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Old May 27, 2013, 08:19 PM   #1
smallboxes
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Should I get a Macbook Air 13" for college?

I was checking the Apple Store today and noticed two different Macbook Air 13" prices and specs. I am not sure which one would suit me best. I am also aware that Apple may come out with a new Macbook Air with Haswell. I am assuming the other specs (flash&memory) will not change therefore I am looking for a suitable investment.


Things to take into consideration:
-Major: Art History (assumption of main use: essays, ebooks, browsing etc)
-Will not use it for gaming
-Will not use it for editing (photoshop, final cut/video, etc)
-Daily use on my white Macbook (Late 2009): internet browsing (tons of tabs), itunes, Microsoft Office


I am not sure which will suit me best, the 8GB or 4GB or the other storage specs. I know it can be customizable but it also costs more $$$.

Last edited by smallboxes; May 28, 2013 at 10:49 AM.
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Old May 27, 2013, 08:56 PM   #2
Mrbobb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smallboxes View Post
-Daily use on my white Macbook (Late 2009): internet browsing (tons of tabs), itunes, Microsoft Office
I don't understand what you are trying to say about your 2009 that has any relevancy to your new purchase.

Anywhoo 4 gig for your usage enough, but if u can afford it, 8 gig will buy extra longevity, how much, debatable.
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Old May 27, 2013, 09:00 PM   #3
Mr Kram
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seems like your current macbook would do the job...
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Old May 27, 2013, 09:10 PM   #4
talmy
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Don't buy a computer you don't really need. It looks like your current MacBook would do just fine. The only real advantage of the MBA would be its less weight and slightly greater resolution (although the quality of the display is probably not quite as good).

When you actually need a new computer, buy it then. It will just be more powerful at the same price, and meanwhile you will have conserved your money.
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Old May 28, 2013, 02:59 AM   #5
na1577
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I owned the same white MacBook before upgrading to the 2012 MacBook Air. The difference in weight, speed, and resolution is noticeable and a nice upgrade.

But I use my computer quite differently; I do edit and play games, which is why I the old MacBook no longer met my needs. But it sounds like it is still capable enough for you, so I would recommend waiting until it breaks or you start running into software incompatibility (there's always the possibility that OS X 10.9 may not run on your computer). If your computer is starting to feel a little sluggish, a RAM or SSD upgrade can extend the life significantly.
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Old May 28, 2013, 06:37 AM   #6
DisplacedMic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrbobb View Post
I don't understand what you are trying to say about your 2009 that has any relevancy to your new purchase.

Anywhoo 4 gig for your usage enough, but if u can afford it, 8 gig will buy extra longevity, how much, debatable.
?
he is telling us what his current and future needs are, i don't see how that's not relevant?

there are 10 of these threads a day, at least he bothered to tell us what his specific requirements are.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by smallboxes View Post
I was checking the Apple Store today and noticed two different Macbook Air 13" prices and specs. I am not sure which one would suit me best. I am also aware that Apple may come out with a new Macbook Air with Haswell. I am assuming the other specs (flash&memory) will not change therefore I am looking for a suitable investment.


Things to take into consideration:
-Major: Art History (assumption of main use: essays, ebooks, browsing etc)
-Will not use it for gaming
-Will not use it for editing (photoshop, final cut/video, etc)
-Daily use on my white Macbook (Late 2009): internet browsing (tons of tabs), itunes, Microsoft Office


I am not sure which will suit me best, the 8GB or 4GB or the other storage specs. I know it can be customizable but it also costs more $$$.
obviously whether or not you are going make this kind of purchase is going to be up to you. i agree that your 2009 laptop would probably be perfectly adequate provided it's still in good condition.

I would definitely suggest going to an actual apple store and playing with the various computers before making this kind of purchase.

Also - where do you live? if you are in the US many states have tax free weekends in the mid to late summer that you might be able to take advantage of.

definitely go to the student discount page as well.
for what it's worth, if you do upgrade, i think the RAM upgrade is a better "investment" than a cpu upgrade when it comes to the MBAs.

good luck!
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Old May 28, 2013, 08:54 AM   #7
Bear
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smallboxes View Post
...
-Daily use on my white Macbook (Late 2009): internet browsing (tons of tabs), itunes, Microsoft Office

I am not sure which will suit me best, the 8GB or 4GB or the other storage specs. I know it can be customizable but it also costs more $$$.
I would recommend 8GB as lots of browser tabs uses a lot of memory. I presume you would want the browser, iTunes and pieces of office running at the same time.

It's harder to say how big an SSD you would need. It all depends on how much stuff you pan on keeping in iTunes. At a minimum 128GB might be enough 256GB would be safer unless you know for a fact that you need more.

