Macbook Air as main computer?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by bubulol, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. bubulol macrumors 6502a

    Mar 7, 2013
    Hello there, i m planning to buy a MBA and seriously thinking about using it as main computer.
    rather 11 than 13
    Macbook Air will be used with alot of external stuffs like wireless mouse, extended keyboard, external 24'' screen, USB Hub, printer, smartphone...
    is there any power issue if i enable all these stuff to MBA?
    is there any option for disabling battery ON, instead of constantly damaging battery life if its charging while using it?

    thanks you
  2. stayley macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2013
    I doubt there will be any issues whatsoever, but I wouldn't say that the MBA was made for that. Why are you considering it?

    I don't quite get the idea of getting and ultra-portable and turning it into an octopus so that it resembles a desktop.

    Given that you quite probably would invest in the Belkin's thunderbolt hub (that at least would take away the pain of plugging it all in every time), you'd really be cranking up the price of the system way beyond what you could pay for something that better meets your needs.

    Then again if you really want the portability, but need a desktop at home and can't keep two computers, then... well... your choice. I believe the MBA should handle all these peripherals. The battery doesn't get any hit from being plugged in all the time as far as I know (and I think I know, cause I really researched these boards and the Apple's support website before buying my first Mac, but please someone more knowledgeable confirm this).
  3. Tlamaki macrumors newbie

    Oct 12, 2013
    There won't be any power issue if you enable all those things to your MBA

    And about the battery, if you are planning to keep it plugged most of the time it won't die if you every 3 days unplug your MBA and run on battery to around 50%, this is very important, if you learn this habit your MBA will be very pleased.

    About turning your MBA into a main computer, well, it depends on what you do normally with a machine, for me my MBA is my main computer since I only have one computer at a time, and this little machine is enough for my needs.
  4. jakesaunders27 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 23, 2012
    United Kingdom
    I have had my 2012 MacBook Air for around a year now and i love it i used it as my main computer for a little while however for my use (Music Production) I ended up buying a Mac Pro but still use mine when I'm out, so its definitely a very capable computer but for me i just couldn't use it as my main computer, but it all depends on what your doing with it.
  5. Windowsrefugee macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2011
    Microsoft Land
    No sweat

    I have been using a MBA (actually 2 of them) since 2011 for my only business machine as a desk-top replacement. I use MS Office, Adobe Acrobat, have lots of Safari pages open all the time as well as some occasional light photo editing. It serves all my needs perfectly. I have it docked to an Apple TBD and it works great. You could also get a less expensive monitor plus either the Belkin Thunderbolt Dock or the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station (due out in 2 weeks) to meet your needs. I have experienced no issues with the battery when plugged in most of the time. Mine is plugged in for a couple of weeks at a time and both machines (2 and 3 years old respectively) do great on the road on battery power and in the office as my sole machine. If portability and battery life are your most important criteria, go for the 13" MBA. If you need more horsepower (or better screen) for games or photo/video editing, you could look at the 13" rMBP. For my needs the MBA is perfect as I do not need a high-res screen while on the road.:D
  6. imjoee macrumors 6502


    Jun 12, 2012
    i use it as my main computer, love it.
  7. Naramis macrumors member

    Aug 23, 2013
    One thing that keeps me from using the MBA (or any laptop, for that matter) as my main computer is ergonomics. Having the keyboard and the display attached to one another makes for bad ergonomics.

    If I set it so that the keyboard is aligned with my wrists, then I will have to look down at the screen and after some time my neck hurts.. If I put the screen at the same level as my eyes, then my arms would be in an awkward position..

    I can plug it into an external display and keyboard of course, but then what's the point?

    If ergonomics aren't an issue for you, then I say the MBA can definitely be a main computer. It has the power and the features for it (unless you do like heavy video editing, which I guess is a vast minority of the users)
  8. bubulol thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 7, 2013
    thanks all of you for sharing your point of view
    yes i am planning to substitute my main computer, it takes space on the desktop
    i dont play heavy games or using heavy applications as well
    my own use does not require powerful computer, MBA fits perfectly to my needs
    by the way, now which MBA should i choose?
    11/13? (rather 11, dont forget MBA would be connected to an external screen)
    128/256 GB (planning to use both, macOS and Windows)
  9. filmbuff macrumors 6502a


    Jan 5, 2011
    Well 11 or 13" is really up to you. Makes no difference if you are using an external monitor.

    Definitely upgrade to 8gb of RAM and the 256GB SSD. Even with an external hard drive it is really hard to manage windows and Mac OS with only 128GB.
  10. yosemit macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2013
    No problem at all. That's the way I used my 11" MBA for the past three years. Before that I used a windows ultra-portable in the same way. As I know many people in a working environment do the same. MBA 11" is a perfect fit for this style. The 2013 11" is a tiny but very capable machine.

    No power issue at all. As for battery, as long as you use the MBA on battery once a while, it should be fine.


    I use 11" i7/8GB/256GB. I think i5 will be good too, but 8GB/256GB is almost necessary if you plan to run Windows. I run Windows 7 on VMWare Fusion. It's pretty fast with 4GB memory allocated to it.

