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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > How to max a Mac Air for the Office

How to max a Mac Air for the Office
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ninahagen
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Jan 16, 2008, 12:17 PM
 
I have an offbeat idea and would appreciate some feedback about it.

One member of my company has to travel a lot. When he does, he doesn't need much power. Only lite versions of the pic files for Japanese art we offer to collectors and museums. But when he is in the office he does work with heavy master files somewhat, enough to want some speed.

He is begging for a Macbook air, saying the style will help him sell the artwork, and that light and silent (by which he means he wants the solid state HD) would be good for his presentations. We were going to get him a new laptop anyway, but were thinking of the 17" Macbook pro. He argues it is too heavy to lug around, and the screen too huge to work easily on planes and trains. I think he is just seduced by the sexiness, but I have to give him a fair hearing.

So, we had the idea of trying to get him a fast external USB connected RAID array (like the RT5e 2.5 TB) to hold his heavy files and do graphics work in the office (along with a new 23" display... he is using the original acrylic 23" now).

Is there any way to make this work through a USB port? Wouldn't the port limit the speed very noticably? I mean, he mainly does simple graphics tasks on single large files 500MB~1G... color correction, burn and dodge, rotate & reduce... that kind of thing, and mainly for his presentations... the hardcore graphics person is in the next office.

BTW, will the solid state memory really be silent? and how fast?
     
MacosNerd
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Jan 16, 2008, 12:38 PM
 
I agree with him that the 17" is too large to work on trains/planes and such.

I think paying extra for the solid state memory, makes no sense. I don't think the laptop will be totally silent, i.e., it will have a fan and why pay 900 dollar premium just to have a solid state drive that holds less then a conventional HD.

I think the MBA is a little underpowered to do any heavy lifting regarding photoshop and such even it you connect it to an external drive. Plus 2 gig really isn't all that much if you are working with large files

While I really like the design, look of the MBA. I question its use as a desktop replacement. It is too under spec'd for that imo.

I like the 15" MBP for what you're looking to do. Better cpu, more ram, larger hd, more ports, including firewire ports for faster external drive access and It has an optical drive etc.

Edit: Also don't discount the screen size when working with images. I had a MacBook and found the 13" screen just too small to work in photoshop. I do understand he'd have it hooked up to a monitor while in the office but still it would be more cumbersome to do anything on the road with such a small screen.

That's my $.02
     
ninahagen  (op)
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Jan 16, 2008, 01:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by MacosNerd View Post
I agree with him that the 17" is too large to work on trains/planes and such.

I think paying extra for the solid state memory, makes no sense. I don't think the laptop will be totally silent, i.e., it will have a fan and why pay 900 dollar premium just to have a solid state drive that holds less then a conventional HD.

I think the MBA is a little underpowered to do any heavy lifting regarding photoshop and such even it you connect it to an external drive. Plus 2 gig really isn't all that much if you are working with large files

While I really like the design, look of the MBA. I question its use as a desktop replacement. It is too under spec'd for that imo.

I like the 15" MBP for what you're looking to do. Better cpu, more ram, larger hd, more ports, including firewire ports for faster external drive access and It has an optical drive etc.

Edit: Also don't discount the screen size when working with images. I had a MacBook and found the 13" screen just too small to work in photoshop. I do understand he'd have it hooked up to a monitor while in the office but still it would be more cumbersome to do anything on the road with such a small screen.

That's my $.02
Thanks for that...

You know, those are exactly my reservations. This guy is an crackerjack staffer though, so I have to try to understand his point of view.

- He says he will use little or no Photoshop on the road, and that most of our clients have compatible anyway, so in the rare case he had to do something quick, he could.

- He argues that style is everything when making presentations, and that sleek sells. (he dresses Hugo Boss, to give you an idea). He doesn't need performance on the road, only the ability to show photographs and explain them in person.

