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bedhugs
Jan 4, 2013, 02:18 AM
Hey guys, newbie to the forum here. I'm planning on buying a MacBook Air as my primary computer and I wondered how many years it could last while in this role. I'm currently a college student and would primarily use it for writing essays, web browsing, etc. also plan on using it to edit a podcast every now and then. If I do buy the MBA I hope on pushing 3+ years of life out of it.

Also planned on saving a bit of money by buying the base 13" and upgrading the ram to 8g with plans to install a larger ssd in the future but found out the processor can't be upgraded to i7 unless you get the 256 ssd .should I save the money and stick with i5 or get i7 with 256ssd and take the 400$ hit


Thanks



Schtumple
Jan 4, 2013, 02:26 AM
It really depends how much care you take with your machine and how much travelling you're going to be doing with it, my MBP is now pushing 2 years old and it's showing signs of age, it's travelled A LOT though and seen it's fair share of being rumbled around in transit.

Only get the i7 if you really feel you're going to need that modest speed bump, podcasting does not require a heavy duty CPU.

Also, SSD prices are only going to drop, I bought 2 x 480GB SSD's for my MBP, which cost me $600, which a year or 2 ago would've been unheard of. Wait off on upgrading. Also you need to buy a specially made SSD for the MBA, but looking that up on google will easily show your options.

bedhugs
Jan 4, 2013, 02:51 AM
Thanks, I think I'll just go i5 with the ram upgrade. Giving myself a couple of weeks of time to really decide though.

Kungshi
Jan 4, 2013, 03:05 AM
If it's a primary machine that you plan to keep for more than 2 years then you really need to make a good guess as to the future. The 8 gb ram is a given and I see you already understand that.

Gpu and ssd could be huge. The gpu on the current generation is not bad, but I would never settle with it for my main machine. You may want to consider this as videos, games, etc become more demanding over time. As those get more demanding, they will also take up more space on the hard drive.

I feel that you have a good head on your shoulders and will be able to analytically figure out what fits your needs best. Just please try to predict your potential future needs so that you don't find yourself displeased in a couple of years.

torana355
Jan 4, 2013, 03:10 AM
It will last 3 years easily, my old 2008 iMac lasted over 5 years.

Confuzzzed
Jan 4, 2013, 03:18 AM
It will last 3 years easily, my old 2008 iMac lasted over 5 years.

How can you compare an iMac with an MBA on durability and more importantly future proofing?!

I have had a mid-2011 MBA for 18 months and shows no signs of slowing down. This is not a windows machine after all. But when I have tried to do even basic iMovie stuff, rendering takes for ever so the integrated GPU of yesteryear is not really up to much. My kids are able to play non-GPU intensive games on it though without problems. The two things that usually go on laptops are (1) battery and (2) HDD. We haven't heard any problems yet with batteries in the current form factor (with some 30 month experience to date) and with HDD, well you know in theory the SSD should be superior to HDD in terms of failure rates as it doesn't have the mechanical parts of the HDD. Good luck

torana355
Jan 4, 2013, 03:33 AM
How can you compare an iMac with an MBA on durability and more importantly future proofing?!

I have had a mid-2011 MBA for 18 months and shows no signs of slowing down. This is not a windows machine after all. But when I have tried to do even basic iMovie stuff, rendering takes for ever so the integrated GPU of yesteryear is not really up to much. My kids are able to play non-GPU intensive games on it though without problems. The two things that usually go on laptops are (1) battery and (2) HDD. We haven't heard any problems yet with batteries in the current form factor (with some 30 month experience to date) and with HDD, well you know in theory the SSD should be superior to HDD in terms of failure rates as it doesn't have the mechanical parts of the HDD. Good luck

To start the current MBA's are much more powerful then my 2008 iMac. They have SSDs so there are no moving parts that can go wrong. If anything i think they are more future proofed then my iMac was when i got it.

cedwhatev
Jan 4, 2013, 08:30 AM
As long as you take care of it, yes. It's prone to physical damage a lot easier than say, an iMac, but if it's looked after, I can see it lasting a long time.

wolfpuppies3
Jan 4, 2013, 08:52 AM
Do it, you will never regret it. Max the memory now, deal with larger SSD when you must, later. Don't drop it and do keep it dry and it will last far longer than your interest in it lasts. Probably longer than 3-5 years, certainly.

