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View Full Version : How long can I expect a MBA to last?




jojoba
Dec 11, 2011, 04:50 PM
I'm about to order a MBA (13") and was planning to go for a 128 because that's plenty for my current use, but having thought about it again I'm considering the larger one (256) because my needs might change quite a bit when my current work contract runs out in a year and four months. So I started thinking about 'buying for the future' but wasn't sure what kind of future I can have with a MBA. So, my question is, how long can I expect one of these things to last?



GGJstudios
Dec 11, 2011, 04:54 PM
So, my question is, how long can I expect one of these things to last?
It completely depends on how you take care of it. I've had some notebooks for 4-6 years. My current MBP is almost 4 years old and still like new.

Bonch
Dec 11, 2011, 04:54 PM
couple years

Beanoir
Dec 11, 2011, 06:03 PM
if you're not signed up to our disposable society like so many others seem to be now days, then if looked after it will last for years I expect.

My MacMini (although I appreciate it's not a laptop) has lasted me nearly 6 years with a couple of upgrades along the way and is running perfectly still.

adamtj11
Dec 11, 2011, 06:27 PM
A good answer looking back now at the original MBA from 2008 would be that with the right upgrades, it will at least last 3 /4 years , a lot of people still use the first MBA's and they are still good machines today.

johnhurley
Dec 11, 2011, 06:55 PM
I'm about to order a MBA (13") and was planning to go for a 128 because that's plenty for my current use, but having thought about it again I'm considering the larger one (256) because my needs might change quite a bit when my current work contract runs out in a year and four months. So I started thinking about 'buying for the future' but wasn't sure what kind of future I can have with a MBA. So, my question is, how long can I expect one of these things to last?

I am new to the apple scene but in general these things seem to be built as well as the ( what I used to consider most reliable laptops ) old toshiba's. I have one Toshiba just recently pulled away from my youngest daughter that is 10 years old.

Just because the machine is light does not mean it is not reliable. Like others said it will depend on how you treat it but 4 or 5 years easy ...

I for one am going to ( probably ) extend my apple care ( to go up to 3 years ) near the end of my 1 year period "just in case".

The 256 gb macbook air seems the reasonable option to me if the extra cost is not a deal breaker. ( It is what I have ) ... living inside 128 gb in a dual boot environment is not something I wanted to have to worry about.

jojoba
Dec 12, 2011, 04:25 AM
Thanks, everyone. Yes, the reason why I'm asking is partially because I don't want to sign up for disposable society, so if this thing lasts a while I'd rather get the bigger version and treat it as a long term investment. I generally take good care of my electronics so that shouldn't be an issue. While I haven't fully decided, I'm likely to get the three year protection plan.

I guess I'm leaning towards the 256 now.

wpotere
Dec 12, 2011, 04:40 AM
Thanks, everyone. Yes, the reason why I'm asking is partially because I don't want to sign up for disposable society, so if this thing lasts a while I'd rather get the bigger version and treat it as a long term investment. I generally take good care of my electronics so that shouldn't be an issue. While I haven't fully decided, I'm likely to get the three year protection plan.

I guess I'm leaning towards the 256 now.

I still use my 2008 Macbook and my wife is using her 1st Gen MBA. There is longevity in Mac with standard use. However, if you are looking for a gaming rig, that would be a different story.

jojoba
Dec 12, 2011, 04:44 AM
I still use my 2008 Macbook and my wife is using her 1st Gen MBA. There is longevity in Mac with standard use. However, if you are looking for a gaming rig, that would be a different story.

Good to hear, thanks. No, not into gaming at all. Just 'regular' internet and email usage, plus Microsoft Office programs (or the Apple equivalents), pdf annotation, skype and some relatively light video/audio usage for work (no editing, just playing and coding).

HellDiverUK
Dec 12, 2011, 04:45 AM
Don't worry about the SSD - just make sure you order the one with the most RAM. The SSD can be upgraded, the RAM can't.

jojoba
Dec 12, 2011, 05:04 AM
Sorry, I'm very computer illiterate - what's the difference between SSD and 128/256 flash storage? Because earlier when I spoke to the Apple people here locally, they said I couldn't buy a 128 and then later upgrade to 256 :confused: They both have 4GB ram.

