$367 more for upgrades...worth it?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by PDXPean, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. PDXPean macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2012
    During the last MBA Best Buy sale, I bought the base 13" MBA but have yet to open it. Originally, I wanted 8 GB RAM + 256 GB SSD, but jumped on the BB deal.

    I've thought about buying a BTO MBA and returning the base MBA to Best Buy. For me, after taxes it is about $367 for the extra RAM and larger SSD (sticking with i5). For my uses, I don't think I'll necessarily need it but it would be nice to future proof. I have a Time Capsule, so I suppose I could get by with 128 SSD but I don't really know that either.

    So, do you think the extra cost is worth it to upgrade? Even though the main purpose would be to future proof? I'd like to keep this MBA for awhile. I've always been a PC guy. But I have used several different laptop brands and they seem to break down on my after a few years. Plus, the heat coming off of this HP is becoming an issue for my manhood!
  2. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    It usually costs $300,so is future proofing worth $67 to you?
  3. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    This question is asked often, but the answer remains the same. Worth is relative to your personal situation, so only you can answer it.

    The answers you'll get will vary depending on people's perspectives. I for one believe you should buy as much computer as you can afford. No one ever complained of having too much RAM or too much SSD space.

    If you had a specific application that REQUIRED the 8GB or the 256GB, then the question answers itself. If you don't, then only you can decide whether spending $367 extra is "worth" it. For me, I got a i7/8GB/512GB. For ME, it was worth it. That mean nothing to everyone but me.

    A 4GB/i5/128GB MBA is a very capable computer. You didn't specify what you use it for, but for browsing the web, checking email, and running most apps, it's fine. An 8GB/i7/512GB gives you more of a good thing. The longer you plan on keeping it, the more these upgraded specs make sense. But if you can't afford it, YOU can't afford it. It's a very personal thing no one here can answer for you.
  4. Ann P macrumors 68020

    Jun 29, 2009
    Hard question to answer. You want to "future-proof" your purchase - So if the upgrades are worth it to YOU personally, I'd say go for it. Better to get the upgrades than to regret it in future.
  5. PDXPean thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2012
    My uses are very basic so I know the base would be fine for me. My only concern is that people advise 8 gigs of RAM over 4 for future-proofing and that I may run out of room with the 128 SSD. I know that, very likely, I can upgrade the SSD in the future...but that getting 256 now will probably be cheaper...plus covered by Apple.

    I can afford the upgrades. I've never spent almost $1500 on a laptop before and that's a reason why I haven't pulled the trigger. Seems like a lot...but if it'll last me years it'll be worth it. I feel like I spend $500ish every few years on a Windows-based laptop, they don't last and re-sale value is nill.
  6. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    Then I'd say go or it and pull the trigger. The 8GB is a no brainer. If you can afford the 256GB, go for it. You won't be sorry you have the extra space. And enjoy your MBA. It is an awesome purchase.
  7. Ronnoco macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    United States of America
    Welcome to Apple...:D
  8. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Sep 2, 2008
    Metro Kansas City
    To summarize the responses you will get on this question:

    #1 - Heck no it's not worth it! Buy the entry level, flip it in a year and be done with it - always buy the newest tech as soon as it is released.

    #2 - Heck yes it's worth it! Buy the best you can afford right now to future proof it as much as you can - stretch its life out for as long as possible!

    Both perspectives are equally represented on here and both are equally valid given the situations behind those perspectives.

    But WHATEVER you do, don't come back here and tell us what you did or you will get half the forum hating you and telling you (smugly) why you are wrong, and the other half cheering you for your brilliance and incredible decision making skills.

    I say all of this in jest, but recognize that this is not too far from the truth.
  9. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    Well it means something to me, because that's also what I bought. :D
  10. PDXPean thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2012
    Valid point. Do base MacBooks typically sell closer to original price point than upgraded models (say, after one year or shortly after a refresh)?

    I paid $955 for the base. That's already $145 below retail.
  11. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    I think it depends. Most people on craigslist (myself included) are really just looking for a good deal. If you plan on only keeping the computer for a year, there's less of a chance you will recoup the additional cost spent on upgrades.
  12. PDXPean thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2012
    I'd be fine with short or long term. If it's short term, I should keep the base 13". If it's long term, I'd go i5, 8, 256, AppleCare and likely sell/upgrade once AC expires.
  13. jadAce macrumors regular


    Aug 10, 2013
    IMHO (and I told someone this sometime ago), Apple's philosophy when compared to PCs is partially about cost vs. value. Sure, Macs, cost more. But they have greater value. When you invest in Macs, you invest in not just a computer, but a computing unit, a reliable machine.

    I guess part of the reason to justify the upgrades is if you want to keep the MacBook Air longer. And upgraded MBA would "last" longer (if kept in good physical condition). From what I've heard around the forums, i5/8 GB RAM/256 SSD is the ideal config. But it really depends on what you want to use your Mac for.

