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Old Jan 4, 2013, 06:12 PM   #1
louis0nfire
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Maxed out 11" worth it?

So the upgrade from i5 to i7 is $135, 4GB to 8GB is $90, and 128GB to 512GB is $720. I'm assuming the processor and memory upgrades are definitely worth the extra money; but is even the $270 jump to 256GB worth it? The 11" MBA isn't going to be my main machine, so at most I would be storing apps, a few games, and some media. What's the recommended "sweet spot" betwwen price and future-proof? Thanks.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 06:53 PM   #2
Mrbobb
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Nobody buys the 512g if u hafts ask. Plus u can upgrade that later. iTunes lib size and whether u run Windows determines ur storage need.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 06:58 PM   #3
coldjeanzzz
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If it's not your primary machine I don't think the processor or SSD upgrades are worth it.

i5, 256 GB, 8 GB would be a nice happy medium IMO. Even the 256 jump might not be necessary if you are only going to install apps+light games+media.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 07:28 PM   #4
HarryKNN21
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If you ask me, that's not worth it. With all these maxing out you need to pay MBP money for the smallest machine.

I would only go for storage upgrade and memory upgrade if I buy one in Hong Kong, since I may not be able to buy OWC's flash drive upgrade.

For future-proof, I think you need to consider 13" at least.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 09:54 PM   #5
KPOM
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In the 11" model there is a bigger difference between the i5 and i7. Until recently I had an i7 11" MacBook Air (I lost it while traveling and used the insurance proceeds to get a rMBP). The SSD capacity depends more on how much data you plan to store on it. I had the 128GB model from 2008 to 2011 but then upgraded to 256 after that as my needs had outgrown the 128GB model.

For most tasks, the i5 will be just fine and I'd have no issues recommending it to most users. However, if you have any CPU-intensive applications the i7 will be a little faster.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 10:52 PM   #6
macrominnie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by louis0nfire View Post
So the upgrade from i5 to i7 is $135, 4GB to 8GB is $90, and 128GB to 512GB is $720. I'm assuming the processor and memory upgrades are definitely worth the extra money....What's the recommended "sweet spot" between price and future-proof?
A lot depends on your use now and projected into the future. Probably not many people want to use the 11" MBA to be their main Final Cut Pro workhorse.

My suggestion is to only max out the RAM (to 8 GB) and nothing else. The i5 processor speed is decent for the routine stuff most MBA users do. If future common applications get really processor intensive, the MBA i7 would probably also lag (though lag less).

By contrast, there are plenty of common demands for more RAM NOW:
multiple browser windows, RAM hungry OS's (10.8 & 10.9), multiple applications open, virtual machines, (maybe gaming,) etc.

I suggest saving the money on internal SSD and get portable external solutions:
flash drives, external SSD, external HD depending on your storage and portability needs. I've found USB 3.0 flash drives good enough for moving large media files to and from a MBA. And as MrBobb says, you can upgrade later if needed.

Last edited by macrominnie; Jan 4, 2013 at 10:54 PM. Reason: misspelled
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 11:11 PM   #7
xxcysxx
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Hey, I'd say do it. Do it now, do it quick, before the retina update. The newer retina version of the 11 inch will have its own set of newer problems all over again. The current generation of the 11 inch is perhaps the finest of its kind in terms of reliability and consistency, its been through several refreshes and it certainly shows it in quality and performance. I'm using the mid 2012 11 inch with 2.0 GHz i7 8GB ram and 256GB ssd and the performance and feel is smooth as butter. I love it!
The current generation mid 2012 i7 Mac book air 11 inch has equal or slightly better performance than the early 2011 i7 MacBook Pro 13 inch.
The screen is smaller but still very usable, it has slightly lower vertical resolution than the 13 inch MacBook Pro, however, it has higher horizontal resolution.
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 12:01 AM   #8
A Hebrew
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No. It is not worth it.
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 12:02 AM   #9
Lil Chillbil
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I wouldn't go for it personally
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 12:18 AM   #10
daonesteven
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me neither. For some reason, I'd max out a 13" but not an 11". And I say this even though I own the higher end 2011 11"
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 12:30 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mrbobb View Post
Nobody buys the 512g if u hafts ask. Plus u can upgrade that later. iTunes lib size and whether u run Windows determines ur storage need.
I'd suggest anyone familiarize themselves with pricing and teardown prior to counting on the ability to later upgrade storage. A 480GB drive from OWC is still quite expensive, and others may not appear. Apple uses proprietary connectors, and they've varied slightly through the line. This will discourage most third party ODMs. OWC has to profit from a relatively small number of units. Newegg only gets stuff with standard connectors.
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 12:35 AM   #12
HarryKNN21
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Actually I always wondered: how do a dual-core ULP i7 differs from a dual-core ULP i5?

