MBA enough laptop?

Dlcinnc

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 26, 2011
25
0
Hi! I know this has been posted and discussed but I have to admit that I do not understand all the tech specifics and am new to Mac. Sorry if this bores anyone!
I am toying with purchasing a MBP or MBA and would love a MBA. I have a MBP 15" very basic model for work that I just LOVE! My concerns are that a MBA will be too slow or bogged down with what I do. Here is what I typically need to do on a laptop:
* general web and FB
* lots of Power Point, Word, and Excel (do not mind the Mac versions at all)
* video editing and current am using Camtasia for Mac
* photo editing in iPhoto
* movie editing in iMovie
* No gaming
* I also tend to have several programs open at once as I take things from one to insert into another.

So...thoughts? What suggestions are out there for the right kind of specs that I would need? I do use Dropbox but keep many items such as photos on my HD. I would love a 13" MBA but not sure if I could get away with the low end model or need more. Would a MBP be my best bet? I would still prefer a 13" if possible.

Thank you very much for all of your assistance! Sorry also for my ignorance as to what technical specifications are needed.
 

wrinkster22

macrumors 68030
Jun 11, 2011
2,623
6
Toronto
* general web and FB you will be fine
* lots of Power Point, Word, and Excel (do not mind the Mac versions at all) Fine
* video editing and current am using Camtasia for Mac no experience sorry
* photo editing in iPhoto Fine
* movie editing in iMovie should be fine
* No gaming you can get away with a little gaming :)
* I also tend to have several programs open at once as I take things from one to insert into another.may be a little bit of a problem
I have the 13" 2011 model . It is maxed out. I suggest you getting the i7 upgrade.
 

Dlcinnc

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 26, 2011
25
0
Thanks so much! I am anxious about having to keep aware of how much I have loaded on the MBA but love the ingenuity of it!
 

Yodawg

macrumors newbie
Nov 26, 2011
10
0
I do all of these things on my ultimate 13. No issue. I don't game hard though.
 

Abazigal

macrumors G5
Jul 18, 2011
12,798
10,832
Singapore
The 4gb ram might be an issue when you are trying to manipulate multiple windows, but otherwise, the MBA should do all the other jobs pretty well.
 

Smileyboy

macrumors 65816
Aug 6, 2008
1,119
115
Sold my iMac 21.5 i5 quad core and MBA 11 1.6 and got a 13 i.7 i5. So far it does the video I need in iMovie, edit audio in Garageband ... I'm good and portable.:D
 

Chipg

macrumors regular
Aug 17, 2010
191
2
Last night I downloaded the new X-Plane 10 demo flight simulator and it ran fine, the fans were on full and it got hot but actually it added to the reality of the noise from the engines and aircraft cabin. It's a very cpu intensive program.

I have the 256g i7 13"
 

jkim3691

macrumors 6502a
Oct 8, 2011
532
10
I actually too have a similar question being that I was in the same situation as the OP a week ago. I ended up buying the 13"/256/i5 version. Still am wondering if this is enough laptop for my use as well. What drew me to the Air was how fast the SSD was and the portability of it seeing that I am a commuting student.

Most of my activity is just web browsing, listening to music, word documents for school, t.v. shows on Hulu, sports games on espn3 and first row sports. I also might pick up Photoshop again possibly (I used to be good at it in high school).

I feel like what I got in the Air is enough, but there's that side of me that looks at the specs and gets worried I didn't get the Pro. To my understanding however, the base Pro is almost identical in specs to the Air I have besides gHz? Can anyone confirm/explain?
 
Last edited:

jterp7

macrumors 6502a
Oct 26, 2011
925
44
I actually too have a similar question being that I was in the same situation as the OP a week ago. I ended up buying the 13"/256/i5 version. Still am wondering if this is enough laptop for my use as well. What drew me to the Air was how fast the SSD was and the portability of it seeing that I am a commuting student.

Most of my activity is just web browsing, listening to music, word documents for school, t.v. shows on Hulu, sports games on espn3 and first row sports. I also might pick up Photoshop again possibly (I used to be good at it in high school).

