2013 MBA - which configuration? (Traveling abroad for 1-year)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by antjefferson, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. antjefferson, Jun 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013

    antjefferson macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2013
    Hello all. Thanks in advance for any advice/opinions you can offer.

    I will be traveling abroad for 1+ year in the coming months. I will be in a country that experiences periodic power outages - hence the new MBA's outstanding battery performance is very attractive. As regards usage, I work online as a webmaster - so apart from the standard usage (office docs, web browsing, etc.), I work with Adobe Dreamweaver and Captivate...also do some VERY LIGHT work in PhotoShop. I don't typically have very many programs running at once...perhaps Chrome (5-10 tabs), Dreamweaver, and Photoshop running simultaneously. I also do some moderate gaming via Steam: nothing graphically intensive: mostly older games like Portal and Portal 2, Team Fortress, etc - all of which should perform just fine with integrated Intel HD 5000 gpu (right?). Lastly, I use streaming video services like Netflix and Youtube heavily. *NOTE: one of my biggest concerns is that I want to be able to watch movies (on the HDD or on a USB DVD player) without any "chugging" or lag - which was a big problem with my current laptop (a 2012 base model HP that I purchased in a pinch and have regretted tremendously).

    Regarding current HDD usage - my current computer came with a 320gb HDD, and I've used about 200GB. However, 100GB+ of that is audio/video/photos that I should have moved over to my 1TB external drive, but just haven't gotten around to it. My programs and OS probably take up about 40-50GB. I rely heavily on the cloud for document and image storage. I don't anticipate needing to use more than 128GB at any given time on a hard drive since I do typically off-load just about everything.

    So - with all of that said, I am leaning toward the 13-inch MBA with the 256GB SSD upgrade, along with the 8GB RAM upgrade. However, I am also considering the i7 processor upgrade (call it "future-proofing" I suppose).

    Lastly - this laptop will be my only computer for the entire year. I also own a couple of iPads - but I will rely heavily on this laptop for everything the iPad can't do.

    So - what configuration do you suggest? I can't afford to max everything out...but I am willing to pay whatever is necessary to ensure that this laptop lasts me (hopefully) 4+ years...which is what I expect for paying $1300+!

    PS - I will be carrying this laptop around in my backpack ALLLL day. Most days I will walk 2-5 miles in a very hot, humid climate (tropical). That is the reason I am strongly inclined toward the MBA rather than the rMBP. Weight and size are a big factor for me.

    Thanks again!

  2. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    SSD size is up to you, CPU upgrade is probably unnecessary (though go for it if you can swing it), but definitely go for 8GB of RAM.
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    If this is going to be your only computer for an extended period do you think the 11" MBA will be too small.

    If it were me, I'd go for the 13" MBA with 8GB and 256GB of storage.
  4. antjefferson thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2013
    That thought did cross my mind. So - it sounds like an upgrade to the i7 processor might be overkill. Would it make more sense to go with the 13-inch with 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM and skip the processor upgrade?

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