Macbook Air upgrade

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Patrick J, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. Patrick J macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Oporto, Portugal
    #1
    I am thinking of buying a Macbook Air (2011) 13” (i5) to replace my Macbook Pro (mid-2009) 13” (2.26Ghz).

    I would like some feedback on this.

    I carry my laptop in my bag to uni every day, so I would definitely enjoy a lighter load. I am a music student, and although Sibelius works fine on my current laptop, some of my more complex projects on Logic are just impossible to run due overload. This is partly due to the slow 5400rpm drive.

    From benchmarks I conclude that the 1.7 Ghz i5 is significantly faster than the 2.26 Ghz Core2Duo. The SSD is also faster (and, to a lesser extent, the RAM), so all round I hope to see much better performance in Logic.

    I am thinking of purchasing a Samsung Optical Disc Drive to backup CDs I purchase, and all my movies will be on an external drive.

    The added resolution is also an advantage. For large score editing I have a 22” monitor at home which works fine.

    Is this a good purchase?
     
  2. CZSZSZ macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    #2
    Yes, absolutely. At the moment I also try to go from macbook pro to air.

    For me larger SSD is a must.
    I don't know when it is worth to upgrade from i5 to i7.
     
  3. Patrick J thread starter macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Oporto, Portugal
    #3
    Unfortunately I don’t have the money for a larger SSD, however I only am using around 62GB in my Home folder (minus movies), so there will be space for my current projects.
     
  4. Rasan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2011
    #4
    Wait, you are planning to use logic? Keep in mind, you dont have a firewire port for your audio interface (if you have one).
     
  5. Patrick J thread starter macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Oporto, Portugal
    #5
    Audio projects are exported to the uni computers for work, anything on my laptop is for work on the go. I freeze the source pre fade, so I can work without my keyboards.
     
  6. Rasan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2011
    #6
    Alright, then this is not an issue for you. I am still waiting for that damn firewire adapter... Anyways, i think its a good purchase for you, but i would also consider a 2011 13" MBP with an SSD. The MBP would give you more CPU power and ram.
     
  7. Patrick J thread starter macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Oporto, Portugal
    #7
    That is above my budget. It’s a pity the SSD in the MBA isn’t upgradeable via Apple (and the 3rd party solution is quite expensive as well).
     
  8. NutsNGum, Sep 3, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011

    NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #8
    Absolutely go for 256GB. 128GB isn't enough when it comes to Logic, in my experience at least. I have an 11" that I use with Kontakt 6 and Addictive Drums and I'm going to need to upgrade to a 2nd hand 256GB or an OWC 240GB, if I want to be able to put anything else on my computer.

    Edit: Unlike Rasan, I wouldn't recommend the 13" MBP for Logic, even with an SSD. The resolution really is very restrictive for doing any real work on. I had that set up for 2 days before I got rid of it and went for the Air.
     
  9. Rasan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2011
    #9
    Could you explain why it is restrictive? I am planning to buy an 13" MBP for recording too (mixing and mastering on an 27" Imac). What are the setbacks compared to the Air?
     
  10. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #10
    Sure man.

    1280x800 on a 16:10 13.3" screen felt very cramped to me, text was unpleasant to read, it felt large and blurry. Menu windows and plug-in windows take up larger amounts of the screen so there isn't as much free space if you want to have multiple ones open. There's a lot of clicking back and forth and to-ing and fro-ing.

    Contrarily, I found the 16:9 (and technically higher) resolution of the 11.6 inch to be far better for using Logic. Everything seems to fit more nicely on screen, text is much sharper and it feels more spacious in general, despite its size. It's also a hell of a lot lighter if you're carting it around.

    I also have the 27 iMac, so I was in more or less the same boat as yourself.

    I should also say that I had owned a 13" Air. It was, easily, the best computer I've owned. Sadly, my eyes didn't take well to the screen on it and I didn't have much of an option other than to return it. Otherwise, I could probably have used it for everything I do. It's a magnificent computer. If they sort the screens out on the next generation I might get one as my sole machine. Its resolution is the same as the current 15" Pro.
     
  11. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #11
    Given your current setup, the 13" i5 Air ought to be a significant update and suitable for your tasks. Note that the 128GB SSD actually has a capacity of about 121GB.
     
  12. Patrick J thread starter macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Oporto, Portugal
    #12
    Thanks for your reply. I was thinking of upgrading to the 256 GB model, to boost the resale value of the machine in a few years time.
     
  13. jamesr19, Sep 6, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2011

    jamesr19 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    #13
    upgrade!

    I was in a similar situation but for programming & graphics (less intensive than Music). Was stuck between 15" MBP Hi-res and 13" MBA i5/i7 from the MBP2.26

    In the end i went for the i7 MBA. It's so much faster than my old MBP and i love the higher screen res (main reason I wanted to upgrade). I use a 24" 1920x1200 monitor at home but recently I'm just happy using the 13" display because the resolution is great on it. Lion helps keep things less scattered

    I didn't think i'd use 128GB of SSD but i find i do just because I can - it's nicer being able to have more storage available than having to worry about storage. you can update the SSD up to 600GB from OWC (USA only). It's not cheap but they are apparently faster...

    It's feather light so portability is great! Docking it is as simple as MBP.

    I highly recommend getting a MBA and the i7 version is great! The only thing I miss is the extra RAM i had in my MBP (6GB in total) but I use a 69p app called MemoryFreeer (top charts of AppStore) and that's good enough for me


    Oh and also, I wouldn't bother with getting an external DVD drive - use an old pc you've got lying around. As my 24" monitor supports VGA and DVI, that's what i've done - I've got a Dell that cos me £20 and then you can install the Remote Disk drive s/w for windows on it and voila you have a wireless, cheap DVD drive (and secondary computer). I was looking at getting an XBOX 360 HD-DVD drive (they're suppose to work and you can view HDDVDs) but they don't burn disks :/
     
  14. halledise macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    #14
    it probably won't boost the resale value that much over time - maybe $50 to $100 depending on when you choose the sell it.

    the Air you described - 13" core i5 at 1.7ghz will be more than adequate for your stated use.
    buy a 1 or 2 TB external drive for around $100 and you're good to go.

    I think we can get too obsessed on speed of this, speed of that, and worry unnecessarily about incremental differences when in practise the above setup is fast, baby.
     
  15. macbookpro45 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    #15
    It's a good deal if you have the funds of course. The limiting factor when it comes to upgrading to new tech is always money; otherwise we would all upgrade to the latest and greatest all the time!

    to be honest, get a 13" air
     

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