- He does need performance in the office. Is there a fast RAID array that you could plug into the USB and get reasonable performance with? Would the USB port be a bottleneck? We like FW 800 here, and have little experience with USB.
     
mkral
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Jan 16, 2008, 01:56 PM
 
Aside from the fan kicking on sometimes, the only noise I hear from my PB is the hard drive. With my ipods, I hear the hard drive when it's spinning, but never the Solid State drive on my nano. I would assume that it would be close to silent, especially if all he is doing is running a slideshow of the pics.

The solid state drive will definitely be quicker than a hard drive, but I wouldn't buy one for the speed benefits. If he's looking at a MBA, then he's already making performance compromises that will have a bigger effect on his productivity than will the transfer rate of the hard drive.

He's right about working on a plane. Even a 15" is a tight squeeze & you end up with the screen tilted a bit downwards to have it fit. My 12" PB is the perfect size for on planes & the MBA would fit there nicely as well.

If yours is a perception based business (which I suspect that it might be based on what little you've mentioned) a MBA could go quite a ways in influencing people's view of your company/products. If he wants a MBA, I think I would give him one. The SSD is another story.
     
MacosNerd
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Jan 16, 2008, 01:57 PM
 
I don't see hooking an external drive to the usb port giving you any performance what so ever. Yes its a bottleneck to be sure.

Its your money, but it seems even more foolish for him to ask the use of a client's computer because his nice showy MacBook Air doesn't have enough ____ (fill in the blank ram, hard drive space, screen real estate). In that unlikely chance he will need to use photoshop.

Don't get me wrong the MBA is a great computer,and I do think it fills out Apple's line. You just need to ask what solution does the MBA fill vs. the MacBook Pro. From your description the MBP fulfills the needs better then MBA. Other then looks that is.

You also need to consider how long you'll use the laptop and will its hard drive size and memory be sufficient a few years down the road.
     
mkral
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Jan 16, 2008, 01:58 PM
 
Well, I posted my reply before I saw your follow-up comments, but if the guy is good & looks are important, a MBA will definitely be something to think about. I'm not a RAID expert, but I can't imagine that there is anything out there that is close to Firewire 800 speeds in a USB format.
     
aehaas
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Jan 16, 2008, 02:12 PM
 
For many business people the cost of a notebook is not in the equation. Those of us who travel put size and weight up front of the considerations list. This new MBA should be considered at or near the top for a travel companion. I think that using it for presenting pictures while being able to zoom in and out, rotate and shuffle would be an asset to any presentation.

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hookem2oo7
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Jan 16, 2008, 02:15 PM
 
a USB2 RAID array would be a waste. It would be crippled by the speed of the USB bus. You probably don't want anything less than FW800 for what he needs to do, and a eSATA card in a MBP would be perfect.
     
ninahagen  (op)
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Jan 16, 2008, 02:26 PM
 
Yeah, I may just have to put my foot down and go with the 15" MBP.

If only the Air had a FW800 port, a docking station or PCI slot.

I guess I could also just buy him an iMac 24 and the Air. aehass is right, money is a non-issue. Giving my staff the best tools is key.

PS: How fast is the USB2 bus anyway?
     
hookem2oo7
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Jan 16, 2008, 02:30 PM
 
480Mbit/s max burst speed - real world translates into ~35-40MByte/s for external HDs at best in my experience
     
MacosNerd
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Jan 16, 2008, 02:31 PM
 
I wouldn't be surprised if a docking station is released by apple at somepoint. If I recall, a few weeks back, apple had submitted a patent application for some sort of docking station.

That said, who knows if we'll ever see it.

You know, I was going mention that too. an iMac and MBA wouldn't be a problem, as long as you have the cash and don't mind buying him two computers.

I'll finish up with this remark, I'm not in sales, so its beyond me to think that a look for a computer would help seal a deal. That's not say it won't, its just beyond my experiences and knowledge.
     
