Anyone Use MBA as a Primary Computer?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by svalentine, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. svalentine macrumors regular

    Apr 29, 2007
    Tokyo, Japan
    I just sold my 24" iMac and I'm looking to buy a notebook. I'm moving to Japan and I figure I want something smaller. I mostly use computers for iTunes/iPhoto/Safari and some video watching.

    I'm curious if anyone uses this as their primary computer. Thanks!
  2. MAG. macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2009
    I don't think the MBA as a primary computer is a great idea. I have a lot of computers and my MBA is my 4th machine, but my number one on the go :D

    I suggest the Macbook as a better overall choice.
  3. RayK macrumors 6502

    Oct 13, 2005
    As a person who just got a 24" iMac, I agree with the first reply. A Macbook Air is not a primary computer contender. Its a great secondary or on the go machine, its just not got the space or the power to replace a iMac or Macbook/Pro. Now that I have the iMac and the Macbook I don't ever use my Macbook or Macbook Pro though. They're just too much to carry around and the Macbook cuts into my wrists something terrible. That's what killed it for me. The combo of the iMac and the air are perfect for me. Only thing I'm missing is the music library space, but that's what my iPhone is for.

    Hope this all helps!
  4. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    Depends on what version you're talking about.

    rev A = better as a secondary computer.

    rev B = capable as a primary computer.
  5. AirUser macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2008
    I use it for all. Got a small business. There is no need for more Power - i got the REV A!
  6. AreanFSL macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2007
    MBA Rev. A, used as my only computer. It's awesome, with no problems. :apple:
  7. Miura macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2008
    i use it as a secondary computer. I have a MBP to handle my graphical needs, i just dont think the air can handle constant use of cs4, but it fits my on the go college lifestyle perfectly.
  8. Brooklyn8 macrumors member


    Jan 3, 2009
    For the use's you have stated, the Macbook Air would be fine. Make sure to get the Rev B. for superb video watching/streaming ability. :cool:
  9. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    The rev B MBA is my primary computer. I have the 1.86 GHz with SSD, and it is faster than my unibody MB 2.4 GHz, w 7200rpm HDD, and 4 GB RAM... also faster than my MBP v2,2 2.33 GHz, 7200rpm HDD, and 4 GB RAM.

    The SSD makes it incredibly fast for common tasks like startup, application opening, large file opening, and etc. For the normal, non pro apps, it is extremely fast.

    In addition, I use the 24" ACD as a docking station. The rev B MBA becomes an instant desktop driving the beautiful 24" ACD, also with built in power, USB hub, camera, speakers, and using wireless KB and Mouse is nice too. When at desk, I feel I am working on a genuine desktop. Having all of the power is great with the rev B MBA.

    Last thing, it has less space, so I use an AirPort Extreme Base Station with USB printer and attached Backup Drive. That really helps. I am looking forward to using the remote access via Mobile Me to connect to my AEBS drive remotely from other networks.

    I say go for it. The rev B MBA is super portable. At the same time, the 45 NM Penryn CPU with 6 MB L2 Cache is speedy/powerful, the Nvidia graphics w/Mini Display Port can power a 30" ACD, and the SATA SSD makes the small portable laptop a powerhouse for common computing tasks.

    Best wishes.
  10. kuehltruhe macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2008
    I am using my Rev A MBA as my main machine ever since I bought it over a year ago.
    I turn on the machine at 08:00 in the morning and shut down at 17:00 almost every day. I have no core shutdowns or whatsoever, no hinge-Problems, and still 95% battery health after 221 cycles.
    My work constists of developing software with eclipse (+apache2+mysql, glassfish etc.), using iWork and the usual other daily tasks (eMail, ...).
    Of course, sometimes I wish I had a little more processing power, but that's really only sometimes. Most of the time I am absolutely happy with the MBA.

