Macbook air 11 questions

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by baxingo, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. baxingo macrumors member

    Jan 3, 2011
    So I'm looking at the macbook air 11" model but i'm somewhat concerned. I was originally going to get the 13" with 4gb ram, but that will cost me quite a bit more than the 11" base. I'm going to be using this as a school computer, and for university. I won't be doing much of anything on it, just surfing the web, youtube, skype facebook ect... my only computer right now is a 10" acer netbook which sucks. I will be getting an Imac a few months from now. So any computer will be a significant upgrade, but the tiny resolution on my netbook makes me wonder how well the 11" mba's resolution looks. I wanted the 13 because of the 1440x900 res, but i'm willing to downgrade if the 13 is an overkill for doing the stuff I want. Also would the 4gb ram upgrade be worth it? I like having ram but do I really need it? I feel like the 2gb will be fine, but I get paranoid about stuff lol.
  2. uniforms macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2008
    South Orange NJ
    I had both the 11" and 13" MBA with 2mg of ram. COULDN'T STAND IT! I found with the extra ram it really did make a difference. I also noticed there was a big speed difference between the 11 and 13. If I were you, I'd still get the 13" with 4mg ram. It makes a big difference. Good luck with your choice.
  3. Alvesang macrumors regular


    Sep 4, 2010
    Which programs did produce these differences? What application made use of the RAM in a way that got you a productivity boost? And in which instance did you recognize the speed difference between the two models?

    For the tasks described by the OP and an iMac on the horizon I'd definitely save the cash and would opt for the 11" base model. It'll serve your needs very, very well.
  4. newdeal macrumors 68020

    Oct 21, 2009
  5. baxingo thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 3, 2011
    What sort of difference would there be with an 11" with 4gb ram vs the 13" with 2gb ram? I may go 13" 2gb or 11" 4gb. I just really like the 13 for the little extra battery life, and higher screen res.
  6. Psychmike macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2008
    I have the base 11". I've had Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Chrome (with several tabs), iTunes, and several PDF documents open using just over 1.2 GB of RAM. For my use, the base model seems more than adequate.

    The cost of upgrading to 4GB RAM is certainly reasonable, but it also represents a significant proportion of the price of a new MacBook Air. In a couple of years, I'll probably gift my current model to a friend or family and get a new one.
  7. 2IS macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    When I first purchased my 13" MBA I got the 2GB version and I couldn't stand it. Not that there was anything wrong during the couple days I had it, it was more a psychological thing. Knowing that my first bottleneck, before the SSD, before the CPU will be lack of ram. That "bottleneck" could very easily come sooner rather than later and the fact that I'd have no other choice but to spend over a grand in possibly as little as a few months down the line to alleviate the problem just didn't sit will with me.

    I promptly returned it and spent the extra $100 for the 4GB version. I feel much better now.
  8. rhinosrcool macrumors 65816


    Sep 5, 2009
    Much to my dismay, after comparing the base models of both the 11" and 13", I found that the 13" model was significantly faster, especially at opening programs and surfing.

    For me, the 11" screen size and resolution was fine. However, I have already gone through my netbook phase. Sure, initially netbooks look nice and are incredibly portable. However, after a few weeks, the slowness really gets annoying. $1000+ for a netbook just won't work.

    While using excel, word, and web surfing, on the 11", is double the ram and ssd going to make that much of a difference?
  9. YMark macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2008
    Sure. :rolleyes:
  10. Maven1975 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Get the 11 1.6 4GB. Once the 13"MBP is refreshed, it will make you question your purchase again. If you want a light weight portable, the 11" will still be far lighter and smaller than anything else Apple offers. I have a feeling the new 13" MBP is gonna be pretty sweet.
  11. drxcm macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2010
    I think these statements may be misleading to the OP. In my experience, even the base 11" is a responsive, fast little computer. It is by no means sluggish.

    My 11" 4GB is noticeably much faster than my 17" MBP 4GB for opening applications and general responsiveness of the OS.

    For the intended purposes that the OP has specified, I think the base 11" or 11" with 4GB RAM are the best choices and perfectly ample. The 4GB is probably a good idea.
  12. dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    I have a hard time believing that you could have noticed a significant difference between the 11 and 13" MBA opening programs and surfing. That is gated primarily by disk speed and network speed. Both machines have the same speed in that regard. If there was a difference, perhaps something else was going on to cause it.

    As a comparison, opening programs and surfing can be MUCH slower on a MacBook pro because of the much much slower hard drive access.

    There are some actions on my 11" MBA that run 10x (ten times) faster than on my MacBook pro. That is a huge difference which is very noticeable.
  13. rhinosrcool macrumors 65816


    Sep 5, 2009
    I really hope your right. Maybe, I just used a slow 11"? My preference is the 11". Since a lot of users here really tout their 11"Airs, I will do more research.
  14. baxingo thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 3, 2011
    Thanks for all of your input everyone! Its really helping me with my decision on what to buy. Either way, this is my first mac and the beginning of me switching over to the mac side. I will hopefully be buying an Imac in the next few months to compliment the air I buy as my main machine.

    So so far the 11 has

    -smaller and lighter
    -more portable
    -will do what i want it for

    the 13 has

    -higher resolution
    -faster preformance
    -longer battery life
    -will do what i want plus extra

    Knowing me, I will probably go for the 13 because I always go for the higher end of things, unless money really gets the better of me then I'll get the 11. But what i still can't decide is do I need 4gb in the 13"? Will the 11" with 4gb be close to the 13 base?

    Sorry if I'm rambling now, I just hate decisions, and I'm not gonna want to regret the 11" later down the road. I'm just weary about it cause I have a netbook right now and it sucks. and the 11 is very close to a netbook sizewise.
  15. drxcm macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2010
    Go with 4GB with whichever model you get is my advice.

