13" MBA: Worth upgrading from 2012 to 2013?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by dmk1974, Jun 21, 2013.


13" MBA: Worth upgrading from 2012 to 2013?

  1. No: Keep 2102 MBA for another 6 months or so

    96 vote(s)
  2. Yes: Upgrade to the 2013 version for about net $270

    60 vote(s)
  1. dmk1974 macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    My wife and I currently each have a 2012 13" base model MBA. Work great and no issues with them. They have 5-7 months of the original Apple warranty left on them.

    While I did just buy an 11" 2013 to try out, and may go with, I was thinking of actually getting the 13" version. Is it worth upgrading from our 2012 models though? I figure I can net $800 if I sell each of the 2012's (mint condition, have BestSkinsEver skins on them and original retail box, charger, etc.). Leveraging my brother's teacher discount, I figure after tax, a base 2013 13" MBA would cost me about $1070.

    So basically, is it worth $270 per machine for:
    • Battery Life: 5 hours to 10 hours (real-world)
    • SSD Speed: write/read of 230/440 to 320/720 (MB/s)
    • Graphics: HD 4000 to HD 5000

    Am I missing any other significant differences? Battery of course is the primary upgrade. Though, while used in many rooms and sometimes the patio, our laptops rarely leave our house.

    From what I've seen, the Geekbench scores of the base processors from 2012 to 2013 are essentially the same. 4 GB RAM and 128 GB storage should remain plenty good for our use (web, email, MS Office apps, light iPhoto/iMovie use, playing iTunes music and videos...very very little game playing).

  2. LordKuroda macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2012
    Am currently having the same dilemma as well, would be great to see opinions from others! :p:eek:
  3. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68030


    Jun 10, 2010
    Well....I'd ask these questions.

    1.) Do you spend a lot of time unplugged or away from the ability to plug in?

    2.) Do you access a lot of large files?

    3.) Do you do a lot that is taxing on the GPU?

    Also....I would not bank on getting $800/each for those laptops. Refurbs from Apple for that same base model are $849 and come with the full year warranty. A sucker is born every day, but that's who you'd need to find in order to get $1,600 for those laptops.
  4. MikeAllaway macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2013
    Also has improved WiFi... from 802.11n to ac but then you'd need to buy an ac router to see the benefits ... $540 (270x2) is a lot considering the only significant upgrade is the battery life. Big question you really need to ask yourself is 'am I happy with my current MBA?' ... If you've found it's slowed down or that the battery drains quickly and become unsuitable for what you use it for then yeah go for it. But since there's not much of a difference (i.e. no hardware redesign, same RAM, storage size, etc) I'd suggest spending that $540 on an iPad / iPad mini (if you don't already one) then upgrade to a new MBA next summer when they'll prob come with 8GB RAM standard and maybe even a whole new physical design.
  5. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    Thanks for the comments so far. Keep 'em coming!

    I do not have an ac wireless router. We have the 2 GB Time Capsule MD032LL/A. Seems to be good enough for our use in the house. Too bad the new version still has USB 2.0 ports on it.

    In the house, we have a 2012 Mac Mini that is our media server (files, music, videos, photos). Most everything is then streamed to or accessed by the laptops.

    CPU doesn't get taxed all that much. I guess when just creating an iMovie video or something. Handbrake is used on that Mac Mini with the USB DVD drive so not on the laptops. The kids played a little Minecraft and Warcraft or something on the laptops a few times...that's the extent of the gaming.
  6. gpeden macrumors regular

    Nov 24, 2007
    I was in the same boat, but wanting to get more memory and storage. I got the i7 this time and the machine seems to run cooler than my 2012 base model while only surfing and playing poker:) Battery life is astounding and the fast charge rate is a bonus.

  7. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    I agree, if you need more storage or power, then go for the 2013 version.

    But for me, I definitely don't need more space (64 GB even would be suitable) and while speed is always nice and great in benchmarks, any of these MBA's are fast due to their SSD drives.
  8. MeatRocket macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2013
    In the Sandbox
    I was in the market for a MacBook Air. Money is no object for me, but I'm not a wasteful spender either. I like to buy for my needs and get a discount if possible. I looked at the 2013 MacBook Airs and configured them the way I'd like. I priced out a 13" i7/8GB/256GB 2013 model that totaled $1549 on B & H.

    Then I went and bought a 2012 model with the same specs for $1050. Saved myself $500 and it meets all of my needs. Sure battery life isn't quite as good, but I'm not mobile for extended periods. I/O speeds aren't quite as fast, but 400MB/s is still pretty darn fast and I do more than run benchmarks all day! It doesn't have 802.11ac, but I don't have an 802.11ac router and don't plan on spending the at least $200 for a new one when my 802.11n router is perfectly fine.

