Considering a MBAir as secondary computer

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Testify, May 3, 2009.

  1. Testify macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2008

    I just bought the new iMac 2009 and I'm loving the Apple experience. I also have an iPhone and everything works wonder.

    But in about a month, I will be moving from my appartement to a two story condo.

    Now, I might be able to save up some cash in the near future to buy a MacBook Air.

    I've been looking around the Apple Store for a refurb Macbook Air and I guess the 1000 CAD is a Rev A MBA?

    Now from lurking around this forum, is the Rev A THAT bad?? Should I wait a bit for the Rev B. to lower it prices?

    I'm no under pressure what so ever, it would just be pleasure of having a cool thin laptop. It wouldn't be for intensive work since I have a pretty solid desktop.

    What is your opinion... I dont want this to become a debate about having a secondary computer, I just want opinions on the Rev A. and if it's a good idea to buy it from the Apple Store in the refurb section!?

  2. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I doubt the rev B MBA prices will drop much. Not like the original MBA. The original was/is problematic. The rev B is one solid Mac.

    I would highly recommend you buy a rev B MBA for a hassle free typical Mac experience. Some would advise you to buy the original MBA, learn about undervolting with Cool Book, and reapplication of thermal paste. Some would also tell you the original MBA is great, while leaving out all they did to make it hassle free, and leaving out the 6200rpm fans sounding like a helicopter inside your MBA.

    Not only that, the rev B MBA is a completely different Mac on the inside as every major component was upgraded. So, pick the rev B MBA for 17W Penryn CPU, Nvidia graphics at 4x performance, SATA drive controller, and 1066 MHz RAM.

    Have been looking at MBAs myself lately as my rev B MBA was stolen, seen a lot of rev B MBAs with SSD and 1.86 GHz CPU in the $1920 to $2000 range. Some cheaper used. Some 1.6 with HDD for around $1400. It is worth every extra penny over the original MBA. At the same time, if you want to buy from Apple, the rev B MBA is $1549 with 1.6 and HDD.

    Lastly, the only thing about the rev B MBA is it really doesn't need to be a secondary computer. So, if you are willing to deal with Cool Book and reapplication of thermal paste, you could save money by going with the original to use lightly as a secondary computer. However, when I owned the original, I didn't even want to use it as my secondary computer. A lot of people say they like it, but I think it is more about saving money and value is perceived by many as price and not performance. For me, I will gladly pay for the extra performance.

    Good luck whichever way you go. The MBA is a beautiful and speedy machine if you buy a rev B MBA with 1.86 GHz CPU and SSD.
  3. Testify thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2008
    Thanks alot!

    Very informative :) I'll look around some more!
  4. renault4 macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2007
    I had a RevA and switched to an SSD RevB not long after they came out; there is a significant difference in the all round user experience. I am no power user, yet I seemed to come up against the limitations of the RevA a lot, kinda got embarassing if I was using it to present what was on screen. Fans revved a lot also. The RevB is what the MBA was meant to be, handles everything quietly. I have a MacPro and a 17in pre-unibody MBP, but I use the MBA for everyday use and short travel stints.

  5. DeuceDeuce macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2007
    San Dimas, CA
    What are you going to use it for?

    If you want something that will surf the web when you are on the couch, check email, watch an occasional video, and just use it as more of a netbook then anything else the Rev A is fine and a substantial savings in cost.

    I use my Rev A as a email, web, and occasional work machine and it works absolutely perfect. Also, contrary to what Scottsdale always says about many of use Rev A owners... Im not withholding any info from you. I have never installed Coolbook or opened the Air once since I got it from Apple.

    Please note, Im not saying it is just as good as the Rev B nor am I saying the problems many had aren't real. It is inferior to the Rev B in almost every category. All Im saying is that if its for a secondary machine that is going to have light use why spend the extra money. I love my Rev A but most my heavy work is done on my Mac Pro and I treat the Air like a netbook.
  6. Testify thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2008
    Indeed it would be for a 'couch computer' has you well said!

