thinking about my next mac... looking at the mac book air (2 Viewers)

rockymtnhigh

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I made the switch to Mac last summer when my work bought me a mac book pro. I have a very powerful laptop, and I love it. In recent months I have come to the conclusion that I need to actually OWN one, since I have a lot of personal stuff on the mbp, and its a work machine. Originally i thought I'd just get my own mbp, but that seems kind of silly, since the one I have works great, and it is only used by me. Then I thought about a mac mini (I have a Dell 24" display at home, and don't see the need for an iMac. And the mac mini is very nice. For $610 I can get a core i5 model with 8GB of ram (2GB model, with $41 upgrade for the ram through Amazon). But today I spent an hour or so at the Apple Store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago (heck, its stinking freezing here, so an hour at the Apple store seemed like a good use of time) :)

And I spent all that time playing with a mba. I was really impressed. Same size keyboard on the 11" model as the mbp I am writing on now. The screen was remarkably workable for just 11." But what blew me away was that this device had only 4GB of ram, but it was blazing fast. I loaded up a bunch of apps: Word, File Maker Pro, Aperture, Bento, Garage Band, DeeJay, Safari. And its response was just like my mbp. Then the Apple guy took the machine next to mine and selected every app in the Applications folder, and launched them at the same time. IN less than 15 seconds EVERY app on the machine was running. I was blown away.

Now I get that the speed is largely coming from the SSD drive -- the read write speeds clock this thing up in ways that I never really grasped. The Apple guy did say that if I was doing processor intensive stuff, like running analysis in SPSS, it might not be so fast, but since I still have the mbp for my power work, I am thinking this might be well worth it.

My other concern is space -- 128GB of storage gives you about 110GB to start (the 256GB model is just too expensive). The thought I had was to setup the mba in my home office with the 24" monitor and a 2TB external hard drive, which I will use for iPhoto libraries, and for storing my music. I would only keep iTunes Match on the actual mba. And setup a second itunes library on the external drive to actually store the music I own. I'd also probably setup dropbox for a selective sync.

Ok mac folks, what do you think of this idea? Is the mba a decent secondary mac for the setup I am talking about? And PC folks, I don't care about Windows solutions -- my goal is to add a second mac to my setup. Thoughts?
 

jgags6

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Ive been a longtime mac guy too and I'm getting to that time where I and "getting the itch" to buy a new one.... I am going to switch my MBP in for a MPA, but after looking into it i decided to wait until they refresh them... if you go to Mac Buyer's Guide: Know When to Buy Your Mac, iPod or iPhone they do a good job of telling you when to expect new updates in computers... If you wait you will probably see a boost in the SSD.

I would stay away from the mini, as the new ones don't have a optical drive and they are still pretty expensive.. if your looking for a desktop solution just shell out the extra 500 and get an iMac.

If you don't want to wait for a refresh then go ahead with your plan, it should work just fine with using the EHD to store pics/ect. Let us know what you decide (right now I'm thinking I'm going to get the 11 inch MBA, I had a 12 in MBP way back when and loved how small it was!).
 

DodgerKing

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A little off topic, but still related to MACs.

I was at an 8 hour trainer of trainers meeting today (basically an in-service on how to train other teachers on this new software the district is adopting) and guess what type of computer we were trained on? Even took an image of me using Satelliteguys on the iMAC during one of our breaks. :D

IMG_0244.JPG IMG_0246.JPG IMG_0247.JPG

As far as a MBA, when we got my wife her MBP we were looking at the air. We decided on the pro since it can do more and since she wasn't going to be dragging it all over the place. If we got her a secondary computer that she will be taking with her a lot, we will probably get her the air. Personally, I don't care for small little laptops with small screens and limited functionality. But to use as a secondary device in addition to what you already have, the mini laptops are great and there is really no need to have another laptop of the same size.
 

rockymtnhigh

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jgags6 said:
Ive been a longtime mac guy too and I'm getting to that time where I and "getting the itch" to buy a new one.... I am going to switch my MBP in for a MPA, but after looking into it i decided to wait until they refresh them... if you go to Mac Buyer's Guide: Know When to Buy Your Mac, iPod or iPhone they do a good job of telling you when to expect new updates in computers... If you wait you will probably see a boost in the SSD.

