MBA as your Main Computer?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by kaizer85, May 13, 2012.

  1. kaizer85 macrumors member


    Jun 20, 2010
    Boynton Beach, FL

    Pretty much for right now that is me..

    Im planning on getting a speaker system,apple wireless keyboard for it as well and maybe a stand and a mouse any recommendations on a mouse and stand that is affordable and isn't so expensive?
  2. shinobi-81 macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2012
    MBA as only computer works fine for me. You should get a BT mouse, so that it won't occupy any USB ports on your MBA.
  3. jmgregory1 macrumors 68000


    Jun 24, 2010
    Chicago and a few other places around the world
    I don't understand your desire to get a wireless keyboard and mouse. Unless you're going to get the TB Display, having a separate keyboard and mouse that pushes you further away from the small screen just can't be a smart decision.

    There are plenty of people on the boards that are using the TB Display with the Air as a primary system. I have the 13" Air as my primary and it does everything I need it to.

    I would also say that using a mouse, any mouse, is so last century. Take the time to learn the multi-finger gestures on the trackpad and you'll never want to go back to a mouse. Yes, I understand that there are some situations where having a mouse may be better, but even for things like drawing, you'd be better off using a stylus tool instead.
  4. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    I use a 13" MBA as my primary system with a Thunderbolt Display
    Rain mStand
    Apple wireless keyboard
    Magic Mouse
    Magic Trackpad

    I use both the mouse and trackpad for different things
  5. Kieran108 macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2012
    It has been mine for the past few months and I have been getting along fine. I have been using my iPhone a lot more though for general browsing, Twitter ect so I guess that could be considered my secondary computer now.
  6. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I replaced my dying 2008 15" MBP with a 13" i5 256GB MBA a couple months ago and now use it as my primary computer. It does everything that I want - almost twice as fast for CPU bound tasks as my 2008 MBP and maybe 4 or 5 times faster for disk.

    I am running a variety of high end applications (Final Cut Pro 6, Filemaker Pro 11, VectorWorks 2008, Photoshop CS3, Logic Pro 9) and they all work great. Most of the time it is on my desk connected to an old 23" Apple Cinema display with a DVI to minidisplayport adaptor. I have the standard Apple extended keyboard and an old 3 button Dynex mouse I got at Best Buy years ago.

    I also got the external Apple DVD drive, but honestly I probably should have saved my money. Only used it once, to try and install old software but that ended up being a bust because of 10.7 installer incompatibilities so I ended up installing on my old MBP and just copying the files to the MBA.

    I'm really pleased with this setup because it gives me everything I need with the external display and keyboard at home, plus a really lightweight portable when I travel.
  7. Jasoco macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2006
    13" Air as my main machine.

    2010 Mac mini as a backup/media server.

    12TB+ connected to the mini for storage and redundant backups.

    Carbon Copy Cloner for hourly backups over network to the mini.

    4-year family account with CrashPlan ($287 for 4 years or $6 monthly for unlimited storage from up to 10 computers is a small cheap-ass price to pay for security against fire or flood.) for online backup and access to all files on both machines from anywhere, including my iPad and Android phone.

    Plex Media Server on the mini serves up my ripped DVD's.

    Plex app on OS X and iOS for watching my served media from anywhere.

    Parallels app on both machines and Parallels iOS app on my iPad for controlling my virtual machines and computers themselves also from anywhere in the world.

    Free DropBox account and Hazel are used for automated transfer and organization of files I don't need to keep on the Air, and having them on my internet backed up server drive means I can still access them from anywhere with apps for OS X, Windows and iOS and Android I'm set. It's a good age to be living in.

    I run everything on my Air. Including light gaming with Steam. Duke Nukem Forever (Only used as a graphics example) runs pretty well, and Portal 2 is just fine. Not the best, but playable. Other games run well too.

    Basically I have embraced the cloud. And no, I am not being paid to advertise for anything. These are what I use because they are the best you can get when you do the research. (There are alternatives to CrashPlan including Mozy and Carbonite, but their prices are terrible in comparison and don't have the same "unlimited storage forever and ever guaranteed" guarantee CP has. Mozy just recently dumped their unlimited plan and raised prices. And Carbonite doesn't even have a family plan!) I just like to type a lot of words. So sue me.
  8. PodPacker macrumors regular


    Oct 23, 2006
    What Kind of Storage

    What hardware are you using? I have a RocStor Arctic Drive with 2 x 3TB, but I want to get something with 4 drive bays at least.
  9. jacob-07 macrumors regular

    May 14, 2011
    I use my MBA as my main computer right now, but I will probably get a Mac mini down the line.
  10. classicaliberal macrumors regular


    Jul 19, 2011
    REALLY cool setup, and I for one am glad you're long-winded. ;)
    A couple of questions...