I feel like what I got in the Air is enough, but there's that side of me that looks at the specs and gets worried I didn't get the Pro. To my understanding however, the base Pro is almost identical in specs to the Air I have besides gHz? Can anyone confirm/explain?
for the bolded portion it will be just fine..I don't use photoshop but if you intend on doing any heavy lifting I'd rather go with a 15" quad pro with a dedicated card..the 13pro is too close IMO.
 

jkim3691

macrumors 6502a
Oct 8, 2011
532
10
When I think about it, I've been using my '08 Blackbook with 2gb's of RAM, a core 2 duo 2.4 ghz processor and 250 GB of memory for 3 years before I got my Air. The thing still runs like a champ and has served me well for those years. My needs/use hasn't changed much if not at all. This Air should do me just fine. I had Photoshop on the Blackbook and dabbled around a little every now and then and it took it fine.

Right now ripping a DVD onto my Air as we speak using Remote Disc while still surfing the web and watching UNC vs. UNLV on ESPN3. Handling it all nicely, but fan is pretty loud.
 

ReallyBigFeet

macrumors 68030
Apr 15, 2010
2,934
100
Video EDITING (cut/paste/re-arrange/splice, dubbing audio, etc) you should be fine with a maxed MBA 13, although you may find the lack of ports limiting depending on your camera gear.

Video RENDERING (animated title pages, logo's, etc.)....forget it on the MBA. I tried that on mine for some time and had to go back to my MBP.
 

woodynorman

macrumors 6502a
Nov 26, 2011
659
306
After reading this thread, I just checked memory on my 2 month old MBA 128GB. I have 49GB free out of 120 available.

System info shows 47GB of "other" memory used. The only programs I've added are Quickbooks, Pages and Alfred . My Quickbooks backups are stored on an external drive, and I've never created a single doc in Pages.

Not meaning to hijack this thread, but how do I find out what "other memory" is ?? It sure seems like I have a lot of it!
 

seveej

macrumors 6502a
Dec 14, 2009
822
50
Helsinki, Finland
After reading this thread, I just checked memory on my 2 month old MBA 128GB. I have 49GB free out of 120 available.

System info shows 47GB of "other" memory used. The only programs I've added are Quickbooks, Pages and Alfred . My Quickbooks backups are stored on an external drive, and I've never created a single doc in Pages.

Not meaning to hijack this thread, but how do I find out what "other memory" is ?? It sure seems like I have a lot of it!
Considering that Hard disk space is pretty valuable I suggest you find out. My personal favorite is Whatsize (appstore), it costs a few bucks (13 methinks), but it's worth it. There are also free alternatives.

RGDS,
Pekka
 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
91
Poole, England
After reading this thread, I just checked memory on my 2 month old MBA 128GB. I have 49GB free out of 120 available.

System info shows 47GB of "other" memory used. The only programs I've added are Quickbooks, Pages and Alfred . My Quickbooks backups are stored on an external drive, and I've never created a single doc in Pages.

Not meaning to hijack this thread, but how do I find out what "other memory" is ?? It sure seems like I have a lot of it!
There are about 40 topics covering this already.
 

johnhurley

macrumors 6502a
Aug 29, 2011
777
55
So...thoughts? What suggestions are out there for the right kind of specs that I would need? I do use Dropbox but keep many items such as photos on my HD. I would love a 13" MBA but not sure if I could get away with the low end model or need more. Would a MBP be my best bet? I would still prefer a 13" if possible.
Either the mba 13 ( which I have with 256 gb ssd ) or a mbp should be fine.

The mba is a massively powerful and fast machine ... just limited by the 4 gb of RAM. Most of us for day to day usage are not going to be bothered by that limitation.

People doing serious amounts of coding and development work and that run multiple VM ( virtual machines ) are going to want more than 4 gb of RAM.

A lot of us are hoping to see eventually a line of the mba's that go up in RAM. Perhaps the long rumored 15 inch mba's in 2012?

The portability and power and speed and simplicity of the mba 13 should not be under estimated!!
 

newdeal

macrumors 68020
Oct 21, 2009
2,377
1,471
...

the macbook air is much more powerful than the 2010 13" macbook pro. It is more than powerful enough to do anything except things like games that you wouldn't be using any laptop for that has integrated graphics
 

woodynorman

macrumors 6502a
Nov 26, 2011
659
306
There are about 40 topics covering this already.
Gee thanks.

