Macbook Air suitable for me?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by macinsomniac, May 20, 2009.

  1. macinsomniac macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    #1
    Glad to find some fellow Air admirers around here. I'm posting because I am both hoping for a Rev C Air and also figure that you all have lots of hands-on experience with the current generation machines.

    I would be thrilled if an update were to be announced in the coming weeks. I certainly wouldn't complain if I were able to have double the RAM or a processor bump, namely. With that said, I am currently considering the current, Rev B 1.86 SSD machine, trying to evaluate it to see if it meets my needs. Maybe someone will chime in and let me know based on your experience if it would be enough, or if I'm dreaming and need to wait for a more powerful Rev C or go with a Macbook or Macbook Pro!

    I am a web designer and developer, spending most of my time in Adobe Fireworks, Photoshop (72 dpi files), illustrator, Textmate, Terminal, Xcode, iPhone SDK, etc (Note: not at the same time!). My current machine is an iMac G5 20" 2.1ghz with 1.5 gb ram. I believe that any intel core machine would be an improvement! Geekbench scores show that the 1.86ghz Air has over double the performance of the iMac that I am currently using as my only machine!

    My previous Macs were a 15" PB G4 and then a 12" PB before the iMac.

    Truth is, I have been really missing/craving mobility. I upgraded to the iMac because, at the time, I needed more screen real-estate and power for an even trade from the 12" PB. I want portability back! Something that can go with me everywhere that I go in the city. I commute to work by bike or public transit, and while I'm sure that I could manage carrying a Macbook Pro, I anticipate it would get left behind much more often. I don't need an optical drive much, and definitely not on the go. I would connect an external display for serious productivity and design at home.

    So the question is: Can the current top model run this software sufficiently? Also, would I take a performance hit once an external display is connected? I know that it's won't top the charts in performance on tasks such as running filters, but I rarely do. I'm not a power user running batch processes. My guess is that I would feel a significant boost in performance over what I am currently working with (the iMac G5).

    I know that even a MacBook would provide better performance speed-wise, but it has things that I don't need that add to bulk (optical drive), and things lacking (a good display). I would appreciate any and all input!
     
  2. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3

    TuffLuffJimmy

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #2
    If you have another computer the Air will be great. I just don't recommend making it your main computer.
     
  3. aicul macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Location:
    no cars, only boats
    #3
    I fully agree, for what you do, the MBA is really not the best option for the main computer.
     
  4. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #4
    The rev B MBA can make a fine Primary MAC. Paired with the 24" LED ACD, it becomes an instant desktop too. With an SSD, it's very fast for common tasks. For CPU intensive tasks, it does the job fine.

    If the rev C MBA is released with the next step CPU it currently has, it will have an SL9600 Intel Core 2 Duo with a clock speed of 2.13 GHz. I think that is super in ULV 17W 45 NM process CPU.

    The rev C MBA could be even more powerful. The biggest problem is only 2 GB of RAM in the rev B MBA, but a next step in the evolution should be 4 GB. The Dell Adamo and Lenovo x301 both have 4 GB in high end models.

    I would wait for a rev C MBA. It could be incredible. Could definitely be a primary Mac for the common Mac user. Like a MB only with a much higher quality display, and super portable.

    There are rumors for an update in June before or after WWDC, but the truth is it's anyone's guess. Nothing recently has been reported.
     
  5. ray648 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    #5
    I have the rev b ssd air, and I use it for development among other things. I've never had any issues with it. However, I would not want to be using it as my only computer unless I had a decent size monitor to hook up to it when at home. If you already have or are prepared to pick up a monitor for desktop use then it will suit you fine, otherwise I would be looking at the 15" macbook pro for a combination of portability and higher resolution.
     
  6. pstoehr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Location:
    Scheßlitz, Oberfranken, Bavaria, Germany
    #6
    Hi,

    the MBY is the only computer I'm wirking with. At home it is attached to an 24" LED ACD. At the university I only have a 22" Dell LCD ...
    MBA plus an external display is a great combination. For me, working as a Professor of Computer Science, it is the best combination :)

    Best regards
    Peter
     
  7. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #7
    To determine if it will suit your needs you can test it within the return period.

    I think the 1.8ghz/128ssd will do the job for you and you'll love the rev B MBA.

    But, who knows a new rev C may surface in the next month or two, your call whether to wait or not?
     
  8. AeroUK macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    #8
    Waiting

    This is a horrible time! to wait or not to wait!!

    I personally think the Rev B is fine, but I would rather wait as I would like to have the latest machine and I do not have the money to lose on selling the B at a loss 2nd hand.

    If I could get one that sat flat on a table and had no lines I would probably go for it though! This would probably make it worth more at resale too!!

    haha
     
  9. spriter macrumors 65816

    spriter

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    #9
    If you bought it and it does the job you bought it for, I don't see the problem. Only selling it to upgrade to a machine with a slightly better spec, yet used for the same purposes as your original purchase would realise the loss.

    As is always the case, you buy a piece of tech and it gets outdated. My advice: buy what meets your requirements and be satisfied with it :) I tend to change every two or three revisions to really feel the benefit of an upgrade.
     
