Newbie - switch to Air and OS X?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Vista-Victim, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. Vista-Victim macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    #1
    I'm fat, forty-five and use a Windows PC. I'm only ashamed of the latter...

    The Vista upgrade was brutal, enough for me to now try the dark side. I've gone to the Apple store and its drawing me in, so here's what I'm thinking:

    I have work/home needs that are met fine with ThinkPads - either a T40 or T61 with 1 to 2 megs RAM. WinXP is fine, Vista is too buggy and resource intensive.

    My needs are web, mail, word, heavy spreadsheets, and minor photo. Some iTunes but nothing like graphics or video editing. Must use Office 2003-2007 with VBA macros. My data files sit in one folder and only take up about 10 gigs.

    If my notebook can handle this now, I'd love to try MacBook Air 1.6 with its 2 gigs RAM. Order from Mac Mall, get it configured with Parallels and run WinXP and MS office in a window. And enjoy OS X on the side without all the other Windows hassles.

    Add a superdrive for the occasional disk burn and I'm stylin'? What do you think, is this do-able, what could possibly go wrong? Any advice?

    Thanks, Mark
     
  2. yayaba macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area
    #2
    Why not just stick with your Thinkpad? I agree Vista is a mess but XP works just fine.

    If you're set on going for a Mac though, I'd check if Office 2004 has VB macro support if you wanted to run Office in OSX. I know Office 2008 doesn't.

    Also, why not try Fusion also? I found it to be better than Parallels.

    In the end though, I know getting a new gizmo is exciting and all but if your current Thinkpad XP setup works fine, wouldn't it be worth it to save the $2 grand?
     
  3. Vista-Victim thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 24, 2008
    #3
    Valid points. Other reasons to consider switching -

    Looking for portability - 3 lbs tough to beat.

    The Air touchpad is more advanced, use web surfing alot, anything to cut down on mouse clicking is a plus.

    My friend has iPhoto and that seems easier to use than Photoshop/HP stuff.

    Time machine functionality - its one thing to back up data, I've done that and mirrored drives; Macs look to have like tighter integration, obviously, with its hardware and software.

    iTunes in WinXP or Vista seems sluggish and an afterthought. If my music/photos are in a Mac, I know they'll be supported. I think one side does XP and Office, the other does everything else.

    Or does the grass just look greener i.e., I'll end up with a new set of problems?

    I've looked at the X300, a possible MacBook Air beater, but its $1,000 more for its SSD, I'm hoping someone in Mac Forum can convince me otherwise.

    Thanks, Mark
     
  4. ipodtouchy333 macrumors 65816

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    Nov 15, 2007
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    US
    #4
    I think it would be ok for your needs. As long as it's not your only computer. But is the price a factor, because like many others have said you're paying for mostly portability and cool factor. If portability is important and you are just going to do the basics I say go for it. I wish I had the funds to buy one of those babies, but I'm saving for a macbook anyways. All in all, I bet once you go and pick it up you'll be greatly satisfied.
     
  5. SodiumBenzoate macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    #5
    The X300 is a feature-packed laptop, but you already pointed out its main flaw - the price.

    If you were considering the MBA 1.8/64, then it's a very strong competitor.

    However, I don't think those features (built-in DVD drive, extra ports, etc) are worth $1000 in your situation. Doesn't seem like you'd use them much, if ever.

    As far as iTunes sluggishness.. I think it has its slow moments for everyone, on every OS. It's certainly a useful program, but I have doubts about how well it's optimized.
     
  6. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

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    Apr 2, 2006
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    #6
    Sounds like a good plan to me, although I prefer Fusion to Parallels (find it more reliable and impacts less on OS X when it's running).
    The main thing to remember about the SuperDrive is that it monopolises the only USB port and can't be used through a hub. If you want to burn disks at a fixed location (like a desk), you'd be better off getting a powered USB writer
     
  7. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #7
    Vista upgrades can be brutal if you don't know what you're doing. A new machine on the other hand is a different kettle of fish. Lenovo have a better machine on offer in the same class, and so do Sony et al. And if you need full VBA compatibility, you need Office 2003/7 and you need Windows.