53x12
Jan 4, 2013, 12:15 PM
Do it, you will never regret it. Max the memory now, deal with larger SSD when you must, later. Don't drop it and do keep it dry and it will last far longer than your interest in it lasts. Probably longer than 3-5 years, certainly.

Exactly.

snberk103
Jan 4, 2013, 12:41 PM
Max the memory. Understand that in a few years it is not going to feel as snappy as it does now. But, my wife is still using her 1st generation MBA...it is way way past warranty now. It sometimes feels slow to her, but I can't convince her it's time to upgrade as this one works just fine.

We got lucky too. The cat knocked it off the table once, and a corner got bent. It was cosmetic damage only, once we re-bent it to allow the top to open up again. It was ugly! But.... this summer the hinge broke, and apparently the hinges were covered by an extension to the warranty so she got a new lid - with display and no ugly corner - from Apple.

theSeb
Jan 4, 2013, 01:33 PM
Hey guys, newbie to the forum here. I'm planning on buying a MacBook Air as my primary computer and I wondered how many years it could last while in this role. I'm currently a college student and would primarily use it for writing essays, web browsing, etc. also plan on using it to edit a podcast every now and then. If I do buy the MBA I hope on pushing 3+ years of life out of it.

Also planned on saving a bit of money by buying the base 13" and upgrading the ram to 8g with plans to install a larger ssd in the future but found out the processor can't be upgraded to i7 unless you get the 256 ssd .should I save the money and stick with i5 or get i7 with 256ssd and take the 400$ hit


Thanks

I have a 2011 MBA that is now 1.5 years old. It still looks perfect despite having travelled with me throughout Europe and to the US (I travel a lot for my job). I am not obsessive when it comes to taking care of it. I don't use hard cases or keyboard covers. I use a simple leather cover when it's in my bag.

beysus
Jan 4, 2013, 01:47 PM
I pretty much agree with the others. Get 8GB Ram and since it's your main machine I would upgrade to 256GB because I think 128GB is just not enough at all and 512GB is too expensive. I got my Air since July and I got 118GB free space left, gotta start cleaning soon I guess haha.

I don't think you need the i7, there's no real benefit for you in spending a few more hundreds regarding the tasks you plan on doing.

Mrbobb
Jan 4, 2013, 05:23 PM
No matter what u get I always give this advice, if u want ur machine to last:

Do not upgrade software, OS, App whatever unless there is a specific reason to do so. Newer software invariably demand more horsepower from your machine. Don't feed the software-hardware vendors upgraditis conspiracy if u know what's good for your wallet.

From time to time, u maybe tempted because the new software may FIX something ur currently is annoyed with, but not fatal. OK, I personally deal with this situation by having an image backup or my current stuff before upgrading so I can GO BACK if the new software doesn't do that I thought i would for me.

YMMV.

Miat
Jan 4, 2013, 11:51 PM
Another vote for 256 GB drive really being the minimum for most users, and also for getting 8 GB RAM if you plan on keeping it long term.

Get a keyboard cover, and keep your computing hands clean.

Generally be nice to it. :)

guavacode
Jan 6, 2013, 06:01 AM
My (9 year old) sister currently uses my 2008 Macbook (This one, it's nearly 5 years old: http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook/specs/macbook-core-2-duo-2.4-black-13-early-2008-penryn-specs.html) with 2GB RAM, a Core 2 Duo, and a 250GB normal HDD for similar uses to yours (writing things, web browsing, Netflix, Hulu+, iTunes). If that one lasted 5 years (2.5 with me using it, and 2.5 with a little kid using it) and still works for those tasks, I'm quite sure a Macbook Air with great specs will be fine for 3. Most computers I've owned start feeling a little slow around the 3-year mark, so on the speed aspect it'll be fine, and if you use it carefully (don't hold any drinks near or above it, I learned that with my 2007 Macbook (why I later got a 2008) :p) the externals and internals will be fine.

Right now I have a 2010 Macbook Pro that's 2.5 years old (This one, although I stuck more RAM in mine to bring it up to 8GB a few months ago: https://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/specs/macbook-pro-core-i5-2.4-aluminum-15-mid-2010-unibody-specs.html) and it's still great for even photo and short video editing (I tried to edit a 1 hour movie on it, and moved over to my desktop after 5 mins due to lag), so yeah, Macs age pretty well.