    In other words, I determined which one would meet my needs and had the best balance of features-to-price ratio. While the new one was cool, it wasn't $500 cooler than the 2012 model for what I'll use it for. Your mileage may vary.
  9. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    UGA KNOWS, smart advice
  10. iAndyPham macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2013
    I suggest keep it until Retina MBA is released.
  11. vip007 macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2006
    Where did you find the 13" with those specs for $1050, if you don't mind sharing?
  12. MeatRocket macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2013
    In the Sandbox
    E-Bay. Just have to follow the auctions closely & not buy the first one you see.
  13. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    GO HAWKS! 1 to go!!!

    sorry, just had to add that to my thread :)
  14. pickaxe macrumors 6502a

    Nov 29, 2012
    Just keep in mind that CPU performance is on par or even slightly *worse* than the 2012 model. Unless you do work that could really benefit from a somewhat beefier GPU or a considerably faster SSD, I doubt you'll feel the spec bump.
  15. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Jul 25, 2011
    In my eyes the battery life is really the only thing on the 2013 model that you would notice in most real world situations. And I suppose 802.11ac but most don't even have the ac spectrum on their routers anyways. As you said in your post, your laptops rarely leave your house, so I wouldn't really see many real benefits to you upgrading this generation.

    I understand exactly where you're coming from, but maybe look at it this way- I think most would agree Apple will (likely) introduce a redesigned Air next time around, so maybe your best bet would be to hold on till the next generation if you're really thinking about upgrading. And, because I see you're the type (like myself) that can net top-dollar for your used equipment, I think the next generation Air, should it come by sometime next year, would yield a much better return on investment than the 2013 model you're considering buying. A new design introduction will almost always hurt the value of your used (and now inferior) equipment. Just my thoughts, hope you find whatever works best for you.
  16. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    Upgrading now is probably just knowing that I have the latest and greatest with respect to those 3 main bullet points. Battery of course the most noticeable and the other two (graphics and SSD speed) are only noticeable in benchmarks.

    I think for the 2013 11" that I had been testing, the battery life is a great improvement over the 2012. For the 13" 2012 MBA, with real-world of about 5 hours, I would like a bump up, but never really had a problem with it so far...though knowing I can double it with the 2013 Haswell is attractive just in case I take it out and about on a rare occasion.
  17. twingo macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2009
    Good for Apple, that people are thinking of an upgrade every few months. Maybe these people don't even need a computer at all...
  18. merkinmuffley macrumors 6502a

    Dec 3, 2010
    + 1. Wait until something significant gets upgraded.
  19. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
    I have the 2012 and no way do I need to upgrade to the 2013 or 2014. I don't get this need to upgrade a computer every year. Even older mba's still do a job.
  20. Ironduke Suspended


    Nov 12, 2006
    it looks like apple have fudged battery life by down clocking the new CPU's
  21. BenTrovato macrumors 68030


    Jun 29, 2012
    If I needed more battery, $270 for an extra 5 hours wouldn't be so hard to swallow. I would be more inclined to keep what you have and see what comes out next year. I don't see the value in the base 2013 over what you already have.
  22. dmk1974, Jun 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013

    dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    Well, I decided against the 2013 MBA 13" for now. As pointed out by many here, not worth the upgrade compared to my 2012 MBA 13". When my 1-year warranty comes up, I'll probably then compare the cost of adding AppleCare to my 2012 vs upgrading to the 2013 (likely an Apple Refurb which usually go for 15% off).

    If I am going to get a 2013 MBA, it will be the 11" that I am trying out. Its battery lasts (real world) 2 hours longer than the 2013 13" MBA and is the same speed basically. Just the different form factor of course. I didn't mention earlier, but I do also often connect my MBA to a monitor when at my desk. I still just have to decide if I like that 11" form more. Wish that bezel was smaller and the screen was even an inch bigger diagonally! Maybe 2014 will bring a 12" version. :)

    I had detailed this in another thread comparing the 2013 11" vs 2013 13":

    Screen Size:
    11.6" vs 13.3" (13": 15% longer on diagonal)
    16:9 ratio vs 16:10 (13": 11% taller per ratio)
    1366x768 vs 1440x900 (13": 24% more pixels, 17% more vertical rows)
    135 DPI vs 127 DPI (11": slightly sharper)
    57.5 sq.in vs 79.5 sq.in. (13": 38% more surface area)
    2.38 lb. vs 2.96 lb. (13": 24% heavier)
    85.2 sq.in. vs 114.4 sq.in. (13": 34% bigger)
    Battery Life:
    7 hours vs 10 hours real-life usage (13": 43% longer)
    SD Reader:
    11" No vs 13" Yes
  23. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    Would a net upgrade cost of ~$180 make the move from 2012 to 2013 more attractive? With the back to school deals out there, that's about what it would come to now.
  24. hockeyfanatic macrumors member

    Feb 23, 2011
    I think you would enjoy the differences but recommend waiting for next refresh.
    It may have the Igzo screen, improved gpu, cheaper flash, improved heat dispersion.
    I get my 2013 refresh next week, my first mac-book.:)
    I will most likely wait till '15 refresh for my upgrade while you may be enjoying your new Igzo screen.
  25. SenorVvangIstMoi macrumors member


    Oct 24, 2011
    Bristol, UK
    On the same boat with this dude :apple:

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