Several questions from soon to be Mac User.

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Flying Dutchmen, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. Flying Dutchmen macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    My story:
    Last year I started with a study, mechanical engineering, for which I needed a lot of windows programs and some of those were very GPU intensive (SolidWorks). So I bought a HP DV7 Pavilion 6190ED last year, a machine that has a 17inch screen and weights in at about 5 kg. For several reasons I decided to change the study I did.

    Now I'm going to study Business Economics, and since I don't need a heavy GPU for that, I plan to buy something more portable since I do have to walk a lot around campus. So, these are the choices I considered;

    MacBook Pro 15 inch ... Too expensive, although it offers upgradebility, with the upgrades I want (SSD & more Ram) its going to be just as pricey as the rMBP.

    MacBook Pro Retina ... Not gonna buy this since its a first gen product and there are still some issues with it that I can't justify right now spending 2,500 euro's on it.

    MacBook Pro 13 inch ... Although it offers great upgradebility (Ram, HDD/SSD) I think its EOL very soon and I think the resolution (1280x800) doesn't offer enough screen estate to comfortabely work on.

    So, what's left then. The MacBook Air line, both models (11&13) are very portable and powerfull enough for my stuff (mostly excel, word/pages, web stuff). 11 inch is too small, since I already own a iPad 3 (64GB, LTE model).

    ...

    So the laptop I plan on buying is the MacBook Air 13 inch, however about that I have several questions that I cant find the answers on.

    The configuration I want is gonna be the; i5 1.8 Ghz CPU, 128 GB SSD, 8GB Ram.
    Ram upgrade since it can't be upgraded later on. I think 128 GB is enough for the stuff I need and the SSD is a plainoff ripoff if you buy from Apple (300 euros overhere...)

    The software I plan on running is;
    - Safari/Chrome
    - Office 2011 for Mac
    - iLife & iWork
    - VLC Player
    - some kind of FTP program for FTP access to my website.
    - *software that school wants me to run, possibly windows only*

    All these programs arent that big in file size I believe so I think 128 GB should be enough. I don't plan on storing a lot of movies on it since I still have the HP laptop at home for that. I also have a subscription to iTunes Match so all my music that I already own will be available threw iCloud. I also plan on having Photostream set up so I don't have to store a lot of photo's on it.

    One thing I have no clue about yet, is windows stuff school maybe wants me to run. (most of it will be Excel and since that has a Mac version it wont be a problem). However now I have no clue what to do with the windows only stuff. I have been reseaching it and there are 2 options left. Bootcamp or Parallels 7.

    So my questions basically are:

    1. Is the MBA that I plan on buying good enough (2012 model, i5 1.8 Ghz, 128 GB SSD, 8 GB Ram)?

    2. What do you guys recommand for the Windows only software? Bootcamp or Parellels? I know Bootcamp has more resources available since it doesn't require OS X to be activated, but Parallels makes it easier to stay within the OS X environment.

    3. Does Os X use a different file structure thing then windows (NTFS)?
    Since if I need to travel and want to view some video's on airplane/train/bus, I plan on having a 256 GB external SSD (Samsung 830) in a USB3 enclosure.

    4. If I need to co-work on a project together with class mates, who are using Windows Excel 2010, will they be open and edit Mac Excel 2011 files and vice versa without having compability issues?

    5. Between the Windows & Mac side I think I am gonna use Dropbox. I know that and I love it so far, however, are there better solutions on this or should I stay using dropbox to sync files between the two OS'ses?

    Hopefully you guys can help me with this stuff. I really am enthausitac about getting a Mac since I'm done with Windows (that Windows 8 Metro interface... so difficult to use).

    If I need other advice, please reply below.

    Thanks in advance,

    Remy aka Flying Dutchmen

    (p.s. if all the stuff turns out to be true about OS X I plan on buying a rMBP (2nd gen) when it comes out and/or a iMac and totally ditch Windows)
     
  2. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #2
    With 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, if you go the Windows route, I suggest using Parallels Desktop 7 or VMWare Fusion. That way, Windows will take up only as much space as it needs, and it will be able to access files on your Mac partition (so you can save data there). With Boot Camp, you'd need to partition the drive. Windows should run just fine in a virtual machine. I give Windows 7 64-bit 3GB of RAM in my virtual machine setup (though I also have it in a Boot Camp partition for other reasons). Games won't run particularly well in a virtual machine, but most other applications do, including what you'd likely need to access school servers.
     
