MacBook Air (HDD model): an in-depth review

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  • benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bergermeister View Post


    One thing about the article: the latest HD video cameras do not have FW and only have USB, so my new camera from Canon will work fine with the Air.



    As sad as it is to say, but I think firewire has just about run its course. Its very hard to find devices anymore outside Mac specialists.
  • jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,933member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post


    Its expected to drop in price 75%



    That's vague. Who expects it to drop that much, and why do they think that's a reasonable expectation? The price drop would have to be over 90% to match the cost of the current 80GB drive anyway.
  • doemeldoemel Posts: 75member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post


    home movies without copyright protection



    Blame it on the MPAA, please. CSS is there to annoy and prevent free trade. Now they have incorporated even more of the same into the HD format. And consumers are buying that defective-by-design crap (HD DVD, HDTV etc) anyways...
  • powelligatorpowelligator Posts: 61member
    Maybe I missed it in the writeup and if so I apologize...



    What OS does the MBA ship with? 10.5.1 or 10.5.2? I haven't seen that reported anywhere.



    Thanks,



    Joe
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,760member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    I think that's expecting a bit much. High speed NAND doesn't drop that quickly in price.



    Uh yes it is, dropping like a rock in reality. Follow the news articles. Not only is the price dropping like a rock new technology is coming on fast. Micron and Intel have just announced that their flash technology coop is bearing fruit. Pretty significant performance boosts in flash are expected by next year.



    This of course will drive down the cost f standard flash even more. Not to mention that the competing technologies are waiting in the wings. On top of all that todays SSD are grossly over priced considering what is in them. There is no direction other than down for the cost of flash based storage.



    We can argue about how fast and how far but recent history has been very clear on that. The manufactures simply have been un able to keep the selling price of flash high.



    [/quote]



    I think wireless N has been on Apple products for over a year now. It doesn't need to be pushed, it's been an in-demand technology. SSD is nice, but it's not that practical yet, and 2.5" hard drives still beat them out in overall speed.[/QUOTE]



    All depends upon how you measure performance. SSD should be able to handedly beat HDD in the reliability metric and most like in uncached reads. The big problem with Flash is the need in the future for faster "DISK" interfaces. I would not be surprised to see SSD that are straight PCI-Express and simply do away with legacy interfaces.



    Dave
  • irelandireland Posts: 15,710member
    I could forgive most things, but no ethernet? That is just bloody dumb. Add on, add on, add on... feck that.
  • jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,933member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Uh yes it is, dropping like a rock in reality. Follow the news articles. Not only is the price dropping like a rock new technology is coming on fast.



    The quickest rate I'm finding says 50%. That's nowhere near quick enough to meet Ben's alleged predictions.



    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/27edb03a-c...077b07658.html





    Quote:

    We can argue about how fast and how far but recent history has been very clear on that. The manufactures simply have been un able to keep the selling price of flash high.



    But the history is about a 40% drop per year. Even at 60% drop, that's certainly not enough of a drop to push the Feb 2009 price of a 64GB SSD drive to the current price of a 80GB drive.



    Quote:

    All depends upon how you measure performance. SSD should be able to handedly beat HDD in the reliability metric and most like in uncached reads. The big problem with Flash is the need in the future for faster "DISK" interfaces. I would not be surprised to see SSD that are straight PCI-Express and simply do away with legacy interfaces.



    There are geekbench tests posted, one set is on MacRumors. Some of the numbers are better, some aren't.



    The Air's SSD still isn't fast enough to make PATA a bottleneck.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,760member
    Frankly I'm not sure if there is any other point to this article. It strikes me a passive form of flaming, fanboi-isms and utter crap. Far to much effort was expended in sugar coating the failings of the device.



    Lets put it this way if something like disk performance sucked just say so. Let everybody know that it has been a very long time since disks this bad have been stuffed in to a computer.



    Same thing for the GPU, if its performance is well below what is expected for the price class say so! The device being thin simply isn't an excuse for anything in this price range.



