After much deliberating I finally took the plunge and got a Apple Macbook Air. With all the travel I have coming up over the next two years it was time to go portable. For the last six months I’ve been lugging my 27 inch iMac to my Photoshop courses and with some further afield courses coming up it was about time. So why a Macbook Air and not the Pro? Well it took me a while to get there and after much research I decided on the Air.
Here are some of the deciding factors:
– 13 inch seems to be a great balance between screen real estate and portability
– Air is 0.27 kg lighter
– Both are dual core, minimal difference in GHz
– Retina display is not one of my requirements and is an added expense. I will be connecting into low resolution projector most of the time and doing post processing on iMac
– Air is better value for money
– Air looks cool
The real question was how did the Air perform with Photoshop? From what I read the speed of SSD massively aided performance even with a lack of CPU. To give you an idea of performance here are some simple tests when compared to my iMac.
Macbook Air 13″, Dual core i7 2.0GHz, 8Gb RAM, 512Gb SSD hard drive, and Intel HD Graphics 4000 Video
iMac 27″, Quad Core i7 3.4GHz, 8Gb RAM, 2TB Serial ATA, and AMD Radeon HD 1GB Video
Software: Adobe CS6 Photoshop
Laptop plugged in to mains for optimal performance
I decided to test what I most commonly do in Photoshop and tasks that seem to take some time:
Process image in Nik Silver Efex Pro
Create panoramic image using Photo Merge
Save file to hard drive
Here are the results:
The main concern with any cut down computer or laptop is a noticeable lag. Whether the lag is whilst using the Operating System or other software, if things are noticeably slow then the user experience becomes frustrating. With normal operation I haven’t notice any difference between my iMac and the Macbook Air, even when performing most operations in Photoshop. When it comes to saving large files or doing processor intensive tasks I’m already expecting to wait for these things to complete so a marginal difference is not even noticeable. For all of the reasons above I would not hesitate to recommend this laptop however I think it is very important that you buy the highest specification you can with the upgrades to RAM and CPU.