Experiences on using the 11.6 Air as a desktop with ACD 27?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by km-, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. km- macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2011
    Ever since I bought the new 11.6 MBA when it came out I've been in love with it... incredible machine! My only complaint is that I have grown tired of switching between it and my desktop - so I'm thinking of making it my only computer and buying the Apple Cinema Display to use with it when I need a bigger screen and more comfortable typing position.

    However, I have some questions in mind and I didn't find answer through the search here. So if there are others with similar setups I would appreciate your input!

    - With the external display connected, how hot does your MBA get in normal use (i.e. browsing the web) and how hot when watching a fullscreen HD movie? Any noticeable difference if you run it on clamshell mode or open?

    - Is anyone using the USB ethernet adapter together with external network disk space? Is it worth it for the speed increase over WLAN and how well does it work if you use it connected to the MBA through the ACD screen's USB ports?

    - Any experiences on using an external USB disk through the ACD's USB ports versus a shared folder in lan network?

    Also any other experiences and tips on running the MBA regularly with external display, keyboard and mouse are very much welcome.
  2. zinka macrumors regular

    Nov 27, 2009
    Slightly warm in normal use. Fairly warm with fullscreen HD, but not scalding or anything. Maybe like a cup of tea that's been sitting out for 20 minutes.

    USB isn't that fast. I'm not sure it would do that much better. What I do notice is that with fast wifi data transfer (more than about 1MB/s) my Magic Trackpad gets very jerky because Wifi and Bluetooth interfere with each other. You can avoid that by using either Ethernet or a wired mouse.

    I get a fair number of kernel panics when using the MBA with 27" ACD -- one per week or so -- and none when using it as a laptop. It's not the end of the world, but it is kind of annoying.
  3. WMuntean macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2007
    Interested in whether others are also experiencing kernel panics when using 27" monitors. I have a 13 MBA and use various 24" monitors week-in/week-out without any panics. Wonder if its an issue with the 11" MBA or 27" monitor and/or both.
  4. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    I use an 11.6 MBA with a 27" ACD in clamshell mode frequently and it seems to run cool, smooth, and fast with no noticeable difference from it's LCD panel. It makes surprisingly capable desktop computer.

    My main external drive is a USB drive on my Airport and performance over the network is very good. I do periodic image backups via a USB drive plugged into the ACD as theoretically that would be faster but I have never measured the speeds. I don't notice a huge difference and both seem fast enough.

    I do use a USB Ethernet dongle plugged into the ACD. The dongle is faster than WiFi but when the USB bus gets busy things slow down. Not good for VoIP calls at all if you are doing something else like screen sharing or streaming video at the same time. I only usually notice stuttering on VoIP calls and the screen sharing or streaming still look good and CPU use seems ok but clearly there is some contention going on. I went to a separate VoIP device and haven't had any issues since.
  5. km- thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2011
    Thanks for the answers. I went and bought the Cinema Display and so far have been very happy with it.

    I have not set up the external disks yet, but if someone else is looking for answers to my questions later, this is what kind of temperatures I have been getting:

    Normal use, a couple of programs and browser tabs open - ~40C before, ~60C with ACD in use
    More heavier use, flash in browser or something similar - ~60C before, ~70C with ACD in use

    This might be a bit off-topic, but would someone happen to know a way to make the dock automatically change its settings between normal laptop use and when connected to an external display?
  6. mattpreston11 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2007
    1.Never noticed a problem, I always run mine in clamshell mode, unless I want the screen real-estate for something (usually a video on the side) Only if I am doing work, enough space on my screen for video and Safari. I am using a 24'' benQ display btw.


    3. I Use a usb drive for most of my storage. Works fine but I am slightly worries about if it breaks. Also the drive sometimes take a while to loadup after disconnecting it, Like maybe a minute from plugging in to actually have the drive to use.

    4. Use mine with Wireless keyboard and trackpad.Also have my speakers plugged in, bit of an effort unplugging 4 things to take the laptop away.Love the setup though.

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