Upgrading or Downgrading: 24inch iMac to 13inch MBAir...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by lzyprson, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. lzyprson macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2012
    Hi all. I initially posted this is the the MBA forum, however, as a lover all things iMac I should I have posted it here... Your feedback would be greatly appreciated....

    Hey Everyone,

    So.... With the release of Mt. Lion, I, like many other Mac users, found out that Airplay Mirroring was not supported on my Late 2007 24inch iMac. This of course drove me nuts :eek:, and for the last several weeks i havent selpt thinking of how I am going to upgrade my main computer.

    I've been reading about an iMac refresh, but grew impatient and purchased a 2012 13inch MBA... Needless to say, I love it. It's an amazing computer, but my issue is that I'm not entirely sure that this puppy could serve as the hub or "center of my digital-life". I've never loved laptops... Prior to my iMac, i owned a Powerbook. It was a Champ until the Aluminum iMac was introduced... Anyway.. Ever since the iPad, i've only felt limited in doing just a certain amount of computer functions. One's that I had no problem going down to my dining room at 3:00am to do whatever I couldnt on the iPad.

    Now im conflicted in my decision and wonder if the MBA is everything that i'll need for my home. I'm running a terrabyte hard drive attached to my Airport Extreme, all media files are streamed to my apple Tv's from this drive, unless they were purchased from iTunes and streamed from the cloud. I do very light photo editing, no video editing, and use my Desktop (now MBA) to backup my iphone and ipad, store music, movies, and most importantly my photos.

    Finally my Question: Would i be better off with an iMac or Mac Mini? Or could the MBA do all of this (with super limited hard drive space) and some? Again, the MBA would never-ever leave my house. I honestly feel like it would also cannibalize the use of my iPad (because it's so darn awesome and thin) for my uses'. The Apple Specialists also made me a bit nervous by stressing the importance of AppleCare for the MBA - especially because only Apple can open/fix them.

    Looking forward to your input...


    PS. I've read that leaving an MBA plugged into its powercord for long durations can fry the battery. regardless of whether this is true or not, I loved the idea of having my iMac run for long periods of time without having to shut it off. Leaving the lid open on a sleeping MBA is also driving me crazy (and I've only owned it for 48 hours)!.
  2. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    You're paying quite a premium for something that just sits there. I don't quite understand why you needed to purchase anything else, let alone a MBA.

    I can understand the AirPlay problem, but there are cables for that. And you obviously have already figured out a way to access media files on your TV. What are you attempting to accomplish?
  3. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Sep 2, 2008
    Metro Kansas City
    I have a 2008 24" iMac that I have maxed out pretty much as far as it will go. I have 6GB of RAM, and a 240GB SSD boot drive with a bunch of FW drives hanging off of it. I also have an Apple TV, and it's a bummer that you can't use Airplay natively to view your desktop on the ATV. There is a 3rd party software called AirParrot that allows you to do this, but even so, the gfx capability of the ATI2600 is limited compared to even the integrated gfx on the new MBAs. Streaming video from the web is less than stellar.

    Last week I bought my wife a 13" i7/256GB/8GB MBA. It arrived yesterday.




    What an incredible experience! With the faster bus speed and memory, it runs circles around my iMac - iPhoto is better, Airplay is better, etc. I haven't put Aperture on it yet so I can't say how it will perform, but I have a feeling that it will be better too.

    Don't get me wrong - a new iMac with SSD and 8GB RAM and a discrete graphics card would probably smoke it in terms of graphics rendering capability, which would be important in online gaming, video rendering, major photo work, etc. You also have the ability to go up in RAM even more, add an additional internal drive, etc... However, if you don't do any of graphics intensive stuff, I see no reason that this machine would hold you back. Even at 4GB of RAM, if you begin to page out the fast bus speed and SSD make it such a more pleasurable experience compared to my 800 MHz RAM machine, and even more so if it had a spinning platter drive!

    As robgendreau mentioned, you may be paying a bit of a premium for the portability. But are you really? Take a base mini (2.3GHz i5 w/ 2GB RAM and HD3000 graphics) for $599, add a 128GB SSD and 2GB RAM and a decent monitor, camera, keyboard, trackpad, etc. and you are probably within $100 - $150 of the base 13" 1.8GHz i5 with Turboboost MBA. Between the newer processor with Turboboost and the better graphics capability, I would bet you that the 2012 MBA performs just as good, if not better, than the entry level Mini. With that in mind, the MBA is priced well and not really at a premium at all.

    The fact that you have a TB HDD on your AEBS negates the issue of not having a lot of onboard storage. I can't see why you wouldn't be able to use this as the center of your digital life as it were. AND you will have the added benefit of having it portable. Being able to sit on the couch with it, in your bed with it, on your back porch with it, etc etc etc far outweighs the possible detriments in my opinion. I would not have said that for the 2011 MBAs; I don't think they carried quite the punch of the 2012. If it weren't for the large amount of photo editing that I do, and the AIO form factor that I really like, I'd seriously be considering a top of the line MBA and Thunderbolt display for my next "desktop".

    I can see my wife's iPad getting very little use going forward!
  4. lzyprson thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2012

    Great response. I really appreciate your feedback. Maybe apple will update the AEBS to include thunderbolt, and voila - all my problems would be solved. I really miss my 24inchscreen but I could easily pickup a thunderbolt display later on. Thanks again!
  5. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I do lots of work on computers, so good ergonomics is important to me. For that reason I always prefer a desktop computer. I've got an iMac and a MBP. My wife has an iMac and a MBA. We also have two minis and an old PC as entertainment centers (ATVs are too limiting) and a mini server. Outside the home, my (adult) daughter has an iMac and a MB. My (adult) son doesn't like Apple, works mobile, but also has a desktop system when at his home.

    I can't imagine working from a MBA and then ruining the experience by dangling drives off of it. If we were to go completely portable (say get rid of the iMacs and the entertainment minis) I'd keep my mini server system.
  6. lzyprson thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2012
    thats for the feedback... I feel bad returning the air, but i've had it for only a few days and it's just not for me... Need another iMac for sure. If only they would release an update version soon... I bought my last iMac in January of 2008 only for them to update the hardware a few months later. I'll be sure to hold out for as long as i can this time around.

    Thanks again!
  7. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    You would find considerable improvement since your 2008 iMac. The 27" display is fantastic, and performance has been greatly improved in the i7 over the C2D.

    A 2012 update, if it occurs, would give USB3 and slightly more performance. Next year expect the optical drive to go. Personally, I still need that.

    The days when performance was doubling every 18 months is over. People aren't replacing their systems (look at the major declines at HP and Dell) and Macs steady growth can be attributed to first time purchasers.

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