To MBA 11" or not, that is the question

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ZeppeZ, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. ZeppeZ macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2013
    #1
    Hey guys!

    Im really considering getting a MBA 11" but cant decide to go with the baseline model or upgrading it(i7, 8gb and 256gb SSD)
    The reason for not going 13" or MBP retina 13" is because of the portability of the 11" and that I'll be carrying it in my "man purse" back and forth from school.

    With the base line model of MBA 11" I presume its "enough" for school stuff(you know, word and youtube ofc:p) and watching movies in 720p ?

    The reason why im considering to upgrade, is that I like the idea of having one "main" computer and not a laptop and then another computer at home.
    So was wondering how the performance of the MBA 11" with an external display 1920x1080 is? for both random surfing, movies and gaming.

    The games Im currently playing is:
    CS:GO, League of Legends, World of Warcraft, EVE Online.

    Will the MBA 11" with all the upgrades be able to play these games on a 27" 1080p external display and what about newer more "harder" games like BF4 etc. ? (low-medium graphics on these games)

    My setup will be:
    Macbook Air 11" i7, 8gb and 256gb
    Belkin Thunderbolt express dock
    Henge Dock for the MBA 11"
    27" external monitor
    External HDD for extra storage


    Summary:
    Will the upgraded MBA 11" with a 27" external monitor play movies/games at a reasonable fps?
    Should I go for the baseline model and have one computer at home and one laptop?

    Regards,
    ZeppeZ
     
  2. halledise macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    #2
    I've gone from a 15" rMBPro to a base model 11" Air and it's the best move I've ever made - for the reasons of portability you mention.
    more than adequate for pretty much everything.

    not being a gamer I can't give you a hands on opinion there, but my informed opinion would be to upgrade memory to the max.
    I can't see the i7 being warranted for the extra $. though I'm happy to stand corrected there.

    the 11" Air will drive your external display with ease for the tasks you mention
     
  3. robvas macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    You can google 'Macbook air' and the name of a game to see videos of how well it plays
     
  4. ZeppeZ thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2013
    #4
    Do you know if the MBA gets any loss in performance when using an external monitor?
     
  5. robvas macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    Any time you use a larger screen you're going to get a performance loss, that's true for any computer. More data to shuffle around. Especially in games.
     
  6. ZeppeZ thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2013
    #6
    alright!
    What is your opinion on the CPU upgrade, is it worth $195(in norway) price tag? or should I just go with the RAM and SSD upgrade?
     
  7. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #7
    I really wish they would upgrade the resolution on the 11" MBA. I would buy one immediately. The portability cannot be beat.
     
  8. Robyr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    #8
    The i7 isn't much worth it, not on the level that the 8GB RAM upgrade and 256GB SSD upgrade is.
     
  9. yourtoys7 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    #9
    I did have i7, 8gb, 256gb, and it was excellent and very fast, but I felt always that it was too small, (I don't have external display but I do have window machine with 24" screen and I was always there when I was home).
    Now I got 13" basic, we'll see how that goes :D
     
  10. WilliamLondon macrumors 68000

    WilliamLondon

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    #10
    I have almost that exact setup here at home. Mine is an MBA 11" i7 (I went for the upgrade), 8GB, though I opted for 128GB storage, save the money especially if you are going to use an external drive (I opted for the WD Passport 1TB - it's so incredibly small!). I love the machine, at first it was going to be my second machine (I've got a bit older iMac), but it's turned into my main machine.

    Regarding the TB port, that's a lot of money to spend unless you've got a boatload of peripherals that are going to take advantage of it, I'd suggest something a bit cheaper - I went with an Anker USB3 4-port hub (with charging port), much cheaper. My monitor uses the TB port through the Henge dock (which is a great dock, btw!), but everything else is just USB (only the WD Passport is USB3).

    The 11" is such a portable machine, if that's your thing (portability) like it is mine, this machine can't be beat. I paired mine with a mini and throwing the two of those devices in my bag is like carrying nothing around they're both so light, and yet I've got both a laptop and an iPad in my bag, and the external drive I bought a little case for so that even comes with me (and it's powered by the USB port so no external power needed) - it's the best setup, and when you get home you hook it up to your external monitor and keyboard/mouse, and you never think about the fact that it's a tiny little laptop doing all the work and driving all those peripherals. Can't recommend it more, hope you really enjoy your setup.
     
