13" MBA @ 4GB or 11" MBA @ 8GB

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by sammy1480, Dec 4, 2015.

  1. sammy1480 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2015
    Location:
    Ottawa
    #1
    Hi Everyone:

    My 2008 17" MBP is on its last legs and I'm looking to downsize to a MacBook Air since I don't have as many video intensive projects as before

    There's a fixed amount that I can spend and since the cost is virtually the same I'd like to get some opinions on what is a better option? A 13" MBA with the standard specs of 4GB RAM or the 11" MBA with 8 GB RAM

    Any help will be appreciated to this newcomer of this forum

    Thank you

    Sam
     
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #2
    I'd say 13" but that's because I absolutely loathe the aspect ratio on the 11".

    If you could afford it, I'd suggest paying a little extra to get the 13" Retina MacBook Pro instead. It has considerably better specs than the Air in every department, and you get a lot more for your money with it.
     
  3. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #3
    I have owned both, and like the 11" much more. But that's because of the size/weight and not the amount of RAM. I suggest that you focus on this aspect, because an extra 4GB of RAM isn't worth much if you don't like the computer itself. ;)
     
  4. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #4
    Just go with whichever screen size you think you will prefer. For day to day usage, the 4GB of RAM won't be a problem, so I would not even make that part of the decision. Now if you said you were going to be working with large Photoshop files, I'd say consider the RAM.... but for word processing, email, web browsing type activities you will be fine with 4GB.

    I had a 13" and have used a neighbors 11" and for me the 11" screen size is way too small, but it is a personal preference.
     
  5. dwfaust macrumors 68040

    dwfaust

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Location:
    I am here =>[*]
    #5
    For me, the 11" screen with the 1366x768 resolution is a non-starter. Since the MBA line is not a retina screen, I would go with the larger screen, personally. I have a 4GB MBA and find that it functions very well for my use - audio editing, web surfing, PSE, email and writing school papers. I have also done some light iMovie work and was satisfied with the performance.

    IMO, the extra RAM will be vastly overshadowed by the smaller screen for day-to-day use.
     
  6. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
  7. SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    If it's your only computer, then I would recommend the 13". If it's your secondary machine and you only use it on the road etc, then the 11 inch is fine. I use mine in conjunction with a 13 rMBP. When I'm on the road, I take the 11 MBA as it's more use than a tablet and has better input than a surface pro 3/4.
     
  8. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #8
    That has not been the case with me. A 2013 11" i7/8gb/512gb MBA is my primary computer and it fits my needs perfectly. At home I connect it to a big screen, external keyboard, mouse, audio interface, DVD drive, external hard drives, etc. So the 11" screen is irrelevant in that setting. I used my 2008 15" MBP and 2011 13" MBA exactly the same way.
     
  9. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #9
    Exactly. I see this over and over and over again: OP asks question about what to get without offering any indication of what their usage/needs are like, followed by a bunch of people who, while I'm sure are just trying to be helpful, eagerly offer advice without any indication of what the OP's usage/needs are. It's just a bunch of random anecdotes about how they use their computer. :confused:
     
  10. Melrose, Dec 5, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015

    Melrose Suspended

    Melrose

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    #10
    To answer the original question: I went from a top-end 2011 17" MacBook Pro to a top-end 13" MacBook Air and it is noticeably faster in every respect. I do occasional print-res graphic works (and yes I've heard all your arguments about the display), occasional 3D processing, occasional music editing, and on any given day it runs 8-10 browser tabs, iTunes, Mail, and Coda without any stutter whatsoever ever - and instantly toggles from one app to the next with no hesitation.

    You're coming from a 2008, so the difference will be even bigger for you. Basically, you could get the bottom of the barrel Air and still be blown away - the SSD alone will be amazeballs for you; the Haswell/Broadwell processor is also noticeably faster and more efficient than the Penryn you're coming from - I bought extra RAM and the beefier chip just because I keep my machines longer than "normal"... you may want to do the same, but anything you buy Air-wise in the last year or two will be mile ahead of your '08 17-incher.

    The only difference, besides battery life and screen, between the 11 and 13 Air siblings is something to do with the SSD channels or speed or something and won't make any difference in 99.9% of environments. The Air can easily power a 22" monitor, so as an at-home system you just pop in the Thunderbolt and you're good.

