Mac Air or not to Mac Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by xmax21, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. xmax21 macrumors newbie


    Aug 16, 2007
    Chandler, AZ

    After years of waiting I'm finally taking the plunge! I'm converting from PC to Mac this Saturday :)

    But I have a couple of questions that I'm hoping the group can help me answer.

    I'm not sure what I should get first: an iMac or MacAir. I definitely going to end up with both just not sure which one comes first.

    Let's look at the iMac first. I think that the 2.4ghz with 1GB and 250gm is good enough for storing music, pictures and surfing the web pretty quick, right?

    Let's look at the Air. I'M IN LOVE WITH IT! Even though the features are not great, I love it for traveling. I would be happy with the 1.6ghz 80GB but I'm afraid that its going to be tooooo slow??Also I'm not sure if I should wait because its pretty expensive and I've been doing alot of research and the apple tablet rumors are coming back and I would definitely get that instead. So what do everyone think?

    Thank you for your time.
  2. Chappers macrumors 68020


    Aug 12, 2003
    At home
    The MBA looks great but is under-powered so unless you really need light weight and the cool factor think about this alternative :-

    Buy a Macbook 2.4 and a better mid range iMac - even the 24 inch.

    So you get two machines that are faster and for about the same money.

    New MB's should come soon and look pretty cool if you've read the rumors. So buy the iMac now and MB later.

    As for the Mac tablet - well maybe it will come but........... thats rumors for you - you just never know

    Problem solved.
  3. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    Um no. Certainly not for what this OP needs.
  4. Savagestorm macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2008
    The MBA is certainly not slow, but the best thing to do would be to go into an Apple store and try it for yourself.
  5. burningbright macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2008
    Ghz hypnosis

    Don't worry too much about the GHz count mate! According to the best review of the MBA I've read:

    "Quite possibly the most surprising results we saw in our tests were those that compared the MacBook Air to the original Core Duo based MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro is two years old now and in that time, Apple has managed to offer the same if not better performance as the first MBP in the MacBook Air. Battery life of the first MacBook Pro is also equalled by the Air."

    You might want to wait a month or so though, in case the 'major product transition' that whups the competitions' derrieres turns out to be the MBA Rev II. I merely say that because Apple's not been obviously outclassed in any product apart from the MBA- if I were Apple seeing Lenovo make a similarly thin computer with none of the compromises and dongles, and watch them mock the MBA like this: ... Well, I'd want to out-do them ASAP. Just guessing, like everyone else on this site!:) If Rev II does reverse the compromises of the MBA, that'll probably be the only computer you'll need.
  6. rayber macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2008
    Get the MBA

    I bought an MBA last week in addition to the MB 13" I picked up 18 months ago. If you plan to have an iMac to hold all your pictures, music, etc. I would definitely get the MBA. I absolutely LOVE it. It is by far the best laptop I have ever used.

    I previously had an IBM Thinkpad X21, so was used to making some sacrifices (e.g. no optical drive).

    Unless you need lots of storage space for pictures, mucis, etc. get the MBA. Using my 13" MB now feels like holding a slab of concrete. It is worth the extra $300 beyond the black 13" MB (which is what I have).
  7. Macmel macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2008
    Yeah, get the MBA..

    Just ignore all the crap people are saying about it in these threads.
    Just two words: Core Shutdown. Apple is starting to acknowledge the problem and they don't really know what's going on yet. The fact is that there's a significant chance that you end up with a $1800 computer that stops working while watching a couple youtube videos.
    Just read around this forums and you'll see by yourself. People are also having a lot of trouble trying to get Apple to do something about it.
    MacBook or MBP are actually way more reliable and powerful. If you absolutely need an ultraportable, wait for the next rev or go for another brand. If you just want a MBA for the looks, buy it anyway: it's gonna look exactly the same wether it works or not. You can probably go to Starbucks and send an email without it crashing.
  8. glitch44 macrumors 65816

    Feb 28, 2006
    should we ignore you too?
  9. a456 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2005
    I'd personally max out the iMac - not with memory, get that from Crucial or such like, but with HDD. There is never enough storage space in this day and age. And the iMac will be your workhorse, you won't want to be away from the big screen once you're used to it. Then think carefully about what you need from a laptop. You might do as well with a MacBook and save yourself money. I personally don't see the appeal of the MBA, but maybe that's just me.
  10. phew44 macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2008
    My opinion on MacBook Air: get it. It's the best computer available in notebook-disciplines.

