MacBook Air as a desktop?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by SoCalResident, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. SoCalResident macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2007
    My wife and I have a shared MacBook Air, 13 inch, mid 2011. I use it for iOS development, she takes it to meetings where she has a part time minutes taking gig.

    The sharing has lately seen limitations, so we are considering getting another MacBook Air. She would also use it to replace her aging Mac Mini, which lately has seen software upgrade limitations.

    To replace the Mac Mini with the MacBook Air, we are thinking of the following routine:
    • Get a mini DVI to VGA adapter to attach the MacBook Air to the Samsung monitor.
    • Plug the USB hub into the MacBook Air. This would take care of the keyboard, mouse and Time Machine hard drive. I know there are wireless solutions but we already have the wired versions and aren't excited about managing the batteries and would like to keep the cost down.
    • Plug in the MacBook Air charger.
    We've gotten to appreciate the MacBook Air and the job it's been doing for us. The $$ is OK and while more powerful options are available, it's been working well for us.

    Any comments, advice, would be appreciated.
  2. jerwin macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2015
    For the cost of the monitor adapter (why VGA?) you could test out the proposal...
    My sister has a 11 inch macbook air-- and often uses it in desktop mode. She's always complaining about one thing or another-- lack of usb ports-- particularly powered usb ports
    sub-par wifi reception-- usb 3.0 can cause interference
    fan noise
    generally poor ergonomics

    but she's picky, and your milage may vary.
  3. SoCalResident thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2007
    --- Post Merged, Feb 11, 2018 ---
    >> and often uses it in desktop mode.
    What is desktop mode, is it something you set in the MacBook Air or just what I've been describing?

    I wouldn't have a problem with USB port quantity. The WiFi is good as the router is all of three feet away. Have not heard of USB 3.0 causing WiFi troubles.
    Yeah, the fans going off does get annoying.

    Thank you for the reply.
  4. jerwin macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2015
    "desktop mode"--placed on a desk, connected to a monitor, mouse, keyboard, and external hard drives-- and used as if it was a desktop computer.
  5. tzd macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2011
    I have been using my MacBook Air (13" mid-2011) in clamshell mode for about a year. I stand it on a BookArc, and use Lenovo ThinkPad Compact Bluetooth Keyboard and Magic Mouse with it. Other than the Power connector, the only other connector is the ThunderBolt to HDMI cable that connects to my Samsung 27" monitor, leaving the 2 USB ports free for me to connect external hard drives.

    It has worked fine overall. The only exception is that after last year's macOS upgrade to High Sierra, I get black patches in graphics under certain conditions when connected to my Samsung monitor - for example see the Google Maps image below when displayed in Safari (only in Safari, as it does not happen when I view it in Firefox).
    Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 7.20.59 PM.png
    Also occasionally some PDFs will show up as all black in Preview. All these only happened after I upgraded to macOS High Sierra. Everything was working perfect when I was using the previous version macOS Sierra.
  6. SoCalResident thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2007
    Thank you for the reply tzd. That's interesting about the High Sierra and the black patches. My wife isn't obligated to go with High Sierra so we may skip that. As an iOS dev I am as Xcode requires the latest OS, but then I won't be using the desktop / clamshell mode.

    I've not been impressed with the latest versions of Safari, so the wife may just go with Chrome or Firefox.

    Thank you again for taking the time to respond.

  7. Bazza1 macrumors member


    May 16, 2017
    Toronto, Canada
    Originally purchased when was doing a lot more work travel, my mid-2011 Air 11" spends most of its time as my SOHO primary machine these days. A USB hub connected to the left USB allows it to connect up to 2 different printers, external speakers, and a variety of USB drives I swap in and out (I've not yet found the need to try and external monitor, and I'm good with the Air's keyboard), while the powered USB on the right has powered an external portable drive, formatted for Time Machine and misc storage. I'm using the Thunderbolt port, I'm connected to a gigabit internet connection, and I've got a Magic Mouse. Pop out three connections, and its back to being my most portable notebook, still going strong after 7 years. I really don't see a downside.

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6 February 11, 2018