    One minor drawback of my 80GB harddrive is that I have to keep my iTunes-Library on an external disk, which is inconvenient. On the other hand, I am supposed to work with this machine ;-)

    My setup at work is as follows: 23" ACD, Apple keyboard and mouse connected to the screen, D-Link USB-Hub (invisible under the table) connected to the screen. The hub connects to the USB ethernet dongle, an external DVD-burner and HD, and the iPod/iPhone-cord. This way I only have to plug in two cables and have every peripheral connected (okay, I plug in everything I possibly can ;-) ).
    I use the USB connector on the left side of my keyboard to plug in a USB-Stick from time to time.

  11. mykoljay macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2008
    Yes. Primary computer. No superdrive either.

    I have a 22" external display that I never use.
    And an external hdd that I only use for backup.

    Have never needed more power (no gaming, no video editing, no HD encoding).
  12. GreggM3 macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2008
    I have a 2nd gen MBA that I use for my main computer. I have a 2.2GHz black MB with 320HD and 4 gig of RAM that I rarely touch anymore. It houses my iTunes library but I have that on a external drive now as well that I connect to my MBA so the MB sits at home 24/7 I am going to sell it for a iMac or mac mini and cash.:D
  13. sanPietro98 macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2008
    My rev A MacBook Air is my primary computer. I do however have a USB drive to hold my media files (connected to an Airport base Station) due to the limited HD size.

    But I use it all the time for XCode, Eclipse, iWork, iLife, photo editing, Cheetah 3D, Web Browsing, etc. No problems to report and it handles all this just fine. At some point, I'd like to upgrade to a rev B for more horsepower though.
  14. progressweasel macrumors newbie


    Mar 7, 2009
    RE: Anyone use MBA as a Primary Computer?

    I travel 35 weeks out of the year and the MBA is my everyday computer but if I did not travel or move around as much I would spend less and get a MB or pend the same and get a MBP.

    I used to have a MBP as my everyday machine but I handed that over to my wife. She does not travel so the extra size/weight make no difference. For me it was a net 5 pound savings and with 2 herniated disks in my neck the 5 pound difference makes all the difference in the world.

    I have a Mac Mini on the network to store all non-business stuff (movies, photos, itunes) and a time machine in a separate location to deal with backups. This is the ideal "light" setup.

    But if you don't carry your laptop every day than I would go for a more powerful machine for the same money or save money and get a MacBook.


  15. DocGo macrumors member

    Aug 16, 2008
    I use my MBA as primary computer. It is easier to carry than my old MB. I used to bring an ultra-portable Asus EEEPC but the small screen and keyboard are hard on my eyes and fingers/hands. I love the fact that MBA offers ultimate portability without sacrificing screen and keyboard size.
  16. dubhe macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Norwich, UK
    I use the MBA Rev.B 1.6 HDD as my primary computer with no problems. I websurf, iPhoto manage, listen to iTunes and run Windows XP in Fusion with no problems whatsoever.

    The MBA IS superior to the MacBook in many many ways, the screen is so much better to look at and the keyboard feels nicer to type on. My wife has the MB so I know. If you need the power get a MBP, if you just do everyday stuff get a MBA. The MB is built to a price and it shows.
  17. DAMAC3 macrumors regular

    Feb 6, 2009
    Noblesville, IN
    I have the 1.86/128SSD revB, and I use it as my primary computer. I have a 1TB external hard drive connected to my AEBS filled with about 700GB of files and my Time Machine Backup on a separate partition. I love the MBA. I take it to work everyday and my computer programming classes twice a week.

    At home I connect it to a 22" monitor and use a BT keyboard and wired mouse with it (plan to get a wireless mouse). That works great. It also does well when I run the external monitor and the MBA screen at the same time to browse a webpage on one screen and watch video on the other for example.

