¿¿Upgrading?? to a Macbook Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by James1292, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. James1292 macrumors newbie

    James1292

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Location:
    West Windsor, New Jersey
    #1
    Hey everyone. So I have never really posted in this forum before however I used to be an avid reader of MacRumors.com so i thought i'd really trust you guys with this. So here it goes and thank you guys for your help!

    So in i believe may of 2007 I got a really expensive dell laptop for my confirmation. It had cost an upwards of like $2100 i think and i believe it was an Inspiron E1505 (Just a guess can't really remember, I don't even know if that is a real model haha). Well long story short it sucked and lasted less than a year. So in October of 2008 (Literally the day the Unibody came out) I ordered my first Mac, and by far was the best decision I have ever made. My parents spent a lot of money on the laptop ($2700 i believe) with the promise that it would last me through high school (which it did without a hitch). I became the biggest apple fanboy EVER. I had about 10 websites i'd check daily including mac rumors, Gizmodo, Engadget, BGR, Apple Insider... the list goes on haha.

    So to get to my point, my current MBP is a 15" (really wish the 13" mbp was available at the time) original late 2008 Unibody. Looks brand new, not a scratch on it. I at all times have a keyboard cover, invisible shield on the inside components, hardshell case on the outside, and transport it in a neoprene sleeve. People often don't believe me that it is 4 years old haha. It has a 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3 memory, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB graphics and a 320GB HD (which is almost full). The laptop has been flawless until recently. It constantly shocks me, the enter/return key has stopped working (have to use on screen keyboard), the trackpad gets jammed down a couple times a week, Hinge is so loose that the screen falls backwards while sitting by itself on a table, and in the past week has shut off by itself in the middle of tasks (thought maybe battery was coming loose however every time it was plugged in as well and you can take the bat out while it's plugged in and it stays on). Also recently i've definitely noticed a decrease in performance.

    Now that i'm in college and taking my computer everywhere smaller would be so much nicer. Since starting college last fall i have completely halted my apple fanboy antics and am completely out of the loop and it sucks. It's so bad i don't even know the product upgrade cycles anymore (For instance like when a MacBook Air refresh is imminent). I'm looking to possibly upgrade(?) to an eleven inch macbook air (fully upgraded) which would be ≈$1700. How would that compare to my current MBP? How would the performance compare to it? At this point i pretty much do nothing but use word processors, web browsing, watch hulu and such. Would this be a fit for me? or do i need something more powerful? Currently i have a 320GB HD that is almost full. About a year ago i had to transfer my iPhoto library to an external hard drive (which i'm fine with because i rarely look at the photos). I have 90 GB of Movies and 20GB of music. The only things i really need on my HD are music, applications (predominantly just a productivity suite, thinking about switching to the Apple equivalent) and documents which are just syllabuses and essays nothing too large.What does the 151 GB of "other" consist of on my HD? I'll admit, when i was younger i had a lot of games installed and would often download stuff from the internet. Do you think that 256GB will be enough? Or would i have to get a 13" MBP instead with the 750 GB HD (i'd upgrade to 8GB of ram too) which is also ≈$1700.

    Preferably i'd love to get the macbook air for the weight, or lack there of. Also am i right that there is no difference between the fully upgraded 13" and 11" except screen size and card slot, no difference under the hood right? How will the 13" MBP and the 11" MBA compare to my current system (Minus the hardware problems i'm having. Also Battery life is important, there is a minimal about of power outlets in the Library haha.

    The last question I'm going to ask is when do you think i should upgrade? Preferably i'd like to wait until right after they refresh the lineups but since i'm out of the loop i'm not really sure when that is. Any word on the rumor mill that might shed light on how long i'll have to wait? I'm a firm believer waiting until right after they refresh the line and fully upgrading the system so it doesn't become obsolete and outdated quickly. Preferably i'm looking for a machine that will get me through college (which my parents would greatly appreciate). On a side note, do any of you foresee a major refresh in the new future? (like within 2 years?). Lately they have pretty much been doing just performance and battery upgrades (which is totally fine). But (your opinion) do you guys see a major refresh (like the addition of the unibody housing in 2008) on the horizon such as like touch screen or retina display?

