Potentially Switching to an MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by MaggieS, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. MaggieS macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2011
    So, I'd been planning on making the big switch from PC to Mac for a few months now, but kept putting it off. Then the universe stepped in, gave some dirty thief my precious laptop, and informed me that it was time to move on. Hey, when the universe says it's time to go, maybe it's time to go. The only problem I've been having is deciding between an MBA and an MBP.

    I used my previous laptop for writing and photo editing mostly, with the occasional game on the side. I write all the time, and I do mean all the time. I regularly participate in NaNoWriMo, and besides that I am on a few long term writing communities. So, a novel or two, as well as a couple hundred short stories, are probably what's going to end up being stored most of the time. (Yes, they do get backed up, but aside from short stories that are months old and haven't been looked at, I like to keep most of it on the laptop, where I can get to it instantly.) Then add in my photo editing. I create novel covers and photo manips a lot, so photoshop is almost always running. When I boot up my laptop, MS Word and Photoshop are the two that are instantly on as well. The games I had on my laptop were Oblivion and Dragon Age. Now, I've also recently gotten an XBOX 360, so most of my games are on there now, and the computer games would probably be Sid Meir's Priates and The Sims.

    So, my question is, will an MBA be able to handle a fair amount of word documents and picture files, and an occasional game?

    I intend to get the 13" with these specs:

    1.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5
    4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
    256GB flash storage
  2. Xgm541 macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    Not to be the butthole of the day but why did you post this thread?

    Computers from 2000 are able to work with word files and pictures. You are purchasing a computer with the newest processor, able to perform on par or better with last gen's macbook pro's.

    system requirements for the 2004 version of pirates:

    1 GHz or higher, 256 MB RAM, 1.4 GB hard disk space, 64 MB T&L-compatible SVGA video card

    You meet them.

    sims 3:
    Operating system Mac OS X 10.5.7 Leopard
    CPU Intel Core Duo Processor
    Memory 2 GB
    Hard drive space 6.1GB of free space and 1GB for additional content
    Graphics hardware ATI X1600 or NVIDIA 7300 GT with 128 MB RAM or Intel Integrated GMA X3100

    You meet them. Buy the damn computer already !
  3. MaggieS thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2011
    >> My question wasn't "hey, can the MBA let me write on it in Pages?? :DDDD" Thanks for being a butthole, I was asking if it could handle a huge amount of excess. Thousands upon thousands of pictures, hundreds of word documents, Photoshop running constantly, as well as a few large games. AS WELL, I have never owned a Mac, I don't know what 'last gen MBP's' are really capable of, other than a very vague idea. You could be a little more understanding, and provide a better first impression of what to expect from a Mac community.
  4. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    Yes. Although I would also suggest you spend the extra $90 and get the i7.

    BTW, I'm a former Windows user (still am I guess) and this was my first Mac. Prepare to be impressed. :D
  5. MaggieS thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2011
    Thank you^^ My dad was pushing me to get a pro (We come from a long line of super giant/super heavy laptops) but I wanted to go lighter this time, and just wanted to make sure it could keep up with my normal day-to-day stuff.
  6. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    It will, and then some. It is amazing how fast and quick the new core i5/i7s are with SSD. I consider myself a power user, and I have all sorts of stuff running (Office for Windows, Office for Mac, Parallels, etc.) and the MBA is just quick as can be. And it is sooooo thin its hard to believe you are carrying around THAT much laptop around.

    I installed Windows 7 using Bootcamp and Parallels so I could run several programs that I need that are not available on Mac, like Quicken Home and Business, DVD Profiler,and my Escort Radar detector upgrade tool. The MBA runs Windows 7 better than any other laptop out there, and its good for us former Windows users to have a safety net to fall back on, although I find myself booting less and less into Windows, and only using a virtual machine when I need to run one of those apps. iTunes for one runs a heck of a lot better on a Mac than on Windows. :D

    Good luck! :apple:
  7. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    The i7 would help a little on the photo editing, but if cost is a concern, note that on the 13" model it only makes about an 8-10% difference on CPU-intensive tasks. The i7 makes a bigger difference on the 11" model. Are you eligible for a student discount? If not, MacMall's pricing on the Apple Insider click-through is the lowest price I've seen on the 13" versions, and getting the i7 from them is only a little bit more than getting the i5 through Apple.

    I have the 11" i7 and was impressed by how quickly Aperture processed my photo library. At $79 through the App Store, it's worth it.
  8. Xgm541 macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    Heres an idea :p, go to your current laptop/desktop, check how much space is being used by all your pictures, documents, and games. If you fit on the MBA, there is no reason for you to not buy it.

    As for the MBA to last gen MBP comparison, i was doing simply a CPU comparison, by benchmarks, the c2d's found in the 2010 MBP are on par with the 2011 Sandy bridge CPU's. You also get the added bonus of an SSD.

    Remember you have 14 days to return it if it doesnt suit your expectations, but I bet youll keep it.
  9. MaggieS thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2011
    Yeah, if you had read my initial post AT ALL, you would have realized that my laptop had been stolen, thus prompting all of this, and not allowing me to just check it. Thanks for the advice, though, I'm sure it works in other cases.
  10. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    I'm knew to mac too, and unfortunately you'll find a lot of people on this forum who act like that. As for your question, the air should work fine for the programs you run, only question is if 4gb of ram is enough for you. If you have all those programs open at the same you may be pushing it and might go towards the macbook pro with 8gb ram.
  11. gloss macrumors 601


    May 9, 2006
    The long and short:

    It will run Pirates and The Sims fine (at least in Windows - not signed into Steam right now; unsure of Mac availability).

