MBA Ultimate as my SOLE working computer... POSSIBLE?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by KohPhiPhi, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. KohPhiPhi, Feb 25, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011

    KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    Hello guys,

    Here's my deal: I am a web admin who needs a portable working computer. Right now I have a 27" iMac, but I travel a lot so I want to switch the iMac for a 13" laptop as my sole working station.

    I was waiting for the MBP 13" update but the 1280x800 resolution killed it for me. So I'm turning my head to the MBA 13" Ultimate (2.13 Ghz, 4gb Ram, 256 SSD). I really need the extra resolution while I work on the road and I don't want to drag a heavy 15" around.

    I have a 27" display at home which I intend to hook up to the MBA while I work at home. I often have tons of applications open at once: Mail, PhotoShop (mild use, nothing super pro), DreamWeaver, FTP, Firefox with like a dozen tabs open, ScreenFlow to record my screen, Keynote for slide presentations, Skype for work video conferences, etc. All that at once.

    I dont intend to play games, or watch movies, or any 3D graphics at all.

    My question is: will the 13" MBA Ultimate be able to cope with that hooked up to an external monitor? please mind that I'm going to make of it my sole working computer.

    Thank you in advanced.

    PS: why did they have to gimp the new MBP 13" with the 1280x800 resolution? why, oh, why?!!
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    You'll probably notice some lag, but does it matter? It seems like your mind is made up to buy an underpowered machine.
  3. iNotion macrumors regular


    Jun 5, 2008
    Let a "13" MBA ultimate" owner to tell you the answer.

    Answer to your "possible?": yes.

    I use adobe web premium, microsoft office, iWork, iMovie etc...
    But if you are using MBA for intense video editing (final cut or Adobe premiere pro), i am sure it will be lagging...
  4. sam67uk macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2010
    Northern Ireland
    I've this setup and very :) with it!

    I have this setup of a 2.13 MBA hooked up to a 27" Cinema Display. I'm fact, I sold my 24" iMac to fund part of this purchase.

    As far as hooking up the MBA to the Cinema display, then I can confirm that you won't be disappointed. There is no lag whatsoever and the Nvidia chip has more than enough horsepower to drive the pixels.

    I wouldn't have as many programs open that you intend to have. I do have Aperture and Photoshop CS5 open, mail and Safari with a few other smaller programs open at the same time. The MBA has more than enough horsepower to keep the user experience a good one even with these open.

    The 2.13 MBA is a very capable machine and the speed of the SSD really hides any lacking in the processor.

    The fans under most conditions are not audible, only when importing master images into Aperture or watching 1080p video full screen on the 27" do the fans kick in, but they only stay on under very heavy load.

    I would say you would be really happy with this setup, I know I am, plus I have the portability of unhooking the MBA and taking it with me and it weighs next to nothing.

  5. cleric macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    Firefox on Mac sucks, of course it will work for admin work need more power ssh to a faster machine.
  6. Boston007 macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2010
  7. stockscalper macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2003
    Area 51
    I use the Ultimate as my only machine and edit photos in Photoshop. It actually runs smoother, less lag and beach balls, than my old 15" MBP. It also runs Windows 7 under Parallels just fine. So I would say yes to your question.
  8. KohPhiPhi thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    Boy oh boy good news :) I guess the MBA Ultimate 13" might be a decent 2nd option to the disappointing 2011 MBP. Thanks for the feedback.
  9. kapolani macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2011
    I'm still trying to find out what the 'Ultimate' model is.

    Does it just signify that has all upgrades?

    The only choice for CPU that I'm getting from the Apple Store is the 1.8GZ model.
  10. MikePA macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2008
  11. docomo macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2011
    For sure, man. MBA is a great machine.

