MBA for PT Graphic Designer/Photographer?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by emsr18, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. emsr18 macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2012
    Boston, MA
    I am a PT graphic designer & photographer. When I work, I'm usually running Ps, Il and Lr all at once, but I don't usually do any very heavy projects.

    I'm currently living out of 2 computers: an HP mini (running Linux) and a 2007 MBP w 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 2 GB of ram.

    I need the portability for school and love the 11" MBA and figured I would invest in a good monitor for when I need to work.

    I'm getting mixed opinions on whether or not the MBA could be a solid enough MAIN computer for me, but people seem to think it would be.
    The specs I'm looking at are the 1.7 GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i5 and the 4 GB of ram (which, compared to my current MBP you can see is a HUUUGE difference).

    Do any other digital media professionals use a MBA as a main computer? Do you think these specs can handle it? I'm a FT otherwise-unemployed student so I'm really trying to keep the cost to an absolute minimum.

  2. iRCL macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011
    It's going to be faster than both of those computers, so are those computers currently solid enough? The only issue could be the screen which you can get a good monitor for it eventually if you see the need

    The 2012 11" MBA is a beast. Even the 2011 one was.
  3. jpross123 macrumors member


    Feb 18, 2012
    Well, being a graphic designer myself, I know I would hate working on a 11' screen. I would go with the 13' if you were to get a MBA. But I would recommend getting a Macbook Pro, its more powerful and it really isnt that bad to carry around to school, as I do the same thing.
  4. emsr18 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2012
    Boston, MA
    Lol no, I wouldn't do work on the 11". I'd get a monitor for the design work - minimum 17" - for design and editing. I only need 11" for everything else (e-mail, internet, word processing, etc.).
  5. wenyong88 macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2012
    I'm a UX and Visual designer myself, and just recently replaced my 2010 MBP to 13" MBA for portability. The 11" MBA is totally fine if you using an external monitor, but I highly recommend you to go for 8GB of ram. Running few Adobe stuffs at the same time can draw alot of ram, although 4GB should still be fine but you can tell much improve if you have 8GB.

    Also the ram is not upgradable later one, so if you ever decided to run other programs like Windows in virtual machine, office, etc, 4GB definitely not enough.

  6. tradman macrumors member

    May 15, 2008
    Galway, Ireland
    Hi all, I'm in the same boat. My late 2008 MBP is ready for the bin.
    I want a 27 inch screen so I'm thinking of getting one of those korean 27 inch ips screens plus a 13 inch Air.
    For those of you who are photographers, how is the 2012 MBA handling CS6 plus Lr4 together.
    Thanks in advance
  7. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    get 8GB of ram. if you have to sell your kidney to get the 8gb of ram, sell it, because it's important for working with design apps.
  8. Titanium81 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2011
    8GB of RAM is a MUST!!!! You will definitely be glad you did.
  9. thekev, Jul 3, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012

    thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    It would work. You can technically get away with 4GB of ram. 8 or more helps quite a lot. Even the gpu gains more ram. It is slower. Note that this can be a little misleading.

    It depends how you're working though. The main reason I'm linking this is that I wanted to mention the HD4000 doesn't seem to be supported for OpenCL functions here. They are using problems that are big enough to exaggerate times so as to make for some measurable bar graph differentiation. Adobe is annoying. PS lacks decent cuda support. After Effects isn't working with OpenCL on OSX, or at least not with the NVidia gpus. Apple wasn't really using NVidia at the time CS6 was released, but the segmented support is annoying.

    Edit: I was going to mention that photoshop is especially ram hungry. It used to rely heavily on scratch disks. A few years ago you would've gone with 4-6GB of ram to run photoshop + maybe a couple other applications. If you were using high settings, it would write massive scratch disk files. These days it's starting to rely more and more on ram for stuff like that due to higher ram limits in newer hardware. If you're working with larger files, a macbook pro would be a much much better choice. If it's lighter work, anything will do. I just wouldn't personally buy a computer today that only held 4GB of ram. It's cutting it too close for reasonable longevity.
  10. astormsau macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2012
    I have a 2012 MBA Ultimate i7, 8gb ram and 512 SSD.
    I use it for general web browsing and photography editing 16mp NEF files from my Nikon D7000 in LR4 with a few Nik plugins as well.

    The Air runs lightroom very well. I have it set to render standard previews on import and its pretty quick to unlock sliders and get the load done in the develop module. I run a 27" thunderbolt display so loading 1:1 on that takes a bit longer as it needs to render the full image as the preview size is a bit smaller, but at most perhaps 5 seconds to render the image in total.

    I think the SSD makes a big difference to the performance in LR. I tossed up between a pimped 13" Pro but love the portability of the Air too much as I take it away quite often on holidays. With LR open and creating three exposure HDR's in Nik Efex pro, im probably using about 60% of the system memory so its quite good.

    Hope this helps.
  11. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    512GB... my god! :eek::eek:

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