  3. gnxz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #3
    1. Is the MBA that I plan on buying good enough (2012 model, i5 1.8 Ghz, 128 GB SSD, 8 GB Ram)?
    --- YES

    2. What do you guys recommand for the Windows only software? Bootcamp or Parellels? I know Bootcamp has more resources available since it doesn't require OS X to be activated, but Parallels makes it easier to stay within the OS X environment.
    --- YOU CAN USE BOTH. With Bootcamp you boot into windows when you first start your machine. With Parallels you can use the same BOOTCAMP partition

    3. Does Os X use a different file structure thing then windows (NTFS)?
    Since if I need to travel and want to view some video's on airplane/train/bus, I plan on having a 256 GB external SSD (Samsung 830) in a USB3 enclosure.
    ---OS X AND NTFS are completely different operating system but with Paragon Software such as NTFS for Mac and HFS+ for Windows you can read from each other's Hard drive partitions

    4. If I need to co-work on a project together with class mates, who are using Windows Excel 2010, will they be open and edit Mac Excel 2011 files and vice versa without having compability issues?
    ---Absolutely

    5. Between the Windows & Mac side I think I am gonna use Dropbox. I know that and I love it so far, however, are there better solutions on this or should I stay using dropbox to sync files between the two OS'ses?
    ---Dropbox will work on both and so do others cloud devices
     
  4. stchman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #4
    1. Yes. The 2012 13" MBA is actually a pretty powerful machine.

    2. You can dual boot using the boot camp boot manager or use VirtualBox(free) to run Windows virtually.

    3. OS X does not fully support NFTS OOB. If you're going to use a portable drive and be able to use it on Windows or Linux use the exFAT file system.

    4. AFAIK, yes. I would use LibreOffice as it is free and pretty much does the same thing as MS Office.

    5. AFAIK, yes.
     
  5. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #5
    Regarding Item 4, note that Excel 2011 doesn't support the Data Analysis ToolPak add-on that is available for Excel 2010. Other than that, the files are identical, though. Therefore, you should be able to read and write each others' files just fine.
     
  6. Blackberryroid macrumors 6502a

    Blackberryroid

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2012
    Location:
    /private/var/vm/
    #6
    Bad news for you. The Air 13 and The Pro 13 has the exact same screen space (the screen estate, you call it). You won't see any difference in the displays. Just go to the Apple Store.

    The reason why the Air is 1440x900 and the Pro is 1280x800 is because the Air has more PPI. So it's just clearer. It's not going to give you additional spaces or something.
     
  7. Flying Dutchmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    #7
    Decision is made, one last question...

    Thanks guys for the help, I think I have all my answers now.

    Gonna order a 13 inch Air, with i5 & 8 GB of RAM, 128 Gigs SSD. Also gonna order Parrallels 7 and Office 2011, and a Magic Mouse & Carrier bag for it.


    One last question, if after lets say 6 months, I feel I dont have enough from the 128 gigs, is it easy to swap it with a 240/480 SSD drive from OWC and reinstall OS X on that via internet recovery?
     
  8. dcorban macrumors 6502a

    dcorban

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    #8
    This is not true. You can literally fit more on the Air's screen than the Pro's. There is no scaling or resolution independence. On every computer, a higher resolution means more screen "real estate".
     
  9. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #9
    Yes. Even easier is just use Carbon Copy Cloner to copy the OS and everything from old drive to new.
     
  10. Flying Dutchmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    #10
    Ordered!

    Went to my local Apple premium reseller and ordered this beauty :) Should be here in about 1.5 weeks.

    13 Inch air, 128 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM, US keyboard layout :)

    Thanks for the awesome help guys!

    First Mac, here I come :D
     

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