Is Macbook Air powerful enough

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by dbraxton525, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. dbraxton525 macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2014
    Hi, I am a graduate student looking to purchase a new computer. I already own a MBP 2012 edition, but I find that when carrying it with all my papers and things, it can get sort of heavy. I am looking at purchasing a MBA for a lighter alternative to carry around.

    I am wondering if it will be powerful enough for my use.

    I use statistical software including SPSS, Stata, and R very often for my research. I am a behavioral researcher and I generally don't have more than about 500-600 cases and about 30 variables. This is my primary concern for power. Other than that I use basic things like MS Word, Excel, and PPT, Outlook and internet. I do like to run many programs at once especially when do research on a new topic or analyzing data.

    Will a MBA be powerful enough for this use? Also what specs would be the minimum to make the machine powerful enough? As I mentioned I am a graduate student and therefore on a graduate student salary, so I would like to stay as inexpensive as possible.

  2. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    If you already have a 2012 MBP then it should be very easy for you to answer your own question. Presumably your MBP's performance is satisfactory and if you get an MBA with similar specs then it will perform the same... ?
  3. blesscheese macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    Well, I'm running R on my 2009 MBA (with 2GB of memory) right now...

    Ok, right now, I'm running R, I have 1399 different objects in base files were a 30000 row file with 40 variables, and a 85,359 row file with 23 variables...I am doing most of my work with a 15,624 row file with 62 variables, and, while not doing highly computational work, it is fast enough for me.

    I am also running Scrivener, M$ Word, M$ Excel (blah), Safari, Bookends, and one or two other files (trying Findings, and using Growly Notes), at the same time.

    I avoid SPSS, and haven't used Stata, so I can't help you there.

    So, I think an MBA should likely be good enough, provided you aren't doing highly intensive computational stuff.

    Regarding type of MBA...If you are using R, you know it holds all the files in memory, so figure out the typical size of your this day and age, an extra $100 for 8GB memory isn't that bad. Also, the 256GB drive would seem to be the best option as well. If nothing else, you can always put in a larger drive later, but you *cannot* upgrade your memory after purchase (it is soldered on).
  4. dbraxton525 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2014
    Thank you so much. This was really helpful response. I decided to get a MBA 128GB since most of my files will be stored on the MBP and in cloud storage.
  5. declen007 macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2004
    Yes and Yes

    It's more than powerful enough ... You'll love it
  6. Amplelink macrumors 6502a

    Oct 8, 2012
    Absolutely. I thnk just because the Air has the "Air" moniker, people think that it's not as capable. I think for most people, this computer is more than good enough as their daily driver.
  7. blesscheese macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    Meant to follow-up earlier

    I meant to say, if you already have a 2012 MBP (not an rMBP?), I'm guessing the chip speed will be relatively equivalent, but the MBA is likely a little slower...but for most analyses, I don't think you would see much (if any) difference.

    You can always go to Bare Feats and look at their speed tests to gauge relative speed between the two models.

    The MBA will definitely be slimmer and lighter, that is for sure!

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