Any designers using the MBA 2012 as their main machine?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by KimHansenDK, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. KimHansenDK macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2011
    I am wondering if any of you work full time with graphic design and use the MacBook Air 2012 with 8GB ram as your main machine.

    Will it be enough (with the 27-inch Thunderbolt display) for intensive Photoshop and Illustrator work - and handling large files?

    I have been thinking about replacing my old MacBook Pro 2010 with the 2.0GHz i7 MacBook Air from 2012. But I want to be sure that I can do my everyday work as a Digital Design/Art Director on this machine? I mainly use Photoshop and Illustrator at the same time - along with a 5-8 tabs in the browser - and spotify playing. Only once in a while I will be using Flash, Final Cut Pro and After Effects.

    Is the MacBook Air 2012 enough for this kind of work? I don't play any games apart from simple browser games and maybe some Football Manager and Counter Strike.
  2. DennisVar macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2010
    I use a 2010 Macbook Air quite a bit for Photoshop (with an external display). Works great. I believe having an i7 proc makes a difference here.
  3. ZZ Bottom macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2010
    First off, if you want the most out of your machine you should manage your multitasking. Don't run a browser with 5 tabs while running PS or Illustrator with a large project, unless you absolutely must. Eventually it will page out to SSD anyway, but obviously it's better to have Ram used.

    It's certainly realistic to complete serious work on these machines. Compare them to professional desktops of yesteryear, and they fare quite well.

    Not having Cuda sucks of course, but you have to manage expectations. I use AE on mine, but I don't expect to use any raytraced 3D. I also have an 3770k i7 Hackintosh with GTX 670 GPU that I have started to control via screen share when I want power in my lap. On my home network the latency is manageable.
  4. KimHansenDK thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2011
  5. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    What about the 13" rMBP? I do industrial design and used an Air for quite a while. Then I bought the 13" rMBP and haven't used the Air since. It seems to have little more power when attached to my TBD running design software such as Illustrator, CAD software etc.
  6. KimHansenDK, Mar 17, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013

    KimHansenDK thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2011
    Im not a fan of the retina display when working in Photoshop. And the fastest Air is as fast as the 13" rMBP (except from the 3.0GHz i7 model) and has to drive less pixels...
  7. LYFK macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2007
    I use a 2012 13" MBA for design purposes (CAD, rendering, CS6 with a little Processing and Arduino) and it runs great (although I upgraded from a 2007 MBP!). Adding a second screen makes information easier to handle, but obviously heats things up and gets the fan going. I once used mine to stitch a 300 photo panorama in PTGui and almost instantly maxed out the ram and SSD space. So while it's not a professional grade machine, you should be able to do most things without running into a wall.
  8. KimHansenDK thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2011
    Will the MBA 2012 get hot and the fans starting to run, if it is connected to a 24-inch 1080p display in clamshell mode running Photoshop, Illustrator etc?
  9. LYFK macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2007
    Hard to say, never tried it. I think the Air benefits from being open because it promotes airflow. I've noticed that keyboard covers tend to mess up the speakers and fans a little bit because they use the openings in the keyboard.

    If the display is only 1080 you probably won't notice any slowdown in Adobe CS, but the fan is likely to get going a little.

    Can't the Apple store hook up an air to a thunderbolt display so you can test it?
  10. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    No it won't. My 2011 MBA with 1.8GHz i7 didn't make any noise using Photoshop/Illustrator when connected to a 1920x1200 display. Premiere/After Effects are another story, but for photo editing / vector design it's fine.
  11. ka-spot macrumors 6502a

    May 23, 2012
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    My prime is base 13" Air 2011 / 1.7GHz i5 / 4GB / 128GB. I dont use external monitors.

    I'm mostly a developer with photography as a hobby. CS6 with 25MB RAW files. NetBeans is always up and running. Chrome is always with 2 main windows with 20 tabs each. Skype and Dreamweaver are always on too.

    Of course always up and running is my web server.

    And sometimes I'm using Parallels Desktop with Win 7 and CorelDraw X5 to create magazines without closing the rest. I just minimize NetBeans and Chrome, cus they are using most of my RAM.

    I'm waiting now for the new Air. I'll upgrade this summer cus I want 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and USB3. My current Air 2011 is awesome and is enough for my usage. I just want something "new" :)

    :apple: forever!

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