    I just got an HD camcorder and transferred 17Mbps 30fps 1080i video from a flash memory card to iMovie. It took some time to transfer since iMovie is converting the AVCHD video to the iMovie intermediary format. It would be nice to see what a high end MB or low end MB Pro would do with that video, but it wasn't much slower than real-time to convert (if not in actual real-time). So I thought that was pretty good for the MBA. The only problem here is drive space. I may purchase one of those Western Digital 320GB drives that is small and is USB powered as a scratch drive for video. I wouldn't be doing this on the Air if I did it a lot, and I am not going to manipulate the video any more than to burn it to DVD or Blu-ray format on a DVD.

    I have been trying to find the best solution to run Visual Studio on my MBA since all the programming classes I am taking and will be taking in the next year utilize Visual Studio. I have Fusion, and I have tried running Windows 7 as just a virtual machine and later as a bootcamp install so I can run it natively if desired. I can't use XP because the newest version of Visual Studio does some funky things to your programs if you transfer projects between an Xp & Vista/7 machine. Again, I wish the MBA had a little more horsepower sometimes when I try to run Visual Studio on Windows 7 through Fusion, but it does OK. And it runs perfectly through Bootcamp. I also have a Virtual Machine using TinyXP, and it doesn't boot any faster than Windows 7 but is very fast to run Windows apps. It only uses 40MB of RAM for background processes, so that leaves so much more for apps. I recommend it as a great OS for your Virtual Machine if you don't have to use Vista or 7 like I do.

    I also use my MBA to playback HD video from iTunes and other sources. It does a fantastic job of that. Of course web browsing, email, etc work perfectly.

    I love the portability of the MBA. I love the screen and keyboard. I would prefer another USB port or two, but it isn't a deal breaker since my external monitor has a built-in hub and I have the AEBS for external hard drives and printer. I also wish it had 4GB of Ram, but I really am able to do everything I need to do with it. The heavier tasks could just be a little faster. Overall, I have found the advantages to outweigh the compromises for my needs.

    BTW - I have spent extended time with both the 120GB HDD & 128GB SSD versions, and you do notice a significant difference in speed in individual tasks and multi-tasking. It probably doesn't make a significant difference (if any) when it comes to importing HD video or other heavy, repetitive tasks, but it does have a big difference is normal use productivity.

    Maybe I included too many details, but I know how I research every shred of information I can find relevent to what I am doing before I buy. I hope this helps!
  18. badtzmaru macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2007
    i use mine on the go and for business trips on the road.
  19. Retops macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2008
    Obviously, it depends

    I use my MBA (original one) as my primary computer to run my consulting business and for my work as a part-time college professor. I use a computer constantly, but I am not a "power user" since I run Office, Tinderbox, Notebook, Scrivener and Curio almost exclusively.

    I have used the MBA to write a book, do massive amounts of research, keep my books for the business, etc. It does it all and is easy for my to lug from place to place.

    Based on my needs it is fine. For other people, it could only be a secondary machine.
  20. jackiecanev2 macrumors 65816


    Jul 6, 2007
    I haven't really even touched my 2.6 MBP since getting my MBA. FWIW.
  21. PsyD4Me macrumors 6502a


    Mar 11, 2009
    under your bed
    you can pull it off, for the last week i've been using Imovie 8 hours a day heavily, surfing the net, email, itunes....
    there are some signs of sluggishness, but that's why i got my Mac Pro.

    It's a risky move....

    I wouldn't.
  22. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    bump anyone use their (rev b) mba as their primary computer
  23. Barbie macrumors regular


    Jan 28, 2009
    Yes !!!

    I bought mine two weeks ago (the speedy SSD edition), and it's remarkable as my primary computer.

    As I meet some new people each day, or if I'm sat in a cafe, they are impressed by the Air's looks, lightweight, and speed.

    The SuperDrive is easily a forgotten thing, unless you need to install Windows via Boot Camp !!!

  24. stoconnell macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2009
    Rockville (Despite REM's plea.)
    Yes. I use mine as my primary computer. It fits pretty well into my usage patterns: email, iTunes, web, coding (mostly via terminal over ssh connections), IM, etc. I really like the portability, form factor, etc. I did pick up the Apple USB->ethernet adapter for work usage.

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