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Second time lucky! New MacBook Air owner..


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#1 +Chicane-UK

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 18:32

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. 




#2 Arceles

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 18:51

I was a user of 286... so far linux/windows for me. Congrats on your buy.



#3 FrostAM

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 19:10

Congratulations on the purchase.

 

I'm seriously considering getting one as well. I think I'll hold out just awhile longer and see if Apple updates the Pros when they release Mavericks. 

 

I've read that the battery life is outrageous on that thing. Are the claims true?



#4 +Frank B.

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 19:16

Congratulations on the purchase.

 

I'm seriously considering getting one as well. I think I'll hold out just awhile longer and see if Apple updates the Pros when they release Mavericks. 

 

I've read that the battery life is outrageous on that thing. Are the claims true?

Speaking as someone who bought a Macbook Air 13" in June: Yes, the battery life claims are true. Depending on what I do I get well over 10 hours. It remains to be seen if the upgrade to OS X 10.9 is going to further improve battery life.



#5 OP +Chicane-UK

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 19:17

Worth bearing in mind it's less good on the 11" because of the physical size of the battery compared to the 13" - but so far even after a couple hours of it being disconnected from the mains though, and being powered on the whole time I've never seen battery life drop below 60% so it seems most impressive. 



#6 tsupersonic

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 19:20

Congrats. I'm waiting for Apple to update the damn Mac Mini's with Haswell



#7 OP +Chicane-UK

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 19:27

Does seem like there's a lot of hardware waiting for a refresh. At least they got the iMac's out of the way... 



#8 FrostAM

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 19:29

Speaking as someone who bought a Macbook Air 13" in June: Yes, the battery life claims are true. Depending on what I do I get well over 10 hours. It remains to be seen if the upgrade to OS X 10.9 is going to further improve battery life.

 

 

Worth bearing in mind it's less good on the 11" because of the physical size of the battery compared to the 13" - but so far even after a couple hours of it being disconnected from the mains though, and being powered on the whole time I've never seen battery life drop below 60% so it seems most impressive. 

 

Now that is impressive. One more thing, I know you're using external monitors; but how good (or bad) is the built in display? Unfortunately, I can't hook up to an external display in class or on the road (though that would be pretty awesome :p)



#9 OP +Chicane-UK

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 19:37

Now that is impressive. One more thing, I know you're using external monitors; but how good (or bad) is the built in display? Unfortunately, I can't hook up to an external display in class or on the road (though that would be pretty awesome :p)

 

It's certainly not a retina display, and the resolution isn't huge - but I find it to be excellent. Nice, bright and vibrant and big enough to get actual work done on :) 



#10 Ryoken

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 05:44

I got the 13" MacBook Air around this time last year..  Base 13" model with the RAM maxed out. I also picked up a few 32GB SD cards to just sit in the side if I needed extra space, which wasn't as often as you'd think.

 

I had no issues running Windows Server VM's on it, on battery, along with surfing the net and all manner of other things for a normal school day. And most of the time I had an External 2.5" HDD that it was powering too (for the VM's). I was beyond impressed.

 

Also was nice that the MBA weighted only as much as my previous laptops Power Brick.. Is it a little pricy ? Maybe, but it's solid, and imho well worth it.



#11 FrostAM

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 11:50

It's certainly not a retina display, and the resolution isn't huge - but I find it to be excellent. Nice, bright and vibrant and big enough to get actual work done on :)

 

Thank you for that. I think anything will be better than the non-radiance screen my envy has :p Only a 1366x768 resolution, very poor for multitasking. 



#12 OP +Chicane-UK

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 12:02

Thank you for that. I think anything will be better than the non-radiance screen my envy has :p Only a 1366x768 resolution, very poor for multitasking. 

 

The Air's resolution is the same resolution as that actually! Probably a bit lower than you were expecting! If you need bigger, you're gonna need to think about a MacBook Pro :( 



#13 +Frank B.

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 16:20

Thank you for that. I think anything will be better than the non-radiance screen my envy has :p Only a 1366x768 resolution, very poor for multitasking. 

 

 

The Air's resolution is the same resolution as that actually! Probably a bit lower than you were expecting! If you need bigger, you're gonna need to think about a MacBook Pro :(

 

The 13" MBA has a resolution of 1440x900. Which imho is adequate for most tasks.  



#14 Mr.XXIV

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 16:30

Congrats. I'm waiting for Apple to update the damn Mac Mini's with Haswell

 

I was gonna say the same thing, I have the latest Mac Mini, but I'm thinking about juicing it up and use my current Mac Mini as a full Dedicated Server so i can get back my killer performance (no thanks to Virtual Box, but still thanks to 16GB of RAM)!  :laugh:

 

What I'm wondering is..whatever happened to Xeon Processors for Mac Mini's!?



#15 Growled

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 16:33

That battery life is what impresses me the most. I've almost talked myself into trying one. Almost.