2010 base 13" MBA or 2011 base 13" MBA for 63% more £££ ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by pubjoe, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. pubjoe macrumors 6502

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    Aug 14, 2007
    #1
    I'm sorry to start another personal 'help me decide' thread, but I am really stuck with this one.

    I am going to buy my Wife a macbook air for her Birthday in two weeks. She is also starting university (nursing degree) at the same time, so is entitled to the HE discount. This means that for £945, I can buy her the latest base 13" with all the various improvements over the 2010 model (thunderbolt will be unnecessary)...

    • 4GB ram
    • sandy bridge CPU
    • backlit keyboard

    Also as it's a HE purchase new from apple, it has the following further advantages...

    • It's brand new
    • comes with the free 3 year repair-only applecare.
    • £65 mac store credit

    But then the 2010 base model is available a lot cheaper second hand but in nearly new condition. Basically, for £580, I would be buying the following...

    • "lightly used" condition
    • 2GB ram
    • core2duo
    • no backlit keyboard
    • no/little applecare
    • no store credit

    ...But I would be saving £365 and it comes with one considerable advantage...

    • better (nvidia) GPU!

    Now normally it's a no-brainer - I would always jump on a possible HE discount for a brand new mac purchase, but the difference in price here is quite considerable. £580 vs £945 - that's a 63% increase and despite the many advantages, I still can't decide if it's worth the extra cost.

    I also have a couple of questions which may make all the difference...

    1) 2GB ram (that cannot be upgraded) in the 2010 model is nearly a deal-breaker. However, with an SSD available for virtual memory, I imagine that the 2GB limitation is nowhere near as noticeable as it would be with a slow laptop hard disk grinding on the overflow. Does anyone with 2GB + SSD notice much disadvantage?

    2) When the 2011 macbook air first came out. Opinion on the intel graphics was that they are nearly as good as the 2010's nvidia GPU at best, but the GPU is new and there may be plenty of room for improvement with driver updates in the future. Two Months on, Has there been any improvement?

    I need to make a quick decision and I am completely 50/50 on it at the moment. A £365 difference is definitely an important consideration to me (ok, if I wanted to I could spend a couple of hundred on a windows laptop, but... come on :) ). Even if I factor in the app store credit and the (not quite full) applecare, it's still at least a £200 saving - for a second hand computer yes, but is it really that much worse in specs? Especially for my Wife's likely usage of the machine.

    Thanks for reading. Any opinions would be most welcome.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    Sounds like the 2010 model would be fine then, assuming your wife doesn't mind a used machine. If there is nothing CPU or GPU intensive involved, then there will practically be no difference between the 2010 and 2011 models.
     
  3. pubjoe thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Thanks...

    Well there's another consideration yeah. Second-hand birhday presents never have quite the same effect! :rolleyes:

    Also, another slight worry is that knowing apple, they will probably drop core2duo support well before sandy bridge.
     
  4. ditzy macrumors 68000

    ditzy

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    #4
    The second hand computer is fine, but as a birthday present, I wouldn't.
     
  5. Adidas Addict macrumors 65816

    Adidas Addict

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    #5
    Don't be a tight arse, if you buy your mrs a second hand laptop for her birthday you can expect her to run off with the first young fresher she meets!

    On a serious note, the improvements plus the 3yr warranty with a HE purchase are a no brainer, plus you can flog the iTunes voucher for £50 to offset a little of the cost.
     
  6. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #6
    2011 it`s new and her birthday; The GPU will most likely moot for your wife`s use, however if she needs to run Windows specific software the 2011`s much stronger CPU will greatly help if you decide to go for VMware etc ;)

    I just surprised my wife with a new 2011 11inch 128Gb, she thought that she was going to inherit my 2008 MacBook Pro, everyone should get to unwrap a new Mac at least once, she was delighted and loves the Air...
     
  7. Adidas Addict macrumors 65816

    Adidas Addict

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    #7
    Bet she made you a nice dinner that night :D
     
  8. jcg878 macrumors member

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    Aug 14, 2011
    #8
    The non-backlit keyboard of the 2010 Air would be a deal breaker for me. If she's taking notes in dark lecture halls (though they usually aren't that dark, honestly), it might be a nice plus to have.

    If the 2011 Air didn't have the backlit keyboard, I'd be on a MBP now. I like the feature that much.
     
