Help me make a decision

wippler

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 27, 2011
19
0
So I eagerly waited for the new Macbook Pro refresh to see if Apple does something amazing with the 13'', unfortunately they didn't. So if I have to go with MBP.. I'm left with 15 and 17 inchers. Low end 15'' inch starts at a weight of 5.6 lbs which is slightly higher than the VAIO laptop I'm using right now (5.3 lbs - 14''). Also I don't want to buy the lowend 15'' MBP as for that price it comes with a relatively low power GPU. The highend 15'' is a pretty spectacular laptop but in terms of price wise it is huge (I'll probably upgrade it to hires screen also - which costs around a whopping 2.5k with tax and everything included)

Now that you know the background for my question, the actual question - how about 13'' MBA?? I'm mainly a programmer and play games now and then. For programming both 13'' and 15'' are almost the same given the limited screen space, I prefer something much bigger. And for games I'm anyway have an Xbox 360. for MBP cost I could buy 13'' MBA (4GB RAM) + 27'' display which sounds more reasonable given my budget. The questions I would like to know before going with this are:

1. If I connect a external monitor (2560x1600) and use MBA, will it have any impact on performance? If so, what resolution is recommended?

2. Any suggestion on displays that I can buy, ACD is already on my list - suggest me anything less expensive and comparable to it?

Thanks in advance!!
 

Velin

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2008
1,506
948
Hearst Castle
I had a 2010 MBP and I have a max-out 13" MBA. Love the MBA, never going back to the larger MBPros.

For programming, no question you can do it on an MBA. You'll love how light the machine is, instant-on, great battery, fast SSD. And yes, you can hook up an external monitor to it, looks great. It can be a workhorse if you want it to be.

Games and external monitor, that's the tradeoff. A 15" MBPro with the AMD Radeon HD 6490M graphics and switchable Intel HD 3000 graphics, it's going to perform much better under load than the Macbook Air (though I haven't seen the new MBpros in person yet).

For me, I am not willing to give up the portability of the latest Macbook Airs. And as soon as I hear people talking about external monitors and notebooks, my first thought is, why bother. If you are contemplating an external monitor with a portable computer, just get a desktop -- you get a lot more performance for your money.
 

mmulin

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2006
404
0
.. as soon as I hear people talking about external monitors and notebooks, my first thought is, why bother. If you are contemplating an external monitor with a portable computer, just get a desktop -- you get a lot more performance for your money.
Yes, but some people might not want to worry about two computers but still want a larger screen when working at home. Depending on what you do, the performance is secondary.

To the OP:
The MBA is not a great gamer with GPU taxing games. For programming it is good enough as any as long you don't mind a bit longer compiling session. The most taxing I had it doing was running it as a transcoding HTPC and it was happy with it. The MBA's performance on a large monitor is satisfying sans gaming ;) - actually, in everyday tasks, you will not see much difference. Monitors is a personal thing. I'll take an Eizo or NEC over an ACD any day.
 

wippler

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 27, 2011
19
0
Just to clarify.. I'm not planning to game on MBA, actually this can make me more productive also (I get easily distracted) and this can really help :p
 

opera57

macrumors 6502
Feb 15, 2009
295
0
I went from a 15" MBP to a MBA and all I can say is that it is great. Much better buy over the 13" MacBook pro at the moment, much more portable and will have no problems powering the 27" display!