Autodesk Maya on a Macbook Air... is it possible?

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  04 April 2013
Autodesk Maya on a Macbook Air... is it possible?

Hey everyone, first post here. I'm a professional animator who wants to continue animating my own test shots in my spare time. My well-worn 2007 Macbook Pro has become more unstable than I'm comfortable with, so it's time to upgrade finally. Here's the specs on my current machine:

2007 Macbook Pro, 15" screen
2.5 GHz Intel Core 2 Due processor
180GB hard drive
Graphics card: GeForce 8600M GT

Now the obvious answer is the latest Macbook Pro 15" would do the job just fine. However, I have this daydream of owning one of those sleek, thin, and super lightweight Macbook Airs. As a CG animator, I wonder if this should remain as such... a daydream.

I've read threads of people saying that "16GB RAM is the MINIMUM for cg artists.." Well, that may be so, but I've gotten by for quite a while on a tiny 2GB RAM machine. So 4GB, especially 8GB RAM, would be a big boost for me. I'm not a "bigger is always better" kind of person, and I won't be making any short films or doing video editing of any grander scale than compiling my animated shots into a 1-2 minute demo reel as I do every few months.

So I'm wondering if the latest 13" Macbook Air with 8GB RAM and 256GB Flash drive would do me just fine...? I'm sure it's not the ideal set up for most, but they would also struggle to believe how much I've accomplished on my old 2007 machine! Maya, VMWare, MotionBuilder in Windows on VMWare.. professional and student work, that old machine did it all. Granted, I have workstations at my studio job now so I don't need to do heavy duty rendering or film making. Just animating personal tests in Maya to keep my skills sharp, or compiling a demo reel in After Effects.

Can the 2012 Airs handle this? Or should I just go with a 15" Pro to be safe?

NOTE: I have no interest in the Retina Pros. Sorry. And I place more importance on portability and speed than robust mechanics under the hood. I just want to be sure that programs like Maya, VMWare, After Effects, etc can run safely without glitch or graphics issues. I don't mind some lag when rendering, as that's what taking a "render walk" is all about!

Thanks in advance!
  04 April 2013
I have a 2012 MBA 13" with the i5 and 8gbs of memory at home which is mostly used for surfing but I previously used it for animating in Maya and it works just fine. The resolution is so low (1440x900) that you're not really pushing the integrated graphics that hard and I've run all sorts of the standard rigs (Morpheus, PackageMan and my own rigs) through it without any issues. I'd say going with the 8gb of memory would be a safe bet and won't cost you an arm and a leg either in the system.
My opinions do not represent those of my employer.
  04 April 2013
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