  11. livit macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2013
    #11
    Gaming will be your biggest issue

    Having a 2012 MBA and thus only the Intel HD3000, and tried out both WC3, LoL and Dota 2 on this thing, I think you'll get pretty good results with the HD5000 which is in the new Airs, and many times faster than what I have.

    It probably won't be with all settings at max, especially not on a 1080p display, as the resolution in that case will be much larger, and therefore harder work for the GPU.

    I'd say it really depends on what level you're playing those games. If it's just casual gaming with friends for the fun of it, you'll have the best of both worlds with this machine. If you want rock solid fps and performance, you'll need the discrete GPU from the rMBP. CPU performance won't make any difference with these games, GPU/RAM/SSD is what counts, as it has more than enough CPU power IMO.

    The i7 upgrade won't give you more cores in the CPU, just higher clock (and temperature - less battery life) In any case it'll be a the discrete GPU of the rMBP that makes your performance rock solid, not the CPU.
     
  12. SimonUK5 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    #12
    Basically just moved from a 2012 Ivy Macbook Pro 15'' 16gb and 250gb SSD to the baseline cheapest 11'' Macbook Air.

    I mainly run audio software (logic and cubase) , and i've had no issues at all doing anything i previously did. Lack of DVD drive annoyed me a tad, but i made an ISO on another machine and then moved on.

    Probably the best computer that i've owned ever. I thought that the res would annoy me but i've started just using full screen apps, and its all fine.

    Simon
     
  13. ZeppeZ thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2013
    #13
    Ater what you guys have told me and my research on google, it looks like I will order a macbook air tomorrow(monday) :D cant wait!

    RAM
    Im pretty sure on the 8gb upgrade
    With only RAM upgrade: $1320

    SSD
    After what you guys told me that the SSD upgrade is a good place to save money($229 here in Norway) im getting more skeptical on getting that upgrade..
    How will it be running games from an external HDD? and wont the 128gb(probably less with OS installed) be getting filled up pretty quick with random programs and "crap" ? Dont like to be "careful" on what I install and save on the harddrive.. how much space does the OS take up on the SSD?
    and should I just go for the upgrade because of my needs?
    With RAM and SSD upgrade: $1549

    CPU
    Think that Im gonna skip the CPU upgrade as its not a good bang for the buck!
    With RAM, SSD and CPU upgrade: $1733

    SETUP
    Have reconsidered my setup abit:

    Laptop
    Macbook Air 11" ix, 8gb and xxxgb (not sure on CPU and SSD yet)

    Hub
    Belkin Thunderbolt express dock (nope! too expensive :p)
    the things im gonna connect to the MBA is: Monitor, keyboard, mouse, external harddrive and an ethernet cable is prefered(not a fan of wireless)
    When connecting both a monitor and ethernet cable I need a thunderbolt hub right? Anyone got any suggestions?

    Dock
    Henge Dock for the MBA 11" (probably wont "fit" with my new setup as Im thinking of wallmounting my monitor)

    Monitor
    27" external monitor (wall mounted)
    External HDD for extra storage


    Summary
    only RAM upgrade: $1320
    RAM and SSD upgrade: $1549
    RAM, SSD and CPU upgrade: $1733
    What should I go for?

    Thunderbolt Hub? any suggestions?
     
  14. JonMPLS macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 23, 2010
    Location:
    MN
    #14
    Out looking at the new iPads, and the price is so close to that of the MBA that I am starting to consider it as an option. I would not have in the past, but not iBooks is an option on the MBA, the MBA starts to look interesting.
     
  15. Robyr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    #15
    Actually, Mavericks DOES include iBooks. I used to be tablet only, but the situation really only works well if you aren't manipulating documents, or rarely leave the house and have an iMac or other desktop.
     
