Advice on whether to buy or wait?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Jack23, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. Jack23 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2014
    #1
    I am starting uni at October, and I'm not sure whether to buy a MBA for wait for a new released version? (retina as people rumour)

    I am hoping to do computer science at university, so I was thinking 13", i5, 8GB ram.

    Some people say the screen is currently fine, but what do you guys think?

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. yosemit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    #2
    Good choice for a CS major. (I got my degrees in CS, too.)

    October is about the time Apple may release a major update of MBA, so it's worth waiting. The retina MBA may come. Or, even if it is not retina, it may have the Intel Broadwell processor and the MBA may get even lighter (say ~2.5lbs). The shape of MBA might (emphasize "might") change, too.

    Also, memory and SSD are getting cheaper/bigger. The starting configuration may have 8GB memory or 256GB SSD, or still 4GB/128GB but with further price drop.

     
  3. Jack23 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2014
    #3
    Thanks for the reply.

    A Macbook Air i5 would be fine for programming tasks though at uni?
     
  4. KJmoon117 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Location:
    NC
    #4
    Wait for sure. You lose nothing by waiting honestly.

    I'm a computer science major entering my 4th year at uni. I had an early 2011 MBP 15". Way. Too. Much. As a university student you definitely do want portability above all else.

    My 15" is nice for coding assignments and various IDE. Retina or non-Retina, 13" just isn't going to cut it. Get an external monitor. 20" or 24" aren't that expensive on Amazon. They cost as much as a new textbook.

    But I too am thinking of getting a 13" MBA 512GB//8GB//i7 in the coming months since my MBP got radeongate. I also have a 24" monitor in my dorm as well so the switch to MBA shouldn't be bad at all.

    I also have a friend who interned at FB who loves his MBA. The battery life and portability is damn good.
     
  5. yosemit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    #5
    Yes, i5 will be very fine.

    For one I would recommend 8GB memory and 256GB SSD. I had my degrees in the CS. You may find in different courses you will have programming assignments using different platforms, e.g. Windows for Java programming (the professor may require Windows), Linux for OS development, Android or OS X for mobile programming. A simple solution is to use Virtual Machines, so the MBA can also work like a Linux or Windows machine. For that, one needs 8GB memory and 256GB SSD.

    BTW, in the US most universities provide free VMWare and Windows licenses to the students.

    Good luck in college.

     
  6. Jack23 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 30, 2014
    #6
    I have a windows PC desktop at home, (I obviously can't take a desktop into uni!) so that's where I think I'll do most of the heavy work. Any light work, I think I'd do on a laptop.

    I've heard Macbooks are more reliable than Windows, and compatibility issues are an issue of the past, so I was thinking of buying a laptop to last me through my 4 years of uni.

    The Macbook Pros are very expensive, out of my budget and they're a fair bit heavier, so that's why I was thinking of a MBA.

    Edit: Is it required to get 256GB? I was thinking of using a usb stick for transferring anything big, and I wouldn't be keeping alot on the laptop apart from uni stuff.
     
  7. yosemit macrumors regular

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    Jul 19, 2013
    #7
    Believe me, if your current PC is a few years old, it's very likely the MBA will outperform the PC. The 1.4GHz i5 actually runs close to 2.7GHz with turbo boost, and the Haswell microarchitecture gives more performance than previous generations of Intel processor at the same processor frequency.

    My main computer is a 11-in MBA with i7/8GB/256GB. I have two sets of 24" external monitor, keyboard, and mouse, one in my office and another at home. The MBA plays the role of three computers for me: The desktop in office, the desktop at home, and the laptop when I travel. :)

     
  8. Jack23 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 30, 2014
    #8

    Do you think I definitely need 256gb if I'm gonna be using a memory stick alot?
     
  9. KJmoon117, Jun 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014

    KJmoon117 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 10, 2007
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    NC
    #9
    It's really up to you.

    Check how much space you are using on the laptop/desktop you have now. If it exceeds what your budget can afford, ask yourself if you can go without.

