2011 or 2012 Macbook air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Smaug195, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. Smaug195 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    #1
    I am looking for a macbook air mostly for general classroom use (web browsing, Word, e-mail) as well as some development work. Specifically I will be using both SAS (Statistics package) and Visual Studio 2010/2012 in Parallels.

    The 2011 version of the air is about $250-$300 cheaper than the 2012. The only difference that appears to impact my requirements is the 4gig maximum RAM vs 8 gigs. Is 4 something I can be reasonably happy with, or is 8 an absolute must?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
  2. Seawolf8080 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2010
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #2
    I think you'll be happy with a 2011. I have 2011 13" and run Parallels occasionally... not going to set any speed records, but it's just fine.

    And anything in OS X is snappy.
     
  3. marioman38 macrumors 6502a

    marioman38

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Elk Grove, CA
    #3
    2011 unless you "need" usb 3.0 keeping in mind the 2011 has thunderbolt which is much faster; hopefully third parties will ramp up tb accessories soon!

    B&H has a good price, no tax and free shipping. I don't work for them, but have purchased a few laptops, external hdds and iPods from them before and they've been great.
     
  4. Smaug195 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 5, 2012
    #4
    Thank you for your help, I think the 2011 is a good fit.

    Likely will go for the 11" over the 13" from the Apple refurb store (B&H has tax in NY).
     
  5. ixodes macrumors 601

    ixodes

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Location:
    Pacific Coast, USA
    #5
    I have both sizes. I'd strongly encourage you to give the 13" serious consideration. The 11" gets well over 2 hrs less battery life, has cramped narrow modifier keys, and is not as well balanced when you don't have a desktop to work from.

    The 13" is only 1" wider and a bit deeper, yet it makes a big difference in how the laptop handles. I thought I'd use them both quite a bit since I travel so much. Often internationally, so the compact 11" is good, yet I prefer the 13" so much more I end up taking it.

    Just some thoughts for you.
     
  6. mattopotamus macrumors G5

    mattopotamus

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    #6
    i have the exact opposite take on the size =/....i feel like the 11" is so much more portable that the 13". I can literally hold the 11" with one hand and type with the other. If it will mostly stay at home the 13 is perfect, if you are very mobile i find the 11 is perfect. Everyone will have their own opinion but the size difference, in terms of portability, is definitely noticeable.
     
  7. trondah macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    #7
    I went from 2011 to 2012, and I gotta say the 2012 is tons faster in bootup and application startup times. Very noticeable. Add 8GB to that, faster GPU, USB3, 720p camera. Worthwhile to get the 2012 if you ask me.
     
  8. Smaug195 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 5, 2012
    #8
    I have a powerful desktop, thats why I was leaning towards the 11". The battery life is of note (I'm hearing 3-4 hours realistically) and may push me back to the 13".
     
  9. ixodes macrumors 601

    ixodes

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Location:
    Pacific Coast, USA
    #9
    Nothing beats choices.

    This is why it would be a very smart move on Apple's part to build a 7" +/- iPad :)
     
  10. sectime macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    #10
    Battery life is important. Usually on "what should I get threads" there will always be posts for the newest and fastest. These posters never seem to look at the OP's situation and give relevant advice. If you don't need bigger and faster why pay more for it? Visual Studio and parallels will work but a I 7 4gig 2011 would be a better choice and available on refurb site in 11 and 13 inch
     
  11. dyn, Jul 6, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012

    dyn macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    .nl
    #11
    People who had the 2011 model and upgraded to the 2012 model all report that battery life is much better on the 2012 model than it ever was on their old 2011 model. Also, with visualstudio you might like a bit more memory, like 4GB for the vm itself (which would require 8GB total memory).

    If you order the 13" model you get an additional sd card reader in it. You can use that for additional storage for documents and such. Usb sticks can also be used which also come in handy at school (exchanging files is much easier this way). You can save some disk space this way.

    Also, if you order the 2012 model at Apple you can do that via the education store. This gives you some discount and you get a gift card because of "back to school". I'd do some math and see what both models would cost you.

    Btw, if you go for 4GB of memory it will use 348MB of that for the videocard. If you go with 8GB it will use 512MB for the videocard. You need to account for this loss in memory as well!
     
  12. Smaug195 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 5, 2012
    #12
    From what I've seen. VS or SAS can run in One Gig in Parallels. The battery life thing is interesting, although does not seem to be shown in testing.

    $1139 or $1239 for the 11" vs 13" with 8gigs and 128gig isn't unreasonable, the $100 gift card does make it better. I'll likely end up ignoring my cheapness and getting the new one :D
     
  13. dyn macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    .nl
    #13
    VS may run with that but you need to account for the vm as well. For Win7 you do need 1GB at least so that would make 2 GB. Leaves you with 2GB for OS X plus the videocard which isn't all that much. If you use VS with more complex or bigger projects the 1 GB may not be enough. I think you need to decide if the slowdown is fine with you or not.

    I personally went for the 2012 Air because of the educational discount, gift card, usb3, videocard and 8GB of mem. Now I have it, it definitely was a good choice. Battery life is amazing, the usb3 may come in handy, the videocard is very capable; it just runs vm's very nicely as well as other stuff.
     
  14. Smaug195 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 5, 2012
    #14
    New one it is. Now the 11" vs 13" debate begins for me.
     
  15. dyn macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    .nl
    #15
    Ow dear...that one is a lot more difficult :( The 13" offers a bigger screen and resolution which comes in handy with lots of apps since most of the things will be centred around 1024x768. It also has better battery life and an sd card slot.

    But..that 11" one is so darn cute! It is very light, very portable and yet about as powerful as the larger 13". The 1366x768 resolution is enough although the 1440x900 on the 13" is a bit better. The worst thing is battery life, because the 11" can only run 5 hrs on battery (vs 7 hrs on the 13").

    Gah! It made me go nuts :( Now I've got the 13" but I still think it is a bit big. I comfort myself with the fact that it can run 7 hrs on battery.

    Best of luck...you're going to need it!
     
  16. Sahee macrumors regular

    Sahee

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    Location:
    Germany
    #16
    2012 Version: Buy it if you benefit from USB 3.0.
    2011 Version: Buy it in case you do not.
     
  17. kjgilligan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    #17
    I know that a smaller iPad has been talked about lots in the past and I have never really had an interest in it. I have bought each new iPad and love them, using them for work and at home. However in the last few days I have been thinking more about a smaller one and now find the prospect quite appealing.
     

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