    Please take this advice with a grain of salt, as I just switched from an overheating PC to Mac myself, but in the small experience I have, I can honestly say that the upgrades are worth it.
    I hope that helps!
  14. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    Goes to show you shouldnt believe everything you read in the internet... :D

    Ideal config for what? :rolleyes:
  15. PDXPean thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2012
    Haha...let's not get off-topic here.

    That said, I think I'll be returning the base back to BB and get a BTO i5/8/256 through the education store.
  16. jadAce, Aug 16, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013

    jadAce macrumors regular


    Aug 10, 2013
    ZBoater, that's why I added the "grain of salt" with my original post. :)

    "Ideal config" in terms of cost-effectiveness. What I am thinking is, we all know that Apple charges slightly more for things ($90 for a 4 GB to 8 GB RAM upgrade, and I am not complaining here, this is just a fact). If you buy a maxed out/ultimate MacBook Air, resale value in 3-4 years will normalize to computers of similar configs.

    i5/8 GB RAM/256 GB SSD is a good balance of price and performance. And there is a logic behind all of this.
    1) Most users don't do heavy video editing or heavy, heavy gaming, so the i7 upgrade is not needed.
    2) Most users have multiple tabs open on Safari, or need to multitask. Or, they just run memory-intensive tasks more often. Or, the OP mentioned that he/she wanted to future proof. That's where the 8 GB RAM helps.
    3) The 256 GB SSD decreases the probability that you will have to carry around a separate portable hard drive, or that you will have to worry about the SSD filling up (such as in the 128 GB version).

    I hope that helps explain what I'm trying to say here.
    OP, sorry if we're getting off topic here, :), but glad to know you made a decision you felt was right.
  17. fark macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2013
    Cost is an objective measure, effectiveness is subjective. So, it's not the 'ideal' config.
  18. zachusaf macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2013
    The way I look at it, you have 3 items: the SSD, memory, and processor.

    2 of those items are not upgradeable once the unit leaves the factory. (memory and processor).

    Spend the money to upgrade the processor and memory; upgrade the SSD later when its convenient.
  19. m98custom1212 macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2013
    Toledo, Ohio
    I wouldn't say apple.. Most high end Ultrabooks are around the price. I even dislike apple
  20. merkinmuffley macrumors 6502a

    Dec 3, 2010
    Take another sip of the Kool Aid...and spend the $367.
  21. PDXPean thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2012
    I agree that the SSD will likely be able to be replaced later. Via the Apple Store, it is a $200 increase from 128 to 256.

    Via OWC, for a 2012 MBA, they want $320 for a 240 SSD.

    I feel that upgrading the SSD now is the better choice.

    I also don't think I'll need the processing power of the i7. Therefore, i5/8/256 for me seems right.
  22. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    We all hear you there! But here's the thing - while you never have before, the next time you go to buy a new computer you will almost definitely be doing it again on another Mac. You really won't be going back.

    Those $500 laptops certainly have their place (i got myself 2 $200 lenovos for work) but as a primary computer, once you've had an OSX machine, you're not going to want to go back to windows in my opinion.

    You're wise to not be too quick to make a hasty purchase. That's probably part of why you've found yourself able to afford the upgrades you're considering and the computer itself.

    good luck
  23. PDXPean thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2012
    As far as aftermarket SSDs are concerned, is OWC the only place? Just wondering if there are cheaper options. Then again, if the aftermarket fails, I'm stuck dealing with them. The beauty of buying now through Apple is that I can just head to my local Apple Store for any issues that may occur.

    Since I have never owned a Mac, I have no idea if 128 will be enough or if I should definitely go for 256. As I mentioned before, I do have a Time Capsule so all of my music will be on there. This MBA won't be with me when I travel so I won't need much stored on its SSD. Basically, 95% of its use will be within range of the TC.
  24. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    Apple shut down one of their suppliers who tried to sell the OEM drives directly to the consumer so the only sources for these proprietary drives is going to be Apple themselves, used pulled SSD's from broken MBA's, or OWC. Hence the high pricing.
  25. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    there are currently no third party drives for the 2013 air. presumably that will change by the time you would be ready to upgrade but that's not a sure thing. that being said whether you have owned a mac or not doesn't really play into how much space you need...

    well, i suppose the size of the OS might. I can tell you that ML takes around 12-13 gigs with nothing else installed.

    What are you planning to do with your old computer?
    Do you have a big music/movie collection? If so what are you going to do with it?
    Are you planning on running Windows on your mac? if so, which one?

    If you are going to run windows on your mac i can tell you that VMware Fusion wants 40 gigs for XP and 80 for windows 7 and 8. Not sure about Parallels.

    The first thing I chose to spec was the 256g HD. Next, in my opinion, is ram followed by CPU if you want.

    EDIT: i'm not 100% sure that VMware wants 80 for win7/8 but i'm pretty sure that's what it was defaulting to when i installed it. I am sure it wants 40 for xp so it's at least that for 7 and 8. I think you can force it to install less if you are determined.

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