    Also, I would like to know the major difference at the Rev A and Rev B.

    If I would at the refurbs in the Apple Store, what is a Rev A ?

    All the Macbook Air with the PATA hard drive and the Intel GMA X3100 graphic card ??

    Thanks for the info! I would higher prefer the MBAir has the couch computer! but some post on this forum scares me a bit..
  7. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Seriously, just google that info.

    The Rev A would be fine for a couch computer unless you watch a lot of Flash videos.
  8. DeuceDeuce macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2007
    San Dimas, CA
    Its an expensive couch computer but its an awesome couch computer. A netbook would do what it can do much cheaper but you would have to hack it to run OSX and you wouldn't get that beautiful 13 inch screen and full keyboard.

    If you are going to use it as a couch computer my advice would be to pull the trigger. I did and I don't regret it one bit. I even use it at my work office nearly daily and it runs parallels just fine. The only thing I ever notice that I dislike is if I'm watching streaming video for like more then 10 minutes they get choppy and the Air fans get going but for a $600 difference I can live with that. If it was my primary computer I would feel different but as a seconday "couch" machine its perfect!
  9. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    - The RevB uses a lower power consumption next generation cpu with larger cache and much faster memory bus (runs faster and cooler)
    - The RevB features an nvidia GPU about 4x the performance of the revA Intel GPU
    - The RevB features a significantly faster next generation SSD but the SATA/PATA thing doesent make any real difference in the slow HDD version
  10. ClassicBean macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2004
    I had heard lots of good things about refurbs so I decided to pick up a Revision A MacBook Air in February.

    Performance-wise, it was great as it did everything I needed it to do quite well.

    Unfortunately, I had both the logic board and battery replaced within a span of a few months. When the microphone stopped working the other day, I had enough. Needless to say, I got a lemon. The Genius replaced it the other day with a Revision B which seems great so far.

    Aside from the fact that my revision A had so many issues, I found that it performed great in terms of running the software I need. I think I just got unlucky with that specific machine.

    Remember, the refurbs are backed by a one-year warranty so you can take comfort knowing that if anything goes awry, you'll be safe.
  11. mshaf macrumors member

    Feb 5, 2009
    Still loving my Rev A from February. No problems at all. I mainly use it as a light computer. I have used it to encode DVDs for hours at a time and had no issues. Fans kicked on during encoding but what computer doesn't?

    No problems with videos either.

  12. bobbleheadbob macrumors 6502a


    Feb 6, 2007
    I use my MBA rev. B as a secondary computer and love it. I travel a bit and have a long commute to the office each day, so it allows me to have a Mac with me most everywhere I go. It's not a primary machine, but does a great job letting me get my Mac fix whenever I'm on the road.
  13. itou macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2008
    i too, have jumped on the refurbished rev A macbook air bandwagon as of last week. it's an amazing computer for what it costs. before my purchase, i too, have come to the boards looking for insight and weighing out the pros and cons of making my purchase. here's why i didn't go rev B.

    no doubt rev B is a great computer. it's everything the rev A is and more. but what successor isn't? that said, it also costs $600 more. will your work require you to spend $600 more to get what you need to do done? if not, then why would you? $600 saved is cash in your pocket plain and simple.

    my rev A is a secondary computer as well and it gets everything i need to do done. it's a tool - plain and simple. if it gets something done 20 seconds quicker in rev B, that's great. but so what? i bought the macbook air for its portability, knowing that it's not the cheapest nor the quickest. it's something you must keep in mind.

    there are people on this board who say the same thing again and again like a broken record. it's almost as if they've got their posts saved and just copy-and-paste. know what you want and know how much you're willing to pay for it. i've never installed coolbook, or whatever have you to make my macbook air run. it runs perfectly and it does everything i need and more.

    it's just a tool. and oh yes, it's beautiful too.
  14. bobbleheadbob macrumors 6502a


    Feb 6, 2007
    To me, the biggest difference between the Rev A and Rev B that made me decide in favor of the newer one was the bigger solid state HDD. The extra space was worth the extra money. YMMV.
  15. King t. macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2007
    it'll definitely be enough for a second computer ;)

    I use my MBA rev:B 1,6ghz with 120gb HD as primary machine and it works perfect. there are even people here that use the MBA rev:A with the 64gb SSD as primary computer and they too have no problems :cool:
  16. migofast macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2009
    Is this a rev a or b?

