Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => The Knowledge => Ctrl-Alt-Del => Topic started by: andyoxon on November 28, 2018, 10:58:07 am

Title: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: andyoxon on November 28, 2018, 10:58:07 am
How much of a 128GB SSD would the current macOS swallow up?
What size monitor would the basic model support via the mini display port, and what are the non-mac monitor options for apple these days.
Any options for picking up older mac models with better spec that the MacBk Air?
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: ian on November 28, 2018, 11:15:12 am
My Macbook Air has just shy of 60GB of its 128 GB SSD free, my mothership Macbook Pro has 45GB. That's everything, not just MacOS. Media etc. lives on a NAS.

The latest versions of mini-display port support 4k, earlier versions 2560x1600. You should check if you intend to attach a 4K monitor. Otherwise, any monitor will do.

To be honest, I don't understand what Apple are doing with the muddled Macbook line-up, but unless you're wedded to the smaller form factor, I'd pay a bit more a Macbook Pro even if it's the previous year's model.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: andyoxon on November 28, 2018, 11:23:14 am
Thanks Ian.  In terms of 2017 models, the low-end Macbook Pro (13") is ~£500 more than the low end Air, and AFAICS only really offers retina display and faster i5 (7thG) chip?
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: grams on November 28, 2018, 11:38:42 am
The best way to save a few quid on a new Mac is to go to the refurb store. The products are indistinguishable from new:
https://www.apple.com/uk/shop/refurbished/mac

Probably the best value for money (new or refurb) right now is the quad core 13-inch:
https://www.apple.com/uk/shop/product/FR9Q2B/A/Refurbished-133-inch-MacBook-Pro-23GHz-quad-core-Intel-Core-i5-with-Retina-display-Space-Gray

The bottom end MacBook Air is also not bad value, if you can accept the spec hasn't changed since 2015 and the screen is terrible.

As Ian says, the lineup is a mess, and even more so with the new 2018 MacBook Air. It's very hard to make recommendations.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: andyoxon on November 28, 2018, 11:54:20 am
The best way to save a few quid on a new Mac is to go to the refurb store. The products are indistinguishable from new:
https://www.apple.com/uk/shop/refurbished/mac

Probably the best value for money (new or refurb) right now is the quad core 13-inch:
https://www.apple.com/uk/shop/product/FR9Q2B/A/Refurbished-133-inch-MacBook-Pro-23GHz-quad-core-Intel-Core-i5-with-Retina-display-Space-Gray

The bottom end MacBook Air is also not bad value, if you can accept the spec hasn't changed since 2015 and the screen is terrible.

As Ian says, the lineup is a mess, and even more so with the new 2018 MacBook Air. It's very hard to make recommendations.
Thanks.  How terrible is the screen? Think it's 1440x900px...

Sent from my Moto G (5) using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: ian on November 28, 2018, 11:55:41 am
Like I say, I don't really follow the muddled line-up of Macbooks...

I see there's a new Macbook Air that seems mostly comparable with the bottom Macbook Pros. Eh? I'm geniunely not sure what they're thinking.

The usual advice applies, unless you have special requirements (video rendering, games etc.), any modern laptop is unlikely to break a sweat, so it's really a case of what you like and your budget. If anyone can make sense of modern processors (oh for the simple days of I-want-the-one-with-the-most-gigahertz) they're smarter than me. I wouldn't pay a premium for a modest bump in processor. 8 GB RAM is generally fine unless you really feel the urge to mangle giant spreadsheets and databases.

Things that are important to me – decent keyboard (a given on all models), force-touch trackpad (the bottom Macbook Air doesn't have one), and retina screen (my single favourite thing, and you can't go back to lower res, it's horrid). I think they all have USB-C. Some of the upstream models of the Pro have the touch bar thing – it's actually useful, but far from life-changing.

Other thing is battery life if that's important.

As mentioned there are decent deals sometimes with refurbs, and you can get older models from various stockists.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: grams on November 28, 2018, 12:07:33 pm
Thanks.  How terrible is the screen? Think it's 1400x700px...

It's one of the old school type that completely change colour if you're not looking at it dead-on.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: andyoxon on November 28, 2018, 12:27:35 pm
Thanks.  How terrible is the screen? Think it's 1400x700px...

It's one of the old school type that completely change colour if you're not looking at it dead-on.

Urgh...

Thanks.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: ian on November 28, 2018, 01:31:16 pm
It's 2018, don't buy anything that isn't retina/4k. Note that some of the higher range Macbooks seem to offer P3 colourspace which is a leap from sRGB (though you won't notice unless you've used P3). I didn't to be honest, realise there were retina screens that don't do DCI P3.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: andyoxon on November 28, 2018, 02:06:24 pm
Cheers.  Cheapest retina display is £1199 (JLewis).  I guess i7 is to be avoided unless one really needs it, from power consumption, heat, fan POV. 

