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View Full Version : 2011 vs. 2012 - What to do?




sdilley14
Jun 22, 2012, 03:02 PM
OK, so I just got a good cash offer and sold my 13" 2.3ghz i5 MBP for $900. :) I want to get a 13" 256GB MBA. I am stuck between getting the refurb 2011 or the new 2012.

My primary uses are pretty basic: internet browsing, iTunes, watching videos, Facebook, Word/Excel, and some very light audio and video stuff (mostly just grabbing clips from songs/videos). I figured an upgrade to a MBA would make for a "snappier" experience launching apps and opening files (those are the two primary things that irk me once in a while with my MBP).

So here I am trying to decide which MBA to get. I figured if I get a brand new one I might as well up the processor and max the RAM to further "future proof" it, so the new MBA in that configuration would be $1699. Even without those options, standard is $1499. Refurbished 2011 MBA i7 with 256GB is $1199.

So, for me and my usage, is it really worth the extra $300-$500 to get the brand new MBA? Is there enough of a difference in perforamnce that I would notice it with my daily usage? This is a machine that I will likely have for 1-2 maybe 3 years. Cost is a determining factor when I make my purchases, but I'm not afraid to spend if it means I'm making the "right" purchase as opposed to the most economical purchase.

Thoughts? I'm sure there are a number of people wrestling with this same issue?



KPOM
Jun 22, 2012, 03:08 PM
If it helps, the Core i5 in the 2012 13" scores about the same as the Core i7 in the 2011. Also, note that the 2012 has USB 3.0, and a better GPU, so it would be a better choice if you want to do any type of gaming. It would also be more "future proof." Between the faster SSD and the equivalent processor, the 2012 will be slightly snapper on basic tasks.

That said, the 2011 i7 is a great machine and would serve you well, as well.

Moshu
Jun 22, 2012, 03:16 PM
If it helps, the Core i5 in the 2012 13" scores about the same as the Core i7 in the 2011. Also, note that the 2012 has USB 3.0, and a better GPU, so it would be a better choice if you want to do any type of gaming. It would also be more "future proof." Between the faster SSD and the equivalent processor, the 2012 will be slightly snapper on basic tasks.

That said, the 2011 i7 is a great machine and would serve you well, as well.

Go for a 2012. Never go for old products. All that KPOM said is true, and I will add 2 more things:
1. 2012 has double data rate SSD (500 MB/s instead 250 MB/s)
2. 2012 can control TWO external Thunderbolt Displays (so 3 screens, considering his own), which maybe you'll not use but the real deal is that it contains the newest (and much more expensive) Thunderbolt implementation.

BTW, typing from my new 2012 13" Air (256GB as 128 was sold-out) and I love it!

Also keep in mind that with the new USB3 any USB3 external hard drive will work at its normal speed (which is around 100 MB/s) so backup and copy is GREAT!

Just do it, don't think twice!

sdilley14
Jun 22, 2012, 03:19 PM
Just when I think I'll take the safe and cheap route, you bring up all of these good points! lol.

Dangerous Theory
Jun 22, 2012, 03:43 PM
Just when I think I'll take the safe and cheap route, you bring up all of these good points! lol.

Cheap route yes, but I wouldn't describe older technology as the 'safe' route. To me, it seems like the newer MBAs may be worth the extra, but you're going to have to assess your own needs. The hardest part for me would be buying something that's not the latest - it's not quite as special feeling. However, updates happen far too often for most of us to keep up with and we end up being behind anyway. I'm on an early 2011 MBP that I'll probably stick with for a long time, at least until a reasonably priced high density display version comes along and I have the money to part with!

sdilley14
Jun 22, 2012, 03:46 PM
Cheap route yes, but I wouldn't describe older technology as the 'safe' route. To me, it seems like the newer MBAs may be worth the extra, but you're going to have to assess your own needs. The hardest part for me would be buying something that's not the latest - it's not quite as special feeling. However, updates happen far too often for most of us to keep up with and we end up being behind anyway. I'm on an early 2011 MBP that I'll probably stick with for a long time, at least until a reasonably priced high density display version comes along and I have the money to part with!

The display is something I was really holding out for too. If they would have put a retina display in these I would already have my mind made up. Ahghgh, decisions!

sdilley14
Jun 27, 2012, 04:04 PM
Well, I decided to say "F it" and went with the refurb, 13" 1.7ghz i5, 4GB, 128GB. I figure this is going to be more than enough power for the basic tasks that I perform on a daily basis.

Really the only thing I'm worried about is HD space. But the great majority of my HD is taken up by media files that I seldom if ever use (TV shows and movies). I have a 500GB external so I'll just move them all over to that.

I figure this will be a relatively affordable ($929) way to test and see if I'm a MBA person or not. If this turns out to be the type of machine that I really enjoy using, I'm sure I'll sell this and pick up the most recent generation once they hit the refurb store. And if not, I should be able to sell this for a decent price and get back on the MBP train. I'm definitely looking forward to the higher resolution screen and the quicker hard drive (I was starting to get a little annoyed with how long it took to launch apps and open folders/files sometimes on my MBP). I'm pumped to give this new machine a try! :)

sdilley14
Jun 27, 2012, 04:20 PM
Couple other things.

