Might be a long read but wanted to jot down some thoughts! Apologies in advance!
So a couple of weeks ago I got a MacBook Air. I thought I'd write up a small post about what lead up to me buying it, and how I'm finding it.
So I've been a computer enthusiast / geek for about 20 years. I've been one professionally (like as a job) for about 13 years. I always built my own home PC's in that time.. starting way back with a 486 DX66, and an 850MB hard drive.. might be showing my age here! After many years of doing this, about 5 years ago I bought an iMac - this was around when Leopard came out. After around a year with it, and upon the release of Windows 7, I got rid of it.. didn't get on with it, wanted something faster, wanted to play more games than the iMac could cope with, and Windows 7 was such an improvement over Vista I was happy to jump ship.
Fast forward to Windows 8's release. I tried it for a few months and got increasingly frustrated with it, so decide for my next PC upgrade to make sure I pick a Hackintosh compatible motherboard, and run OSX at home. At first I run it dual boot so I can game a bit, but already I'd started to find my gaming hobby in a steady decline - culminating with Battlefield 3. I can play pretty well still, but just don't have the time to invest in it and get a bit fed up getting schooled by people half my age.. so I pretty much decide there and then my gaming career is over, and I can also ditch the Windows partition on my Hackintosh and just run pure OSX.
Not sure what changed this time around compared to my days with the iMac running Leopard, but I just got along with OSX so much better this time. It's lightning quick, deceptively powerful, and just a slick product all round. I ran a pure Hackintosh for about 6 months and was loving it - with no desires to go back to Windows or gaming, and with Mavericks just round the corner I decided now's the time to jump ship again. But this time I was thinking about switching to a laptop. No more gaming any more, and modest data storage requirements (gigabytes, not terabytes) plus the luxury of being able to just grab my main computer whenever I'm on the road to see friends or for work became quite appealing. I initially discounted the MacBook Air as I just thought it couldn't have the grunt and focussed on the MacBook Pro's.. my needs were pretty basic - as much SSD storage as I could afford, and for it to run pretty well.
I waited for Apple to refresh the MacBook Pro's and with no sign of a refresh I couldn't bring myself to buy one with all the internals being behind the MacBook Air, so eventually took the plunge and ordered a maxed out but 11" Air - reason being it was going to be primarily connected to a monitor at home almost all the time, so screen size was less important, and it was a reasonable enough saving over the 13" to make it worthwhile.
So far I've been simply staggered at the overall quality of the package. Firstly the hardware - I mean it weighs nothing, it's beautifully designed, rock solid. And it's quick. Quicker than I even expected. One benefit of going for the largest SSD (512GB), and as the SSD in the Air comes in off PCI-e and not SSD, is that it FLIES - 730MB/sec read rates, 710MB/sec write rates. I didn't even think standard home computer grade SSD's even had that sort of performance. And the CPU despite only being a 1.7GHz i7 seems way more brisk than I imagined, helped in no small part I'm sure by the turbo boost function.
I lucked out connectivity wise as around the time I was looking to procure the Air, a mid 2000's 23" cinema display was being scrapped at work - just minus the power supply brick. I manage to source one on eBay for £86 - expensive but as I had no outlay on the screen, it represented an overall bargain. The cinema display has a built in two port USB hub, and teamed with the apple aluminium keyboard which ALSO has a two port hub I'm well sorted for USB connectivity using only one of the two USB ports of the Air.
It's just an awesome laptop - and I'm already finding myself freeing myself up from my desk quite often and taking it with me. I think I've switched for good this time..
tl;dr - bought a MacBook Air.. it kicks ass.