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View Poll Results: 13" MBA: Worth upgrading from 2012 to 2013?
No: Keep 2102 MBA for another 6 months or so 96 61.54%
Yes: Upgrade to the 2013 version for about net $270 60 38.46%
Voters: 156. You may not vote on this poll

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Old Jun 21, 2013, 09:26 AM   #1
dmk1974
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13" MBA: Worth upgrading from 2012 to 2013?

My wife and I currently each have a 2012 13" base model MBA. Work great and no issues with them. They have 5-7 months of the original Apple warranty left on them.

While I did just buy an 11" 2013 to try out, and may go with, I was thinking of actually getting the 13" version. Is it worth upgrading from our 2012 models though? I figure I can net $800 if I sell each of the 2012's (mint condition, have BestSkinsEver skins on them and original retail box, charger, etc.). Leveraging my brother's teacher discount, I figure after tax, a base 2013 13" MBA would cost me about $1070.

So basically, is it worth $270 per machine for:
  • Battery Life: 5 hours to 10 hours (real-world)
  • SSD Speed: write/read of 230/440 to 320/720 (MB/s)
  • Graphics: HD 4000 to HD 5000

Am I missing any other significant differences? Battery of course is the primary upgrade. Though, while used in many rooms and sometimes the patio, our laptops rarely leave our house.

From what I've seen, the Geekbench scores of the base processors from 2012 to 2013 are essentially the same. 4 GB RAM and 128 GB storage should remain plenty good for our use (web, email, MS Office apps, light iPhoto/iMovie use, playing iTunes music and videos...very very little game playing).

Thanks!
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 09:29 AM   #2
LordKuroda
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Am currently having the same dilemma as well, would be great to see opinions from others!
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 09:49 AM   #3
ugahairydawgs
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Well....I'd ask these questions.

1.) Do you spend a lot of time unplugged or away from the ability to plug in?

2.) Do you access a lot of large files?

3.) Do you do a lot that is taxing on the GPU?

Also....I would not bank on getting $800/each for those laptops. Refurbs from Apple for that same base model are $849 and come with the full year warranty. A sucker is born every day, but that's who you'd need to find in order to get $1,600 for those laptops.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 09:52 AM   #4
MikeAllaway
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Also has improved WiFi... from 802.11n to ac but then you'd need to buy an ac router to see the benefits ... $540 (270x2) is a lot considering the only significant upgrade is the battery life. Big question you really need to ask yourself is 'am I happy with my current MBA?' ... If you've found it's slowed down or that the battery drains quickly and become unsuitable for what you use it for then yeah go for it. But since there's not much of a difference (i.e. no hardware redesign, same RAM, storage size, etc) I'd suggest spending that $540 on an iPad / iPad mini (if you don't already one) then upgrade to a new MBA next summer when they'll prob come with 8GB RAM standard and maybe even a whole new physical design.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 10:02 AM   #5
dmk1974
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Thanks for the comments so far. Keep 'em coming!

I do not have an ac wireless router. We have the 2 GB Time Capsule MD032LL/A. Seems to be good enough for our use in the house. Too bad the new version still has USB 2.0 ports on it.

In the house, we have a 2012 Mac Mini that is our media server (files, music, videos, photos). Most everything is then streamed to or accessed by the laptops.

CPU doesn't get taxed all that much. I guess when just creating an iMovie video or something. Handbrake is used on that Mac Mini with the USB DVD drive so not on the laptops. The kids played a little Minecraft and Warcraft or something on the laptops a few times...that's the extent of the gaming.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 10:41 AM   #6
gpeden
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I was in the same boat, but wanting to get more memory and storage. I got the i7 this time and the machine seems to run cooler than my 2012 base model while only surfing and playing poker Battery life is astounding and the fast charge rate is a bonus.

Cheers!
Glen
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 02:30 PM   #7
dmk1974
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Originally Posted by gpeden View Post
I was in the same boat, but wanting to get more memory and storage. I got the i7 this time and the machine seems to run cooler than my 2012 base model while only surfing and playing poker Battery life is astounding and the fast charge rate is a bonus.

Cheers!
Glen
I agree, if you need more storage or power, then go for the 2013 version.

But for me, I definitely don't need more space (64 GB even would be suitable) and while speed is always nice and great in benchmarks, any of these MBA's are fast due to their SSD drives.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 04:24 PM   #8
MeatRocket
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I was in the market for a MacBook Air. Money is no object for me, but I'm not a wasteful spender either. I like to buy for my needs and get a discount if possible. I looked at the 2013 MacBook Airs and configured them the way I'd like. I priced out a 13" i7/8GB/256GB 2013 model that totaled $1549 on B & H.

Then I went and bought a 2012 model with the same specs for $1050. Saved myself $500 and it meets all of my needs. Sure battery life isn't quite as good, but I'm not mobile for extended periods. I/O speeds aren't quite as fast, but 400MB/s is still pretty darn fast and I do more than run benchmarks all day! It doesn't have 802.11ac, but I don't have an 802.11ac router and don't plan on spending the at least $200 for a new one when my 802.11n router is perfectly fine.

In other words, I determined which one would meet my needs and had the best balance of features-to-price ratio. While the new one was cool, it wasn't $500 cooler than the 2012 model for what I'll use it for. Your mileage may vary.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 04:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ugahairydawgs View Post
Well....I'd ask these questions.

1.) Do you spend a lot of time unplugged or away from the ability to plug in?

2.) Do you access a lot of large files?

3.) Do you do a lot that is taxing on the GPU?

