Advice on model

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by mattjackson, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. mattjackson macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2014
    #1
    Hello, first time I've ever posted on here!

    I'm looking for a bit of advice please as I'm not the most clued-up person when it comes to choosing hardware.

    I'm looking for a new laptop, and I was fairly set on one of the basic level 13" Mac Book Pro with Retina display (i.e. 2.4Ghz i5, 8gb ram). However, portability is a big concern from me as I travel around with it a lot and want something nice and light etc, so I went looking into the Mac Book Air range. I LOVE how light/thin it is etc, and after looking at the customisation options, I'm now seriously considering an 11" Air with 'maxed out' specs (i.e. 1.7Ghz i7, 8GB ram) - I'd be prepared to pay a bit extra to max out the specs on an Air to enable me to get as higher powered laptop as possible in that sized body.

    I probably ought to say what I use my laptop for. As well as all the usual stuff (web browsing, iTunes, email etc), I am an 'aspiring' website coder (currently teaching myself) so plan to very soon be using it to design some websites, so I'm guessing that will involve installing an IDE and a few other bits and bobs. I also use GIMP for photo editing quite a lot.

    I am someone who hates slow/unresponsive computers with a passion, so I don't want to buy something that is going to 'lag' when you open programs, click things etc as I've had before with clunky windows laptops.

    If I had my choice, I definitely want an Air because of how light and small they are, but my question is: based on my needs, will I be fine with this, or should I really be still considering a Pro?

    P.S. My current laptop is a Dell XPS M1330 with an Intel Core 2 Duo 2Ghz, & 2GB ram - this might be a really really stupid question, but since my current processor is 2Ghz, and the Air i7 would be 1.7Ghz, would I actually be getting a slower laptop, or does it not really work quite as simply as that?

    Thanks to anyone who chooses to help!!
     
  2. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #2
    I have the maxxed out model myself - 2013 11" MacBook Air i7 CPU, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD. This is a *really* fast little computer. It will run circles around your old, slow PC. Don't look at clock speeds, they are meaningless in comparison to the Core 2 Duo. The CPU on the i7 MBA will be almost 3x the speed of your 2ghz Core2 Duo - I have a 2008 MacBook Pro with a 2.4ghz core2 duo CPU and my MacBook Air is more than twice as fast.

    The solid state disk is unbelievably fast - the 512gb model is much faster than the base 128gb SSD. I get more than 700 MB/second read and write performance. The only Apple computer with a faster disk is the big, very expensive "trash can" Mac Pro.

    Combined, this equals a really powerful computer in a tiny package. I still just marvel at what this little machine can do. At home I use it with a big screen and external keyboard. I run powerful professional applications like Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, Vectorworks, FileMaker Pro, Photoshop, etc.

    Travelling, it's fantastic. Just returned from Europe and it was the perfect companion, not much bigger than an iPad but vastly more powerful. I have been ripping my DVD collection and have 130 full length movies in iTunes now, in addition to my large music collection. I have all the files and documents that I need on the SSD as well but still have about 188 GB free space available for whatever video and audio projects I'm working on.

    Battery life is fantastic as well. On the flight home from the EU I watched my own movies for about 5 hours and the battery level was still showing 59%. Have never run it all the way down, but I would expect as much as 12 hours for typical use such as web, e-mail, MS Office, watching movies.

    From what you have posted, I think you would be delighted with an 11" MBA like mine. I previously had a 13" 2011 MBA and it was great too. But I'm just in love with my new machine. :)
     
  3. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #3
    Excellent post, which sums up my own views as well, and I echo every word you have posted.

    For travel, and portability, nothing beats the MBA. It is a stunning computer, blazing fast, very good screen, and surprisingly sturdy, too.

    The current 2013 model is incredibly fast, (and the 512 SSD is superb, especially when matched with 8 GB RAM), with wonderful battery life (I can easily get a full day out of mine, with 12 hours on the 13" and at least 10 hours on the 11"). For ease of use, and portability, while yet doing some serious (as in writing quite a lot) nothing touches it.

    With 8 RAM, and a SSD of 256, or, better still, 512, believe me, the MBA won't ever 'lag' or stall or be unresponsive; when you open the lid, going from 'sleep' to alive, awake and active takes around a second…….
     
  4. mattjackson thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2014
    #4
    Some interesting comments, thanks for the replies.

    Does anyone reading this have any experience of coding/programming on an Air, e.g. using an IDE etc? Does it cope with it well?

    I'm purely talking here about whether it's powerful enough to do this by the way, not the screen size - when I'm at my workstation I will most likely plug the laptop into a much bigger monitor, so screen size is irrelevant.
     
  5. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    #5
    Just scan this forum guy, more than a few people say it's fine for development.

    The only concern I have is the screen size but u just say you are going to use an external monitor so problem solved.

    Go for it man.
     
  6. nefan65 macrumors 65816

    nefan65

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    #6
    I went round/round on this. Tried them at the store, read articles, posts, etc. Finally pulled the trigger on a 11"/8GB/1.7/256GB Air. I looked at the 27" Apple Displays [refurb], but will probably just go with a high end DELL 24". Both are due at my place this Friday, so can't wait!