    There is little point in an article that is not objective and straight forward.



    I see a lot of people swearing up hill and down that they will get an AIR and be happy with it. Honestly I have to ask how can one be happy about laying out that much money and getting so little in return? Especially considering they haven't even experienced one first hand.



    In many ways this reminds me of the G5 debut, a fine example of Apple smoke and mirrors marketing. The PPC processor in the G5 was a crappy example of processor engineering right from the start but Apple was pretty successful in averting everybody's eyes with charts of Alt-Vec performance. Like that really meant anything to the general user. The G5 was instantly behind the Intel processor of the day and and certainly any follow ons, so everybody with an Intel machine at the time was wondering if all Apple customers where that gullible. I see AIR as making the case that yep they are. It will be interesting to see how far AIR goes.





    Dave
  • jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,933member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Lets put it this way if something like disk performance sucked just say so. Let everybody know that it has been a very long time since disks this bad have been stuffed in to a computer.



    Same thing for the GPU, if its performance is well below what is expected for the price class say so! The device being thin simply isn't an excuse for anything in this price range.



    Are you completely blind to the ultraportable class of computers? Is this your first awareness of their existence? While there are some disagreements on what ultraportable means, Apple was the only major computer comany that didn't offer anything in that category. It was about time that Apple stepped in with something. Despite your ignorant assertions, ultraportables routintely use the 1.8" hard drives, and they almost never have a discrete graphics chip. As far as I know, the 3x00 chip is the best used in the ultraportable class. Several models in that class are still using the 950 chip.
  • silver99silver99 Posts: 20member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Frankly I'm not sure if there is any other point to this article. It strikes me a passive form of flaming, fanboi-isms and utter crap. Far to much effort was expended in sugar coating the failings of the device.



    Lets put it this way if something like disk performance sucked just say so. Let everybody know that it has been a very long time since disks this bad have been stuffed in to a computer.



    Same thing for the GPU, if its performance is well below what is expected for the price class say so! The device being thin simply isn't an excuse for anything in this price range.



    There is little point in an article that is not objective and straight forward.



    I see a lot of people swearing up hill and down that they will get an AIR and be happy with it. Honestly I have to ask how can one be happy about laying out that much money and getting so little in return? Especially considering they haven't even experienced one first hand.



    In many ways this reminds me of the G5 debut, a fine example of Apple smoke and mirrors marketing. The PPC processor in the G5 was a crappy example of processor engineering right from the start but Apple was pretty successful in averting everybody's eyes with charts of Alt-Vec performance. Like that really meant anything to the general user. The G5 was instantly behind the Intel processor of the day and and certainly any follow ons, so everybody with an Intel machine at the time was wondering if all Apple customers where that gullible. I see AIR as making the case that yep they are. It will be interesting to see how far AIR goes.





    Dave



    Dave, I'm not sure I can agree with your rant. FIrstly, the Air has a specific purpose/market. And although it has a lower processor and lower hard drive speed than cheaper laptops. It is smaller and lighter which makes up for the difference in performance.



    I can see many markets for this device. (i.e. writers/bloggers, web browsing/applications, email). Yes, all of these examples can be done by a PDA but having a full size keyboard and suitable screen is MUCH more useable.



    I'm guessing most of the flamers don't realize how much an old 286 computer cost in it's day and the amount of functionality it had (not to mention it's size and weight). Even look back at the old Macs. Yes this is a pricey unit (especially with the SSD) - however, when you actually realize what you're getting as far as size/weight AND the specialized functionality - it's really not that bad.



    I've spent thousands of dollars on much less so I for one am not too concerned with the price but am fond of the Apple quality, finish and usability (which I think the Air has ample of).



    Silver
  • parkyparky Posts: 383member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Frankly I'm not sure if there is any other point to this article. It strikes me a passive form of flaming, fanboi-isms and utter crap. Far to much effort was expended in sugar coating the failings of the device.