Anyway, go for it! With the money you save by not getting the i7 and upgraded SSD, make sure to get Applecare. It saved me when my logic board decided to go screwy ($800+ for a new one).

Killerbob
Jan 6, 2013, 11:53 AM
It all depends on how eager you are to have the latest and greatest.

My first MacBook Air, the original one from January 2008, is still in heavy use:) It is the MacBookAir1,1 - with 1.6GHz L7500 CPU, 2GB RAM, and an 80GB PATA HDD.

I used it for two years, and now my in-laws are using it, happily. I had the screen replaced on AppleCare, and they took the opportunity to replace the battery and the keyboard back in 2010.

The only thing irritating is of course that I cannot upgrade the OSX to 10.8. It is basically stuck on Lion, which I only realised when I was in the midst of trying to upgrade it:)

As for Apple desktop systems, I still am running my Mac Pro 2008, albeit with a few upgrades...

Killerbob
Jan 6, 2013, 12:03 PM
As for what to get, I now have the 13" MacBook Air Mid-2012, with the i7, 8GB RAM, and the 250GB SSD. I am so glad I got the i7 upgrade, as well as the upgrade to 8GB RAM. There is nothing it can't do, and though some people think Retina is the dog's bollocks, I am not missing it.

I also have a MacBook Pro, albeit the mid-2010 version, but with the i7 CPU, 8GB RAM, and the 250GB SSD. My MacBook Air out-performs it!!!

phuocsandiego
Jan 6, 2013, 12:27 PM
I have had a mid-2011 MBA for 18 months and shows no signs of slowing down. This is not a windows machine after all.

What a load of bull. My 2006 HP laptop is still going strong and can handle everything I throw at it (PS, Lightroom, even light gaming [WoW]). Sure, it's a heavy 17" beast with a 1.5 hour battery life but it only cost me $699 at the time.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Mac but whenever I see comments like this I just roll my eyes.

To the original OP's question, yes, it'll easily last 4 years as long as you use common sense and take reasonable care of it.
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[/COLOR]It really depends how much care you take with your machine and how much travelling you're going to be doing with it, my MBP is now pushing 2 years old and it's showing signs of age, it's travelled A LOT though and seen it's fair share of being rumbled around in transit.

Only get the i7 if you really feel you're going to need that modest speed bump, podcasting does not require a heavy duty CPU.

Also, SSD prices are only going to drop, I bought 2 x 480GB SSD's for my MBP, which cost me $600, which a year or 2 ago would've been unheard of. Wait off on upgrading. Also you need to buy a specially made SSD for the MBA, but looking that up on google will easily show your options.

It all depends on how you take care of it. In 2012, I went to France 12 times, Vietnam twice, and Hong Kong once. My 1.5 year old MacBook Air looks brand new. My only recommendation on an MBA is to max out your SSD. If I only had to select either 8 GB RAM or a 256 GB SSD, I'd go with the bigger SSD in a heartbeat for all my media. The base 4 GB RAM is more than adequate.[COLOR="#808080"]

Killerbob
Jan 6, 2013, 04:21 PM
The base 4 GB RAM is more than adequate.

Not true at all! If you ever want to do some serious graphics work, or even just run Aperture with 30-50K pictures, scanning for Faces takes forever, but is much faster with plenty of RAM. Also, start using PhotoShop, or most other apps from the Adobe Creative Suite, and 4GB RAM will prove to little.

I'd max out on RAM, and go with the 250GB SSD, and if the storage is not enough, buy a cheap external USB3 HD for data. The RAM you can't upgrade on the MacBook Air, but storage you can always buy...

On my MacBook Air, which has the 250GB SSD, I still have some 100GB left. I know, I don't have any data on it, only OS, apps, and an image with Windows in Parallels, but data can be stored on ext. HDs, on your NAS or TimeCapsule, or in the Cloud.

A Hebrew
Jan 6, 2013, 11:35 PM
Get the 256 i5. It will last you through college and until you can afford a new computer easily.

Confuzzzed
Jan 7, 2013, 01:12 AM
What a load of bull. My 2006 HP laptop is still going strong and can handle everything I throw at it (PS, Lightroom, even light gaming [WoW]). Sure, it's a heavy 17" beast with a 1.5 hour battery life but it only cost me $699 at the time.