    The 11" may be netbook size, but it performs much better than any netbook I've ever used. For email / youtube / browsing / word processing etc I find it faster than my Macbook Pro. I had an Asus netbook which was total rubbish compared to the 11".

    Go 11 4GB and don't look back, especially if you plan to add an iMac in the near future.
  16. Alvesang macrumors regular


    Sep 4, 2010
    Sorry, but no. This is just plain wrong. In what you described as your main tasks the 13" MBA won't be doing anything faster (just as 4GB of RAM wouldn't give you an advantage over 2GB of RAM considering your planned usage). Furthermore the 13" model has indeed a higher resolution, but the 11" MBA has a slightly higher pixel density (127 ppi vs. 135 ppi - not a lot, but interesting nonetheless).

    Here's an idea: Don't listen to us forumites trying to tell you that the solution we found for ourselves is the best for you as well, but go to a store, try 'em both out and decide on a gut feeling. Both MBAs wouldn't be a mistake for you.
  17. 2IS macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    Plain wrong? What he said is exactly right actually... Shall we review?

    11 is smaller and lighter: True
    11 is more portable: True
    11 is cheaper: True
    11 will do for what he wants: True, and even you agree with this.

    13 has higher resolution: True
    13 has faster performance: True (whether or not he will notice it is irrelevant, the 13 DOES have better performance)
    13 has longer battery life: True
    13 will do what he wants and then some: True

    Please enlighten me as to how anything he said was plain wrong?
  18. jace88 macrumors regular


    Jan 3, 2011
    Sydney, Australia
    To OP, why not just try out the two different computers in the Apple Store? Especially if you are upgrading your desktop to the iMac, you don't need a powerful laptop especially if your only using it for what I consider to be very casual computing needs. IMO save the money and just get the 2gb model. Only upgrade i'd do is the 128gb SSD if you have a lot of stuff or want to run Boot Camp, but otherwise the base model is more than sufficient.

    Considering you are coming from a 10" netbook which runs a much more lethargic CPU with 1gb of ram (or maybe 2gb if you upgraded), the MBA 11 or 13 will be a significant improvement.

    On another note, if you need to carry your laptop around a lot, isn't size/portability/weight more of a factor than outright performance or screen size?
  19. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2005
    I'd suggest the 11" model, but more than that, I'd suggest trying them out in a store.

    I was pretty much dead set on getting the 13" model until I used the 11" in a store and realised just how good the screen is despite it's (relatively) small size, and how snappy the machine is, and how portable it is.

    I've bought the 11" model and love it. 4GB is probably worthwhile as you can't upgrade it later (AFAIK) but to be honest it's only used when I have Aperture open, or a whole load of apps running simultaneously.
  20. jeremy h macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    Despite both being called Air's - I think they're different computers in a way. The way I look at it is that the 13" is a very skinny and light 'normal' laptop (minus some useful ports). The 11" a different beast - a sort of iPad with a keyboard that runs a full OS (flash and all!)

    If you're only getting/having one computer and you want it to be a lightweight jack of all trades - get the 13", (or a MBP etc) if you want something different (and already have another Mac - with a superdrive etc) then the 11" is amazing and great fun.

    As others had said, you have to see them in-store alongside MBP's etc - I was already leaning towards the 11" but would have possibly gone for the 13" but when I saw them in-store and handled them the 11" won hands down. (I have other Macs for 'grunt' work though)
  21. baxingo thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 3, 2011
    Thanks to everyone whos posting, you all have very good points for me to consider what to look at to buy. I would love to go try one out in an apple store, but my problem is, I live in Saskatchewan Canada, and we have no apple stores in our Provence. I would have to make a day trip and drive to Calgary to try one in an apple store
  22. nomad01 macrumors 68000


    Aug 1, 2005
    Birmingham, England

    I use a base 11" MBA most of the time now and hardly touch my 15" i7 Macbook Pro. Unless you're doing something memory or CPU intensive, I doubt you'll notice a difference.

    The solid state drive in the MBA actually makes the machine seem faster/more responsive for most tasks. I've had chance to try the base 11" and one with the 4GB memory option. For standard tasks there was no discernible difference.
  23. mattpreston11 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2007
    It's all about personal preference,I considered the 13inch and the upgraded ram but opted for the base 11'', which is just as quick at my 27inch i5 imac, SSD really makes a difference. As mentioned in a previous post, my missus has the 13inch and i wouldn't swap mine for hers. my 11'' is in my bag the majority of the time and I dont notice it.
  24. baxingo thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 3, 2011
    thanks everyone, i think i will go with the base 11, maybe upgrade ram or ssd space. the 64 shouldn't be a big problem as i plan on getting a 2tb external hdd for any large files.

    also, would i be able to do some basic photoshop on the base model? I do own adobe production premium, and I was going to wait to get my imac before I installed it again, but if this thing can run the occasional photoshop, that would be cool. Not very heavy photoshop either, just quick re-touching mainly with the heal tool.

    if not i'm fine, I don't use photoshop that often anyways.

    edit- also any of you with the 11" how much battery life can you get out of it while multi tasking with the internet, itunes, word documents and things? And how much while watching youtube or videos i've downloaded?
  25. Croatian macrumors 6502

    Oct 14, 2006
    Ontario, Canada
    11" with 4GB ram is the way to go

    i have it and i wouldn't trade it in from anything

    the SSD size depends on your personal preference really, if you got mobile me or pay for drop box thats sufficient enough space to say store your music or half of it and have it on the go and now days since all universities or most places have wifi u will have access to it and rest of the space can be used for programs and date that you need for everyday work.

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