Geofries
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Jan 16, 2008, 03:02 PM
 
Not about money? Ok, let's make it about common sense.

The MBP 15" is sure to fill all said employees needs, be it in the office or on the road. You're dealing with art? These are people who value appearance, but however are also sophisticated enough to focus on the presentation at hand and not the laptop it's being broadcasted from.
     
ninahagen  (op)
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Jan 16, 2008, 03:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by hookem2oo7 View Post
480Mbit/s max burst speed - real world translates into ~35-40MByte/s for external HDs at best in my experience
What would that be comparable to among older Mac model's internal bus speeds? Would that be as fast as say an early G5 Dual sata bus? Because if it were, that would be enough for this guy.

Also, how much faster do you reckon the solid state memory option would be over standard 1.8" HD?
     
ninahagen  (op)
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Jan 16, 2008, 03:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by MacosNerd View Post
I wouldn't be surprised if a docking station is released by apple at somepoint. If I recall, a few weeks back, apple had submitted a patent application for some sort of docking station.

That said, who knows if we'll ever see it.

You know, I was going mention that too. an iMac and MBA wouldn't be a problem, as long as you have the cash and don't mind buying him two computers.

I'll finish up with this remark, I'm not in sales, so its beyond me to think that a look for a computer would help seal a deal. That's not say it won't, its just beyond my experiences and knowledge.
Thanks for your input.
     
ninahagen  (op)
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Jan 16, 2008, 03:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by Geofries View Post
Not about money? Ok, let's make it about common sense.

The MBP 15" is sure to fill all said employees needs, be it in the office or on the road. You're dealing with art? These are people who value appearance, but however are also sophisticated enough to focus on the presentation at hand and not the laptop it's being broadcasted from.
Well, if you knew the staffer involved, you might think different. His whole thing is about seamlessness. It can be aggravating, but it does get results. Even if it has no effect on the buyers/publishers involved, if he feels better, he absolutely rules... our best rep by far. I am just trying to find a way for it not to be ridiculous to give him what he wants.
     
mfbernstein
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Jan 16, 2008, 03:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by ninahagen View Post
What would that be comparable to among older Mac model's internal bus speeds? Would that be as fast as say an early G5 Dual sata bus? Because if it were, that would be enough for this guy.

Also, how much faster do you reckon the solid state memory option would be over standard 1.8" HD?
The SATA bus has been 150MB/s since it was released. It's just that most drives don't get anywhere near that fast. Still, any respectable 7200RPM SATA drive offered sustained transfers of 60MB/s. On USB, you'll be lucky to get half that.

Apple hasn't said which SSD drive they're using. Some are almost as fast a Raptors. My guess would be the Samsung offering 40-50MB/s. Probably just about twice the speed of the 4200RPM drive. My 2.5" 4200RPM drive (200GB) never exceeded 25MB/s, and these are undoubtedly slower.
     
ninahagen  (op)
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Jan 16, 2008, 04:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by mfbernstein View Post
The SATA bus has been 150MB/s since it was released. It's just that most drives don't get anywhere near that fast. Still, any respectable 7200RPM SATA drive offered sustained transfers of 60MB/s. On USB, you'll be lucky to get half that.

Apple hasn't said which SSD drive they're using. Some are almost as fast a Raptors. My guess would be the Samsung offering 40-50MB/s. Probably just about twice the speed of the 4200RPM drive. My 2.5" 4200RPM drive (200GB) never exceeded 25MB/s, and these are undoubtedly slower.
If it were close to as fast as the better current mini, that would be enough for him, since his PS work is pretty simple stuff, one file at a time... anything rough gets farm out to our graphics pro.
     
mkral
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Jan 16, 2008, 04:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by ninahagen View Post
Well, if you knew the staffer involved, you might think different. His whole thing is about seamlessness. It can be aggravating, but it does get results. Even if it has no effect on the buyers/publishers involved, if he feels better, he absolutely rules... our best rep by far.
I think that would answer it for me. If he's your best guy & he does better when he feels better & he thinks this will help him, I'd go for it. After all, for as much biz as he's bringing in, $3K for a laptop seems like small change. I'd buy him the MBA with the SSD & get him an imac for around the office if the MBA doesn't work out as an in the office machine. People are weird & if this helps him get on top of his game, it seems worth the investment.
     