    For the iMac: get the cheapest one, possibly upgrade the memory (you can do that yourself).

    Paying extra for disk space? Are you kidding me? I can buy 500GB-1TB of space for like 100 bucks nowadays in any external form factor I wish. There are eben 500GB 2,5" drives for 120€. Why would ANYONE pay extra for disk space?
  11. DJGuy macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2008
    If you're definitely going to buy both, then by all means get the Air first. It is very nice, easy to carry around, it's an eye catcher and conversation starter (if that matters to you). And then, when you get an iMac, the iMac will naturally be much faster. So you can experience two waves of enjoyment.
  12. Chappers macrumors 68020


    Aug 12, 2003
    At home
    My point was not to run down the MBA - its a nice machine - but does the OP need it when the MB + 24 inch iMac offer so much more.

    And as storing music is a requirement the more hard drive you have - the better.

    I don't need a MBA to start a conversation - I have a MB :D
  13. soberbrain macrumors 65816


    May 9, 2008
    Do not make purchasing decision based on new product-line rumors. Even if a tablet was released next Tuesday it's the 1st version and no one is sure how the quality will be and exactly what the pros/cons of new tablet technology will be.

    If you need a computer to travel with, get the Air.

    If you need better specs and don't need to travel with a computer, get the iMac.
  14. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    I love how people that have never owned one have all the opinions. I used to be THAT person, now I've owned a 1.8GHz for 35 days and it is fantastic. I can Handbrake encode a 2-hour DVD in about 4 hours while playing in iPhoto and Safari with Music bumping in the background or with aTV streaming movies out of my iTunes.
  15. ins0mniaque macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2008
    No one *needs* an MBA. The MB does the same thing at nearly the same footprint and weight (and don't tell me you *need* the 3 lbs vs the 5 lbs). Just like no one needs a Ferrari. But if you can afford it, the MBA is one hell of a machine!

    I switched from PC to Mac when I bought my MBA (1.8/SSD), and I'm a developer who pays his bills using Microsoft products... and the MBA does everything I need. I'm constantly running Visual Studio 2008 in XP which runs in VMware Fusion, and everything runs great. And no core shutdowns or anything. I've always worked on laptops, but this is the first one I have that I actually move everywhere, actually use more on battery than plugged in, and part of this is because I don't use a mouse anymore. Moving a 17" laptop (they were the only one to run Visual Studio correctly back then...) with a mouse plugged in, when it has only 1.5-2 hours of battery time... annoying.

    Really, if you can afford it, you'll see that money can actually buy you love(d things)... ;)
  16. Chappers macrumors 68020


    Aug 12, 2003
    At home
    I love how some people make assumptions and jump to conclusions based on zero evidence. However I based my buying choice not on assumption but on research and trying the products in question.

    One article (amongst others) that was useful was . Considering I bought 2.4 GHz Macbook which is even faster than the one mentioned in the tests convinced me that although the MBA was a lovely looking machine - it is still slow compared to the MB. The only real reason the buy the Air is its weight - not its power.

    Thank you
  17. Insulin Junkie macrumors 65816

    Insulin Junkie

    May 5, 2008
    Mainland Europe
    From what you're describing it sounds like the Air will suit your needs. I tried it out instore, and I didn't notice it being painstakingly slow at all, so if that's your only worry, I'd run along and buy it. However don't expect it to run fast, either.
  18. Ankaa macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2008
    @chappers: people really get spoilt over time. that's what really annoys me about all that MBA-discussions over the last months. I still use a 4-year old win-laptop with stunning 512 MB RAM and 1,6 GHz. And guess what, THAT might be slow compared to 2GB RAM and 1,6 GHz CoreDUO. Sure thing is, that the MBA is slower compared to new-generation MacBooks, but you can't really tell me, that you define fastness or really recognise speed differences or whatever on maybe 5 seconds difference.