Stewart21
Dec 12, 2011, 05:15 AM
Good to hear, thanks. No, not into gaming at all. Just 'regular' internet and email usage, plus Microsoft Office programs (or the Apple equivalents), pdf annotation, skype and some relatively light video/audio usage for work (no editing, just playing and coding).

I thought about getting a 256GB SSD in my MBA when I bought a few weeks ago but I decided to stick with 128GB SSD as the price difference is 250 which buys an awful lot of external storage. I picked up a 1.5TB Iomega drive for 55 in PC World. I use it for Time Machine backups and also backup using Super Duper. It backs up my iMac and MBA and my wife's iMac and there still plenty of space left.

Yes the SSD is fast but judging by how you use your machine you don't "need" all your storage on SSD. This way you get fast boot times and fast app start times but loads of storage and your data is safely backed up.

jojoba
Dec 12, 2011, 05:25 AM
I thought about getting a 256GB SSD in my MBA when I bought a few weeks ago but I decided to stick with 128GB SSD as the price difference is 250 which buys an awful lot of external storage. I picked up a 1.5TB Iomega drive for 55 in PC World. I use it for Time Machine backups and also backup using Super Duper. It backs up my iMac and MBA and my wife's iMac and there still plenty of space left.

Yes the SSD is fast but judging by how you use your machine you don't "need" all your storage on SSD. This way you get fast boot times and fast app start times but loads of storage and your data is safely backed up.

Yes, I have an external hard drive which is 1,5TB so I already have plenty of external storage space. Originally my thinking was exactly what you describe here. One thing that has made me second guess myself is in case I'd want to run Windows on it as well in the future (like a poster also mentioned above). Do you have windows installed/ have you considered it against the 128 version?

wpotere
Dec 12, 2011, 05:31 AM
Yes, I have an external hard drive which is 1,5TB so I already have plenty of external storage space. Originally my thinking was exactly what you describe here. One thing that has made me second guess myself is in case I'd want to run Windows on it as well in the future (like a poster also mentioned above). Do you have windows installed/ have you considered it against the 128 version?


Honestly, if you are going to long term, then load it out. The higher spec you can get means that it will last a lot longer.

jojoba
Dec 12, 2011, 06:20 AM
OK, I ordered! My husband finally convinced me to go for the 256. I'm looking forward to receiving it now :)

BadaBing!!
Dec 12, 2011, 07:02 AM
OK, I ordered! My husband finally convinced me to go for the 256. I'm looking forward to receiving it now :)

Right decision !! Bought a 128Gb at first but exchanged it for a 256Gb. Since it'll last a few years, imo, it worth it !

Roman2K~
Dec 12, 2011, 07:56 AM
In a MacBook Air, the only consumable items are:

The battery. Can be replaced (http://www.apple.com/support/macbookair/service/battery/) for $129 or €129 for as long as Apple continues to produce them.
The SSD. With TRIM, writes are minimized and spread optimally. With this enabled, which is the case with Apple's SSDs, it should last for "many decades" according to this table (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_drive#Comparison_of_SSD_with_hard_disk_drives).

Everything else is non consumable. They could last forever, theoratically. Apart from the battery and SSD, it's all up to you ;).

jojoba
Dec 12, 2011, 08:50 AM
Great, this makes me feel even better. And I like the sound of "forever" :cool:

MattZani
Dec 12, 2011, 09:01 AM
I also ordered the 128Gb then returned it for the 256Gb. Glad I did as I only have 60Gb left!

Roman2K~
Dec 12, 2011, 10:27 AM
Great, this makes me feel even better. And I like the sound of "forever" :cool:
Haha, me too :D. It gives me peace of mind that the only part that I really depend on anyone for the whole computer to last is the battery. I feel comfortable not relying on a degradable piece of hardware.

I also ordered the 128Gb then returned it for the 256Gb. Glad I did as I only have 60Gb left!
What kind of data do you store to fill all this space?

In my time, I've had HDDs from 250 GB to 1 TB and SSDs from 64 to 256 GB. I noticed that the more free space is available, the longer I tend to leave stuff on the laptop's internal storage before storing it for good on external storage.

