2012 vs 2013 MBA

sparkie7

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Oct 17, 2008
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Looks like quite a few refurbs 2012 Airs on sale on 's site. I'm looking at a 8NB RAM with i7, 256GB SSD. The 2012 refurbs are $400 cheaper than the 2013 equivalent.

So is the 2013 worth the premium? We're looking at longer battery life. Maybe slightly faster SSD, but is the $400 extra cost worth it?
 

unlimitedx

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2010
635
0
Looks like quite a few refurbs 2012 Airs on sale on 's site. I'm looking at a 8NB RAM with i7, 256GB SSD. The 2012 refurbs are $400 cheaper than the 2013 equivalent.

So is the 2013 worth the premium? We're looking at longer battery life. Maybe slightly faster SSD, but is the $400 extra cost worth it?
define "worth"
 

sparkie7

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Oct 17, 2008
2,026
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"worth"

• sufficiently good, important, or interesting to justify a specified price.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,005
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Boston
"worth"

• sufficiently good, important, or interesting to justify a specified price.
Worth is subjective. Look at the specs, compare the two models and decide if the improvements are worthy of the price.

To some it is, to others it is not. Its a very subjective and personal decision.
 

philipma1957

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
6,270
191
Howell, New Jersey
Looks like quite a few refurbs 2012 Airs on sale on 's site. I'm looking at a 8NB RAM with i7, 256GB SSD. The 2012 refurbs are $400 cheaper than the 2013 equivalent.

So is the 2013 worth the premium? We're looking at longer battery life. Maybe slightly faster SSD, but is the $400 extra cost worth it?
yes or no the biggest improvement is the graphics the new machine has hd5000 gpu which is far better then the older gpu.

now if you were to tell me you are going to drive an external monitor such as an apple t-bolt display with your macbook air I would say get the new machine but other then that buy the older one .
 

sk3tch

macrumors regular
Oct 31, 2003
102
0
I am a huge proponent of buying refurbs - but, in this case, I went brand new. I had been waiting for the Haswell MBAs to drop due to the battery life and graphics performance...to me it's finally a big laptop in a small form factor. It does everything I need.

$400 is a big price difference, but consider that the resale for Apple hardware is quite high. So even if you want to change or upgrade in a years time - you're not going to lose too much of your original investment. I've always been able to get around 90% back after 8-12 months.
 

sparkie7

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Oct 17, 2008
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yes or no the biggest improvement is the graphics the new machine has hd5000 gpu which is far better then the older gpu.

now if you were to tell me you are going to drive an external monitor such as an apple t-bolt display with your macbook air I would say get the new machine but other then that buy the older one .
I would most definitely be using with an external display. I have a couple of 30" ACD's and with an adapter should be able to drive both spanning? Edit: Reading the MBA page it seems to suggest driving one external monitor up to 2560 x 1600. Can it power and display 2? (also, doesn't the 2012 capable of powering and displaying onto an external monitor up 2560 x 1600?) -- so apart from a more powerful graphics card, what else is newer/better on the 2013 GPU?

If  sold a anti-glare 27" I might be tempted. But I am sick of the glassy screens. My iMac 27" included.
 
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scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,627
342
I would most definitely be using with an external display. I have a couple of 30" ACD's and with an adapter should be able to drive both spanning?
Apparently, it's possible for the 2012 MBA to support two external monitors. But I'm pretty sure that if this is what you really want to do, you'll get way better performance, and be far better off, with the 2013 model.


If  sold a anti-glare 27" I might be tempted. But I am sick of the glassy screens. My iMac 27" included.
Get an anti-glare film, problem solved.
 

mattopotamus

macrumors G5
Jun 12, 2012
13,269
3,409
personally the biggest consideration is battery life. If you use an 11" air and can deal with 3ish hours than the $400 is worth it....if battery is your main concern no price difference can help.
 

goldhunter

macrumors newbie
Aug 14, 2012
11
0
Yeah I think the extension of battery life is really worth buying considering a 5 hour boost. Apparently the i7 decreases battery life so if you wish for more battery life you might consider the i5 seeing as they are basically the same.

I'm so excited to getting mine next week!:D
 

designs216

macrumors 65816
Oct 26, 2009
1,043
11
Down the rabbit hole
Looks like quite a few refurbs 2012 Airs on sale on 's site. I'm looking at a 8NB RAM with i7, 256GB SSD. The 2012 refurbs are $400 cheaper than the 2013 equivalent.

So is the 2013 worth the premium? We're looking at longer battery life. Maybe slightly faster SSD, but is the $400 extra cost worth it?
To me, no. The 8GB/256GB is the sweet spot in lineup and it just much sweeter. Pull the trigger on the 2012!
 

QCassidy352

macrumors G4
Mar 20, 2003
10,617
2,739
Bay Area
It's not really a $400 difference if you're comparing a refurb to brand new. Compare in a month or two when there are 2013 refurbs.

Also, graphics and battery were the two weak spots of the 2012, and the 2013 makes big strides in both areas. 2013 is a no brainier for me.
 

HiDEF

macrumors 68000
Jun 23, 2010
1,706
391
Miami, FL
So, Best Buy finally added the new MBA and have the 2012 models on sale.