    What do you guys think would work for me? Sorry this is so long but your help would be much appreciated and respected given that you guys are probably more in the know than me.

    One last thing that i have never admitted that you guys might enjoy... in late 2009 when the rumors about apple releasing a device in between an iPhone and a Notebook (Now we know it is the iPad, but it wasn't announced until Jan of 2010) My friend and i on a rainy day (literally) were bored and decided to have fun. We turned an old voice recording picture frame into a double touch screen apple netbook prototype. It was actually picked up by many gadget websites including Engadget although they didn't take it seriously but a lot of people did! Haha it literally took us an hour to make and if you still google "Macbook Micro" today on google you can find hundreds of pictures and articles online so do it!
     
  2. ChristianJapan macrumors 601

    ChristianJapan

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    日本
    #2
    Can you please give us an executive summary ... :eek:
     
  3. James1292 thread starter macrumors newbie

    James1292

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Location:
    West Windsor, New Jersey
    #3
    My fully upgraded 2008 MBP (Cost almost $2700 at the time) is on the fritz and looking to get a new computer. I'm a college student so pretty much just watching TV, listening to music and writing essays is needed. I Would like the MacBook Air 11" however will it be powerful enough compared to my MBP? Money is not really an issue. What is my best bet? Just concerned about storage space and power. Am i really upgrading by buying a MBA?
     
  4. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #4
    It actually sounds like you have a couple of decisions to make.

    The first is between an Air or a Pro.
    • Do you need CD/DVD drive with you, or could you just leave the external one for the Air at home?
    • Is 256GB SSD plus maybe an external drive at home enough disk space? Or do you need the larger disk you can get in a Pro with you?
    • Check how the keyboards feel on booth the Air and the Pro.
    • Will 4GB of ram continue to be enough? (This question may not apply with updated models.)

    Now if you decide that you can live with the limitations of the Air, the decision comes down to:
    • 11" vs 13" - go into a store and look at various things on both screens. Is the resolution of the 11" high enough.
    • Do you want/need a SD card slot?

    Now that you've thought about that, can you wait on the upgrade? Changing your computer mid semester could be bad, unless your current one is likely to fall apart within the next couple of months.

    As for new models of the Pro and Air? I suspect we'll be seeing those within 2 to 4 months and would wait if you can. How major the differences will be is a tough call, but Apple is always working on improving battery life, and also a 2 month wait could add a year or more of usefulness to any purchase.

    And I do believe the current MacBook Air would be faster than your current system.
     
  5. ChristianJapan macrumors 601

    ChristianJapan

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    日本
    #5
    Yes, I had that impression ... :p

    I replaced my 17" MBP with a maxed out MBA 11" and it's enough power for my normal use. Ok, for me it was easy as for hardcore processing like blender rendering I can use my iMac. But for normal stuff MBA is just fine. And storage via NAS or TB can be easy attached on demand.
    But you will enjoy the light weight of the MBA; and if you really need more power you still could add a MacMini with remote access.
     
  6. anirudh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    Location:
    India
    #6
    Your usage profile wouldnt even come close to utilizing the Air's full capabilities. The difference between the 11" and 13" models is the screen size (duh), sd card slot and most importantly reduced battery life in the 11" model. Also, keep in mind that the i7 11" models are known to run hotter than their 13" counterparts and IMHO, an i7 would just be wasting money in your case. My advice would be to get a base 13" and if you want, maybe upgrade the SSD to a bigger one.


    As far as pure numbers go, someone here had posted a list of geekbench scores for all macs. And if I remember correctly, the new MB Airs perform as well as (if not better than) the top end 2010 MBPs. So in your case, you would most certainly see a huge performance boost.


