Resolved Coding on 11" MacBook Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by mertyz, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. mertyz, Aug 11, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012

    mertyz macrumors regular


    Sep 21, 2011
    Hi everyone,

    Last year I opened a topic regarding the Mac Mini I was planning to purchase during our local Back to School campaign, but none of the APRs in my city had it in their stocks and couldn't supply it on time. I then decided to wait for the next generation 13" MacBook Pro as I was thinking it would get a redesign. Though, you know, it didn't get one and I decided to wait for the 2012 Mac Mini until today.

    Here is the thing: I'm stuck with my almost-2-year-old Acer Aspire 5741G notebook which has an overheating problem for the last year or so. This overheating got so far that now I can't even watch a 20 min video without it shutting down itself. It even has a Cooler Master NotePal U3 under it. About an hour ago, I disassembled to clean it but turns out the fan works perfectly fine and there is no dust inside. So this overheating problem is a really serious issue. Oh, forgot to mention that after reassembling it, the keyboard started acting really weird which is not an issue when I'm using it at home as I use a wireless keyboard instead. Though, I can't tell it's a notebook anymore.

    Long story short, I decided not to wait for the 2012 Mac Mini as I'm actually in the need of a new notebook so I am planning to grab a MacBook Air. I'm a programmer and am studying software engineering, so I will be mostly coding on it. I use Sublime Text so I don't need much of a screen real-estate which is why I seriously consider a MacBook Air. Also, 11" MBA has the same resolution (1366x768) with my current 15" notebook, which is enough for me. I will also be plugging it to my 23" monitor when I'm at home.

    Here are my questions:

    1) Since coding means lots of reading and writing on the disk, would it cause the SSD wear off quickly? I want this machine to last at least 2 years, so this is really important for me.
    2) Considering that I'm not doing anything memory-intensive and SSDs perform better than HDDs as virtual memory, 4GB RAM will be sufficient right?
    3) Some people tell that 11" MBAs' battery last about 2-3 hours maximum rather than 5 hours. I do not believe it's true but if it is, it's kind of a deal breaker for me because I actually need the 5-hour battery life as I will take it to the university with me almost every day.

    Thanks in advance! :)
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    1) It could wear out in 2 years, but that's doubtful.
    2) Sure.
    3) Bring your charger then.
  3. mertyz thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 21, 2011
    Thanks for your reply!

    Bringing the charger is not a problem but since it's advertised with a 5-hour battery life, I kind of happen to want it to be true :)
  4. al-c macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2009
    London, UK
    I have an 11 inch MacBook Air (late 2010); I get five hours battery out of it for coding (Xcode) regularly. Worth noting though, I'm happy with the brightness < 50% and my coding involves Xcode, music through iTunes & a bit of web browsing (no video).

    Oh, worth adding 2GB is fine for RAM for my use, but its not enough to run widows in a vm.
  5. mertyz thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 21, 2011
    This is great news, happy to hear that battery is not problematic and RAM won't be an issue :)

    Mine is pretty similar to yours: Sublime Text + iTunes + FTP Client + Web Browser + Terminal.

    Did you ever say "I wish I got 13 inch model instead"?

    By the way, I had been using a Late 2008 MacBook at work for the last two months and it was working like a charm. It never slowed down even a little bit so I'm sure the performance will not be an issue.
  6. iJustinCabral macrumors member


    Jul 8, 2012
    mertyz IMO i'd get the 13 inch.

    I'm going to school for Software Engineering as well, and I just placed the order yesterday for my MBA 13".

    After using my friends for a week, I think the 13" inch screen is just perfect for what you plan to do.

    You already wanted a 13inch macbook pro, so just go with the 13inch Air :)

    You wont regret it.
  7. noteple macrumors 65816


    Aug 30, 2011
    I would recommend the 13".

    With severals screen windows open the 11" get a little cramped.
  8. charlieegan3 macrumors 68020


    Feb 16, 2012
  9. Fattytail macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2012
    1) SSD will be fine. Don't worry about it.
    2) 4GB is fine. Mine is a 2010 MBA and still running like a champ on 4GB for coding. Get 8 if you can afford it, but don't worry about it otherwise.
    3) My MBA always goes out together with its battery charger. There must be tons of outlets wherever you go to school if you're there for software engineering. Wouldn't rely on the battery.

    As for 11 vs. 13, if you didn't have an external monitor then I'd recommend the 13. But since you have a nice big monitor at home, it's not as clear cut. Love the small footprint of the 11 and I find the screen big enough for coding.
  10. mertyz thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 21, 2011
    iJustinCabral, noteple, charlieegan3 and Fattytail, thank you all very much for your replies, much appreciated!

    11" has 1366x768 while 13" has 1440x900 which I think is not dramatically different. Also, I only switch between full screen browser and full screen Sublime Text while I'm coding, so the difference in the resolution will only add more empty space to Sublime Text and some additional left and right margins to the website open on my browser :)

    It will be my primary machine but its screen will not be my primary screen as I will plug it into my monitor while I'm at home which is where I do most of my coding. I will store my files either on my server or in an external hard drive, so the capacity of the SSD is not an issue either. Both the base 11" and 13" models come with the same amount of RAM and almost identical processors.

    Looks like going with the 13" base model is not worth it for me. I would get a RAM upgrade but unfortunately it's not an option in Turkey, for the time being. Also, the base 11" model is $1525 here but hopefully next month, they will do what they did last year and make an 18% discount on Macs for students which means I will be able to get it for only $1250.

    I'll go with the 11" base model. Once again, thank you very much guys! :)
  11. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    I've coded lots of iOS apps and done Mac development on an MBA 11. So have others. It's a bit cramped, but not too cramped. And the MBA 11 feels so much more portable.

    Also, with a large 24/27/30 external monitor attached when you really need it, there's no significant difference.
  12. mertyz thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 21, 2011
    In case anyone wonders, decided to go with the MBA 13" base model :)

    11" model is actually really small compared to the 13" model, despite the very little difference in the width and the depth. Thought I wouldn't feel I bought a computer if I went with the 11" model. I know it is really easy to adapt but still :)
  13. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Best that you went with what you preferred. It's you that's going to be using it after all!
  14. mertyz thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 21, 2011
    Yeah I realized I was paying more attention to the others than myself which does not make sense. Going for more screen real estate was the future-proofing in my case.

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