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MacBook Air purchase advice requested

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Had a "to good to pass up" offer for my late 2008 MacBook unibody 2.4GHz, so now I'm looking for my next Mac.

This will be my primary computer (iPad2 & iPhone4 for mobile) and I really prefer to go light. I do not like the MBP which is getting late in the tooth and too much like my 2008 MacBook. Great computer but I love the weight and feel of the MacBook Air.

I will be using it primarily for web, media, syncing my iPad2/iPhone4, MS Office, iMovie, iTunes, iPhoto etc. My old HD is safely backed up on a 250 GB portable HD. I think the base 13" MacBook Air with i5 and 128GB should do the trick (no need to keep all of my media on the MacBook Air itself), but I'd like some opinions nonetheless.

Also my wife has a 2007 MacBook so I have access to disk drive when needed.

Appreciate any thoughts - thanks.
post #2 of 8
It sounds like a good plan to go for a MBA. I think the MBP will eventually go this route design-wise around late February-April next year.

I wish they hadn't been so tight with the Flash storage this time round. Personally, I think 160GB should be a minimum entry level these days, especially for the mainstream model. The ball has to start rolling from somewhere though.

It would be worth holding out for the next one as it will likely have USB 3 support so much faster connection to peripherals but there's no harm in getting an Air now and is certainly a viable replacement for a Macbook.
post #3 of 8
Seeing how you already own an iPad 2, it wouldn't make sense to get an 11" MBA. So 13" is a good option. Just get the best model you can afford, if you want it to last as a main computer.
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post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback. The 13" MBA it is. It certainly would be better had they pushed the flash up to 160, but for my usage I think 128 will be sufficient.

Also I like the bigger screen size, and given that I have an iPad, the 11" didn't make a lot of sense.
post #5 of 8
Seriously when I see "primary computer" with good mobile solutions in your possession I have to wonder why not a Mini? You don't explicitly state that the computer has to be mobile and in fact you point out your solutions for mobile. So why even consider the AIR?

Here are my issues with AIR as a primary computer:
  1. The screen is to small. This can lead to extreme frustration if used for extended times.
  2. Internal storage is too cramped. Others have already mentioned this in this thread and it should not be discounted.
  3. No OpenCL or advanced GPU capability. In an age where even the lowly web browser uses GPU acceleration good hardware here makes a difference. Even more so if you run flash.
  4. The CPU performance can be bad if CPU bound code is running. This is something to beware of but in the norm AIRs are very snappy.

Everybody has their own idea of what a primary computer is or should be but the items above come to mind when I hear the words "primary computer" and AIR. While it can work for many I think caution and deep thought should happen before the purchase is made.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uriwvu View Post

Had a "to good to pass up" offer for my late 2008 MacBook unibody 2.4GHz, so now I'm looking for my next Mac.

This will be my primary computer (iPad2 & iPhone4 for mobile) and I really prefer to go light. I do not like the MBP which is getting late in the tooth and too much like my 2008 MacBook. Great computer but I love the weight and feel of the MacBook Air.

Don't get me wrong the AIR is a great computer, I just get a little worried when people suggest it as their primary computer.
Quote:
I will be using it primarily for web, media, syncing my iPad2/iPhone4, MS Office, iMovie, iTunes, iPhoto etc. My old HD is safely backed up on a 250 GB portable HD. I think the base 13" MacBook Air with i5 and 128GB should do the trick (no need to keep all of my media on the MacBook Air itself), but I'd like some opinions nonetheless.

No way in hell! Seriously you are making a big mistake buying a computer with only a 128GB of SSD storage. Especially if you needed a 250GB disk to back up your old. As has already been mentioned 128GB is barely enough to cover a basic install.

Look at it this way I purchased an early 2008 MBP with a 200GB drive, that barely cuts it and I have all my iTunes media on an external drive. By the time I had installed apps and documentation on the first couple of days 70GB was gone. Now I run somewhere between a 130 and 170 GB of space used with constant paring of old files. I'm constantly surprised at how much space today's apps take up, even for fun apps like GarageBand.

Whatever you do don't settle on 128GB of storage space. Really I'm pleading with you don't cause yourself excessive grief.
Quote:
Also my wife has a 2007 MacBook so I have access to disk drive when needed.

You mean optical right? Depending upon your needs it might make more sense to have an external available.

However if you aren't talking about an optical keep in mind that pulling along an external HD for your "media" quickly becomes a pain. When you say there is no need to keep your media internally I'd have to say you haven't experienced the extra grief an external drive causes.
Quote:
Appreciate any thoughts - thanks.

