Macbook Air as primary computer?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by drummerlondonw3, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. drummerlondonw3 macrumors 6502a

    drummerlondonw3

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #1
    Hi,

    As you can see from my sig I have a relatively old laptop and its getting on for speed now.

    I have been looking into getting as new computer/laptop and will be in the market soon. I will be buying in the UK and would have the budget of upto £1300 or £1400

    I would like to get a laptop for the versatility as in my flat I dont really have anywhere to put a desktop or even iMac - this means MB plus external etc wouldn't be an option

    I would like to go for a MBA and time capsule to back up with and have an external NAS to it - basically do you think it would be viable to have it as my only computer? I know it will beat my iBook hands down for speed but should I go for the MBP instead?

    My usage is normal and mainly I would be web, word processing etc my heavy usage is all work related

    Thanks for any help with this, it would really be very much appreciated.
    After reading literally everyday for 2+ yrs this is my first thread :D:D:D
     
  2. airjuggernaut macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    #2
    a Macbook would suit your needs fine.
    But if you want to be future proof get the MBP.
    Forget the MBA.
     
  3. forafireescape macrumors 6502a

    forafireescape

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    NJ
    #3
    Don't get the MBA as your only computer - it's too limited. You're giving up a lot for the price. Go for the Pro.
     
  4. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    #4
    Get a Macbook. If you want a primary computer, you'll need an optical drive, multiple USB ports, and at the very least, an ethernet port. These are all built in to the MB, but are separate purchases for the MBA. If you want an all-in-one laptop, make it a Macbook.
     
  5. jjasonwrght macrumors member

    jjasonwrght

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    Jan 12, 2008
    #5
    Did you somehow thing the MBA was more powerful then a MB?

    A MB is more powerful and has all the extras you need for your only computer. You can also get the Time Capsul for the MB aswell. PLUS the MB is actually cheaper then an MBA.

    Anyways, yes the MB is the best way to go as a primary computer.
     
  6. kabunaru Guest

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    Jan 28, 2008
  7. cohibadad macrumors 6502a

    cohibadad

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    Jul 21, 2007
    #7
    MBA is pretty limited as a primary computer. Limited in the sense of what you could possibly need it for in the future. Now, in all reality, most people would probably not ever use or need more than the MBA has to offer. If you know you will only need what the MBA has to offer, then it's a fine choice with the external optical and Time Capsule. I think most people worry about limiting themselves for future use so a MB or MBP is a safer bet. MBA is ultra light and if that means a lot to you given everything above, go for it. Of course, for a primary computer you will need to have the power adapter readily available if you use it much.
     
  8. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #8
    You have a NAS to back up your files. You have no space for a desktop. The MBA is lightweight and very portable. You can always purchase the external DVD drive if you need to use a CD/DVD.

    The MBA may just suit your needs. That is assuming that you only need it for personal use in which your needs seem rather light and not work related use which you state you have heavy usage.

    However, the MBP is a better alternative as a desktop replacement. Skip the MB. You get so much more with the MBP.
     
  9. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    Mar 20, 2003
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    Bay Area
    #9
    It's just stunning to watch you knee-jerk MBA haters in action. Did anyone actually bother to read the original post, or do you just recommend against the MBA on pure instinct at this point?

    All of the reasons that the MBA "isn't a good primary computer" aren't applicable in this case.

    He does web and word processing - so it has plenty of power
    He will not be setting it up with wired peripherals - so ports are really not an issue
    He values versatility (portability) - and nothing is more portable than a MBA

    Other than price (and the MBA is within his budget), please give one valid reason that a MBA would not work for this poster, or that a MB would be a better option.

    I understand that lots of people don't like the MBA. It wouldn't work for me personally, but I'd be a fool not to recognize that it's a great option for lots of people. The OP in this thread is someone that it would be wonderful for.
     
  10. forafireescape macrumors 6502a

    forafireescape

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    #10
    I know in my case it just seems like a waste to spend that much money on something like the MBA when you can get a Mac that is a lot more practical and useful for less money. So that's why I typically recommend the MB over the MBA, despite its usage. I would never recommend it as a primary computer to anyone. As a secondary laptop when you already have a desktop, then maybe.
     
  11. airjuggernaut macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 16, 2007
    #11
    Because the Original poster seems like someone who would like the computer to last a while. He has an iBook thats 800mhz for Christ's sake!
    The MB or MBP with its processor will be WAY better 4-5 years down the line than a 1.6 ghz MBA.
    Plus the MB and MBA have the same FOOTPRINT, so unless there is a 1.08 inch height restriction in his room, the MB would be way better for him.
    and BTW When he said Versatility I think he meant, something that's powerful and would fit in his room, he didn't mention that he needs to carry it around all the time.
     
  12. Adokimus macrumors 6502a

    Adokimus

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    Jun 2, 2007
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    Boston, MA
    #12
    For your needs, I think you will be happier with the MBA. As long as you are ok for having room to use the external dvd drive (if you need one). As for speed, it will blow your iBook out of the water, and it should be more than good for your uses. Plus, I think you want it.

    -Ado
     
  13. teflon macrumors 6502a

    teflon

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    May 28, 2007
    #13
    Uh... what if the OP wants to charge his iPod the same time he wants to load some pictures on to his computer? Or see a file from a usb drive? Or connect his phone to put on ring tones or whatever? The lack of ports and an optical drive is quite annoying when it comes to a computer that is going to be used on a daily bases. The super drive may seem useless now, but what if you need to do a clean install? Upgrade your system? Install new software? Play game/dvd/cd? Burn a dvd/cd? Also, most hotels still uses ethernet, and many people's homes don't have wireless either. So if the OP travels, whether to another city or just to a friend's house, he might be stuck without internet because the MBA doesn't have an ethernet port.
    If you'll be without power for an extended amount of time regularly, then I wouldn't recommend the MBA because its battery can't be removed. You can't just pop in another one when the current one runs out after 5 hours. The slower hard drive also means slower start up and application launch time, and IIRC nothing is user replaceable on the MBA.
    For a second computer to take around to work, lecture or coffee shops the MBA is a great computer, but for a primary computer it just lacks too many features that seems insignificant, but would save you a lot of headaches and troubles in real life.
     