  10. macinsomniac thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    #10
    I plan on picking up a 23 - 24" display to use at home.

    Even if I were to choose a Macbook Pro, I would still use an external display at home. However, I would lose out on the portability. While I'm sure I would still take it with me when I absolutely needed to, I don't think that it would encourage mobile productivity like the Air would. I can see having the Air with me at almost all times, and being able to work away from my apartment to clear my head.
     
  11. macinsomniac thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    #11
    I would love it if a Rev C Air were announced within the next few weeks!

    For who say that an Air wouldn't be suitable for my only computer, but only as a secondary machine:

    Having a primary and secondary computer really isn't an option for me. I do not want the complication of having my data spread across different computers. If the Air will not meet my performance needs, then I will need to either choose a Macbook or Macbook Pro. Choosing the Macbook, I would be giving up a bright, clear display. By choosing the Macbook Pro, I would be leaving the computer on my desk most of the time.
     
  12. macinsomniac thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    #12
    Has anyone experienced running Photoshop on a 1.86 SSD Air?
     
  13. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #13
    I've done lot's of photoshop work on my Air, watched youtube vid's, movies, had ton's of windows open at same time, moved lot's of data to and from my 1TB back up hard drive with NO hiccups whatsover.

    I did find once that it seemed to have a lag when typing in google doc's or forums etc, but was because I had so many windows open, my iMac does the same thing I later realized so no big deal.

    It is a great, amazing computer.
     
  14. ant043 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ireland
    #14
    good display. My own macbook air aswell as every other one i've seen in store has grey lines. So much for the air having a better display than the macbook.
     
  15. ibosie macrumors 6502

    ibosie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #15
    I run Adobe Creative Suite, some gentle After Effects CS4 and a few tracks & effects in Logic Studio with no problems whatsoever on the Rev B 1.86 SSD. It's amazing how responsive this little machine can be. I don't think you'll be disappointed for what you want to do.
     
  16. macinsomniac thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    #16
    I have heard about this issue, but did not notice it when using the in-store Air. Is it really that prevalent?

    The viewing angle on the Macbook (or lack of), however, really left me wanting.
     
  17. macinsomniac thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    #17
    That's great news. I would plan on at least running Propellerhead Reason to satisfy my music creation, but the ability to lay down some tracks in Ableton Live or Logic Express would be a nice bonus. I tried running the Live 8 Studio demo at the Apple Store, and the demo song with several tracks, effect stacks, and modulation played smoothly, only bringing the processor usage up to around 53%. That's without freezing any tracks - far better than my iMac G5 would do!
     
  18. GeekGirl* macrumors 65816

    GeekGirl*

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    Feb 26, 2009
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    #18
    I use a rev A ssd as my only mac and it works fine.
     
  19. Aboo macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #19
    Supposedly, there are a bunch of new screens that Apple is using in the Macbook that have drastically improved the blacks as well as the viewing angles. Perhaps you should reconsider the macbook?
     
  20. macinsomniac thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    #20
    Funny - I had just jumped over to the Macbook section of the forum and came across a thread about improved displays earlier. From what I had gathered, the contrast, blacks, and brightness had been improved, but the viewing angles most likely did not. Still, depending on the degree of improvement and/or likelihood that I would receive one of these apparent updated models, I would be willing to take a second look at the Macbook. The allure of the Air's portability is tough for me to forget!
     
  21. ray648 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    #21
    In that case I would definately go for the air
     
  22. ibosie macrumors 6502

    ibosie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #22
    Too many audio tracks, especially above 44.1 kHz can eat into the available CPU quite quickly but surprising how many virtual instruments and effects you can run at once before it becomes a problem. Completing a full score on the Air is harder to do, but for prep work, experiments or just getting off the ground there's plenty of room to do that. USB is a bit of let down when it comes to performance, if you need to interface with external devices, my FastTrack Pro can easily overload the CPU if I'm not careful.
     
  23. macinsomniac thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    #23
    Hm, why do you think that is? do you think it is that particular audio interface, or any external sound card would add significantly to the CPU load?
     
  24. ibosie macrumors 6502

    ibosie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #24
    Drivers certainly have a part to play but the Air is not my primary audio machine so I haven't needed to try out other brands. Any USB audio interface will require a percentage of the CPU to operate which detracts from the total number of soft synths and effects that would otherwise run nicely together. It's more prominent on the 1.86Ghz SSD Air compared to a 2.4Ghz Macbook as you'd expect but it's not a show stopper when you factor in the extra CPU requirements of USB audio and any extra latency because of it. The Air still makes a surprising addition to mobile audio, when you want to make a quick sample, maybe a voice or a few notes from an instrument that's where the USB stuff becomes useful, not as the master interface to a final production.

    Here's a snapshot
    [​IMG]
     
  25. GeekGirl* macrumors 65816

    GeekGirl*

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    Feb 26, 2009
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    #25
    I have to say I bought a rev A 80 and Apple gave me a SSD REV. A as a replacement for a squeaky key the difference in the screen was just amazing, my first one looked liked crap compared to the replacement :)
     

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