MBA as your primary computer

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Heavenkittykat, Nov 14, 2008.

  1. Heavenkittykat macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2008
    I know a lot of people think that the MBA is intended to function as a secondary computer. However, in some light users like me, I don't see why it can't be your primary computer. So out of curiosity I want to ask the question:
    Besides me, who else in this forum uses MBA as their primary computer and how is computing experience with setup so far?
  2. thechungster macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2008
    I would never be able to use the Air as a primary computer. Relatively small HDD, has one USB port so if I need to sync my iPod, I would have none spare, needs the external superdrive if using Bootcamp, and watching movies. Small things that make this computer for me only a secondary computer
  3. n0de macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2005
    I do use it as my primary. No real problems or headaches. The caveat though is that I am not a gamer and do not watch video on my computer, that is what my XBox and TV are for.....

    My Mac Mini has been relegated to be a file server.

    I have Parallels on my Air to use MS Access and do everything else in OSX.

    The only annoying part is that my music collection is ~30GB so I do have storage space issues.
  4. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    why would you want it to be your primary computer is the question when you can get a mb or mbp for about the same cost or cheaper

    for a primary comupter i like to plug in a

    1) mouse
    2) keyboard
    3) maybe an external display
    4) an external hard drive if needed
    5) flash drives occasionally
    6) printer
    7) ipod

    even with a usb hub, it could be tight on usb space. then what if you need ethernet as you dont have wireless, so there youd have to buy the ethernet to usb adapter

    so i guess you "could" but why on earth would you ever want to is my question
  5. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    I have a lot of macs right now, but its safe to say that my Air is my primary computer. I define "primary" as the computer that goes with me everywhere and I use every day.

    I bring my air to studio everyday and plug it into an external monitor. Most of my work is in photoshop/illustrator/dreamweaver/flash/flex/after effects. The Air does not feel significantly slower than my last "primary" computer, a 2.2 macbook pro.

    I find having a laptop by my side at all times much more useful than the horsepower of my mac pro. I have found myself using my desktop macs less and less. When I do need my desktop, its usually for a project that I would not undertake on ANY laptop, so its not an issue with the air.
  6. keantan macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2008
    Penang, Malaysia
    I just received my air in the post earlier today (1.6GHz/128GB SSD CTO) and am loving it. It's probably not as snappy as the 1.86 but I don't think it will get as hot. Was installing all my bits and bobs using the superdrive and the temperature (according to iStat) peaked at 77 celcius. Right now I am doing chatting surfing and downloading system updates and it's stable about 55 C.

    No sign of the horizontal lines on the screen and I have full 4 finger gestures.
    (For those who are interested: mine is a W8845 week 45 model).

    It feels like 2 pads of A4 paper on my lap.. It's really cool and light compared to my old 15" MBP.
  7. Heavenkittykat thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2008
    how many USB ports are there in the macbook? 2 right? if the usb is not enough for the things you want to plug in at once then how would a macbook or even a macbook pro be sufficient?

    The question is, why would i want to plug in all of the things you listed at once therefore needing more than 1 usb? I know you listed that you want to plug the things above to your primary computer. Since I have a laptop why would I want to plug mouse and keyboard?

    I don't use external hard drives, i only plug my printer when I need to print, I don't have an ipod but I have an iphone and i only plug it in when i sync it...duh.

    Why would i want an MBA vs. MB or MBP? why, you never thought about portability? I lug my computer with my everyday to school walking maybe a few miles back and forth around campus in UCSD, of course I would need a portable computer.
  8. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    well thats your opinion and i merely gave mine. frankly for a primary computer, i hate using a track pad

    see the 2 usb on the mb gives me one for my kb and mouse and the other open to a usb hub

    i also dont have to tie one up for an optical drive if i want to watch a dvd or if i need to use ethernet.

    many including myself use external hard drives and that requires usb or firewire

    so yes, one usb port that must be used for an optical drive, ethernet, ipod, hard drive, keyboard and mouse, would drive me insane

    another thing, dont post a question on whether or not a mba can be used as a PRIMARY computer and expect to have all the replies echo your needs. i stated my opinion on what i want in a primary computer as this thread was asking about using a mba as a primary

    if you dont like dissenting opinions from your own, then dont post the question. :rolleyes:

    your reasons to me justify it as a great secondary computer. i merely dont see the logic in it being a primary ok. but hey whatever floats your boat

    for the record, even my mb is not my primary machine as i use a desktop
  9. Cynicalone macrumors 68040


    Jul 9, 2008
    Okie land
    I use the MBA as a second computer. But I could see you using it as a your only computer if you had minimal needs. Hell if it wasn't for the 500+GB iTunes library I have I really could use it for my main computer. Right now it's my work and travel computer. When the new 24" LCD Display comes out you could get that and have the added USB ports and a great screen to compliment your air and could live without another computer with ease.
  10. SFStateStudent macrumors 604


    Aug 28, 2007
    San Francisco California, USA
    At least, that's how I roll...:cool:
  11. Molopo macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2008
    I don't see why you would need to plug in a KEYBOARD into your MBA seeing as how it already has one. A mouse is a necessity, I feel, so I'm with you on that one. USB hubs will allow you to connect whatever peripherals you want. It wouldn't be nearly as portable, but neither is a desktop computer so yeah. Mostly, it's my opinion that you are just trying to be difficult with the thread creator.
  12. Lordillingworth macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2007
    Shropshire, UK
    The air is pretty much my only computer.
    I have a mac mini which acts as purely a media centre for my room. And i use it to sync three different peoples ipods with!

