What to upgrade? 8 Gb OR 2.0GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i7

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by aelias80, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2013
    Hello there,

    So assuming I only want to spend an extra $100 on ONE upgrade, should I go for additional memory (8 Gb) or get the 2.0Ghz i7

    Not really a heavy user here, watch youtube videos, movies, browse the internet, edit docs & presentations, maybe a VM with Windows and one day, I may use iMovie...

    Thoughts? Pros & Cons of one or the other? Anyone faced similar choice?

  2. macrumors 603



    I just bought a Mini a couple of weeks ago with a free 8 GB RAM upgrade, and I hit that regular, especially if you use a VM, Safari is also consuming lots of RAM.
    The i5 I have in there is enough for the things I use it for, similar to yours.
  3. macrumors regular


    Jan 2, 2011
    RAM. you wont notice a slight bump on processor speed
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    Is this an 11" or a 13"? If it's a 13", then going with the i7 you have to get a 256G SSD. The 11" is not the case.

    I would definitely go with the RAM.

    I went with all 3 upgrades, RAM, processor, and SSD. You can probably hold off on the SSD as OWC makes an SSD upgrade for the MBAs.
  5. macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2012
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    Agreed, but I would still do the i7 upgrade as well, it's only $100 more. If you're willing to spend $1200, then you're willing to spend $1300.
  7. macrumors 68040

    Jul 2, 2012
    For watching YouTube it wouldnt be worth it.
  8. macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2012
    OP's scenario was if they could only choose one, not both.

    Not everybody has the extra $100.
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    No offense, but Macs are not built for the budget concious consumer. I think Macs are good machines, but defeintely overpriced.


    Just remember, when you get it, you can't upgrade it (processor).
  10. macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2012

    No offence but you are missing the point. The OP said only one or the other, not both.

    Given that, then what is the problem with the answers recommending the RAM over the CPU?

    I also don't accept your assertion that Mac buyers are not budget conscious, I certainly have to be. Not all Apple customers have money to spare.

    Nor do I accept that it is only $100 difference. It is if you buy from Apple. But if you buy from a third party vendor at a discount (which a lot of people do), then you usually don't have the BTO options. I saved the equivalent of the full cost of AppleCare by buying a 4GB Air from a third party vendor, instead of the 8GB BTO version from Apple. I'd prefer 8GB, but given my pattern of computer use then 4GB is quite workable for me.

    The cost of AppleCare is not a trivial saving. I would not have been able to afford it if I had gone for the 8GB version.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    I would definitely go with the RAM (you can't upgrade later), and skip the i7 (it ain't a quad core, and has heat build-up issues).

    The i5 is plenty of chip for all but professional work...the type that people use towers and servers for.
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    The difference between 4GB and 8GB RAM on a MBA is $100, look it up. There is no way to upgrade the RAM as it is soldered to the board, same with the processor.

    My argument is that if the OP can afford $1200 for a thin laptop, $1300 is not a huge stretch, 8.3% price increase.

    AppleCare is NOT a savings, it is an extended warranty.

    I own a Mac, I'm just being honest. I think it is a good machine, but they are very pricey. There is pretty much nothing that my Mac can do that a laptop that is 1/2 the price cannot.

    Just remember Macs are luxuries. I'm keeping it real.


    No the i7 does not have heat build up issues. My MBA I've owned now since October and it has never over heated. Whoever tells people that is spreading false information.

    The i7 and i5 on teh MBA have the same max power dissapation, 17W.
  13. macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2013
    Sydney, Australia
    You can have both! Buy a refurb i7 with 8GB RAM.
  14. macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2012
    If you buy them direct from Apple, that is true.

    But third party vendors often have sales giving around 10% off the Apple price. That is how I got my Air. Cost me $1500, instead of the $1680 Apple charged.

    However, usually the third party vendors only have the base models, not the BTO versions.

    If I had got the otherwise identical 8GB BTO version I could only have got it from Apple, and their price for that was nearly $300 more than I paid at the third party vendor for the 4GB version. That is an extra $300 just for an extra 4GB RAM.

    And that $300 difference is where the savings came from that enabled me to also buy AppleCare for my Air.

    I could not have afforded both the 8 GB BTO from Apple, AND AppleCare. It is the difference between a total cost of approx $1800 (4GB), and $2100 (8GB).

    I did not need 8GB (though I would like it), and getting AppleCare was more important than the extra RAM.

    You see my point now?

    Don't know what kind of circles you move in, but in my world $300 is not a trivial difference.

    Yes, I know that.

