Macbook Air and College?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by RubberShoes, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. RubberShoes macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2007
    Well, after reading a ton of forum posts and comments regarding this question, I figured I should start my own so I don't forum jack someone else's (because there are multiple threads of this kind, sorry).

    I'm off to college next year majoring in film and I have more than enough money for a new mac, after orientation and visiting for a couple days it's pretty clear that almost every student has a laptop and uses the laptop on the go for all their classes.

    Which leaves my iMac locked in a dorm room :(

    However, my iMac has all of my film needs with Final Cut Studio 2 and every video conversion program known to man (To be honest MPEG Streamclip handles most of it) and with 4GB of ram I'm very happy with its performance, especially with many 1080 formats. And to back it all up I have a 2TB external hard drive with FW800.

    So when it comes to a laptop, I just need a laptop, not an all-in-one powerhouse than will cook through everything (including my pants) and something that can handle light film editing and many of my daily tasks.

    With that, I am really considering the MBA 2.13 128GB SSD considering I can get it for 1500 (100 education discount and sell the touch (iPhone rules :D)) and so it's a decent deal for me. And I am considering buying it from Best Buy with their warranty since almost everyone I know always gets a new ipod, iphone, or computer when their old one breaks, they don't seem to try fixing it.

    I really want portability here, and am willing to accept limitations as long as the bulk of what I am doing is still speedy and workable, and so the MBA is very appealing to me. Especially with the SSD I don't have to worry about it failing and losing my documents, and when I throw it across the room onto my bed or something stupid like that I know only the CPU fan is getting rattled around.

    So what do you think?
  2. rick3000 macrumors 6502a


    May 6, 2008
    West Coast
    I am also going to a film major next year, and just bought a 15" MBP. I decided to go this route after talking to some people I know in similar film programs.
    They said it is really nice to be able to edit on the go and not be tied to your dorm room (especially if your roommate is nuts) when you have to edit. It's just something to consider, but an iMac and an Air will work great if that's what you want.
    I would also suggest you look at the 13" MacBook and MBP, because then you will at least have FW and be able to capture footage and do some basic editing (rendering will take forever). The biggest problem is that the Air was not made for video editing, it can do iMovie, but I am not sure how well it will handle FCP, I don't think you can run Motion on it.

    I might keep my 12" iBook to take when I don't need the extra power of the MBP, but having the option of taking a 3.06GHz powerhouse with me when I need it was enough reason to get the MBP.
  3. DinoMachino macrumors member


    Jun 24, 2009
    well, you better be doing some VERY light video editing if you're eyeing the ssd, they have like half the storage.

    you could go the mba way since you already have the cd/dvd drive on your desktop, but if i were you i'd take a hard look at the 13 and 15 in mbps and grab as much power as you can for the money. the things are rated at 7 hours battery time, so portability is still a yes, and trust me, with a laptop. battery time = portability more than the size. the mbps are still really slim too, as well as sturdy. i'm just not sold on the durability of mba, but yeah its real slim and what with the facnyness and all.
  4. NikFinn macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2009
    I am facing a similar dilemma minus all that intense video editing. I have a similar type thread found here and it might be worth a quick read through. I'm leaning away from the MBA and more towards a MBP but I'm still clueless if I want a 13" or 15"... decisions decisions..
  5. RubberShoes thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2007
    Haha yea I've read over your thread multiple times and I'm the same way...decisions decisions..But I'm still leaning towards the MBA for some reason
  6. NikFinn macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2009
    I literally change my mind everyday, it's getting ridiculous haha. But with you, you will have the trusty iMac back in your dorm while I'll have nothing but an external hd back in mine.
  7. h4ck macrumors regular

    May 26, 2006
    er.....macbook air as a workhorse? no.

    no firewire? meh.
  8. TheNakedMan macrumors member

    May 20, 2007
    save yourself issue, don't go Air, go pro and live long & prosper
  9. Scylax macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    Depends on how much weight means to you.

    I don't do any video editing so I can't answer the main question, but thought I'd say that the MacBook Air makes loads of sense if weight matters lots to you, and much less sense against a 13" MBP if it doesn't. Being disabled, weight matters very much to me, which is why I just ordered a MBA for when I start Uni.
  10. janstett macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2006
    Chester, NJ
    I have an Air and a 15" MBP. I'd get the MBP. Sure not as sexy, but more ports, and user upgradable. In the next 4 years I'll bet you'll want more memory and a bigger hard drive/ssd. It's user accessible on the MBP, not so much on the Air and you're stuck at 2GB RAM forever.

    The Air is damned sexy, but as time goes by it's a surfing machine that will fall behind on video playback, future versions of OSX and Office/iWork, etc.

    I mean for example I haven't bothered setting up Parallels on it because of the RAM limitations...
  11. Airforcekid macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2008
    United States of America
    iMac and Air is a great setup get the SSD its a lot nicer to startup when taking notes etc.
  12. lag1090 macrumors 6502

    Jan 28, 2007
    If you're actually planning on doing film editing with the MBA, you'll regret it.

