Is MB Air enough?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Z71paramedic, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. Z71paramedic macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2012
    #1
    Hey everybody, first post here. I've been reading everything I can lately and haven't found the answer to my question yet so I figured I'd post up here.

    My wife and I will be moving from Hawaii to Germany in a couple months (military). Our household goods (ie my iMac) will take about 2 months to get from here to there so we're going to buy a laptop before we leave. I'm planning to go mac but I'm open to an ultrabook as well if it's cheap enough with good enough specs, but it's got to be at least a couple hundred $ cheaper than the mac just for ease of use issues I figure.

    Anyways, my main concern is this: I just bought a Nikon D800 and it's files are MASSIVE. A single raw image is ~45mb and I intend to be taking hundreds if not thousands of pictures between now and then. I don't intend to do any heavy editing on the laptop, mostly a few resizes and post online for now, but wouldn't mind enough oomph to generate a panorama or two. I realize an air will not be super fast with this stuff, but as long as it CAN do it then I'm ok with it. The maximum 4gb of ram is the biggest issue in question as far as I can tell.

    Now I realize with an air I will definitely need an external HD, but the portability sounds very nice when I already have ~25 pounds of camera/lenses in my bag. The lighter the laptop the better in my book.

    I also realize the refresh is coming soon and I'm going to try to hold out for a new one, but figure I need to get whatever it is I'm going to get by the second week of June at the latest.

    So, do you guys think the Air with an external drive can handle the D800 files or should I look at a 13" macbook pro? This option not only costs less out of the gate but doesn't need an external drive either... It is significantly heavier though.

    Any help is really appreciated.

    Edit: I use Adobe Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS5 when necessary.
     
  2. canuckle macrumors regular

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    Dec 18, 2011
    #2
    You will get lots of opinions on this, but when I was debating the same thing (I travel frequently) I went with the 13"MBP. I don't find it too heavy to carry around, and the better processor I went with (of the 2 choices) handles everything I need. Document editing, browsing, email, general 'away from the office' stuff. Also nice on a plane. Battery life is crazy good, I get 7+ hours in normal light conditions and moderate use.

    With the Air, you will be looking at 2 things to manage (laptop and external drive).

    Just my 2 cents.

     
  3. Z71paramedic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2012
    #3
    I was kind of thinking the same thing. Thanks for the info. Portability definitely takes a slight back seat to being able to do what I'm buying it for in the first place. Otherwise I should just get one of these: Link
     
  4. Medic278 macrumors 6502a

    Medic278

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    #4
    I would also go with the MBP. I have both the MBA and MBP and I am always using my MBP. My brother is also in the military and when I went to visit him in Germany I brought my MBP because it was easier to handle and edit all the pics and videos I took. Plus with an on board ODD I could also watch movies and burn my pics and videos to DVD. What I just did to my MBP was add a 240 GB SSD and now it flies, it loads photoshop almost instantly and renders images quickly. I think you'll get the best bang for your buck out of the MBP, you have powers, portability and the option to upgrade it.
     
  5. TheSuperSteve, Apr 20, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012

    TheSuperSteve macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Honestly I didn't read the OP, but I know that if someone has to ask this then it probably won't be enough.

    The Macbook Air is really for people who need a laptop that is ultraportable at the expense of everything else. The 13" Macbook Pro is only a few hundred dollars more expensive and you get way more for what you pay for. I don't own one, but I've held them around and they aren't that heavy. Its actually pretty small and light compared to other Windows laptops I've seen.
     
  6. Z71paramedic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2012
    #6
    Gotcha, thanks very much for the replies. Now if Apple could hurry it up and bring out the new version and make my decision that much easier:rolleyes: We have a friend that works at the apple store in Honolulu and hopefully she can help us out a bit once our decision is made.
     
  7. Medic278 macrumors 6502a

    Medic278

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    #7
    Which branch are you in? My brother was stationed in Hawaii before he was deployed.
     
  8. Z71paramedic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    My wife is a Pediatrician in the Army. She works at Tripler currently and we're headed to Landstuhl. I'm just the tag-along husband:D
     
  9. Medic278 macrumors 6502a

    Medic278

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    #9
    Nice, I wouldn't mind tagging along to Germany lol
     
  10. Z71paramedic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2012
    #10
    Exactly! I'm really looking forward to it. Hawaii has been cool, but the novelty wore off pretty quick (for me at least). If we were on one of the other islands it'd be sweet, but Oahu sucks IMO... Too many (stupid) people on one little dot in the middle of the pacific for my taste. Scenery is pretty incredible, but I'm ready for the change.
     
  11. Medic278 macrumors 6502a

    Medic278

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    #11
    Aww you don't enjoy spending $9 for a big mac and $6 for a gallon of milk! Germany is pretty nice, but much like Hawaii the novelty will wear off. However the best part is there are amazing cities all within a few hours train ride of Germany, assuming your at Ramstein.
     