TBH the Dell 13.3" ranges look pretty good value.  No mac aesthetic though...  ;)
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: tom_e on November 28, 2018, 02:08:55 pm
Just done a clean macOS reinstall on a new 250GB SSD for our old mac mini earlier this week.  I think it was only 20-30GB used immediately after install, but I'm not at home to check right now. 

Previous install had crept up to just over 100GB used in about 6 years of use, hence I didn't want to limit it to 128GB on an upgrade.  But I may have been over-cautious. 

I was only paying 50 quid for the new SSD, not new apple storage prices.  So your logic may need to vary. .
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: andyoxon on November 28, 2018, 02:50:34 pm
What's the MacBook Air ballpark battery charge time for 'normal' usage, say internet, some streaming HDvid, bit of photoshop etc?

thanks tom-e.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: ian on November 28, 2018, 03:32:20 pm
It takes about 2.5 hours to charge a Macbook Pro – note that the charging curve is not linear, so it'll get up to 80% in an hour or so. Long battery life is a boon if you plan to travel.

Both my Macbooks have 128 GB SSDs. I have 256 on my iMac, that's currently 145 GB free.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: grams on November 28, 2018, 07:43:53 pm
If you mean battery life it's in the region of 5 hours. Can be longer if your usage is light.

Quote
I guess i7 is to be avoided unless one really needs it, from power consumption, heat, fan POV. 

I'd be shocked if you could notice the difference.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: ian on November 28, 2018, 08:57:39 pm
I've found the quoted battery lifetimes are accurate for standard usage. If you're grinding the processor, of course, it'll eat the battery. I get 7ish hours out of a 2015 Macbook Pro, which does me for a day in the office. My policy is to go home when it runs out.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: andyoxon on November 28, 2018, 10:02:19 pm
What do you reckon to the Macbook Pro (or Macs in general) being the 'design industry standard'?  What would a decent Dell 13" 1080p, 8thG i5, 256Gb SSD present in terms of shortcomings?  Is it really all about Win10 vs MacOS?
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: ian on November 28, 2018, 10:20:41 pm
It'd be nonsense. The majority (if not all) design software staples run equally on Windows or MacOS, the file types are interchangable between the two. Awkwardness like fonts and colour-matching have been sorted out.

It's mostly a preference thing. I use a Mac because I like the design and build (to be honest, you pay a premium too to get the same with a Windows PC) but, more that anything, I like MacOS.  Nothing over the years has convinced that Windows isn't a finickity nightmare. I just want my shit to work. I want a computer that powers up and down fastand doesn't bug out on me. I've been happy with Apple on that score. It's not religion though, I don't go round other people's houses and laugh at their computers. Unless they don't give me beer. Using a Mac hasn't made the coolest person on this bulletin board, that's for sure.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: Feline on November 28, 2018, 10:44:46 pm
When you open the lid of your MacBook it just works. Allow 10 mins with a windows laptop to let it realise it needs to wake up, then another 40 mins if it starts installing windows updates you never asked it to do interrupting your work  ;D

My old Mac book pro packed in a few weeks ago and I seriously weighed up the Air options. However the screen res let them down, and the difference in price was not enough of a saving to compensate. The bigger hard drive options also needed a delayed custom order. I ended up with an off the shelf 13" 500GB Mac Book Pro that was available on the day I wanted it.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: ian on November 29, 2018, 11:51:18 am
One of the understated benefits of a Windows PC though is that, of a morning, you can press the power button and then go get a coffee while it boots up. From the Costa down the road. And well, it's breakfast, so why not have them toast you a panini while you're there. You can eat that and drink your coffee while reading the paper, sound in the knowledge that you when you get back to the office, your computer may have finally booted up. Or it may be on update 13,453 of 549,345,435 and whatever you do, DO NOT POWER OFF.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: Kim on November 29, 2018, 12:20:19 pm
The main benefit of Windows PCs is that most of them run Linux just fine.  Same goes for Macs, but with OSX you might not need to.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: ian on November 29, 2018, 01:29:41 pm
I have a Lubuntu VM. I mostly fire it up to remind myself what computers were like in 1995.

That said – Windows 95. Best start-up sound ever. They can't take that from it.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: andyoxon on November 30, 2018, 09:08:06 am
I've found the quoted battery lifetimes are accurate for standard usage. If you're grinding the processor, of course, it'll eat the battery. I get 7ish hours out of a 2015 Macbook Pro, which does me for a day in the office. My policy is to go home when it runs out.