    Anyway, i use the air to:
    build and maintain a website with iweb
    record a podcast in garageband
    write short stories and poems in pages
    Sort out finances in numbers
    edit short videos in final cut express
    talk to people on various messenger services at once using adium
    keep in contact with people who listen to the podcast view my site etc, by email
    organise my time and events with ical, synced to mobileme and my iphone
    surf the net in general and do a lot of buying and selling on, amazon, and ebay.

    I can't think of anything else that i would use a computer for and that is why my air is used all the time for everything i do and why the mac mini is pretty much only used for watching dvd's and playing itunes downloads (music and tv shows and films) in frontrow along with syncing various ipods!

    The air pretty much always goes with me when i go on a trip somewhere or just go to my nan and grandads house. I have said before in other posts that the size and weight do not give enough benefit over a normal plastic macbook to justify the price difference, but there is nothing that i want to add to the air at all, it does everything i want and due to the fact it runs osx it does ten times more!

    Anyway, i would say i am more than an average computer user (what percentage of the population of computer users just browse the net and use messenger?) anyway, ultimately it easily does everything i want so i therefore use it all the time.

    It depends what you want a computer for.

    Have a great day,

    Lord i.
  13. justit macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2007
    Yet another "not enough USB ports" thread

    I primarily use last year's White MB 2.2 with 4GB Ram. It's still not as fast as I'd like it to be. The obvious route get a MBP right? Well I've been on the obvious route for the past 20 years buying macs at every new generation hoping for more. What I've been demanding from a portable is never enough. But with the MBA I think I need to rethink how I really work.

    Old Way:
    * More More More is better

    MBA thinking:
    * Work smarter - heavy work on desktop, MBA for inspirational work from anywhere.

    Old Way:
    * Need everything with me at all times even if it kills me
    * Ports, ports, ports

    MBA thinking:
    * Figure out what's really important to me
    Like create a favorites iTunes list with only 5 GB (Instead of my 100GB).
    Like buy a good powered USB hub
    Like buy a bluetooth mouse

    Old Way:
    My PC controls my habits

    MBA thinking:
    MBA is joined at the hip whenever my iPhone is just not enough

    In the end do we need to learn that there will never be a portable that does everything for all people, that's its never enough?

    So for the MBA owners out there, are my expectations on the right track to purchasing an MBA... or did I drink too much of Steve's koolaid?
  14. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    then we are on the same page that the mba is great as a secondary machine lol

    my argument is that it is lacking for use as a primary and only machine:rolleyes: which is what this thread is asking about

    the reason i said mb or mbp as they are cheaper or the same about in terms of price and you get more features (which is nice to have on a primary machine"

    but again to each his own

    im not being difficult, im just pointing out what i think a primary machine should consist of

    i plug a keyboard into my mb and then a mouse into my keyboard. makes typing faster to me personally. same with an external monitor with my mb as well

    i have nothing against the mba but to argue its use as a sole and primary computer is unwise to any prospective buyers imo

    i think the air is awesome as a secondary machine like its oringinal intent is

    I mean im merely adressing the op's question lol
  15. Lordillingworth macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2007
    Shropshire, UK
    another thing i would like to add, if people can afford to go around spending as much money on the air and only using it as a secondary computer, then i doubt it matters to them what they use it for.
    in some ways i sort of wished i had just got the plastic macbook, but i got my air refurbished so it wasn't quite the shock to the wallet it could have been!
  16. Grizzly Adams macrumors member

    May 20, 2008
    I use my MBA as my primary computer. I have a desktop that I use for some things, but I honestly rarely use it anymore. I like being able to sit on the couch and do what I need. I'm in college and don't really do too much other than the usual notes, papers, video projects, music, and surfing the interbutts to waste time, and it works fine for me. I'd say that there are times that I do need to use my desktop instead of my MBA though, but I consider that my secondary computer.
  17. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    No need to plug in a USB mouse; use a wireless BT mouse (such as Apple's wireless BT Mighty Mouse) and that frees up the USB port for something else. Ditto for the keyboard if one wants to add a keyboard to the MBA or any of Apple's other notebook computers. For instance I have my 17" MBP plugged into the 23" ACD and am using a wireless BT keyboard and wireless BT mouse with it, which then lets me use the USB ports for other things: printer, occasonally a card reader, synchronizing my iPod or iPhone, etc.

