To Air or not to Air that is the question

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by maddav, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. maddav, Jun 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011

    maddav macrumors 6502

    maddav

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #1
    So i've been looking to buy a new computer for a while to replace my early '08 black MacBook (2.4GHz, 4GB RAM).

    My initial idea was to build a windows box and use my iPad when I needed portability. However, I realised I needed something a little more comprehensive from my portable option as I will be working away from home a lot. So, I figure that the Macbook Air is an ideal candidate for what I'll be doing (plenty of word processing, presentations etc.).

    My question is: with a lower clock speed (i know that's not everything), and lower geekbench score (also, not everything, especially as they compare base models) would I see any improvement in performance if I were to buy a 13" 1.86 GHz C2D MBA w/4GB RAM tomorrow?

    That said, of course I'm going to wait for the SB MBAs to be released, but I'm also entertaining the idea of getting a C2D refurb instead.

    Thanks

    edit: Also forgot to ask, my current Macbook seems to *just* be able to handle HD video, any experiences with HD video (ripped, downloaded or streaming) would be very welcome.

    edit2: argh, another question I forgot about: I seem to recall reading that it's bad practice to frequently create and delete large files (a few GB) on an SSD as it can age the drive faster, any truth to this? Thanks.
     
  2. racketeer71 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    #2
    The SSD would most likely make it feel faster.
     
  3. maddav thread starter macrumors 6502

    maddav

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
  4. Xgm541 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #4
    For HD video my macbook air 11 inch 1.4ghz, 4gb ram does fine. Most HD video is encoded in a rather low bit rate (<10mbps) which MBA's will do fine with. As to if your MBA will play YOUR hd videos, this question can only be answered by you.

    for word processing and presentations youll be fine even if the processor was 1ghz.

    and for your SSD question, think of it this way, by the time your SSD "dies" or slows down considerably enough for you to notice, youll most likely already have a new machine. These things take time. When SSD's first came out, the lifespan was a concern, but this has improved greatly.
     
  5. maddav thread starter macrumors 6502

    maddav

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #5
    Thanks! My only concern, something that I'll have to work out for myself, is my solution at home; I currently connect my MacBook to a 26" display @ 1920x1200 and of course this leads to more work for the processor.
     
  6. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #6
    As an earlier poster said, the Air will definitely feel faster than your MacBook due to the SSD. HD video should also perform better on either Air (current or upcoming SandyBridge). The reason is that the X3100 in your current MacBook does not support hardware acceleration like the current MacBook Air does. The new Sandy Bridge processors also support H.264 hardware acceleration which means that the CPU isn't going to be taxed while watching movies encoded with H.264.

    The 320M and the new Sandy Bridge graphics will both drive that display without any problems.

    The biggest decision, then, is which model to buy. A current Air today means instant gratification and if a new one is released within 2 weeks, you can either exchange or get a partial refund. Waiting a few weeks means that you can either get a new one if you want, or save some money by going refurbished.
     
  7. maddav thread starter macrumors 6502

    maddav

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #7
    Great reply, thanks.

    If I were to buy tomorrow (for example), I'd go for either the base 13" upped to 4GB RAM (no refurb available w/4GB RAM without going for the ultimate) or a refurb 'ultimate' 11". With £200 between the two, I'd probably go for the 11".

    That said, I will most definitely wait as I don't NEED the new laptop until september.
     

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