    I'm fat-ish, 40+ and use OS X for a sizeable percentage of my computing needs. The latter is the only one I regret somewhat in hindsight.

    The late move to Vista (late last year) I made is something I definitely don't regret, and I have not upgraded any of my computers to it: All have been bought new with Vista-friendly specs in mind. Vista is more productive, more flexible and more reliable in many ways - and when it's not running on a Mac, it can be a more solid experience on price-comparable gear. Now that Sony is offering the de-crappifying service as standard, an SZ may be worth your consideration.

    In comparison to the SZ at least for example, for the equivalent of about two iPods in terms of weight loss I find the Air a bit of a (very pretty and sleek) joke. I also have the TZ, and I use both more than I use the Air - which these days is restricted to Keynote and notetaking use when I want to draw attention. Ultimately it's your decision of course, but right now for me the Air works as little more than a show-off machine, which is useful for me under certain circumstances. For getting actual work done on the move, I rely mostly on my Sony's.
     
  8. BongoBanger macrumors 68000

    BongoBanger

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    #8
    No way is the Air suitable for your needs. It just doesn't have the horsepower.

    If you want to go Mac then get a MBP, if you want something that'll do what you want and is portable go for a Dell XPS M1330.
     
  9. psychofreak Retired

    psychofreak

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #9
    What on earth are you talking about? The MBA can handle the OP's needs perfectly.

    I recommend the Air, its a wonderful Mac.
     
  10. Denali9 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    #10
    VBA macros

    Hi,
    Hard to get a clear response ?! Because you need VBA macros, you are going to end up spending a lot of time in XP or Vista in order to use VBA Macros since VBA was dropped from MAC Office 2008 and I would not use Office 2004, it was made for the older generation of processors and is not optimized for new intel processor nor was it perfectly seamless with VBA for Windows. Hence in order to support and install two OS on a MBA, you are going to constantly be fighting for HD space and hence it may not be the best choice for you.

    With VISTA SP1 out since last week, Vista is improving. And hence if portability is an issue, even if I love Apple, I would suggest you look elsewhere, you would not like the MBA. If portability is not such a big issue the MB with a larger drive would be a very good fit and with more power and larger HD available, it would expose you to OS X and run Vista or XP quite well, if you do a lot of virtualization (Parallel or Fusion) ensure that you have at least 2 gig of ram, 4 being even better (look for third party, Apple charge too much).

    Good luck, hope you can find what you need with Apple but you may be forced into staying with a Window machine.
     
  11. Shotglass macrumors 65816

    Shotglass

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2006
    #11
    Uhm what? He said he doesn't do video editing.

    To the OP: The MBA is definitely suitable, and I think you're gonna have a lot of fun. I would spend some time on the thought of an external DVD writer though, try to guess how much and where you burn.
     
  12. BongoBanger macrumors 68000

    BongoBanger

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    #12
    Believe it or not that's not the only thing that uses horsepower.

    So, let's see...

    OK so far.

    Ah. Define 'heavy' as in size, manipulation of data, formula usage, macro usage, etc because we may have a problem here.

    OK here.

    OK here.

    This could be a problem because it immediately means he's going to be running Windows on it which, of course, is an additional expense. Oh and if he's running Access files of any size than the Air is going to struggle a bit.

    Fine here, what matters is how much data you're crunching though.

    Not it isn't because he's going to have to use Windows anyway and if he's doing a lot of number crunching more memory and a faster CPU will help here. Thus there are better options than the Air.

    Another extra that isn't needed on other machines.
     
  13. psychofreak Retired

    psychofreak

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    #13
  14. dbwie macrumors 6502

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    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM, USA
    #14
    hard drive space

    The MBA has an 80 GB hard drive. I don't know how much hard disk space your Mac and Windows setups will take use, but this is something to consider. The other Apple laptops allow for more internal storage.
     
