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View Full Version : Buying an 11" MBA. Opinions?




axu539
Feb 8, 2011, 06:43 PM
Hey everyone, I'm planning on ordering an 11" MBA this week, and I just had a couple of questions to help me decide on my configuration.

1. I'm wavering between a 4GB base model vs. an ultimate 11". Is a 1.4 GHz processor sufficient if the heaviest things I plan to do are Netflix (which taxes the CPU like crazy) and Hulu?

2. I'm currently waiting on the refurb store to stock some 4 GB models, but I noticed that with some discounts, I can get a brand new one from MacMall for about $40 more. Considering that the refurbs are supposedly perfect (just lacking the original box), is the extra $40 worth it?

3. Is MacMall reliable (I know they are reputable, but I've heard bad things about their service)? How quick is their shipping in general?

4. Ultimately, is it a good idea to buy one? I currently have a late 2008 15" MBP that I WILL be upgrading to a 2011 MBP this year. I plan on using the MBA as a secondary machine for lighter tasks, since I often find myself reluctant to take the MBP anywhere off the desk. I DO need to keep the Pro though, since I do some HD video encoding quite frequently, so just switching solely to a 13" is also not an option.

Note: I currently have enough money for both a Pro and an Air so that's not really an issue.

Thanks ahead of time for your insight!



tonyt3rry
Feb 8, 2011, 06:48 PM
by base model do you mean 64gb ssd? id like to know what people think of the base model

axu539
Feb 8, 2011, 06:49 PM
by base model do you mean 64gb ssd? id like to know what people think of the base model

Yeah I mean 64 GB SSD, 1.4 GHz processor. I would upgrade the RAM to 4 GB though.

tonyt3rry
Feb 8, 2011, 06:52 PM
id love to know what you think after installing things, I really want a mac the wait for refresh is annoying and the prices of the air is insane i wish i had the money to get the 128gb and evan just settle with 2gb ram

axu539
Feb 8, 2011, 07:00 PM
Ok, so just after I posted this, some refurbs showed up in the Apple store. I ordered a 64 GB, 4 GB, 1.4 Ghz 11" and my total came out to about $970. The ultimate was also an option, but I decided to just go with this model, as I will not be storing much on the machine, and I figure Netflix shouldn't be too much of an issue. I am excited!

leftywamumonkey
Feb 8, 2011, 07:22 PM
Ok, so just after I posted this, some refurbs showed up in the Apple store. I ordered a 64 GB, 4 GB, 1.4 Ghz 11" and my total came out to about $970. The ultimate was also an option, but I decided to just go with this model, as I will not be storing much on the machine, and I figure Netflix shouldn't be too much of an issue. I am excited!

$970??? Wow, what a deal. I checked the total of my cart and it would have came out to around $1020 for me. Anyways, congrats on the MBA, hope you enjoy it.

axu539
Feb 8, 2011, 08:31 PM
$970??? Wow, what a deal. I checked the total of my cart and it would have came out to around $1020 for me. Anyways, congrats on the MBA, hope you enjoy it.

My original confirmation page said something like 1001. When Apple sent me the confirmation email though, it was only 970. The tax seemingly cut in half.. I hope it's not a mistake..

leftywamumonkey
Feb 8, 2011, 08:48 PM
My original confirmation page said something like 1001. When Apple sent me the confirmation email though, it was only 970. The tax seemingly cut in half.. I hope it's not a mistake..

Out of curiosity what is your tax rate? Over here it's 8.750%. It is only 970, that's one hell of a deal.

axu539
Feb 8, 2011, 09:42 PM
Out of curiosity what is your tax rate? Over here it's 8.750%. It is only 970, that's one hell of a deal.

Well I thought it was around 8.25%..

hcho3
Feb 8, 2011, 09:51 PM
8.25? Jesus. That's high.

Mine is 6% and I hate it. I wish it was 5% like Virginia or 0% like Delaware.

Order refurbished units as well, but I got 11.6 MBA (1.6Ghz/4GB/128GB SSD)
Cost me 1060 + tax.

Happy happy. Camper.

Whorehay
Feb 8, 2011, 10:03 PM
It's 9.75% here in parts of Los Angeles, and even goes as high as 10.25% in some cities.

You made a good choice and got a great deal. I have the 1.6/4/128 and I'm happy with it. I needed a little more internal storage and a little more speed since it's going to be my only computer. But if it's going to be a secondary computer, other than the 4GB, I probably wouldn't have splurged for the extras.

blazinz
Feb 8, 2011, 10:17 PM
8.25? Jesus. That's high.

