Is Macbook Air 11" enough for coding?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by skllmyh, Nov 18, 2016.

  1. skllmyh macrumors newbie


    Nov 18, 2016
    I have a very heavy and huge laptop at home. (connected to TV as a second screen). and it's really hard to take it to somewhere. so I'm looking for a Macbook Air. its gonna be my first apple product.

    I have TV at home, so screen is not an issue. the only thing that bothers me is performance. Am I gonna have trouble while coding? and, is 11-inch enough? or worth to buy?
  2. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Dec 20, 2013
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    how about you give us the tech details of your current system and your take on it's performance.
  3. Rainman4500, Nov 18, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2016

    Rainman4500 macrumors newbie


    Oct 15, 2015
    As long as you have 8 gigs of ram and an I7 CPU it should be quite sufficient.
  4. legioxi macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2013
    I coded on the base model 2014 11" MBA (4GB RAM, 128GB SSD) for a year without any issues. Worked wonderfully. I upgraded to the 2015 rMB to get an even smaller laptop and a Retina display. I think the rMB has a slower CPU and still works great for coding.

    Depending on what you're writing, compilation may take a bit but your IDE or other tools might compile bits in the background while you're writing, making it a non-issue (like Xcode).
  5. Lunfai macrumors 65816


    Nov 21, 2010
    What are you coding exactly? Because every brick and motar laptop can code HTML/CSS/Ruby/JavaScript/Java/PHP.
  6. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502


    Apr 2, 2012
    Somewhere In Time
  7. marioman38 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Elk Grove, CA
    Screen resolution on the 11" air sucks. I would definitely recommend the 13" more. It's really not that much bigger to carry around and the screen real estate is so much more useful.

    I recently sold my 2011 13" MacBook Air 4gb 256 SSD for around $300 on the forums.
  8. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    It is highly subjective. Although the screen resolution of the 11 MBA is smaller (smaller screen, duh) the 11 MBA (135 ppi) has a slightly higher pixel density than the 13 (128 ppi). If anyone thinks that the screen on the MBAs "suck" then they shouldn't buy either one of them. I think the screen is fine.

    Regarding the size differences between the 11 MBA and 13 MBA... it is significant. The 11 MBA feels more like carrying an 9.7 iPad with a keyboard case whereas the 13 MBA is closer to feeling like carrying a non-retina 13 Macbook Pro.

    Since the OP has a "battleship" notebook setup at home (that is stationary) something that complements that should be extremely portable for mobile situations. IMO, 11 MBA fits the bill.

    I have an iMac at my home office and switch off between an 11 MBA and 12.9 iPad Pro for mobile use. I use the 11 MBA for all of the things that the OP stated he'd use it for. For me, it works quite well.
  9. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    I love the 11" Air. I have one for my work out and about, and a large, beefy desktop setup at home for more serious work. I enjoy being able to have the smallest possible machine in the road with me.
  10. Starfia macrumors 6502


    Apr 11, 2011
    My last Air (a few years ago) was passable even for lightweight media tasks, and totally sufficient for text-based things.

    I remember doing a little programming in it, and feeling more restricted by the smaller display than by the performance – what with long lines of code and wanting to see more than one working area on the screen at once.
  11. adib macrumors regular


    Jun 11, 2010
    If you use one of those Java-based IDEs (Pycharm, for example), you'll probably need the i7 model. Otherwise should be fine.
  12. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I went from a 13" MBA to an 11" MBA and love it. The size/weight difference is really quite significant and if you haven't owned both then you won't appreciate that. Now you aren't going to break your back carrying either around, but the difference is very real.
  13. Patron_Saint Suspended

    Jun 10, 2016
    Used a 2013 8GB/i7/512GB SSD model for about 18 months. Did everything I needed and then some. iOS dev work, web development, and some dabbling in other areas. Plus heavy Photoshop use.
  14. michaelsviews macrumors 65816

    Sep 25, 2007
    New England
    I believe Linus Torvalds use's one, so I'd have to say yes. Now regarding the screen size / resolution, ONLY YOU can say whether or not that resolution is going to work for you. Apple has the 2 week return period and I think Best Buy has 30 day's
  15. Pugly macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2016
    It's plenty power for coding I think. I was developing iOS apps on a old MacBook. There are few areas of use that any computer made in the last 3-5 years wouldn't be able to handle. It might be slower sometimes when it comes to heavy computing, like building projects, rendering 4k video, advanced physics modeling... but can it do these things sure. And to get really heavy computing power you have to go up to a quad core 15inch mac or desktop. All the 13inch Mac Pro or Air models are in a similar class of computer power, maybe 5-30% here and there... but you won't get twice the performance.

    Using an 11inch screen takes a bit to get used to. If you can customize your IDE to deal with the limited vertical space, then it's not a big issue. But if you are stuck with a chunky horizontal bar that you can't get rid of in your software's editors, it won't be fun editing things on it. I like eliminating all the editing chrome and call up the various screens with key commands. It kind of goes against the current design of using one screen operation with all the panes there.... but I like to open any thing in a new window and have that take up the full screen to edit and then close that screen down.

    It'd be good to trial the resolution and limited space on a current computer to see if you can manage with the size.
  16. smirking macrumors 65816


    Aug 31, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    The first time I read this, I read that you have an 11" Air for your workout. I was thinking, just how do you workout with a laptop?
  17. Efrem macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2009
    Coding doesn't stress even a slow computer unless you have a truly humongous software suite. Running what you code, even for test purposes, might. That's what you have to look at. You haven't given us enough information to say anything one way or the other about whether a MacBook Air will be good for running whatever it is you code.
  18. ipsychedelic macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2012
    Just to bump this "1 week old" topic, my $.5:

    YES. It will be enough. You can code on a Raspberry Pi 1 if you want.
    Now, if you're coding the next installment of an AAA game, then nope. Otherwise for regular coding, of non "power hungry, massive" apps, you can do it on pretty much anything.

    If the question implied "will the screen be enough", then as somebody said already, only you can know. I find a 11" too small but some people love them, so it's a matter of preferences.
  19. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    coding means seeing thousands of line of codes with focus. save your eyes. buy yourself a second hand macbook 12". the display is awesome and your eyes will thank you for that.

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