  15. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

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    Apr 2, 2006
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    #15
    BongoBanger - do you have an Air, or have you ever used one?
    I use my MBA 1.8 each and every day with VMWare running Win2K3 for windows development, including Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server. It works absolutely perfectly and has plenty of "horsepower"
     
  16. bbbshrimp macrumors newbie

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    Mar 20, 2008
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    Los Angeles
    #16
    Can't agree more...
     
  17. conchshell macrumors member

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    Feb 5, 2008
    #17
    The X300 is coming out with a non-SSD version in August I heard in case that is the main issue re: that. I would still get a Macbook Air instead (b/c of the better screen and backlit keyboard), but w/o the premium ssd drive, the x300 could potentially be a very good value
     
  18. BongoBanger macrumors 68000

    BongoBanger

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    Feb 5, 2008
    #18
    Fair enough. He was talking about the 1.6 GHz model though. It's still going to cost him extra for that copy of Windows regardless.

    On a seperate note I'm not sure I'd go for an X300 as I don't think it's that good and certainly not a patch on the X61.
     
  19. Vista-Victim thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    #19
    Thanks for the feedback!

    I wouldn't be here if it was clear cut, this looked like a good forum to get some discussion going. I'm still on the fence -

    IF MBA can run both OS and meet needs, it looks like a shiny new tool, not toy. I need MS Office Windows capability but desire the more media friendly, Mac.

    Flip side is why pay for the MBA trade-offs, keep ThinkPad or Dell and purchase best of breed apps? How hard can one screw up iTunes or Picasa? And Vista, with fresh install and SP1, may work fine.

    I'd like one or the other, maintaining two computers not desired.

    Being 45, this must be my 'Technological mid-life crisis'.

    I will say that either option sure beats my first laptop - the 40 lb Compaq suitcase I kept in the trunk of my car! Here we are 25 years later debating why I need a 3 lb notebook because, suddenly, 5 lbs seems heavy...
     
  20. Shotglass macrumors 65816

    Shotglass

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    Feb 4, 2006
    #20
    I still have one of those old Amstrad laptops lying around. Runs like a charm, boots faster than any Mac I've owned, but it weighs more than I do. Figuratively speaking.
     
  21. Retops macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #21

    I have both and find the MBA is great for business use. I handle some pretty hairy spreadsheets and constant powerpoint and word duties. Using Office 2008 all works perfectly. I can't imagine needing more "horsepower".
     
  22. BongoBanger macrumors 68000

    BongoBanger

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    Feb 5, 2008
    #22
    Are you running VBA macros and how much data are you crunching? Also, 2008 doesn't come with MS Access.
     
  23. ncavs10 macrumors member

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    Mar 17, 2008
    Location:
    CT
    #23
    if youre going to run windows on a mac, just go buy a PC. its not worth spending the money on a mac if you arent going to take advantage of the mac os.
     
  24. darwiniandude macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    #24
    a friend of mine needed a new notebook recently, he's in love with Vista for some reason.

    He bought a MacBook and leaves it in Vista. I consider it a waste, but that's what he likes and he loves the machine, he's really happy with it, I guess that's what counts.

    Called him ip the other day, haven't spoken to him in awhile. His Dell died (was also running Vista) and he said he was sitting in front of a shiny new iMac! But yes, he's still running vista. :)

    Using parallels / vmware / virtualbox (try first, its free) works well for office apps. But time machine sees the virtual pcs hard disk as a giant file. In parallels it does intergration, so my mac desktop is shared with my windows one, same with documents folder etc. This way time machine backs up the windows documents, not everything else. I have excluded the virtual hard disk image file from the time machine backup.

    You must find the solution tha meets your needs.
     
  25. cohibadad macrumors 6502a

    cohibadad

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    Jul 21, 2007
    #25
    seems like MBA would suit you fine. Love my 1.8 SSD.
     

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