    Just get an MBP, preferably one with dedicated graphics.
  13. spencers macrumors 68020


    Sep 20, 2004
    I stopped reading when I ran into "majoring in film."

    'nuff said.

    However, as I read on, the MBA would suit you fine for taking notes and carrying around, if you plan on using the iMac as the workhorse.
  14. Young Turk macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2002
    The 'wow' factor of the MBA is off the charts. That may or may not be a consideration for you in college. If the MB Pro is, say, an Audi, the Air is the Porsche.

    I LOVE my SSD Air.

    Young Turk
  15. queshy macrumors 68040


    Apr 2, 2005
    1) Regardless of which computer you get, don't get a warranty from Best Buy. Just trust me. They are crooks. If you MUST have more warranty, buy it with a credit card that doubles your warranty to 2 years. At the extreme, you can buy Apple Care, which I support slightly more than the BB warranty.

    2) Since you're in film, things are more complicated here. If you didn't have the iMac I would say it's suicide getting the Air!

    The MacBook Air won't handle video editing nearly as well as your iMac. Everything else will be fine, but not video editing. If you get the Air, don't expect it to work as well as your iMac for video editing, and be prepared to deal with its lack of ports.

    The 13" MBP is probably the best option since it is more powerful and has more ports which you will probably want being in film.

    On the other hand, the Air is much more portable. You decide! Just know that since you have an iMac already, you really can't go wrong with either the Air or the Pro.
  16. jonessodarally macrumors member

    Oct 18, 2006
    thought i'd chime in here as a macbook air owner.

    I owned a rev. A mba during my video production classes. that and a core duo mac mini.

    Final Cut Studio 2 and After Effects both ran just fine for my course needs. the two classes i was in did a combined final project, and I did a music video. the only annoying part was having to import footage on the mini due to lack of firewire. but once i had the footage on disk, the macbook air ran fine.

    keep in mind, that was rev. A. 1.66GHz with 2gb ram. HD, not SSD. If your only concern is its ability to run the software well, you'll be fine with the new models.

    not to mention, it was SO portable. I decided to sell both the mba and the mini and buy a 15" mbp, and after 3 months, it still feels so heavy after having the mba for a year. i regret the change sometimes.

    i say go mba. if you didn't have the imac it would be more of a debate, but you'll really enjoy both the coolness of the mba, and the convenience. :)
  17. Unprocessed1 macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2008
    sounds like the imac/MBA combo is PERFECT for you. It performs wonderfully as a college notebook (self-experience).
  18. jonessodarally macrumors member

    Oct 18, 2006
    a further recommendation, as you said you have an iphone:

    ..get MobileMe.

    I know many people see it as a waste of money, but as a MobileMe user, I HIGHLY recommend it. You can typically find sites with it for $69 (amazon frequently has it at this price, or apple throws it in with new purchases sometimes), and it's really convenient, especially with multiple computers.

    -having mail push upated to everywhere.. that alone is handy.
    -iDisk is really convenient for file transfers.. and there are several free/cheap iphone apps to access those files from your iphone.
    -Find my iPhone... came in handy for me once already.
    -the calendar is so helpful for due dates, etc.
    ToDo from Appigo now updates through MobileMe. nice for keeping a todo list in sync with the ical list.

    basically, yeah. worth the investment. even better if you can get a few friends together to go in on the family pack. I know most of those features are available elsewhere, but having them all built into one service is so nice for school.
  19. arcangel6 macrumors regular


    Aug 21, 2008

    I am a college professor with similar needs to what you describe, trust me, the new MBA more than meets my needs. GET the SSD, they run cooler and smoke the the slow typical MBA HDD. I too do the video thing on my desktop. The new MBA can handle some very light video processing but you seem to understand what the MBA is intended for. Too many folks with limited budgets spend all their cash on a MBA and expect it to be able to handle all they throw at it and then get upset when it can't. If you could only own one system then going the MBP would be the way to go.

    It is similar to this netbook phenomenon. Folks who understand the system's limitations but reuire the incredibly small footprint are happy with them. However, the forums are repleat with folks who spend their $400 and complain endlessly that the netbook is not up to snuff for ALL their needs. I have owned a few Netbooks and while the folks try to compare the new MBA to them....there is NO comparison. Albeit a slightly larger footprint the new MBA smokes them; however, there is the $400 versus $1700 issue. Believe it or not I once threw a spare Samsung 128G SSD into an Asus 10" EeePC 1000 upgraded w/2. It was like putting a Porsche racing engine into a Hugo. The new MBA still is better not to mention those tiny screens. 13" is my lower limit. I gave that netbook to my 16 year old neice who absolutely loves it! Sans SSD of course! She is used to text messaging on her cell phone so the smaller format is perfect for her.

    I had a new 13 Aluminum MACBook w/4G RAM and the 128G SSD. I sold it last week since the MBA fills all my mobile need and the desktop all my heavylifting needs. The desktop/MBA combo is the way to go! I currently use a Dell XPS desktop on steroids but will likely get an iMAC which is supposed to be price reduced and possibly slightly upgraded in options the last quarter of this year!

