I want to buy a MBA but...

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Gameaholic, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. Gameaholic macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2010
    Hey guys, I'm interesting in buying a MBA or MBP, but i have a few questions in regards to the MBA.

    1. I plan to watch a lot of videos on the MBA (though most are probably not in HD ), but i noticed esveral complaints of choppy videos and overheating problems. Will it be problematic for me to watch several tv shows or movies on Hulu? Will it overheat if i watch videos while placing the MBA on my lap?

    2. When i compare this with the MBP, i can't help but believe that the MBA is a lot less durable and a lot more fragile. Will i still be able to use the MBA in the next 10 years, or will i have to send it to Apple for repair every 3 or 4 years because of overheating or other issues?

    3. Another conern i suppose it is prospect that a new MBA will come out sooner or later. I will have to buy a laptop by May-June and since Apple has their hands full with the iPad, will they even release a new MBA or MBP this year?

    Thanks so much for your help!

    Edit: Reading a post from "Really, truly ready to throw my MBA at the wall " the MBA seems more like a laptop for people to do casual stuff and not much more. so another concern would be is it a good notebook for multitasking? Can i surf web, get on instant messenger, and listen to music without the laptop overheating? I plan on using the MBA as my main laptop.
  2. ctucci macrumors regular

    Dec 16, 2008
    Yer Mom's basement.
    I recommend don't, the last MBA I dealt with had anemic performance, both graphically and in terms of processor.

    Beautiful concept, but for a Line Of Business laptop, no way I could tolerate it, in the incarnation I saw.
  3. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    1. The original Airs had some serious issues with this, but the current crop with the Nvidia 9400M GPU in them are much, much better. I've never had any issue watching any kinds of video on my air, and I do quite a bit of bedputing.

    2. It looks that way, but once you feel one, you realize just what an amazingly solid chunk of computer it truly is. I'm still constantly floored by just how solid and non-flimsy it feels. It's truly a solid laptop.

    3. Goodness knows another one is bound to some out at some point, and seeing as how the last update was in June of last year, most people (myself included) seem to think that an update is bound to some sometime in the near future.

    4. It multitasks fine. I generally keep 10-15 applications open at any given time, and am switching between them constantly. I rarely if ever have to wait on the Air to catch up with me.

    Hope this helps! The MacBook Air really is a great little laptop, depending on your needs.
  4. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I have even see poor performance of streaming video playback even on my newer rev "C" (v 2,1) MBA... but only within a browser. When downloading a video and playing through a video playback application, I have never had a problem even with HD playback on a 24" LED ACD and 30" ACD.

    The problem is inefficient plug-ins that run on OS X. Flash can be problematic and hit the CPU very hard. If Apple would provide access to APIs we could all get better performance, but that would threaten Apple's business model of selling downloads which then playback through iTunes.

    I have had better luck when using my laptop fan and laptop pad. It seems to occur far less frequently when there is a hard surface or even a cooling fan in between. When using on the lap, it often gets hot if one doesn't ensure the vents are free from blockage. For me, it was easy getting used to the ventilation placement, but I can understand how some wouldn't consider it and would overheat their MBA by leaving on a soft surface or even worse a comforter.

    I don't believe an MBA should be compared to an MBP. The MBA is an ultraportable with a focus on lightweight travel yet still full sized display and keyboard for efficient work computing. The MBP attempts to be a "professional grade computer" but doesn't succeed with its competition, so people compare it to the MBA.

    I don't think an MBA is less fragile, but I don't believe it will ever be relevant five years down the road let alone ten years from now. An MBP will have the ability to boost to 8 GB of RAM down the road while an MBA will be stuck with 2 GB of RAM forever. However, if all one is doing is using a computer as a word processor or email, the MBA will last for ten years or more.

    I use my MBA as I would a notebook computer, yet it has the features of an ultraportable. I don't require dedicated graphics, but I still watch HD videos and I still expect more from my MBA than the average ultraportable user would. The MBA is not as inefficient or incapable as a netbook. The MBA is essentially a traveling MacBook... not a traveling MacBook Pro!

    If you need a professional grade notebook computer, buy another brand. If you want the best performance Apple can offer from a notebook, buy the MacBook Pro. If you want the best traveling notebook that is ultraportable yet allows function equivalent to a MacBook. Finally, if you want cheap buy a MacBook. Apple is catering to three completely different markets with its notebook computers. Also notice that where Apple doesn't compete in the netbook market with a Mac it did develop the iPad to compete and provide the ultraportable entertainment market with a solution other than a Mac.

    If you want to consider an MBA at all definitely wait out an update. We could be days, weeks, or months away from an MBA update, so if you have to buy now I would definitely recommend either an MBP or MB.
  5. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    If you enjoy Hulu and streaming video, I'd suggest passing on the MBA. While if you take the time to install coolbook or whatever the program currently is to tweak with your MBA it "may" run it ok. The MBA will have the fans running full out if your streaming Hulu or watching HD video, plan on using headphones as the speaker will be drown out by the fans noise.

    It's a fun machine to use for certain things but video is not it's strong suit.

