What 2011 MBA configuration is best as a primary computer?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 23, 2010
I will be buying the new 2011 MBA to serve as my primary computer after the refresh. This will be my first mac. I am debating which configuration I should go for. 11" or 13"? With or without external monitor? Which processor speed? Which RAM?

I will be using my MBA for moderate usage including watching videos, making presentations, writing papers, browsing the internet, using iphoto.

I am looking to spend no more than $1300-$1400 total after educational discount. What would be my best option for configuration?


macrumors 6502
Feb 26, 2011
Wait for the new ones that are scheduled to come out this week. We don't know what the specs of the new systems will be.


macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2009
going by your uses it seems a lower configuration would best suit you. the size of the screen is up to you, but if you are writing a lot of papers, toying with iphoto, and watching videos you might want to invest in an external monitor for the 11" or just go solely with the 13". if your music/video library is large, maybe upgrade the SSD or invest in a portable HD.

I plan to get the 11" and hopefully pick up a dell monitor as they are pretty cheap compared to the outrageously priced, yet awesome ACD. for my uses, i can get away with the entry level 11" which would be great for my wallet.

skim the forums more to see what others use and what machine they have listed in their signature (or mentioned on that forum). ive learned a lot since i joined, did a lot of research, and i am more than confident in my future purchase.


macrumors 601
Sep 19, 2008
I personally could get by with an 11" October 2010 MBA and an external ACD OR a 13" MBA by itself. I really like both MBAs, but if I had to have just one it would definitely be the 13" MBA.

In addition, I think we need to wait and see how the IGP performs in each and the performance vs. the other size MBA. It could be far different than the current MBAs as they both have the same 320m GPU. In the Sandy Bridge CPUs, the performance of the IGP can be much lower with ULV models.

Keep in mind, Apple often under clocks the CPUs too which could seriously affect IGP performance.

I think there will be more factors yet to be determined as to whether the next gen 11" MBA could be a primary Mac or not. Wait and read the specs, real world reviews, and test them with apps you want to run before buying it.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2011
Also remember that iCloud is coming soon, so music storage isnt an issue if you're online. I've been using Amazon's cloud service for streaming all of my music and I love it. I'm assuming Apple's will work similarly, but I'm not sure if they'll require a mirror of the image on at least one of your computers. If they do, I won't be using it. Amazon's is great, especially since I buy all my music from them now (none of that lousy DRM Apple continues to use, just MP3s).

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