Macbook Air 13" Ultimate Questions

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by SHIPARCH, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. SHIPARCH macrumors newbie

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    Aug 4, 2011
    #1
    I'm ready to buy an ultimate 13" Macbook Air for architecture grad school; I'll be using it for AutoCad and Photoshop mainly with some Revit on bootcamp and maya when needed but doubt I'll really use it. I was originally thinking of getting an ultimate 15" MacBook Pro but can't justify the price for a computer which will soon possibly be re-designed. The Air's size fit my needs comfortably, I prefer the slightly smaller screen albeit with a pretty high resolution and find the optical drive to be a thing of the past; in short, I truly appreciate the Air's ergonomics, specially since I'll be moving around quite a bit.

    This will be a significant upgrade over my 2008 Vaio FZ-340E with a crippled GPU. The Vaio runs the programs I mentioned well but not without some hiccups at times and if the Nvidia 8400M GPU survives (as I have made slight modifications to keep it working after many failures) I'll be running Revit on this instead of doing bootcamp on the Air. I won't play games on the computer either so graphics is no big concern.

    So, how good or bad is the i7 13" Macbook Air? I've read some reviews but not from everyday users. I'm mainly concerned about the ram but my current 3 gigs run well so I expect the 4 gigs to be an asset. What kind of speed can I expect from the Sandy Bridge i7, what are it's pros on the Air?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #2
    It is magical. :apple: (Oh wait, or was that the iPad?)

    Seriously, as a former Windows user this is my first Mac. And I gotta tell you this is the best laptop I have ever had. It runs Windows 7 better than any Dell or Lenovo I've seen, and Lion is quite impressive for a first time Mac owner. The i7 with 4GB and SSD is quite simply amazing.
     
  3. B.Chang macrumors member

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    Jun 9, 2011
    #3
    The processor is great however the graphics are lacking on the 2011 MBA.

    I'm not sure how it'll run with AutoCAD though. I know I had trouble with that on my 2010 15" MBP . . .
     
  4. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #4
    I just got done playing a round of Civ4 and Jedi Outcast II on my MBA. Both at full native resolution and high graphics options. My experience so far would contradict your statement. :cool:
     
  5. reputationZed macrumors 65816

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    #5
    I'd think you would be OK with AutoCad and PhotoShop, but I'm not sure the MBA has the video cojones for Revit. If I was headed back to university it would be with a MBA. As others have said, this is without doubt the best laptop I've ever owned, previous MBP's and ThinkPads included.
     
  6. SHIPARCH thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Yeah, this will be my first Mac also so I'm sure I'll be impressed. I've been using my sister's Macbook Pro and OS X is quite a comfortable environment to work with although I have a long way to go to learn it. I'm sure the SSD will put an end to my urge to kill my computer on boot up or when opening programs and large files.

    Thanks, I run CAD well on my computer and I have tried it on my sister's 2009 Pro, it just takes very long to open large files, do you think the SSD will help with this; everything else is perfect apart from some differences to the PC version of CAD which I'm so used to. How large are the files you work with, are they 3D models or drawings?
     
  7. jsolares macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    so you had no problems with 9 and 6 year old games... wow, your experience would not contradict his statement.
     
  8. haruhiko macrumors 601

    haruhiko

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    Sep 29, 2009
    #8
    Haha... the magical joke again. I laughed at it at first, but after seeing my parents using the iPad all day happily, I think that's really a bit magical, as they never touch any tech (or at least happily playing with tech) before.


    Back to the topic, the MBA 2011 is the best combination of tech in this super compact chassis IMO. Of course, the tech (e.g. the powerful ULV Intel SB CPU) is readily available to all manufacturers, but considering the usual "Apple tax", this machine is really really ...um.. not really "cheap", but very affordable considering the SSD alone costs at least 25% (as for the top 256GB model) of the retail price.
     
  9. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #9
    His statement was that the graphics were "lacking". The HD3000 is a huge leap forward in integrated graphics. Sorry, but his statement is simply not true. It may not do 60fps in COD4, but "lacking" they are not.

    The dangers of hyperbole on the Internet.... :cool:
     
  10. jsolares macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    It's a leap in Intel integrated graphics, it's no better than the 320M, if all you need to do 3D wise is run 6+ year old games then of course it wont be lacking, some ppl might find it lacking tho.
     
  11. richpjr macrumors 68030

    richpjr

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    #11
    It's not true? And your statement is? Sorry, both are opinions, not facts.

    You may think that they HD3000 is a huge leap forward, but that isn't necessarily saying much as the previous generation was so bad. A lot of people who do graphically demanding tasks definitely find them lacking.
     
  12. SHIPARCH thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    BTW, how are the Intel HD 3000 graphics compared to the Nvidia 8400M from a few years back? I believe the i7 Air has 380 MB or so shared with the main memory, the Nvidia has 256 MB.
     