    Durability wise, the hinge can be a crap shoot. The longest stretch I actually kept an MBA was 5 months, the Rev B 1.86/SSD. It was fast and enjoyable for work and I dealt with the heat issues as it was fun to use. The hinge however began to get sloppy after 120 days to the point I was not going to deal with the screen bouncing every time I adjusted the MBA on my lap or desk. Asking if you will still be able to use your MBA in 10 years... I think it's possible, but likely will be very outdated in terms of hardware and probably won't run the latest Mac OS, then again I'd guess even the MBP's won't be able to run the latest and greatest OS in 10 years either :).
  6. Gameaholic thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2010
    Hey guys,

    Been a bit busy lately but thank you so much for the responses, especially those detailed and long ones =D. Having been to the apple store for about an hour or so, I am kind of leaning towards Macbook pro. Playing YouTube videos on MBA made it pretty hot and it was only 2 minutes of regular quality streaming whereas simple browsing and word processing is alright. MultiFinder17 i agree that multitasking is pretty good on MBA, but i suppose for certain applications before it starts heating up. And Scottsdale, I think you bring up a good point about that downloading videos and watching even HD videos on MBA won't overheat the machine, I'll check that out.

    Sure, MBA is thin but MBP isn't too thick and looking at things such as battery life, speed, performance, pricing, better video streaming, glass trackpad, nicer screen (in my opinion), more ports, and a DVD burner, that extra pound or so on a laptop is worth it. And i idea that i just bought a $1799 laptop that might have some problems with the hinges in the future as mentioned by bossxii is just makes me shiver a bit. Sure its super thin, but just a couple of cetimeters thicker and a bit more weight ultimately leads to a much better performance laptop.

    But i will definately wait and see what Apple has to offer for the next update before purchasing.
  7. phoobo macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2008
    Smart. Especially if you really are a gameaholic.

    I've used both extensively. The Air is not ready for prime time. Maybe the next version will solve some of these serious problems in (overheating) function and (hinge) build.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I've been wondering about the MacBook Pro 13" vis-a-vis the MacBook Air (refurbished 1.86 with SSD, revision B), much as the original poster to this thread.

    The MBAir above is selling for $1,349 at the Apple Store refurbished section. I'm expecting that price to drop a little more as soon as the latest-and-greatest MBPro's are released, probably in the next few weeks.

    I wandered over to the local Apple Store this afternoon, moving back and forth between MBPro and MBAir, trying to make some seat-of-the-pants comparisons.

    From what I've read, folks say the MBPro is the more powerful computer. But -- from what I experienced today -- I'm thinking that sometimes perceptions can be fooled. At least mine were.

    I tried opening applications on both the MBPro, then moving over to the MBAir. An easy way to gauge how long it takes to open them is the bouncing dock icon, or just count the number of seconds between the time an app is launched and the first chance to create a document is ready onscreen.

    On the MBPro, opening apps like GarageBand or MS Excel take a number of seconds. GB in particular "drags out".

    But on the MBAir, these same apps all-but burst onto the screen. The difference is more than just noticeable. It is stunning.

    I sense that this is probably due to the SSD in the MBAir. Also, I was using the revision C 2.13 model, instead of the revision B 1.86 I will probably end up buying (if I choose the MBAir). Still, I'm _guessing_ that the solid-state drive probably accelerates the loading of apps more than does the slight difference in processor speeds.

    Having many apps open at once, or some particularly processor-intensive apps might begin to bog the Air down.

    I won't really need to be using them - the MBAir will become my "travel computer" used for email, browsing, and other [relatively] light-duty jobs. I have two Mac desktops at home for whatever else I need to do.

    But again, I was amazed at how quickly the ordinary tasks of booting and opening apps seemed on the Air, when compared to a MBPro 13" 2.53ghz (I think that was the speed).

    The Air was the clear winner!
  9. gglockner macrumors 6502


    Nov 25, 2007
    Bellevue, WA
    For most day-to-day computing, the SSD will make more of a difference than a faster processor. That said, you could always add an SSD to a MacBook or MacBook Pro.
  10. wdropo macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2004
    Anyone else think that Apple created the MBA to tryout engineering and tech ideas for an ultra-thin computer and then put all that learning into the Ipad?

    Maybe it is the paranoid part of me...but what if we were all being used as testers for what went wrong and what could work for a notepad computer (called the ipad)?

    Worse, now that the Ipad is coming out, what if Apple retires the MBA?...After all, it has learned all it needs and now does not want to hurt the new market segment it just created....

    Just a thought...hope I am wrong on all counts. But waiting this long for a refresh gets you thinking....
  11. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    You've got the right idea, but the wrong product. MBA tech makes it into the MBP.

    Built-in battery - Air was first (capacity was lower, it had to be because of the size, but the tech was in the Air first)

    Multi-touch trackpad - Air was first

    Uni-body Construction - Air was first.

    Keyboard was a combination of tech's brought together in the Air

    Color Scheme (Black on Silver) - Air was first. (Okay, so that's not really a tech, but a design idea)
  12. PsyD4Me macrumors 6502a


    Mar 11, 2009
    under your bed
    get the rev C from Frys at a killer discount with SSD and call it a day.

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