New to Mac - confused about MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by 67bmer, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. 67bmer macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2011

    I would like to replace my 2006 Compaq laptop celeron m. This would be my first mac. I am thinking about the standard MBA 4Gb.

    1) It seems like the C2D is really antiquated. Wouldn't I be replacing a 5 year old pc with a 4 year old mac? If I keep it for 5 years, would it even be possible? in 5 years its going to be like 9-10 years old.

    2) one negative that I have heard on this forum is that the battery is only good for 1000 cycles and can NOT be replaced and that the computer is a throw away after 3 years.

    3) are the 15 MBP really not that portable? Any less portable than my current laptop?

    4) ultimately I would like to get a 27 ACD to go with it. I am addicted to large monitors from work. I am an engineer and I have 2x 20" monitors running 1600x1280 at work and love them. My current laptop is 15". I am worried that going to a 13" screen will just be to small. I have never had one that small before.

    5) thinking about getting parallels to run a stock charting program, visio, and project. How much of the 128 Gb would be consumed with office, parallels, windows, etc?

    Other than that I think its a very nice computer. I just can not believe that a 15" MBA would not be a huge success. But that is one nice thing about the 13" is the high portability and then connect to the 27 ACD for the big screen desktop. overall my use will be office products and web surfing. I have never played games. occasional photoshop for pictures.

    thanks for great discussion on this forum.
  2. Hands Sandon macrumors 6502

    Aug 3, 2008
    1 no, but you could wait for the SB refresh (maybe September)

    2 no, swap it out if you want 100% battery life (it's cheaper than scrapping it)

    3 the 15" are portable, just not pleasantly so.

    4 try it and see.

    5 don't know, guessing 30 GB's is adequate.
  3. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    The Core 2 Duo is an older chip, but it is paired with an NVIDIA 320m integrated graphics adapter, which helps make gaming possible, and also improves general graphics performance. OS X is more graphics-intensive than Windows (though Windows Vista/7 with Aero are close), and thus Apple made the decision to go with the Core 2 Duo/320m combo last year rather than rely on the Core i3/i5 and the slower Intel integrated graphics available at the time.

    I agree that a late 2010 MacBook Air would seem really out of date in 5 years time (much like a Pentium M-powered notebook does now). If keeping something for 5 years is your priority, you are probably better off with the current MacBook Pro, or the next generation MacBook Air, which should get a similar Core i5 or i7 chip as the current MacBook Pro. That said, its intended audience isn't the power user. For everyday tasks, it is more than sufficient. The Core 2 Duo is out of date, but it is still about twice as powerful as the Atom chips that Intel sells for use in netbooks.

    If it is just Office, Parallels, and Windows 7, expect to use about 30GB. Windows takes up about 16-20GB depending on whether you install the 32-bit or 64-bit versions and how many add-ins you install.

    1000 battery cycles is more than you might think. The average notebook battery is rated for about 700 cycles. In four months, I've used about 25 cycles. Anyway, the replacement batteries are available for $149 from Apple, though you'll need to let them replace it since technically nothing in the MacBook Air is user-replaceable.
  4. DiamondGCoupe macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2007
  5. 2IS macrumors 68030

    Jan 9, 2011
    Not to go off topic, but I'm curious as to your choice of words here. I own an MBA and Windows 7 machines and I just don't see it. W7 has transparency on all windows in addition to the task bar while OSX has transparency on the menu bar. Both have animations when you minimize apps. Windows has Flip 3D Mac has Expose, toss up there. When browsing sites with lots of media, particularly stuff like animated gifs, scrolling in safari becomes painful while IE properly hands off those tasks to the GPU and you don't even notice the difference between scrolling through animations or scrolling through txt. This is supposedly addressed in Lion, but that's not quite here yet.
  6. savner macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2011

    The resolution on the MBA is higher than your 15 so you won't lose any work space. I replaced my 2008 15 MBP with maxed 13 MBA and I love it.

    If you decide on the MBP get the SSD
  7. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    I just went from a 20" imac to a 13" MBA. I absolutely love it, and I do not find it slow at all. People say the C2D is so slow, but the truth is that except for professional use (RAW images, video, rendering, modeling, etc.), the CPU has not been the bottleneck in personal computers for some time now. RAM is sometimes the culprit, and it's very often the drive speed. So the MBA with its SSD and 4 GB of RAM does just fine. I have menu meters installed, so I can see my CPU usage in the menu bar, and I'm rarely above about 15% per core.
  8. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    In short, either try one at Apple (they are kinda famous for that) or buy sight unseen and love it.
  9. 67bmer thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2011

    Do you have a clue what a cycle entails?! If you use the battery for an hour that is 15% of A SINGLE CYCLE! You would have to use the MBA 8,000 hours to reduce the CAPACITY to 4 hours! In 2016 the battery would last an hour. Then the Apple Genius will replace it for $129!

    No, I do not have a clue about Macs. On my cheap pc, the battery would continuously charge, you could feel the heat from it even when not in use if plugged in.

    Do Macs have a "smart" charger that allows the batter to cycle in the optimum way even though its plugged in continuously?

    It also sounds like they have some monitor that keeps track of the cycles?
  10. sgtalexmom macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2011

    as told by others here, and the battery page, i take my mac off power source every 3 or 4 days and let it run down to at least 50% (usually lower) and then let it charge back up. otherwise, i am on power cord all the time.

    this is my first mac, and the first time i've paid attention to the battery itself. my old netbook was always charging and discharging and ran very hot.
  11. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    another vote for (new) Macbook Pro

    Anything you get with MBP (Macbook Pro) is a winner since Core i5 is great, and Core i7 is amazing! The old MBP only had Core 2 Duo yet was a nice machine in many respects.
  12. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I'm just curious, how come you're jumping from a $300 computer to a $1500 computer?
  13. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I'm not sure a 2006 Celeron M would have been a $300 notebook in 2006. It wouldn't have been the most expensive computer (a Core 2 Duo or Pentium D would have been high-end), but likely mainstream.

    Anyway, I've had my MacBook Air since November and am up to a whopping 25 cycles on the battery. That 1000 cycles will last a long time.

    The SSD speeds up everyday tasks like loading apps and restarting, but make no mistake that it likely doesn't have the horsepower to last 5 years as a primary computer. Just as OS X 10.7 will drop support for the 5-year old 32-bit Core chips (a higher-end version of the Celeron M) that were in the original MacBook, so too will the Core 2 Duo eventually fall short of minimum requirements.

    I have no issues in recommending a MacBook Air to someone looking for a primary computer for 2 years, or a secondary computer for longer than that. In 2014, it will still hold its own against the netbooks of that time (assuming Moore's law remains in effect) but the new MacBook Pro (and likely the next MacBook Air) will be better suited to then-current software.

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