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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > MBA experiences with Cinema Display?

MBA experiences with Cinema Display?
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Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Mar 5, 2008, 08:50 AM
Thinking about replacing my 5 yr old home PowerMac G4 1.25 dual and 20" Cinema display, with a basic MBA and 20" or 23" Cinema display.
I'm a basic user (web, mail, word, excel, iTunes, iPhoto, occasional iMovie edit) and would really appreciate ability to move the MBA around the home and on the road. (Kids have MBP and MB).
Would appreciate some feedback from anyone that uses the MBA with a cinema display. (ease of use, quality of output, tips?)
Also I have a firewire backup (Maxtor drive with AC power) - I presume I would need to either buy a new drive with only USB or is there a simple USB to firewire adaptor? Again only use it to backup files about once a week.

Also do you recommend a mouse and keyboard as extras in the above set up? (if so which ones?)

many thanks
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Mar 5, 2008, 02:52 PM
I have my MBA connected to a 23" ACD at the office and couldn't be happier. I originally had a MB for pretty all the apps you listed but wanted something more mobile since I travel extensively. Depending on what you're using it for, you will hear the fans come on when you're running multiple apps. I normally have Mail, iChat, Entourage, iTunes & iWork running and have not experienced any slow down, but my MBA is a SSD.

Connecting the MBA is fairly easy since I leave the micro-DVI permanently attached to the DVI cable on ACD. I literally have 3 connections when I plug-in - MagSafe, microDVI and the USB from the ACD to utilize the ports in the rear of the ACD (four connections if you count speakers to the audio port).

You won't be able to use the FW ports on the ACD or your FW HDD and will have to look into a USB HDD. I ended getting the 1TB Time Capsule for both wireless back-up and network drive use.

I would recommend a mouse and keyboard if you're going to connect it to the ACD. As for a mouse and keyboard, I personally like Apple's new wired keyboard. The form factor and tactile feedback of the keys is better than everything else I used (my last keyboard was the Logitech diNovo Edge). Plus using the Apple wired keyboard gives you another USB port (you will be taking 1 of 2 on the ACD). As for a mouse, I am prefer Logitech's MX Revolution mouse for all the programmable keys and options.

Hope that helps.
 Mac Pro 8-Core 2.26GHz Xeon | 12GB RAM | 2.5TB HDD | ATI Radeon HD 4870 | 24" LED Cinema Display
 Mac mini [Unibody] 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo | 8GB RAM | 500GB Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid HDD | 24" LED Cinema Display
 MacBook Air 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo | 4GB RAM | 256GB SDD
Too many accessories to list...
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
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Mar 5, 2008, 10:16 PM
I use a MBAir and a 23" ACD and it works well. The microDVI connector is great (I leave the dongle screwed into the DVI cable), a lot like USB in terms of tactile performance and GMA X3100 has no problem driving the apps you mentioned.

You should buy a USB drive for backups. Generic USB<->FW conversion is nontrivial and there are no readily available solutions.
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Mar 6, 2008, 07:15 AM
How do you like the performance of the MBA as compared with other macs you have used?
Posting Junkie
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Mar 6, 2008, 11:23 AM
No significant difference between it and a Core Duo iMac (the only other Mac I've used for a significant period of time recently).
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