I would stay away from the mini, as the new ones don't have a optical drive and they are still pretty expensive.. if your looking for a desktop solution just shell out the extra 500 and get an iMac.

If you don't want to wait for a refresh then go ahead with your plan, it should work just fine with using the EHD to store pics/ect. Let us know what you decide (right now I'm thinking I'm going to get the 11 inch MBA, I had a 12 in MBP way back when and loved how small it was!).

Of course, it's Reommendation is neutral, mid cycle. The rumors I have seen about the new processors would suggest early summer and I doubt I can hold off the itch that long.

I have a 24" monitor and an external blu-ray burner so the air or mini would both be an easy device to configure for my home office.

I am well aware that there is a small price differential between the mba and mbp, but I already have the pro for power crunching. I can use the air for light stuff.

Only wish the 11" had a sd card reader built in.

Sent from my iPad using SatelliteGuys
 

lparsons21

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I'm an Apple guy too, although I do have other things here. Currently using this Acer el-cheapo laptop while my iMac's drive gets swapped out.

The Air would be my choice for what you describe. It is one slick little box and for most things feels as snappy as computers with faster processors. For the external, I use a 2TB drive on my Airport Extreme and share it wirelessly on my network. Getting data is a bit slower that way, but not bad imo. And the way I'm doing it makes it always available as long as I'm on my network.
 

berck

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My only issue with the mba is that if you don't have another base Apple system, you're hosed if you need to use a DVD. Yes, you have an mbp, but what happens if you loose your job?

Also, with the limited space on the SSD drive, you'll want an external system for storage/itunes sharing, or possibly just an external hard drive. This way you can swap out large files or movies.
 

rockymtnhigh

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My only issue with the mba is that if you don't have another base Apple system, you're hosed if you need to use a DVD. Yes, you have an mbp, but what happens if you loose your job?

Also, with the limited space on the SSD drive, you'll want an external system for storage/itunes sharing, or possibly just an external hard drive. This way you can swap out large files or movies.

Well, I'm a professor and don't intend to lose my job. :) But I have an external USB Blu-ray/HD DVD writer that will provide all the optical drive I need. I figure I'll move my iTunes Library to an external drive on the mba, and as it is, I have iTunes Match for my music library. But all valid concerns.

I am visualizing my workstation in my home office as:
mba
24" Dell Display
2TB External HDD
External USB Blu-Ray/HD DVD writer
Mac Keyboard
Magic Trackpad
apple Ethernet USB connector
USB Hub

The mba would have two iTunes libraries -- the one which includes ALL THE ACTUAL MUSIC, stored on the external HDD (same with an iPhoto Library), and one local on the mba with just itunes Match.

The idea as I am visualizing it is when the mba is in the office, its just a matter of one usb cable to connect (to the hub) and I have ethernet, optical, external storage, etc... )

The itch is getting bad. :D :D
 

rglore

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Just ordered a 13" MacBook Air and a refurb 27" T-Bolt display with built-in docking station for the wife's new job. Going to the Apple store tomorrow to pick up the MBA! This setup is to replace her 5 year old iMac and 4 year old MacBook Pro.
 

ronton3

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I have a G5 PPC tower with a 22 inch cinema display, I used a windows laptop at work and never became enamored of the laptop experience. I am waiting for the new Imac's(hopefully May), since they are rumored to be a new form factor. There have been many innovations since the last change. Iphones, Ipads, IOS, retinal displays, touch, to name a few and the work they have done on TV's, be may an influence. I am sure you know you can haave more than one identity on OSX. I use an omega hard drive that acts as a usb/firewire hub that also has an OSX installation on it that I can switch to. I am hoping for a revolutionary new Imac.
 

lparsons21

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Rocky,

If you're going to not wait for the refresh of the MBA line, you can save a few bucks at the online Apple Store with their refurbs. Same warranty, elgible for Applecare just like the new ones. I've bought that way for quite some time. The only difference is the box they come in.
 

dont24

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MBA or Mini should both work for you. If you have the funds and need some type of portability, MBA is the way to go. I have a 24" iMac. Youngest son is using a mini. My oldest our Macbook Pro. For me personally, after winning the Satguys iPad 2 grand prize :D , I haven't used the MBP since. My iMac's a 2007. I'm seriously considering replacing it with a mini and a 24" - 27" monitor. I hate the fact that if something goes wrong on the iMac, it's not an easy parts replacement. For us it'll always be a desktop class Mac as our primary. ( storing music, videos, pictures, etc.. ) iPad 2 for portability around the house. I'd love to get a Mac Pro, but can't bring myself to justify the $2499 starting price for what I need it for.
 
