Buying i5 Macbook Air for Ableton - Good Idea?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Post Reply
ct43
Posts: 581
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 4:39 pm
Location: South Yorkshire (UK)
Contact:

Buying i5 Macbook Air for Ableton - Good Idea?

Post by ct43 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:13 pm

at the moment Ive got:

iMac 3.06Ghz Intel Core Duo - 4GB RAM
OSX 10.6.8
using:

Ableton Suite 8.2.7
NI Massive
M-Audio Torq / Connectiv (sound card)

--------------------------------

Im happy enough with the performance and my live set runs fine on that..

SO... Im thinking of buying this Macbook Air:

11-inch : 128GB
1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
processor
4GB memory
128GB flash storage1
Intel HD Graphics 3000

--------------------------------

Lion versions of all my software are available. Just wondering if there is anything I should be aware of?

Thanks

Carl.

mannheimguitar
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:13 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Buying i5 Macbook Air for Ableton - Good Idea?

Post by mannheimguitar » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:35 pm

I just did a performance check.

http://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php? ... &start=630

Runs faster than my 15" 2,66 GHz MacBook Pro 2010. I am about to sell it and buy the Apple Thunderbolt Display instead. This way I have the portability of the MacBook Air and the screen size of a desktop.

Get 256 GB SSD though if you have the cash.
11" MacBook Air, 1,8 GHz Intel Core i7; Apple Thunderbolt Display; Ableton Live 8 Suite; M-Audio: Ozone; IK Multimedia: Amplitube 3, Amplitube Fender, Amplitube Jimi Hendrix, Ampeg SVX, Stealth Pedal.

kenporter
Posts: 452
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 10:18 pm
Location: 5,660 miles from Ableton HQ

Re: Buying i5 Macbook Air for Ableton - Good Idea?

Post by kenporter » Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:59 am

mannheimguitar wrote:I just did a performance check.

http://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php? ... &start=630

Runs faster than my 15" 2,66 GHz MacBook Pro 2010. I am about to sell it and buy the Apple Thunderbolt Display instead. This way I have the portability of the MacBook Air and the screen size of a desktop.

Get 256 GB SSD though if you have the cash.
Interesting. I have the exact same MBP and MB Air as you do, but doing the performance test is using 35% on my MBP and 40% on my Air, so my MBP is slightly more powerful.

To the original poster, I would not recommend getting an i5 Air as it is 25% less powerful than the i7 1.8GHz Air. IMHO the extra few hundred bucks is worth the performance boost you get from an i7 Air. I am using my Air more than anything these days as it is barely bigger than my iPad, but almost as powerful as my MBP. Great computer!

Ken

mannheimguitar
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:13 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Buying i5 Macbook Air for Ableton - Good Idea?

Post by mannheimguitar » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:39 am

True that Ken. I was just reading an interesting review on the web. It said that the performance boost of the 11" Air from i5 to i7 would be 25%. So if you want to use it for heavy duty work such as music production it is highly recommend not to save those extra bucks. Me too, i find myself using the Air for just about anything i do. Great little guy. I am using my Time Capsule to store my external sample library and it works like a charm. When i am working in my home network i got full excess to use those samples. I then go ahead and include them into my live project so i can take the Air with me and mix on the go. Going to buy the thunderbolt display the next couple of weeks and got my dream setup.
11" MacBook Air, 1,8 GHz Intel Core i7; Apple Thunderbolt Display; Ableton Live 8 Suite; M-Audio: Ozone; IK Multimedia: Amplitube 3, Amplitube Fender, Amplitube Jimi Hendrix, Ampeg SVX, Stealth Pedal.

dezai
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 7:00 pm

Re: Buying i5 Macbook Air for Ableton - Good Idea?

Post by dezai » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:42 am

upgrade to the 1.8 Ghz i7 is $150.00 for the 11" model

kenporter
Posts: 452
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 10:18 pm
Location: 5,660 miles from Ableton HQ

Re: Buying i5 Macbook Air for Ableton - Good Idea?

Post by kenporter » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:51 am

I guess the only thing I don't like about the MacBook Air in the studio is that the fan can get pretty noisy since it goes up to 6500rpm with bigger sessions. When I use it for mobile production I don't care about this since I use headphones. :)

Ken

Sleepy dinosaur
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:33 am

Re: Buying i5 Macbook Air for Ableton - Good Idea?

Post by Sleepy dinosaur » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:31 am

I have an early 13" 2011 MBP 2.3 i5. I got it instead of the air just for upgrading to Live. Honestly, I think I will sell it (the MBP) once the IvyBridge CPU's hit the airs next year. I'm curious though, for the 11" MBA, how many tracks with, say Live's reverb, can you run before it tops out?

mannheimguitar
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:13 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Buying i5 Macbook Air for Ableton - Good Idea?

Post by mannheimguitar » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:54 am

Sleepy dinosaur wrote:I have an early 13" 2011 MBP 2.3 i5. I got it instead of the air just for upgrading to Live. Honestly, I think I will sell it (the MBP) once the IvyBridge CPU's hit the airs next year. I'm curious though, for the 11" MBA, how many tracks with, say Live's reverb, can you run before it tops out?
I just opened a project of mine with 15 tracks. I put a reverb on every single track (which are already filled up with instruments and effects) and one on the master. No problem whatsoever. CPU hits 40%. @Ken the fan kicks in, but than again, I am laying in bed with my headphones on.
11" MacBook Air, 1,8 GHz Intel Core i7; Apple Thunderbolt Display; Ableton Live 8 Suite; M-Audio: Ozone; IK Multimedia: Amplitube 3, Amplitube Fender, Amplitube Jimi Hendrix, Ampeg SVX, Stealth Pedal.

kenporter
Posts: 452
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2005 10:18 pm
Location: 5,660 miles from Ableton HQ

Re: Buying i5 Macbook Air for Ableton - Good Idea?

Post by kenporter » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:57 am

Sleepy dinosaur wrote:I have an early 13" 2011 MBP 2.3 i5. I got it instead of the air just for upgrading to Live. Honestly, I think I will sell it (the MBP) once the IvyBridge CPU's hit the airs next year. I'm curious though, for the 11" MBA, how many tracks with, say Live's reverb, can you run before it tops out?
I think the best comparison for you would be to download the Live performance test and see how much CPU your MBP uses; then compare it with my MB Air 1.8GHz i7. As mentioned with my i7 2.66GHz 2010 MBP I get 35% CPU usage, with my new Air 40%. Hope this helps.

Ken

invol
Posts: 604
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 6:47 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Contact:

Re: Buying i5 Macbook Air for Ableton - Good Idea?

Post by invol » Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:15 am

I would wait until after Macworld in January before buying a new machine if you can hold off. If they announce something new, prices drop on older and discontinued models shortly thereafter.

ct43
Posts: 581
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 4:39 pm
Location: South Yorkshire (UK)
Contact:

Re: Buying i5 Macbook Air for Ableton - Good Idea?

Post by ct43 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:01 am

thanks for the tip Invol... I am kinda desperate for one, but I think I can hang fire a few weeks...

Good to know the performance is ok... though I was just looking on the Mac store, and you can put a SSD in a Macbook Pro... maybe that could be an even better idea?

a 13" MBP with SSD and a 13" MBA arnt much different in price:

13" MBP - 128Gb SSD - i5 2.5 = £1,159.00
13" MBA - 128Gb SSD - i5 1.7 = £1,099.00

Post Reply