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I'm working off a mid 2009 13" MBP right now which I want to replace soon. I'm thinking of getting an MBA instead - I would probably get an 11" for the road, with an external monitor for working at home.

But here's my problem: I will go back to school this summer and I'm required to use Excel for Windows for my classes (sadly, Excel for Mac won't do, urgh!). Therefore, I will have to also install Windows 8 (with Boot Camp) on my new computer. Will either of the MBAs hold up? (Obviously, I'd go for the highest RAM and hard disc possible.)

Thanks a lot!

  • MacBook Air, as the name states is very light and has a very low (1,3GHz?) processor. If you're going to run them simultanously I'd recommend you a MBP. – Rob Mar 4 '14 at 19:27
  • You already said it, but I want to affirm your choice to get the biggest mass storage (it's probably going to be SSD, not hard disk) you can. I skimped and got 256GB because that was 2x as big as my last drive. I recently tried to install Windows and had quite a bit of trouble getting enough room for the windows partition. I was hoping to be able to put it on an external drive, but that isn't an option. – dwightk Mar 5 '14 at 15:29
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Try a Virtual Machine (VM).
1) You own a Windows license: Try VirtualBox (with ExpansionPack). It's free, but you might need a MB Pro because you have to assign at least one CPU-core to the VM.
2) You don't have a Windows license: Try Parallels. Then you can run Windows software from the OSX desktop without having windows installed. Maybe the better alternative but it costs 50$. With Parallels a MB Air should do the job.

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I've done this recently for a boss who wanted a "Laptop with windows 7 as light and as nice as the MacBook Air."

I squeezed the SSD OSX volume down to minimum as he was only interested in Windows.

It works great, just follow the instructions in BootCamp for making the USB key to install Windows. It will put the whole install media on the USB key plus all the BootCamp drivers. So you will need a Mac with an optical drive if your install media is a CD/DVD to create the USB key installer. You'll probably need an 8GB key too that can be reformatted.

And yes get it with lots of RAM and HD space and use Win 7 x64 to take advantage of all that lovely RAM, otherwise you'll only have about 3.5GB RAM available. Which is pretty usable under Windows but as we all know, "if a lot is good, too much is perfect!"

  • That sounds fairly doable, thanks! Two questions though: 1. Will OSX still run smoothly on it? (I really want to work with a Mac, and only need this for Excel…) and 2. Is some light CS4 work still manageable? – user70219 Mar 5 '14 at 7:30

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