There's also about 40 topics covering memory space used on a macbook. I did a quick search of the first few pages and didn't find an answer to the question I had, so I brought it up in a relevant thread.

Thank you Seveej. I'll check out the app store for the one you suggested.
 

entatlrg

macrumors 68040
Mar 2, 2009
3,376
3
Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
Screen size

I enjoy my Air and used to use it most ... but that's changed.

If you're using it for long hours and not hooking up to an external display often think about the screen size.

For those kinds of tasks you'll benefit greatly with a 15 or 17" screen. While everyone including me seems to lust after ultra portable small computers we're sacrificing a lot in screen size.

Great if you're working on a plane or carrying your notebook in a bag all day, but more than that without an external display I've done it for too long. My Air stays in my bag now for when I'm mobile.

For working at my office, home office, den, couch etc I'm currently using a hi-res 15" MBP .... wow .... the added screen size is great! It's heavier and bulkier yes, not as comfortable on the lap so I bought a cool laptop table that works well at the couch, lazy boy chair etc. My next purchase will be a 17".

My 'new' rule of thumb is always buy the biggest screen you can manage for the situation you're in. Man, I put a lot of hours on my old 11" Air, I loved it and still do for the super small, take anywhere, use anywhere size. But I came to the realization of 'why look through a small window'? I wouldn't build a house with small windows to look through all day. I buy the biggest screen TV I can afford .... so what the heck am i doing staring at an 11 or 13" screen all day? Too limiting and kills prodictivity. After using a larger screen for just a short time now I can say its one of the wiser moves I've made.
 

tim100

macrumors 65816
May 25, 2009
1,368
0
I enjoy my Air and used to use it most ... but that's changed.

If you're using it for long hours and not hooking up to an external display often think about the screen size.

For those kinds of tasks you'll benefit greatly with a 15 or 17" screen. While everyone including me seems to lust after ultra portable small computers we're sacrificing a lot in screen size.

Great if you're working on a plane or carrying your notebook in a bag all day, but more than that without an external display I've done it for too long. My Air stays in my bag now for when I'm mobile.

For working at my office, home office, den, couch etc I'm currently using a hi-res 15" MBP .... wow .... the added screen size is great! It's heavier and bulkier yes, not as comfortable on the lap so I bought a cool laptop table that works well at the couch, lazy boy chair etc. My next purchase will be a 17".

My 'new' rule of thumb is always buy the biggest screen you can manage for the situation you're in. Man, I put a lot of hours on my old 11" Air, I loved it and still do for the super small, take anywhere, use anywhere size. But I came to the realization of 'why look through a small window'? I wouldn't build a house with small windows to look through all day. I buy the biggest screen TV I can afford .... so what the heck am i doing staring at an 11 or 13" screen all day? Too limiting and kills prodictivity. After using a larger screen for just a short time now I can say its one of the wiser moves I've made.
there is a reason why the iPhone does not have a 7inch screen. i generally buy the biggest screen i can afford and have had several 17 mbps. it seems like apple is moving toward smaller and lighter and that includes smaller screens. i wonder what will happen to the 15 and 17 mbps.
 

altecXP

macrumors 65816
Aug 3, 2009
1,115
1
I work in IT and manage a few websites. I use Office, citrix, apache, mySQL, office, Dreamweaver, xcode, coda and a few other things. Air will suit nearly everyones need except people that do really heavy Database work, video editing, very large images and lots of heavy VM work.
 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
91
Poole, England
Gee thanks.

There's also about 40 topics covering memory space used on a macbook. I did a quick search of the first few pages and didn't find an answer to the question I had, so I brought it up in a relevant thread.

Thank you Seveej. I'll check out the app store for the one you suggested.
Your question is, "what is this other that is taking up my disk space" and has little to do with Random Access Memory, which is what people refer to when they say "memory".

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/1272614/

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/1208798/

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/1268896/


I would suggest that it's silly to pay money for an application that gives you the same information that you can easily get from Finder and Terminal.

Using finder to show your disk space is really easy.
 

cube

Suspended
May 10, 2004
16,983
4,968
I decided against and MBA because a 480GB SSD for it is extremely expensive.

I bought an inexpensive Thinkpad even if it only has a 1.3GHz i3.
 
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