Geofries
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Jan 16, 2008, 04:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by ninahagen View Post
Well, if you knew the staffer involved, you might think different. His whole thing is about seamlessness. It can be aggravating, but it does get results. Even if it has no effect on the buyers/publishers involved, if he feels better, he absolutely rules... our best rep by far. I am just trying to find a way for it not to be ridiculous to give him what he wants.
I understand what you are saying. I'm just looking at it from a practical standpoint. Seamless is the way to be, but I'v yet to hear any reason as to why a MBP prevents or hinders one's ability to be seamless.

I understand that for your company money indeed may "not be an issue". Let me tell you however, that for a company to be truly successful over a long period of time (decades), money BETTER be an issue. The worlds most lucrative companies are not so because they make unnecessary expenditures. Bring your employee down to earth. Remind him that you are in the business of making money, and are totally obliged to providing him all the tools necessary to get his job done to the fullest. remind him that this doesn't mean you simply buy him the latest in designer fashion.
     
Geofries
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Jan 16, 2008, 04:20 PM
 
I'm an accountant. Forgive me.
     
ph0ust
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Jan 16, 2008, 04:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by MacosNerd View Post
I wouldn't be surprised if a docking station is released by apple at somepoint. If I recall, a few weeks back, apple had submitted a patent application for some sort of docking station.

That said, who knows if we'll ever see it.

You know, I was going mention that too. an iMac and MBA wouldn't be a problem, as long as you have the cash and don't mind buying him two computers.

I'll finish up with this remark, I'm not in sales, so its beyond me to think that a look for a computer would help seal a deal. That's not say it won't, its just beyond my experiences and knowledge.
this would be great... but the current mba is missing a notable part for working with a docking station.... a connector. unless it is going to somehow use the flip down dvi and usb connector, which seems like a pretty bizarre docking connection pair, it will be tough for them to do this.
     
MacosNerd
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Jan 16, 2008, 05:19 PM
 
Good point I had not even thought of that.
     
mfbernstein
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Jan 16, 2008, 05:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by ninahagen View Post
If it were close to as fast as the better current mini, that would be enough for him, since his PS work is pretty simple stuff, one file at a time... anything rough gets farm out to our graphics pro.
I'd estimate about 20-30% slower for disk intensive stuff, 15% slower for CPU intensive stuff. If he's a patient guy, it sounds like it should be enough.
     
mduell
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Jan 16, 2008, 08:56 PM
 
The 17" is too big for a business traveller, but the Air (2GB RAM/USB2) is not the right machine for dealing with 1GB files from an external drive.

Originally Posted by mfbernstein View Post
I'd estimate about 20-30% slower for disk intensive stuff, 15% slower for CPU intensive stuff. If he's a patient guy, it sounds like it should be enough.
The Air with the SSD is easily twice as fast as a mini for disk intensive stuff, and about the same for CPU intensive stuff.
     
stwain2003
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Jan 16, 2008, 11:29 PM
 
I say he can get over it, and you buy him a MacBook Pro 15". You are HIS boss, and I can GUARANTEE he just wants to have the latest laptop from Apple. Buying an Air for Photoshop is like buying an iPhone with a full version of OS X on it. It's not practical, and I think he's being a little bit selfish. Not to mention, you would save thousands of dollars if you bought a MBP instead of a waste of $1800, plus an EXTRA computer for his office.
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alon99
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Jan 17, 2008, 02:18 AM
 
I say go for the Air - if that's the laptop he wants, then get it for him. If he can present himself better with it, and the cost isn't an issue, go for it!

