Looking to be a new Mac user - MBA advice appreciated

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by DAMAC3, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. DAMAC3 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Noblesville, IN
    #1
    ~~~I posted this here instead of the "buying tips" thread because I am looking seriously at a MBA and need to understand their capabilities.

    I have never owned a Mac. I have been a PC user for 15 years. I've owned a variety of laptops and desktops (some I built, some retail).

    What I currently own - HP M9340F C2Quad 2.66GHz 6GB 500GB
    22" HP monitor 1920x1080
    MSI Wind 2GB RAM 160GB HDD (OS X & XP partitions)
    Iphone 2G (LOVE IT!!!)
    1TB external drive (NTFS)

    I recently put OS X on my Wind, and I really like it. I've also played around with OS X at the Apple store and Bestbuy, and I know I am obviously not getting close to what it offers on my Wind. I love the touchpads on the new Macbooks.

    I saw the MBA refurbs for $999, and I thought I might sell the Wind and buy the refurb MBA. I've read through the refurb thread and had considered just buying the $999 MBA revA 1.6/80 instead of one of the SSD versions or a revB. I've also been thinking about just selling my HP tower and the Wind and getting a new Macbook or a new MBA (using my monitor with it). My only concern is jumping all the way into Mac after being a PC user for so long. I think that won't be a problem with the ability to use bootcamp, fusion, or parallels to run Windows when needed. I also definately want something portable. It would be nice having something stationed on the desk at home, too. I just don't know what combination to keep/purchase. iMac/Wind, HP PC/MBA, MBArev2/Wind, MB/Wind? This is where I need some advice.

    Here is what I use my computer for:

    Web browsing, Email (yahoo & gmail)
    Movies and TV (Hulu, iTunes, XVID, MKV)
    Visual Studio for programming (I am taking classes to eventually program full-time)
    Word, Excel
    Photoshop
    Throwing in a wild-card (I have a beautiful 10 month old girl and may buy a digital camcorder soon, so I might need to be able to handle video transfer/storage; doubt I will be editting much)

    (usually running several of these processes at the same time)

    I take my Wind to Work and School with me for browsing web and watching videos during lunch or downtime. It would be helpful to have Visual Studio available on a machine that I can take on the go. I haven't tried yet, but I don't think the Wind will be able to handle it very well (and even if it does, I doubt programming on a 10" screen would be ideal).

    A couple of questions:

    On a MBA rev1 - Visual Studio can be a pretty resource-intensive program. Do you think I would be able to run it on XP using fusion or parallels, or will I have to use bootcamp because the MBA won't handle it in a virtual environment?

    Would the snappier MBA rev2 be powerful enough to be my primary computer? I would like the portability, but I would also like to use it with my 22" monitor at home with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse.


    I think the best route for me might be to just go cheap for now and get the $999 refurb MBA to go with my HP PC. Later on I could trade in the PC for an iMac or the PC and refurb MBA for a more powerful solution. I usually go head first into these things :D, so I was considering selling all the PC gear for Mac.

    Sorry for the LONG post. I figured the more info I gave, the better help I would get. I've been on this forum the last few days, and I truly appreciate all the information I've absorbed.
     
  2. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #2
    For that price, I would do a MacBook. The difference in weight is negligible for many people, and you can put in a larger HD.

    Some MacBooks have Firewire which is essential if you want to video edit.
     
  3. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #3
    The rev A MBA had serious limitations and that is the refurbished $999 one. The rev B MBA is an extremely capable machine for all you want to do with it. I bought the original and it couldn't even play video without overheating, experiencing core shut down, and locking up.

    The rev B is an amazing Mac that has the power of a full sized notebook in a super light package. Even the lowest speed new MBA with a HDD is five times the Mac as the original MBA 1.8 with SSD.

    I have a rev B 1.86 SSD MBA, and it's the fastest computer I have ever owned (seems much faster than my MBP, even).

    The MBA rev B is the coolest Mac ever in my opinion. Read some xBench marks on the thread here in the MBA section, and see the comparison marks between all eight configurations of the two MBAs.

    Congrats on your decision to switch.
     
  4. syldnk macrumors newbie

    syldnk

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    #4
    also new user MBA

    Hi !

    as a new MBA user (and my first mac) it's really great.

    I use for almost the same as you would and loving it. as a pro IT-consultant i can't seem to understand why the H.. i have not gotten a mac until now. At work we have the Lenovo (with the small red thing in the middle) and the transition to the large touchpad on the MBA have not been a problem

    get one....
     