    Lets put it this way if something like disk performance sucked just say so. Let everybody know that it has been a very long time since disks this bad have been stuffed in to a computer.



    Same thing for the GPU, if its performance is well below what is expected for the price class say so! The device being thin simply isn't an excuse for anything in this price range.



    There is little point in an article that is not objective and straight forward.



    I see a lot of people swearing up hill and down that they will get an AIR and be happy with it. Honestly I have to ask how can one be happy about laying out that much money and getting so little in return? Especially considering they haven't even experienced one first hand.



    In many ways this reminds me of the G5 debut, a fine example of Apple smoke and mirrors marketing. The PPC processor in the G5 was a crappy example of processor engineering right from the start but Apple was pretty successful in averting everybody's eyes with charts of Alt-Vec performance. Like that really meant anything to the general user. The G5 was instantly behind the Intel processor of the day and and certainly any follow ons, so everybody with an Intel machine at the time was wondering if all Apple customers where that gullible. I see AIR as making the case that yep they are. It will be interesting to see how far AIR goes.





    Dave





    Look the simple reply to your silly post is that people spend thier money on what is right for them. While I apprciate that the MBA is not right for you it WILL be right for someone else. I am very tempted to buy one because for me it is a better fit than the other Macbooks in the Apple range. I want an Apple computer that is light but provides full size screen and keyboard. I have a MacBook right now and it has a mass of ports (Ethernet, Firewire, Audio In) and an optical drive that I NEVER use, ever.



    The fact is that Apple will sell these to people, you are just not one of them.

    There is no point coming here claiming the device is rubbish.

    By your standards I could then say the MacBook Pro is rubbish ot a Mac Pro is rubbish as they are very empensive and packed with things that I wil never use. This device fills a gap in the market for Apple, it is not for you!
  • tailpipetailpipe Posts: 344member
    Superb article with a lot of effort put into writing it. Thanks and well done. i really enjoyed it.



    The photographs are good too. Wow! How can you not like the form factor of this baby? Amazing screen real-estate, very clever touch pad, and superb key board.



    I just think that little flip down panel needs to be a few centimetres longer with an ethernet port and an other USB port. Give me 128 GB SSD drive and I don't care what it costs, I'm there. in fact, I may be getting it whatever happens.



    The glass is definitely half full. This is the sexiest, coolest, cleverest machine I've seen in years.
  • jonnybjonnyb Posts: 64member
    Quote:

    Of the other light and thin laptops we looked at, most supplied no integrated camera and the ones that did typically used a poor quality 0.3 megapixel unit that can't give as good of results



    Horrible! I know it's tedious when people point out bad grammar but, really!
  • ecristecrist Posts: 2member
    Quote:

    There also appear to be no ExpressCard slot WWAN modules that support the Mac.



    There are quite a few out there - from most of the major cellular providers in the US. Here are links to the ones I found in just a few minutes:



    Aircard® 597E by Sierra Wireless: http://www.sprint.com

    (You'll have to search due to their crappy cookies.)



    Verizon Wireless KPC680 ExpressCard: http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/s...edPhoneId=3409



    Verizon Wireless V740 ExpressCard: http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/s...edPhoneId=2910



    T-Mobile and Alltel do not seem to offer a Mac-compatible expresscard adapter. T-Mobile has one, outdated, PC-Card, and Alltel offers a USB Mac-compatible card.
  • brendon9xbrendon9x Posts: 6member
    Nice article. But I disagree with one point. I don't think the Air will be a success. I know a lot of MacBook Pro and Powerbook users and at least three of them have been waiting for the 12 inch MBP; but not one of them is considering the Air. Which isn't to say they aren't tempted, just that there is something holding them back. The reasons are different for each one of them whether it's the optical drive or the lack of Firewire it all boils down to one thing: They are all looking for a laptop that will be their only computer.