    1) How do you have your Mac Mini connected to the Air as the backup/media server? What kind of lag do you experience?
    I have about 2.5TB of data between ripped DVDs, iMovie, iPhoto, etc. content. I'd love to have a Macbook Air as my main computer but I just don't see how it would be possible thanks to all of that extreme storage I need.

    2) What are the benefits to using PLEX over iTunes/AppleTV? How do you view your PLEX content on your TV? What device does it go through?

    3) How would you change your setup if you were in a 2 Macbook Air household? That would be my situation if I made the switch.
  11. sundragon macrumors regular


    Dec 27, 2011
    Washington, DC
    Grad Student

    I have a 2011 MBA i7 as my primary computer. It replaced a MB Pro 15" 2009 model.

    I'm in gradschool and I needed something more portable and I feel the difference when lugging books, etc across town.

    The smaller screen works really well for the most part. When I have large papers to edit/spreadsheets. I wish I had a larger screen. You can purchase a 22" monitor for ~$120 and in conjunction with the 13" screen it will be more than enough.

    The processor and memory are equally more than enough to handle the work I throw at it, including playing Civ 5, and Skyrim on Bootcamp. I finished Skyrim, FWIW :D

    I will probably stick to MBA from now on. The 15" screen is great and I loved my MB Pro but being able to throw this in my bag and barely feel it there. Having the ability to sit on a train/plane and have it fit on the tray without being uncomfortable, makes a huge difference.

    The alternative was to purchase a iPad for school and keep my MB Pro 15. I hate duplication and would rather have one machine. My school mates use their iPad very effectively to take notes and access PPT slides/journals during class.
  12. ixodes macrumors 601


    Jan 11, 2012
    Pacific Coast, USA
    I will say that an MBA is a fine laptop for use as ones primary or only computer. As always it is solely dependent on your needs.

    Due to the nature of my work, I require a very powerful resource laden computer, thus I use a maxed out Mac Pro, a fully loaded MBP, and a 13" MBA for times when I travel.

    In fact, I find my 13" MBA such a feather light, compact laptop I carry it everywhere, everyday. The nature of my work requires me to be connected at a moments notice, therefore if I'm out & about I just pop into any public hotspot & login. My MBA is a great asset.

    While I have an iPad 3, it's simply for convenience around the house.

    Apple makes excellent computers, choose whatever you like & you'll be so happy you did. All are of equal quality, durability, and refinement.
  13. Mikey-Mike macrumors member


    Aug 11, 2011
    I have the "Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2" and it is the best I have ever used but it seems kind of lacking somehow. But the Happy Hacking Professional 2 is "supposed" to be even better so I will get one of those. $400.00!

    Suggest the Logitech M305 mouse as shown. Very good. USB plug in. Long battery life etc.

    See Pict below.

  14. AirThis macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2012
    I'm seriously considering it as well. If they upgrade the max disk space slightly (meaning at least 384Gb), I'll seriously consider buying one. Great design, great machine as far as I'm concerned. :)
  15. Medic278 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2012
    New York
    I use my 11" primarily as my on the road machine sometimes, to be honest I don't really use it as much as I should. However I could very easily use this as my main machine if I had to. It is plenty powerful and handles anything I throw at it. The only downside is I cannot upgrade the RAM. The other downside is the limited availability of ports and the fact that the MBA can only run 1 display. Other than that though its an amazing machine.
  16. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I was concerned about this as well when I decided to go with the air. My 2008 MBP had the expressport slot that I used with Sony sXs cards from my XDCAM video camera. But I can also access those over USB (more slowly), and it hasnt been an issue because I haven't been shooting much video. I could also get a thunderbolt expressport adaptor relatively cheaply if I need it in the future.

    The absence of a firewire port is a slight annoyance, since I have a few drives with video that are firewire-only with no USB port. I needed to use my old MBP to copy data from those to a USB disk. Again, I could get an adaptor if I ever feel a need for it. I'm hoping we'll see more Thunderbolt peripherals in the future.

    I had to replace my firewire M-audio interface with a USB iO2 from Alesis, but I like it better than the old one anyway. I was concerned about having too many USB devices, but so far no problems there. My keyboard and mouse are connected to an old Apple Cinema Display which plugs into one of the MBA USB ports. I have a 7 port powered hub connected to the other MBA USB port, and have run that with the Alesis iO2, two AT2020 USB microphones and a KORG control surface. Everything works fine.

    I'm sure there will be some thunderbolt external disks in my future. :)
  17. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    I have used my 13" MBA as my main (and only) computer since late 2010, when I replaced my 2008 15" MBP, and I must say I love the speed of the SSD, the sharp resolution of the screen and the fantastic portability of the computer. As I'm not a gamer, the MBA does everything I need it to do, and does it very well.

