2011 MBAir VS 2015 MBAir.... will I notice a difference?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Turnpike, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. Turnpike macrumors 6502


    Oct 2, 2011
    New York City!
    I only browse and do emails- no heavy work. I have the chance to buy someone's mint-mint 13" MBAir, it's a 4GB SSD and 2011 model, and I'm wondering if I will notice a difference in internet surfing between that and a 2015 MBAir, which those come with 8GB of RAM and also probably a different SSD.

    I only go on forums, do research, that type of thing.... using wifi from an iPhone hotspot. Anyone think (or know) if I'd notice much of an improvement if I paid the extra $$ to get a newer MBAir?

  2. capathy21 macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2014
    Houston, Texas
    You would probably only notice a difference if you had them side by side. For what you will be doing, the 2011 will be more than adequate. The read/write speeds of the ssd will be much faster in the 2015, and if you have more than several programs open, the 8gb of ram will be smoother. How much of a price difference are you looking at? Also, do you just plan to use it for a couple of years, or are you thinking long term?
  3. marioman38 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Elk Grove, CA
    There was a huge improvement in battery life on the 2012 and newer models as intel transitioned to newer and more efficient processors. It's going to depend on the price difference. An extra $100 or $200 for a machine that's 3 years newer with twice the ram and longer battery life sounds great in my book. If you're short on cash the 2011 will do email just fine.
  4. iLondoner macrumors 6502


    I'm using a mid 2011 MBA with 4GB RAM and it's absolutely fine for the work you describe. However you should check the number of cycles the battery has been through.
  5. Bart Kela, Jan 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017

    Bart Kela Suspended

    Bart Kela

    Oct 12, 2016
    For surfing the Internet, you should not expect to see major differences from the two systems. For sure, a newer model will probably have better battery life.

    The bigger differences you'd see later, not today.

    Looking at battery cycle counts will give some indication of how much use the system has had over the years, but won't tell the whole picture, like ambient temperature. Batteries deteriorate quicker in warmer environments, so if the previous owner was ripping DVDs frequently, the system would have been running at a hotter temperature for more time than if the owner had simply been surfing the 'net, reading e-mail or other non-CPU intensive tasks.

    Batteries eventually die anyhow and six years is a long time for a notebook battery regardless of usage. If you plan on keeping the 2011 notebook for more than a couple of years, you should factor in the battery replacement cost.

    The other thing which you will eventually notice is that the MacBook Air 2011 will get dropped from the compatibility list for the latest macOS version. The current macOS Sierra supports MacBook Airs from late 2010 and after. That means that the end of official macOS support is looming for the 2011 model.

    You don't mention whether or not compatibility with the latest and greatest macOS is important to you, but it is something to be noted when considering the purchase of an older model.

    Will Apple drop support from macOS 10.13 for the 2011 MBA model? No one knows yet, but at the June WWDC, they will release the 10.13 beta to developers and the picture of what systems will be supported will become clearer.
  6. santidog macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2014
    I want from a 2011 to a 2014 due to a cracked screen. The only real difference I noticed is the keyboard on the 2014 was less responsive/mushier than the 2011.

    You also get support for handoff and some other macOS features that aren't technically supported on the 2011 model. If you have a wireless setup that supports it, the new air should also have 802.11ac instead of 802.11n on the 2011 model which should speed browsing/file transfer up.

    Forgot to add you'll also have MagSafe2 instead, so you'll need to by adapters for any extra power adapters you may have.
  7. bingeciren, Jan 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017

    bingeciren macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2011
    The most significant benefits are:
    1) A very noticeable difference in disk speed, which will make the machine respond quicker, load programs faster and yes surf the internet faster.
    2) You will have better battery life.
    3) You will have USB3, which is a significant improvement when you use USB3 disks.\
    4) 8 GB ram is obviously beneficial if you open more Safari tabs and have few programs open simultaneously. It is a significant improvement but you only begin to notice the difference as you start pushing the machine to its limits.

    Unless your modem support 802.11ac, you won't notice any increase in WiFi speed.
  8. g.t. rags macrumors 6502

    Nov 25, 2010
    Long Island
    I mean if your paying 350-400 for the 2011 I feel thats the way to go, but sadly op never mentioned price
  9. asoksevil macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2010
    Taipei, Taiwan
    The 2010 MBA is my daily driver and I saw a huge difference using the 2014 MBA. It was more fluid, faster and overall snappier. For daily usage such as opening Safari, email, etc you'll probably save what 1-2 seconds at most but that's like a 100-200% improvement over what you are accustomed but still very noticeable.
  10. tentales macrumors 6502a


    Dec 6, 2010
    I wouldn't buy anything older than the 2013 models.
    Better battery life, faster RAM & SSD, much new CPU gen. (Sandy bridge vs Broadwell)
    and longer support cycle from Apple on a 2015 vs 2011 in 2017 and forward.
    better future resell value, etc..

    Unless you can get it for a steal, like $300 or less, I'd consider something newer, possibly from Apple's refurb store.
    No matter how "mint" someone claims it is, unless you're certain that battery health is still above 80%, you'll be forking over $150+ for a new part pretty soon.
  11. dingclancy23 macrumors regular


    Nov 15, 2015

    The 2010 MBA was still slow using a Core2Duo. It really only improved starting with 2011 and since then the speed improvements have been incremental to the point that you will notice little difference between 2011 and 2015 in day to day use. 2011 MacBook Air was a big jump.

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