Let's be real

i0Nic

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 17, 2006
1,452
65
Sydney, Australia
Can you really use a Macbook Air, 11" specifically, as your only computer?

Now let's be serious for a minute. I'm talking about us geeks, not the every man common folk.

I'm also talking about hooking it up to a big display as well, as we geeks like to do.

Playing the odd starcraft 2 game, running many tabs in Chrome and encoding the occasional video is something we also may do.

Can we really do it using the new MBA?
Are we going to suffer from a big performance hit?
 

Mitchelino

macrumors 6502
Jun 24, 2009
403
0
Ontario, Canada
It's designed to be lightweight and small. My guess is for students who want to lug it to class each day. If I could afford it, I'd buy an Air just for class. But a MBP/iMac/MP is still going to be better for everyday use, as far as I'm concerned. (for those who use computers for more than the "average" person.

If I wasn't using my computer for other things like music production, an Air would be perfect for my 5 years at university.
 

fitshaced

macrumors 68000
Jul 2, 2011
1,719
3,085
Can you really use a Macbook Air, 11" specifically, as your only computer?

Now let's be serious for a minute. I'm talking about us geeks, not the every man common folk.

I'm also talking about hooking it up to a big display as well, as we geeks like to do.

Playing the odd starcraft 2 game, running many tabs in Chrome and encoding the occasional video is something we also may do.

Can we really do it using the new MBA?
Are we going to suffer from a big performance hit?
So, you're directing this to geeks... who use a big display, play the odd starcraft 2 game, running many tabs in Chrome and encoding the occasional video?

Rounds it down to a much less significant number I'd imagine.
 

Elven

macrumors 6502a
May 13, 2008
862
1
UK
Depends on your needs, simple as that, not everyone requires multiple screen, high res HD displays with quad core gaming power.

Also mobility is key.
 

glen e

macrumors 68030
Jun 19, 2010
2,619
2
Ft Lauderdale
Not for me...I'm not a multi user, portal, etc..but still I need a big unit at home. I still use a PC there. But for the road, a MBA and iPad excel....the MBA to create and the iPad to consume.
 

theRick119

macrumors member
Apr 27, 2008
83
1
Depends on your needs, simple as that, not everyone requires multiple screen, high res HD displays with quad core gaming power.

Also mobility is key.
I agree. Completely depends on needs.

I have an iMac and an 11" Air. The Air is my business and personal travel companion, my couch companion etc.

My iMac holds my media collection, does my encoding, satisfies occasional gaming and most importantly has two monitors for my programming and my wife's photo editing.

"Geek" is just too general. If all I did was read pseudo intellectual blogs, watch anime and retweet I'd be fine with just the Air :)
 

Variant

macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2005
269
18
Depends on your needs, simple as that, not everyone requires multiple screen, high res HD displays with quad core gaming power.

Also mobility is key.
Exactly.

iMac + Air = Perfect Combo (for me at least :) )
 

PDFierro

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2009
3,932
111
I plan on doing just that. And I'm not going to hook it up to an external display. I played with the 11-inch Air in the Apple store for a few hours and was really comfortable with it, although we'll see how it holds up in everyday use but it shouldn't be a problem.

I'm a writer, and I will be watching plenty of videos along with doing a few other minor intensive things.
 

i0Nic

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 17, 2006
1,452
65
Sydney, Australia
Guys, we know the iMac will be better for tasks that we do like gaming, encoding video etc.

But, can the new MBA now actually replace an iMac for those tasks? or are we not there yet.

I want to simplify. I just want one computer. I don't want an iMac AND a Macbook Air as it just means double the maintenance and double the cost.

Or is it back to my 2009 MBP...
 

Variant

macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2005
269
18
The Air should be just as fast (maybe a bit faster) than a '09 Pro. So if you don't find yourself wishing for a faster computer, you'd probably be just fine with an Air.
 

theRick119

macrumors member
Apr 27, 2008
83
1
As long as you don't want dual monitors, don't mind gaming at low settings and don't do ram intensive multitasking (edit although this can be overcome with a non standard configuration), then yes, I definitely think the Air can be a standalone device.
 

WardC

macrumors 68030
Oct 17, 2007
2,727
213
Fort Worth, TX
I don't do any gaming at all, I mostly use my Macs for web surfing. I like having a larger display at home (I have a 23" Cinema Display), so I can display multiple windows and have more screen real estate. I also watch movies from time to time and like having a larger display. Consider me an enthusiast, I have a Mac Pro as my home computer, I like having a tower and an external display, better expandability options.

Of course you could use an 11" MacBook Pro as your main computer, but if you are used to an iMac or a large 1920x1200 or higher res display, then you might be disappointed with the overall experience when you are constrained to 1366x768 everyday. The ppi is also higher, and you will find yourself very close to your MacBook Air on the small display. Just my experiences.
 

shurcooL

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2011
921
70
IMO the 11" Air is just a nice netbook. A very nice, expensive, fast netbook. Pretty much because of its small screen size and small resolution.

If you take the 13", that's more of an ultraportable laptop. It has a better chance standing on its own. But even so, depending on what you're doing, it might be ideal to have it alongside a more powerful quad-core desktop.
 

drewyboy

macrumors 65816
Jan 27, 2005
1,352
1,418
The geekbench for the 13" matches my '10 iMac i3. And after a few more reviews, I'm more than likely selling the imac and getting the mba because it probably performs just as well if not better because of the ssd and newer cpu. I encode a video once in awhile which I'm sure will be faster cuz of the ssd + cpu. I only have 4GB in the imac, so that's not going to change. I'll get a 24" asus monitor probably, until my side job can afford the new ATBD and use that as a nice hub. Gota upgrade my mini's hd though, to store photo's, videos, music etc. on.
 

urkel

macrumors 68030
Nov 3, 2008
2,783
862
IMO the 11" Air is just a nice netbook. A very nice, expensive, fast netbook. Pretty much because of its small screen size and small resolution.

If you take the 13", that's more of an ultraportable laptop. It has a better chance standing on its own. But even so, depending on what you're doing, it might be ideal to have it alongside a more powerful quad-core desktop.
I can't agree with this. What exactly can the 13" do that the 11" can't?

And even though there was a short window of time that Netbooks made sense, their limitations are what paved the way for tablets. With the latest processor update then I don't see many limitations on the 11" Air that makes it comparable to netbooks anymore.
 

PDFierro

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2009
3,932
111
I also have a hard time seeing it as a netbook, although some people will say that just because of the screen size. If a netbook has a 256GB SSD, backlit keyboard, etc.
 

shurcooL

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2011
921
70
Don't get me wrong, I have no doubts you can do a lot on the 11 Air.

I had a 9" netbook with an Atom and I was surprised by how much it could do.

However, after a few months, when the fad wears off and you want to do some serious work, content creationion, coding, whatever pays the bills, you quickly realize you need a proper screen for that to feel comfortable. 11 just wont do it. Except for writing docs maybe.
 

xkmxkmxlmx

macrumors 6502a
Apr 28, 2011
885
113
The 11, for me, is just too small to be used as a sole computer. The 13" on the other hand is more than perfect for me. It really boils down to that inch and a half of real estate. Especially the vertical difference.
 

urkel

macrumors 68030
Nov 3, 2008
2,783
862
However, after a few months, when the fad wears off and you want to do some serious work, content creationion, coding, whatever pays the bills, you quickly realize you need a proper screen for that to feel comfortable. 11 just wont do it. Except for writing docs maybe.
Try fullscreen mode on 11". It actually makes the experience very pleasant because you regain a lot of pixels that the OS was stealing.
 
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