Mine is 6% and I hate it. I wish it was 5% like Virginia or 0% like Delaware.

Order refurbished units as well, but I got 11.6 MBA (1.6Ghz/4GB/128GB SSD)
Cost me 1060 + tax.

Happy happy. Camper.
:eek:
how did you get a 11 ultimate $1060+tax....???:confused:

hcho3
Feb 8, 2011, 10:42 PM
:eek:
how did you get a 11 ultimate $1060+tax....???:confused:

It was refurbished. It was not new. This is my first time buying refurbished unit from apple, but I have heard only good things about it. Of course, I can always exchange it under 14 days... I think.

On apple website right now, apple is offering MBA 11.6 ultimate for 1189 dollars. I called apple and asked for even more discount blah blah.

After an hour, they gave it to me for 1060 dollars. (Before Tax)

My state is Maryland, and tax was 6%. Total was 1123.60.

Tax was 63.60. I hate Tax. I hate Tax. I hate tax.

blazinz
Feb 8, 2011, 11:09 PM
It was refurbished. It was not new. This is my first time buying refurbished unit from apple, but I have heard only good things about it. Of course, I can always exchange it under 14 days... I think.

On apple website right now, apple is offering MBA 11.6 ultimate for 1189 dollars. I called apple and asked for even more discount blah blah.

After an hour, they gave it to me for 1060 dollars. (Before Tax)

My state is Maryland, and tax was 6%. Total was 1123.60.

Tax was 63.60. I hate Tax. I hate Tax. I hate tax.

ahhh the gift of gab;)... thats an awesome deal, Congratz!

tom vilsack
Feb 9, 2011, 02:39 AM
12% hst here in b.c cdn...and more expensive to boot (even though are dollar is worth more then u.s)

MacRumorUser
Feb 9, 2011, 03:01 AM
I just bought a 1.4 base model with 4gb from the refurb store op.

Like you i was debating whether to go for the ultimate or stick with the base 1.4 albeit with 4gb ram.

Most of benchmarks set the 1.6 4gb against the 1.4 2gb and give the ultimate a 10% speed advantage. Now i questioned whether that 10% margin overall would be reduced/depleted somewhat if they had benched two 4gb models instead.

Now after a lot of researching i decided to stick to my guns and order the base with 4gb and 64gb hdd. Harddrive space was not a concern for me, though i can understand how 64gb for others would be insufficient.

With that in mind, the 1.4 4 gb came in at 25% less 'price wise' than the ultimate 1.6 even on the refurb store for me here. For what i percieve to be sub 10% performance differential, the 25% markup did not seem to be cost wise in my circumstances.

Having taken reciept of my machine on this Monday last i'm happy with my purchase. It does everything i want it to do and is faster than a 2007 macbook pro we have with a 2.2 core duo 2 & 4gb.

Great little machine.

axu539
Feb 9, 2011, 09:17 AM
I just bought a 1.4 base model with 4gb from the refurb store op.

Like you i was debating whether to go for the ultimate or stick with the base 1.4 albeit with 4gb ram.

Most of benchmarks set the 1.6 4gb against the 1.4 2gb and give the ultimate a 10% speed advantage. Now i questioned whether that 10% margin overall would be reduced/depleted somewhat if they had benched two 4gb models instead.

Now after a lot of researching i decided to stick to my guns and order the base with 4gb and 64gb hdd. Harddrive space was not a concern for me, though i can understand how 64gb for others would be insufficient.

With that in mind, the 1.4 4 gb came in at 25% less 'price wise' than the ultimate 1.6 even on the refurb store for me here. For what i percieve to be sub 10% performance differential, the 25% markup did not seem to be cost wise in my circumstances.

Having taken reciept of my machine on this Monday last i'm happy with my purchase. It does everything i want it to do and is faster than a 2007 macbook pro we have with a 2.2 core duo 2 & 4gb.

Great little machine.

