Considering MacBook Air: 11 inch - need insight

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Heart Break Kid, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. Heart Break Kid macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 13, 2003
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    Toronto
    #1
    Hello!
    Im currently in the market for a new laptop. My current has served me remarkably well for the past few years. I'm using a 2.0 GHZ Core Duo White Macbook with 4 GB of ram. I'm a physician, and I've primarily used it to conduct day-to-day activities.
    The Microsoft Office suite of applications, iWork suite, iLife suite, surfing the web, watching NetFlix, iChat + video conferencing are just a few examples of applications that get a lot of use. I'm particularily interested in how iWork / Office and iPhoto run.

    My current laptop handles all of these just fine. That said, I found myself with a little disposable income and feel its time for an upgrade.

    I've been seriously considering the 11.6 inch Macbook Air for its portability, and can easy lug it around on morning rounds with me. The alternative would be a 13" Macbook Pro. Because the latter isn't as portable, I imagine myself leaving it in the office.

    Will the 11.6 inch macbook air handle these tasks?
    Will I notice a performance increase or decrease going from a 2.0 GHZ Core Duo + 4GB to a machine running 1.6 GHZ Core 2 Due + 4 GB ram?
    Will the difference be significant?
    Have you noticed any "performance issues" (i.e. input lag etc) when running these applications?
    What is your opinion on longevity?

    Any insight you can provide would be very helpful!
     
  2. T4R06 macrumors 65816

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    Oct 8, 2007
    Location:
    CT
    #2
    you'll be fine. those you mentioned above can handle have the base model easily.
    i have the base model with 128ssd

    you will be surprised the speed of the new MBA.
     
  3. Mr. Savage macrumors regular

    Mr. Savage

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    Jun 11, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto
    #3
    The 11 inch will easily do what you need it to do, and likely do it better and faster than your current machine (specs be damned). That said, the only way you can really decide which is right for you is to go in to the Apple store and spend time with each machine. It is very easy to be won over by the 11, I know I was, but after at least 5 trips into the store and literally hours spent going back and forth between the 2 new MBAs I decided that for me the 13 made the most sense for my uses/habits etc.

    Funny thing is I had no interest whatsoever in the 11––until I saw it IRL. In the end though, after the astonishment gradually wore off, I just decided the screen was too small especially with the 16:9 aspect ratio. I guess what I'm trying to say is to be wary of the charms and "newness" of the 11 form factor and try to keep your emotions from making the purchasing decision––especially if it's going to be your primary machine.

    The good news is, though, you can't go horribly wrong either way, they are both great machines. Enjoy your decision ;)
     
  4. a2applegirl macrumors regular

    a2applegirl

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    #4
    The 11.6" air will be a great choice for you. :) You will be able to carry it on your rounds, which means you will get more use out of it than the 13" which will be too large dimension wise to carry around comfortably on your rounds.

    The 11.6" air will feel faster to you than you macbook because of the flash storage. Not having a spinning hard disk really speeds things up.

    For the apps you want to use the air for, the 11.6" will handle those well in my opinion.
     
  5. Dammit Cubs macrumors 68000

    Dammit Cubs

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    #5
    yes. it will handle ALL OF THE THEM. this is coming from a person who had a macbook 2.2 white. There are no performance issue what so ever. I would rather work on my 11 then on my mac mini. thats how much a hard drive slows you down compared to ssd. also, it seems like having 2gb of ram on my mac mini really makes my computer slow compared to when i had 4gb but i don't get the same complaint with others who have 2gb. that makes me acknowledge the awesomeness of the SSD because when you run out of ram and has to go the SSD, the SSD is fast to help not have much lag.

    but if you want to be safe, just get the 4GB ram config.

    i love my MBA. 11
     
  6. Heart Break Kid thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Thank you for the feed back!

    How has surfing the web been on a smaller screen?
    Youtube?
    New York times?
    etc

    I will definitley be making a trip to my local Apple Store to play with it!
     
  7. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #7

    The Core 2 Duo is quite a bit more advanced than the Core Duo since it is 64-bit and has a more efficient processor architecture. With Snow Leopard making better use of the multiple cores and the 64-bit architecture, I think the 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo would be faster than the 2.0GHz Core Duo for most tasks. Also, the SSD is going to be significantly faster than the hard drive on your existing notebook.
     
