First time Macbuyer seeking advice!

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Astrokat, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. Astrokat macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2010
    Dear Macrumors forum

    Im considering buying the base model 13 inch macbook air with a 4gb ram upgrade. This would be my first mac ever so Im quite exited. Before I go ahead I have a few questions.

    I mainly have three different things Im gonna use this machine for

    First: University. As a graduate student Ill need it for taking notes and using the Office package. From reading the forums Im quite sure the MBA would do fine here. The extra thiness will be such an advantage here!

    Second: Gaming. I will play WoW on this computer and reading from these forums it does seem like the MBA does this fine. Now, Im a big fan of the Total war series and I do know that Shogun 2 is getting released shortly. Sadly, I presume everone will agree that this game will proberly be unplayable on the MBA? Or do you think there will be hope in minimum settings? There is no macsupport either so I would have to play it on windows.

    Third: Photo. I currently own an eos 450d. I work with photos almost everyday which is also a reason why I chose the 13 inch. I love to have a sd card reader in my computers. The raw files are around 20mb. Do anyone have experience with working with raw files of that size in photoshop on the MBA? I also use Lightroom quite alot.

    I also have a techie question. Sorry if its pretty basic, I dont know alot about computers. I have an extern 1 terrabyte hardisk where I keep my photos on. The MBA will definately run out of space quick, so Ill use the external harddisc for music and photos. If I work with photos from the External hardisc, I guess the SSD from the MBA will not give me any advantage or am I wrong about this? And in that case, will I see a noticible drop in preformance of the MBA?

    Do you think Im demanding too much for the MBA13 or would it do?

    Thanks for any advice possible!

  2. treynolds macrumors regular


    Feb 17, 2010
    I have the 13" MBA "Ultimate", but I can answer a few of your questions.

    It looks like you've found the answers you need for gaming. I'm not a gamer, so can't help you there.

    As for Photoshop and Lightroom, you shouldn't have that many issues. You'll definitely want to work on files once they've been loaded to the SSD, not when they're on flash memory, but you already knew that.

    As for your external drive slowing down the process, that would be teh case with any computer, not necessarily limited to the MBA.

    The resolution is very good on the 13" MBA, but your eyes will thank you if you pick up a 24" external monitor for tweaking images. You should be able to score one for around $175 or less this time of year. Gammut is supposedly not as good as the MBP, but that may not be an issue unless you're trying to match prints to the screen (I never do).

    If you can scare up some extra cash, you may want to go all out and get the Ultimate, i.e. 4GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and the faster 2.13 processor. If the MBA is going to be your only system, you'll thank yourself later, and the extra cost amortized over 2-3 years isn't that much extra; less than a latté a week for 3 years.

    My MBA is not my main system. I have a 27" iMac for that, however, I have no problem running CS4, Parallels with WinXP Pro and Autocad under that.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Astrokat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2010
    Hey Tony

    Thank you for the reply.

    Seems like the MBA is a good choice. Im pleased to hear it works great with photoshop. Considering getting a desktop aswell for gaming which would solve my problems.

    Most important is that it works great for study and photos.
  4. southnc macrumors member

    Mar 12, 2010
    In general, Macs are not good gaming machines; nor where they designed to be. The MBA would not be a good choice among the Mac line for this purpose.

    Of course, it depends what your in to. For really serious stuff, such as X-Plane, a Mac Pro would be the best choice, booted in Windows (not OS-X). Regardless, for most games, an iMac or Mac Pro are your ideal choices in the Mac Line. But for the money, a PC is a better route for taking advantage of the latest graphics technology.

    For most everything else, an MBA 13" should be a fine choice.
  5. DraziGuy macrumors member

    Oct 20, 2009
    My standards must be low... I consider my MBA to be a good gaming machine. Has played everything I've thrown at it so far. But then, I think I am a year or two behind cutting edge in my game tastes.
  6. And1ss macrumors 6502a


    Oct 20, 2009
    Eh, I think the 13in macbook pro would serve you much better IMHO. You can upgrade the drive later on to an SSD, you have the sd slot, firewire 800 encase you need to work off your machine and a longer battery life. Granted you the weight will increase, but then again it's not that much.

    Just my 2cents.
  7. White Apple macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2010
  8. SuperCachetes, Dec 22, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010

    SuperCachetes macrumors 6502a


    Nov 28, 2010
    Away from you
    Firewire 800.
  9. size100, Dec 22, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010

    size100 macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2010

    Upgrading SSD. Would make it cost more than MBA and would be an upgrade to make it on par with MBA HD wise. Its not a benefit to have to spend more money. Unless he is going to get a much bigger SSD and wait till they are cheaper.

    Firewire 800. If he uses it.

    SD. MBA 13 has one.

    Lower screen resolution. Big.

    Heavier. Thicker.

    Battery life should be on par, depending on what he is doing.

    The big pluses on MBP for most people are firewire, 8gb of ram, bigger hd space, slightly faster(but still slow for a 1200 dollar computer processor). He doesn't seem to need any of those.
  10. crazyyankeefan macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2008
    Albany, NY
    It seems some people might've already answered your questions, but I can also share some experience regarding the photo and stuff. I'm also a graduate student, and I do a lot of work using word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs, but I don't really do gaming on computer. Anyway, the photos: I use only the iphotos to handle my pictures from my Sony A55, and I set my iphotos library on an external hard drive. I can tell you that the MBA handles it just great. I don't even hear the fan running when I do photo editing for hours.
    Since you have an external drive, I would suggest you to store almost everything on it, and use the internal SSD for the operating system strictly. This is probably the best way to minimize the SSD degradation.
  11. JKK photography macrumors regular

    JKK photography

    Jul 14, 2009
    It sounds like the Air would work great for you.

    I think someone else mentioned it, but an external monitor might be something you really want if you plan on working heavily with photos. I know I use one with my MBP.
  12. lythium macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2009
    I picked up a base model 13" a couple months ago. I used to have a 15" MBP 2.53/4/250 for work/school type stuff, and a 24" iMac 3.16/4/1000 for play. I can honestly say i don't regret selling those and buying the Air. Its seamlessly replaced both. I love my air and do not regret getting only 2gb of ram in the gaming department. "Swapping" with an SSD is a non issue. Save that money. The "slower" processor still lets me play WoW on high cleanly. Steam games cranked, Sc2 on good, all run perfectly.

    Downsides: 128 gig is a tiny HD and I find myself wishing id sprung for the 256.

    Questions answered: an external 1 tb HD can be used for both backup and media storage at the same time. I do the same thing for now. However, a mac mini w/ hdmi to my tv will be a more permanent solution for media storage when funds allow it.
  13. Astrokat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2010
    Hey Guys!

    Thank you so much for the answers. Sorry for not responding was celebrating xmas in Fiji..ohh nice.

    Ill proberly go with the MBA 13 after reading all these comments. It just seems like an all around very nice computer. I checked em out at a store aswell and even though it might be slightly smarter to buy the MBP 13 for pure power I just like the look of the MBA 13 more. And since it should be able to handle most of the things I will be throwing at it it seems like the one to go with.

    I do travel quite alot aswell so surely the small form will be an advantage.

    Im really pleased to here that having an extern hardisc wont really slow the MBA. That was the one thing I was really worried about. Now space wont really be an issue.

    Thanks guys!

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