It's just a matter of habits. I currently have the little 64 GB which proves more than enough for my needs. I keep all non-SSD-worthy files on a NAS and external hard drive (as a buffer to make up for my slow Wi-Fi).

To me, the SSD should only be utilized for files that need quick access (system files, apps, cache, preferences). Anything else (like music, movies, shows...) doesn't deserve SSD space. It's like casting pearls before swine (in French: "donner de la confiture aux cochons" / literally "feeding pigs with jelly" :D).

In the end, I have about 40 GBs left out of 64 GB to "play" with. For example, to store movies to watch while on battery, or as temporary space while transcoding 10 GB+ video files.

Of course, it's more convenient to have more space built-in, but I don't think this convenience offsets the cost (and lower relative resale value).

jojoba
Dec 12, 2011, 10:58 AM
Just curious - do many people now wait around for the new generation of MBAs and put off ordering? I don't think I want to put it off myself because it would be very convenient for work starting NOW, but I saw on the 'buyer's guide' page that they recommend waiting.

theSeb
Dec 12, 2011, 11:20 AM
Just curious - do many people now wait around for the new generation of MBAs and put off ordering? I don't think I want to put it off myself because it would be very convenient for work starting NOW, but I saw on the 'buyer's guide' page that they recommend waiting.

I am not sure why they recommend waiting since it's about half way through its life cycle. I wouldn't expect a new one before June looking at Intel's road maps when the new CPUs arrive.

GekkePrutser
Dec 12, 2011, 11:42 AM
Just curious - do many people now wait around for the new generation of MBAs and put off ordering? I don't think I want to put it off myself because it would be very convenient for work starting NOW, but I saw on the 'buyer's guide' page that they recommend waiting.

I wouldn't. It's not been out that long and also I don't think the next generation is likely to be as awesome an upgrade as the 2011 one was (which added the backlit keyboard, thunderbolt, and modern CPUs, where the 2010-Air CPUs were more than 2 years old).

The earliest the next-generation low-voltage CPUs (Ivy Bridge) are slated to be out is in May next year. So there won't be a refresh before that (unless the rumored 15" Air does get added in the mean time).

But I wouldn't be surprised if the MacBook Pro gets the exclusive for a few months like it usually does so it may be even longer until a new Air comes out.

Probable improvements are a bit faster (CPU and graphics, resp. up to 20% and 30%), maybe a bit more battery life and very likely USB 3.0 (which may be a big thing for you if you use external drives a lot, thunderbolt drives still cost a fortune). While the CPU improvement seems big, it's not the only thing that contributes to speed of the user experience so in most cases it won't feel 20% faster.

Another thing I'm personally hoping for is the option of 8GB but I'm pretty sure that won't be standard.

But as always I have to stress this is all educated guesswork. Apple may surprise us as they have many times before. I don't think it's likely though. They are dependent on Intel and their roadmaps are well known.

sostoobad
Dec 12, 2011, 11:55 AM
Since the Air has no moving parts, if you treat it right, why wouldn't it last

say 10+ yrs or so.

I have the 13" base model, its great and more than meets my needs. Had the 11" also nice, but found it too small.

I use mine at work, and will probably rarely get moved. So I hope it lasts awhile.

----------

Just curious - do many people now wait around for the new generation of MBAs and put off ordering? I don't think I want to put it off myself because it would be very convenient for work starting NOW, but I saw on the 'buyer's guide' page that they recommend waiting.

I wouldn't wait, and i didn't wait,I think the other posters are right the 2011 is a bigger upgrade than what might be expected in the future. But on the other hand who knows. One can play the wait game forever, I say dive in now and enjoy the swim.

thekev
Dec 12, 2011, 12:40 PM
Since the Air has no moving parts, if you treat it right, why wouldn't it last

say 10+ yrs or so.


Plenty of non mechanical parts fail. Look at gpus and logic boards. Some of the 6G sata sandforce controllers had issues. These things can fail just like older hard drives. The difference is that they will not fail from mechanical wear, which wasn't consistently the issue with HDDs earlier.

Just curious - do many people now wait around for the new generation of MBAs and put off ordering? I don't think I want to put it off myself because it would be very convenient for work starting NOW, but I saw on the 'buyer's guide' page that they recommend waiting.

