Any First Gen (Rev A) MBA Users out there?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Doju, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. Doju macrumors 68000

    Jun 16, 2008
    I need some advice. After reading Engadget's recent review, talking about the Rev A as the 'dark age', is it really THAT bad? I understand a MBA Rev A would NOT be a good machine for someone using intensive graphic programs, video editing, and gaming, that's completely understandable, nor do I expect it to be.

    BUT, what about someone who doesn't need those intensive applications? For me, I simply need a word processing unit, and light web-browsing, excluding gaming, and intensive flash sites. Think MacRumors, and other sites with not exactly resource-hogging sites, and using Pages and the like for school? My MBP would handle anything else.

    What would the result of that be? (Word processing and web-browsing?) Would it get really loud and hot? Or would it suit my needs? I don't want to drop the bank on a new one if I don't need it.

    Thanks in advance guys. I'm basically wondering if these horror stories are all they're cracked up to be, especially with those of us users wanting to use it very lightly. Any MBA Rev Aers out there wanting to share their experiences.
  2. aussie.damo macrumors regular

    Nov 20, 2006

    I am a Rev A MBA owner (base model). I use it for web browsing (Safari / Firefox), email, iTunes (music AND video), Office 2008, Fusion (running XP), IM (iChat and Adium) and other "useful" web programs. It is great, the best laptop I have ever owned. Gorgeous screen, great form factor, awesome keyboard.

    I have never experienced the problems that many on this forum have discussed. That doesn't mean that they don't exist, it just means my MBA hasn't had the problem. I don't have core shutdowns, it's not excessively hot, I don't hear the fans and it doesn't lag on YouTube. YMMV, but that is my story.

    The one and only time my fans kicked up to 6000RPM was when I installed XP via Fusion. This is normal, expected behaviour as it is very processor intesive. It's worth noting that the same thing happened when I installed XP via Fusion on my MBP, so it's not just an MBA issue.

    Every Mac I have ever owned has been warm to touch. The same is true of all the Dells, HPs and Toshibas. The MBA is no worse than any of them and possibly slightly better than my first MBP (C2D). I make a habit now to install smcFanControl and have the fans running at 3000RPM. This is barely audible and makes a big difference to the heat. Again, I do this on all Mac's I own, so it's not special treatment for the MBA.

    For what you want to do, the MBA will be great. Sure you could end up with a faulty one, but chances are, you won't.

    Don't stress too much about what you read in these forums. It's been said a million times, but people will complain much more often than they will praise something. Most contented MBA owners have probably never heard of MacRumors (no offence, Arn) and happily use their machines just like you will.

  3. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    The GenA MBA is a fine product with some caveats

    I have the RevA 1.6ghz/80gb model (the slowest current model year Mac).

    I own a MBP, MB, and iMAC. The MBA has become my main machine. I use it all day everyday and travel with it every week. I typically run a dozen or more Mac apps (Adium, Mail, Safari, iCal, Addressbook, Word 2008, Entourage 2008, Mozy, Skype, XMLMind, Yojimbo etc), Parallels with a VM (mostly XP, IE6, Outlook or Ubuntu), have my bluetooth and wifi on and have screen at max brightness.

    The machine runs mostly at 40-50 deg C (about 10 degrees lower than my MBP) and a fan speed of about 2500rpm (silent) and gets between 3.5 and 4 hours of battery life (although I mostly use it plugged in with several hour long meetings through the day on battery only).

    Video (skype, flash web sites, utube etc) will cause temps to rise and fan to speed up almost instantly but this is the ONLY time I see this. My temps typically get into the 70's then - still cooler than my MBP and fan goes into the 6000 rpm range (not silent but not really loud in most rooms or if audio is playing too). I have yet to experience any core shutdowns, and as soon as the video stops, the temps and fan go back down.

    The caveats are
    a) Slow hard drive that maxes out with large file copies, backups, etc and slows everything else while underway. Only experience this when I do image backups.
    b) Not suitable for day long use away from power (which can be said for most notebooks).
    c) Not meant for multiple cpu and HD taxing applications running at once. So no DVD ripping while you are trying to edit Word documents.

    While I don't doubt some people experience some problems with some machines I find the MBA RevA an excellent machine for MY use and feel no compelling reason to upgrade to RevB at this time (may upgrade to 120gb hard drive when they become readaly available).

    That said, I'd likely buy a RevB if I did not have a RevA because of its faster, bigger HD, and has a more conventional component set.

