MBA questions

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Labhras, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. Labhras macrumors regular

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    Aug 17, 2014
    #1
    Hi all,

    in these days I'll buy a 13" MBA, 8gb ram with 256gb ssd for college.
    It would be my main laptop, using it both at home and in class - my plan would have it last for around 3-4 years, do you think it could last that long?

    I will also probably buy the 2TB Time Capsule - I have a couple of big HDDs set up as NTFS which I can't reset for the "Journal" Mac format as I don't have any space that could host all the files for the reformatting.

    Can I connect the external HDD to the TC and access it wirelessly from my Mac? It would be great, especially for the tons of media files I have - I could watch a movie or sort through photos without connecting anything.

    Another thing - any suggestions for particular apps for everyday life and/or college?

    Thanks for the help
     
  2. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #2
    In college you will always need MS Word, pages, keynote, prezzi, power point.

    What other apps do need? / What's your major?
     
  3. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 17, 2014
    #3
    I'm a business/economics major - so I will be using pages and number almost every day. I saw a discussion in a forum not too long ago regarding the lack of an option to add a graph or a formula in pages - is it still valid? And if so, is there any other - possibly free - app which I can use to add formulas to a pages file?


    About what I said earlier - is it possible to wirelessly access and view files from a HDD connected to Time Capsule? I had different answers to that
     
  4. Meister, Aug 17, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014

    Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #4
    Of course you can add that in pages.


    that is only possible, if you reformat the external for mac os.

    The cpu and ram upgrade is utterly pointless for your usage and will certainly continue to be so 4 years from now. Ssd space is overpriced and not necessary if you store entertainment files on your time capsule.

    If that's all you do go then get the base mba. There are sales going on everywhere. Put the saved money towards a office 365 subscription and a later upgrade if you want a new macbook.
     
  5. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 17, 2014
    #5
    Oh cool - last I heard it wasn't possible to add formulas and that could be a problem for me. Perfect then.

    I have something between 1-1.5TB of general media and then other filles that I have stored on the HDD.

    I have estimated that between documents, files, photos and music they'd total around 80gb - plus let's say between 20 and 40gb of movies that I'd have semi-permanently on my laptop in case I wanted to see something away from my TC capsule. That's why I wanted to go for the 256 SSD, considering that size plus the possible application downloads I didn't want to have the constant worry of disk space.

    Do you think that the RAM upgrade to 8gb is useless?
     
  6. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #6
    i don't know where you heard that about formulas. I've inserted equations and graphs in both word an pages. I always use word now. The all knowing google says this: http://www.dessci.com/en/support/mathtype/tsn/tsn146.htm

    If your use is limited to office apps, web browsing and media consumption than 4gb is well enough.
    Look here http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1756865

    You are really the only person who knows how much ssd storage you need.
     
  7. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Hi Labras,

    I'm pretty sure you can not attach NTFS drives to a Time Capsule. You would have to temporarily copy the data to the TC, reformat the external hard drives (you'll want to use the Mac filesystem HFS+), and then copy the data back to the TC.

    I think 8GB RAM is definitely the way to go, and 250GB SSD minimum.
     
  8. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #8
    ixxx69 is absolutely right!
    I apologize for not reading your original post thoroughly enough. You need to reformat the external somehow.
     
  9. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 17, 2014
    #9
    Oh, so, just to clarify - I can connect a NTFS disk directly to a Mac, but not to the TC?

    Does any of you have external HDDs attached to the TC? I was wondering about the connection speed and how well I could see a movie wirelessly, or temporarily copy a file
     
  10. capathy21 macrumors 65816

    capathy21

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    Jun 16, 2014
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    Houston, Texas
    #10
    Unless your usage habits drastically change, yes, 8GB isn't necessary. Get a base model as Meister stated and save several hundred dollars.
     
  11. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #11
    Correct.

    That will work. Someone posted a speed test of this a few months ago and I want to say they were seeing about 30MBps. That would be plenty to stream a movie.

    You will need something to stream it from though, as you can't stream directly from the TC.
     
  12. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    So far my usage is mostly web surfing, taking notes with software like Evernote, playing general media files, creating spreadsheets and word documents, tinkering with power point presentations - basically college usage.

    I have 2-3 more years of college, the last part of which will be grad school, and I was thinking about having the Air last until the beginning of my working career, that is why I was worried about the RAM, since it's not possible to upgrade it later on, and I don't want to find myself say, next year, complaining about a slow laptop.

    Consider that it will be my only laptop as well - all the work will be done on the MBA.
    I might possibly run Parallels, Bootcamp or a VM on it to run Windows if need arise in the future, but I have a still functioning if not old Windows laptop so that could take care of the problem.

    If you think 4gb of RAM are enough to do everything though, then it's perfect.

    ----------


    What do you mean? I thought that I could play a music or video file in the same way I'd open a pages file?
     
  13. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #13
    Sorry I confused you. What I mean it the video will need to be played from a computer for example since the TC does not have any sort of server on it that would allow you to play videos on perhaps an iPad or television. You will need to have a computer in the middle of that mix to see the video on the TC drive and either watch it directly on the computer or have the computer act as the server to stream the video to other devices.
     
  14. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 17, 2014
    #14
    Ok, I'd play the video or music on my MBA, from a HDD connected to the TC. That's perfectly doable if I understood you right.
    Speaking of which - are the connected HDDs immediately recognized? I ask because I wondered if I could connect/disconnect HDDs anytime or had to go and find and/or recognize/authorize the HDD.


