Advice for Potential 11" Air purchase

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by dlamin517, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. dlamin517 macrumors 6502

    Jul 12, 2008
    Hey im really interested in purchasing an 11" macbook air.

    One a daily basis I only use iTunes, Chrome, Word, powerpoint, and iPhoto. I usually only have itunes, the mail app, and chrome open at one time. The most cpu intensive app I use would have to be photoshop, which I only use a few times a year.

    I have only about 30gb of files: 20 for music, a few for photos, and a few for apps and a documents. I have an external hard drive which I could easily use for large files.

    In order to compensate for the small screen I plan on purchasing an external monitor for at-home use.

    I really like the air because it would be incredibly convenient to bring everywhere I go and i dont need a large screen on the go.

    I have been reading a lot of people recommend 4gb of ram. Would 4gb of Ram be really necessary for my needs? I never run into problems on my current macbook with 2gb of ram. Additionally, would the upgraded processor really improve performance to a noticeable degree with these apps? And would the upgraded hard drive be really worth it if i only have 30gb of files.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010

    There will be third party replacement SSDs for the new Airs (OWC is already out with some), so I wouldn't worry too much about that. However, RAM cannot be upgraded as it is soldered on. That's why a lot of us are recommending purchasing the 4GB version. You might not want it now, but you may want it later. It will help with applications like Photoshop that load items into memory. Even the fastest SSD is much slower than RAM.

    Anyway, which MacBook do you use? If it's the original, then the Core 2 Duo chip is an upgrade from the Core Duo. The main benefit is that it can process more per clock cycle than the Core Duo, which was basically a modified version of the older Pentium M chip (itself a based on the Pentium III). The Core 2 Duo is based on Intel's x64 architecture.

    If you have a Core 2 Duo MacBook (anything from 2007 onward), then the chip in the MacBook Air is very similar.
  3. Bakari45 macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2010
    I think your setup seems okay. I mean, if you manage your files right and get rid of stuff you don't need (plus back up), then you should be okay with the bottom line Air.

    I bought and paying off the same model, but it’s not my only computer. I also have a Mac Pro and an iPad.
  4. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    More RAM is always good with Photoshop and iPhoto, and it is pretty inexpensive when your order the computer (and you can't upgrade it later!).

    You will probably notice the difference more with the additional RAM than with the processor speed bump.

    If you have 30GB of data on top of about 20GB for OSX and apps, you may run into storage problems soon if you only have a 64GB ssd. Of course, you could get one of the $50 super-tiny 32GB USB flash drives for photo or music storage without using your precious ssd space.

  5. dlamin517 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 12, 2008
    Thanks for the advice.

    I currently have the first rev of the aluminum macbook. 2ghz processor and 2gb of ram and intel dual core processor. Got it in 2008.

    Thing is though..what would i need more ram for exactly? Just to open more apps at once?

    And the use of photoshop for me is not a deal breaker. I just use it for fun every once in a while.
  6. goodtimes5 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2004
    Bay Area
    I have the same computing lifestyle as you, plus some Starcraft 2. I use 2GB without problems.
  7. yly3 macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2011
    Theoretically you shouldn't have any sort of problem. One of my latest "stress tests" with the 11" air (basic but with 128 ssd) was running Safari with 2-3 tabs, downloading a large file with utorrent, iTunes on (I have 90% of the time music on) AND installing Office 2011 all in the same time. Oh and Yahoo Messenger. I did not experience any sort of lag. Initially I also wanted the 4 gigs of ram but right I am more and more impressed by the zippyness of this Air and that I managed to spend less on it. Hey I don't do any PS or gaming but it's just impressive.
  8. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Yes, basically more RAM comes in handy for running more applications at once. I had a Rev B for 2 years before my current Rev D, and it was fine for everything I used it for, except for running Windows in virtualization (the ultimate form of having multiple applications open at once). That was my main motivation in going with 4GB.

    You'll probably be fine with a 2GB system, and the SSD and NVIDIA 320m will provide a noticeable boost compared to the HD and NVIDIA 9400m in your current MacBook. The CPU will be slower, though. Your MacBook has a 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo. The fastest 11" has a 1.6GHz chip, and the basic model has a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo.
  9. dlamin517 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 12, 2008
    I called up apple about this and they stated with snow leopard installed, the 64gb turned into a little over 40gb. I cant possibly imagine accumulating another 10gb of files. Thats another 1,500 songs and more photos than i can imagine. Thanks for the advice

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