How long can I expect a MBA to last?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jojoba, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. macrumors 65832

    Dec 9, 2011
    I'm about to order a MBA (13") and was planning to go for a 128 because that's plenty for my current use, but having thought about it again I'm considering the larger one (256) because my needs might change quite a bit when my current work contract runs out in a year and four months. So I started thinking about 'buying for the future' but wasn't sure what kind of future I can have with a MBA. So, my question is, how long can I expect one of these things to last?
  2. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    It completely depends on how you take care of it. I've had some notebooks for 4-6 years. My current MBP is almost 4 years old and still like new.
  3. macrumors 6502


    May 28, 2005
  4. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2010
    51 degrees North
    if you're not signed up to our disposable society like so many others seem to be now days, then if looked after it will last for years I expect.

    My MacMini (although I appreciate it's not a laptop) has lasted me nearly 6 years with a couple of upgrades along the way and is running perfectly still.
  5. macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    A good answer looking back now at the original MBA from 2008 would be that with the right upgrades, it will at least last 3 /4 years , a lot of people still use the first MBA's and they are still good machines today.
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2011
    I am new to the apple scene but in general these things seem to be built as well as the ( what I used to consider most reliable laptops ) old toshiba's. I have one Toshiba just recently pulled away from my youngest daughter that is 10 years old.

    Just because the machine is light does not mean it is not reliable. Like others said it will depend on how you treat it but 4 or 5 years easy ...

    I for one am going to ( probably ) extend my apple care ( to go up to 3 years ) near the end of my 1 year period "just in case".

    The 256 gb macbook air seems the reasonable option to me if the extra cost is not a deal breaker. ( It is what I have ) ... living inside 128 gb in a dual boot environment is not something I wanted to have to worry about.
  7. thread starter macrumors 65832

    Dec 9, 2011
    Thanks, everyone. Yes, the reason why I'm asking is partially because I don't want to sign up for disposable society, so if this thing lasts a while I'd rather get the bigger version and treat it as a long term investment. I generally take good care of my electronics so that shouldn't be an issue. While I haven't fully decided, I'm likely to get the three year protection plan.

    I guess I'm leaning towards the 256 now.
  8. Guest

    Oct 7, 2010
    I still use my 2008 Macbook and my wife is using her 1st Gen MBA. There is longevity in Mac with standard use. However, if you are looking for a gaming rig, that would be a different story.
  9. thread starter macrumors 65832

    Dec 9, 2011
    Good to hear, thanks. No, not into gaming at all. Just 'regular' internet and email usage, plus Microsoft Office programs (or the Apple equivalents), pdf annotation, skype and some relatively light video/audio usage for work (no editing, just playing and coding).
  10. macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2009
    Belfast, UK
    Don't worry about the SSD - just make sure you order the one with the most RAM. The SSD can be upgraded, the RAM can't.
  11. thread starter macrumors 65832

    Dec 9, 2011
    Sorry, I'm very computer illiterate - what's the difference between SSD and 128/256 flash storage? Because earlier when I spoke to the Apple people here locally, they said I couldn't buy a 128 and then later upgrade to 256 :confused: They both have 4GB ram.
  12. macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2011
    South Yorkshire
    I thought about getting a 256GB SSD in my MBA when I bought a few weeks ago but I decided to stick with 128GB SSD as the price difference is £250 which buys an awful lot of external storage. I picked up a 1.5TB Iomega drive for £55 in PC World. I use it for Time Machine backups and also backup using Super Duper. It backs up my iMac and MBA and my wife's iMac and there still plenty of space left.

    Yes the SSD is fast but judging by how you use your machine you don't "need" all your storage on SSD. This way you get fast boot times and fast app start times but loads of storage and your data is safely backed up.
  13. thread starter macrumors 65832

    Dec 9, 2011
    Yes, I have an external hard drive which is 1,5TB so I already have plenty of external storage space. Originally my thinking was exactly what you describe here. One thing that has made me second guess myself is in case I'd want to run Windows on it as well in the future (like a poster also mentioned above). Do you have windows installed/ have you considered it against the 128 version?
  14. Guest

    Oct 7, 2010

    Honestly, if you are going to long term, then load it out. The higher spec you can get means that it will last a lot longer.
  15. thread starter macrumors 65832

    Dec 9, 2011
    OK, I ordered! My husband finally convinced me to go for the 256. I'm looking forward to receiving it now :)
  16. macrumors 6502


    May 16, 2010
    Right decision !! Bought a 128Gb at first but exchanged it for a 256Gb. Since it'll last a few years, imo, it worth it !
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2011
    In a MacBook Air, the only consumable items are:
    • The battery. Can be replaced for $129 or €129 for as long as Apple continues to produce them.
    • The SSD. With TRIM, writes are minimized and spread optimally. With this enabled, which is the case with Apple's SSDs, it should last for "many decades" according to this table.
    Everything else is non consumable. They could last forever, theoratically. Apart from the battery and SSD, it's all up to you ;).
  18. thread starter macrumors 65832

    Dec 9, 2011
    Great, this makes me feel even better. And I like the sound of "forever" :cool:
  19. macrumors 68020


    Apr 20, 2008
    I also ordered the 128Gb then returned it for the 256Gb. Glad I did as I only have 60Gb left!
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2011
    Haha, me too :D. It gives me peace of mind that the only part that I really depend on anyone for the whole computer to last is the battery. I feel comfortable not relying on a degradable piece of hardware.

