About to buy - Feedback requested

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Boe11, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Boe11 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2010
    Good afternoon,

    I’ve been strongly considering migration from my 17” Macbook Pro to an 11” Macbook air and a thunderbolt display. The versatility of this setup has great appeal to me and I’ve done a fair amount of research on it. Before I pull the trigger, I was just hoping to get some feedback to make sure that everything on my list “should” play well together and I’m not making any unforeseen blunders in selection.

    Here is what I’ve got in mind.

    Top end 2011 11” refurb

    Thunderbolt Display (Damn, they had refurbs earlier in the week :( )

    Logitech K750 Solar wireless keyboard (for mac)

    Logitech Performance wirelss mouse MX

    OWC 2tb Mercury elite FW800 external HD

    Vantec USB External sound card (logitech 5500 speakers)

    I hope this doesn’t come off as a “loooook at me! I’m buyin’ stuff!” thread. I genuinely want to make sure that I haven’t chosen something that’s not going to work, or might cause problems. I’ve heard people complain about wireless keyboards/mice not waking MBAs from sleep mode when plugged into a TBD in clamshell mode. Think I’ll run into that issue with this configuration?

    I’m kind of excited. I was contemplating just waiting for the refresh whenever it comes around, but I finally found a buyer for my MBP and though I have a windows desktop I can use for the time being, I don’t really want to wait around for 4-6 months for the new models. And aside from the new graphics chipset potentially alleviating whatever small semblance of animation lag currently exists with the TBD, the current model will be perfect for my needs.

    Any other advice recommendations or forebodings?

  2. Hawkeye16 macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2009
    Just a few things. Looks like the picture on the Apple Refub is of a 13" not an 11". Just don't be disappointed if your computer does not have a Memory Card reader.

    About the mouse and keyboard... unless you are going to use all of the extra functionality in a mouse like that I would suggest a bluetooth mighty mouse and keyboard myself, saves a USB port. I actually am a huge fan of the trackpad, but if you are doing certain editing/gaming then a mouse is definitely needed.

    From my experience Logitech has always worked well with my apple products though so I don't think you should find any issue with those. I cannot speak to the sound card.

    The HD you are looking at has a few FW connections but the Air does not. You could save $$ by getting one that only utilizes USB 2.0 if this is going to be your sole computer using it.
  3. AlfaLavala macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2009
    Aberdeen, UK
    So I've recently been considering a similar thing, a 11" MBA and TBD.

    I don't own them but I did spend some time in the Apple store today with the setup and I tried to test everything I could (in a short time frame).

    The Apple guy and I tried to max it out: I opened up a bunch of stuff: itunes playing a film, safari with ~10 tabs on a website, iPhoto, Aperture, maybe one or two other random programs I clicked on. No bother with them on the TBD/MBA screen. The only thing where CPU peaked was when I dragged the Aperture window to virtually full screen on TBD, the slower response was noticeable. This was with both screens, maybe it would be better with clam shut? This was also the i5 1.6.
    If you get the i7, it's 30-40% more powerful both CPU and HD3000 '-wise' [based on PassMark benchmarks] so performance should be better.

    I've read about the sleep mode thing so we tested it out:
    • Clam Open, plugged in TBD -> detected and extended desktop
    • closed clam -> switchs to TBD only
    • Detach MBA and open -> MBA screen comes on and adjusts
    • Plugged back into TBD whilst open->waited......press detect screens and it kicks in, maybe too impatient?
    Short test but indicated there may be a certain sequence to things.

    I assume OP has chosen FW to use with the TBD?
  4. Boe11 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2010
    Thanks for such quick and quality feedback, guys.

    Correct, I would leave the external drive plugged into the TBD. \

    My "vision" with this setup is to have (at least close to) the best of both worlds, in terms of desktop (docked) and mobile (travel, lounging, etc) experience. I'm hoping that everything works well together and the external HD and external sound card with my surround sound speakers plugged into them, don't turn into a headache. In my head it all looks perfect, but that's a scary place.


    That is excellent feedback. It sounds like it handled everything pretty well. How did it "feel"? That was my attempt at the most subjective question ever.

    Thanks again for the feedback - keep it coming.

  5. dodolom macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2009
    Hi guys,

    I am thinking about purchasing the latest model 11" MBA with i7, 256gb SSD and 4gb RAM.

    I found a listing on my local craigslist, being advertised as the latest model with the MD214LL/A model number. When I google that model number, I am not getting good enough information to see if it's the latest or not.

    Can someone confirm if that's the latest one or not?


  6. JonLa macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2009
    Pretty sure the Air's don't have firewire, just USB 2 or thunderbolt. Is there a Thunderbolt-based External HD?
  7. throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    My only reservation would be that 4gb of RAM is a bit tight (this is actually a big part of why i don't have a 13" MBA right now instead of the Pro :D)

    Not sure if/when there's likely to be an MBA update with 8GB as an option any time soon, but I think you'll miss the RAM expansion capability.

    But it depends what you're doing I guess. 4gb and an SSD is plenty for general "stuff" but if you're expecting to be able to do similar stuff to what your pro is capable of (running VMs, big photoshop files, etc) 4gb might be not enough.

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