When looking at the price of the Air and options, consider how long you plan on keeping it. Over 3 years, the extra money for 8GB/256GB is not much per month.
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Old May 28, 2013, 09:26 AM   #8
smallboxes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Kram View Post
seems like your current macbook would do the job...

I am sorry for not mentioning how my Macbook is currently doing. It does seem like it when you look at it. Then you open it and it runs super slow. It just took me 15 minutes to get to the log-in screen because my Macbook wouldn't start up. I did take it to the Apple Store to get it looked at and the Genius assistants did diagnostics tests and everything and couldn't come up with a solution. I cannot multitask without my Macbook having to freeze. I once almost lost my research paper just because I opened a third tab on Firefox. I switched back onto Word and it froze and stood like that for a good 20 minutes. I was freaking out. Also that wasn't it's only "freezing" point, it's happened before on PowerPoint, Firefox, Pages, even when I try to open my System Preferences. It does not run like it used to. I believe it serves great purpose for email and web browsing but not as fast for switching to and fro between many programs during a research paper or project.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by na1577 View Post
I owned the same white MacBook before upgrading to the 2012 MacBook Air. The difference in weight, speed, and resolution is noticeable and a nice upgrade.

But I use my computer quite differently; I do edit and play games, which is why I the old MacBook no longer met my needs. But it sounds like it is still capable enough for you, so I would recommend waiting until it breaks or you start running into software incompatibility (there's always the possibility that OS X 10.9 may not run on your computer). If your computer is starting to feel a little sluggish, a RAM or SSD upgrade can extend the life significantly.

Yes, that's what attracted me most to the Macbook Air, it's weight, speed and resolution compared to my white Macbook. Also, I have tested the Macbook Air 13" at the store and it feels sleek and quick.

I am also afraid that I will not make it to OS X 10.9, also another reason why I want to upgrade. My current Macbook has lasted me from 2009-Present, therefore maybe if I upgrade to a Macbook 13" 2013, it can last me another four years (hopefully).
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Old May 28, 2013, 09:28 AM   #9
Mr Kram
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have you tried doing a fresh install of everything? i will admit that the MBA will be much faster, but i have a 2008 MB that runs fine with none of the freezing issues under a similar workload as yours. in any case, if you're set on getting an MBA, 4 GB of RAM should be sufficient for you.
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Old May 28, 2013, 09:40 AM   #10
smallboxes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear View Post
I would recommend 8GB as lots of browser tabs uses a lot of memory. I presume you would want the browser, iTunes and pieces of office running at the same time.

It's harder to say how big an SSD you would need. It all depends on how much stuff you pan on keeping in iTunes. At a minimum 128GB might be enough 256GB would be safer unless you know for a fact that you need more.

When looking at the price of the Air and options, consider how long you plan on keeping it. Over 3 years, the extra money for 8GB/256GB is not much per month.
I will definitely keep this in mind!
So 8GB vs 4GB will last me for four years?
I currently have:
Memory 2 GB 1067 MHz DDR3/250GB
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Old May 28, 2013, 09:52 AM   #11
DisplacedMic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smallboxes View Post
I will definitely keep this in mind!
So 8GB vs 4GB will last me for four years?
I currently have:
Memory 2 GB 1067 MHz DDR3/250GB
yes, definitely - barring damage or a failure of course.

I agree with Bear. truth be told, 4gig is probably fine but bang for your buck, if you have the extra $100 for an upgrade, RAM is where i would put it.

keep in mind the student discount applies to upgrades as well so it would be $90 to double the ram. pretty good deal imo

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Kram View Post
have you tried doing a fresh install of everything? i will admit that the MBA will be much faster, but i have a 2008 MB that runs fine with none of the freezing issues under a similar workload as yours. in any case, if you're set on getting an MBA, 4 GB of RAM should be sufficient for you.
i also agree with this. if you are not looking to upgrade unless you have to, Mr Kram is absolutely right. a fresh install of everything might make it run like new again :-)
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Old May 28, 2013, 09:58 AM   #12
smallboxes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Kram View Post
have you tried doing a fresh install of everything? i will admit that the MBA will be much faster, but i have a 2008 MB that runs fine with none of the freezing issues under a similar workload as yours. in any case, if you're set on getting an MBA, 4 GB of RAM should be sufficient for you.
The Apple Store assistants all recommended that i install everything. But also said it was risky because it might erase everything on my Macbook. I could not risk it because I had a paper due the very next day. Do you think 4GB will last me four years?