  5. fteoath64 macrumors regular

    fteoath64

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    #5
    Thw MBA Rev A is perfect for replacing your Wind and you ought to put Windows 7 beta on the Wind. It needs that more!.

    Get a 120GB external USB drive to store your videos and you will be fine. The MBA has the best screen and keyboard of any laptop out there. Go for it!.:)
     
  6. SFStateStudent macrumors 604

    SFStateStudent

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco California, USA
    #6
    Yup, Rev A, 1.6/80GB would be just about right for you. It's the lightest and best WiFi connection I've ever used. HP, Compaq, IBM, Dell, and Sony just can't compare when it comes to WiFi connection and transportability. 3lbs of pure joy. I'm constantly getting a full-bars WiFi signal in all my classrooms, while all the rest are searching for a signal...
     
  7. DAMAC3 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Noblesville, IN
    #7

    So what version did you buy? What are the specs? I have decided I am either buying a MBA revB or a Macbook.
     
  8. DAMAC3 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Noblesville, IN
    #8
    I've been going back and forth now trying to decide between the MBA and Macbook. I have decided to keep my MSI Wind (just to much fun) and sell my Windows desktop.


    I wanted to see if anyone using their MBA as their primary computer. You saw what I use my computer for in my first post (ignore the video editting). Do you think a revB can serve as a primary computer for someone. I already have a 1TB external hard drive, so I am not worried about hard drive space. I think I might purchase the revB 1.86Ghz with the 120GB hard drive and wait for SSD to come down in price. I assume someone will make an SSD replacement that will work in the MBA before year end, and I just don't think I want to pay the premium for one now.

    So please anyone using their MBA as their primary computer, please give me your feedback. Should I just get a Macbook and forget about the Air if it will be my primary machine? Thanks for the guidance!
     
  9. oscillatewildly macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Location:
    23 Railway Cuttings
    #9
    Think the connector for the SSD is LIF. The LIF plus depth of the drive 5mm -> none available, other than from Apple. This is from threads on MacRumors Forums and i'm not sure if this will change.

    Screen - If you can compare the MBA and MacBook screens and are okay with the MacBook, the latter looks the better bet re SSD. A refurb 2.0Ghz unibody MacBook may be a good place to start - price, capable, upgrade RAM and to SSD as and when, sell next year for the then current MBA when you are happy with OSX.

    Cheers,
    OW
     
  10. RayK macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    #10
    With what you're doing, you would be much better off going for the macbook rather than the air. The air is great, but Hulu and other internet video sites don't work very well because they are flash based. Both MBAs rev a and b have this problem. Especially if this is going to be your primary computer go with a macbook.
     
  11. tubbymac macrumors 65816

    tubbymac

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
    #11
    Well from my signature you can see I have two of the machines you're interested in, the MBA and the MB. I don't recommend the MB since it was the MB's terrible screen that prompted me to get an MBA. Unfortunately I've only had the MBA for a few days so I can't tell you if it was the right decision yet, but if you have any questions about the MB feel free to fire away.
     
  12. DAMAC3 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Noblesville, IN
    #12

    Thanks for the offer! I appreciate. The screen difference was really important to me. I've read a lot of threads on this site and decided I would probably get everything I needed out of a MBA. The only thing I wish is that the revB MBA had the same trackpad as the new MB. I ended up buying a MBA revB 1.86/120 tonight on eBay for $1450 like new in box with accessories and not a scratch on the MBA. I am pretty happy with that price. I saved about $500 by not buying new. I know some people would never do that, but I have always had good luck buying from sellers with good feedback.

    Anyway, I chose to hold off on SSD. I know there is no upgrade solution currently, but I will upgrade when the price is reasonable and Apple/3rd party sells one for the MBA. This is going to be my primary machine for now. I will post how this goes after I get it. For the price I paid, I can always sell it and buy a MB or MB pro if it doesn't work out.

    I almost pulled the trigger on the revA 1.6/80 for the great price, but I didn't since this was going to be the primary machine. Thanks for the feedback I received!
     
  13. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #13
    Congratulations. And, you truly made an excellent decision. I wish people would consider all of the differences before just going the "cheap" route of the revA MBA. The differences are truly amazing.

    A revB MBA is a worthy Mac Notebook. It should do everything rapidly. It is super light. It has an amazing display. Not to mention, you got a great deal by saving some money. Mine was an expensive investment well worth it.

    I think anyone that decides on a revB at $1799 to $2499 is making a wise choice over the temptation to go cheap with a revA. Most that have used them both will quickly point out the differences in power and capabilities to perform all necessary tasks of most users. The clear choice in value is the more expensive but completely capable revB MBA.