    I'm sure their is a market for people who don't mind the Remote Disc and can rip DV on FW using another computer. But the market is so much smaller than those simply looking for a 12 inch MBP.
  • anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 17,193member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Frankly I'm not sure if there is any other point to this article. It strikes me a passive form of flaming, fanboi-isms and utter crap. Far to much effort was expended in sugar coating the failings of the device.



    Lets put it this way if something like disk performance sucked just say so. Let everybody know that it has been a very long time since disks this bad have been stuffed in to a computer.



    Same thing for the GPU, if its performance is well below what is expected for the price class say so! The device being thin simply isn't an excuse for anything in this price range.



    There is little point in an article that is not objective and straight forward.



    I see a lot of people swearing up hill and down that they will get an AIR and be happy with it. Honestly I have to ask how can one be happy about laying out that much money and getting so little in return? Especially considering they haven't even experienced one first hand.



    In many ways this reminds me of the G5 debut, a fine example of Apple smoke and mirrors marketing. The PPC processor in the G5 was a crappy example of processor engineering right from the start but Apple was pretty successful in averting everybody's eyes with charts of Alt-Vec performance. Like that really meant anything to the general user. The G5 was instantly behind the Intel processor of the day and and certainly any follow ons, so everybody with an Intel machine at the time was wondering if all Apple customers where that gullible. I see AIR as making the case that yep they are. It will be interesting to see how far AIR goes.





    Dave



    Whoa. That's a lot of unnecessary arrogance and anger there. It is really amazing how you can presume to speak on behalf of the purchase behavior and usage patterns of others whose needs, means, and circumstances may be very different from yours. In addition, it is a complete puzzle to me why you (and a few others) are wasting your time on venting on products that obviously don't even matter to you.



    Weird.
  • anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 17,193member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brendon9x View Post


    I don't think the Air will be a success. I know a lot of MacBook Pro and Powerbook users and at least three of them have been waiting for the 12 inch MBP; but not one of them is considering the Air.



    Ah, and I know at least two MBP users, one of whom has bought, and the other is buying soon.....



    Your random assertion proves nothing.
  • timmcdivitttimmcdivitt Posts: 16member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brendon9x View Post


    I know a lot of MacBook Pro and Powerbook users and at least three of them have been waiting for the 12 inch MBP; but not one of them is considering the Air. Which isn't to say they aren't tempted, just that there is something holding them back. The reasons are different for each one of them whether it's the optical drive or the lack of Firewire it all boils down to one thing: They are all looking for a laptop that will be their only computer.



    I don't think the point of the MBA is to draw potential MBP customers. I don't know how many times it needs to be said, but the MBA is an ultraportable. It is thin, and light and has certain drawbacks because of this. People who want tiny laptops with all the features of an MBP are kidding themselves. Clearly apple has done all they can do to make the MBA as thin and light as possible, leaving in the features they believe to be most essential and cutting others.



    sorry for the rant.
  • haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:

    Because it requires more power than the USB specification supplies, the Air was specially designed to deliver additional power over its USB port. Using a hub allows you to power the SuperDrive while still using other USB devices.



    Aren't the ports on USB hubs limited to the standard amount of power that is defined by USB spec?



    If Apple is going to omit Firewire from the MacBook Air, then it should have come with 2 standard USB ports, and the external Superdrive should have used a USB Y cable that has 2 connectors.
  • ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    I could forgive most things, but no ethernet? That is just bloody dumb. Add on, add on, add on... feck that.



    You know, I was really surprised at how much this has upset some people. In my own world (office, home), it's all wireless.



    What's your envisioned setup, where a stripped down ultralight laptop would be your preferred laptop, but where the lack of ethernet kills it for you? 802.11N really is pretty fast. Most of the things I can imagine needing ethernet for, the MBA was simply the wrong laptop anyway.



    (And curse it though you may, Apple does provide the add-on USB-Ethernet thing. I thought that was a terribly good idea. Why do I want something adding weight to my laptop that I hardly ever care to use? On the rare occasions I needed it, I had the add on)
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