MacBook Air as a desktop replacement for iMac?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by caonimadebi, May 24, 2009.

  1. caonimadebi macrumors regular

    May 7, 2009
    I finally upgraded my 12" Powerbook G4 1.33Ghz to the latest 120gb hdd macbook air rev. b. I absolutely love how smoothly the air runs Leopard. I also have the entry level 20" aluminum iMac from 2007, and it now seems to me that the iMac may be redundant for my needs (I only really do email, web browsing, and a tiny bit of photo editing and voice dictation).
    The only advantage of the iMac seems to be the 7200rpm (vs. 4200rpm) HDD, and the 20" screen size (I do plan to add a 26" display if get rid of my iMac).

    Time to get rid of the iMac? (esp. when it seems that the obsolescence of 20" iMac is imminent)
  2. appleguy123 macrumors 604


    Apr 1, 2009
    15 minutes in the future
    if your going to do that i would say go for the ssd. because the 4200rpm is only a little more than half the speed of your imac's.
  3. stoconnell macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2009
    Rockville (Despite REM's plea.)
    For your use cases, the Rev B with HDD is probably sufficient. At least you have the luxury of taking it for a spin and determining if you can use it as your only Mac ;)

    If you do decide to get rid of the iMac and plan to use it in "docked mode", the 24" Apple Cinema is tailor made for that application with the mag safe and USB connectivity (that works with the external drive, etc).
  4. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I think the rev B MBA can make a great primary computer, but only when it has SSD. If you're going to get rid of the iMac, use the money along with sell the rev B and use the money to buy a high end MBA.

    Along with the 24" LED ACD, the MBA w/SSD can make a great system. I used a rev B w/SSD and ACD as my primary Mac system. It really feels like a Mac Pro for common tasks with the mighty SSD. The SSD takes the MBA from really light but slow, to amazingly fast in every way which is just plain fun!

    I think the HDD is ok but by no means fast. The coolest part of the MBA is the SSD.

    Good luck whichever route you go.
  5. Airforcekid macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2008
    United States of America
    It is a good upgrade but realy it just affects startup and opening apps once your using them you will notice little to no difference. Personally I would keep the iMac I never feel safe with one prob why I got 4!
  6. caonimadebi thread starter macrumors regular

    May 7, 2009
    I had a SSD (32GB MLC PATA) in my PowerBook G4 12", and it wasn't THAT big of an improvement over the stock 4200rpm drive. The differences that I noticed were the faster app launch time and system boot time. The sustained write-time, esp. for an MLC drive like one in air, makes the SSD's overall performance boost negligible for my needs (because i need to move large files to and from my external storage, 120GB really isn't enough by any means).
    There was no significant improvements in terms of overall heat and battery life, and I always thought my SSD was more of a bragging right that I had.
  7. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I have used both rev B with and without SSD, and the differences are night and day. Anyone who has used both can tell you how dramatic the differences are. I used to tell people rev B with HDD is ok, and it is, but for a secondary Mac.

    I opted for a uMB over low end rev B MBA when my MBA rev B w/SSD was stolen a month ago. I am waiting for a rev C MBA, and didn't see the sense in buying seven month old tech for full $2499! And I used a friend's rev B w/HDD for an afternoon. It was incredibly different than my SSD. It wasn't fun. It couldn't do everything in a snap. The uMB is much faster than the low end rev B MBA. As much as I love the MBA, it just loses its lustre instantly with an HDD. It sucks to say it, but it's true. I am a huge rev B MBA fan, but my excitement comes from an incredibly small Mac that travels excellently, looks amazing, has a gorgeous display, and is superbly capable/fast with SSD (it truly feels like a Mac Pro when doing simple tasks while hooked up to a 24" LED ACD).

    Unfortunately, when buying the low end MBA, the odds of getting the line ruined display are much greater. So too slow and potentially problematic display made me more willing to settle with a uMB while waiting until June to see if the MBA gets an update. I guess it just seems like a terrible time to buy any rev B MBA. Really, if the price was knocked down by a bunch it could become a decent value.

    And to the Air Force EXPERT, the 4200rpm doesn't just boot slower and open apps slower, the differences can be seen instantly and are really dramatic.

    Also, you cannot compare a 32 GB SSD as not being that much faster than the SSD is in the rev B MBA. SSDs are incredibly different. Not only that PATA can limit throughput depending on speed. If I were you, I wouldn't assume that your experience with SSD applies, because it doesn't. The bottom line is the SSD in the rev B MBA reads over ten times faster. It's SATA-II not PATA, and it's a really nice Samsung SSD.

    No matter what you do, you should hold out to see if the MBA rev C is released before or after WWDC in June. It could get a lot of improvements. The low end will probably get a bump to 1.86 GHz CPU, may get new battery tech, may get more RAM, may get a 128 GB SSD, and will definitely get a superior line-free display. Even if the differences aren't as drastic as I have suggested, you may get the rev B SSD on clearance for nearly the same price as current low end costs.

    At the end of a product cycle, right before a refresh, a Mac is a terrible buy. You are getting 7.5 month tech for full price which makes no sense. Buying prior generation or new generation makes the most sense right after refresh.

    Good luck.
  8. qubex macrumors 6502


    May 12, 2004
    045°042'21.99"N, 009°005'056.57"E
    Hehe... that is certain.
  9. progressweasel macrumors newbie


    Mar 7, 2009
    MacBook Air as a desktop replacement

    Given what you are doing is should be no problem. My MBA is my everyday driver connected to a Cinema Display at home and slung in my briefcase on the road. If you have not purchased yet I would highly recommend the SSD option as it is fast and will save you power when running on battery (I get around 3 - 3.5 hours on battery)

    One thing I have found handy is to have istats running and visible on your menubar as this will tell you when you are really burning battery power. I have Fan speed, Memory, Hard disk fill, CPU, and Temp. The fan speed and temp are the really big ones as sometimes odd things cause you to really use resources when you least expect it. My biggest gripe is that my Time Machine backups via WiFi take forever and beat up the system.

    I usr Parallels and VMWare Fusion (not at the same time) and this takes the system but having all your desktop stuff up (iCal, Contacts, Mail and Safari) is SOP for me and My cpu stays cool (130F or less) and my fan speed is 2400 which I think is the lowest it can go.

    Most of the time there is not a sound from my machine and it is great.

    Ditch the iMac and buy a nice monitor for home use.


  10. creon macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2009
    i was waiting for people to say things under the color of:

    "you can't do such things with a macbook air!"


    "the macbook air is missing the cd drive."

    but, alas none of those statements appeared and for that i applaud you.

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