I like the idea of the 24" iMac at the office to compliment it.

If it turned out to be a horrible disaster and the Air was too slow, you could always sell it and get another system... but from the sounds of it, it should be fine.
     
mfbernstein
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Jan 17, 2008, 03:38 AM
 
---
( Last edited by mfbernstein; Jan 25, 2008 at 02:30 PM. )
     
durangotang
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Jan 17, 2008, 02:26 PM
 
Take care of your salesman. If he feels more confident with a Macbook Air, then get him a Macbook Air. Plus, he's right! This laptop will be a conversation starter for a couple of years, and I think it will help him sell. He buys the Hugo Boss, you buy the Macbook Air!

Also, so maybe it will take an extra 30 seconds to load a file off of an array of USB drives at his desk. So what? A Core 2 Duo @ 1.8 Ghz and 2GB or RAM is no slouch and will do fine running Photoshop CS3. To me, it sounds like his primary function is sales, and that's why I say get the air.

Now, the 64GB of Solid State Disk for $1000 is harder to justify, but sure would be sweet. I wouldn't worry too much about the 1.8" drive noise. How long will he be using this machine for? If it's for a long time, I'd splurge on the Solid State Disk drive. If finances were tight, I'd get the 1.8" drive. You know best.

I'd definitely customize the order and get the 1.8 ghz chipset though.
     
peeb
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Jan 17, 2008, 02:32 PM
 
Yep - **** it - you like the guy, he does good work for you, and he believes that his will help him sell more? Do it.
     
Eug
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Jan 17, 2008, 02:41 PM
 
What's he using now?

Personally it sounds like a MacBook Pro 15" would be the most appropriate from a practical point of view.

However, the MacBook Air isn't about practicality and if he wants it, that must count for something.
     
Geofries
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Jan 17, 2008, 03:50 PM
 
You guys are missing the concept of a business. It is not to splurge. If he can buy Hugo Boss, let HIM buy himself an Airbook. As owner/boss, it is your duty to provide the most adequate tools available to get the job done.

Again, sale's is not about the look of a laptop. I wonder if all of you commenting have run a business, or been in sales, or understand economics at all. When I was in sales, let me assure you that I was interested in who had the best hardware to run their powerpoint on. I was much more concerned with who had quality product that was priced reasonably enough to allow for a decent profit margin.

If anything, I'd be a lot more skeptical of the rep who relied on the flash of his fancy laptop to entice me as I might assume he is attempting to compensate for a sub-par product.

Quality product sales, not fancy laptops.
     
Eug
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Jan 17, 2008, 03:55 PM
 
Image counts for a lot in business. At least in certain businesses.

But like I said, the MBP 15" is probably most appropriate for him, and it's pretty good looking too.
     
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Jan 17, 2008, 03:55 PM
 
I'm prepared to entertain the idea that sales of some luxury items might well have something to do with the slickness of the overall presentation - that's a decision that the op has to make though.
     
Geofries
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Jan 17, 2008, 04:22 PM
 
Eug - Exactly. The MBP is darn attractive, rendering the only basis for an Air mute.

Peeb - Of course a presentation needs to be slick. An Airbook is going to magically make a presentation slicker.
     
peeb
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Jan 17, 2008, 04:31 PM
 
I'm not saying it would, just that I would be willing to entertain the idea that it might create a perception of slickness that would help a certain type of salesman.
     