There isn't anything to warrant a bump pre Ivy Bridge. The macbook pros got a bump due to a mild mid generation refresh from Intel. New skus were available at the same price. All other oems were already shipping them, so it would have been silly to ignore this even if they were relatively minor upgrades. The ulv processors probably do not see the same kind of volume, so they didn't receive such a bump. The next logical time to expect it is Ivy Bridge, and the buyer's guide will probably just read "don't buy" until then.

I am not sure why they recommend waiting since it's about half way through its life cycle. I wouldn't expect a new one before June looking at Intel's road maps when the new CPUs arrive.

Their recommendations aren't really based on what is due to come out soon. I think they're averaged and start suggesting against purchasing when it passes the halfway mark on their historic averages (or somewhere around there). It used to say "buy now product recently updated" when the product still had bugs and the mac pro has stated "don't buy" forever just due to the long refresh cycle even if Xeons haven't been available (and we all know Apple won't adjust pricing to reflect lowered component costs). :rolleyes:.

jojoba
Dec 12, 2011, 12:42 PM
Thanks all - so I feel good sticking with my decision, then!

halledise
Dec 12, 2011, 12:49 PM
in answer to your original query, I'd say until just before the extended warranty expires.

(or until you drop it, whichever comes first ;) )

jojoba
Dec 12, 2011, 12:55 PM
in answer to your original query, I'd say until just before the extended warranty expires.

(or until you drop it, whichever comes first ;) )

Haha. Well, if it's just before, that's OK, but I remember a few years ago when the iPod first came and at least where I live they all seemed to go bonkers a few weeks after the warranty expired...

I've done my share of dropping laptops/spilling milky and sugary coffee on keyboards/ having my husband download viruses etc, and I'm going to watch this like a little baby, lol. I'm the same with my iPad. I DON'T want another disaster :o

VMMan
Dec 12, 2011, 01:58 PM
30 years +/- 30 years

Roman2K~
Dec 12, 2011, 02:05 PM
30 years +/- 30 years

That's got to be about right :D.

eljanitor
Dec 12, 2011, 02:07 PM
The average lifespan of a computer is 3- 4 years. However, some last much longer.

maril1111
Dec 12, 2011, 02:09 PM
30 years +/- 30 years

Spot on!

jojoba
Dec 12, 2011, 02:10 PM
The average lifespan of a computer is 3- 4 years. However, some last much longer.

I think that's all a bit of a scam, really. When I grew up, a washing machine would last ten or fifteen years. Now they last five or something.

maril1111
Dec 12, 2011, 02:16 PM
I think that's all a bit of a scam, really. When I grew up, a washing machine would last ten or fifteen years. Now they last five or something.

actually its not that they don't last longer but hardware wise they tend to become outdated so you wouldn't be able to smoothly run programm a,b,c, so you would upgrade.

eljanitor
Dec 12, 2011, 04:06 PM
I think that's all a bit of a scam, really. When I grew up, a washing machine would last ten or fifteen years. Now they last five or something.

Well it depends on the machine and however they figure out that statistic. While working at an Apple repair shop I saw computers come in anywhere from 3 months to 8 years for their first repair. Applecare is 1 year standard or 3 years extended, so after three years if something goes wrong it will come out of your pocket.

Also most computers become outdated due to what is released 6 months to a year later. So if I buy a Mac Book Pro now it might not be as desirable when the Ivy Bridge comes out sometime next year. So people will want to upgrade and so on.

So 3 or more years after you buy your _________ computer and you have to spend ________ dollars to upgrade it, fix it or replace it, what will you do? Some people will more then likely just buy a new computer. So if I had a Powermac G5 today, and say something like the liquid cooling leaked. I may be out several hundred dollars to fix it. So would I a. fix it or b. get a newer Mac Pro?

daonesteven
Dec 12, 2011, 05:56 PM
I think that's all a bit of a scam, really. When I grew up, a washing machine would last ten or fifteen years. Now they last five or something.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence

cedwhatev
Dec 12, 2011, 06:45 PM
You Mac could potentially last a long time, but yeah, the way computers are these days, you almost have no choice but to upgrade. I intend to have my Mac Air for at least 3...

MattZani
Dec 12, 2011, 06:49 PM
What kind of data do you store to fill all this space?