    I presently use an iMac with dual screen as my primary and I have no complaints but would like to be able to use fireworks and dreamweaver from the couch once in a while...will the above do the trick? I saw another refurb $100+ cheaper than that one. It doesn't have to be the end all be all it just has to get me in front of the HD TV in my living room and maybe the occasional e-book or PDF that I'd rather not sit at the desk to read.

    Couple questions I have...can I access the external/USB 2 hard drive that I have connected to the iMac over my network? (Linksys router)

    Sorry if I'm making no sense but I'm trying to keep this under $1500 and I really really like the lightweight and the portability of the Air.
  17. stoconnell macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2009
    Rockville (Despite REM's plea.)
    That's the Rev A (the 2 major models were a 1.6GHz with an 80GB HDD and a 1.8GHz with a 64GB SSD). The Rev Bs 2 major models are 1.6Hz with 120GB HDD and 1.86GHz (yeah .06 higher) with a 128GB SSD.

    You can share a hard drive over the local network, so you should be able to access it.
  18. migofast macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2009
    Will the Rev A do what I fireworks and dreamweaver maybe flash sometimes?

    Its just a secondary computer and any photoshop or major undertakings I can always do on the big screen. I was hoping someone had some experience running CS3 or CS4 on the Rev A might offer an opinion.
  19. Deppe macrumors member

    May 20, 2009
    I must admit that I am happy with my Rev A as well!
    I use it to surf the web, take som notes in office or iWork, I use Adium and so on! it makes almost no sound and the teymprature is around 45-50 degrees celcius unless I watch flash-videos, then it rises to around 65-70, as does my MBP!
    No doubt that if you plan to run som heavy stuff, get the rev B but if your needs is surfing the web, do some notes, listening to music, the rev A will do just fine! There is no need to pay more for an rev B if the rev A does what you need!
  20. caonimadebi macrumors regular

    May 7, 2009
    seeing so many happy campers who own the revision A's, I'm almost regretting for having gotten the entry-level HDD model of rev. B. I too am using my air as a secondary computer, and have been very satisfied with the performance of the 1.6 HDD model. Before going with the rev. B, I've looked at the refurb'ed rev. A's for the longest time. However, all the negative reviews of rev. A that seem prevalent on this forum really convinced me to stay away from them. As a former powerbook G4 owner, "overheating" and "choppy video" were dreadful words, especially when used together. I didn't want a macbook air to overheat on tasks most important to me, such as watching, xvid and mp4 videos (don't need HD).
    the powerbook was so bad that even a simple youtube video will heat up the computer enough to turn on the fans. The graphics on the powerbook was so bad that I felt embarrassed to list "dedicated graphics" as a feature on my craigslist posting when I sold my powerbook. There were many things I loved about my 12" powerbook, but what I wanted in a macbook air were exactly what my powerbook could not do, and I went with the rev. B.
    having used the HDD rev. B for about two weeks, I can tell you that it is more than sufficient as a secondary computer. It handles video without heating up significantly, and stays cool for just about all other tasks like emails, and browsing. I purchased coolbook but don't think I really need it. If you think the 4.2k rpm drive is gonna be a drag on the app launch time, you can consider getting Xslimmer which really sped up the apps for me.
  21. RSW macrumors member


    May 13, 2009
    I would not wait. I bought an iMac last week and fell in love with the mac software/hardware, so I bought a refurbished Air on Monday. If you travel a lot the Air is the way to go.
  22. LAS.mac macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2009
    It's a wonderful second computer, for me. I'm 100% sure it will work as first computer: it does not have a powerful graphic card, no CD-DVD drive, only one USB port...

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