Opinions needed: Get an Air as a netbook? If so, SSD?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by techound1, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. techound1 macrumors 68000

    techound1

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    Mar 3, 2006
    #1
    I've done the Wind hackintosh, and I'm typing this on an hp mini - but I have to keep stopping to wait for the screen to keep up with my typing (and lets bear in mind I got a D in typing in high school so we know it's me) - and I'm now thinking of selling those two netbooks and giving the Air a try-out as the travel companion it was meant to be. Refurb Rev A's are going for $999 and $1199, depending on the HD.

    Am I crazy to sell off a pair of semi-pokey machines and drop an additional $400-$600 for an Air? How is the speed for netbook-ish tasks?

    How is the SSD vs the platter drive? (speed to access, and the like).

    Thanks for any thoughts you can add.
     
  2. Shoesy macrumors 6502a

    Shoesy

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    #2
    It's a lot of money for what is ultimately a very thin underpowered mac. Maybe wait and see what gets announced in the summer? Or spend a lot of money on something thats only good for looking at the net. I know which I'd choose if I had $600 'spare'. :apple: :apple: :apple:
     
  3. akm3 macrumors 68020

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    #3
    Get the SSD, it gives a much better 'feel' while using the machine, and saves a little battery life.
     
  4. techound1 thread starter macrumors 68000

    techound1

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    #4
    That's my rub. I don't need power; I need small/light. But is the "cheap" Air enough horsepower? The 1.6 atom netbook is sluggish at times for cloud computingy tasks. I don't want to shell out and end up with something no more agile than a PC netbook.
     
  5. techound1 thread starter macrumors 68000

    techound1

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    #5
    As in more zippy and peppy or more resonsive/agile?
     
  6. akm3 macrumors 68020

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    #6
    Aren't those the same thing? hehe. I'm not sure because those are such subjective adjectives, but I mean in the sense when you tell the computer to do something it does it with less delay.
     
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #7
    I'd try to see if you can get a Sony TZ for the same money unless you really want OS X on this thing.

    There's also a really decent looking Dell 12" laptop that costs around the same price, has good specs, and is far lighter.

    The MBA is good, although I'd just get a regular harddisk to put in there.
     
  8. fridgeymonster3 macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

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    #8
    I just got the new MBA with the SSD ( in know you were referring to the Rev A) and the SSD makes it pretty peppy. Its really quick for light tasks, even quicker then my Mac Pro at certain things. I have to admit that in just a week+ of owning it, my Mac Pro usage has been cut almost in half. Easily.
     
  9. aaquib macrumors 65816

    aaquib

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    #9
    The MacBook air, especially if you go with the SSD option, will destroy your other netbooks in terms of performance. The 1.6 Atom is no match for the 1.6 C2D.
     
  10. SecondDealer macrumors regular

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    Feb 1, 2009
    #10
    Honestly I think its foolish to buy a MBA... ever. The link below basically sums up my feelings on the air.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0ERgZ9dztk

    If you are going to upgrade go with a MB, you're not crazy for wanted to get something better but you are crazy for getting an Air.
     
  11. fridgeymonster3 macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

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    #11
    I disagree. I have a Mac Pro to do everything I could possibly need to do. I have a MBA to bring around with me, use on the couch, in bed, or let my wife carry it with her. I don't need computing power and I don't want a netbook. I can't see how a MB would serve me better.
     
  12. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #12
    I felt the same way running mac on my lenovo ideapad. Didn't like the keyboad, (damn you, right shift key!) and while mine kept up with my typing, the cursor sometimes jumped around on every application, and the trackpad was all but unusable.

    If all you are wanting to do is surf the net, email, word processing, etc., consider a 12" ibook or powerbook. My septuagenarian father finally got a mac recently, and he bought a 1.07 ghz 12" g4 ibook with 3/4 gig in ram, 30 gig hard drive, airport and a cd drive. I brought it to my house to download all of the tiger updates on it using my broadband, and I was surprised to learn the thing was pretty usable on the net.

    I leapt at the chance to get a 1.5 ghz last gen power book with 1.25 gig of ram, and I LOVE this thing! I had one for a while a few years back, found it underpowered for encoding video, etc., and traded it in on a g5 powermac.

    Good battery life, snappy web performance (especially with safari 4), solid, dependable, scrolling trackpad, two finger right click and a luxurious keyboard by comparison. For my needs, I prefer the old school 12" screen to the 10" led backlit widescreen on the lenovo and wind. It's the perfect size and weight to lug around the house or to a starbucks.

    Really, truly seriously, hunt around on craigslist and find a last gen ibook (or preferably powerbook due to the nicer feel of the keyboard) and try it out on a wifi hotspot. Cram all the ram you can into it, and you will not regret it. If you keep a sharp lookout, you may be able to find one for cheap. My dad's ibook was $250, and my powerbook was bought for $400.

    And unlike the air which costs four times as much, mine has a built in superdrive!
     
  13. techound1 thread starter macrumors 68000

    techound1

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    Mar 3, 2006
    #13
    Wow. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts.

    I had forgotten the Air has no disc drive and that's one of the things that makes me cranky about the netbooks - if I'm out with a client, it's nice to have the drive on board in the event it's needed to diagnose something (like is the problem the disc or the drive...). I also want the machine to be semi-disposable, meaning if it's lost or stolen or crushed or otherwise trashed, I'm not out a ton of money (as would certainly be the case with a newer air). The 12" PB is a great idea. I too had one long ago and the form factor was divine, but I'm concerned the PPC architecture is just not going to cut it (I know, I'm running a netbook so what am I worried about :p).