Well I hope I was clear in my position here. The AIR is a great machine I just have a hard time with the idea that it will be a primary machine. Yeah it certainly will work for some but I suspect many underestimate their needs. You seem to do this almost immediately when suggesting the purchase of a 128GB device.

Will the machine work for you? I really don't know, but I do wonder why something like a Mini isn't considered if your mobile needs are already covered. Get the Mini with the GPU and a SSD and you will be light years ahead of the AIR performance wise. I have this feeling that if you did buy the AIR you would soon buy a desktop monitor anyways.
post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by uriwvu View Post

Thanks for the feedback. The 13" MBA it is. It certainly would be better had they pushed the flash up to 160, but for my usage I think 128 will be sufficient.

128GB can be made to work for some people, however these days I do not think that is an average user anymore. This is my personal opinion but I think it is a huge mistake to go for a 128MB in an AIR.
Quote:
Also I like the bigger screen size, and given that I have an iPad, the 11" didn't make a lot of sense.

I do wish that we had a better idea of what your usage is because that extra 2 inches of screen really doesn't offer up a lot. Consider too the eventual move to resolution independence.

I still have to wonder about your previous statement that the iPhone and iPad covered your mobile needs. If this is the case then what does the AIR offer you?
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


I do wish that we had a better idea of what your usage is because that extra 2 inches of screen really doesn't offer up a lot. Consider too the eventual move to resolution independence.

The screen resolution in the 13-inch Macbook Air means you can see the precise same content you can on the 15-inch MacBook Pro. There is a huge difference between the two screens.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Seriously when I see "primary computer" with good mobile solutions in your possession I have to wonder why not a Mini? You don't explicitly state that the computer has to be mobile and in fact you point out your solutions for mobile. So why even consider the AIR?

Here are my issues with AIR as a primary computer:
  1. The screen is to small. This can lead to extreme frustration if used for extended times.
  2. Internal storage is too cramped. Others have already mentioned this in this thread and it should not be discounted.
  3. No OpenCL or advanced GPU capability. In an age where even the lowly web browser uses GPU acceleration good hardware here makes a difference. Even more so if you run flash.
  4. The CPU performance can be bad if CPU bound code is running. This is something to beware of but in the norm AIRs are very snappy.

Everybody has their own idea of what a primary computer is or should be but the items above come to mind when I hear the words "primary computer" and AIR. While it can work for many I think caution and deep thought should happen before the purchase is made.


Don't get me wrong the AIR is a great computer, I just get a little worried when people suggest it as their primary computer.

No way in hell! Seriously you are making a big mistake buying a computer with only a 128GB of SSD storage. Especially if you needed a 250GB disk to back up your old. As has already been mentioned 128GB is barely enough to cover a basic install.

Look at it this way I purchased an early 2008 MBP with a 200GB drive, that barely cuts it and I have all my iTunes media on an external drive. By the time I had installed apps and documentation on the first couple of days 70GB was gone. Now I run somewhere between a 130 and 170 GB of space used with constant paring of old files. I'm constantly surprised at how much space today's apps take up, even for fun apps like GarageBand.

Whatever you do don't settle on 128GB of storage space. Really I'm pleading with you don't cause yourself excessive grief.

You mean optical right? Depending upon your needs it might make more sense to have an external available.

However if you aren't talking about an optical keep in mind that pulling along an external HD for your "media" quickly becomes a pain. When you say there is no need to keep your media internally I'd have to say you haven't experienced the extra grief an external drive causes.


Well I hope I was clear in my position here. The AIR is a great machine I just have a hard time with the idea that it will be a primary machine. Yeah it certainly will work for some but I suspect many underestimate their needs. You seem to do this almost immediately when suggesting the purchase of a 128GB device.

Will the machine work for you? I really don't know, but I do wonder why something like a Mini isn't considered if your mobile needs are already covered. Get the Mini with the GPU and a SSD and you will be light years ahead of the AIR performance wise. I have this feeling that if you did buy the AIR you would soon buy a desktop monitor anyways.



I had not considered a Mini as as option primarily because I do not have a monitor/computer desk in the house anymore (a 2003 Dell Dimension desktop that became obsolete in 2007, and along with our computer desk, has long since been discarded).

Looking at the mini, I would be required to not only add an external monitor, but also a location to place it.

I was also considering a MacBook Pro as my replacement but frankly the current model is near the end of the line, and the size & weight is too much like my unibody MacBook. Anyways the MBA (arrived 3 days ago) is running beautifully, and I have transferred all necessary items from my 250GB portable HD to satisfy my needs. And couldn't I just pick up a 1TB portable drive to access all additional media/files in the future?
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