Also....I would not bank on getting $800/each for those laptops. Refurbs from Apple for that same base model are $849 and come with the full year warranty. A sucker is born every day, but that's who you'd need to find in order to get $1,600 for those laptops.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 09:33 PM   #10
iAndyPham
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I suggest keep it until Retina MBA is released.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 11:27 PM   #11
vip007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeatRocket View Post
Then I went and bought a 2012 model with the same specs for $1050.
Where did you find the 13" with those specs for $1050, if you don't mind sharing?
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Old Jun 22, 2013, 09:11 AM   #12
MeatRocket
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Originally Posted by vip007 View Post
Where did you find the 13" with those specs for $1050, if you don't mind sharing?
E-Bay. Just have to follow the auctions closely & not buy the first one you see.
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Old Jun 22, 2013, 10:25 PM   #13
dmk1974
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GO HAWKS! 1 to go!!!

sorry, just had to add that to my thread
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 01:19 AM   #14
pickaxe
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Just keep in mind that CPU performance is on par or even slightly *worse* than the 2012 model. Unless you do work that could really benefit from a somewhat beefier GPU or a considerably faster SSD, I doubt you'll feel the spec bump.
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 01:35 AM   #15
Trey M
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In my eyes the battery life is really the only thing on the 2013 model that you would notice in most real world situations. And I suppose 802.11ac but most don't even have the ac spectrum on their routers anyways. As you said in your post, your laptops rarely leave your house, so I wouldn't really see many real benefits to you upgrading this generation.

I understand exactly where you're coming from, but maybe look at it this way- I think most would agree Apple will (likely) introduce a redesigned Air next time around, so maybe your best bet would be to hold on till the next generation if you're really thinking about upgrading. And, because I see you're the type (like myself) that can net top-dollar for your used equipment, I think the next generation Air, should it come by sometime next year, would yield a much better return on investment than the 2013 model you're considering buying. A new design introduction will almost always hurt the value of your used (and now inferior) equipment. Just my thoughts, hope you find whatever works best for you.
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 09:50 AM   #16
dmk1974
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Upgrading now is probably just knowing that I have the latest and greatest with respect to those 3 main bullet points. Battery of course the most noticeable and the other two (graphics and SSD speed) are only noticeable in benchmarks.

I think for the 2013 11" that I had been testing, the battery life is a great improvement over the 2012. For the 13" 2012 MBA, with real-world of about 5 hours, I would like a bump up, but never really had a problem with it so far...though knowing I can double it with the 2013 Haswell is attractive just in case I take it out and about on a rare occasion.
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 10:02 AM   #17
twingo
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Good for Apple, that people are thinking of an upgrade every few months. Maybe these people don't even need a computer at all...
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 10:46 AM   #18
merkinmuffley
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Originally Posted by iAndyPham View Post
I suggest keep it until Retina MBA is released.
+ 1. Wait until something significant gets upgraded.
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 11:34 AM   #19
617aircav
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Originally Posted by twingo View Post
Good for Apple, that people are thinking of an upgrade every few months. Maybe these people don't even need a computer at all...
I have the 2012 and no way do I need to upgrade to the 2013 or 2014. I don't get this need to upgrade a computer every year. Even older mba's still do a job.
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 02:12 PM   #20
Ironduke
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it looks like apple have fudged battery life by down clocking the new CPU's
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 04:08 PM   #21
BenTrovato
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If I needed more battery, $270 for an extra 5 hours wouldn't be so hard to swallow. I would be more inclined to keep what you have and see what comes out next year. I don't see the value in the base 2013 over what you already have.
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 04:29 PM   #22
dmk1974
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Well, I decided against the 2013 MBA 13" for now. As pointed out by many here, not worth the upgrade compared to my 2012 MBA 13". When my 1-year warranty comes up, I'll probably then compare the cost of adding AppleCare to my 2012 vs upgrading to the 2013 (likely an Apple Refurb which usually go for 15% off).

If I am going to get a 2013 MBA, it will be the 11" that I am trying out. Its battery lasts (real world) 2 hours longer than the 2013 13" MBA and is the same speed basically. Just the different form factor of course. I didn't mention earlier, but I do also often connect my MBA to a monitor when at my desk. I still just have to decide if I like that 11" form more. Wish that bezel was smaller and the screen was even an inch bigger diagonally! Maybe 2014 will bring a 12" version.

I had detailed this in another thread comparing the 2013 11" vs 2013 13":

Screen Size:
11.6" vs 13.3" (13": 15% longer on diagonal)
16:9 ratio vs 16:10 (13": 11% taller per ratio)
1366x768 vs 1440x900 (13": 24% more pixels, 17% more vertical rows)
135 DPI vs 127 DPI (11": slightly sharper)
57.5 sq.in vs 79.5 sq.in. (13": 38% more surface area)
Weight:
2.38 lb. vs 2.96 lb. (13": 24% heavier)
Footprint:
85.2 sq.in. vs 114.4 sq.in. (13": 34% bigger)
Battery Life:
7 hours vs 10 hours real-life usage (13": 43% longer)
SD Reader:
11" No vs 13" Yes
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Last edited by dmk1974; Jun 23, 2013 at 05:13 PM.
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Old Jul 18, 2013, 06:34 PM   #23
dmk1974
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Would a net upgrade cost of ~$180 make the move from 2012 to 2013 more attractive? With the back to school deals out there, that's about what it would come to now.
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Old Jul 18, 2013, 07:40 PM   #24
hockeyfanatic
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I think you would enjoy the differences but recommend waiting for next refresh.
It may have the Igzo screen, improved gpu, cheaper flash, improved heat dispersion.
I get my 2013 refresh next week, my first mac-book.
I will most likely wait till '15 refresh for my upgrade while you may be enjoying your new Igzo screen.
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Old Jul 19, 2013, 12:18 AM   #25
SenorVvangIstMoi
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Originally Posted by iAndyPham View Post
I suggest keep it until Retina MBA is released.
On the same boat with this dude
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