Is MacBook Air a Good Choice?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by hoodedwarbler12, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. hoodedwarbler12 macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2012
    I've been a Windows user for all my life, but I need a new computer and I'm thinking about getting a new Haswell MacBook Air. I'm a high school student, so I like the portability. I'll be using it for research and papers and presentations, so I plan on getting Office 2011 for Mac also. I'm also an amateur photographer so I'll be using Lightroom 5 and possibly Photoshop CC at some point. I'll also be doing some light gaming (nothing really more intensive than Minecraft). I want to get the 13'' with i7 and 8gb of RAM, but I'll keep it at a 128gb SSD because it starts getting really expensive when I add storage. I'll get a portable hard drive for my photos and videos so I don't have to worry about filling up the SSD. I only have about 5gb of music so that shouldn't be an issue either. I realize I could probably make do with the base model, but I like the option of doing some more serious stuff at some point in the future and have it as good as it can be right now. I plan for this to last me through high school at least. Does a MacBook Air seem like a good choice?
  2. Suraj R. macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2013
    I got the 2013 13" i5/8/128 Air recently, and I'm in high school too. High school tasks aren't very demanding at all (typing up documents and creating presentations, and that's pretty much it). So the Air will be fine.

    As for photography, it will also fare very well. The i7 upgrade may not even be necessary (it wasn't for my uses).
  3. kidtachyon macrumors member

    Sep 27, 2012
    Utah's West Desert
    The MacBook Air is a fantastic machine. You are lucky to be able to have one in High School. Go for it! :)
  4. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    Yes, absolutely.
  5. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    I would recommend getting 256gb over i7.

    The extra 128gb will be MUCH more noticeable in terms of real world usage, especially if you have a lot of raw pictures to edit.

    The 5-10% bump in performance won't allow your Air to do something that the i5 cannot... Only maybe that you will save seconds with the i7 per task, at the cost of battery life.
  6. inodes macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2011
    I've been a Windows user since 1991 (Yes - very early versions).
    I bought a Macbook Air in 2011 and haven't looked back since.

    Best purchase ever!!

    I use Aperture for photo organisation, and a bit of Final Cut Pro for video editing. It's sufficient for these, although I have upgraded to latest iMac.

    I would be opened minded to the variances between Mac OS X and Windows, but after years of working with OS X, I can't believe it took me this long to move away from Windows.

    I used to do "spring cleaning" on Windows. Due to the way it's designed (e.g. use of registry is a poor idea), installation of too many applications will slow a machine down in Windows. A spring clean involves backing up all data, formatting the PC and reinstalling everything again to bring it back to its original speed. It's painful, but required.
    OS X is far more Unix like (my occupation is a Unix administrator - so I can easily compare the two). The Unix heredity of OS X shows in that even after 3 years of use, the Macbook Air is practically as quick as the day I bought it despite the large number of apps.

    Travelling wise, I've taken both my iPad and Macbook Air around the world several times. The Air is so easy and light, I use it far more than the iPad. Battery times are reasonable, although the new model is significantly better.

    My recommendation is to buy the 13". The size, weight and screen size are better. The battery is MUCH better.

    Furthermore, I highly recommend getting the maximum size SSD. It might be far more costly, but it will pay for itself over the lifetime of the laptop as you'll be able to keep more data on the laptop and less on external storage.

    Remember that to be at it's optimum speed, a system should have at least 20% free disk space regardless of whether it's Windows or OS X. A larger SSD will allow you to keep 20% free, and have most of your data and apps available on hand.
  7. inodes macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2011
    I would recommend at least this spec:

    13-inch : 256GB

    1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor
    Turbo Boost up to 2.6GHz
    Intel HD Graphics 5000
    8GB memory
    256GB flash storage1

    13" much better than 11" (13" is light, 11" is for those that put portability over weight and battery life)
    256GB SDD is compulsory - it's your biggest upgrade and worth every cent.

    Optional upgrades:
    8GB RAM - You can't change it later. 4GB is fine at the moment. But with a change or two of OS versions, 8GB will be better in the long run.
    SSD - The price jump though to 512GB is cheaper than you'll see anywhere else and worth it.
    Processor - both i7 and i5 are dual on the Air. Make this your last upgrade.


    Commenting on your specs - don't get the 128GB SSD - you will regret it.
    SSD storage is night and day fast against even the fastest HDD's.
    Often I move stuff I am working on back into the SSD simply because it makes working with it ***MUCH*** faster.

    The new Air SSD's are even more than 2x as fast as my Air's. They fly!!
  8. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    $500 to go from 128gb to 512gb is big money. It's not like 512gb is nearly enough anyways. I'm approaching 10TB of storage. A 1080p MKV is about 10gigs per movie.... And a full rip at 20-30gigs.

    3 seasons of Games of Thrones is already sitting at around 50GB. That too just 720p MKV. If I get full rip that's 200GB just for the first season alone.

    You're going to need external storage regardless, is what I'm saying.

    My advise would be to go for 256GB. That's plenty, as long as you have external drives at home. Spend the $300 on on a 2 TB time machine with .ac router to make full use of your Air's new wireless capabilities. You could watch HD movies wirelessly on any modern enough device without a problem... At home.

    The SSD is essential for your platforms - OSX and Windows...and any native apps and programs you'll need to run. All in all it likely won't be more than 100-120gigs.

    But hey it is up to you. Just my 2 cents... It's not always "pay if you can afford it". Opportunity cost is always a ringer in every businessman's mind :p

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