    I thought you were referring to some kind of hardware component or accessory needed :)
     
  15. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #15
    Yep... that will work. I just sometime see people put videos on a TC then get disappointed when they can't play those videos from their iPad or TV.

    The drive will be recognized in Finder once you start.
     
  16. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    Now, that would be weird. I don't know how they'd expect it to work.

    Can you confirm the 4gbRAM for the usage I stated before? It's just that I'll probably buy it by Wednesday at the latest, so I wanna be sure.

    By the way - I have tons of PDFs I'll work with, either for class, thesis or just personal stuff. I heard that Adobe can be awful in occupying disk space - does it have the same effect on RAM?
     
  17. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #17
    I would agree with the other posters here that the 4GB model is more than adequate for the usage you described.
     
  18. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #18
    VMs and Windows have different system specifications.
    If you are planning on running windows and Mac OS parallel I would think about the ssd and maybe even ram upgrade. You could very likely still get away with 4/128, but win needs a separate partition and Vms need a dedicated amount of ram. What is more important is having the l right apps. For university work I strongly suggest the 4 year student subscription for ms office, because you don't want to run into compatability issues with with documents.
     
  19. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 17, 2014
    #19
    I can export both pages and numbers in word and excel files, so that's a no brainer. There is no "windows only" software required, so I should be able to do everything on the Mac.

    I was talking about the possibility to run a VM maybe even 2 years from now if the need arises to run some special Windows software. It would not be a 24/7 VM usage of couse, just when I need to run that software. Considering I have a Windows laptop available I could use that to run anything needed.

    Usually my daily usage so far is, at the same time: browser with between 5-7 to 20-30 tabs open (it depends if I'm simply web surfing or doing extensive reasearch for a topic or a paper/thesis), word processor, media file playing (music or video), internet on of course, torrent downloading (not always though), dropbox active and mail open, and some pdfs open.

    This is probably the maximum I'll reach. The apps that surely will stay open all times will be the browser, media file and mail. The others can vary depending on what I'm working on.

    That's why I carefully consider the two RAM, because of course I can use the 100 or more I can save with a 4gb RAM on something else, but not if it turns out that for my usage I should get 8gb.

    Add to that a matter of time - 8gb means it will take longer to deliver instead of the 24h-deliver in the other case, and considering early next month I'll be changing cities I don't want to wait longer than I need to.

    Oh, btw, I'll have a 256gb disk, having already something between 70-90GB of stuff I need, I feel better with a bigger disk.
     
  20. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    I would recommend 8GB. Yes, your computer will run perfectly fine with 4GB right now. Maybe not so great in a couple of years, and/or when you discover new uses for it. There are a few folks here who really push the "4GB is plenty" argument in just about every thread where this comes up. Since RAM is not upgradeable, they are betting the farm that 4GB will be "plenty" for the next several years. If it's really a financial stretch to 8GB, then stick with 4GB and worry about getting a new laptop when the time comes.

    The TC with attached drives should work fine for streaming. It's not exactly fast network storage - the TC is not designed to be a "file server", like a NAS. But it's workable. (I'm not trying to discourage you in any way - just trying to set "expectations")

    ----------

    This is the kind of thing I'm talking about... you'll want 8GB RAM to run a Windows VM without horrid performance.
     
  21. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 17, 2014
    #21
    It's not that much of a financial stretch - it's around 100 or so - but more like of a time stretch. I'll be changing cities in the first days of next month, and asking Apple the configured Mac should arrive around late next week. I would find myself leaving without the computer, with the only chance to have it mailed to me or something - 'cause I shouldn't be back until november at the least.

    Speaking of, I detailed the daily use of my laptop in my post before - if I can do that without problems for the next 2-3 years with the laptop running smoothly then it's perfect. Otherwise I'll have to carefully time the delivery - lol.

    The Windows VM is not a requirement - I don't honestly foresee having to run Winows on Mac just now, and even so I have a Windows laptop so there shouldn't be a problem.

    As far as the TC goes - I'll be using it for the Time Machine backup, other than connecting printers and HDDs wirelessly. I know it's not built for this kind of streaming usage, but it would be to avoid cluttering my desk with drives and cables and be able to watch a movie from the couch without having to have HDDs and power chords around :p
     
  22. CoMoMacUser macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    If by "last," you mean will the RAM and other components still be fast enough to keep up with however OS X and productivity software have advanced in three to four years, I'd say yes. My early 2008 iMac didn't begin to slow down until Mavericks, and my mid-2012 MBA is still as fast as when it was new. Going with 8 GB buys you some extra life; that's what I did on the MBA.

    If by "last," you mean non-component hardware such as the battery and case, I'd say yes. My MBA's battery health is about 81 percent after more than two years of daily use, and the case doesn't have a scratch or ding.

    Good luck.
     
  23. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #23
    Opening office files with iWork isn't always perfect. For uni that can be annoying, if you have a deadline and are stuck at petty formatting issues, thats why I recommend office and iwork.

    For what you do even 2gb ram would work without a problem.
     
  24. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

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    #24
    The thing is - I've taken a good look around and saw controversial opinions - there are those stating that 4GB are enough even to use the most part of mac applications at the same time without any problem, those who say that you can use some together, but maybe three or four, and those saying that 4GB feel "sluggish" and 8GB is way better.

    That's why I detailed my "daily app usage", to see which one would be preferable with a general use like that one.
     
  25. matrix07 macrumors 68040

    matrix07

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    #25
    My 2011 MBA is 3 years old and still looks and feels like a new machine.

    Yes, you can, provide the TC is the tall one. If you only want to read from NTFS drive I guess it should be no problem.
     

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