    In short, buy the air! No matter which model you pick up, you'll be blown away :D
     
  7. strwrsfrk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Location:
    Arlington, VA, USA
    #7
    *Some quotes trimmed for answer relevancy*

    Very sorry to hear this. I've gone through about 4 MacBook Pros in my pursuit of finding the best setup for my needs, including a 2008 17" MBP from your current generation. It was a fantastic machine. It's a shame when great hardware - which for many can become a constant companion - finally dies over time.

    Any of the current MacBook Airs can upgrade to a 1.8GHz Core i7 processor. Benchmarks abound for comparisons between these models, but I believe they are comparable in many tasks. The current architecture is several generations more efficient than the Core 2 Duos of old, but your machine has a massive clock speed advantage. However, the switch to a solid state drive will make everything seem snappier, even when compared to when your laptop was brand new.

    I develop web sites and do hobby-grade iPhone coding on my 13" MBA which "only" has the 1.7GHz i5. So for your needs, the fully-loaded option (of either machine) should suffice.

    In this instance, I cannot recommend the 13" enough. The SDXC card slot allows me to keep 45+ GB music off of my main drive, and easily move my library from one computer to another (if it has an SD slot, natch). My ssd is 256GB, and even with the applications I use from CS5, MS Office, iLife, XCode, and Steam games, I maintain a 58GB partition for Boot Camp so I can play SWTOR.

    However, if you have a substantial movie collection, consider an external drive. 1TB+ drives can be had for < $150 in many places, and the burden of hosting all of this static content would be lifted from your ssd. If you need a movie or two for a trip, pull 'em from the external drive.

    So yes, 256 GB will probably be enough based on your description of usage.

    However, though I recommend the MBA, it cannot be upgraded beyond 4GB of RAM at all, or beyond the 256GB ssd for under $1,000. If you want the ability to add hardware to your machine as time goes, I would get the 13" MBP and browse OWC's selection of parts to maximize your upgrade options.

    Right now there is little difference under the hood, except many people believe the speaker quality is better on the 13". Also, battery life goes up by about 2 hours from the 11" to the 13". Finally, the 13" has 1440 x 900 resolution vs 11" 1366 x 768 resolution.

    These are loaded questions and observations. Keep in mind most of my answer is subjective and hearsay.

    If you need the laptop RIGHT NOW, consider purchasing a machine from the apple refurbs. http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/macbook_air At the time of writing, there are many 11" and 13" MBA models available.

    Many believe the MacBook Air upgrades will come no later than June. Some rumors suggest an earlier release. The major updates to this line (as far as I believe) would be 1.8GHz i5s or 2.0GHz i7s, which include minor increases in graphics power and possibly slightly better battery management. Probably not much else will chance (though many others - myself included - hope for RAM upgrades to 8GB and larger ssd options).

    Similarly, the MacBook Pro line is expected to move towards a more MacBook Air-like enclosure, which will possibly eschew the optical drive. It might also have a serious resolution bump, as evidenced by textures included in Apple software. This refresh is rumored to come as early as April, though it's really anybody's guess.

    Any current machine should last you 4+ years of college. They are all solid and have reasonable performance. For maximum versatility and longevity, go for a MacBook Pro. For portability and battery life, go with a MacBook Air. If you can wait a few months and have a workable laptop, it might be worth it to see what comes down Apple's pipeline. You really can't lose, whichever your choice is.
     
  8. l3it3r macrumors regular

    l3it3r

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Location:
    Hagerstown, MD
    #8
    kidding? My air runs circles around my mini.

    I have the 13" 256 Air, and it's worth every penny IMO.

    Not only is the screen much better than the 11" MBA, but the trackpad is bigger, and the addition of the SD card reader is crucial IMO.

    My Air also performs tasks faster than my nephew's '10 MBP. Simple things like opening system preferences happen 2-3 times faster on the air.

    Which brings me back to the quote about the mini. Because that thing is REALLY slow in comparison.
     

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