    The SSD will handle your day-to-day workload with aplomb. The processor may not be an 8-core Xeon, but it's very quick for general use.

    I doubt you'll have any issues.

    (edit: Above poster makes a good point with the RAM, but that would only be a potential roadblock for Photoshop. If you're working with enormous files.)
  12. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I'm a charter member of the MacBook Air club (I've been using it since the first version back in 2008) and I always liked ultraportables (though the Rev A MacBook Air was the first I actually owned).

    The current version is the first that really seems to be "no compromises." It has a modern processor, plenty of storage with the 256GB option, sufficient RAM, and is still the perfect size. I prefer the 11" myself, but that might be a stretch if you are used to 15" notebooks or higher. Whenever I pick up my mother's 15" MacBook Pro, it seems huge by comparison.
  13. danpass macrumors 68020


    Jun 27, 2009
    Miami, FL
    the latest MBP has the faster CPU and the display has greater dynamic range
  14. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    I did a test opening over 15 apps at once (including both versions, Mac and Windows, of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and all three browsers with multiple tabs open (Chrome, Firefox and Safari)) and the MBA didn't skip a beat. Mind you that was with Parallels running a Windows 7 VM using up half the cores and memory.
  15. MaggieS thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2011
    @Fernandez21 - Thanks :) Like I said, I think I'll have Photoshop, Word, and some internet browser open most of the time, but I also intend to get one of the portable hard drives, so I think I might be good?

    @gloss - Are you sure about the games? Because, on the Sims website, they seem very anti-Air.

    @KPOM - Heh, 15" laptops, that was funny... My last laptop, the one that was stolen, was almost 18". I really like the 13" size, though, I always play with it in the Apple store whenever I go up there, but yeah, you're right about the 11" being a stretch. I looked at that thing once and my mind was just blown. It was the same reaction I had to netbooks(how the hell can you type on them?!)
  16. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Maybe this one is more your size? http://oldcomputers.net/compaqi.html :D

    The nice thing about the 11" Air is that it has full size keyboard (apart from the half-sized function keys). It's as easy to type on as the 17" MacBook Air (which oddly does not have a numeric keypad - Apple doesn't like them for some reason).

    The Sims 3 reports the following requirements:
    Mac OS X 10.5.7 Leopard or higher
    Intel Core Duo Processor
    2 GB RAM
    ATI X1600 or Nvidia 7300 GT with 128 MB of Video RAM, or Intel Integrated GMA X3100.

    The HD 3000, while not great, blows away the GMA x3100.
  17. MaggieS thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2011
    I noticed that about Mac laptops just NEVER having a numeric keypad, that's one of my favorite things! I mean yeah, they do have that add on one for the PRO, but let's be serious...I've gotten so used to number pads, it's going to be a bit odd to adjusting without them.

    Yeah, I know that it meets the requirements, but over on the Sims forums, they just bag on using Air's soooo much. As soon as someone mentions it they're all "Don't do it! Worst mistake of your life! Get an iMac!" And apparently there are a lot of difficulties with EA games and Lion? I dunno...
  18. tbobmccoy macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2007
    Austin, TX
    My wife installed the sims 3 on my Air and it ran fine. It's not exactly that graphically intense and the hd3000 took care of it fine :D

    Now, Mass Effect 2 was a different story. Definitely a lot slower than my old Pro's dedicated gfx.

    As for being made fun of, welcome to the community. Apples are an easy target because they're different, even though they are much better systems. It's just one of those things!
  19. Brandon0448 macrumors 6502


    Aug 2, 2011
    Anchorage, Alaska
    If your mostly using just photoshop and word then a MBA will be perfect for you. I have the i7 13" Air and I can have Photoshop with about 20 files open, Word, iTunes, Safari and the mail app all open and still have a good gig and a half of RAM free and it runs without a hiccup.

    Plus the Air is just sexy as hell, its amazing how small and light it is. I got mine for school and its just perfect. Its like your not even carrying around a laptop. Anyone that I let use it instantly falls in love with it, even my mac hating friends. I was never a mac fan until I bought this thing.
  20. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    While games always tend to throw a monkey-wrench into the works, with that exception any Apple model will do fine, but smaller screens will be cramped with Photoshop.

    You could spend a whole lifetime writing and never fill up the drive on even the smallest MacBook Air, depressing but true that a life's work could fit on a DVD. Photos are another matter and could force you to an external drive if you don't go for the Macbook Pro with a large hard drive.

    I'm mainly posting to suggest looking at Scrivener for writing since you "write all the time" particularly long form documents. Word is really miserable for this. Even Apple Pages is better for getting out of the way. If you are using the current Photoshop version you should be able to get a good deal on transferring the license to the Mac version.
  21. Xgm541 macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    Thats the claims people made about my 2010 macbook air. It's apparently not a gaming device at all. Well, it meets my gaming requirements so yeah :).
  22. accessoriesguy macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2011
    lol i have a pro, and its light against some of those super giant heavy laptops. I was impressed at how small and light my pro was, and it would still smoke when it came to performance.

    The air on the other hand will make you go ZOMG it weighs as much as a shoe!
  23. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    Ram is going to be an issue WAY before the processor is.
  24. Titanium81 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2011
    Hold off on all Mac purchases!!!! New ones are coming out soon :)

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