It seems the integrated GPU in the i7-3667U that the maxed out MBA uses, only has 0.1GHz advantage over the i5. Also that 1Mb cache advantage doesn't seems to better for processing either.

i7-3667U - http://ark.intel.com/products/64898/...up-to-3_20-GHz

i5-3317U - http://ark.intel.com/products/65707/...up-to-2_60-GHz
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 01:57 AM   #13
BornAgainMac
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Not worth it even if main machine.

I originally had buyers remorse by not getting 512. It would have allowed me to have this my only Mac. Got the Mini and using the Air less. I wish apps could span past the primary drive. I realized now I was making the Air perform a role that it wasn't intended.
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 08:44 AM   #14
KPOM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryKNN21 View Post
Actually I always wondered: how do a dual-core ULP i7 differs from a dual-core ULP i5?

It seems the integrated GPU in the i7-3667U that the maxed out MBA uses, only has 0.1GHz advantage over the i5. Also that 1Mb cache advantage doesn't seems to better for processing either.

i7-3667U - http://ark.intel.com/products/64898/...up-to-3_20-GHz

i5-3317U - http://ark.intel.com/products/65707/...up-to-2_60-GHz
The Turbo Boost is the most significant difference between the i5 and i7 ULV processors. The 17W 2.0GHz i7 is roughly on par with the 35W 2.5GHz i5 used in the base MacBook Pro, as it turbo boosts to 3.2GHz (compared to the 2.5 GHz i5's top boost of 3.1GHz).

By contrast, the 1.7GHz i5 in the base 11" MBA boosts to 2.6GHz.
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 01:36 PM   #15
kierennyc
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If you can afford it, its worth it.

If you cant afford it, its not worth it.
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 04:51 PM   #16
edricfilho
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I went for it and I am truly satisfied..

I finally gave up all my concerns about cost/performance etc., after realizing that every MBP/MBA I buy I end up questioning "wouldn't this be faster if I had the maxxed out version?" every now and then. Before Macs, I always purchased my Windows machines based just on performance needs.

Bought the MBA 11 i7/256/8 and and I don't even think about performance anymore, much more for knowing that I am working with the best the little thing can do. In fact, even using Windows in a virtual machine, the only diff I really notice (from the 4GB/HD models) is the SSD space and speed...

Came to the conclusion that using a Mac has sort of an emotional aspect to me, so to speak (I still have to use Windows professionally...).

Cheers

Edric

PS- BTW, I use my Mac as the main machine w/ an Apple Cinema Display and Time Capsule.

Last edited by edricfilho; Jan 8, 2013 at 07:08 AM. Reason: Complementing the info...
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Old Jan 5, 2013, 10:43 PM   #17
cedwhatev
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Go with the maxed out 8GB of RAM for sure! Otherwise, unless you need a lot of hard drive space, the rest is not necessary.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 02:30 PM   #18
BluePhilG
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Definitely worth it (for me... YMMV)

I bought an 11" i7/8G/512GB, and its now my main machine.
No longer any storage concerns, no performance concerns, its just a beautiful main machine that I expect will last a good few years.

Generally I have around 350GB used (music library, photo library, a couple of VMs, quite a few apps), and the remaining 150GB (or whatever) I use for various downloads, working space, then move stuff off to a NAS drive.

Now you could argue that I could do that with 256GB, but in fact I wanted most of my music and photo library with me at all times without resorting to ext HDD.