The Dell 13 range only seem to have a 38wh battery, so I don't think battery life would be near the Macbook battery life.  Shame about the poor entry level Air screen, because the retina does push the price up.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: ian on November 30, 2018, 09:36:39 am
I hate to say it (for your budget), but retina/4k screen are worth the spend. It's the primary way you interact with your computer so you want the best screen you can get (which will push up the price of PCs and Macs). There's not much that will tax the internals these days, so I'm minded that money is better spent on the screen, keyboard etc.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: grams on November 30, 2018, 09:46:16 am
The other option is to look at getting a 2015 Retina MacBook Pro secondhand. The 13 inch is only slightly heavier than the MacBook Air, and they have a full compliment of ports and much better keyboards.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: andyoxon on November 30, 2018, 09:54:07 am
The other option is to look at getting a 2015 Retina MacBook Pro secondhand. The 13 inch is only slightly heavier than the MacBook Air, and they have a full compliment of ports and much better keyboards.

Any good second hand outlets?
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: Jaded on November 30, 2018, 10:11:51 am
https://www.apple.com/uk/shop/refurbished

Is always worth a look.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: grams on November 30, 2018, 12:30:54 pm
Any good second hand outlets?

The usual places... eBay, Gumtree, maybe CeX.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: lastant on November 30, 2018, 01:06:22 pm
Hoxton Macs (https://www.hoxtonmacs.co.uk/) also has a good reputation for refurbs
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: andyoxon on November 30, 2018, 02:42:54 pm
thanks for links.  OOI i have a 17" 1080p screen (Dell), and the text is pretty small on screen, how does this work with 1080p or retina res, on a 13" MS Laptop  vs  13" Mac.  I kind of imagine photoshop app icons being so small one can hardly make out what they are...
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: ian on November 30, 2018, 03:02:12 pm
Retina scales things using clever algorithms – it's not a one-for-one dot match. I assume other 4k displays do similar.

I used my Macbook and iMac on maximum scaling with may be a bit extreme for some. You can vary the scaling to make things bigger and smaller, as per your preference and eyesight.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: andyoxon on November 30, 2018, 03:16:27 pm
Thanks, I think microsoft's W10 scaling must be the real achilles heel for using Adobe Creative Cloud for Windows, on a 1080p 13" screen.  I wonder though, if it's a Windows touch screen, if everything scales continuously as one does the touch expand thing with fingers, like a tablet/phone...
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: Kim on November 30, 2018, 03:18:32 pm
Most OSes have done scaling for the display resolution for ages.  It's just that OSX is much better at it.

AIUI there are occasionally individual applications with UI elements that become ludicrously small on 4k displays, but I'm avoiding 4k because for the moment not needing glasses trumps a beautiful crisp display.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: grams on November 30, 2018, 03:30:44 pm
All of the Retina display Macs render to a 2x resolution* graphics buffer and then scale the buffer to the actual physical screen resolution. This means you get few if any graphical glitches or things scaled to the wrong size.

In the display settings you can choose between 1:1 mode where the buffer maps exactly to the physical pixels, or two modes where the buffer is larger so you get more screen space. In the 1:1 mode usually everything ends up a little too big, and thus the out-of-the-box default setting is the first scaled mode.

You'd think this would make the screen a little blurry but in practice it's fine.

(* Where "1x" is what a non-scaled non-retina screen would get, for those unfamiliar with the terminology)
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: andyoxon on November 30, 2018, 04:17:46 pm
Thanks.  Apparenty one change UI scaling separately within Creative Cloud now, so prob not as bad on windows.  Not sure how this works in prcatice...

Anyone know the tech specs of an Air retina display e.g. %RGB etc contrast ratio?
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: ian on November 30, 2018, 04:28:35 pm
As Kim says, it just works. Creative Suite looks absolutely fine on a 13-inch Macbook. I run it at max scaling with zero issues.

Most retina displays do a P3 RGB gamut which is probably better than your eyes can manage. Contrast on my Macs is enough to burn your eyeballs out. Black isn't as good as OLED, obviously, but really you won't be disappointed.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: Mr Larrington on December 01, 2018, 09:50:38 pm
I've got one or two old-skool apps which won't play nicely with a 4k monitor under Windows but most of them seem tolerably well behaved these days.
Title: Re: Macbook Air queries...
Post by: Horizon on December 05, 2018, 07:21:43 pm
The other option is to look at getting a 2015 Retina MacBook Pro secondhand. The 13 inch is only slightly heavier than the MacBook Air, and they have a full compliment of ports and much better keyboards.

Any good second hand outlets?

I've had good service and products several times from The Backyard
www.thebookyard.com/refurbished_apple_macs.php

I've had a mid-2012 11 inch MacBook Air from new - the screen started to die after about 2.5 years, Apple replaced it without any issue (or cost). Other than its been good, albeit as a home browser/email/the odd office meeting, not much more.

I specced it with a 256 GB SDD and I've still got 89 GB free. I would tell you how much High Sierra takes up, but 'About this Mac' is proving incapable of working it out ...

Been an Apple disciple since the 80's, but the current laptop line up is a complete mess ...