A few questions about the MacBook Air 11"

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by machappymeal, Jun 22, 2012.

  1. machappymeal macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2006
    Going to take the plunge and buy a basic Air 11". This will be replacing a macbook from years back.

    I know the 64gig SSD is a bit limiting but I do have numerous 32gig SD cards with my photos, videos, music, etc. What do I need to buy to use these cards? (they are the standard size SD cards). I believe I need a 'card reader' which then attaches to the USB slot but I am not sure what to buy? And will it take advantage of USB3 speeds?

    I would buy the 13" model with the SD card slot but having looked at both I much prefer the smaller form factor of the 11".

    The latest model appears to be quite fast enough for my needs (surfing, typing a few essays, burning the odd DVD (I will buy the add on usb superdrive), is that correct? Or am I limiting myself too much by buying this particular model?

  2. mattpreston11 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2007
    Using an SD card with a card reader into USB is no substitute for actual disk space.
    I would recommend the 128GB model or a portable USB 3.0 2.5'' drive (£70).
    Superdrive is nice but seems expensive to me, I would go for a £20 samsung personally. Or see how you actually manage without a drive, you'll be surprised.
  3. PhazonUK macrumors 6502

    Jun 1, 2010
    Regarding the speed, I have a 2011 Air and it is fantastic. Having the i5 processor and SSD means it is super quick. I've used iMovie on it and it runs great. Also plays some games pretty well (Left 4 Dead 2, Portal 2, Borderlands).
  4. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I would spend the extra $100 and get the 128GB model. As the second poster pointed out, SD cards are slow and even if you do find a USB 3.0 reader, the speed of the SD storage will limit throughput. Most SD card readers are USB 2.0, though.

    I bought the optical drive with my original 2008 MacBook Air, and almost never use it. If you have another PC or Mac, you can "share" its optical drive when you are on the same network. Otherwise, a third party solution may work well.

    As for speed, it is perfectly adequate for most computing tasks. The base i5 this year is about the same speed as last year's i7.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Overall, I think upgrading to the 128gb model for a hundred bucks is the best move.

    You don't want to be penny wise and pound foolish, that is you're spending a thousand dollars, why save a hundred and introduce some levels of frustrations and possible regret down the road as you try to live within the small 64gb ssd.

    Another thing to keep in mind, software and OSX are not getting slimmer, they're consuming more space as they go to new versions - you want some room to grow as well
  6. machappymeal thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2006
    Thanks for all your comments and suggestions. I think it will be best to go for the larger SSD model, I see that now.

    Many thanks once again.
  7. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    64 is plenty if you are willing to use cloud services, external drives, and thumb drives (I think you can find them for 64 GB these days). The extra 100 dollars is 10% of the price. That is a lot, and frankly, probably not worth it if you intend to sell your computer later.

    I bought the 128 because one application I use stores data on the hard drive, and there is no way to store it elsewhere. Too bad, because I really would have preferred the 64. I should note that I have terabytes of data. I just don't need the local storage. Ideally, you buy storage separately and use that on multiple computers.
  8. islanders macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2006
    Charleston, SC
    My first choice was the base 11 as I already have a 500 GB USB 3 Lacie portable, however I upgraded to the 8GB 128GB 13''. The $100 for extra 64GB on the SSD is a good deal, especially if you already don't own a USB 3 portable drive. 128 is enough to store what you need then transfer it to an external via USB 3. Video files off my camera are up to 50GB for one shoot, so now I don't need to carry my external, and can transfer it when I get home, and if its important I then can have duplicate files on both drive until I can transfer and backup.

    If a thumb drive is USB 2 it's too slow for me, although it does it in the background, I don't like to wait, and everyone I know likes to transfer files fast.

    If you only plan to use internet and Office than the base if fine. This is my plan because my desktop has 8 HDs and two external displays so uses a lot of electricity and don't wan to ware out the HDs just for casual use. I probably would have been fine with it as I already have all the external devices, but 4GB and 64GB is cutting it close.
  9. comatose81 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 17, 2009
    I was thinking of just getting the 64GB model and using the cloud and my old MacBook to store large files that I don't need to access all of the time. But for $100, I figured it was kind of a no-brainer to just get the 128GB model. I could live with 64, but this way I don't have to constantly check my hard drive usage.
  10. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I ended up with 128, but I didn't consider the decision to be a no-brainer. In fact, I am still wishing I could have gotten the 64. But, we have to get the best device for our situation. I am stuck with needing to pay the extra 10%. Other people need even more storage, RAM, or better processors. I think the key, especially with the 11", is to know yourself and your needs.

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