Each to their own. Enjoy the malware. I am sure your machine is running as fast as it did in 2006. Or 2007. Or 2008.

phuocsandiego
Jan 7, 2013, 07:00 AM
Not true at all! If you ever want to do some serious graphics work, or even just run Aperture with 30-50K pictures, scanning for Faces takes forever, but is much faster with plenty of RAM. Also, start using PhotoShop, or most other apps from the Adobe Creative Suite, and 4GB RAM will prove to little.

I'd max out on RAM, and go with the 250GB SSD, and if the storage is not enough, buy a cheap external USB3 HD for data. The RAM you can't upgrade on the MacBook Air, but storage you can always buy...

On my MacBook Air, which has the 250GB SSD, I still have some 100GB left. I know, I don't have any data on it, only OS, apps, and an image with Windows in Parallels, but data can be stored on ext. HDs, on your NAS or TimeCapsule, or in the Cloud.

For your use, you're absolutely right.

However, for the OP's stated use, I stand by my comments that 4 GB RAM is more than adequate for the next 3-6 years at least and would still rather have the 256 GB SSD over the RAM if I can't have both. Sure, you can always use external drives but if you lug that thing around like a college student will, then that external drive is going to get bothersome really quick.

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Each to their own. Enjoy the malware. I am sure your machine is running as fast as it did in 2006. Or 2007. Or 2008.

And this is why many people hate Mac users. I use both platforms and can honestly appreciate what each has to offer.

You assume that Macs has no malware targeted at it and that all Windows users don't take precautions to protect themselves. Why do I even bother? You should just keep on talking... I'm enjoying the entertainment. It's like my very own private TV reality show where I get to watch stupid people make a total donkey of themselves.

GoCubsGo
Jan 7, 2013, 07:04 AM
The only reason my Rev B MacBook Air would not have lasted me 3+ years would have been due to the memory. I believe I had the max memory we could get at the time but it was simply not enough. Safari was a hog, for one, and then opening other apps would kill it completely. Now, with the upgrade options, a MacBook Air would easily last me for many years. Hell, my Rev D PowerBook is still kicking ... slowly, but kicking.

maflynn
Jan 7, 2013, 07:07 AM
I'm currently a college student and would primarily use it for writing essays, web browsing, etc. also plan on using it to edit a podcast every now and then. If I do buy the MBA I hope on pushing 3+ years of life out of it.
Given your usage needs, the current crop of MBAs are more then enough to fulfill those needs. The only question is how well its maintained in those 3 years.

el-John-o
Jan 7, 2013, 09:01 AM
To start the current MBA's are much more powerful then my 2008 iMac. They have SSDs so there are no moving parts that can go wrong. If anything i think they are more future proofed then my iMac was when i got it.

But your 2008 iMac was significantly more powerful than a 2008 MBA when it came out!

However, with light duty every day tasks, I could see a 2012 MBA being in use 5 years from now.

torana355
Jan 7, 2013, 09:10 AM
But your 2008 iMac was significantly more powerful than a 2008 MBA when it came out!

However, with light duty every day tasks, I could see a 2012 MBA being in use 5 years from now.

Yes but the gap between Desktops and laptops has closed significantly since then aswell and yes, with normal tasks a 2012 MBA will EASILY handle the same tasks in 5 years time. My 2008 iMac with an SSD installed is just as fast at everyday tasks as my brand new 2012 iMac.

el-John-o
Jan 7, 2013, 10:53 AM
Yes but the gap between Desktops and laptops has closed significantly since then aswell and yes, with normal tasks a 2012 MBA will EASILY handle the same tasks in 5 years time. My 2008 iMac with an SSD installed is just as fast at everyday tasks as my brand new 2012 iMac.

You are right, the gap has closed quite a bit. However I don't think 'easily' or 'same' is accurate. A MacBook Air IS a low end computer. No ifs ands or buts. Today, Apple's low end computer is better than almost anyone elses low end computer and it's a lot closer to a desktop class machine than any previous low end computer. However;

In 5 years, it will be a bit of a struggle. It'll operate slower as software becomes more complicated, there WILL be pieces of software it won't be able to run proficiently, and there WILL be limitations here or there. It will do MOST tasks, sure, but not 'easily'.

Ultimately, if you want futureproofing, the MBP is the way to go (of the two options here) given it's better performance. But I understand the allure of the Air, so for those that want it, yeah I'll concede they could still be using it 5 years from now, but it won't perform as well as when it was new in 2012, when it's running 2017 software!