    The MBA is neither underpowered nor is it slow in any way. You don't recognise any difference between 1,6 1,8 or 2,3 GHz in DAILY normal use (such as office and internet)
  19. jeremyrader macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2007
    Here's another suggestion:

    1. Add hard drive space to your existing PC for home storage and keep it as a server/network storage of sorts.

    2. Pick up a couple of USB flash drives for portable storage (movies, music).

    3. Buy the MBA.

    4. Set up file sharing. Transfer everything you don't need at a moments notice to the PC (music, etc. to the flash drive(s)).

    5. Get iGet Mobile and have access to all your files back on your PC/server wherever you have an internet connection.

  20. Chappers macrumors 68020


    Aug 12, 2003
    At home
    Could I say again that I am not here to run down the MBA - it is a lovely machine but I was answering the OP's question and giving a fair answer as the high price of the Air was mentioned. I am only pointing out that you can buy two Macs with better specs for less money.

    Here are the facts

    1. MB is faster than the MBA

    2. 2.8GHz 24 inch iMac is bigger and faster than a 2.4GHz 20 inch iMac

    3. MB 2.4 + iMac 24 inch 2.8GHz is cheaper than MBA 1.6GHz + iMac 20 inch 2.4 GHz (the Macs mentioned by the OP)

    Obviously saying it is unpowered has touched a nerve.
  21. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    If you're just going to use the computer for minimal task--working on Office documents, checking emails, browsing webs, watching a few videos, then the MacBook Air is the perfect machine; sure a MacBook is cheaper, and a MacBook Pro has more features, but for those general needs the MacBook Air and it's elegance and portability is perfect.
  22. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    The air is slow, but not underpowered. Its similar to driving a small car with 100hp vs a muscle car with 400hp. Both cars can climb the same hill, the muscle car would reach the top faster and easier then the 100hp but both would achieve the goal of reaching the top.

    I'm running right now: 2 virtual machines in Parallels and VMWare Fusion, iTunes, iChat (w/ webcam about 75% of the time), firefox and safari with multiple (4+) tabs, iCal, Address Book, HP Scan Pro (I really hate this program, it crashes a lot), stickies, Transmission, VLC, pages, iphoto.. with dual screen connected via micro-DVI -> DVI to a 20" Dell Widescreen monitor @ 1680x1050.

    Even with all these programs and such, it still runs pretty well with extremely minimal lag. The MacBook Air is a great machine for many users. People are just turned down by the fact of the specs. Its the same reason why my friend said my older 1.6GHz Pentium-M was slower then his 2.4GHz Pentium 4. You look at the lower number and expect it to be "all bad"
  23. kingcrowing macrumors 6502a


    May 24, 2004
    Burlington, VT
    on the speed. Look at my sig for my two main computers, the first one is running Vista Ultimate x64.

    Speed between the two for most things is about the same. Internet (Safari on the air, firefox 3 on the desktop) are basically the same speed (I only have a G router at home so its not as fast as the gigabit ethernet on my desktop, but my internet connection isn't that fast anyways)

    Chatting (iChat on air, pidgin on desktop), music (iTunes, winamp) are all basically as fast. So for your every day stuff the air is actually quite snappy. If I was going to be playing games or video editing on it then I might want to get like a macbook or a macbook pro (I almost did) but If you're going to be getting an iMac anyways you really don't need so much power in your laptop.

    I say air first, cause you'll love it so much you'll have to get the iMac lol!
  24. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

    Feb 9, 2005
    The good side of the grass.
    You know the Air's limitations so they don't seem to be a limiting factor. I've used one for nearly all my computing needs since Feb. and it's done a decent job. It's fast enough for the needs you listed, without a doubt.
  25. Chappers macrumors 68020


    Aug 12, 2003
    At home
    From OP
    1. Wants iMac and MBA (needs space for music and photos)
    2. Cost is a factor (MBA expensive)

    My reasoning

    1. iMac + MBA = 330GB (OP's choice)
    2. iMac + MB = 480 GB (My choice) + it's faster

    So re-iterate : For less money, you get two machines that are faster, 150 GB extra hard drive (for more music and photos) and more screen real estate.

    The MBA looks cooler (in my opinion) - but that is only an opinion not a fact.

    We all know the Air will do the job but the MB + iMac choice = better bang for your buck.

    If you can stop getting all defensive of the MBA you will see that if someone does need both or will buy both but cost is a factor, then MB + iMac is a better choice.

    In fact if you bought the low end MB and low end iMac that would leave quite a nice amount to buy an iPod touch + various software.

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