Using the 13" Macbook Air as main computer...advantages/disadvantages?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by gothamm, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. gothamm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 18, 2007
    With the addition of the new sandy bridge chips, the macbook air has begun to go neck and neck with many of last year's macbook pro models, while offering ultimate portability at the same time.

    I wanted to make this thread as a collage to discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of using a macbook air as one's main computer rig. Here are some off the top of my head:

    Finally, has sufficient power

    overheating issues
    integrated graphics
    no optical drive (becoming less of an issue)
    no ethernet
    poor audio due to design limitations.

    care to add? especially caveats from personal experience..
  2. iExpensive macrumors 6502


    Oct 18, 2010
    Las Vegas
    It's a perfectly capable machine as long as you know what to expect in terms of GPU.

    The only downside is a lack of any type of upgrades. As a main computer you usually want longevity. Having no user serviceable parts makes that pretty hard.
  3. go4theko macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2011
    macbook airs are designed for aesthetics. considering that it is more than adequate for a multitude of tasks. you can nitpick but at the end of the day it is still the best ultraportable on the market. Easily get alot more for your $$$ but apple is about more than just specs. Plus they purposely leave out features knowing they are going to add them in future iterations. Its what keeps people buying their products.

    next year. hd facetime camera, biggest ssd, more ram,

    its called marketing.
  4. -tWv- macrumors 68000


    May 11, 2009
    I agree, I think the only big downside to the MBA is not having the ability to upgrade anything. Upgrades help a lot in making a computer last longer, but a MBA will still last a long time even though you can't replace anything. It has super fast hardware already.

    I think using a MBA as a main computer would be a great choice, I just prefer the 15" screen, that's why I have a MBP.
  5. Patriot24 macrumors 68030


    Dec 29, 2010
    I purchased a 13" 128GB Air to use as my primary machine. For me, that means the machine will be used no less than 8 hours per day, 5 days per week. iPad is used for casual/personal computing after hours, etc.

    For reference, I work in the tech industry for an enterprise social software company. My daily tasks include:

    - Google Chrome with 8-10 tabs open at all times
    - Microsoft Outlook running Exchange
    - Various IM clients
    - VoIP phone
    - Moderate Word, Powerpoint, Excel usage
    - Occasional Photoshop/Graphic Design work

    Today marks 1 full work week of usage for me, and I have to say that this is by far the best machine I have ever owned and used to complete my work each day. I haven't yet found something that I would classify as a large disadvantage over previous machines I have used.

    Of course, I am not using the machine for hardcore gaming, photo editing, or video production. If I needed serious processing power/graphics performance, that would probably be listed as a disadvantage. Since I don't, it is a non-issue for me personally.

    The lack of optical drive hasn't even crossed my mind to this point. I haven't used anything on a disc in a year or two.

    Overall, there aren't too many cons to this machine for my use case.
  6. jackrv macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2011
    For a non-hardcore gamer, or someone who doesn't need to do heavy video/3-d rendering, the 13 air is perfectly capable of being a main computer. With an external SuperDrive and USB storage and Thunderbolt to GigEthernet and FW800 that Sonnet is coming out with, there really is no limitation except upgrades. And with such a high resell value, that disadvantage is mitigated somewhat.
  7. thebubbatex macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2010
    Do you use an external display also? Your usage sounds a lot like mine but I want extra display space when at the desk.
  8. Patriot24 macrumors 68030


    Dec 29, 2010
    I do not use an external display. I used to have a desk full of monitors, but have really streamlined in recent years (taking the minimalist approach instead - less is more agile/mobile).

    I understand it isn't exactly the same thing, but I've found spaces to be a good alternative to multiple monitors. Obviously you can't see them all at once by simply moving your eyes, but it is easy enough to 4-finger swipe over to your other spaces.

    It will be interesting to see what the experiences are when the new Thunderbolt displays are out and people are hooking them up to Airs.

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