    When at home a lot of times I also use the BT Mighty Mouse with my MBA, but when I'm out and about I just use the touchpad.

    I don't think I would want to have the MBA as my primary and only computer, but I can see how it could work out nicely for some people.
  18. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    The only problem I had using an Air (first-gen) as my main machine was the small hard-drive size.

    I like being able to take my main machine with me anywhere I want, and I had to leave too much of my stuff off to squeeze everything on the 80GB hard drive.

    I ended up selling my MBA and going back to a 15" MBP, but now that the Air has an extra 40GB of drive space, I'll be switching back to it (as my main machine) soon enough.
  19. beavster macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2008
    I got the MBA 2.0 with the intention of using it as a secondary computer. However, as many have already stated, it's perfect as a primary computer for me. With 128G SSD, I initially thought I wouldn't have enough space. But in reality, I learned that I really didn't need all that other "stuff".

    It's light, powerful and quick. It's easy to use anywhere and at anytime. It's got a great display and keyboard. And with OS X, it's efficient. If any of you are at all thinking of getting an MBA and decide to get one, you will be amazed at how you ever lived without one! It's simply amazing.
  20. Molopo macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2008
    First of all, don't try to say that all you're doing is "answering the op's question" when you are, in fact, not. Also, yes, you are being difficult. It is my honest opinion that your needs in a computer are a bit arbitrary and irrational. Secondly, none of your needs cannot be satisfied with the air. External display - yes. External hard drive - yes. Keyboard + mouse with BT - yes. You haven't mentioned ANYTHING about lack of power, probably the main concern with using the MBA as a primary machine, so basically all of your arguments against using the MBA as a primary machine are unfounded. That is, besides your irrational preferences for supercilious things. "Just my opinion."
  21. ducatidoc macrumors regular


    Apr 20, 2008
    mba is my primary computer. the rev1 was a dog, but my new rev2 does fine in this role.

    i use it to run:
    large excel databases
    standard web email
    ms office apps
    an expanded desktop

    and will soon be bootcamping for:
    ms access
    some fps games

    i am hesitant on using virtualization software due to the low ram, but might try out a codeweavers bottle i picked up free last week...

    as for the hub, its a necessity. unplug one usb and disconnect to 6 devices!

    my only wish was that they made a single adapter for all three ports, one thing to unplug that hooks up to all of you desktop devices.
  22. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    Coming from a RevA 1.8GHz owner...the new one could replace my iMac.

    You would get a monitor with USB ports; leave your dock and external drive connected to that and just jack-in when you get home.
  23. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    That's one of the reasons why I'm excited about the new 24" LED Cinema Display. I like the all-in-one'ness of it (monitor + speakers + 3 USB ports + neat cables). I figure I'd have my iPhone sync cable plugged into one USB port, an external USB scratch drive (for raw iMovie stuff) in another, and a third one for whatever pops up. :)
  24. Brad Larson macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2008
    Madison, WI
    I am currently using the new MacBook Air (1.86 GHz, 128 SSD) as my primary machine. Previously, I used one of the 2007 Core 2 Duo MacBooks as my primary computer.

    For my day job, I build robotic systems and design their control software. In my spare time, I write iPhone and Mac applications (Molecules for the iPhone is my first publicly available project). This system has been more than capable of handling whatever I've thrown at it, which includes Xcode and TextMate for development, LaTeX for typesetting, Pixelmator for image editing, and Pages and Numbers for business documents. Performance-wise, the system stays cooler and the fans are quieter than my old MacBook, and the SSD makes certain tasks blazingly fast (Spotlight searches, application launches). 128 GB was finally enough for me to keep all my documents, photos, music, and virtual machines on one system. I only miss the Firewire port for testing some of our industrial CCD cameras, but that can be done on one of our iMacs.

    The light weight and quality design make using it a pleasure to work with on my lap, and using one of the Waterfield sleevecases really takes the load off your shoulder. At work, I have a 24" Gateway (FHD2400) that I plug into, along with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. This makes for a great workstation, and even leaves the USB port free for iPhone debugging. I may take a look at the new 24" LED displays to see how those work with the Air.

    So, yes, serious users can rely on the new Air as a primary machine.
  25. stealthman1 macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2006
    If I wasn't a photographer and an occasional videographer, this computer could quite aptly function as an only computer. For a student, a business person, even a Grandma and Grandpa who travel, I think this machine will serve quite well. I'll have to play with some HD video this weekend, but I don't think small projects will kill this machine. Any of the newer portable hard drives or a 32 or 64gb stick will provide whatever disc space the internal lacks.
    I was at best buy today looking at the current crop of laptops and I believe that Jobs has this one nailed. In a portable device why on earth should you carry around all that hardware that most consumers use once in a blue moon. The advanced features of the trackpad really make a mouse obsolete...and it has a full sized keyboard. I'm not getting that angle.

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