    Anyways, best wishes with your new MBA. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy mine.
     
  14. poky macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    #14
    Congrats on your purchase!
    A friend of mine got a Rev.B 1.86 MBA off ebay for $1395 shipped, the listing page says it has a 120gb hdd, but turns out he received a 128gb SSD version, not to mention, there's a Apple Care covered, good for 3 yrs, it's also not listed in the auction, lucky him, hope you get the same!
     
  15. tubbymac macrumors 65816

    tubbymac

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
    #15
    That is an insane deal. Lucky friend!
     
  16. DAMAC3 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Noblesville, IN
    #16
    WOW! That is a great deal. Here I was satisfied with my purchase, and you go and do that! :mad: j/k

    I feel sorry for the person that lost about $300-400 for not specifying SSD. Oops. :D

    I am really excited. It is shipping today, so I should have it to play with this weekend. Thanks for the kind words! Like I said, I will post my experience when I get it.
     
  17. tubbymac macrumors 65816

    tubbymac

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
    #17
    When you get it remember these few things that threw me for a loop coming from a Windows/Linux world:

    Delete is backspace on an Apple and Fn + Delete is forward delete.
    The Apple command key is kind of the control key, alt, and windows key in one.
    (ie: Command C and V to copy paste instead of control C and V).
    Control + click = right click = two finger click.
    Fn + Arrows for page up, down, end, home.
    Drag CD icon to trash to eject <-- this one still makes no sense to me hah.

    Also the close button on Apple doesn't quit the program, it just closes the window - even though some programs do quit when their last window is closed, most of them don't. I still haven't figured out why some quit and some stay running when you close their last window.
     
  18. Rondue macrumors regular

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    Jul 30, 2008
    Location:
    PA
    #18
    Starting with a MBA could destroy your vision of Apple computers
     
  19. DAMAC3 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Noblesville, IN
    #19
    Well, if it is that bad, I will sell it on eBay and purchase a Macbook or Macbook Pro.
     
  20. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040

    IgnatiusTheKing

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Location:
    das Fort
    #20
    I just bought one of the refurb Rev A MBA's and I love it. That being said, however, I would not recommend it as a primary machine. I have an iMac for that. The MBA is great for surfing the net, checking email and occasionally using PS or the like, but I don't think it could handle the workload you would be asking of it, if only because the battery just doesn't last that long.

    If you are going to get rid of your desktop PC and just have one machine, go for the MacBook. If you are going to use some combination of two computers, I'd say any desktop you like (your current one or an iMac would work great for your needs) plus the MBA would be the way to go.
     
  21. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #21
    Very true. The original MBA is a limited machine, but would be great for what you described. I use my revB MBA as my primary machine. It's quite the capable machine too.
     
  22. DAMAC3 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Noblesville, IN
    #22
    Ok, I got my MBA. Not happy about one thing, the recovery discs aren't included. Assuming I don't make the guy take it back, can I buy a copy of OS X to replace the discs? Or do the recovery discs have something specific on them I need? I can get OS X through my university for a reasonable price.
     
  23. yoppie macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    #23
    Visit/Call the Apple Store and let them know you do not have the recovery discs. They'll give them to you since you just purchased the machine and they were not included.
     
  24. DAMAC3 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Noblesville, IN
    #24
    Well, I finally got my MBA up and going. I absolutely love it so far! I have been testing it out with HD videos, and it has passed with flying colors. I have played some 720p and a 1080p file with no problem. And I even streamed HD on Hulu with no stutter. I have a lot to learn, but I am picking things up fast. Next on the list is getting Windows 7 installed on a secondary partition for bootcamp so I can run Visual Studio.

    I am only unhappy with two things from my eBay purchase. First, the guy didn't send me recovery discs. Second, there are three tiny knicks or stratches on the end of the lid. You only notice them when you close the lid and look at the MBA closely from the side. I still wasn't happy about that. And the seller is actually going to refund me some of my price for these problems. So I got this revB model for under $1200.

    Thanks for all the advice and assistance. I have a great machine here. Now I gotta get rid of my PC machines to pay for this thing. I will have enough left over to start savings for an iMac (will get one eventually). :D
     
  25. NavySEAL6 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    #25
    how do you like your osx wind? I was thinking about getting one to complement a new imac. i have an older macbook pro now and its less then ideal for portability. Is the osx wind sufficent for just some internet and word processing? I'm probably gonna get either that or an air
     

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