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Alec Barnard Level 1 (0 points)
So guys I'm looking into buying one of the new macboook airs, specifically the 13' with the 1.8ghz core 2 duo and hopefully 4gb ram. my operating system of choice is Windows 7 and i want to be able to use this like any normal pc if i purchase a macbook air. I know apple provides all the drivers needed for this and i could easly install it with bootcamp. I am just wondering if anyone else has done this and how performance is? I am interested in battery life, shutdown and startup time and any problems that may occur as a result of installing windows. Pretty much anything that you think i would want to know would be great. Thanks for your help.
  • DanInDub Level 3 (640 points)
    FIrst of all - waste of a machine. Windows 7 want it or not does use more resources.

    I'm using Windows at work on my MacBook (unfortunately). Battery life is significantly worse than in MacOS (about 2 - 3 hours). Also, Windows 7 doesn't seem to recognize that MacBook Air is running SSD and isn't enabling it's "SSD optimized features" (should disable defragmentation, enable TRIM etc.) this doesn't happen.

    Performance is ok, thanks to SSD and CPU (i'm using 2.13 Ghz), it's not a speed demon.

    MacBook Air is incredible machine, it's a shame to use Windows as it's primary OS, degrading it to average ultraportable.

    I would strongly suggest having a look at Dell Vostro V130 or other ultraportable Windows machines. I think both you and Apple will be happier with that...
  • Alec Barnard Level 1 (0 points)
    Okay thank you for your response. I am waiting to see multiple opinions and reviews on this. I have heard of other people saying great things about the new MacBook air with windows. Really there is no windows machine that can compare aesthetically, and also in size to the air.
  • rkaufmann87 Level 9 (55,223 points)
    I have to agree with the previous poster, if you really like the MBA for the best performance and experience use OS X. Running MS Windows on it exclusively is like putting a Ford engine inside a Ferrari. It would work but it sure would make the experience less satisfying.

  • Mark Kaiman Level 2 (250 points)
    If you're looking for a small notebook with lots of power and that is optimized for Windows 7, why not check out the ThinkPad X series?
  • DanInDub Level 3 (640 points)
    Just one more thing - touchpad works rather odd in Windows, every since BootCamp came out, despite plenty of updates for it's functionality. Tap-to-drag seems to make single taps often being confused as dragging, it's very irritating sometimes. No such problem with MacOS X or on any other Windows machine i've ever used.

    I wonder however - have you ever worked (for longer period of time) with MacOS? Maybe it's worth to give it a try. I must say that I personally don't know anyone who wouldn't like it over Windows, and that ranging from people for who computer is a facebook interface all the way to ruby on rails developers...
  • Tony T1 Level 6 (8,975 points)
    Alec Barnard wrote:
    My operating system of choice is Windows 7 and i want to be able to use this like any normal pc if i purchase a macbook air.

    Well, space is pretty tight on the MBA, but if you get the 256g, you could consider keeping both OS X and Windows on the MBA, that way you could try OS X. If you have no need to even try it, then, as suggested, you're probably better off with a non-Mac PC
  • Ken RB Level 1 (0 points)
    I have done exactly what you are thinking of doing. I primarily use Bootcamp, and spend almost 100% of my time in Windows 7, 64 bit. I had no problems at all with installation, and have it attached to a external monitor (Cinema Display), with a USB hub, and a USB to Ethernet adapter. I previously used a Sony Vaio (2.8 lb), with a similar speed processor, and only 2GB of memory, and an 80GB hard drive. The Macbook Air is much faster. I get 4-5 hour of work under normal conditions with using the wireless. If I'm just working on documents at 50% screen brightness, I get about 6 hr. I partitioned the 256GB hard drive to 60:40 Windows : Mac, however I use Mac Drive 8 for Windows, and can access and use all of the Mac partition for data storage, so really I have access to all of the SSD. Shutdown and startup times are very quick, about 10 - 20 seconds, much faster than anything that I have ever experienced. All in all, I'm very impressed with the engineering of the Air, its light, thin and fast, and Windows 7 works great on it.

  • Richard Kelly2 Level 1 (5 points)
    Not exactly what you are planning on, but let me share this:

    I had a MBP with W Vista under VMWare - it was quite satisfactory. Upgraded to a 2010 MBA. Was concerned that the MBA might be a bit slow.

    MBA 2.13 with 256Gb flash and 4Gb: installed W7 32 under VMWare. I have to say it's surprisingly fast: takes me 10 seconds to launch VMWare and 'resume' W7. A 'restart' of W7 takes a minute.

