24 Hours with MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by hooly, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. hooly macrumors regular


    Nov 19, 2007
    After drooling over these things since they were released, deciding to buy one a couple of weeks ago, havering for ages about whether there might be an update soon, yesterday I just went out and bought a 1.6Ghz 80Gb model.

    In short: I am chuffed as nuts! :cool:

    It is a second machine to my MBP, which will remain my 'workhorse' for photo editing (I do a lot of batch editing of RAW files in Aperture and Photoshop), and my main computer for file storage, music collection, etc.

    Here are my first impressions:

    Intended use:

    I got the MBA because I wanted something more portable, both around the house and for trips around town / away so I can keep in touch with internet stuff and email. However, I have installed Aperture and photoshop so I can at least import photos. I don't expect it to cut-it at heavy editing, but at the very least I can import and tag projects in 'quick preview' mode for later editing on my MBP, and anything beyond that is a bonus.

    Installation and set up

    I didn’t bother trying to migrate anything from my MBP. I installed my apps from scratch and set up system preferences as I like it pretty quickly. I have installed the following apps and still have 50Gb free:

    Adobe DNG converter
    Photoshop (I deleted Bridge and all the parts I don’t use)
    Aperture 2.1

    Installation of all that was a breeze. Mostly downloaded from internet. For Aperture and Photoshop I used ‘remote disk’ from my MBP - after some background reading it went seamlessly and was surprisingly quick.

    Use so far

    I haven’t tried any photo editing yet (as I say, I don’t mind if it can’t cope with this, provided I can import and tag images, anything else is a bonus). So far it has only been installing all my gear, customizing and browsing in multiple windows. Indeed when watching streaming video the fans do start to blow a lot, but the CPU does not appear to be limited to 50% as some claim - it has still been using both cores and full CPU when doing heavier tasks (e.g. photoshop installation and remote disk). When returning to lighter browsing and document editing the fans turn off again.

    For me I am more than happy with that, but it is not my main computer and no way would I want it to be because there are times when I do extensive multitasking and processing.

    But it is fantastically light and portable, stylish and so far I am extremely happy.


    I was dubious about how well screen sharing and file sharing would work with my MBP, particularly after some very slow transfer rates when previously testing Airdisk with my MBP and an external harddrive. In fact I have been very pleasantly surprised how well it works (again, I had to do some background reading of Apple docs to get things set up properly, particularly my third-party router, but it didn’t take long to set up).

    Screen sharing is FANTASTIC! I am typing this on my MBA while remote-controlling my MBP to (i) import and process some RAW files into Aperture and (ii) play iTunes into my HiFi. Meanwhile the MBA is only idling and I am chilling on the sofa.

    I haven’t tried accessing my MBP from further away yet over internet, so will see how that goes.

    All in all I am so far absolutely delighted! If / when an update comes I may or may not sell and go for the next one... I will see how it goes. Having everything I need installed and still have 50gb of space is fine for me... I can put on e.g. 30Gb of music for listening on the road, the remaining 20Gb I will keep for temporary RAW storage and emergencies. Quite fine for me :)

    For sure it is a lot of money for what I would only use as a secondary computer, but I am very happy.
  2. PedsNeuro macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2008
    Jackson, MS
    Hi Hooly,

    I too am a new MBA owner previously using a MBP. I just got mine (1.8 / SSD) a week ago. My first impressions are similar. I went through a clean install to eliminate the languages and print drivers I didn't need. I then installed:

    Mac Office 2004

    Performance is quite good. The only thing that is not quite up to snuff is screen scrolling in Parallels running Windows XP. This is a VM and not a BootCamp partition.

    I was quite concerned about all of the overheating and core shut down issues. Coincidentally, the day I got my machine Apple released their update. I installed this. When I run any type of video, YouTube, iTunes movie trailers, etc. the CPU begins to heat up from its baseline 50 or so celsius into the 70s. The left side of the unit will get uncomfortably hot on my lap as well. However I do not get any core shutdowns. I have not tried running a feature length movie. I looked into Coolbook as many MBA users seem to swear by it even after the Apple update last week. I am sort of gunshy about using it as I don't really feel like I understand the settings well enough. As long as I am not having problems running what I need to, I think I can live with the machine being a little warm.

    I am a little disappointed with subjective battery life but I haven't done any timed testing but it feels like less than 3 hours. I also had been running the screen on full brightness, but am turning that down now and will see if life improves.

    BTW, I checked out your Flickr page link in your signature and love the Harves time photo. Any chance you could make a high res version available for a wallpaper?
  3. glitch44 macrumors 65816

    Feb 28, 2006
  4. NATO macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    Good ;)
  5. hooly thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 19, 2007
    @ Mark, sure here you go http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3134/2792259377_6472c938d5_o.jpg

    The unbordered part of the image is 16x9; ideal for wallpaper. The image was shot near Hanko in Southern Finland.

    For the heating issue; I watch youtube maybe 5 minutes a week, normally just if I am chilling with my girlfriend and we can't remember how a song goes...so I don't think it will be an issue for me. Saying that I had streaming content on for over an hour yesterday morning and the fans were blowing but no problems with the CPU.

    Anyway, I would say it sucks that a 1700Eur laptop can't handle video 100% well, but I have been reading about it for months before making the decision to get one so knew what to expect. I still think it is a great product.

  6. SFStateStudent macrumors 604


    Aug 28, 2007
    San Francisco California, USA
    Yup, I was in the same boat about the video thing, but I remembered that I had bought a nice BR player for $450 USD and a 40" Sony Bravia LCD to take care of that issue. Congrats on your new MBA...:cool:
  7. Abbas macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2008
    That Parallels in the background for ya. I had the same issue. With Parallels off, I got 4+ hours but with Parallels running, under three hours. Make Sure AMP is enabled in your Windows->Display->Screen Saver->Power Settings- it somewhat helps.
  8. SphericalPear macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2008
    hi, welcome to macrumors.com. thanks for using macrumors.com, and i hope we can be of help!

    thanks for sharing your happy experiences! congrats, and all the best for the future with your laptop!

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