30~Gb of music, 100Gb of RAW photos and HD video for my Photography Degree, then the usual things. MBA is my only device.

robertw477
Dec 12, 2011, 10:20 PM
Since used Apple machines seem to hold such a high value it seems the smartest thing to do is to try and get the best price you can on a new machine and sell it 1-2 years later. If you get Applecare you can sell it at the 2 year mark and the new customer might pay a little more for that. The most depreciation is in year one but it is amazing to me how much people will even pay for Mac Book Air Caore Duo machines. Look at how much Apple gets for those refurbs even. They sell. It is possible that you list only 30-40% in 2 yrs time. By selling you get a new machine, fresh battery, new 1 yr warranty etc. Now SSDs will be dropping so thins might affect resales but they wont be getting drastically lower in the next yr because anything over 256 GB if off the charts pricewise.

BubbaMc
Dec 12, 2011, 10:36 PM
I have a portable Commodore 64 from 1988, still works.

Look after your stuff and it will last for decades.

jojoba
Dec 13, 2011, 03:44 AM
Yes, that wiki-link was the kind of thing I was referring to, although I didn't mean to apply it to Apple products in particular.

I see the point about keeping it for 1-2 years and re-selling being smart, but my point of departure is that I'd rather hold on to it if it works well and doesn't have issues. But I guess I'll just see what I do when I get there. Obviously I'm not going to repair something if it's not worth the money.

I did get the three year Apple care plan. I haven't spent this much money on a single item in a really long time, so I felt forking out that additional money was worth it for peace of mind/ long term investment. It might end up being money out the window, but you just never know with these things until after the fact.

I have a portable Commodore 64 from 1988, still works.

That's :cool:

HellDiverUK
Dec 13, 2011, 03:52 AM
Since the Air has no moving parts, if you treat it right, why wouldn't it last


How does the fan work if there's no moving parts?

How does the keyboard and trackpad work if there's no moving parts?

How do you open the screen if there's no moving parts?

:rolleyes:

sostoobad
Dec 13, 2011, 02:13 PM
Ok so i guess there are some moving parts,but a 13" Macbook Air should last in my mind quite a few yrs, meaning more than 3 or so, with good care of course.

But like other posters have said, the resale is very good on these machines, so I might keep my Air for 3yrs and sell it and get the latest etc, but we will see.

MattZani
Dec 13, 2011, 02:54 PM
Ok so i guess there are some moving parts,but a 13" Macbook Air should last in my mind quite a few yrs, meaning more than 3 or so, with good care of course.

But like other posters have said, the resale is very good on these machines, so I might keep my Air for 3yrs and sell it and get the latest etc, but we will see.

My 2008 MBP still works, that has a HDD and DVD drive, 2 fans, hinge ;) Okay admittedly the DVD Drive is dead, the fans whir at 3000~rpm and the hinge isn't what it used to be, but it still works!

snberk103
Dec 13, 2011, 03:49 PM
....

I did get the three year Apple care plan. I haven't spent this much money on a single item in a really long time, so I felt forking out that additional money was worth it for peace of mind/ long term investment. It might end up being money out the window, but you just never know with these things until after the fact.

...

AppleCare is a good idea. With reasonable care, you've just guaranteed that your new computer will last 3 years. Plus ... and something that is usually overlooked.... you get to call Apple for software issues for 3 years too (note: just Apple SW, not 3rd party). So, in 2.5 years, if you are having issues with the OS - you can call AppleCare and talk to someone.

Also, check the credit card you used to buy it...often you are covered for accidental damage by the CC (things not covered by the warranty) for a year or so.

My wife still uses her 1st gen MBA, and it's fine. The cat managed to drop it and we had to take it to an authorized repair centre to get the corner of the lid straightened (not covered by any warranty in our case - but still way cheaper than replacing the lid!)

zea mays
Dec 13, 2011, 04:29 PM
I still couch surf with a PowerBook G4 12inch at home. It *should* last you a good long while.

sostoobad
Dec 13, 2011, 06:14 PM
See, thats what I mean, if you just want a small computer to couch surf, wouldn't an older mac something or other that has been either refurbed or seller says it works fine, be a good buy ?, for short money. You would still get the mac OS etc. I guess what I am saying, if Macs are better built, shouldn't they last a long time before the by the farm.