    Yes, I know that. See above answer.
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    My argument is that the if you can afford $1200, you can afford $1300. People that are on a strict budget are not looking to spend over $1000 on a laptop.
  16. macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    you don't know his situation. i use macs for work and i am put on a budget. if my boss says 1k is allocated for the computer, then 1k is allocated for the computer. it wouldn't matter if i could tripple the ram and processor speed for $1001.

    also i think that "if you can afford X then you can afford x+y" attitude is a dangerous one to have from a financial planning standpoint.

    Maybe he values a computer at 1200 but not at 1300 - everybody has a price point.

    i don't think it is unreasonable to point out the specifics of this particular machine. i for one would agree that you should seriously consider a full upgrade just on the grounds that it's going to be difficult if not impossible to upgrade the machine later but at the same time, i think it's important to have a budget. if he says his budget is 1200 then i don't think we should be encouraging him to pay 1300, luxury item or not.

    regarding your second statement:

    "People that are on a strict budget are not looking to spend over $1000 on a laptop"

    i disagree with that 100%
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    As I said, Macs are good machines, it is just that not everyone can afford one. It's like a Cadillac and a Chevrolet, will both work? Yes. Is one more expensive than the other? Yes. Does the more expensive one get you from point A to point B better? No.

    IMO, Macs are more luxury oriented than your garden variety Windows laptop.

    I can afford a Mac, some people cannot.
  18. macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    Get the memory. You'll not notice the minor bump in processor speed.
  19. macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    we all understand what you are saying. you are definitely missing the point.

    regarding macs being "overpriced," that is a 100% subjective term. If someone is willing to pay X for Y then Y is worth precisely X. The op is willing to pay for 1 upgrade. anything more than that is "overpriced" in the sense that it is outside his budget, price point or value

    I also disagree with you regarding the Cady/Chevy comparison. Yes, both will get you from point A to point B - but i think most people would agree that the Caddy gets you there "better"

    Same goes for a Mac. Anything you can do on a Mac you can do on Windows...but the Mac does it better.

    For what it's worth, OP - if i were only going to pick 1 upgrade between cpu and ram, i think the RAM is definitely the way to go in this case.
  20. macrumors 68000

    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    Given the kind of usage you describe, if money is an issue then I wouldn't bother with either upgrade. I have a 2011 13" MBA with 4GB and i5 and it works fine for much heavier use than you're planning.

    If you want to spend a little more money, I think you will get the most use out of a larger SSD.
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    This is an amusing thread, cost conscious and Apple laptops don't go in the same sentence.
  22. macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    maybe not to you...but that's subjective. i for one think that's nonsense.

    you can be poor, middle-class or wealthy and still be "cost conscious" and adhere to a strict budget. people don't often get rich writing cheques.

    you can certainly get a cheaper computer than a mac as Apple doesn't really make low-end computers, but in my opinion the days of Apple selling machines with terrible quality-to-price ratios went out with the arrival of intel-generation of macs.

    But honestly - saying "if you can afford $1200, you can afford $1300" is terrible advice.
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    No it is not terrible advice. That is your opinion. I hate it when people say "I should have spent the extra <$$$> on that upgrade". Spending an extra 8.3% is not lunacy.

    I think Apple laptops are some of the best made, I also think Apple laptops are the most pricey. I know because I OWN one.
  24. macrumors 68020

    Mar 28, 2011
    Quite the amusing, and simplistic and shallow analysis.
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    I looked at a "used" MBA last year when I bought my 2012 MBA. Problem was that pretty much everybody wanted new prices for a used MBA, ridiculous.

    The overwhelming majority of people use their computers for the following:
    Surf the net
    Check email
    Do some light office tasks
    Listen to music

    How does a Mac do this "better"? It does not, and the whole "experience" drivel is just that. I've been using OS X for about 9 months now and don't see what it does that is so much better than either Windows or Linux.

    With all this being said, I do feel that a Mac laptop is better built and has a better trackpad. Is it worth the extra $900 I spent, probably not, but I can afford it.

    Last time I checked, Apple updates OS X on a regular basis, so yes there are patches that need to be applied to OS X.

    As a matter of fact, the latest OS X 10.8.3 has compatibility issues with Logitech Unifying receivers. So much for everything "just works".

    If there is no need for AV, why is AV available for OS X.

    I can see I've touched a nerve with a lot of people. I will let you know that I actually OWN an Apple laptop and am not just some Apple hater trolling. If your opinion differs from mine, great.

    In the end I consider an Apple laptop a luxury item. Please don't post about the legendary customer service, question I have about OS X are usually beyond the Apple customer support or the geniuses. I can usually Google the answer.

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