MBA as secondary computer. Which 11" model?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by wineandcarbs, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. wineandcarbs macrumors 6502a

    May 2, 2008
    Hi all,

    I am considering getting an 11" MBA as a secondary computer. I currently have an early-2011 MBP that I love. I carry it to work every day, though, and am considering getting an 11" MBA as my work computer, rather than carrying my MBP back and forth every day. The MBA would basically function solely as a work computer while at work (when at home I'd use my MBP) or for simple tasks when traveling. I will keep files synced via dropbox or a similar service.

    My question is whether I should get the base model 11" or the "upgraded" one given my uses.

    I'd be using it solely for work - for the usual internet, email, document creation (MS Office Suite), but also for hooking up to the projector to show movies and video clips using VLC media player and to show YouTube clips. I would also be very frequently showing PowerPoint presentations. Sometimes I will need to have PP, MS Word, and the internet all open at the same time (showing powerpoints and then referring to internet clips or doing that and then typing something into MS Word).

    Is the 2GB ram sufficient or will I find this somewhat annoying when multitasking? I'm not too concerned about the SSD size on the base model because I'll keep all of my music, personal photos, and non-work related video clips and movies on my MBP but I am concerned about the RAM. Is it best to just go w/ the upgraded 11"?

    TIA :)
  2. roofz macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2012
    Southern California
    Since you've already narrowed it down to the 11" model, and it doesn't seem like your expected use is too rigorous, you should go with the base
  3. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    While 2GB is probably fine (I've never tested it personally), I'd suggest 4GB for the mere fact that you can't upgrade the RAM in the future.

    If you top it out now, you won't have to worry about running into memory issues when all your applications/tabs/videos/etc are open (not that you necessarily would currently, but maybe). The upgraded model has more memory for the GPU too; granted, I'm not too sure how much that affects VLC and Youtube.

    And when Mountain Lion hits, or maybe the next couple OS's, maybe 4GB will be a requirement?
  4. wineandcarbs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 2, 2008
    Thank you! Do you think I would have issues with multitasking with the 2GB RAM? I do sometimes get the beachballs with my non-rigorous use on my MBP and that has 4GB ram.
  5. roofz macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2012
    Southern California
    I'm using a (as my main computer) an MBA (1,1) from that has exactly 2gb of ram.

    I can tell you first hand that the multitasking is a bit laggy. If I have say, 4 tabs open in safari, ms word and iTunes running, and say another program running, such as iChat, I will get a decent amount of lag across these programs.

    I'm sure the current 11" mba's won't give you nearly as much lag when multitasking, because I believe the RAM is clocked at 1333MHz, whereas mine is clocked at 533MHz. I think you'll be fine :D
  6. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2008
    I'd very much recommend the upgraded. For $200 more you get double the ram and double the disk space. Unless you really can't afford that $200, it would be the best $200 you could spend.
  7. wineandcarbs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 2, 2008
    Thank you all. I think I will go with the 4GB RAM and extra SSD space model since I will be multitasking a lot and nothing is more frustrating than lagging when presenting! :p

    Now I guess the big question is whether to buy now or wait until the 2012 models come out. (And I'm usually one of those "BUY WHEN YOU NEED IT" folks :p)
  8. roofz macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2012
    Southern California
    I'm currently waiting on the 2012 model :D
  9. yongren macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2011
    I think once you get your Air, you will find yourself using the Pro less and less, especially if you don't often do video work or gaming. Why not sell the Pro and get a 13" MBA?
  10. stu.h macrumors 65816


    May 8, 2010
    West Midlands, England.
    Its an absolute no brainer to get the 4gb/128gb/384mb gfx version.

    Although dont bother with the i7 upgrade.

  11. throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia


    Although, if you spec an 11" up to 128gb and 4gb of ram, the price difference to go to a 13" with the much better screen is not that big of a jump. And imho, 1440x900 is WAY more usable than 1366x768 due to being 16x10 instead of 16x9 aspect. Its not a hell of a lot bigger to carry....
  12. stu.h macrumors 65816


    May 8, 2010
    West Midlands, England.
    This :D

    I had the dilemma of what to go for when I bought my 11", but as I was replacing an iPad 2 I went for the 11" for portability and bought a Thunderbolt display for my desk for the real estate (which it runs awesomely).

    But the weight difference is negligable, however the 11" does have a higher PPI screen, albeit lower res.
  13. wineandcarbs, Feb 26, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012

    wineandcarbs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 2, 2008
    I'm getting confused! LOL

    I knew I wanted to upgrade RAM to 4GB and the storage to 128GB... the dilemma was whether to also go to i7 processor. I've read it is a significant speed boost on the 11" models?

    So I guess my options are:

    1) 11", 4GB, 128GB, i5 - ETA: in the Canadian Apple store you can't upgrade the SSD in the base model 11". Only RAM.
    2) 11", 4GB, 128GB, i7
    3) Just wait until 2012 models come out :D

    LOL. I was never this indecisive with my MBP. I just picked out the model I wanted, walked into the store, bought it within 10 minutes, came home and enjoyed my new computer. LOL
  14. Jare macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2010
    Honestly the absolute base model will suffice you enough. I've been using it perfectly fine.

    Wait till the new ones come out and get the 11" base model.
  15. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I have the i7 11" and my sister has the i5. I hardly notice the difference (if at all) on the types of tasks you mention. The i7 is about 20% faster at CPU-intensive tasks, but unless you encode video frequently or do anything else CPU-intensive you aren't likely to notice it.
  16. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    How long do you intend to keep the computer for and is your expected usage liable to change? From what you said, it sounds like 4GB/128GB/i5 should be plenty. Or you could wait for the 2012 model.

    This pretty much sums it up.
  17. bniu macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2010
    I'm actually trying to save up for an Air 11" as a secondary laptop. My brain tells me it's the most logical route to just get the base model but my ego keeps insisting on the Ultimate model i7 256GB SSD. Coupled with my policy of go big or go home, well, I guess it's the Ultimate 11" Air for me :D
  18. wineandcarbs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 2, 2008
    Thanks Jare, KPOM, Bear!

    Bear...I'd keep it for as long as it continued to run well for me and keep up with me. My expected usage isn't likely to change at all. As long as I can do those tasks and multi-task w/o lag I'll be a happy camper! :p Looks like I'll go with 11"/4GB/128GB/i5 unless I wait for the 2012 model (still debating on that; will decide if I need it now and buy based on that. I have an MBP as my primary computer but it does get a little cumbersome to carry back and forth to work every day since I carry a lot of other work stuff as well.)
  19. AndyinAtl macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2011
    I LOVE my base 11". That being said I just use it for fun and I do experience a little bit of lag when multitasking. If I had to do it all over again I would upgrade to the 4.
  20. superstarmc macrumors regular

    Jun 13, 2011
    I got the 4 gigs of ram, 128 gig drive and it's pretty fast. It's actually the only computer I'm currently using along with an external monitor of course.

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