Will running an external monitor slow the MBA?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by hobbbz, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. hobbbz macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2005
    Since it has built in graphics, will running a 23" ACD slow the rest of the computer? I'm thinking about Photoshop and Flash here. My work computer is a 15" MBP at 2.0 Ghz and I think a drop to 1.6 Ghz wouldn't be so bad if I could use a separate monitor and not see anymore of a performance drop.
  2. wentwj macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2006
    I doubt it. I'm using a MacBook with integrated graphics and using a 19" external monitor with absolute no noticeable drop in performance at all.

    The MacBook Air may be underpowered for it's price, but it's still not just a toy. It should be able to run Photoshop and Flash, albeit not as well as say a MBP, but obviously you're looking for something in terms of portability.

    That said, the machine is probably not designed to sit on a desk most of it's life hooked up to an external monitor. If you don't need the portability of it, look elsewhere. If you really need something that thin, then it's a great device.

    Apple's tech specs on the device has this to say about external monitors:

    "Extended desktop and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 1920 by 1200 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors"

    The resolution on a 23" ACD is exactly 1920x1200, so you should be fine. Again, don't get the machine if you don't need the portability. I'm already sick of people complaining about the MBA, and I'll have no sympathy on anyone who doesn't understand it, gets this as their primary computer and then complain when it doesn't cut it powerwise. It's a capable machine, but if you need heavy lifting in CPU power, it's not fit as a primary machine.
  3. hobbbz thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2005
    Yeah I see your point(s)

    I may never use the MBA with an external monitor (I don't have one anyway) but I just wondered what the experience would be like. I know Flash is almost unbearable without a second monitor. My plan is to get the MBA for browsing and for if i need to do some quick light work, and an iMac for if i need to do real work.
  4. michaelj macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2008
    Yes, it does

    I have an MB Air, connected to a Apple 20" display.

    With the external display connected, the wireless traffic slows to crawl. So slow that file shares behave erratically and even display of apple.com takes a minute.

    Why? I have no clue, but it does. Remove the external display , all is perfect. Plug it in again, network traffic slow.

    That said, the rest of the system works fine with the display, leading me to suspect a bug of some kind rather than a fundamental issue.
  5. mctheriot macrumors regular


    Nov 2, 2007
    McHenry, IL
    That sounds weird! Just for the heck of it, did you try changing channels on your wireless?

    I run a 20" display without any issues.


  6. ProPedderKustom macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2008
    I'm pushing a 52" HDTV as my monitor and NO issues or slowing whatsoever. If you have issues with running an external monitor, call Apple Care because it should not interfere with the performance of your MBA.
  7. swedefish macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2008
    I have no issues with slowing. However, hooking the MBA up to my 20" ACD sends the fans crazy. Within minutes they will begin running at full speed. I have a feeling this issue can be fixed through future firmware updates as the computer still runs relatively cool.
  8. ClassicBean macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2004
    I can't speak for the Air, but try running the RSS Visualizer screensaver on your MacBook while hooked up to an external monitor. You'll notice a definite slowdown. That said, most other non-video tasks should be problematic.
  9. michaelj macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2008

    @mctheriot Thanks a lot.

    I changed the wireless channel and all is well. Linksys WRTG54G was on channel 13, now on channel 3.

    Strange. I had identical physical setup with my Macbook Pro and no issues at all.

    Anyway, thanks a lot.
  10. codingmonkey macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2007
    I'm planning on getting a MacBook myself and I'm going to be working with an external monitor spanning the desktop across both the MacBook and the external monitor. Just to confirm, there will be no slow down (i.e. the effects will not be slower, etc) with the MacBook at 1280x800 and the external monitor at 1280x1024. This will be the new MacBooks with the Intel GMA X3100 and the 2.4 GHz Penryn processor. Thanks!
  11. raremage macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2005
    Orlando, Florida
    I'm also running with a 20"ACD and don't see any of those issues. works just fine for me, other than the fan often pegging while I am doing anything remotely graphically intense.
  12. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    Im running on a 20" Dell E207FP Widescreen monitor... not an apple, but it works. The fan does go on a bit when Im running in clamshell but I've got a laptop cooler connected also. I didn't see any slowdowns..
  13. typerlover macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2006
    Running a 24" Dell at 1920x1200 here.

    Seems to run everything just fine, iTunes, Safari, Pages. Tried a few 1080p trailers from apple/quicktime, and those chopped up here and there, but 720p trailers worked fine.

    Fans would start to run heavy at 6500rpm, but I have a laptop cooler from my mbp that the air now sits on when connected to the screen, and it does the job for keeping the fans at baseline 2500rpm.
  14. c3p0 macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2009
    Macbook slows down at certain resolutions

    I got my new aluminum macbook yesterday and today I noticed that network traffic slows down badly at certain resolutions (using an external display).

    I started off using 1920x1200 on my HP LP2475w monitor, but since I get white dots dancing around at that resolution I tried lowering it one step to 1600x1200. At that resolution the white dots disappered, but instead the network (only tested wireless) bacme painfully slow. As soon as I changed resolution it came back to full speed. I even tested my windows machine at the same time, and that didn't have any networking issues.

    I tried a few lower resolutions and it seems that when I have the white dots dancing around network speed is fine, when the dots go away - so does the network speed.

    This is not really how I imagined the mac universe. I just hope apple gets this fixed really soon!
  15. kinkster macrumors 6502a

    Sep 15, 2008
    On my rev A hooked up to a 20" it lags in firefox when scrolling on a page such as engadget. Doesn't do it nearly as badly with the MBA screen.
  16. imax2k2 macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2009
    I have rev B, connected with a 26" 1920 x 1200, runs perfect, no slow down's, I have been working a bit with x code, which runs fine too, I watch some blu rays with windows, and that runs good too!
  17. johnnj macrumors 6502a

    Dec 11, 2008
    Not here
    I also use a 24" Dell monitor a @ 1920x1200 on my RevB SSD MBA (not often, though).

    I haven't noticed any performance issues, but the machine does run pretty hot. It gets hotter than I notice it ever running off of the monitor, even when running off of the AC adapter.


Share This Page