Thinking of getting a MBA 11" or 13"

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by mosser, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. mosser macrumors newbie

    Aug 6, 2012
    Hey all, tha last few weeks i have really been think about getting an Air 11"

    My field of work and study is Software engineering. I am still in doubt if the 11 will be to small.

    note this is not going to my main work horse. i do however have some very specific requirements for it.

    1. must have same keyboard as current MBP 15" and from what i understand this is the case except for function keys which is fine

    2. must be able to run parallels for programming tasks in visual c# since my institute is in bed with Microsoft :(

    i have check my footprint of installed software i cannot live without on my 15" mbp with parallels and it is around 35gb so im thinking the 64gb will be enough.

    my question is since i can still buy the 2011 model and this really is just for portability, mainly note taking and rarely small programming tasks.
    its for the days i want to go to a cafe / library to study
    the easy days at University with a meeting or classes only.

    im think the only problem with the small 2011 is it only have 2gb ram and paired with parallels this will be a pain.

    since im using the 15" as the main work horse which has 1440x900 resolution I'm think would it be better to get the 13" since they have the same resolution?

    however if i do this the mac will get bigger to a point where there might not be the big difference from my current 15" and the whole concept of portability fails. and when studying outside your own home you sometimes have space problems.

    whats your advice?

    2011 11" 64gb - 2gb ram intel hd 3000
    2012 11" 64gb - 4gb ram intel hd 4000
    2012 13" 128gb - 4gb ram intel hd 4000

    im still saving so it only a matter of one month more for each step up in model.

    some people will probally point out 64gb will be to small i know 64 is plenty heck i could probally srink the footprint i have on 35 gb so it could fit in a 32gb ssd however that might be pushing it to to tight.

  2. Barna Biro, Aug 7, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012

    Barna Biro macrumors 6502a

    Barna Biro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Zug, Switzerland
    I don't like the "bare minimum" idea ( if we were to go down that road, then you shouldn't be getting a MBA in the first place but some other cheaper non-Apple notebook that would still "get the job done" in a decent manner ):

    So, my personal suggestion:

    1) 13" 2012 MBA ( if you can afford it, get the one with 2.0Ghz CPU upgrade and larger SSD )
    2) At least 128GB SSD ( you could maybe squeeze your stuff into a 64GB SSD too, but 64GB is really measly... if you were to just read news, watch YouTube videos and surf Facebook all day, it could be enough... but for a future software engineer? are you high? )
    3) 8GB memory ( with 4GB you could most likely run whatever you want in Parallels without any serious issues... but do yourself a favor and get 8GB, cause it won't be long until you'll be hitting your head to the wall with 4GB of memory )

    Summing it up: 13" MBA 2012, 128GB SSD, 8GB Memory ( go any lower than that on your own risk )

    Again... I'm not saying that it's impossible to manage on the "bare minimum", but as a future software engineer, you are not really the "typical user" and sooner or later, you'll want as much CPU power, memory and disk space as your money can buy... Even if you are doing basic stuff now, you'll eventually end up installing a crap-load of tools, use a crap-load of frameworks, etc. ( don't be fooled... this so called "eventually" is right around the corner ).
  3. seared.ahi macrumors regular


    Aug 5, 2012

    2012 13" 8gb RAM
  4. bradPiano macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2011
    I agree with Barna Biro.

    When I got my 2012 13" Air, around 100gb of the 128gb were available to use. I would say 64gb would be pushing it, even if you were a light user. If you plan on keeping this laptop for an extended period of time, 128gb seems like the best option at a decent upgrade price.

    One of my deciding factors in getting the 13" was the sd slot. This will allow me to augment the on board storage with sd & microsd storage for additional media and backup purposes, while maintaining a light footprint. With the 11", if you run out, your only other super-portable option is swapping out the built in drive with a larger third-party custom-made ssd that will likely remain fairly expensive considering it's such a specialized product.

