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I want to be able to put an 11" Macbook Air into a backpack and run to work/gym with it. Is that safe to do that, given these devices have no moving hard drive parts? What about the other components, would they handle shaking?

Bonus points: is there any backpack made specifically for doing this?

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I use a shock proof pouch by Cool Bananas for my MBP. It as has a shock absorbing memory foam core. –  gentmatt Mar 1 '12 at 16:59
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5 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

There are definitely no moving parts. I wouldn't worry about jogging with it. I wouldn't even worry about jogging with a non-flash drive equipped laptop if it was turned off. The drive spindles and heads are immobile when the drive is powered down.

For a pack, look for something that suspends the laptop away from the sides. Preferably holding it in something that'll absorb the shock a bit.

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The fan moves, but is probably shock rated higher than most human knees. I would recommend a cloth to separate the screen from the keyboard and don't let other heavy items move relative to the air. Air are thin and will bend or dent even in a soft bag if something denser is allowed to move in the case while you "run". –  bmike Apr 29 '11 at 21:27
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I jog to school with my MBP 15" everyday. So far I've had only 1 total hard disk failure, so I guess it'll be fine to run with a MacBook Air.

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In addition to Ian's answer, you might want to check Brenthaven cases and backpacks. I've had a "Trek" one (and they seem to be about to release a new one) and they are very good for doing sports (I rode a bike). Maybe for jogging it's a little bit "bulky" but give it a look.

They are usually for 15''++ inch laptops.

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Your SSD won't risk data loss as a HDD might, but a computer is a mechanical assembly of parts with mass, attached to one another with fasteners (generically speaking - yes I know some of them are glued, soldered, snapped together, etc.) Over time I would expect the repeated shocks could loosen things up to some extent. I'm thinking specifically of the cover hinge, cable connectors, and parts held by small screws. I'd at least look for the type of backpack that has an internal suspension for the laptop.

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I'm going to disagree with the conclusion of some here; that you should look for a sprung or suspended bag for your laptop.

Introducing an extra source of load oscillation may well increase risk of damage to both your laptop and to you. Movement means rubbing, which means skin damage. It could also increase the risk of things like knee injuries if you hit the wrong combination of factors.

Your legs are the best shock absorbers you could hope for. I'd suggest strapping your laptop as tightly as you can so that it doesn't move around inside the bag.

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