    In summary, my problem is that I want a 12" macbook with a 2.5ghz intel chip :eek:.
     
  14. PsyD4Me macrumors 6502a

    PsyD4Me

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    #14
    +1 and why would you need a disc drive on it? USB is fine, and if you have to use your Air to remote access a CD on another mac. It's very easy.
     
  15. wacso macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    #15
    air- great computer

    i get tired of hearing people who don't own an air talk about the air. i own a macbook pro and an air....i bought the air as a 2nd computer, to give it a try and see if it could keep up. i am a HEAVY adobe illustrator user so i had my concerns. guess what? months later my pro sits in the corner gathering dust. is the air less powerful than my pro?...of course. but specs aside it feels the same and handles the same intensive tasks as the pro, so it's really a no-brainer that the air would handle netbook type tasks with no problems.
     
  16. techound1 thread starter macrumors 68000

    techound1

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    Mar 3, 2006
    #16
    Oooh, now that's got me swinging back toward the air. I have an external dvd drive, but how easy is it to "borrow" a drive from another mac (over the network?). If I'm away from my home setup, is it a pain to do?
     
  17. fridgeymonster3 macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

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    #17
    It's pretty easy. I just finished installing parts of my Adobe CS3 Master Collection (Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, Adobe 8 Pro) and it was a breeze sitting in the living room with the Air while the stuff installed over the network with my Mac Pro in the office. It was a bit of a pain having to get up and switch through install discs 1-4, but for just using a single DVD or CD its easy. Click the Remote Disc icon in Finder on the Air, click the Mac/PC name, click "ask to use" unless the computer is set not even having to ask, click on that network pc "accept" to let the Air use the drive, and done. You can now use the drive as if it was your own.

    For example. My early 2008 Mac Pro was my first Mac and I got it in January I'm pretty sure. Over the course of the last 15+ months with it, my wife, whose not really computer illiterate, can't even find stuff on it because it's much more foreign to her because she was so used to windows. She still forgets that she just has to click the little "documents" icon on the dock or go to finder and click documents to find her saved files. Pathetic, yes, but she usually just surfs the web and checks email. However, it took her all of 2 minutes to learn how to use remote disc on the MBA!! So, its pretty damn easy.
     
  18. techound1 thread starter macrumors 68000

    techound1

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    Mar 3, 2006
    #18
    Okay, I'm convinced the air is going to make my practicality issues go away (and listing in that direction on the sexiness front anyway helped too :p).

    Now, Rev A or Rev B? I can swing the price of the B, but it kills me to pay $1800 with the $1K version in the refurb store. Is the A really as bad as its rep?
     
  19. fridgeymonster3 macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

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    #19
    I was convinced I wanted the SSD version, either the refurb for $1199 or the new rev B for $2499. Now mind you, my wife's company has a discount similar to the education discount so the $2499 was more like $2299. I never wanted anything but the MBA and a little case. No need for any dongles or superdrive. So basically for me it was $2299 vs $1199. Money wasn't really an issue, it was a slight factor, but it didn't have much bearing. I chose the Rev B basically because of all the reviews and comments in threads that it was much improved over the Rev A. Now, I could have easily been suckered out of that extra $1100, but I have no buyers remorse. It was my bonus money so I would have used it on Mac Pro upgrades anyways most likely :D. I'm very happy with my decision.

    Addendum: I don't work for AIG, CitiGroup, or any of the other companies that were bailed out. No need to attack me cause I said the word "bonus".
     
  20. aaquib macrumors 65816

    aaquib

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    #20
    I'd personally go with the Rev. A SSD refurb. I know Scottsdale is going to get on this post and post his amazing experience with the Rev.B, but especially with the refurbs, people have been reporting good things. The SSD would really speed things up and personally, I don't think the difference between the Rev A SSD and Rev B is going to be worth the extra $500. But that's just me.
     
  21. techound1 thread starter macrumors 68000

    techound1

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    Mar 3, 2006
    #21
    Thank you, aaquib - that's the type of info I'm looking for. I'm having a tough time with the B pricetag when I want to use it in a potential-loss situation mucking all over creation. I'm glad to hear the SSD is worth it speed-wise - I don't know that I can argue (to myself) that I need the non-platter just for the sake of being able to use the machine while (on horseback? on a bulldozer? drive on a dirt road during mud season?), but I'm happy to jump on the idea if there is an actual, practical consideration like speed boost.
     
  22. fridgeymonster3 macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

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    #22
    The boot time and app load times are much better on the SSD. I'd go with the Rev A SSD too. If having the "luxury" of losing it is definitely a factor then I'd much rather lose a Rev A which is less then half of the rev B.
     
  23. mikes63737 macrumors 65816

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    #23
    I have an HP Mini (the 16GB SSD model) and there is a very noticeable lag with the keyboard. It's got something to do with XP not being SSD optimized and relying on the pagefile too much. Try installing Ubuntu on it to see if that helps (or Windows 7). You might not have to spend that money on a new computer.
     
  24. Alucardx03 macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    This is a good idea. I bought a MBA when they were first announced, and loved it for basic tasks. Then, it was run over by a few cars. I was heartbroken.

    True story.

    The good news is, I sold it for $900 on eBay. I don't know why the seller was willing to pay that much, but they were very happy with it.
     
  25. techound1 thread starter macrumors 68000

    techound1

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    Mar 3, 2006
    #25
    Thanks for the tip - I've tried both (not for that issue specifically), and especially with W7, it seems just as laggy. Must be a more processor-oriented issue?
     

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