    The biggest factor is the ram, though. I'm a web developer, so I imagine I'm going through a similar workflow that you'll be going through, and I wouldn't even consider 2gb. 4gb is minimum for sanity purposes, but I jumped at 8gb without even giving it a second thought. This component is set in stone, so it's important to make sure you've got enough power to cover your bases. Also, you're going to get more battery life out of the 13", and that would widen your options on the move.
  5. Steve121178 macrumors 601


    Apr 13, 2010
    Bedfordshire, UK
  6. mosser thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 6, 2012
    Another brand is not an option. i will end up missing os x and i hate having different keyboards and shortcuts.

    okay as i pointed out my self and you other also point out the 2011 is a no go.

    8gb ram might be nice and that might be something to look into in either 11 or 13 inch's

    my programming work on it will be limited since everything that requires more beef would be done on my 15" mbp

    main jobs for the machine.

    note taking in classes and in palces with limited space
    holding concepts and ideas like Hi-Fi models of programs
    taking to group meetings for agenda and such we often dont do alot of programming when holding meetings. however it has to be flexible enough if we decide to try something out i am able to use it for such tasks. which I'm unable to do on my iPad 2.

    that being said i can see why the 13" might be better the problem is im just think why not just bring my current mbp then? yes its still lighter and smaller.

    space wise i agree myself with 64GB being to little for main work horse. and i would never do that. i really just have a hard time finding stuff that will fill up a traveling machine. also this 35GB footprint will be 4GB lower on a 4gb ram system due to hibernation file only have to save a 4gb system. but a few years from now 4gb might be to little.

    im curius why i should opt for a bigger CPU?

    at the moment i have just finished 4. semester out of 10. and our stuff been very basic. people with celeron cpu's been able to do the stuff we learned.

    how ever now it been boiled abit down, but new ones is in consideration

    2011 is no go

    thinking of

    2012 11" base 64gb with 4gb
    2012 11" base 64gb with 8gb
    2012 13" base 128gb with 4gb
    2012 13" base 128gb with 8gb

    think the hard part is 11 and 13 inch both are really nice. but fits the job differently the 11" inch is pure for the task from what im thinking, where as the 13" might be more a all around working machine and might complement my 15" way better. also i would go for the a total beefed upped 13" if i didnt have the 15"

    thanks for the advice so far keep em coming. :D
  7. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    When looking at the models with small capacity SSDs, don't forget to consider the fact that you'll lose quite a lot of disk performance if it's around 3/4 or more full. It's best to keep an SSD at around half capacity, if you can.

    I cannot see how you could possibly live with only 64 GBs. 128 GBs would be the minimum that I would look at for your uses. Don't forget that you need space for Mountain Lion, swap files, temporary files and so forth. 64 GBs just won't cut it. There is really no point in wasting money on the extra CPU power, since you've another more powerful machine.
  8. Barna Biro macrumors 6502a

    Barna Biro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Zug, Switzerland
    If that's what you need it for, then just go for the cheapest you can find... to be honest, buying a MBA for what you need seems like a total waste. You in essence just need a shiny block of paper notes that can occasionally compile and run code...

    NOTE: You can always install TeamViewer on your iPad and connect to your home computer to write and run some code when those rare occasions occur. Else, there will surely be other people around with notebooks who can send the experiment source code after classes...

    It's your decision in the end, but to me, you just seem to feel the need to throw some money on a product that will be "overqualified" for the job. Personally, I'd just stick with the iPad and use TeamViewer when "really, really needed" ( you can always get a bluetooth keyboard for the iPad to make typing more pleasant and fast ).

    Again... your money, your decision. As long as you're happy... :)
  9. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    Based on what you posted, if I were you, I would buy the 2012 11" 64 ssd and see if you can manage the screen size. If not, returned it w/i the 14 day window and get a 13". The only way to know is to test drive it.
  10. mosser thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 6, 2012
    thats a really good idea. think that might be the best scenario if its possible here in Denmark

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