  8. Mr. Savage macrumors regular

    Mr. Savage

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    #8
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7E18 Safari/528.16)

    I read the nyt every day on my 13. To give you an example of what swayed me to the larger screen, when you go into the store, if you can get an 11 beside a 13 go to the nyt and open the same article on both in safari. Click on the "reader" in the URL and compare the two as far as how much scrolling you have to do, font legibility etc.

    Both handle YouTube HD with aplomb (720 anyway)

    Try to go during the day when you are less likely to encounter groups of rabid teenagers feverishly updating their facebook pages and shrieking with laughter at their grotesquely disfigured snapshots in PhotoBooth (or whatever that app is called).
     
  9. gb1631 macrumors regular

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    Dec 3, 2009
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    PNW Puget Sound
    #9
    My advice buy the Maxed out MBA 11, It will serve you well and handle all the things you mentioned. I love mine! :D:apple:
     
  10. peapody macrumors 68040

    peapody

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    Oct 7, 2007
    Location:
    baltimore, md
    #10
    This is what I did...but I hate that a maxxed out 11" is $500 more than the base.
     
  11. Over Achiever macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

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    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    Toledo, OH, formerly Twin Cities, MN
    #11
    As a physician in training (currently interviewing at residencies), I upgraded from the same spec macbook. I've found it handles Office 2011 quite well, and I especially like the full screen mode. I don't find the screen to be too small, and I've enjoyed using the multitouch features to zoom in and out easily.

    Battery life lasts me throughout the day, from morning report to noon conference. Netflix has worked flawlessly for me (I upgraded the processor and RAM) streaming HD, as has YouTube. I've developed photos in Lightroom without significant lag.

    I also got the MBA for it's portability, I'm still amazed every day I use it. If you're able to get it from an Apple Store, you can always return it if you find it's not a good fit for you. But it's definitely a nice toy to have!

    PS What specialty are you in?
     
  12. wirelessmacuser macrumors 68000

    wirelessmacuser

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    #12
    I have both 11 & 13" models. Either will work well for you. The only caution I have is be sure the display on the 11 will not be too small. If you're OK with it, the rest will be fine.

    Personally I find the 13" a perfect size since it's just a bit larger, with a roomy vs cramped wrist rest.
     
  13. kp98077 macrumors member

    kp98077

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    #13
    trust me, as a dr. you will NOT WANT TO lug the 13" MBA around, I know that sounds funny but it's light, very light but seems to have a very large footprint. I also bought the 11 and lovin that especially for hospital use, easy lugging it around, you can literally whip it out and use it anywhere! totally awesome, 13" is great for me for home. nice and light weight.
     
  14. Dammit Cubs macrumors 68000

    Dammit Cubs

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    Jul 31, 2007
    #14
    you know. a 13 vs 11 battle is very hard and I was on the 13 camp for a while. i contemplated going back to apple and returning my 11. because I'm obsessing with screen size but as I kept thing further and further there were reasons why i kept my 11. and finally !!!! they are starting to shine. The screen isn't as bad as i thought it would be and i came from the old trackpads so i couldn't do gestures...omg!! the 4 finger swipe for expose...GENIUS!!! also I move my dock to side to maximize my vertical playing field.

    The only think that really I want from the 13 in now is the extra 2 hours. But I don't really care about that either....have you seen the power supply. It can fit in my pocket.

    Loves it.
     
  15. Bluehinder macrumors member

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    Jun 23, 2009
    #15
    Just stop it. I'm a doc too, you're not going to use it on rounds. Just buy what you want.
     
  16. foiden macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 13, 2008
    #16
    Funny enough, the more time I read and get informed about the Air. The more I'm convinced that the 11" would fit my needs more. At first, I was thinking more about the 13", but oddly enough, it was the battery life that was what did it. Everything else about the 11" is golden for the specific needs I need it for. The 13" seems to overlap with my MBP a bit too much, plus I wouldn't get much of a portability advantage from it. But boy is that battery life sexy. I think it's because I got spoiled from my previous Macs. Ever since I first got a Mac, I've gotten used to 7+ hours of casual battery life.