    In the end the deciding factor for me was 1 device; replacing an older, heavy 13" MBP and iPad. I can detach from the monitor, put it in a small sleeve, and I'm off. The rMBP had a nice screen, but I don't do a ton of graphics/pics, so I didn't really see a huge difference in quality overall. The retina was a tad crisper, but not "WOW" to me at least.

    You won't be sorry if you that route...
     
  7. mattjackson thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2014
    #7
    This literally sums up exactly where I am right now!! I have my old Dell as the 'workhorse' and end up not wanting to lug it around so take my iPad Mini most of the time when I go out. Like you've just said, I love the idea of replacing both of these with the one device, the Air, that is (to me) as portable as an iPad and as powerful as I need for desktop use. Very pleased to here someone else has gone that route - I'd love to hear your thoughts once you've got them on Friday!
     
  8. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #8
    The main thing is that the 2013 MBA is in a whole different league in terms of CPU power, RAM and especially disk speed. I have no idea what software you need and how it runs of different platforms. But if needed, you could also run windows on the MBA and it would surely run circles around your current system. :)
     
  9. mattjackson thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2014
    #9
    Ah ok, thanks. Well since my current Dell laptop isn't struggling with anything I'm doing, I guess the answer therefore is that the Air would be absolutely fine!!
     
  10. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #10
    Gotta be. :) CPU is about 3x as fast, it has 4x as much RAM, disk is probably 10x faster. I think you'll be pleased with the performance.
     
  11. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Location:
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    #11
    God, you should sell them, for some it may be to small, but if you are used to the iPad screen, the 11" will be huge .When you max it out, buy some bungee cords to tie it to the desk, this rocket wants to launch! This may be :apple: best kept secret:cool: That and the Mac Mini;):eek:
     
  12. yosemit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    #12
    I do. I use Eclipse on OS X, or Eclipse in a Linux VM, on my 2013 11" MBA with i7/8GB/256GB. I also used an Eclipse-based IDE inside Windows 7 for ARM-based programming. In all cases the computer is very responsive. And it is very quite!

    It is faster than a mid-range desktop computer a few years old. Most time I use 24" external monitors when programming. It is manageable (if done occasionally), though not productive, to program on the 11.6" screen.
     
  13. Crimsoncrusade macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2014
    #13
    Me too ... Xcode and OPENFoam..... no trouble on base config
     
  14. brilliantthings macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    #14
    Agree with all that, but maybe you should consider the 13". Still really portable, but the 11" screen is pretty small.


    I know you said screen size is irrelevant. But is it?
     
  15. mattjackson thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2014
    #15
    Haha, yes, it is - like I said, it will be plugged into a monitor a lot of the time, and I can happily cope with a small screen on the times when I go out with it.

    I plumped for the Air! Got it today - i7, 8gb ram, 500gb SSD. Absolutely LOVE it, so quick and powerful. I really have to say, for something so small and compact it is a phenomenal computer. Well well chuffed and pleased I feel I made the right decision.

    Thanks to those that advised etc.:):):)
     
  16. pazaakshark, Mar 17, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014

    pazaakshark macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2013
    #16
    Friendly advice from a web designer -

    My 2012 13 inch Macbook Air (i7, 8GB, 256GB) preforms perfectly as a tool for web design, which I used it for nearly every day.

    When testing my projects for responsiveness and general cross-browser compatibility I will have Safari, Chrome & Firefox open. I will also have a Windows 7 Virtual Machine running various versions of Internet Explorer (Sadly) to make sure my websites display to a decent enough level on older software/browsers.

    I suggest you take a look at Brackets (www.brackets.io), an open source code editor specifically made for web designers. It's actually coded using Javascript, CSS and HTML! It has many useful features such as the ability to edit stylesheets inside of a HTML document, and is very light weight.

    On top of this Photoshop CC will processing a fair amount of files & my FTP client will uploading files to my test servers.

    Along with all the other general applications (email, Spotify etc.)


    Never once has the Macbook Air struggled with any of this.

    The only problem you will run in to is the amount of space you have to work with, luckily you can connect an external display - I recommend at least a 24 inch as this will give you room for multiple browsers etc at once.

    Hope this helps! :)
     
  17. iBlazed macrumors 68000

    iBlazed

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Location:
    New Jersey, United States
    #17
    I didn't know that speed is dependent on the size of the SSD. Is this only among Apple computers? I have the 256GB model, is it between the 128GB and 512GB when it comes to speed? Here is a screenshot of my read/write speed test.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. iBlazed macrumors 68000

    iBlazed

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    Feb 27, 2014
    Location:
    New Jersey, United States
    #18
    Enjoy!! You've made a very wise choice. Welcome to the club!
     
  19. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #19
    The larger disks are faster, it has been discussed here but I don't recall the reasons. Yours isn't too much slower than my 512gb SSD - read speed about the same and I was getting about 700MB/s write.
     
  20. michaelsviews, Mar 17, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014

    michaelsviews macrumors 65816

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    Sep 25, 2007
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    #20
    Never mind
     

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