  12. danthedj macrumors newbie

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    #12
    I'm going to play the otherside of the coin here.

    Personally, I think the macbook air is more than enough. Everyone is going to tell you all about how the MBP can be upgraded so you can have 16gb of ram, a huge ssd, and this and that, but that is exactly what separates the MBA from the MBP. It weighs alot less. Period. I go university and I can tell you the difference from MBA to MBP is alot greater than most will let you believe (guess its denial ;)).

    As far as editing goes, the gap in performance between the core i5 in the MBA and the core i5 in the MBP really isnt huge. I cant find the exact numbers but i believe most tests show it as around 5-10% faster overall. If its only a 5% increase, then as far as i see it you could save yourself the weight and have a perfectly suitable system.

    Another thing I noted is you said you have an iMac. If you have an iMac then the MBA would be the perfect companion, especially since it is alot more powerful than the 2010 MBA, so it can still power through nearly anything you throw at it, but you could always use the iMac if you need blazing speed to churn through photos (assuming you have a core i series iMac).

    Again, most will tell you that there's no discernable difference in weight between the two, but when you have 20+ lbs of camera gear, you want the lightest laptop you can find.

    Good luck with your decision! :apple:
     
  13. Risasi macrumors 6502

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    Sep 16, 2011
    #13
    A co-worker and I just installed a couple servers, with another one of us showing up later. I still carry the 13" MBP, and my co-workers use 13" Airs.

    We were carting around two 70lb servers, me with my bag across my back. While I was thinking how I would have liked the 11" Air to carry in there, having the Ethernet port was nice, so is having an optical drive. One co-worker was dead in the water, the other had an Ethernet dongle, a spare optical drive in his car, and still carries around a full size messenger bag. Fully loaded my bag weighs 10lbs, but has everything I need. Really a couple pounds doesn't really matter in the long run, at least for me.
     
  14. solderguy1 macrumors member

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    Apr 20, 2012
    #14
    I haven't missed an optical drive. So far I've been able to get all the software as ISO's over the internet. Just set up a virtual optical drive (I use DAEMON Tools Lite) and fire it off.

    Was running a school assignment with three virtual Centos machines in VirtualBox and that's the first time the 4G memory seemed sluggish, been great otherwise
     
  15. Z71paramedic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    I really appreciate all the replies. I was looking for some real-world experience with both:apple:

    As far as the optical drive is concerned, I BARELY use the one on the iMac. I should burn backups of all my stuff to disc as well as saving it on multiple external drives but I haven't caught up with myself in a while... That being said, I really wouldn't mind not having one. Once we get our stuff in Germany I can burn everything to disc on the iMac anyways, so that's not a super concern at the moment. I really do value the portability but only if it doesn't take 10 minutes to open each .nef from the camera... I guess my big problem is trying to decide if I'd rather have a lighter unit with better screen resolution (assuming I have to buy the current gen) and a slightly less powerful package, or if I should go with the heavier unit that can do just about everything the iMac can?

    The ethernet connector is the only other thing I was slightly concerned with, but I assume in the fairly near future there will be a Thunderbolt ethernet dongle right? I can deal with waiting a little while I think:rolleyes:

    I think at the moment it's going to boil down to this for me: If the new line comes out in time (in the 13" variety) I'll see what they look like spec wise, and probably go with a new pro. If that doesn't happen I may base it on what I can get for the least amount of money with at least 4gigs of ram, considering in this the cost of a portable hdd for the air. I figure I may upgrade either of these choices in the next year or two if the new ones are not available when I need one by but the specs are sweet, so may as well save a little money:cool:

    I'll be sure and update what I end up with.

    ----------

    Exactly! I figured the same about the novelty, but I'm looking at this as moving to Europe, not just Germany. I've pretty psyched to get to see a lot of the places that I've been wanting to see my whole life. Should be pretty sick:cool:
     
  16. Medic278, Apr 20, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012

    Medic278 macrumors 6502a

    Medic278

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    #16
    Its going to be pretty awesome there is so much traveling that you can do from Germany. Plus Octoborfest is really something to experience. I would highly recommend the MBP. The ability to upgrade is really worth it. Plus having both the MBa and MBP the weight difference really isn't HUGE, while the MBP is heavier its not like its a 1000 lbs weight after all. Go MBP you'll be much happier in the end. At some point your going to want more RAM especially if you like to do photo editing, and with the MBA adding RAM is not an option. Plus all MBP come with 4GB of RAM on the MBA getting 4GB of RAM is an upgrade option, plus the MBP comes with a 500GB HDD the MBA starts at 64GB, just a bunch of things to consider. Plus the MBP core i5 is clocked higher so you'll have a bit more power to do the heavy lifting. MBP is really the way to go, you'll be much happier plus you can always do what I did and drop a nice 240 GB SSD into it and use the original HDD as an external drive or dump an SSD into the opti-bay and get the best of both worlds. Like I said the MBP is ungodly heavy, especially the 13" its really pretty light, slim and plenty portable. Go MBP you'll be much much happier.
     
