POWER, the MBA isn't right for them. For all the rest, the MBA, with its C2D CPU and mighty capable NAND Flash storage, incredible software, 4GB RAM, and etc, is faster than anything else available stock from Apple right now.

    Don't hate on the MBA just because it has a C2D CPU in it... realistically, it's faster for the average user than all of the other Macs in NORMAL uses that average users usually wait on their computer for. People will wait less on the MBA than any other Mac if they're in the normal user range who doesn't need faster CPUs to calculate things because they're doing relatively non-intensive tasks, and the C2D is still mighty capable.

    I wouldn't wait for Sandy Bridge, as I don't believe it even makes it into the MBA. Wait for Ivy Bridge??? Do you really need it? The current MBA is incredibly capable, even with C2D CPUs. The people here talking about SB CPUS aren't the normal MBA buyers. I don't believe MBA buyers give a darn about the CPU, as if they test it out in the Apple store they will see even the 1.4GHz is incredibly fast. THE CPU DOES NOT MAKE THE COMPUTER! The computer uses the CPU along with all of the other components along with great software to make the users' experience incredible... and the MBA does it better than the rest!
  13. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    How much do you value portability?

    I have both a MBA 11 and an MBP 13, and I now only use the MBP as a desktop computer because the MBA 11 is so much more portable in comparison.

    The MBA 11 is also plenty fast for the work I do on multi-voice audio DSP for iOS apps.
  14. PeterKG macrumors 6502

    May 2, 2003
    My primary purpose in going with an 11" MBA Ultimate was to simplify, and be as portable as possible. I thought I would notice a hit in performance, but quite the contrary this machine feels faster. When I need more screen I plug into a 24" ACD. I only hope Apple will keep improving these little gems, as I never could go back to a larger form factor. It is the best of all worlds. No need for an iPad, and when I think of my very first years of computing, and all the crap you had to buy, or thought you needed to buy, comes full circle back to a small footprint.
  15. st0p. macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2011
    Be honest about your needs:

    the MBA has no ethernet port, no optical drive - are these things you are going to miss? Not having the ability to play a DVD on your computer can be a huge bummer, and even though WiFi is ubiquitous, every once in a while you might miss the ethernet port.

    I bought the '11 because a) I have a PC for my more intense needs (editing video/photo, gaming, multimedia) b) portability was my main need in a computer. With these needs, I have been extremely happy with my purchase. I don't think I could justify owning the '11 (or the '13, for that matter) as a main computer, and I have actively advised people against that. However, if your main computer needs are less rigorous than mine (and I'm guessing for the majority of people, Office/internet browsing/IMing take up 99% of their computing), then the '11 is an extremely capable machine and I doubt you'd be the slightest bit unhappy with it.
  16. tim100 macrumors 65816

    May 25, 2009
    one thing i would change would be to add glass over the screen like the pro or offer an anti glare option.
  17. rav16 macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2011
    i have the ultimate 1 that is 1.4ghz,4gb,128gb .
    portability factor if you count i would say there is nothing which can beat it .

    perfomance was since iam using it for last 10 days its super fast . the screen is awesome .
    if u put this puppy in ur bag u wont even notice the weight atall . its just a awesome machine.
    like some 1 in the big post said dont get confussed or doubtfull for the c2duo chip this computer is way faster then u can imagine. u will just love this baby and maybe like me and others this will become 1 of ur best laptops or computer u have ever used or bought in life till now . u wont go wrong with this puppy .
  18. Mac32 Suspended

    Nov 20, 2010
    If you buy an 1.4ghz MBA to get longer battery times, you are getting a bad deal.. All 1.6ghz MBA cpus can be significantly under-volted. I would definately get 1.6, some extra speed doesn't hurt as far as flash, hq videos etc..
  19. GekkePrutser macrumors 6502a


    Aug 18, 2005
    True, the C2D in the Air is plenty fast now. I've seriously considered getting one. But if I buy a €1300 computer (I want the 11" w/4G and 128GB SSD), I'd like it to last a good few years too. That is the one thing that worries me.

    OS X Lion dropped support for anything below Core 2 Duo, so it already dropped the first-gen intel Mac stuff. The next release may well drop C2D as well, in favor of Core i-only.

    The step up to Sandy Bridge would put the CPU's up to current standards. And add other features which could be very helpful, such as QuickSync and AES-NI (which Lion will support for the new FileVault) and thus reduce the CPU load on an already relatively slow machine.

    In terms of GPU being slower, I really couldn't care less on a secondary machine. The only GPU-enabled thing that I would possibly do is log in to World of Warcraft once a day to read my mail and craft/sell some stuff in-game. I can even do that on my Hackintosh netbook with GMA950 and do so occasionally on holidays. Ok it's slow but it works. I'm sure even a downclocked HD3000 would be a huge improvement. And I know I'm not the only one not needing a great GPU.

    I'd really prefer a future-proofed Sandy or Ivy Bridge MBA over the current offering and I'll wait for it.
  20. case2001 macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2010
    Ok so I will probably get shot down for this, but I have the base model 11 and love it. I believe the decision comes down to what you need to do with the machine and what you are used to.

    I was coming from a pentium 4 machine. I had already decided when it died I was going for a Mac. I originally bought a coreduo macpro 15 to test the waters. That was 6 months ago. I was so impressed that when the macbbok air 11 came I bought it to carry with me daily. Now clearly I was not too demanding. I needed word processing, excel, web, email, and some coding capabilty. For iTunes and mass storage, have a westerdigital player at home with 1 terabyte drive and I carry my iPhone for mobile. So for all intents my air is my sole machine. It performs all the tasks I need perfectly. And looks great doing it with out taking up much space either in my bag or on my desk. I carry it everywhere. Future proof probably not. But I usually keep my machine for several generations so it it irrelevant. I am constantly amazed at how much I can do on the 11 inch screen.
  21. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Don't underestimate the portability of the 13", particularly if you are coming from a 15" MBP. It can easily fit into the document pouch of a typical notebook bag. That said, I am a long-time MacBook Air user (since the Rev A) who just switched to the "Ultimate 11" and it is quite a bit smaller.
  22. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    I'm not saying they won't abandon Core 2 Duo chips, but there was a technical reason why they dropped support for Core Duo chips from Lion and that is that the Core Duo are not 64 bit chips whereas the Core 2 and above are
  23. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    You mean "Built-in" a CD, RJ45 adapters are available and I submit their use is infrequent so for a mobile device.
  24. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Exactly. The Core 2 Duo may be slower, but they are technically capable of running the same software as the Core i3/i5/i7 chips. Intel's rebranding to "Core" made things confusing, particularly since they refer to the new Sandy Bridge chips as the "Core Series". However, the chip inside the early 2006 "Core Duo" was essentially a rebranded Pentium M chip (itself a modified Pentium III). It's a REALLY ancient design by today's standards. The Core 2 Duo was new in late 2006 and was Intel's first 64-bit processor marketed to consumers.

    To use an analogy, the Core Duo is the Motorola 68040 to the Core 2 Duo's PowerPC 601.

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