    Unless I'm playing a hardware demanding game, or doing my Logic Pro Studio projects, I run just on battery, and these things last practically all day. My iPad, even more so. On the iPad, if the battery indicator showed 65% or more, I wouldn't even think about worrying about plugging it in until I go to bed at night. Though I think I average a charge on that thing, every 3 days, using it everyday. It's not just the touch and size, but battery life goes a long way to why I often grab the thing when I want to internet surf.

    If Apple manages to get the 13" battery life into 11", in a refresh, that would be the magic number that would skyrocket how cool the 11" could be. 7+ is the sweet spot for getting good mileage out of daily activities where you almost forget the battery until it's late. The 11" is significantly lighter. I never would've thought the 2.3 to 2.9 would make that much difference, but it does. There's almost no resistance when you pick it up.
     
  17. kp98077 macrumors member

    kp98077

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    Oct 26, 2010
    #17
    ---all those times when you are at the hall station, break room, cath lab, cafeteria, etc you may use it for sure!
    I just honestly think and know given I have both the 11" is just more novel, the 13" is great obviously but not nearly as portable at all. I just dont know why the screen feel soooooooo huge on this 13"!
     
  18. dmelgar macrumors 68000

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    Apr 29, 2005
    #18
    Not knowing exactly what the needs are for rounds, I would think something like the iPad is a natural for making rounds.
    Its sturdier. One piece, no hinge, no delicate fold out display. One button makes it more resistant to dust, dirt, liquids spilled on it.
    Touch interface very easy to navigate.
    Awesome for looking at images, xrays, scans with pinch and zoom.
     
  19. Heart Break Kid, Nov 16, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010

    Heart Break Kid thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Im in critical care. And I really appreciate your insight. This is exactly the kind of user experience I was looking for.

    Also, yes - the iPad would have been a great fit but unfortunatley the software I would need just isnt available at the moment. I round constantly, and easy access to both the internet for information, my own schedule for organization (setting up meetings, scheduling lunch's etc) on the fly, and quick entertainment during downtime would be great. I may or may not use it to log into Epic and follow lab values literally on rounds, though I have seen other physicians do that - but I think having a computer with you will no longer be such a foreign concept.
     
  20. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

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    #20
    You get those images, Xrays and scans, usually in a custom format, on to an iPad how?
     
  21. foiden macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 13, 2008
    #21
    That's probably why the need for the available software to view them. Otherwise, I don't see why not. If someone made the app for it, then they could do it easily. Doesn't even the iPhone/touch have custom medical apps for it, which relay data and images related to actual medical equipment? I remember some advertisement for such stuff at least at one of the conferences.
     
  22. Over Achiever macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

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    Toledo, OH, formerly Twin Cities, MN
    #22
    Having up to date lab values during rounds very nice, and being able to access it on your personal laptop is much more convenient than trying to find an open computer. That said, how much time do you round per day, and are you an attending that rounds with students? Also if you want to view X-rays through Epic or the current PACS system, will you have to run Windows on BootCamp to run the software/Java environment?

    If you also plan on looking at X-rays, I would suggest you use a larger screen, otherwise lab values will look fine on the 11". If you round a significant portion of your day, you may want the 13" with the extra 2-3 hours of battery life to truly last you throughout the day.

    As for a case, I plan on using a leather book type case which doesn't make it look too conspicuous that you are carrying around a laptop, plus looks professional.
     
  23. dmelgar macrumors 68000

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    #23
    I develop iPad apps and would love to develop a killer medical app, but lack the knowledge of what health care providers need in such an app. I know of people who've done some medical iPhone apps, but not iPad which I think is ideal for this use.

    X-rays etc. could be accessed on the iPad over the network, either as requested, or during some sync process.
     
  24. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

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    #24
    If the apps existed, then yes, it could be done, but right now, not really. There's a few proprietary systems around, but nothing universal. The easier solution is simply a laptop running something akin to OSIRIX. The iPad simply isn't flexible enough.
     
  25. Romulus macrumors regular

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    Nov 10, 2006
    #25
    That's a huge endeavor as most available suits for pc are quite bulky, slow, and backwards... The other issue is that every hospital uses their own suit of applications... Access to such programs like Centricity or Amicas for X-ray viewing, various online medical record suites... it's just such a cumbersome business, costly, and redundant... my wish would be for the government to step in and create an national medical record... that would be so much more cost efficient than revamping healthcare as a whole...
     

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