  9. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #9
    If I bought my wife a used gift I'd be sleeping in the couch. Indefinitely.

    Is it worth 63% more? Absolutely.
     
  10. Beaverman3001 macrumors 6502

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    May 20, 2010
    #10
    The 2010 model is the better bargain, but personally the 2GB ram is a deal breaker for my uses, no idea about your uses though. The superior GPU is a plus though, but I'd never be able to get past 2GB ram. I eat through 2GB just with my browser's tabs much less the other stuff I have going on.
     
  11. pubjoe thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Thanks for all the advice. I've been mulling it over at work today and I am leaning towards the 'don't be tight. It's a present - just get a ****ing new one you git' opinion.

    Also, it being a laptop makes the 3 year applecare much more worthwhile I imagine.

    As for offsetting the cost by selling the voucher: True, but it reminds me how much I miss the free ipod deals though. :sigh:

    I'd normally agree, but the SSD should make the 2GB ram MUCH less noticable though shouldn't it?
     
  12. Beaverman3001 macrumors 6502

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    May 20, 2010
    #12
    Sure, but even as fast as an SSD is, it pales in comparison to the speed of RAM. Paging to the SSD won't be awful but it is still not a great experience.
     
  13. ybz90 macrumors 6502a

    ybz90

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    #13
    If your wife doesnt do anything particularly taxing on her computer, the 2010 model should suffice just fine. I would worry about the low RAM, as even light tasks can quickly eat that up. Also, don't think about the GPU very much, as the nVIDIA chip isn't that much better in the sense that it's still a lowend chip now matter what. You can't expect great performance out of the nVIDIA or the Intel.

    ----------

    No -- paging may be fast, but it's is not going to make the limitations go away. Even on my 2011 4GB, I'll occasionally get beachballs for this very reason.
     
  14. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

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    #14
    Go for the new one, HE Warranty and huge discount on retail is worth it alone.

    Not to mention the nice cellophane wrap that your wife will get to peel off the Air - up there with the most satisfying experiences known to man.
     
  15. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #15
    Yep, she was real happy, and thats what counts ;)
     
  16. jcg878 macrumors member

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    #16
    What is this "HE" warranty stuff? I'm assuming it has to do with an educational purchase.
     
  17. pubjoe thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Sheesh, blowjobs start getting expensive after years of monogamy don't they!

    ---

    Thanks for the tips tintin220 and beaverman3001.

    NutsNGum, Yeah, the new mac unbox experience is worth a good few % of the cost alone.
     
  18. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

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    #18
    Yep, it's a UK exclusive 3 year warranty applied to Online Educational Store purchases only.

    Store staff routinely deny all knowledge of its existence.
     
  19. jcg878 macrumors member

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    #19
    Doh, I would be eligible in the US.
     
  20. Built macrumors 68020

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    #20
    A second-hand computer as a birthday present?

    Nah.
     
  21. pubjoe thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Yeah yeah I know. But come one, it'd still be a £600 present!
     
  22. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #22
    It would still be a USED present... :rolleyes:
     
  23. ditzy macrumors 68000

    ditzy

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    #23
    Exactly. Unless money is really tight, it would look like you don't value her enough to buy her something new.
     
  24. pubjoe thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #24
    I went for the brand new one. :)

    I ordered it yesterday afternoon and it arrived today! At first the estimated shipping date was Febuary 2012 due to an out-of-stock printer, so I phoned and changed it and in a couple of hours I received an email to say it had been dispatched.

    By the way, for some reason I thought that Apple had stopped doing the free printer for students so I was glad to see they hadn't. There is also an extra 3% (before VAT) cashback available using quidco. So that's a £70 printer, plus the £25ish cashback, plus the £65 voucher, plus the HE discount, PLUS the free extended applecare - it would have been crazy to not have got it new from apple.

    ...And they say romance is dead. :eek:
     
  25. Oli3000 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    #25
    The 2011 model will have more than a 64% boost in processing power over the 2010 model... so it depends what you feel you need. Personally, the base 2010 model is outdated and will struggle to hold its retail value for much longer. Also if you consider that the applecare would be £300 to bring it up to the same guarantee (roughly), the decision soon becomes obvious.

    Edit: Ignore this, as you already have bought it!
     

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