MacBook Air + 27" cinema display = lag?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by i0Nic, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. i0Nic macrumors 65816

    May 17, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    Hey guys. My plan was to get the new cinema display to couple it with my MacBook air as my main setup. I just read on Anandtech's MacBook air review that they noticed a drop in frame rate whe using expose and mission control. This would really annoy me if true and in that case I'd have to opt for an iMac instead.

    Has anyone noticed any lag or drop in frame rates when using expose etc? I mean noticeable lag compared to using an iMac or a MacBook air on it's own screen only.
  2. PAC88 macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2009
    I've heard mixed results, most of them being very good though.. So in the end I decided the only way to truly know how it performs is to buy my own MBA and use it.

    External display performance is one of the reasons (among others) I ordered a 2010 13" MBA with 320m graphics chip last week instead of a 2011. Hoping I made the right choice, I don't know yet. The MBA is still being delivered so I can't comment on my experience yet.
  3. technopimp macrumors 6502a

    Aug 12, 2009
    I have a 27" ACD...with Launchpad there's a tiny drop in framerate, but no more than I experienced with my 2011 13" MBP so I think it's just the Intel HD3000. With Mission Control I do not notice any lag. And even with Launchpad, it's maybe an 1/8 of a second longer to come up than it is on the LCD, which at times can slow down a bit as well.

    The Cinema Display is a joy. You will not be disappointed!
  4. Jezak macrumors member

    Sep 3, 2008
    Agree completely. This is a great combo. My 11in Air drives the display beautifully.
  5. Samsumac macrumors regular

    May 18, 2011
    I use an external Samsung 24" with no lag at all..Extremely pleased with it
  6. i0Nic, Aug 2, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2011

    i0Nic thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 17, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    Would be great to see some videos of the 27" display in action being driven from a new MBA.

    I know from experience that people are happy with different levels of performance when it comes to driving large external displays from MacBooks. On my old Macbook there was considerable lag when driving the old 23" cinema display. My MBP 2008 had a little lag but it was much better - still not the performance of an iMac though. So this time if the performance is just not there, I'd rather get an iMac+MBA instead of a cinema display+MBA.

    Anywhere where there are animations, such as launchpad or making a window full-screen, it would be good to see some video demonstration.

    But so far positive comments which I'm very glad to hear.
  7. technopimp macrumors 6502a

    Aug 12, 2009
    I guess I could try to do a video, but there is virtually no difference in the redrawing between using the built-in LCD and the Cinema Display.

    I'm a bit confused on why you would want to buy an iMac + MBA for your scenario here. I guess it depends on what "performance" you're looking for. How fast the Launchpad redraws on the screen really is meaningless compared to using graphically-intensive applications/games/etc. It's your money, but if I were you and the only reason you'd get an iMac over just the Cinema display is to get back 1-2fps when opening Launchpad I'd seriously think about it.

    I'll see if I can do a video for you, but it'll have to wait until I get home tonight.
  8. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I agree that getting an iMac just for "launchpad" would be silly. However, there is no question in my mind that a MBA + iMac is a much more powerful combination than a MBA + ACD or MBA + ATD.

    We have 3 MBAs in our house. 2009 Rev C SSD, 2010 11" Ultimate, 2011 11" Ultimate. We also have a 30" 2560 X 1600 display, and a 27" iMac that can be used as a 2560 X 1440 display for any of our MBAs.

    We almost never use our MBAs attached to a display. Instead we go to the 27" iMac instead. There is no comparison.

    Of course the MBA + iMac is more expensive (by about $1000). However, for us... it is a better solution. We keep 0% of our original content on any of the MBAs. Instead we sync via Dropbox, MM, IMAP, etc. so we always have all the data we wish to have with us locally on our MBAs... plus any edits, changes, etc we make on the MBA is instantly reflected back on the iMAC which is on 24/7. From there it is double backed up both locally (TM/TC), and to the cloud (Crashplan+). I would say that it couldn't be simpler... except that I think iCloud will actually make it simpler by allowing us to keep our media in sync as well.

    My advice would be to go with the MBA + iMac if you could afford it. OTOH... MBA + Display is also a nice simple solution if you do not have the demand for an iMac.

  9. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Aug 13, 2008
    Kitchener, Ontario
    Not to steal the thread or anything, but does anyone know if a normal MDP to MDP cable will work for using an iMac 2011 as a display for a MBA 2011? Or does it HAVE to be the Thunderbolt Cable?
  10. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    Good question. I would suspect that a MDP cable would work, but you might need to try it out at your local Apple store or Best Buy.

    I have a Thunderbolt 11" MBA and the previous generation MDP 27" iMac and obviously that works with a MDP-MDP cable.
  11. mkelly macrumors regular

    Nov 29, 2007
    There was another topic thread about this a few days ago. In it, I posted a video of my 13" 1.7 GHz i7 hooked up to my 27" Cinema Display, running through Launchpad, Mission Control, etc ...

    Here's the video:

    The short summary: It's fast. I couldn't detect any obvious lag, even while running Windows 7 inside Parallels, along with a number of other apps. Not sure what the Anandtech reviewer was doing.
  12. jason.siegel macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2011
    I hooked up an HDTV with a Displayport-HDMI adapter and there's serious lag just moving the mouse. Any thoughts on this? (new Air)
  13. LeakedDave macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2011
    I won't lie. The cinema display is about 90% as fluid as the Air. Not noticeable unless you're directly looking for any sort of chop. Works amazingly for me, love it.
  14. happyslayer macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    Just tried this with my 26" Vizio LCD monitor (1920x1200) with display port to DVI adapter.

    I set the Vizio to be the primary and there is a slight lag with Launchpad, but no discernible lag with Mission control or any of my other apps I've tested so far including, mail, ical, office 2011, Safari.
  15. sam67uk macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2010
    Northern Ireland
    works fantastic

    I've the 27" ACD and a new 13" Air. My Air spends most of its time plugged into the ACD. The setup works absolutely fine. Everything is perfectly smooth when flicking back and forth in Safari. Mission control and launchpad very smooth and fluid.

    I had one of 2010 Airs and I've not found any downsides with the HD3000 integrated graphics and the ACD.

    You don't have anything to worry about, it's a fantastic combo :D
  16. LeakedDave macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2011
    Oh the only lag i notice is safari page swiping. and it's barely.

    Don't notice much for anything else at all.
  17. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    My 2010 MBA using displayport refreshes faster on a 27" Dell display than my Dell Latitude/DVI with Sandy Bridge i5-240M processor.
  18. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    That's a result of image processing in your TV. The model of notebook isn't going to matter.
  19. trims macrumors regular

    May 11, 2011
    Nottingham, UK
    I'm using a normal MDP to MDP cable to link my 2011 MBA to my 2009 iMac. Works fine. Plays 1080 video on the big screen without a hitch while I browse t'interweb on the smaller screen :)

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