  11. bizzle macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2008
    I've been using a Late 2010 11" 1.6ghz Core2Duo, 4GB RAM MacBook Air for the last few weeks instead of my Mid 2012 2.3ghz Ivy Bridge with 8GB RAM and 240GB Intel 330 SSD. Let's just say the size and sharpness of the screen over the 15" has led me to not touching the 15" except to get a few files. I do everything I'd normally use my computer for on this, and the newer models are leaps and bounds better than the 2010.
  12. Max(IT) Suspended


    Dec 8, 2009
    A 13" Air with 8 Gb of ram and 256Gb of SSD should be fine as a main computer for almost every user.
  13. Fattytail macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2012
    Seems like it fits your usage just fine as a primary computer. I've been using mine as such for over two years. Zero complaints.
  14. KiwiAdventure Suspended

    Dec 7, 2010
    New Zealand
    If you can try and stop using your mouse and the extra key board. I use my 2013 MBA and Pro as my only company computers and find using just the MBA is so much easier than using a mouse. I have been doing this for 4 years.

    RSI is coursed by your mouse. Using all your fingers on the MBA makes for less change of getting repetitive strain injury RSI to your hands. The track pad of the MBA is great.

    I tried to show my wife but it was like teaching your wife how to drive a car:eek:
  15. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I used a 2011 13" i5/4gb/256gb MBA as my main computer before, and now I use a 2013 11" i7/8gb/512gb MBA as my main computer. It works great. Am using an ancient 23" Apple Cinema Display, Apple Extended Keyboard and USB mouse. Also have it connected to a Seagate Thunderbolt dock and a 4 channel USB audio interface.

    Before 2011 my main machine was a 2008 15" c2d MBP so each of the MBA's have been a big step up in performance. And I do use some powerful software like Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, Filemaker Pro, Photoshop, Vectorworks and more.

    The new MBA's are very speedy little machines that will serve you well both at home and on the road. :)
  16. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    It's fine for your uses.

    I assume (don't think you said) you ALSO need it as a laptop occasionally. If not, and it's purely for desktop use, get a Mac Mini.
  17. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Since 2010, I have had Airs as my main, sometimes even sole, computer. Prior to that, I had a 15" MBP, which was great, but I prefer the MBA.

    This year, I upgraded (as the cycle I follow is the three year one, when Applecare is about to expire), and bought a new MBA. There is absolutely no problem with using one; I have had 13" MBA and an 11"; both are excellent and are now sufficiently powerful to deal with anything and everything that is thrown at them.

    I would, however, echo the strong recommendations of many of the other posters who have already posted on this thread; get 8 GB RAM, and at least 256 SSD. That should see you well equipped for the next couple of years.
  18. egfastra macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2013
    2k12 MBA 13"

    I've got 2012 13" MacBook Air (i5 1.8Ghz, 4GB RAM and 256Gb SDD).
    Primary I work on it with documents and presentations but sometimes I can edit video using Final Cut. It's light, fast, very portable and you can take it everywhere.
    It's pretty hard for me to manage all the information on several computers because sometimes I can't be at home for several days. That's why I use Air as main computer and enjoy it.
    Everyone chooses his type of computer according to the tasks which user mainly do on it.
    Thanks :apple:
  19. bubulol thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 7, 2013
    another technical question
    as main computer, does macbook usb port deliver enough power if connecting usb hub?
    from my current computer, i cant data transfer files like movie to my phone through usb hub, it fails when others peripherals that consume lot (like my huge print)
    i have decent stuffs which are quite useful for my need
    - wireless Logitech G700 mice, it has its own wireless connector, i dont believe it may consume a lot but i have actually no idea
    - external blacklit keyboard
    - Belkin usb hub, 8 ports, USB 2.0, it also has its own AC charger
    - Dell printer, i suspect it for draining power from usb, when disabling it, others peripherals keep working without any issue
    - Smartphone
  20. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    USB ports, whether desktop or laptop can only put out 1 (one) amp of current TOTAL (all devices connected). More than that then you need a POWERED USB hub.

    What's a powered USB hub? One that has its own wall wart.

    How do you know you are taking more than 1 amp? There is no magic, you have to read all the devices' manuals (gasp!) and find out what each consumes.
  21. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    My guess is that you will be fine. I have been using powered hubs myself, but at one time with the 2011 MBA I had two USB microphones, a 2 channel bus-powered interface, a control surface, Apple extended keyboard and generic USB mouse connected. One day I noticed that the power plug had come out on the USB hub, but everything was still working anyway - that kind of surprised me. :)

    If you have a lot of peripherals, it probably makes sense to use a powered hub though.
  22. crossi81 macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2012
    You'll be fine.

    My Air (13'' 2013 maxed out) is my main computer and at home I connect:

    - thunderbolt to hdmi display
    - usb hub: 1) usb mouse (g9x) 2) usb keyboard (g15) 3) external usb hd 4) cooling pad
    - external speakers (audio out)
    - 64 GB sdhx card

    Everything works (with battery too). Even under heavy load (playing videogames).
  23. irDigital0l Guest

    Dec 7, 2010
    This is what I'm using for college.

    It works really well.
  24. pikachu2k7 macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2012
    North Carolina
    I don't know why you wouldn't want the Macbook Air as the main computer. Obviously, if you are NASA or NSA worker and need the firepower and graphics, the Air isn't a good option but the average user, the Air is great.
  25. pikachu2k7 macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2012
    North Carolina
    I personally think that the Retina Macbook Pro 13' is thin and light enough and it ismuch more powerful and nicer than the Air.

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