MacosNerd
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Jan 17, 2008, 04:57 PM
 
Actually I had to look up what hugo boss was

I'm the typical nerdy guy that dresses in docker pants. I usually prefer splurging on my computer and not my clothes
     
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Jan 17, 2008, 07:07 PM
 
If you don't want to lay down the law, piss him off and tell him to get something then why don't you just set an amount your willing to contribute towards him buying a new mac and let him choose the system. Obviously since you were willing to shell out enough for the 17" MacBook Pro then you're willing to give him a fair whack. However, he may have to shell out a bit of his own cash if he is truly set on the Air with SSD. He might decide, depending on the amount you give him, and the pep talk attached to it, that the Air doesn't fit the bill. Along the road it would be his responsibility for what he'd chosen to do with his work setup! Just an idea, and how some places I've worked for do it.
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mkral
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Jan 17, 2008, 11:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by Geofries View Post
You guys are missing the concept of a business. It is not to splurge. If he can buy Hugo Boss, let HIM buy himself an Airbook. As owner/boss, it is your duty to provide the most adequate tools available to get the job done.

Again, sale's is not about the look of a laptop. I wonder if all of you commenting have run a business, or been in sales, or understand economics at all. When I was in sales, let me assure you that I was interested in who had the best hardware to run their powerpoint on. I was much more concerned with who had quality product that was priced reasonably enough to allow for a decent profit margin.
Well, you did mention earlier on that you are an accountant & it's pretty obvious that's where you're coming from. I do own & run my own business full time, so I feel like I do have some experience here. Splurging is most definitely part of business. Almost no one buys (or rents) the absolute cheapest building they can find for their business. People like to work in an environment that makes them feel good. Bars on the windows, clubs on the doors, that kind of thing doesn't contribute to a good work environment. If splurging wasn't part of the deal, then all fleet cards would be Ford Escorts, but in reality, they are mostly nicer than that. Overnight travel would be limited to Red Roof Inns & per diems would be limited to what it costs to eat @ McDonald's 3x day. If costs were the only thing that mattered all businesses would use emachines computers exclusively.

There's a reason salespeople dress nicely, it's to make an impression. If that didn't matter, everyone would just wear sweats or something. First impressions matter for a lot. More in some businesses than others for sure, but every business likes to put their best foot forward. Will you buy a painting from Company A based on which laptop the sales rep is using, probably not, but if Company @ & Company B are very close in price & the products are very similar, it comes down to who you feel more comfortable with & that's where image comes in.
     
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Jan 18, 2008, 03:56 PM
 
Look, the rep is willing to plunk down $1k on a Hugo Boss suit, then yeah, provided he's bringing in enough income to facilitate it, then he should be provided with a Macbook Air. Sales is about confidence and really engaging people in two way communication. Like I said, this laptop will be a conversation piece. I say get it for him (provided he's a good salesman and makes you money).
     
ninahagen  (op)
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Jan 19, 2008, 12:07 PM
 
We are going to do it. I really saw both sides of this, but mkral really made it stick for me: he is our best rep. He brought in $200k+ last year, and cost just over $100k in salary and perks. He is worth it. As if to underline the point he made a beautiful sale this week with one phone call. Decided to get him the SSD too. He thinks it will be totally silent, which will help him concentrate.

He is over the moon.

Thanks to everybody for the input so far.

The last remaining question is, what's the best USB device out there in terms of transfer speed, compactness... something around 500~1TB?
     
MacosNerd
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Jan 19, 2008, 12:19 PM
 
Good luck with it and report back on performance, look, feel and how hot it may or may not get.
     
durangotang
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Jan 19, 2008, 01:12 PM
 
Cool. I think you made a good decision.
     
Eug
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Jan 19, 2008, 01:24 PM
 
So, what do your other sales reps think?
     
mduell
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Jan 19, 2008, 09:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by ninahagen View Post
The last remaining question is, what's the best USB device out there in terms of transfer speed, compactness... something around 500~1TB?
500GB 2.5" (laptop) drives are very close to being released. About a third or a quarter the size of the current 500GB 3.5" (desktop) drives when you include an enclosure.
     
ninahagen  (op)
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Jan 20, 2008, 01:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
So, what do your other sales reps think?
They are glad. He is kind of a rock star around here. Everybody benefits from his energy and verve. But the graphic designer wants the 3.2 octo now. Geofries has a point about unnecessary expenditures... they have a way of snowballing. But she has a quad 2.5 that will serve her for a while longer. Besides, I get the first 3.2 octo. Being the boss has to have a few perks.
     
ninahagen  (op)
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Jan 20, 2008, 01:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
500GB 2.5" (laptop) drives are very close to being released. About a third or a quarter the size of the current 500GB 3.5" (desktop) drives when you include an enclosure.
Who will be releasing them?
     