However, the new models only go up to 4GB's of RAM; will this be a problem? Or hold off?

OR, go with an the 2012 model which is on sale?

EDIT: They also have the 13" rMBP on sale.
 
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mattopotamus

macrumors G5
Jun 12, 2012
13,269
3,409
It's not really a $400 difference if you're comparing a refurb to brand new. Compare in a month or two when there are 2013 refurbs.

Also, graphics and battery were the two weak spots of the 2012, and the 2013 makes big strides in both areas. 2013 is a no brainier for me.
agreed. If there was no jump in battery life, it would be a no brainer....but isn't that really the most important thing with mobile computing?
 

sparkie7

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Oct 17, 2008
2,026
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It's not really a $400 difference if you're comparing a refurb to brand new. Compare in a month or two when there are 2013 refurbs.

Also, graphics and battery were the two weak spots of the 2012, and the 2013 makes big strides in both areas. 2013 is a no brainier for me.
You reckon there will be 2013 refurbs in just 1 or 2 months? Seems unlikely.

My understanding is that Apple refurbs are just new old stock being sold as refurbs to clear out older models. Not "refurbs" in the true sense

----------

Apparently, it's possible for the 2012 MBA to support two external monitors. But I'm pretty sure that if this is what you really want to do, you'll get way better performance, and be far better off, with the 2013 model.




Get an anti-glare film, problem solved.
Thanks for links

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To me, no. The 8GB/256GB is the sweet spot in lineup and it just much sweeter. Pull the trigger on the 2012!
This is the question. It's very seductive to buy the newest and latest. But have to weigh up all the pros and cons

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agreed. If there was no jump in battery life, it would be a no brainer....but isn't that really the most important thing with mobile computing?
True to a point. But I will use the MBA as a portable 'processor & Drive' between home and office. So battery life is not all important. But will be when I travel.
 

mattopotamus

macrumors G5
Jun 12, 2012
13,269
3,409
So, Best Buy finally added the new MBA and have the 2012 models on sale.

However, the new models only go up to 4GB's of RAM; will this be a problem? Or hold off?

OR, go with an the 2012 model which is on sale?

EDIT: They also have the 13" rMBP on sale.
How long do you plan on keeping the laptop and what is your useage? If you upgrade each year and just do light task, 4gb WILL be plenty. In 2-3 years it may be an issue or if you do very demanding task (video editing and virtual machines). I usually upgrade each year and buy the base models.

Best buy never carries any custom configs, so they will always only have the 4gb models unless you buy the maxed out version, which cost significantly more.
 
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sparkie7

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Oct 17, 2008
2,026
105
I am a huge proponent of buying refurbs - but, in this case, I went brand new. I had been waiting for the Haswell MBAs to drop due to the battery life and graphics performance...to me it's finally a big laptop in a small form factor. It does everything I need.
Is the GPU in the 2013 that big a leap forward? In what way?
 

philipma1957

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
6,270
191
Howell, New Jersey
agreed. If there was no jump in battery life, it would be a no brainer....but isn't that really the most important thing with mobile computing?
if the gear is only mobile yes. but the 2013 can be mobile and serve as a desktop.


think home - travel time - office


2 displays one at home one in the office . ride a train back and forth to work and use it for mobile. the new machine will be the best one made so far for this purpose. if the op want to use it this way he would be better off with the newer one.

A lot of people use the mac air like this.
 

AdrianK

macrumors 68020
Feb 19, 2011
2,230
1
Reading the MBA page it seems to suggest driving one external monitor up to 2560 x 1600. Can it power and display 2? (also, doesn't the 2012 capable of powering and displaying onto an external monitor up 2560 x 1600?) -- so apart from a more powerful graphics card, what else is newer/better on the 2013 GPU?
Officially, it can support a single display via thunderbolt using mDP or any mDP adapter or 2 (at least, I haven't checked if it can do more) thunderbolt displays.

If you want to run 2 30 ACDs, you'll need to look in to USB display drivers. The USB2 ones offer low refresh rates, but USB3 ones (on windows at least) appear to run at pretty much full speed. However I imagine there would be a minor amount of latency. It's definitely worth checking if the run decently under OS X, the only problem is that you lose a USB port.
 

shenan1982

macrumors 68040
Nov 23, 2011
3,641
80
Looks like quite a few refurbs 2012 Airs on sale on 's site. I'm looking at a 8NB RAM with i7, 256GB SSD. The 2012 refurbs are $400 cheaper than the 2013 equivalent.

So is the 2013 worth the premium? We're looking at longer battery life. Maybe slightly faster SSD, but is the $400 extra cost worth it?
For me I went from 2012 to 2013, solely for the battery. 9 realistic hours vs 3 is a no brainer to me. That was my only real complaint about my 2012 air.
 

jezzy

Suspended
Jan 12, 2012
85
1
Montreal, Quebec
I've spent the last week pondering over buying a 2012 refurb air 11 or 13" and reading the reviews on the 2013 made me pick up a 2013 instead.

longer battery life, supposely a much stronger video card (if ever I want to do a little light gaming on a 11" screen.. ?) and a faster HD.

refurb 11" 749$ for 4GB/64GB 2012
new 11" 999 for 4GB/128GB 2013

I think the difference in price is worth it so far.