Not talking about technology and improvements, just working and doing what it is supposed to do.

zea mays
Dec 13, 2011, 09:39 PM
See, thats what I mean, if you just want a small computer to couch surf, wouldn't an older mac something or other that has been either refurbed or seller says it works fine, be a good buy ?, for short money. You would still get the mac OS etc. I guess what I am saying, if Macs are better built, shouldn't they last a long time before the by the farm.

Not talking about technology and improvements, just working and doing what it is supposed to do.


Yep, and it still totally works for that. It's getting pretty tired, though, and has no battery to speak of. It would be a lot cheaper to just buy a new battery. It also won't play Netflix. BUT! I have disposable income and a penchant for shiny apple products. The PowerBook G4 has served me well (I actually did buy it second hand on craigslist for about $250 over a year ago - which is also why I won't invest a lot of money in it) and soon it will be time to move on.

Chipg
Dec 14, 2011, 02:55 AM
I bought a i7 13" 256g Air, I'm not what they call a 'measurebator' but wanted something to last me for my office needs and traveling, this computer will be perfect for me for the next 4ish years then I'll upgrade. I'm sure it will last 20 years if you want it to, my Apple IIe from the 80's still works but just not for my uses anymore.

jojoba
Dec 14, 2011, 04:34 AM
I'm feeling good about my decision now, and the Apple care, too. I'm not very 'technical' and neither are any of my family members, so having the three year customer service is a good insurance for me. And then at least this thing should last me three years and maybe even a bit longer. I'll take good care of it. I'm happy now and hope it arrives soon :)

vitzr
Dec 14, 2011, 06:44 AM
My 15" 2002 PowerBook looks like new, runs like new, has it's original hard drive & all components, & has only had the battery replaced as needed.

Software doesn't fail, so I'd say that's a pretty good record.

It still does what I bought it to do when it was new. No longer my primary Mac laptop, it served me well then, and after loads of use is still fun to use for writing, surfing, etc.

This model was know for it's less than durable hinges, yet mine are just fine because I'm careful with my computers. It's not been babied, just taken care of. Theres not a scratch on it, my friends are amazed.

Value today? Priceless. I have no intention of selling it for any price :)

jmpnop
Dec 14, 2011, 07:07 AM
Sorry, I'm very computer illiterate - what's the difference between SSD and 128/256 flash storage? Because earlier when I spoke to the Apple people here locally, they said I couldn't buy a 128 and then later upgrade to 256 :confused: They both have 4GB ram.

SSD and flash are the same. You're right, RAM and storage cannot be upgraded later on the MBA.

Roman2K~
Dec 14, 2011, 07:23 AM
SSD and flash are the same. You're right, RAM and storage cannot be upgraded later on the MBA.

In a MBA, the SSD isn't soldered onto the motherboard, as opposed to RAM chips. So it can be upgraded.

ecib
Dec 14, 2011, 11:57 AM
Thanks, everyone. Yes, the reason why I'm asking is partially because I don't want to sign up for disposable society, so if this thing lasts a while I'd rather get the bigger version and treat it as a long term investment. I generally take good care of my electronics so that shouldn't be an issue. While I haven't fully decided, I'm likely to get the three year protection plan.

I guess I'm leaning towards the 256 now.

I got the 256 with the maxed out processor. I purchased it a year ago with the expectation of keeping it for 5 years. It's plenty of storage since a)I have over a TB of media that needs to be stored externally anyway, and b)with all the cloud services out there, you can easily add another 35-50 GB of storage free.

----------

30 years +/- 30 years

I still have my Apple IIc from 1984...2 years away from 30 :P

jojoba
Dec 14, 2011, 01:36 PM
SSD and flash are the same. You're right, RAM and storage cannot be upgraded later on the MBA.

Thanks :)

In a MBA, the SSD isn't soldered onto the motherboard, as opposed to RAM chips. So it can be upgraded.

But Apple wouldn't do it for you - is that right? If so, how is it done? (Sorry, but I'm clueless about these things...)


I still have my Apple IIc from 1984...2 years away from 30 :P

Wow - that's :cool: