13" MBA RAM Upgrade: What does it portend?

jmoore5196

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Original poster
May 19, 2009
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After this morning's upgrade to 8GB RAM in the 13" MBA (necessary in all but a few cases, in my view) I've begun to wonder: Does the fact that the 11" MBA did not receive the same upgrade mean the days of the 11" are numbered?

I bought a refurb 2015 "ultimate" 11" MBA a month or so ago; just wondering what everything else thinks will be the fate of the 11" model?
 

PTLove

macrumors 6502
Sep 12, 2014
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I think they are both dead. The fact Apple updated the 13" base today makes me believe they wont upgrade them at WWDC with their updated MBP.

if I had to guess (which is 100% all it is), Id say Apple will try to bring in Next Years KabyLake based rMB to a $999 starting price, discontinuing the 11' Air officially, and a 14" rMB will be introduced around $1200 to kill the 13" Air.
 

Howard2k

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Mar 10, 2016
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I agree. I'm guessing that the 13" 8GB Air is a stop gap until the new 14" MB/MBPro.
A good one though. I had the 4GB 13" and loved it, aside from the 4GB being so limiting. Now I'm thinking that the 8GB 13" is what I might pick up.
 
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toddzrx

macrumors 6502a
Nov 20, 2012
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The writing is pretty much on the wall with the Air line. Come to think of it, I can't remember Apple doing a "refresh" (if we can even call it that) that was this minor.

What I'm wondering is what will the 13" replacement look like: will it go with the same ULV chips as the current MB, or go with the 15W chips of the Air, which would of course mean it requires a fan. Obviously a 14" MB would have a lot more room to play with, so it'll be interesting to see which path Apple decides to pursue.
 

friedkimchi

macrumors regular
Aug 13, 2011
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The writing is pretty much on the wall with the Air line. Come to think of it, I can't remember Apple doing a "refresh" (if we can even call it that) that was this minor.
I think the refresh where all the Retina Macbooks Pros got their RAM upgraded silently as well counts? The 13" got bumped to base 8GB while the 15" got bumped to 16GB.
 

toddzrx

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Nov 20, 2012
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I think the refresh where all the Retina Macbooks Pros got their RAM upgraded silently as well counts? The 13" got bumped to base 8GB while the 15" got bumped to 16GB.
Right; but the Pros also got processor/graphics updates too. I can't recall an Apple computer refresh where the machine got an increase in RAM for the base model (note: at the same frequency) and nothing else. That's what I'm referring to.
 

izzyfanto

macrumors regular
Nov 22, 2011
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I agree. I'm guessing that the 13" 8GB Air is a stop gap until the new 14" MB/MBPro.
A good one though. I had the 4GB 13" and loved it, aside from the 4GB being so limiting. Now I'm thinking that the 8GB 13" is what I might pick up.
The only thing that keeps me from doing the same is the screen. You don't mind?
 

Howard2k

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Mar 10, 2016
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I was all set to pick up the MBA but found a good deal on a refurb Pro so ordered that last night.
I had the 4GB Air very briefly and loved it, aside from the RAM constraints.


People talk lots of crap about the Air screen being unusable. That's all it is -crap, it's a perfectly usable screen. But it also can be plugGed into an external monitor/TV too.

Personally I think the current Air is in a good place for those who don't have screen envy.
 

jmoore5196

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Original poster
May 19, 2009
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'Screen envy' is a very relative thing, in my view. I had a 1.3 rMB and loved the display, but I disliked the single port factor and keyboard. I've also had a 13" rMBP, which I sold and bought a 15" rMBP because the dual-core processor just isn't up to the task of pumping to all the pixels in the beautiful display and running Adobe CC apps without latency.

I was watching a movie on my 11" MBA last night and found myself quite pleased with it. With detailed work, on the other hand, the display is less than optimal. I guess my thought is that the 11" MBA is a compromise. As many have noted, it may well go the way of the Dodo come summer.

I've given up on my quest to consolidate my two laptops. Maybe WWDC will spawn a 14" MB that will finally do that ... although it would have to accommodate a TB2 or TB3 port in addition to the USB-C for it to be worthwhile to me.
 

theluggage

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2011
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After this morning's upgrade to 8GB RAM in the 13" MBA (necessary in all but a few cases, in my view) I've begun to wonder
Don't wonder too hard - all it means is that Apple are simplifying their inventory and ordering process by dropping the 4GB version of the 13" Air. Apple know how many of each spec they sell - these decisions are probable based on that. As for the 11", 4GB is still adequate for general office work.

The other shoe will drop when the new MacBook Pro range launches and we see whether there is still an Air-shaped niche in the range. It seems highly likely that the new 13" Pro will be closer to the Air in thickness and weight (it already has a smaller footprint). However, Apple don't seem to be adverse to hiking prices, so there might still be a role for the Air as an entry-level option - but maybe without significant upgrades.
 

izzyfanto

macrumors regular
Nov 22, 2011
233
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I've searched the MR and google for this subject, but cannot find a definite answer:
MBA i7 vs MBP i5, just in terms of CPU, what's better? Not price, screen, ports or GPU.
 

jmoore5196

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Original poster
May 19, 2009
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I've searched the MR and google for this subject, but cannot find a definite answer:
MBA i7 vs MBP i5, just in terms of CPU, what's better? Not price, screen, ports or GPU.
According to Geekbench scores, the MBP is the better performer ... but barely. The difference is something less than 5%.
 

izzyfanto

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Nov 22, 2011
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According to Geekbench scores, the MBP is the better performer ... but barely. The difference is something less than 5%.
Right, that's what I saw. But doesn't hyperthreading exist only in the i7? And the MBA i7 has 4MB L3 cache instead of the 3MB on the MBP i5. I guess I'm nitpicking, but extra MB of cache for repetitive tasks plus + having more virtual cores seems like a better deal. Or does the geekbench scores include this stuff?
[doublepost=1461195914][/doublepost]

Now I'm confused because it looks like the MBA i7 has a better score than the MBP i5.
 
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jmoore5196

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Original poster
May 19, 2009
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I was looking at 64-bit scores, which show the reverse. I'm not sure I'd be too fussed over such an insignificant difference in scores, though.

You may be "nitpicking," but that's precisely why I chose to stay with the 11" MBA. When I need the extra grunt from the processor, I need it ... that makes the display tradeoff worthwhile to me.
 

izzyfanto

macrumors regular
Nov 22, 2011
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I was looking at 64-bit scores, which show the reverse. I'm not sure I'd be too fussed over such an insignificant difference in scores, though.

You may be "nitpicking," but that's precisely why I chose to stay with the 11" MBA. When I need the extra grunt from the processor, I need it ... that makes the display tradeoff worthwhile to me.
So you're saying the even though the MBP i5 has a little better score, in real world the MBA i7 does indeed have the little extra boost of hyperthreading & extra cache? I'm not exactly sure what makes up geekbench scores, you?
Does the CPU have anything to do with running the display or is that all GPU?
I'm very tempted by the maxed out MBA right now since its so cheap
 
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Howard2k

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Mar 10, 2016
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Most of your apps are probably 64 bit, but the difference is still inconsequential. So assume the CPU is the same from a performance perspective. The multi core shows it's a wash too between the MBA i7 2.2 and MBPro i5 2.7.

The MBA will be lighter, but lower resolution. Other considerations are battery life, ports, RAM, and of course, price.

I would make a list of those things (weight, resolution, battery, Ports, RAM, price) in order of how important they are to you, then determine for each category which one is the winner. That's what I'd do.
 

r6mile

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Feb 3, 2010
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London, UK
I think the 13"MBA will no longer be upgraded, but will remain in the line-up as Apple's entry-level laptop (like the cMBP has been for the last 3 years or so). Most people don't care about about a retina screen, and just want a 'cheap' Apple laptop that will do for playing music, browsing the internet, and using Office, and maybe the occasional game. For those sort of uses, the 8GB MBA is plenty adequate. Meanwhile, the 11"MBA and the 13"cMBP (finally) will be discontinued.
 
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jmoore5196

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May 19, 2009
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I would make a list of those things (weight, resolution, battery, Ports, RAM, price) in order of how important they are to you, then determine for each category which one is the winner. That's what I'd do.
Precisely what I did, and my priorities induced me to return the rMB and stick with the MBA. But everyone's situation is unique. I'll be interested to know what Izzy decides; the fact that the MBA is substantially less expensive than similar-spec rMB or MBP is a genuine plus.
 

Howard2k

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Mar 10, 2016
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I did that with my DSLR purchase but made it slightly more complex by using a weighting/points system and then made my decision based off the score. The result was unexpected and I felt a little odd making the purchase based on a numeric spreadsheet score, but I'm happy I did and had no regrets.

The other nice thing is the return policy - I tried the 4GB MBA and it wasn't for me, but I was able to return it so no harm done.

I have a refurb Pro being delivered tomorrow (or maybe today) and if that is dodgy I'll be heading straight out for the 13" i5 8GB MBA. Great laptop IMO.
 

can$rules

macrumors member
Jul 29, 2014
54
100
This wasn't an upgrade -- it was a price cut, as this machine was already available. I agree that the MBA will be kept as an entry price option for those who don't know better, a sad fate for what once was a wonderful machine.

At this point the ray of hope for those of us longing for a retina MBA is that they will likely slim down the MBP, effectively making the MBP the new MBA. Will suck for people that actually want a powerful workhorse laptop, as Apple's thinness obsession will not allow them to build a real Pro laptop.
 

r6mile

macrumors 6502
Feb 3, 2010
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London, UK
This wasn't an upgrade -- it was a price cut, as this machine was already available. I agree that the MBA will be kept as an entry price option for those who don't know better, a sad fate for what once was a wonderful machine.
I'd rather they keep the 2015 13" 8GB MBA as the entry-level option than the cMBP, which you can amazingly still buy in Apple stores and which people must keep buying because it's the cheapest machine in the store.
 

izzyfanto

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Nov 22, 2011
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