MacTheKnife
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Jan 20, 2008, 02:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by ninahagen View Post
The last remaining question is, what's the best USB device out there in terms of transfer speed, compactness... something around 500~1TB?
Nina, I just bought the Western Digital Passport 320GB external ($190), which is extremely compact (you can even get a cool neoprene case for it on eBay for $10). It's the biggest-capacity, small drive out there. And it has a nice, glossy black case too.
     
SierraDragon
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Jan 20, 2008, 04:02 PM
 
Nina-

I strongly agree that the MBA is the right way to go. The usage of that box is as a sales tool and the coolness factor of the laptop unequivocally translates through to the product being displayed. The stronger performance of a MBP is irrelevant, and only the sales guy can determine the validity of the 13" display. The MBA will run CS3 quite adequately for non-production work.

Some folks seem to feel that "it's new and spiffy so it must be a waste of corporate funds." Sheesh - the cheapest MBP costs $200 more! And think about what it's used for. Clearly a MBA is appropriate, the only question is what to add. IMO the $300 CPU upgrade is worthy, the SSD upgrade a little harder to decide. Add-ons are what do bump the price.

The SSD has merit in that presumably it will perform at full speed when filled to 60 GB, whereas the hard drive at 60 GB full will probably be much slower. And of course SSD should be more reliable. However all that gets weighed against the fact that this is the first SSD and the first of anything sometimes has "issues."

The "quiet in the boardroom" issue may just be a salesman's talking point. My 17" MBP is so quiet, anything quieter is meaningless; I have to hammer steadily on production graphics to ever hear the fan. However smaller laptops do have more heat issues, so maybe the SSD would be quiet - and it is a talking point, a good thing in sales.

USB is slow on Macs so external hard drive speeds are irrelevant. Just put any old drive on his desk and teach him to move working files to his MBA before working on them. No big deal. Even with slow USB2 connection PS may work best with primary scratch assigned to the external hard drive, but SSD is new so he should experiment both ways.

Mass storage is limited on MBAs to a max of about 60 usable GB, so file management will be especially important. I use OWC's "Mercury to go" portable drives with my MBP. He may need to carry something like that and/or the portable Superdrive in checked luggage and if that is necessary that is a price increase above the MBP.

One vendor has a MBA case that mimics a 9x12 brown envelope. If I was selling that's what I would carry the MBA in.

-Allen Wicks
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Jan 20, 2008 at 04:11 PM. )
     
Simon
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Jan 20, 2008, 04:14 PM
 
The SSD upgrade is of course more expensive than the CPU upgrade, but in terms of overall and perceived performance it's most likely that the SSD upgrade will be far more significant than the CPU upgrade.

Personally I'd certainly do the SSD upgrade. And then I think once you look at spending $2798 for such a MBA, who cares about another $300 for the CPU upgrade?
     
seivad
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Jan 20, 2008, 05:34 PM
 
wow i want to work for you guys! i'd loveto sell stuff 1 on 1 to clients, pretty cool stuff!

as for performance, no one mentioned reliability - remember when the first macbook pro's came out - the whine issues and crashing.
I think a macbook air would be the bomb right, but i'm a mac fan who knows whats going on in the apple world. 20% of the mac share right? so i'm guessing half the client he speaks to havent heard of apple laptops before, only iPods.

i'd recommend either a black macbook or a 15" macbook pro, atleast until the next revision of mba's comes out, if he is that important, then you cant justify reliability...cheers Mick
     
   
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