So, for me, its definitely worth it. But "worth it" is very subjective.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 10:25 AM   #19
yinz
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Originally Posted by BluePhilG View Post
I bought an 11" i7/8G/512GB, and its now my main machine.
No longer any storage concerns, no performance concerns, its just a beautiful main machine that I expect will last a good few years.

Generally I have around 350GB used (music library, photo library, a couple of VMs, quite a few apps), and the remaining 150GB (or whatever) I use for various downloads, working space, then move stuff off to a NAS drive.

Now you could argue that I could do that with 256GB, but in fact I wanted most of my music and photo library with me at all times without resorting to ext HDD.

So, for me, its definitely worth it. But "worth it" is very subjective.
An 11" main machine? Unless you plug in to external monitor, it's difficult to take you seriously. It's hard to do serious work on a machine that small. Before that was netbook territory because it's small and cheap, but a maxed out MacBook Air is not cheap at all. Sure, it's ultra portable, but at a battery loss, I don't think it can be compared with the 13". The 13" has almost an all day battery, so maxing out that model makes sense, but an 11" only has 5 hours? That seems less than impressive. A maxed out iPad would be a better machine in my opinion...
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 10:42 AM   #20
Wokis
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Originally Posted by KPOM View Post
The Turbo Boost is the most significant difference between the i5 and i7 ULV processors. The 17W 2.0GHz i7 is roughly on par with the 35W 2.5GHz i5 used in the base MacBook Pro, as it turbo boosts to 3.2GHz (compared to the 2.5 GHz i5's top boost of 3.1GHz).

By contrast, the 1.7GHz i5 in the base 11" MBA boosts to 2.6GHz.
All true but let me add.

The top 3.2 will only kick in when a heavy single-threaded process needs it and thermals allows. The top turbo multiplier will require putting one of the cores into an idle state, not using it at all. It can however achieve 3.0 with both cores still in play. In contrast of the i5 which dual core turbo should stop on, I think, 2.4GHz (on the 11 inch model).

Thing is they will all adjust max CPU frequency to the situation and always make sure it's under the thermal limit*. If you run for example a game that makes use of the GPU it will also add to the 17W TDP maximum, resulting in the CPU possibly not turbo'ing up to the highest dual core multiplier.

That'd mean the difference between the i5 and i7 may not be that big when using both CPU and GPU at the same time. However, the i7 chips are likely the highest binned (cherry picked) lowest leakage parts, meaning they may be able to consume less energy while doing more work than an ULV i5, thus being able to "turbo" a little more.

*I think Turbo Boost 2.0 allows for exceeding TDP limit but only for a set amount of time. This factor should be modified by OEMs and board makers, so some might not be able to.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 01:50 AM   #21
BluePhilG
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Originally Posted by yinz View Post
An 11" main machine? Unless you plug in to external monitor, it's difficult to take you seriously. It's hard to do serious work on a machine that small. Before that was netbook territory because it's small and cheap, but a maxed out MacBook Air is not cheap at all. Sure, it's ultra portable, but at a battery loss, I don't think it can be compared with the 13". The 13" has almost an all day battery, so maxing out that model makes sense, but an 11" only has 5 hours? That seems less than impressive. A maxed out iPad would be a better machine in my opinion...
I would have been better with an iPad, and you cant take me seriously cz I use my 11" as my main machine? Jeez...

In any case, battery has never been a problem for me. Most times I am near a power outlet, and when I am not I tend to work in bursts of 3-4 hours max.

I've taken it around UK, USA, Europe. The size is perfect, FOR ME.

It all works very well for me, and for the record I do some serious work. But hey, your opinion and your mileage may vary.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 03:18 AM   #22
yinz
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I would have been better with an iPad, and you cant take me seriously cz I use my 11" as my main machine? Jeez...

In any case, battery has never been a problem for me. Most times I am near a power outlet, and when I am not I tend to work in bursts of 3-4 hours max.

I've taken it around UK, USA, Europe. The size is perfect, FOR ME.

It all works very well for me, and for the record I do some serious work. But hey, your opinion and your mileage may vary.
That's great. I guess that's why Apple built an 11" ultimate. I'm glad you are happy about the purchase. The 11" form factor is appealing to many.
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