MBA - ready for designers/programmers?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by pkiula, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. pkiula macrumors member

    Mar 29, 2008
    Hi. I have a Mac Book Pro 15 inch with 8GB of RAM. From 2009.

    It's not "i5" or "i7". It is still the 2.8Ghz Core2Duo.

    On Photoshop CS5 or running Apache/PostgreSQL, it's showing its age now.

    I was really excited that this new MBA launch has 256GB of SSD, but I'm disappointed that the memory is still at 4GB.

    Looking for impressions from people who've got the i7 + 256GB + 4GB version of the MBA and use designer tools or programming/DB software. Is the performance worth it?

    I know that when Photoshop runs out of the 4GB memory it will begin swapping to what's now a very fast SSD drive, but I wonder if that is truly as fast as 8GB of memory.

    Thanks for sharing any experiences!
  2. seepel macrumors 6502


    Dec 22, 2009
    I got the 11" ultimate from the same MBP and I'm pretty happy so far. I don't really tax Photoshop but I do have some rather large XCode projects. On my old MBP I would get up to abou 5GB active+wired, and doing the same tasks I have yet to start swapping on the MBA. I bought with the intention of bringing it back if it wasn't up to the task, you could always try it out for 14 days and see how it goes.
  3. unixcharles macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2011
    I don't run into memory issue with 4gb of ram. Memory doesn't seem to be an issue. It probably depend on your development stack. If you code with VIM or Textmate, is not the same thing as using a fat IDE like Eclipse or netbeans.

    In my experience photoshop will suck everything out of your computer, no matter what, even if you have a lot of ram or processing power. I found it to leak memory over time, so for me having more memory just mean that I have to kill it less often.

    Photoshop is a real productivity/multitasking killer, I use pixelmator or DrawIt when I can.
  4. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    What kind of datasets are we talking about here ? :confused: My web server with a PostgreSQL database still runs off a Pentium II with barely 450 MB of missmatched RAM modules...
  5. FNi macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2011
    I don't know what your personal workflow is like, but as a fellow designer and developer, I like to use multiple monitors to be at my most productive. Usually 2-3 (landscape main, with 2 portraits either side).

    All speed/ram issues aside, it's worth noting the new MBAs use Intel HD 3000 graphics, which only supports 1 external monitor in addition to its own.
  6. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    I would just purchase a solid-state drive for your 15'' MacBook Pro, assuming that it doesn't have one installed already.
  7. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    That's just a limit of the Thunderbolt ACD if anything. With 256 MB of VRAM and DP 1.1a, you can support much more than that, depending on the resolutions/refreshes.

    And frankly, I find 2 1920x1200 monitors to be plenty for development. Heck, my single 2048x1156 external is plenty to have many Xcode windows opened side-by-side, expose/spaces doing the rest of the work.
  8. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    I make my living from doing Industrial Design and am CEO of my company, 13" MacBook Air, (i7/4/256) is my main machine.

    I managed okay with the 2010 Air too, but the 2011's are a huge improvement, I love mine!

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