  17. Z71paramedic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17
    That's a great point. Once the 2.6 pounds is added to 20 something, vs 4.5 pounds added to 20 something I won't even realize the difference once it's on my back.

    Sounds like the overall consensus is that I'll be happier with a pro, and I've kind of thought that from the outset.

    Now they just need to release these new ones!!!
     
  18. Medic278 macrumors 6502a

    Medic278

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    #18
    The current gen machines are pretty nice. The Ivy bridge update while is going to make the computer better is not going to render the current gen obsolete. If you can I would get the i7, thats what I have and it flies right along. My current MBP is the 13" dual core i7 with 8GB of RAM and a 240 SSD and its fantastic. It handles everything I throw at it and I think its the perfect setup, the RAM cost me like $60 and my 240GB Intel 520 SSD was $350, so its pretty reasonable to do some pretty heavy upgrades. You'll also gain the connectivity of the MBP, for example, thunderbolt, SD card slot you get some extra USB ports and what not.
     
  19. Z71paramedic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #19
    The biggest things i'd like out of the new ones (assuming that they have these features) is USB 3.0 and higher screen resolution. I know thunderbolt is faster but the peripherals are still so expensive that I'd probably get some 3.0 stuff in the mean time.

    I definitely won't be upset with current gen stuff, who doesn't like fancy new stuff?!
     
  20. Medic278 macrumors 6502a

    Medic278

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    #20
    Agreed new stuff is great. I would hope the new MBP would come with USB 3.0 but Apple is really pushing thunderbolt so you never know. I would say your probably going to see better resolution for sure this round. If you can wait I would recommend it, but if you can't or need one know then the current machines are excellent choice.
     
  21. Z71paramedic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    Definitely. If the new ones ship by the first or second week in June I should be good to go, but either way I'm pretty stoked to get one.
     
  22. JHUFrank macrumors 6502a

    JHUFrank

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    #22
    I totally agree with this. Raw storage is the need here. Pop out that optical and throw in a drive tray. Get a good tb worth of storage and off you go. My wife has a similar setup for photography.

     
  23. JHUFrank macrumors 6502a

    JHUFrank

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    #23
    This one sort of bothers me. I do the same thing for a living, and use a 13" MBA as my main computer. I carry a SFBags Cargo and put my MBA in their sleeve case. When I only need my MBA, a ethernet dongle/cable and charger, the bag weighs like 3 lbs. If I need all of my equipment, I toss the sleeve into my Cargo, which has my toners, probes, testers, screwdrivers, drill, etc. I rarely use an optical. My point? My bag weighs 10 lbs too, and the MBA does the same exact thing as the MBP, with the exception of having a full gigabit connection. I really dont notice that much, as I dont really use the MBA as a file copier, its a remote platform for SSH, RDP, VNC, etc.


    ----------

    That is the only memory limitation I have seen too, is having more than two VMs running.
     
  24. jmgregory1 macrumors 65816

    jmgregory1

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    #24
    The only thing I've given up with my mba is weight. There is absolutely no way that the 13" mbp in its basic state is anywhere near as fast for normal usage (email, web, music, etc). I've got a 15" mbp that I so rarely use now that it's collecting dust. The lack of a dvd drive doesn't even play into things for me and chances are pretty good that given the OP has an iMac, he doesn't need it anyway as the air can use the iMac's drive if it is ever needed.

    And the difference between the pro and air as far as weight is significant. I think you'll find that with the air, chances are great that you will carry it around with you around the house because it's so easy to do so.

    The only other option I would recommend, given you have an iMac would be to get an iPad.
     
  25. Risasi macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Actually I do use a Booq Vyper sleeve for my MBP, so in the summer if I'm slumming about to several locations and know I won't need my tools then I just grab the sleeve and go. It weighs less than my coworker's waterfield messenger bag with his 13" MBA. One thing I wish the Vyper (and sleeves in general) had was a D-ring for attaching a lanyard or single point strap. It would leave my. hands free and I could attach the few items like charger, Ethernet dongle, and precision screwdrivers to the strap.
    The charger generally ends up in my pocket, but I've gone without it too. This works well enough I've considered switching to the 15" MBP for the extra screen. Many times throughout the day I have remote support sessions going to end users with dual 1080p monitors.

    I could get by with an Air and have considered switching to the 11" model this year, and keeping external monitors in key strategic locations. Still I have a feeling I will end up with a 13" or perhaps even a 15" Pro, and change out my bag to something more streamlined. I guess we will see when the new equipment starts showing up soon. I don't know, that's the future. I'm just giving present experience for reference.
     

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