View Full Version : How long will the MBA 2011 last?

Oct 2, 2011, 11:38 PM
I currently own a 2009 MBP, but we could use another computer in the house. I would give the MBP to a younger sibling. The thing that makes me nervous about the MBA is not being able to update the RAM. I could care less about the HD since it has a SD slot, and I am thinking about setting up a media server in the house anyway. I am just nervous if I put down serious dough for a 2011 MBA it will be obsolete in two years. I thinking the most demanding thing I will be doing on the thing will be playing SIMS 3 and using Lightroom to edit photos. I know computers are not meant to last forever, but Apple is expensive (worth it in my opinion though) and I really can't afford to be buying a new computer every other year. So honestly, people, how long should this thing last with only everyday usage?

Oct 2, 2011, 11:43 PM
7 years and 61 days.

Oct 2, 2011, 11:54 PM
Any computer will be obsolete shortly after buying it, thats just a fact of life in the world of computers. If you want to wait for "next gen" technology you'll be waiting forever.
I bought a 17" Macbook Pro in September of 2006, I used it heavily every day since then. It died roughly 2 weeks ago. Buy it, you wont regret it.

tom vilsack
Oct 3, 2011, 12:05 AM
lets look back...

i have a late 2006 imac 2.0 isight running snow leopard...originally came with tiger,but all hardware ect is default...runs like a champ with no lag (for what i use it for)...so for me 5 years,no problems...

Oct 3, 2011, 12:17 AM
It depends what you value in your computer.

Some things in the Macbook Air will last a good long while. The Sandy Bridge cpu, thunderbolt, the ssd (replaceable), and beautiful styling.

The GPU, the 4 gigs memory, and battery are the components that will seem dated "soon". How soon, no one knows. My hope is that the next generation will have newer battery technology. But no clue.

Oct 3, 2011, 12:36 AM
I have the early 2007 white macbook running on Lion and was originally on tiger! So this thing just went thru tiger,leopard,snow leopard, and now lion. I still mange to get it running strong without any issue as well. However, got the logic board replaced once, keyboard and bezel due to the cracked got that replaced twice, and bottom case replaced for cosmetic while the logic board was getting replaced. :D

Oct 3, 2011, 08:29 AM
Core 2 Duo's are still absolutely fine today (and officially out of manufacture from this month IIRC?) - performance wise they're some way behind the SB Core i's but still more than capable of running everything.

Based on that you can assume the i5/i7 should be at a similar level in 5 years time.

Reliability-wise, processors are generally low failure rates and although there's not a huge amount of data on Core i failures I'd expect it to be the same.

RAM can be unrealiable but is generally ok nowadays.

There is little data to suggest SSD's are any more reliable than HDD's; however I don't recall seeing many reports of failure on these forums so if we assume that, like and HDD, there's maybe a 10% chance of your SSD not lasting 5 years.

So that's it really, yeah should be absolutely fine to buy a MBA, especially as they are using SSD's and Sandy Bridge ultrabook processors which are new technology / still not mainstream.

Cheffy Dave
Oct 3, 2011, 08:45 AM
7 years and 61 days.

Please check your math, I got 7 years and 60 days;)

Oct 3, 2011, 08:58 AM
I think the current MBA with 4GB RAM will last you for years, no problem.

I think a better way to think of most Mac's, especially the Air, is that it is a "consumer device" much like an appliance. That is, you buy it, and run it, and when you are through with it, you move on.

More specifically, you do *not* open the hood, and you do *not* upgrade either the RAM or Hard drive...much like an iPad.

Mac's have been moving in this direction for years. In the old days, you would (and could) swap out everything. I had a PowerMac G4 & I think the only original thing in there is the motherboard...and you know what? I'm glad I'm not wasting time opening up my Air and fiddling with things, and changing things around for the best config, etc.

HTH! My advice would also be to wait another 6 months/year, and see if they a) make Lion more stable, b) improve the Intel HD 3000 graphics driver, or c) put in a graphics card, like the ATI graphics in the Mac Mini. While the i5 is a wonderful chip, the MBA would be much better served by having some sort of graphics boost. Just my $0.02

Oct 3, 2011, 09:05 AM
3 years.

Oct 3, 2011, 09:29 AM
It will last as long as you want the MacBook Air to be.

No really. Don't be pressured to buy the next MacBook Air just because it has better specs. We had a white MacBook from 2006 that was totally fine for normal use, and is now being used by my cousin who started college. I have a MacBook Pro from 2007 that is still working great. We have a few G4 Mac minis, PowerBook G4's and Power Mac G5's in the office that are still in heavy use today.

The choice to upgrade is ultimately up to you, not to Apple. Your current Mac won't stop working just because a new one is released. Mac computers will last you a long time as long as you take care of it.

Oct 3, 2011, 09:59 AM
I think the 4GB RAM should last you for 3 or more years so don't worry that you can't upgrade it.

I've had 4 previous Apple laptops and though I could and did upgrade the RAM with all of them, they still lasted longer than 3 years. The PBG4 had 768MB RAM and it was still useful and running Tiger (10.4) in 2009 when I sold it (bought it in 2005). I had a PBG3 Lombard that had 256MB RAM that I used for 4-5 years, took it from OS9 to Panther 10.3.

Oct 3, 2011, 11:10 AM
Depends what you mean by "last".

as in current hardware. a few months before it's replacable by more powerfull machines. a year or two before its truly considered "old tech"

but computers, if treated right and not raelly abused can last years. Heck, at work here, I'm still using an old Pentium 4 IBM machine and it works flawlessly (albeit a little slow)

Oct 3, 2011, 11:33 AM
Well, my Air's going on three next year and is still going strong. I use it daily for college work and application development, and it has yet to let me down. Its 2GB of RAM is starting to feel a bit pinched, but the nice, fast SSD that I installed in it helps mitigate the effects of swapping. I plan on getting at least another two years out of it, hopefully more. I'll probably start seriously looking into replacing it around 2013-2014 or so, assuming that it doesn't die before then. Assuming that it continues to be as reliable as it's been for the last two years, I can't foresee any major issues with the little bugger :)

Oct 3, 2011, 11:57 AM
I'm hoping to maintain my Air for 3-4 years, which is basically how long it may take me to complete my MFA. Who knows what Airs will be like when I'm done and ready for a new laptop (will I even need a laptop by then? Ah, the future!).

Oct 3, 2011, 12:02 PM
I just dropped $1400 on my new Air 13". It better last AT LEAST 3 years completely problem free or I'll be breaking into Tim Cook's office and pinching a fat nasty loaf right on his desk. After that, I'll break into Steve Jobs' home and do the same on his pillow.

Oct 3, 2011, 03:01 PM
It will last as long as it continues to do what you need it to do for you, and it doesn't break. I have a Dell XPS Gen2 which is 9 years old, and if all I needed was to surf the internet and check email, then it would still "last".

PBG4 Dude
Oct 3, 2011, 03:13 PM
I have a Rev A MacBook that's over 5 years old and still going strong. Only issue I have is the 32bit CPU cannot be upgraded to Lion, but it is doing fine running Snow Leopard.

Oct 3, 2011, 05:05 PM
My Apple IIe from the 80's still works, just because it's obsolete doesn't mean it hasn't lasted for 33+ years. :eek:

Oct 3, 2011, 06:36 PM
7 years and 61 days.

This is the most accurate response. /thread.

Oct 3, 2011, 06:41 PM
Aperture was pretty tough on 4gb. I ended up returning the MBA13i7.

Running on a MBP13i7 with 8gb now.