  13. jsolares macrumors 6502a

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    #13
  14. dennya macrumors regular

    dennya

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    #14
    The Intel integrated 3D graphics aren't just disappointing because of pure speed, though. When it comes to actual 3D effects, texturing, etc. they're feature-poor compared to even the lowest end Nvidia and AMD chips. Just compare the appearance of a highly detailed game on Nvidia vs. HD3000 with the graphics turned up and you'll see differences.

    Not that Apple had much choice here, since Intel's new architecture basically shut out existing third-party chipsets and there's not exactly a lot of room to add a dedicated GPU in an Air.

    But to imply the HD3000 is in any way impressive is a disservice to potential purchasers. It merely sucks a lot less than previous generations. It's gone from abysmal to passable. :)
     
  15. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #15
    Ok, I'll buy that. But if graphics intensive apps is your priority, the MBA is not the computer for you...

    ----------

    Ummm, the relative performance of HD3000 vs previous integrated graphics is not opinion, it's fact.

    And diddo on the graphically demanding tasks - that's not what the MBA was designed for. For such a slim laptop, it's graphics capabilities are quite impressive. A 17" MBP may be more down your alley if you need more graphics horsepower. But it wont be as sexy looking... :cool:

    ----------

    It is impressive, compared to the previous integrated graphics and considering how thin these laptops are. But i don't see Apple or anyone else advertising MBAs as graphical powerhouses. That's what high end MBPs are for. You can get sexy, or you can get uberfast GPU. You can't have both. Yet.
     
  16. ZipZap macrumors 601

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    #16
    I have read that if you need accuracy in color and rendering the MBA is not a good choice.

    ----------

    And for the OP's needed use...the MBA is probably not the best choice.
     
  17. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #17
    I went back and re-read the OP, and I don't see why the MBA wouldn't be a good choice, especially considering what he is using now.
     
  18. SHIPARCH thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #18
    I'm writing from my new Macbook Air; it's impressive. One of the things I was worried about was the display after all the things people have said in the forums but I like it a lot. It takes me time to get used to a new screen and in less than an hour of use I'm starting getting less dizzy; I know I need computer glasses, it happens to me with every computer. I feel I've gotten accustomed to this one much better than my sister's 13" Macbook Pro, I guess it is the resolution and less glare.

    The four gigs of ram are being used about 1/3 but I guess it is spotlight and the rest of the computer doing it's things for the first time, I've read this will get better after the first days of usage.

    Lion feels very natural to use, much better for a Mac learner than Snow Leopard. I will report once I start using CAD and PSD which will be the main programs I'll use here.

    Thanks for the help. :apple:
     
  19. B.Chang macrumors member

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    Jun 9, 2011
    #19
    I don't play video games, so I wouldn't know. I just know my modeling, which relies on GPU power, is considerably slower and lower detail.

    In addition, look at any review and you'll see that the GPU is the bottleneck for the new MBA.

    ----------

    I'm very interested how CAD works. I haven't tried installing since I need to download the install from my University network (which takes forever).

    Glad you like it so far!
     
  20. zub3qin macrumors 65816

    zub3qin

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    #20
    How do you feel it compares to the 2010 13" MBA 2.13 C2D with 256 SSD?
     
  21. SHIPARCH thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 4, 2011
    #21
    I installed a trial version of AutoCAD for Mac 2012 and it seems to work better than the original CAD for Mac since the new version is optimized to run with OS X Lion; I'll be re-installing the free student version once they make it available.
     
  22. jgz macrumors regular

    jgz

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    #22
    i installed the trial version too, but on my 13" MBP i7 8GB RAM and it sucks... Its quite impossible to work, because of mouse issues (Zooming, pan etc...), shortcuts, which don't work, customizable toolbars etc etc

    I don't know, i work with autocad now for about 10-12 years, but this version I don't like.. Maybe I'm doing something wrong.... Especially in combination with Magic Mouse: The cursor jumps around just like on drugs... scrolling is a pain - even with magicprefs...

    Any advices? Tonight I'm going to try the Windows Version in Parallels7....
     
  23. calvol macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 3, 2011
    #23
    You might want to look at the new updated MBP if you don't mind a little extra weight, or wait for the new version of the MBP next year. You might be disappointed in the 2011 Air graphics for what you are using it for.
     
  24. archirezo macrumors newbie

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    Apr 11, 2012
    #24
    Revit on a MacBook Air with Bootcamp

    Hello,
    Does anyone have any experience using Autodesk Revit on the last MacBook Air 13' with Bootcamp ?
    I would use it only to make presentation, not really working on it.
    SHIPARCH, you don't tell if it's working for you. What do you think about it ?
    Thanks for your help.
    Eric
     

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