1. Does the MBA have an IR receiver? I'm assuming that if it does it still doesn't ship with a remote. I actually like using the remote once in a while and have held onto mine from an old MBP and it seems to work with every new machine I get. :)

2. Anything else I should be aware of as a new MBA user? Certain apps I should download? Anything besides that obvious that's different from the MBP that I should be aware of?

Mito
Jun 28, 2012, 06:00 AM
Couple other things.

1. Does the MBA have an IR receiver? I'm assuming that if it does it still doesn't ship with a remote. I actually like using the remote once in a while and have held onto mine from an old MBP and it seems to work with every new machine I get. :)

2. Anything else I should be aware of as a new MBA user? Certain apps I should download? Anything besides that obvious that's different from the MBP that I should be aware of?

No it doesn´t have IR recevier :/

sdilley14
Jun 28, 2012, 09:00 AM
No it doesn´t have IR recevier :/

Crappy! Oh well, I suppose the remote app will do.

sdilley14
Jun 28, 2012, 09:16 AM
I have read that the MBA is a bit more prone to scratches and dings as opposed to the MBP. Any truth to that? Doesn't make a lot of sense to me as I thought they were made of the same material...?

sdilley14
Jul 4, 2012, 12:18 AM
Well, the MBA arrived and I finally got to get it all set up today. I have to say that I'm pretty damn impressed so far. People weren't joking when they said it was a lot faster to start up and launch applications/open files...saying it is "night and day" compared to my 2.3Ghz i5 13" MBP w/8gb RAM when it comes to those tasks may be a little overstating it, but it is absolutely noticeably faster. Starting up is sooooo much quicker and smoother and launching apps is almost instant...both of these are great improvements over my last machine.

I'm already in love with the lighter weight and thinner profile. I was a bit hesitant at first about making this switch but I have to say at this point that I'm very glad I made the move!

Titanium81
Jul 4, 2012, 01:18 AM
Congratulations on your MBA... They are very speedy machines for everyday uses and lightyears away from computers with standard Hard drives.

Well, the MBA arrived and I finally got to get it all set up today. I have to say that I'm pretty damn impressed so far. People weren't joking when they said it was a lot faster to start up and launch applications/open files...saying it is "night and day" compared to my 2.3Ghz i5 13" MBP w/8gb RAM when it comes to those tasks may be a little overstating it, but it is absolutely noticeably faster. Starting up is sooooo much quicker and smoother and launching apps is almost instant...both of these are great improvements over my last machine.

I'm already in love with the lighter weight and thinner profile. I was a bit hesitant at first about making this switch but I have to say at this point that I'm very glad I made the move!

riveting
Jul 4, 2012, 11:22 AM
I agree, the 2011 13 MBA is the first MBA that is truly great, I mean light weight, great resolution screen and decent performance. The jump from 2010 13 to 2011 13 is huge, almost doubled CPU performance, back-light keyboard. from 2011 to 2012 is like 10% increase in performance. Of course, there is all kind of other improvement, like USB 3.0, faster SSD, faster graphics, but non of them will be noticeable for regular use (non gaming). The only thing the 2011 MBA really lacks is the 8g ram option, but it seems that OP is not interested in paying $100 more for 8g ram anyway.

sdilley14
Jul 4, 2012, 11:45 AM
I agree, the 2011 13 MBA is the first MBA that is truly great, I mean light weight, great resolution screen and decent performance. The jump from 2010 13 to 2011 13 is huge, almost doubled CPU performance, back-light keyboard. from 2011 to 2012 is like 10% increase in performance. Of course, there is all kind of other improvement, like USB 3.0, faster SSD, faster graphics, but non of them will be noticeable for regular use (non gaming). The only thing the 2011 MBA really lacks is the 8g ram option, but it seems that OP is not interested in paying $100 more for 8g ram anyway.

I agree, the jump from the 2010 to the 2011 is huge! The upgraded performance and screen resolution definitely tipped the scales for me on my decision.

I have to say, being a pretty "average" user, I am really happy that I saved my money and didn't opt for the 2012 MBA. Don't get me wrong, I like having the latest and greatest like anyone else does, but for my everyday use, this machine is proving to be more than capable. Anything else more would almost feel like a waste. I hardly ever use USB so the upgraded USB 3.0 really wasn't a factor for me. Same with the graphics since I do zero gaming. For the "average" user, I would definitely recommend the 2011 13" i5 MBA. :)

danrhiggins
Jul 4, 2012, 08:36 PM
I agree with the other posters that the jump from 2010 to 2011 was a big step. That was what pulled me from a Sony Vaio Z (SSD, etc.) into the Mac world and I haven't looked back. Enjoy!