    For the uses you specify there is absolutely nothing wrong with a RevA MBA (provided you can plug in to recharge during some classes through the day).
  4. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    I've got a Rev A 1.8 SSD which I got just after they first came out.
    I've never had a problem with it performance wise and run Virtual Machines (Fusion), Aperture, Photoshop CS3, Office 2008 and Eclipse on it without a hitch.
    My view is it has always been perfectly fast enough and it didn't suddenly become slower and less usable because Rev B was released...
  5. macdent macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2008
    I agree . . .

    I bought my rev A from BestBuy about a month ago and sooooooo glad I did it!!! I thought about spending the money for the newest, greatest model, but I use it just as you described and have had zero problems. The only time I have noticed heat as an issue is when I have it on my lap and covering the slots at the rear back -
    I have had a G4 PB for years and it too would heat up so the MB Air is not any worse than that.
    I saved a lot of money and love using it - go for it!!!
  6. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    From what you described, your needs would be suited by basically ANY lightweight notebook. I think even a cheapo $200 netbook would work for you since you have the MBP for the heavy lifting anyway.

    Netbook if you want to save some money, Rev A if you can spend some more and want to take advantage of the cost reductions on the previous model, and Rev B if money is no object.
  7. APPLENEWBIE macrumors 6502a

    May 8, 2006
    The high desert, USA
    I recently bought a rev a macbook air 1.6mb, 80gb hd. So far no problems whatsoever. I use it similarly to the OP. The MBA is replacing a iBook 12" that I really have loved using. I was going to get a new macbook, but, hey, I don't need what the MBA don't have; i.e. a fast hard drive,multitudinous ports or an internal optical drive. It is, for me, a perfect "second" computer" that can do about 90% of what a "first computer" can do. And, well, the MBA is just so d**n sexy!
  8. jrabbit macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2008
    St. Louis, MO
    Ideal for me...

    I have a first generation 1.8/SSD (ordered at 12:14PM on intro day), and have had no problems.

    Temperatures are 40C-55C, higher if doing intensive things. "Intensive" can mean watching videos (Hulu mostly), ripping content, or doing a lot of disk activity (even on the SSD this kicks up the heat). I have never had a core shutdown, though.

    The only slight annoyance I've ever experienced is the fans stopping a couple of times altogether -- the "gentle tap on the back right" knocked them back into motion. This seemed to happen after the laptop had been off while outside in the cold and then brought in and turned on; I'm not really worried about it.

    It's really been the ideal laptop: light, amazing screen, full keyboard, decent battery life (3.5 hours on WiFi, ~5 if not on the network and I carefully manage screen brightness). It does everything I need: web, email, Office (yes, yes, it's a work thing), XMIND, Pixelmator, RapidWeaver, OmniGraffle Pro, OmniPlan, etc.

    I almost never need the external DVD, but do recommend a spare AC adapter (one home, one work), the USB network dongle (some hotels still don't have wireless), WaterField slipcase, iSkin keyboard protector, and Invisible Shield (makes it feel like I won't let it slip out of my hands).

    I haven't booted my desktop in months, and even with the big price drops since I bought it I have no regrets.
  9. Ironic macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2008
    In my MBA!
    I had mine it had tons of issues BUT maybe the updates fixed most of them I ended up with a B and glad I switched:)
  10. h1d macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2008
  11. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2004
    LOL! :D

    I'm just happy to see a thread where all the *happy* RevA owners can come out in spades and really show that the RevA had some problems for some people- but most people (and count me in that group) think the MBA is the best laptop they've ever owned.

    I've also owned an iBook 12", PB 12", MBP 15" and MB (White and Black) before the Air, and the Air is my primary machine now and I love it to death. I have a Rev A Base Model (1.6Ghz/80GB)
  12. Ironic macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2008
    In my MBA!
  13. wheelerw macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2007
    Really? could have fooled me. :)
  14. 1rottenapple macrumors 68000

    Apr 21, 2004
    I have a mba, with the slow 80 gb hd, my only computer mind you. I'm probably a user like the original poster and that mba has been fine for what i've asked it for (itunes/iphone/movie watching/hulu). I have core shutdown but coolbook fixed that. Otherwise its a good little machine. Just don't expect regular macbook experience and you'll be good.
  15. Ironic macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2008
    In my MBA!
    Loved those things :)

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