My current white Macbook is 2GB/250GB.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by DisplacedMic View Post
keep in mind the student discount applies to upgrades as well so it would be $90 to double the ram. pretty good deal imo [COLOR="#808080"]
I forgot about the student discount! Oh this is great news to me. I might consider getting the 8GB/256GB. Hopefully the discount covers most of the upgrade expenses.
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Old May 28, 2013, 10:01 AM   #13
DisplacedMic
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Originally Posted by smallboxes View Post
The Apple Store assistants all recommended that i install everything. But also said it was risky because it might erase everything on my Macbook. I could not risk it because I had a paper due the very next day. Do you think 4GB will last me four years?

My current white Macbook is 2GB/250GB.

----------



I forgot about the student discount! Oh this is great news to me. I might consider getting the 8GB/256GB. Hopefully the discount covers most of the upgrade expenses.
erasing everything on your macbook is the point!
obviously you are going to want to do a backup prior to doing this.
and definitely pick a good time to do it (summer vacation!) where you can afford to be without a computer for a few hours or days if you hit a snag.

the discount applies to everything - 10% for each thing.
it also applies to the protection plan which a lot of students take advantage of.

i don't get service contracts on anything i buy - but i have to admit that there is a pretty good argument for a student to get one (or rather for a parent to get one for their student)

also - do note what i wrote up above, if you are in the US many states offer tax-free holidays once or twice a year that are a good time to purchase computers.

there is also an expected change to the MBA lineup to be announced in a few weeks so either way i would hold off and see what happens there. you might like the new machines or, if the upgrade is only nominal you might be able to get a used/refurb 2012 mba on the cheap!
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Old May 28, 2013, 10:08 AM   #14
Mr Kram
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smallboxes View Post
The Apple Store assistants all recommended that i install everything. But also said it was risky because it might erase everything on my Macbook. I could not risk it because I had a paper due the very next day. Do you think 4GB will last me four years?

My current white Macbook is 2GB/250GB.

----------



I forgot about the student discount! Oh this is great news to me. I might consider getting the 8GB/256GB. Hopefully the discount covers most of the upgrade expenses.
4GB will be fine if your current usage doesn't change much. It's nice to have 8GB and $100 isn't much, but it's a waste if you don't need it. I only opted for 4GB in mine and I'm more than happy.
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Old May 28, 2013, 10:13 AM   #15
smallboxes
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Originally Posted by DisplacedMic View Post
erasing everything on your macbook is the point!
obviously you are going to want to do a backup prior to doing this.
and definitely pick a good time to do it (summer vacation!) where you can afford to be without a computer for a few hours or days if you hit a snag.

the discount applies to everything - 10% for each thing.
it also applies to the protection plan which a lot of students take advantage of.

i don't get service contracts on anything i buy - but i have to admit that there is a pretty good argument for a student to get one (or rather for a parent to get one for their student)
That's great. I will ask the Apple Store for this discount. I bought the Protection Plan for my iPhone 4s, but never used it and the year expired. So I'm not sure if I will purchase the protection plan for the computer.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by DisplacedMic View Post

also - do note what i wrote up above, if you are in the US many states offer tax-free holidays once or twice a year that are a good time to purchase computers.

there is also an expected change to the MBA lineup to be announced in a few weeks so either way i would hold off and see what happens there. you might like the new machines or, if the upgrade is only nominal you might be able to get a used/refurb 2012 mba on the cheap!

Yes I saw! I did some browsing and New Jersey does not have a tax-free holiday but New York does, only for clothes and shoes I believe though.

Yes I am aware the MBA lineup will be changing, which is why I want to make sure I know what to buy for when the lineup comes out.
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Old May 28, 2013, 10:20 AM   #16
DisplacedMic
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Originally Posted by smallboxes View Post
That's great. I will ask the Apple Store for this discount. I bought the Protection Plan for my iPhone 4s, but never used it and the year expired. So I'm not sure if I will purchase the protection plan for the computer.

----------




Yes I saw! I did some browsing and New Jersey does not have a tax-free holiday but New York does, only for clothes and shoes I believe though.

Yes I am aware the MBA lineup will be changing, which is why I want to make sure I know what to buy for when the lineup comes out.
oh - well, it was worth checking!

here's the link for the student discount:
http://store.apple.com/us/browse/cam...cation_pricing

just enter in your zip, find your school and look at the prices.

good luck at school, it's all down-hill after graduation
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Old May 31, 2013, 12:31 PM   #17
ayres
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hi, it's worth mentioning that you could clean install your white macbook and sell it - thus easing the purchase burden of your new computer. just wait until after you have your new computer and ensure that everything you want is safely copied over. then, wipe it clean and sell it... i don't know what the condition is like, but it is at least a couple hundred dollars.

a note on transferring. i don't recommend transferring an exact copy/image of the white macbook harddrive to the new one... rather, just copy over the few files and folders you want.
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