    I'm using my maxed out 11" as my sole computer for web-dev (work with Photoshop, Browsers, Eclipse, mysql+php+nginx+sphinx+mongodb, Skype, Powerpoint, etc). It's absolutely perfect for that. Sometimes I notice that I forgot about what applications I have open.
  12. KohPhiPhi, Feb 25, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011

    KohPhiPhi thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    Hmmmmm I just checked on the Apple site and upgrading the SSD from 128 to 256 costs $300... Jesus Christ... Do you guys think it's possible to upgrade it on my end?
  13. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    Well, third-party SSD 256 will be priced somewhere between $0 and at least $300. Minus the convenience and assuming it is as easy and swapping it out I don't know if it is worth the savings.
  14. namtaB macrumors regular

    Feb 22, 2011
    It'll do all that, but it will work hard to do it. It all depends on how you feel about it working that hard. The good news is that it doesn't get scalding hot.
  15. kapolani macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2011
    You can't select the 2.13 GZ cpu when configuring the MBA 13inch.

    Am I missing something?
  16. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Aug 13, 2008
    Kitchener, Ontario
    It is technically possible to upgrade the SSD but Apple requested that third parties stop selling aftermarket upgrades. I'm not sure if they asked OWC o stop selling them, but stock status of all their drives say pending.

    You can only upgrade the CPU on the higher end 13" with the 256GB SSD.
  17. kapolani macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2011
    Just figured that out.

    Thank you for the reply.

    I'm a little slow some mornings.
  18. DarwinOSX macrumors 65816

    Nov 3, 2009
    Its possible and usable but probably not optimal. Mostly because you are restricted to 4GB of memory and 8 would be a lot better for what you are doing.
  19. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Yes it'll work.

    Wrong. Specs aren't everything. Some people simply don't understand how SSD increases performance significantly.
  20. JayDH macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2008
    I just put my late-2008 15" MBP (2.53/4GB/320GB) on eBay after purchasing the 13" MBA Ultimate. I am using the MBA as my sole computer and work machine. I am an attorney, so I don't require much processing power to do my job. I normally have Safari, iTunes, Word, Outlook, Mail, Excel, Preview with many PDFs, Adium and Twitter open at once. The MBA doesn't skip a beat, even when connected to an external 23" HD display.

    Despite having worse specs on paper, the MBA runs circles around the MBP. It is faster in everything that I do. The screen resolution is the same, the battery life is significantly better and it is much easier to carry around. I think it's a great machine and probably the best computer I've ever owned.
  21. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    Well, it does matter if you're just making $*%$ up.

    Why would there be lag? Explain that to me because for his uses it sure sounds to me like a MBA would be faster than a hard-drive based system.

    Yes, the iMac would be better for things like video compression, video games, or processor-intensive tasks. But he mentioned none of those things in his post.

    So either you got confused and posted in the wrong thread or you just enjoy misleading people. It's not nice to come in and post the exact opposite of the truth when someone asks a question.
  22. KohPhiPhi thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    Important detail I forgot to mention in the OP:

    I occasionally do lengthy (up to 30 minutes) live software tutorials recording my screen with ScreenFlow+Keynote. Do you think the MBA is going to have problems with ScreenFlow+Keynote to procude 720p .H264 videos?
  23. Mechinyun macrumors 6502

    Jun 24, 2010
    YES. I have similar setup.

    27 inch imac
    27 inch ACD + ultimate 13

    I use the Air as my sole computer for work, i do online marketing and web design/coding with adobe suite of tools plus other odds and ends (office etc). Works just fine, yes the imac crunches in big files faster.. but its not a huge difference in everyday work.

    Ultimately everyones different with their exact needs, Id say go ahead and buy it.. using it for a week or so and if its not up to what you need, return it. Easy Peasy
  24. vincenz macrumors 601


    Oct 20, 2008
    It might lag a little. You should still just go for the 13 mbp. The resolution is not that big of a deal. You're just making it worse than it really is.
  25. jenzjen macrumors 68000

    Aug 20, 2010
    For some reason after about 5 different replies saying the same thing, it still isn't hitting home:

    It will work just fine but when pushed to the limits, you will get some lag.

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