Thanks for the comment. I went through the exact same train of thought. The Air will be a secondary machine for me, and its main purpose will not be media. Hence 64 GB is plenty, and there really is no need for the minimal CPU boost since I have 4 GB RAM. I'm expecting my machine on Saturday. Very very excited.

biggnoggin
Feb 9, 2011, 09:35 AM
Normally I wouldn't of bought the upgraded processor but on all the reviews I saw the processor perform 20% better in almost every benchmark and sometimes even better so for an extra $100 bucks I thought it was worth it and considering you can upgrade RAM yourself $100 for 2 gb is worth it IMO.

axu539
Feb 9, 2011, 01:37 PM
Normally I wouldn't of bought the upgraded processor but on all the reviews I saw the processor perform 20% better in almost every benchmark and sometimes even better so for an extra $100 bucks I thought it was worth it and considering you can upgrade RAM yourself $100 for 2 gb is worth it IMO.

Actually, the ram is not upgradeable. Also, the 20% increases you see are with a processor bump AND ram upgrade, with most of it attributed to the extra ram, not GHz. Last, I only wanted 64 GB, and upgrading CPU requires upgrading the SSD, so I would've been paying $200 more for more like 5% performance increase.

biggnoggin
Feb 9, 2011, 03:15 PM
Actually, the ram is not upgradeable. Also, the 20% increases you see are with a processor bump AND ram upgrade, with most of it attributed to the extra ram, not GHz. Last, I only wanted 64 GB, and upgrading CPU requires upgrading the SSD, so I would've been paying $200 more for more like 5% performance increase.

I think you could tell by my response I meant not upgradeable. You can buy what you want but you were asking for opinions, hence why I put IMO. RAM helps but so does processor speed so check this out http://www.anandtech.com/show/4000/apples-11inch-upgraded-macbook-air-review-do-16ghz-and-4gb-make-a-difference/2 and if you don't want opinions don't ask for them.

MacRumorUser
Feb 9, 2011, 05:29 PM
^ The problem with that article is it is comparing the experience of the MBA 1.4 2GB to the MBA 1.6 4GB and basing their opinions / analysis on that comparison which is not entirely fair.

When benchmarking they should have benched closer like to like models and formed their analysis from such.

The differential between the 1.4 with 4GB and 1.6 with 4GB is reduced more that you would think, as it seems the 2GB - 4GB step-up is a bigger factor performance wise at this kind of level than the 1.6 - 1.4 alone.

Let's face it anyone with a 1.4 or 1.6 should not really be considering using the machine as a rendering station or a major work horse.

So in day to day usage for things such as ilife, iwork, web, office, email, twitter, basic photo editing & coding etc.., users would see a greater benefit with 4GB in their machine than they would by just the CPU bump. In fact I would dare say that most users with both the 1.4 4GB & 1.6 4GB would be hard pressed to see a significant if any difference that the 200mhz offers in day to day actual experience.

hcho3
Feb 9, 2011, 07:01 PM
You are not really paying 200 dollars for extra 2GB ram and 200 HZ CPU update.

All the refurbished models are discounted by 15%, so you are paying 170 dollars.

It's not that bad.

bowlerman625
Feb 9, 2011, 07:32 PM
Enjoy!

I've had mine for 3 months and really like it.

axu539
Feb 9, 2011, 08:52 PM
You are not really paying 200 dollars for extra 2GB ram and 200 HZ CPU update.

All the refurbished models are discounted by 15%, so you are paying 170 dollars.

It's not that bad.

Well, the base 11" with 4 GB/64GB/1.4 GHz which I ordered was $929 before tax. The ultimate: 4 GB/128GB/1.6 GHz is $1189. This is a $260 difference..

hcho3
Feb 9, 2011, 09:12 PM
Well, the base 11" with 4 GB/64GB/1.4 GHz which I ordered was $929 before tax. The ultimate: 4 GB/128GB/1.6 GHz is $1189. This is a $260 difference..

That's because you get 64GB more flash storage.

For me, 64GB storage won't work on a laptop. That's the whole memory. After you install Mac OS SL, then it will be like 50GB or less.

50GB? Yea.

axu539
Feb 9, 2011, 09:47 PM
That's because you get 64GB more flash storage.

For me, 64GB storage won't work on a laptop. That's the whole memory. After you install Mac OS SL, then it will be like 50GB or less.

50GB? Yea.

Well i know you get 64 GB more flash storage. But, for new models, the 4GB/1.4GHz/64GB is $1099 while the the 4GB/1.6GHz/128GB is $1299, a $200 difference. My point is just that the difference is even greater than for new ones, and since I was only planning to use the Air as a secondary machine (and not a media machine), I decided I didn't want to spend the extra money for space. 64 GB is plenty for some homework (documents) and websurfing :).