Upgrade to 2012 13" MBA from 2011 13" MBA?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by dlim, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2012
    Hey everyone! Just seeking some advice here.

    I have the base model 2011 13" MBA. I've loved having it, but have been planning on upgrading to the 2012 13" MBA w/8gb memory when it came out. I'd sell the current one I have and pay the difference.

    Now with the retina display out though, I'm wondering if I should save my money and keep the 2011 until a 13" retina display macbook comes out (whether it be the air or pro), or go ahead and get the 2012 13" MBA.

    Little about my usage, I'm a grad student and use my MBA daily at school. Once I come home, I connect it to an external monitor and use both my external + MBA monitors. I use the external as my main monitor (because it's larger) and my MBA monitor as a supplement to it.

    Regardless of my decision, I plan on getting an ATD later on in the future and continue using an external monitor hooked up to my MBA (or MBP). I'm holding off in the hopes that they'll upgrade the USB on it to 3.0.

    With all that said, I guess 2 questions:

    -Do you think a 13" retina display will come out soon (mid/late 2012 or early 2013). I've read a few speculations saying it's plausible (from sources who were right about other releases) while others say it may take apple some time to put everything into a 13" form factor.

    -Is it worth the (I'm estimating $300) to upgrade from a 4GB 2011 13" MBA to an 8gb 2012 13" MBA. If I do not upgrade and choose to wait for a retina display, I would get Apple care on my unit (the 1 year ends 8/2012).

    Thanks for any advice guys!
  2. macrumors G4

    Oct 23, 2010
    My guess is that it would be more like $500-700 to upgrade, as the value of the 2011 dropped when Apple dropped the prices of the 2012s. In general, the 2012 is a little bit faster, but nothing like the speed difference between the 2010 and 2011.

    For most with the 2011, unless you have a specific need for more RAM, the best decision is to hold onto it and wait to see what 2013 brings, both to the Air and Pro lines. The 2011 was a significant improvement, while the 2012 was mostly incremental.
  3. macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2010
    If your primary concern is the 8GB of RAM I would just go ahead and upgrade now. Really no sense in sitting around waiting on a hypothetical upgrade that could be 2 months or 2 years down the road.
  4. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    If you don't NEED 8GB RAM, I'd wait. You'll likely be looking at more than $300 to upgrade to the 2012. Yours worth about 900, new one will be $1300 + tax so bout a $500 upgrade. Not worth it IMHO for what you an extra 4gb and faster usb.
  5. macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2011
    I don't want to sound naive, but who really NEEDs 8 GB of RAM? Having lots of RAM minimizes VM paging, but really how much of a speed increase is there when the paging is done to a RAM-fast SSD? For a conventional HDD, I get it, but doesn't a SSD sort of make VM paging delays a moot point?

    I can see lots of RAM for FCP and PhotoShop in a pro setting, but that normally never is done on a laptop. That might be relevant for far less than 1% of users. And in a pro setting on a Mac Pro I understand wanting high RAM numbers there, too. I'm just wondering how it makes sense on a laptop, especially a laptop NOT in a pro setting and NOT using the most RAM-hungry apps.

    Of course one issue is you get no second chance to add RAM after the fact, so you have to plan for a RAM budget up front that will last the lifetime of the laptop. But it seems to me like the only affect having 8 GB of RAM might be would be once the laptop is 4 or 5 years old and the then-current OS and apps might benefit from that. But is there really a benefit to having 8 GB of RAM at all today?

    And there is a danger of overbulding, where once the laptop gets a few years old and you get the urge to upgrade, your tricked out 2012 laptop is still relevant, not leaving you with a valid excuse to upgrade.

    Trying to balance all of those issues, were I buying today, and if the upgrade is under $100, I guess I would just get 8 GB as a matter of insurance against early obsolescence; its just that this seems highly unlikely for 4 or 5 years, although none of us really has a crystal ball and can be sure.

    I welcome anyone who wants to weigh in here; just realize that those on the lunatic fringe who buy a new car when the ashtrays get full (OK, poetic license--no cars have ashtrays anymore--I'm old) will be regarded as such.

    The basic question is "4 GB or 8 GB--what is the most practical decision, and why?".
  6. thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2012
    1st. I remember ashtrays in cars! Did people ever use them? All I remember (and still see) are people smoking out their car windows.

    2nd. If I decided to upgrade, I'd be purchasing it in Oregon with the education store discount so it comes out to $1239 (no tax!) and the $100 App store gift card. That's why I said I'm looking at ~$300 out of pocket to upgrade, but I guess if I factor in how much I originally bought it for, then yeah I'm losing a lot more to upgrade.

    I'm not expecting to personally notice a difference between the processing power of Ivy Bridge vs Sandy Bridge. But did notice that if I have enough apps open, my fan starts spinning faster and temperature increases. I was wondering if having 8GB ram would prevent that from happening.

    Also, sometimes when I'm watching HD videos I'll notice the same issue with fan and temperature. Would the Intel 4000 help prevent that as well compared to the Intel 3000?

    USB 3.0 isn't a determining factor for me, more like a cherry on top.
  7. macrumors 68000

    Jun 2, 2006
    i used a 13" 2011 air too, and i recently bought the 11" 2012 air.

    why? is it because the smaller footprint of the 11" is much more enjoyable to use, and i plan to buy ATD too next week, so i can get best of the both. super portability plus big screen when i need it.
  8. macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2012
    You said your fan starts spinning faster and it's noise you are worried about the new Air has an asymmetrical fan which supposedly lessens fan noise.
  9. macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2011
    That's my take on it, too. I have the same machine as the OP, and I don't really find the upgrade worth it this time around.
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2011
    RAM isn't going to make your fans stop spinning up. It's most likely flash doing that...and the fact that you have a pretty powerful CPU fit into a little space. I would get iStat Pro and monitor your RAM usage before I did anything. I would personally wait until next year when Haswell drops. It's a tock in Intel's roadmap and you're going to see some pretty powerful CPU/GPUs with even better thermal characteristics. We'll probably see a 13" retina pro next year as well. 2013 is going to be the time to upgrade in my opinion.
  11. thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2012
    I use iStat Pro to monitor my usage regularly.

    My free ram varies from 1.63gb to 200mb throughout the day, and I'm not too sure why when I have all the same programs open throughout the day.

    Thanks for all the responses so far guys! I'm pretty sure I'm not going to upgrade this time around :] But will invest in apple care. Best I've found is B&H for $190. Anyone else have any suggestions?

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