    :)

    ...or you get screwballs that know equally little about what OP wants a computer for but insist the MacBook Pro/Retina MacBook is better.
     
  11. AFEPPL macrumors 68020

    AFEPPL

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2014
    Location:
    England
    #11
    Have you considered the 12" rMB?
    Its going be a step up from the current device you have and its more than capable.
     
  12. Melrose Suspended

    Melrose

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    #12
    ...but it is pricier and less powered than the Air. You're right, it likely will be powerful enough, but if he's coming from a 2008 17" he'll probably be fine with the resolution on the Air. :)
     
  13. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68020

    Ulenspiegel

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2014
    Location:
    Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
    #13
    +1. (Again...lmao). If the OP is not into Retina, he will be more than happy with MBA.
     
  14. AFEPPL macrumors 68020

    AFEPPL

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2014
    Location:
    England
    #14
    We don't know if the OP is or is not into anything...

    To me, the ONLY reason to get a MBA is $ or £s, the rest of the time rMB or rMBP are the ones to have.
    The other machines are just better with the Retina screens in the same way you don't need, HD or 4K, but the difference is huge and for many, well worth it.
     
  15. sammy1480 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2015
    Location:
    Ottawa
    #15
    Thanks for the replies

    The 12" rMB is a non-starter for me due to the lack of ports, the bang for the buck, and I don't mind not having retina display

    Because I'm scaling back from an MPB, my needs aren't as demanding as before

    I'll likely using it for:

    Web browsing
    MS Office
    Photo Editing
    Light video editing
    Streaming sporting events (no comment on the legality of it)

    It would be my primary laptop which I hope to have for 5+ years

    Sam
     
  16. macbook_21 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2015
    Location:
    In yo' bizness
    #16
    The MBA also has 2 extra hours of battery life and is a half pound lighter. Not that the mbp has poor battery life or is any way a heavyweight.

    As far as the rMB, the keyboard is very difficult to get used to. Very, very little key travel, and probably not very comfortable to type on for any extended period of time. I wouldn't quite call it a design flaw, but I would avoid it if you rely on your laptop for heavy word processing.
     
  17. Serban Suspended

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    #17
    the macbooks keyboard is the future. all of you who dont like it, probably used it for a short time vs a keyboard that are you used for a decade
     
  18. SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #18
    If you can, hold out till next year. The rMBP redesign could come with a weight reduction which would put it in line with the 13" Air. So far the 13 rMBP is only 200g heavier than the 13 Air.
     
  19. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502

    cincygolfgrrl

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    Location:
    Somewhere In Time
    #19
    The MBA is a niche computer. It's a huge niche. It's for people who want a highly functional, very portable computer that will do all of what most people need. Within the foreseeable future it's unlikely to get a major makeover. Chipset advancements will show up in new models but probably not retina displays. People who need retina have options.

    The tech media consistently lists the 13" MBA as the best laptop, year after year, because it just works so darned well for so many people. The 11" is just as capable, but is even easier to move from place to place.

    The 11" MBA was my only computer for three years. At home I plugged it into a monitor and used bluetooth keyboard and trackpad. I connected multiple USB drives through a hub. I did heavy Lightroom on RAW images and was never disappointed. Agreed, it's not as fast as my new iMac, but I never felt it was significantly underpowered for the work I do on it. I continue to use it for image work when on the road.

    Looking at the OP's list of requirements I see no reason why an MBA wouldn't be a great computer.
     
  20. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #20
    I am willing to bet that he will be into it as soon as he spends a few hours using a Mac with a retina display. ;)

    I sold my 2011 MBA very quickly after I bought a 2012 rMBP, even though I loved the form factor. That screen was never great in the first place. My 2009 13" MBP was better in that regard thanks to its IPS panel. The retina screens were an absolute revelation in comparison to both.
     
  21. sammy1480 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2015
    Location:
    Ottawa
    #21
    Thanks for the responses

    Since I want to save on the purchase and I've done some research, I am going with the 13" MBA with 8GB of RAM but buy a refurbished model instead
     
  22. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #22
    That's because on a purely bang for your buck basis the 13 inch rMBP is apples best computer.
     

Share This Page