    At the time, I also bought the MBA superdrive - I'm the sort that still buys and rips CDs and got Applecare for it (which I have used; the keyboard has been replaced, as has the magsafe, as well as the superdrive).
  18. Medic278 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2012
    New York
    Yeah the lack of firewire does suck as its currently my method of choice for data transfers, luckily though I use my MBP as my main machine so its not that much of an issue it just sucks when I have to put raw footage onto my air via USB. I also see thunderbolt drives in my future but I am going to wait for the price to come down as the current prices for thunderbolt drives are crazy. The one external hub I use for my MBP original HDD is both firewire and USB so it makes transferring larger files between my MBA and MBP a bit easier at least.
  19. The Samurai macrumors 68000

    The Samurai

    Dec 29, 2007
    I use the MBA quite a lot. I do have an iMac which I spend most of my time on but I would say that I throw a lot of stuff onto the MBA as well (video stuff). When ive been away for a few weeks, the MBA has always accompanied me and its never let me down. Can easily use it as a main computer.
  20. Sech macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2012
    I used my 11 as my main machine connected to a Thunderbolt display for around four months, before deciding to purchase a refurb iMac.

    I didn't like dealing with my large iTunes library on external disk and the limited RAM hurt for what I wanted to do with virtual machines. There was a minor stutter when switching apps or using expose due to the pixels the machine was pushing to the monitor that I never liked either, but that was minor.

    Like others have said, I could easily go back to it but I really like the all in one setup of my iMac and after pairing my iPad with a Logitech ultrathin keyboard have found the Air mostly collecting dust. :(
  21. Huge125 macrumors member


    Jun 16, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    How is the performance on the final cut pro? I assume you are using an external hard drive for file storage, is that connected firewire or usb? I dabble in videos using iMovie. I use Garage band more though, and wonder if the MBA could handle multiple tracks without slowing down. Thinking about logic in the future. I currently run a 2010 2.4ghz mac mini with 8gb of ram in 64 bit mode. Wonder if my speed would increase or decrease with a mba?
  22. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I am using FCP 6 - don't have much reason to upgrade as I don't do a lot of video work these days. The MBA is much faster than my 2008 MBP. See the comments I posted in this thread:

    I have the 256GB SSD, and I still have over 150GB free so I'm not using an external drive for anything but backup at the moment. I have (literally) two milk crates full of external firewire drives from the days when I did a lot of video work. Some of these also have USB ports, others don't.

    I haven't tried editing from a USB drive, and don't think I would want to based on what I've read in the past. When I finally get another big video project to work on, I'll get a thunderbolt drive. I would also probably upgrade to the OWC 480GB internal SSD. If they would make a thunderbolt enclosure that would hold my old 256GB SSD, I'd be very tempted to do that sooner rather than later. :)

    Garageband runs great on the MBA, I have used it extensively to do live recording. But I just installed Logic Pro 9, and really like it so I probably won't be using GarageBand much in the future. People are reporting a variety of problems with Logic under MacOSX 10.7.4 so I am staying at 10.7.3 for now.

    My 2008 15" MBP was 2.4ghz Core2 Duo, just like your Mini, but I only had 4GB of RAM (which was always enough unless I wanted a whole lot of programs open, which I didn't). The MBA is just way faster at everything. I'd say almost 2x faster for CPU and 4 or 5 times faster for disk. The SSD makes it feel fast for everything you do. Also, since programs open so quickly from the SSD, I usually just quit from them when I close a document and don't leave so many things open at the same time. Even a big program like Photoshop starts in a few seconds, whereas it took forever on my MBP with a 5400 RPM disk.

    I think you would see a big speed improvement with the Air across the board, but then again we all have our own styles and usage patterns. All I can say is that it feels like a huge step forward for me.
  23. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    I don't use mine as a primary computer, but if I did, I'd have it on stand to raise the screen closer to eye level. Once you do that, the wireless keyboard and mouse (or trackpad) follow. Mine mainly gets used at work in clamshell mode, with an external monitor, magic trackpad and wired keyboard (I like having a numeric keypad)
  24. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    Do your fans run a lot in clamshell mode? I use my MBA most of the time with an external monitor too, but found the fans quickly kick in when I leave the lid closed. So now I leave the lid open, with the MBA screen set dim. My fans almost never run unless doing something intense, like recording audio in Logic for awhile.

    I realize that it's normal to have the fans running, but something just bothers me about it - and it's surprising how loud they can be in a quiet room!
  25. mj1108 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 7, 2007
    My 13" is my main computer since I bought it last November.

    I can count the number of times on one hand I've used my old Windows 7 desktop since then (turned it into a media server).

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