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Old Dec 25, 2012, 11:07 PM   #1
davenz
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Join Date: Jul 2008
MBA purchase choices.

I know there are a ton of these threads posted, so I apologize in advance.

I am currently in the market for a new notebook and currently the 13" MBA is sitting at the top of the list. However, firstly I would like to get some input.

I use excel a lot for my work. This involves quite a lot of macros, and working with VBA. The last mac I had came with the 2008 model which VBA was omitted from. I understand this is included in the 2011 version. I used windows at work so it needs to be fully compatible(including macros). Is the mac version on par with windows yet? This is my main concern as I don't have access to school machines like I did when in college. Other things i used lots are pivot tables, pivot charts, financial functions, data analysis and stats formulas.

I will also be going back to school part time to do some interest papers in compute science and software engineering. This may require either linux or windows to also be installed- but I imagine the use would be very irregular. Other things I will use it for is photoshop, basic video editing, media management, word processing, and financial modelling.

At the moment I think the 13" MBA i5 with 8gb ram would work. Would 4gb be enough for my needs? Games are not going anywhere near it (or my other devices). Unsure on HD size yet. is 256 really necessary? Most of my big files such as movies are on an external.

I have not cancelled out windows, but all of the decent windows machines don't seem any cheaper than Apple, and the workmanship lower.

The final thing I want to look at is the 2013 models. Any major changes rumored? I guess it may get a processor bump. Anything new in the intel pipeline? I can't see retina or anything happening without changes to power supply or prices.

Do you think the machine above is the best route? Any other input or suggestions? When I am at home I will connect to external monitor.
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Old Dec 26, 2012, 05:44 AM   #2
nightlong
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RAM ... It's always my highest priority because I don't upgrade my computers every year, I always get double the RAM that is considered sufficient at the time. Also, I want to get the best performance from the computer.

STORAGE .... depends how big your files are, how much you want to have on board. I got 256 because, even though I keep most of my big media files on external drives, I like having space for some big files when I'm travelling and don't want to carry several external drives. Also, space for backing up iPhone and ipad4. And, I'm still not willing to rely too much on cloud storage.

FUTURE ... Whoknows what secretive Apple might be cooking up, but I think they might at least improve the screen on the next MBA.

As it is, I think the 13 inch MBA is a well developed really good general purpose computer .... Great portability, works well for desktop with external screen, and is really fast. On several threads here you'll find people with more demanding tasks, such as software writers and photographers, finding it adequate.
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Old Dec 26, 2012, 08:20 AM   #3
wolfpuppies3
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Concur with nightlong concerning the memory. You see below my choice for storage but I use my machine a lot for photos, I have 360GB of them.

As to MS Office you have two ways to go. I have it for MAC and it works fine. You can also install Parallels and Windows 8 on that machine so MS Office for Windows works fine there too. Your option. I extremely rarely use MS office on my machines as I have Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, each of which imports and exports to Office format but you do sometimes have your formatting messed up doing that with Word files.
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2012 MBA 13, 2 Ghz i7, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD; 2011 MBA 11, 1.8 Ghz i7, 4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD; 2010 MB Pro 15, 2.66 Ghz i7, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD; two iPad 3s and a mini, two iPhones and a bunch of iPods
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 03:02 AM   #4
davenz
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Ok thanks- final question.

I live in New Zealand, where the 4gb 128gb model is $1500 in the refurb store. I have been looking for months on the store, ebay ect and can't find a 8gb model. That means the only way is to buy new from the apple store.

The price at the apple store is about $1900 for the same thing but 8gb memory. I don't buy computers often and want this to last me at least 3-4 years. What would you do? buy the much more expensive one to future proof or buy the 4gb and see how it goes? Both would be identical aside from ram.

Everything is much more expensive (even once converted currency) than North America/Europe.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 04:41 AM   #5
Isamilis
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If I were you, I'll take the basic configuration 4GB/128GB. The price is just too expensive. You may see the possibility to buy the next one after graduation, and when the time has come, you may not necessarily buy it in NZ. You can buy it later when you have on-the-job training abroad - for example.

Spend money for external disk (for backup), printer, or subscribing business/class-related magazines.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 02:28 PM   #6
wolfpuppies3
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Definitely upgrade it at the time of your purchase to 8 GB RAM. You will need it and there is no way to add more down the line with the Air.
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2012 MBA 13, 2 Ghz i7, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD; 2011 MBA 11, 1.8 Ghz i7, 4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD; 2010 MB Pro 15, 2.66 Ghz i7, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD; two iPad 3s and a mini, two iPhones and a bunch of iPods
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