  14. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

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    Location:
    London
    #14
    You should really go down to an Apple Store and try one. Give a MBP a go while you are there as well. An MBA should be fine for your needs for a long time to come, but it is quite a bit less snappy than a MBP. Give them both a go. The MBA has compromises, but that said, given its form, Apple has done a remarkable job...again.
     
  15. drummerlondonw3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    drummerlondonw3

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    London
    #15
    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for all the great responses

    I would like t0 provide some feedback from the earlier points to let you know how I'm feeling about this -

    You're right to assume that I am a computer 'keeper' but this was out of necessity throughout uni and as a grad. Now I am in the position to upgrade and I doubt I'll ever own a workhorse for this long again.

    Secondly, I am hoping to move to a bigger flat at the end of the year so this would only be my primary until then when I would get an imac for home

    I guess the problem I have is that for me the perfect combination for travel and home would be an imac and a MBA, so if I were to go the wrong way round and get the MBA before the imac would I be hindering myself until then

    It really is only light work I do on it, although it would have to manage an external hard-drive for my itunes which is pretty large 8000+ songs

    However, that being said I do some really hardcore data analysis etc at work so defo don't need a computer to do that at home with!

    Thanks for all the responses, it's nice to know that people ffeel as strongly as me about this!

    D
     
  16. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #16
    After reading your feedback, it sounds like the MBA would be a good fit and will complement an iMac when you move to your new flat.

    You mentioned 8,000 songs. But did not mention the storage space required. Depending on how you encoded your songs, it is possible that they might fit nicely on the MBA.

    I would expect the iMac line to have an upgrade by the end of the year. So by waiting to purchase the iMac until then, you might end up being able to get a newer model.

    Some have mentioned the lack of USB ports. Both the MB and MBP have two USB ports. IMHO, that is not enough. Plus, the MBA has a higher powered USB port so some peripherals will work on the MBA that won't work on the MB or MBP without a power adapter.

    Personally, I carry a compact non-powered 4 port hub that works well. It is very small. About the length of a pack of gum but half as thick and a little wider. Cord folds into it when not in use. Very handy, lightweight and small.
     
  17. drummerlondonw3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    drummerlondonw3

    Joined:
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    Location:
    London
    #17
    Hi

    I have just checked my itunes folder and its 53gb, do you think this would leave enough for other stuff? I have another 2/3 gbs of photos and thats pretty much it, I was worried I would be cutting it too close??

    The lack of USB doesn't bother me nor does the fact the optical isn't built in(I would purchase the add-on). I know it will be a step up in power but also I know that it only has to bridge the gap and that in less than a year it'll be a secondary computer

    BTW - what brand of hub do you use?
     
  18. airjuggernaut macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    #18
    Hmm Well I'm assuming your going to need to install things to for your work like MS Office, and other software.
    Those installations do take up a lot of space a lot of the time.
    The harddrive is 80gb, after formatting and OSX install it will fall to about 75ish? so that leaves you with about 9gb.
    Plus your getting the time capsule so you can back up some stuff.
    I think you'll be fine.

    Also I wasen't aware you will be getting an iMac! :O
    LoL well then in that case the MBA is PERFECT as a secondary computer. It will definitely be great if your planning on depending on it as a main comp for about a year.
    I'd say if it's going to become a secondary computer in a short while, go for the MBA :D
     
  19. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #19
    I use an Elecom U2H-K4B2 non-powered USB hub.

    I like how the master cable/USB connection inserts into the hub when in travel mode. No need to carry (or forget) a separate cable. And it keeps the form factor small which I like.
     
  20. tuneman07 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    #20
    The MBA as your only computer is not a good idea- especially if you are only going to have 9GB to spare. If you are going to buy a new computer in a year though its not so bad of an idea I suppose. I would personally get the more powerful Macbook and more importantly keep an extra 700 dollars. 700 bucks can buy you a lot of upgrades in the future.
     
  21. drummerlondonw3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    drummerlondonw3

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #21
    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for all the great and varied replies. I have been reading around and it looks like I wouldn't have enough onboard hd space to carry everything and although that doesn't seem that important it really is a limiting factor for me. Since I got my iBook I have been carrying around an external hd and I am getting really fed up of this. Also i have 2 FW externals and if I went down the MBA and some NAS it would have to mean USB so I would be spending more again on these. Finally if I do get the MBA I would (have) to get another computer long term and I am not sure I can justify spending all that when I could get for the same money a MBP and sacrifice some portability.

    Its really killing me that a MBA just doesnt seem suitable now but I think that in 6-12 months after purchasing now I will defo look into getting one, maybe even a rev B!!

    So I am now joining the long list of waiting for the MBP updates...I'll let you know if it can bridge the gap in my mind between the MBA and beyond!

    Besides no-one said you couldn't have 2[/I][/B] laptops now did they...
     
  22. BullBoyKennels macrumors member

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    Location:
    Mayaguez, PR
    #22
    To have or use the MBA as your primary or more importantly as your only system,. NOOOOOOO your just asking to get your self upset in the long run. Better off with a MB or MBP at the very least. Just my opinion.
     

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