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rockymtnhigh

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Rocky,

If you're going to not wait for the refresh of the MBA line, you can save a few bucks at the online Apple Store with their refurbs. Same warranty, elgible for Applecare just like the new ones. I've bought that way for quite some time. The only difference is the box they come in.

I had not thought about the refurbs; was looking at buying from Amazon, its $60 off and no tax. $1138 for the 11.6" 128GB core i5 model. I'll check it out.
 

rockymtnhigh

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MBA or Mini should both work for you. If you have the funds and need some type of portability, MBA is the way to go. I have a 24" iMac. Youngest son is using a mini. My oldest our Macbook Pro. For me personally, after winning the Satguys iPad 2 grand prize :D , I haven't used the MBP since. My iMac's a 2007. I'm seriously considering replacing it with a mini and a 24" - 27" monitor. I hate the fact that if something goes wrong on the iMac, it's not an easy parts replacement. For us it'll always be a desktop class Mac as our primary. ( storing music, videos, pictures, etc.. ) iPad 2 for portability around the house. I'd love to get a Mac Pro, but can't bring myself to justify the $2499 starting price for what I need it for.

I'm still leery of having NO desktop config, and eventually would probably get a mini if I get a air. But I do still have the W7 machine, which I can kvm switch.
 

lparsons21

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With Apple you'll get taxed, so that mitigates the price difference, but I doubt the tax is that much!

I've had great success with Apple refurbs. Other than my 1st gen 27" iMac (currently getting an HD installed), I've never bought new from them. Every one looked brand new out of the box, all performed as expected. And with judicious shopping, sometimes the difference between new and refurb is enough (or almost) to buy the 3-year Applecare. And I highly recommend Applecare on laptops for sure.
 

dont24

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Same here. My mini is a refurb. I have friends who have also bought refurbs from the Apple store. They arrive in like new condition. No issues.
 

Neutron

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My wife and I both use Mac Minis released in 2011. I upgraded both machines with 8GB RAM which I bought locally since upgrading the Mini is easy!

The no Optical drive issue isn't that big of a deal since we don't use them, but you can get any USB external and it will work on the Mac. You can get them fairly cheap (under $50).

I want to get either a MBP or a MBA provided the hard drive space is enough.
 

rockymtnhigh

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With Apple you'll get taxed, so that mitigates the price difference, but I doubt the tax is that much!

I've had great success with Apple refurbs. Other than my 1st gen 27" iMac (currently getting an HD installed), I've never bought new from them. Every one looked brand new out of the box, all performed as expected. And with judicious shopping, sometimes the difference between new and refurb is enough (or almost) to buy the 3-year Applecare. And I highly recommend Applecare on laptops for sure.

Yeah, From Apple, the refurbished machine would be $1073; from Amazon, the new one would be $1138, and from Best Buy, (with tax on the same price as amazon) $1224. And then $225 for Applecare (sold at a bit of a discount from Amazon rather than Apple direct).

You don't have to buy Apple care at purchase though, right? You could get it sometime during the first year, while the manufacturer's warranty is in place (granted there would be no phone support after 90 days), but this could save a little money upfront, right??

I have $235 in textbook trade-in about to hit my Amazon account in the next couple days, so once that is there, I may very well just order the air. I went back to Best Buy to compare 11.6 to 13" models, and came to the conclusion that I already have a 13" mbp, and while the bigger screen and the SD card slot on the 13" air is nice, the 11.6" is remarkably user-friendly and so portable! Dang thing barely weighs more than the iPad. Its unbelievable.
 

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