Air or Mini Mac with ATD?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by nightlong, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. nightlong macrumors 6502a

    nightlong

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2012
    Location:
    Australia
    #1
    Hi, I want to upgrade after the new Macs are (or hopefully will soon be) announced, to a Thunderbolt display with ...

    That is the question ...

    with MBA or MBP 13 inch or Mini Mac.

    I don't do gaming or very heavy processing, I'm a writer and 2 big priorities are silence (no fan noise) and sharpness for text. I've got an iMac (2007) with Snow Leopard, Mini Mac (2006) with Tiger, both still okay, but won't be forever, and iPad 2 which takes care of most of my portability needs. However, i want to experiment with ebooks, multimedia, with iBooks Author and other things, and want a bigger screen, Mountain Lion, and ssd etc.

    My iMac has been great, but I'm thinking it might be better to get ATD and have less expensive upgrading with mini mac later, and in my experience the mini mac is quiet. i would like an Air for the portability things the iPad can't do ... but I'm worried about fan noise, I have read that some people have found this very loud.

    Is the MBP quieter than MBA?

    Also, I live in a country area with not very fast or reliable satellite broadband, and i have to lug my iMac to town to do major software upgrades. The Air would be much handier for that!

    Advice would be much appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. lannisters4life macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Location:
    Sydney
    #2
    The only time my new 2012 MBA's fans have kicked into high gear has been with gaming, which you said you're not doing, and it was much quieter than the other notebooks I've had experience with, a 2006 Macbook, a 2008 Macbook Pro and a 2009 Macbook. Its regular fan sound is imperceptible to me during the day, internet browsing, typing in Word, etc. and it is only at night when I'm sitting up in bed do I hear it. Too, I don't think Sir Jony's new "asymmetrical fans" are total marketing hype, I can tell it's a different kind of noise, more like the constantly shifting cabin pressure noise in an aeroplane, at a fraction of the volume of course, rather than a typical whirring fan. It is driving a Thunderbolt display, and so far I haven't noticed the MBA having any trouble with it.

    I'd say when the Mac Minis are refreshed they'll be fitted with the new style fan.

    Sharpness of text though, the new retina Macbook Pro will probably hypnotise you, so if you can't afford it, don't look at it! The Thunderbolt display is lovely, but its cover glass can be very reflective if you've got lots of light coming from behind you. It's exactly the same screen as the current crop of 27" iMacs, if that helps.
     
  3. nightlong thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightlong

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2012
    Location:
    Australia
    #3
    thanks so much for your generous and helpful reply. can i ask one more question ... when you use the Air (11 inch or 13 inch?) through the Thunderbolt display, is the text same level of sharpness as on the internal display? Does it lose any quality being "amplified" on the bigger screen?
     
  4. lannisters4life macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Location:
    Sydney
    #4
    I'm using the 13" Air, and my eyes are not amazing, so remember that when I give my opinion! The 13" Air runs at a 1440x900 resolution, and from reading around there are two different displays Apple buys for their Macbook Airs, and it's sort of a lucky-dip between whether you get the Samsung screen, which internet heroes have identified as being a bit better across the board, or the LG, which is flatter, but apparently better at lower brightness levels. I got a Samsung one, but because I have nothing to compare it to I have no idea if it truly is noticeably better. The 13" 1440x900 internal display has more pixels per inch (128), which seems to be a bit of a de facto standard of measuring things like text sharpness, than the 27" 2560x1400 Thunderbolt display (105) so on that basis, the internal display would have sharper text. In practice it doesn't work out that way, because when in MS Word on the huge Thunderbolt display I'm always at a 150-170% zoom, both because my eyes aren't great and because I have got such a larger screen, with more space, so I can have a document fill half the screen. This means the text on the 27" display is super sharp, because fonts are practically scalable vectors, and now are given a huge share of pixels over a physically large area of the screen. When the Macbook Air powers the Thunderbolt display, it's not really "amplifying" anything, it's more extending the amount of desktop space—the size of regular, unzoomed text and menus and images is roughly the same on both screens (if a little bigger on the 27" because of its power pixel per inch scale). Hope that helps.
     
  5. nightlong thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightlong

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2012
    Location:
    Australia
    #5
    thanks so much! it's all very well reading specs, but that doesn't answer the questions you've answered for me, hugely helpful because, as i said, i live in a rural area and it's not so easy to try these things out!:)
     

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