Scepticalscribe
Jan 7, 2013, 12:55 PM
I have a MBA which I bought in September 2010 and which still runs perfectly well, although I am giving thought to an upgrade, probably later this year. In the time since I bought it (and subsequently sold my 2008 MBP), it has been my main computer and has travelled a lot with me. I can say it is easily the best computer I have ever had. Thus far, the keyboard and mag-safe needed replacing (which Applecare took care of). Other than that, I have had no problem at all (whereas the HDD failed on my old MBP, and had to be replaced under Applecare).

Re the MBA itself, the SSD drive is a lot more stable (and faster) than the more traditional HDD. Indeed, with falling prices, and, if the MBA is to serve as a main computer rather than a back-up, or travelling second computer, it now makes sense to have a larger SSD drive than what used to be available.

Likewise, as has been advised by almost everybody else, I would advise that you buy whatever RAM you can afford, as whatever is being developed now will tend to hog more and more RAM. Certainly, for now, 4GB RAM is more than enough for your current - or stated - needs and probably will be perfectly adequate for the next few years. Nevertheless, as, doubtless will be said by others, 8 GB of RAM would future proof a machine to a greater extent.

ybz90
Jan 7, 2013, 04:36 PM
Just my 2, after selling my monster dual-proc desktop, I moved full time to my MBA, and since I don't game anymore, I haven't missed the big thing at all. My Air has its fair share of drops and nasty scrapes too, and she's chugging along just fine. The only thing is probably my battery will die/lose capacity retention in about a year, as I've already put 687 cycles on it in roughly a year and four months (though it still shows 87% health and good 4-5 hrs of life). But even then, that's a good amount of life considering how heavily I use it.

cgk.emu
Jan 7, 2013, 04:47 PM
What do you mean "last"? My original 2007 MBA is still running fine, albeit slower than my iPad 2....

mrkramer
Jan 20, 2013, 02:47 PM
I've had my 2nd gen macbook air for a little over 3 and a half years, and it's still working. It's starting to have some problems, but I can probably get a bit more life out of it if I need to. I would strongly recommend getting applecare if you really want to keep it 3+ years, it's saved me a few times. But yeah as long as you don't feel a strong need to always have the latest hardware and your needs for a computer don't change too much over that time you should be perfectly fine.

Weerez935
Jan 20, 2013, 04:59 PM
My wife has a 2008 mac air and it still runs like new.

Clix Pix
Jan 20, 2013, 05:03 PM
I use my first-gen MBA nearly every day and she is still purring right along. However, that is not my only Mac and so I don't do a lot of extensive tasks on it.

hkim1983
Jan 20, 2013, 07:31 PM
5 years ago, I was still a college student, and I purchased the (then) brand new '08 Unibody Macbook 13" (ok, so it hasn't technically been 5 years yet, close enough). I did pretty much what you did, except I also did some media work and some games that pushed my system a bit. It lasted me 4 years and if I really wanted to, I could have stretched it to 5 years. I upgraded the HD and maxed out the ram during that time, and the only thing that really gave me issues were a battery issue (which Apple replaced for free) and the less significant internal battery (the thing that keeps track of your time) dying, but that's normal.

I've noticed that my computing demands have actually gone down with age, and unless you're a serious computer gamer, or you need the horsepower because of your job, a MBA purchased today could easily last you through college assuming your needs are not extraordinary, but that's just my opinion from my experiences.

ET iPhone Home
Jan 21, 2013, 01:51 AM
Hey guys, newbie to the forum here. I'm planning on buying a MacBook Air as my primary computer and I wondered how many years it could last while in this role. I'm currently a college student and would primarily use it for writing essays, web browsing, etc. also plan on using it to edit a podcast every now and then. If I do buy the MBA I hope on pushing 3+ years of life out of it.

Also planned on saving a bit of money by buying the base 13" and upgrading the ram to 8g with plans to install a larger ssd in the future but found out the processor can't be upgraded to i7 unless you get the 256 ssd .should I save the money and stick with i5 or get i7 with 256ssd and take the 400$ hit


Thanks

I have a MBA 2011 and is my only computer. Have had it for 1 1/2 years and going strong. I'm hoping to upgrade it this year, only if, the new MBA 2013 has retina display with 256ssd. I have 128ssd and it's somewhat limiting.