Air for illustration?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Xeocon, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. Xeocon, Jul 13, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013

    Xeocon macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Hello everyone,

    I am in a mega predicament trying to figure out the best solution for my 1-3 year trip overseas. I am coming from a 2009 Mac Pro that has been plenty fast for what I do. Basically I am looking for a solution that will:

    -be used 90% of the time in clamshell mode in conjunction with a 24" monitor, scanner, wacom tablet, external storage, headphones with mouse and keyboard.

    -deal with scanned 600dpi images at roughly A3/A4 size to use in Photoshop/Manga Studio/Artrage/Illustrator for digital painting purposes. I usually don't use anymore than 10-20 layers.

    -be used for light video/animation in After Effects/Motion Artist. The later isn't GPU accelerated as far as I know. Basically I would like to play around with making motion comics.

    My workload is serious hobbyist, meaning I dont have deadlines and will be using the setup for about 3-4 hours a day. I have anlayzed a few options:

    13" Macbook Air i5 1.3/8GB/256GB

    This is the option I would most like to work. Light for travel, decent native resolution for working out of clamshell mode, and a great price. Also has the best GPU for external monitor performance.

    13" rMBP i5 2.6/8GB/256GB

    Smaller desk footprint than air, better screen (colour accuracy) and a processor designed to stay cooler with media workloads as well as ventilation. However the price stings a bit and the retina screen would be under utilized.

    Mac Mini 2.3/8GB/1 TB

    Has the best processor of the lot and more USB slots. I would feel a bit crippled though knowing that I couldn't pick up the machine and use it outside of its desktop arrangement ( like anyone else, I enjoy my fair share of couch browsing!)

    I have researched a lot of threads on this forum and have found many people recommend an Air for a graphic design workflow, yet these are often for queries relating to web. I would like to know if the air is good enough for a medium print workflow? Money is an issue and I'm looking for the most bang for my buck. Thanks so much, sorry for the long read!
  2. tann macrumors 68000

    Apr 15, 2010
    Nottingham, England
    Since you're 90% attached to an external display, I'd say MBA.

    Gives you, as you said, the most portable machine (weight and battery life) plus if you think it would help the i7 Air is more powerful (geek bench) than the 2.6ghz rMBP (I think, or they are about even at least).

    After that the mac mini seems to be a waste if you 10% use it not connected (i.e. portable mode). I can't specifically say whether your workflow suits it, but based on the 90% external monitor, not too worse CPU (i5 MBA) and much better GPU the air might be a good option.
  3. Suraj R. macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2013
    I'd say Air, I have the 2013 13"/i5/8/128 model connected to a 23" 1080p HP Monitor (and a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, external hard drive and 7 port USB hub, things that you mentioned) and the combo works great as my only computer. You'll have plenty of power and the portability if you decide to use it.

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