    I can run W7 at 2560 x 1440 using my 27" iMac as an external monitor, via Mini-DP.

    Windows Experience index 4.4:
    Processor 4.4
    Memory 4.5
    Graphics 5.4
    Gaming graphics 4.4
    HDD: 7.6

    I only run MSOffice apps and some car diagnostics/maintenance software, but it is all very fast. Stable as well and all the USB 'connections' I have used work fine - e.g. proprietary CAN-BUS car diagnostic interface.

    Haven't checked battery life but will do now the Q has been asked.
  • Richard Kelly2 Level 1 (5 points)
    Running OSX and W7 under VMWare, I'm getting about 4-5 hrs, but with nothing too strenuous.
  • UpgradeManiac Level 1 (60 points)
    Here's another opinion. My wife has used a previous-generation MacBook Air (C2D 1.8 + 120 GB HD) for the past 1-1/2 years exclusively as a Windows XP machine. Of course I was the one who convinced her to use this setup so I do the tech support I kept the MacOS partition at a bare minimum, still running Leopard because WinClone (now no longer in active development) does not run well in Snow Leopard.

    My observations. It's noisy. The fan is on a lot and it runs fast. WinClone stopped working about 6-9 months ago. Sleep was unreliable - would wake up on its own. 4 days ago WinXP slowed to a crawl and after wasting a lot of time troubleshooting I just wiped the Boot Camp partition and reinstalled WinXP SP3 fresh. About 2 days of backing up data, reinstalling software, and restoring data.

    IMHO, if your intention is to use Win7 exclusively then it is not worth the expense and hassle to put in on a MacBook Air. Little details like sleep issues and lack of optimization for battery life are deal-killers. And that's coming from an admitted Apple FanBoy.
  • DrSagacity Level 1 (0 points)
    I am doing exactly what you are asking about. For starters, my intent was to run OSX for personal use and also run Windows 7 for work stuff. I am using Bootcamp so that I can leverage all of the system resources regardless of the OS I am runing. As it turns out, the battery life is very close. The drivers for Windows 7 on the MBA are not nearly as poor as the drivers on the MBP.

    After using both for a couple months, I am now running Window 7 90% of the time now. I am still playing with OSX too, but there are just too many things that are better thought out in Windows 7.

    The touchpad works pretty much equally on both operating systems. The two finger scrolling is great, two finger right click, works perfectly. My advice, install Windows 7 in bootcamp and leave some space for playtime with OSX.

    The bottom line is the MBA is a phenomenal Windows laptop. It's portable, sleek and fast.

    Good Luck.

    Message was edited by: DrSagacity
  • tadzooks Level 1 (0 points)

    The reason why I purchased the MBA (2.13) is for this exact reason, and in addition to use OSX for itunes, imovie, idvd etc. I have a ZuneHD for music in Win7, I can tell you that this is now my "only" machine. I went from a 15" i7 2.66, 8GB, with dual internal HDDs ( 256 GB OWC SSD, 500GB Seagate Hybrid HHD and moved the superdrive to an external enclosure) and this thing has met my expectations and continues to do so. I absolutely LOVE the weight. I have both OSX and Win 7 on it. I do not use parallels or fusion, I just boot to one or the other. I also use the new Crucial USB 3.0 124GB stick as a external drive to store things, it too is just as fast as my internal SSD. I have ZERO issues with this machine. I have ripped music, converted to different formats in both OSX/Win7, and ripped, converted movies. I too thought about purchasing a thin, lightweight windows machine, but then again I kept coming back to the fact of Apple's build quality. It simply cannot be beat. The funny thing: I went back to an older macbook ad, read about the 2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo and how its was X-times faster, better graphics, plays games, edit iMovies, make your own DVD with iDVD etc, and thought to myself if this can do it then with inferior memory technology, why not now? Is it just because we now have the "i" series CPUs? Nothing is really written to use the full potential of the new CPUs anyway. So if I am getting marginal gains, whats the point? If I saw a 50%+ increase I can see not getting the MBA. I can tell you that this MBA (2.13 4GB 256GB SSD) rocks.
  • Alec Barnard Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks guys. Any other opinions on this? Also, those of you who have had success with windows 7 did you just use the standard bootcamp installer and apple drivers?
  • DrSagacity Level 1 (0 points)
    Yep. I used bootcamp and the Apple provided drivers.

    I was pleasently surprised. Apple has written horrible Windows drivers for the MBP and as a result battery life for Windows 7 is very poor. With the MBA that is not the case. Battery life is pretty similar on either platform.

    Good luck.
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