    What kind of data do you store to fill all this space?

    In my time, I've had HDDs from 250 GB to 1 TB and SSDs from 64 to 256 GB. I noticed that the more free space is available, the longer I tend to leave stuff on the laptop's internal storage before storing it for good on external storage.

    It's just a matter of habits. I currently have the little 64 GB which proves more than enough for my needs. I keep all non-SSD-worthy files on a NAS and external hard drive (as a buffer to make up for my slow Wi-Fi).

    To me, the SSD should only be utilized for files that need quick access (system files, apps, cache, preferences). Anything else (like music, movies, shows...) doesn't deserve SSD space. It's like casting pearls before swine (in French: "donner de la confiture aux cochons" / literally "feeding pigs with jelly" :D).

    In the end, I have about 40 GBs left out of 64 GB to "play" with. For example, to store movies to watch while on battery, or as temporary space while transcoding 10 GB+ video files.

    Of course, it's more convenient to have more space built-in, but I don't think this convenience offsets the cost (and lower relative resale value).
  21. thread starter macrumors 65832

    Dec 9, 2011
    Just curious - do many people now wait around for the new generation of MBAs and put off ordering? I don't think I want to put it off myself because it would be very convenient for work starting NOW, but I saw on the 'buyer's guide' page that they recommend waiting.
  22. macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    I am not sure why they recommend waiting since it's about half way through its life cycle. I wouldn't expect a new one before June looking at Intel's road maps when the new CPUs arrive.
  23. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 18, 2005
    I wouldn't. It's not been out that long and also I don't think the next generation is likely to be as awesome an upgrade as the 2011 one was (which added the backlit keyboard, thunderbolt, and modern CPUs, where the 2010-Air CPUs were more than 2 years old).

    The earliest the next-generation low-voltage CPUs (Ivy Bridge) are slated to be out is in May next year. So there won't be a refresh before that (unless the rumored 15" Air does get added in the mean time).

    But I wouldn't be surprised if the MacBook Pro gets the exclusive for a few months like it usually does so it may be even longer until a new Air comes out.

    Probable improvements are a bit faster (CPU and graphics, resp. up to 20% and 30%), maybe a bit more battery life and very likely USB 3.0 (which may be a big thing for you if you use external drives a lot, thunderbolt drives still cost a fortune). While the CPU improvement seems big, it's not the only thing that contributes to speed of the user experience so in most cases it won't feel 20% faster.

    Another thing I'm personally hoping for is the option of 8GB but I'm pretty sure that won't be standard.

    But as always I have to stress this is all educated guesswork. Apple may surprise us as they have many times before. I don't think it's likely though. They are dependent on Intel and their roadmaps are well known.
  24. macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2011
    Since the Air has no moving parts, if you treat it right, why wouldn't it last

    say 10+ yrs or so.

    I have the 13" base model, its great and more than meets my needs. Had the 11" also nice, but found it too small.

    I use mine at work, and will probably rarely get moved. So I hope it lasts awhile.


    I wouldn't wait, and i didn't wait,I think the other posters are right the 2011 is a bigger upgrade than what might be expected in the future. But on the other hand who knows. One can play the wait game forever, I say dive in now and enjoy the swim.
  25. macrumors 603


    Aug 5, 2010
    Plenty of non mechanical parts fail. Look at gpus and logic boards. Some of the 6G sata sandforce controllers had issues. These things can fail just like older hard drives. The difference is that they will not fail from mechanical wear, which wasn't consistently the issue with HDDs earlier.

    There isn't anything to warrant a bump pre Ivy Bridge. The macbook pros got a bump due to a mild mid generation refresh from Intel. New skus were available at the same price. All other oems were already shipping them, so it would have been silly to ignore this even if they were relatively minor upgrades. The ulv processors probably do not see the same kind of volume, so they didn't receive such a bump. The next logical time to expect it is Ivy Bridge, and the buyer's guide will probably just read "don't buy" until then.

    Their recommendations aren't really based on what is due to come out soon. I think they're averaged and start suggesting against purchasing when it passes the halfway mark on their historic averages (or somewhere around there). It used to say "buy now product recently updated" when the product still had bugs and the mac pro has stated "don't buy" forever just due to the long refresh cycle even if Xeons haven't been available (and we all know Apple won't adjust pricing to reflect lowered component costs). :rolleyes:.

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