  20. rick3000 macrumors 6502a


    May 6, 2008
    West Coast
    I don't get the computer from Best Buy. I was talking to my friend that works at the Apple Store, and he mentioned that if you buy an Apple product from someone other than Apple, the warranty starts the day that company bought it, not the day you bought it. So you could end up getting hosed on AppleCare. He said he has had a lot of angry iPod people come in and the iPod was sitting at the store for a year and was already out of warranty.
  21. 5DollaFootlong macrumors 6502


    Apr 26, 2009
    it really seems like you want that mba. get it. if you get a 13 or 15 inch macbook pro, you'll never really be happy.
  22. suekitch macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2009
    In your shoes my only concern with getting an MBA would be being away from a power supply, if you will be editing on the fly. Will you be able to plug in on campus when you need to?

    I also second the MobileMe recommendation though. I bought it with my iMac, and I have an iPhone and now an MBP. Yeah, iDisk is slow to sync up initially, it's true. But I work from it now (with a local copy on my hard drive), and all my documents get sync'd right away. It doesn't matter where I am (and that varies between university campus, hospital (placement, not sick!), my accommodation, visiting my folks, visiting Denmark, sitting in airports on WiFi.. incidentally the only hiccup I've run into is the machines in our hospital library - I can't install firefox or safari on them, so it has to be IE, which means routing through the old web address to get my files) I ALWAYS have access to the latest version of my portfolio which is an immense project, made up of loads of individual Word documents. As a comparison, my last year at university, I was using two Windows machines (a big laptop and a small laptop, the small one coming to classes with me). After each class I would get home and have to copy my lecture notes over to the big laptop manually, along with any files I downloaded from our university server etc. I know there are some packages (DropBox and the like) that could do the same thing as MobileMe, but none of it is as user friendly. I don't even have to direct to the folder I sync when I save, it's just such a convenience.

    Plus, the calendar and contacts stuff is very handy too. :)
  23. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    You're a film major. You may need to do mobile editing, and as you know, for that Firewire is king. It also has expansion options, and you never know what you might want to do with it a year from now. Being able to edit anywhere is a HUGE advantage. Also has a MUCH better battery. The MBA's 2gig of RAM limitation is not good for your field at all. Go for a MBP.

    Not to mention the line issue the Air's are prone too (which you will notice because you are a video major).

    I also recommend MobileMe, great service (at least now it is!)

    The SSD is awesome, just customize a MBP with one. I never plan to buy another computer that has a HDD again.

    NOTE: I had an Air for over a year, and the thing was prone to so many issues, both internal and external defects (Been through 5 different Air's actually with all the replacements, and I finally just went with a MBP). I loved the size of it, but really, it's still not a mature computer, especially not for your needs. I've also owned a Powerbook G4 and an iMac, both of which have no issues (nor does my MBP).
  24. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007

    Why would anyone who's doing intensive number crunching work wanna buy into a sub-notebook that doesn't have a full video card? Sure the 9400M's are powerful but they're really nothing compared to the 9600M GT.

    Now I don't know how much actual video work you'll be doing, nor how much of it will be rendered stuff using Motion and I don't know how much of it you're gonna be using the MBA. But I can tell you this much... 2Gb RAM in the MBA ain't much memory when you consider running FCP on there, don't forget you have to account for the RAM the system uses too!! With Snow Leopard, you'll be left with about 1GB free!

    Plus.. with all the panels in FCP, you really wanna edit media on that tiny tiny screen 1280 by 800? Dude, I'm using a 15" @ 1440 by 900 and I find that cramped!!!


    Why not have some commonsense and go with an mid/high spec MacBookPro 15" and leave the iMac at home? Or take the Imac and make notes in class using a paper/pen/pencil?... That's what I used to do. I find computers in class didn't really help me learn stuff cause I'd spend too much time messing about with it instead of learning valuable stuff.
  25. arcangel6 macrumors regular


    Aug 21, 2008
    I did try using Final Cut 'Express' to render a 2 minute 30 second video clip of ~3mb consisting of three separate clips with two transitions. My desktop would have zipped through this in about a minute, the MBA which is not designed for this purpose took several minutes but did render it. I was focused on temperatures and fan speeds, not time but I would guesstimate it too ~3-5x longer on the new MBA using and external Samsung 128G SSD as the scratch disc linked thru the USB port. These were the temp and fan speed results:

    *80 C = 176 F
    **The ambient computer temp recorded by 45-50 C with a fan speed of 2500.

    After 10% Rendered:
    Fan: 3019
    Temp: 82 C

    After 25% Rendered:
    Fan: 6204
    Temp: 80 C
    After 50% Rendered:
    Fan: 6184
    Temp: 77 C

    After 75% Rendered:
    Fan: 6204
    Temp: 78 C

    After 95% Rendered:
    Fan: 6204
    Temp: 80 C


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