Will the current Air 'feel' faster than the iMac i5 2.8?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by sukanas, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. sukanas macrumors 6502a

    sukanas

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #1
    So i currently have the 13" air i5 and am planning on getting the thunderbolt display. But after counting the costs, it seems like I can get almost the same (+100) with the current 27" imac and a refurb 11" air. I'm a college student so portability is only sometimes important. I am on the desk w/ a dell monitor (ips) most of the time though.

    I had the late 2008 mbp and have pretty much been on the 9400m graphics even when using aperture and cs5. i don't do anything graphic or cpu intensive and if I do, its not to the industrial/business level. so waiting that extra minute isn't gonna kill me or add up.

    However, getting an ACTUAL quad core i5 (the air i5 is a dual core) is really temping. plus on top of that Ill get legit graphics which won't hurt having. PLUS, ill have an 11" air (for school use ie. docs and web) which is even MORE portable for travel. the only downside of getting the imac 27" base is no SSD.

    I feel like most of the time with the use im using for a computer, Ill notice more of the difference in the speed w/ an SSD rather than CPU/Graphics. Since I'm running basic apps most of the time, mail/safari/itunes/iphoto/aperture, the SSD will come in handy way more than an overly powered CPU would be.


    what do you guys think?
    oh and keep costs difference out. i will essentially spend the same w/ either setup (ill sell my bluetooth keyboard/trackpad if i get the imac)
     
  2. Yumunum macrumors 65816

    Yumunum

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Location:
    U.S.
    #2
    An SSD will make your computing experience INSANELY amazing. If I went back to a computer with a normal HDD, I'd feel like it was cheap and slow. If I was you, I'd make sure my main computer had a SSD, unless you game a lot, or plan on doing extreme video work, ect. I use a 2011 13" MBA as my main computer, and I did realize I could get a 27" iMac, but I don't regret my purchase. For what I do, the SSD is way more helpful than a better GPU/CPU would've been. Now I just want a 27" Thunderbolt Display...
     
  3. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2004
    #3
    You seem to have answered your own question in the post. W/O any big CPU-intensive tasks, the SSD will make the Air "feel" faster than the iMac when booting/launching apps.

    Also, if you already have an IPS Dell, why not use that with the 13" Air and not worry about the Thunderbolt display?
     
  4. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #4
    You'd definitely notice a difference from your Air when booting or loading apps, but since it's always plugged in, just put it to sleep, and that eliminates a lot of the difference. That way you don't have to boot very often at all, and you can just leave apps running. Given your use however, just getting the display would work fine as well.
     
  5. sukanas thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sukanas

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #5
    my current dell is a 22" i wouldnt mind going for a 27 ;) plus id love to use the firewire port, hd webcam, supplied laptop charger, and LED!!!

    and the cherry on top? ...its all integrated to one machine/wire, i can imagine cable management being glorious


    hm, wouldnt that debunk the side of going w/ SSD? so i could go w/ an imac HDD and leave all the apps open anyways since a quad desktop could easily handle that.
     
  6. AlanShutko macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    #6
    I have a (late 2009) MBA with SSD, and a mid-2010 27" iMac, i7. The SSD makes it a lot faster to launch apps (PS CS5 opens in 6 seconds) and it also makes the drive swap really fast when I run out of memory. On the other hand, I have 16GB of RAM in the iMac, so it never, ever swaps.

    For me, as long as whatever I'm working on can mostly stick in memory, the MBA is fast enough for most things. But if I start doing big image editing having more RAM is more important. Few tasks use all available CPU on my i7. Reencoding video is about the only one I've found so far.

    Aperture is a bit of a tossup. File access is faster on the SSD so bringing up a library can be faster on the Air. On the other hand, once the iMac has had time to cache stuff in memory, it goes very fast. When doing edits on images, it's much faster. I've noticed the brush editing in aperture seems to require a lot of RAM (more than PS for the same things). So that works well on the iMac.
     
  7. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #7
    In most cases, yes. If you're doing large image saves or something like that, the SSD will be faster, but then again, for that kind of work, you typically need the size that only HDDs offer. There will likely be a few areas where it's different, but if you leave the computer running, the difference shrinks quite a bit. I say if you'd rather have an iMac, grab an iMac. My family has a basic 2010 27" at home, and it's still a beast of a machine even without SSD or a true quad core
     
  8. sukanas thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sukanas

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #8
    agh, im so torn..
    so it looks like in the long run the imac will be a powerhouse while ill still have the portability of the 11" air. the only other possible downside is that I'm gonna be studying abroad mid feb-mid june so ill be stuck w/ using the 11". but w/ lion it seems like it shouldnt be a problem. plus ill probably be out more than just sitting in front of my computer while im in a different country -_-;;

    oh yeah, the other downside is possibly just worrying about having two different computers. one thing i love about hooking the laptop to the monitor is that when im at the library or over at a friend's, ill have the EXACT stuff ill have at home, etc.. but then again, it could be a way of getting rid of distraction when i need to study. plus w/ icloud, it should help w/ the syncing between computers.
     
  9. Yumunum macrumors 65816

    Yumunum

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Location:
    U.S.
    #9
    Managing two devices sucks.

    And unless you got one of the more expensive Airs, you won't be able to hold all your media through the iCloud (well, you might only have a little bit of media... But I'm not sure)

    Even if you leave your computer on, and leave your apps open, you'll still benefit from the SSD.

    Do you really need the extra power? If not, then the Air is best. Everything you'd want would always be with you, you'd have a SSD, and a huge external monitor when needed

    Personally, I edit photos every once in awhile, do a lot of browsing, lots of school (the high resolution of the 13" makes having 2 windows open a breeze. (Pages + browser)) That's another reason I'd recommend a 13" Air over a 11" + iMac. Doing work on the 11" sucks, and the "full-screen" mode limits what you can do.
     
  10. sukanas thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sukanas

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #10
    yeah, i think im gonna actually stick with the 13 air. i have to be realistic here. my core 2 mbp was perfectly fine for me and the new mba performs about 2x better according to geekbench. so i have plenty of power. while it is nice to know i wouldve had a powerful beast w/ an imac, the convenience of an SSD and just using ONE machine cant be beat. plus, the time spending trying to keep two devices in sync would cancel out the speed gains on the cpu/gpu(if i even do push it to that limit).
     

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