  16. JonMPLS macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 23, 2010
    Location:
    MN
    #16
    oops, typo on my part! I typed "not" when I meant "now" :rolleyes:
     
  17. bubulol macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    #17
    just get basic 11'' MBA, Apple' options are overrated and way too expensive
    pick only RAM option, it might be possible to extend SSD storage
    CPU upgrade is also a waste of money
    save your money and plan to buy further MBA model when it needed
    it will worth it + selling your current model
    about hub, just buy basic USB 3.0 hub, Thunderbol hub is unnecessary
    nonetheless, dont forget to add thunderbolt - Ethernet connector and an HDMI adapter
    its all you need

    CPU: i5
    SSD: 128 GB (use external hard drives for multimedia data)
    RAM: 8 GB
    HUB: i suggest you D-Link or Belkin, reliable products
    Monitor: Up to you
    options: HDMI adapter, Thunderbolt - Ethernet adapter

    i have pretty same needs as you and i ordered for less than 1100$ and planning to keep it for 2 years until i get further model and save enough money + re-selling current MBA
    thats i called ''a smart upgrade'' ^^
     
  18. ShaneBunting Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #18
    My Opinions..

    Im really considering getting a MBA 11" but cant decide to go with the baseline model or upgrading it(i7, 8gb and 256gb SSD)

    Definitely upgrade the storage. There's no point in an 11" machine to carry a bulky HDD around. My 4GB RAM is always usually almost full.. but I've never had even a slight performance decrease thanks to Mavericks. But if you can upgrade it, go for it. The i7 offers such a small increase that it's probably not even worth your money. But it's apparent that it decreases the battery life somewhat according to other users on here.

    The reason for not going 13" or MBP retina 13" is because of the portability of the 11" and that I'll be carrying it in my "man purse" back and forth from school.

    The 11" Air is the most portable computer I've ever seen. I enjoy carrying it around more than I did with my iPad 2 in 2011. Coming from a 13" Standard MB Pro.. I really dig the weight of this.

    With the base line model of MBA 11" I presume its "enough" for school stuff(you know, word and youtube ofc) and watching movies in 720p ?

    It can handle 1080p on YouTube and iTunes without a hitch. I do SketchUp, Skype and YouTube at the same time on my 42" HDTV no problem, so you'll do fine.

    The reason why im considering to upgrade, is that I like the idea of having one "main" computer and not a laptop and then another computer at home.
    So was wondering how the performance of the MBA 11" with an external display 1920x1080 is? for both random surfing, movies and gaming.

    I love the experience of hooking it up to my TV. Gaming is very good too. The HD 5000 graphics is no slouch.

    The games Im currently playing is:
    CS:GO, League of Legends, World of Warcraft, EVE Online.

    It does Minecraft beautifully, that's all I can say. But from what I hear it does great at those too. Also, if you play any Windows games, it's a MUST you get more than 128GB SSD..

    Will the MBA 11" with all the upgrades be able to play these games on a 27" 1080p external display and what about newer more "harder" games like BF4 etc. ? (low-medium graphics on these games)

    I can't comment on this. But performance for me on an HDTV has not been affected.

    Hope I've helped!
     
  19. Dekard macrumors 6502

    Dekard

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #19
    You'll need to run bootcamp to run games like Bf4, and that'll take a minimum of 30-40gb out of your memory for just the win8 installs. Another 30GB just for the BF4 game, that's 60 to 70GB right out of the bat with no other games or options. You'll need to at least get the 256-512GB option for playing any games.

    I wasn't too impressed with BF4 playability on the Macbook Air 11, here's someone that got it working; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIat0501YHE

    I ended up just going all out and getting the 15 rMBP and can play it with medium settings and decent frame rate instead.

    Plus I personally can't stand the silver bezel. It's too distracting for me.
     
  20. ZeppeZ thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2013
    #20
    its done! Ive ordered a Macbook Air 11" with i5, 8gb ram and 256gb SSD!
    cant wait to get my hands on it! :D

    you guys pushed me over the edge, in a good way though! :D
    thanks for all the help!
     
  21. Roman2K~ macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    #21
    That's the sweet spot. Nice choice ;).
     

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