    My MBA will be my only machine. If I had a desktop, I'd also take that to univ, but I don't. I'm not willing to lose my photos, music, Boot Camp partition, etc. so I do want 512GB. Whereas you may want to keep your photos/etc on your desktop and use your laptop purely for mobile work.


    How is your MBA running two displays? It only comes with one thunderbolt port. This is the only thing holding me back from getting the air over the retina.
     
  10. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #10
    Yes. I would strongly advise 256 GB SSD - it's larger, faster, more stable - than 128 GB SSD, and you will more than likely find being confined to 128 GB a strain.

    I had a 2010 MBA and by 2013, beach balls had become a regular feature of my computing life; my iTunes library alone exceeded 80GB and - with Office for Mac - and a few other necessary bits and pieces - space was becoming rather tight. The thing is, the more of your memory that gets used, the less reserve you have. Having 256 GB will give you some flexibility, and it is the minimum I would recommend, especially for a computer that you expect to use for several years, as OS systems and everything else become more greedy for space and memory.

    My current MBA has 8 GB RAM (which I strongly recommend) and 512 GB SSD. While this is a wonderful set-up, I would not recommend that you go below 256 GB. Core i5 should be fine, and I recommend that you get 8 GB RAM.
     
  11. yosemit, Jun 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014

    yosemit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    #11
    The next MBA may support thunderbolt 2 and thus can use two displays in daisy chain mode, if both are Thunderbolt displays. The only problem: Few other than Apple make them. It's an expensive setup for a student like OP. I can afford it as I have a job, but for one I don't like Apple Thunderbolt displays.

    My plan is just to use even bigger displays. I probably will move to 28" 4K displays soon (but only 30Hz). The new MBA may have a thunderbolt 2 port and a stronger GPU to support 4K @60Hz display, another reason for waiting.

    Edit: Currently MBA doesn't support display daisy chain. The next MBA may support it.
     
  12. KJmoon117 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Location:
    NC
    #12
    I totally misread your post. I realized you said you had a set of monitors at the office and home, rather than both monitors in one place.

    But yes I do wish the next MBA has two thunderbolt ports or at least Thunderbolt 2. Either way, I might just end up buying before they update (which is probably around late this year) seeing as my MBP2011 doesn't seem to last till then due to this radeongate BS.
     
  13. plix macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2014
    #13

    How can you even say wait for sure? I'm not sure about OP exactly but I am in the same position and I will need a computer by September. I hate it when I buy crap and 2 months later something new is out. So what should I do? Buy the most basic model and sell it later? FFS
     
  14. capathy21 macrumors 65816

    capathy21

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    Jun 16, 2014
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    #14
    That's actually what I would recommend. Most people get way more machine than they need. To me a base model is the sweet spot in a mix of value and performance. If you spend 800 or so on a base model (refurb or on sale somewhere) and sell it in 6 months for 600 bucks, it's much less of a loss versus ordering a 1700 dollar BTO and be selling it in 6 months for 900.

    If you are looking to sell it down the line and upgrade to the newest model, I would highly recommend a base model now. Who knows, if the base model meets your needs, you would have saved a ton of money in the process.
     
  15. plix macrumors member

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    Apr 2, 2014
    #15
    Here in Canada the base model MBA 13', with the student pricing, goes for $1049. It is BEYOND me how people in this thread are mentioning $200 in education discount! Along with combining coupons and what not. That never happens here - if a big retailer drops the price on a MB then other big retailers will do the same. That's about it - no more savings.

    The only way for anyone in Canada to get something close to these prices would be through an open box unit.

    And even then there is 13% tax LOL
     
  16. KJmoon117 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Location:
    NC
    #16
    I mean you need a computer by September, not by tomorrow. If you can wait, then wait. If you can't, then buy it.

    In my case, I'm waiting till August 4/5 when there is a sales tax holiday in my state. I don't need a computer till mid August.
     

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