Bought a Late 2010 13" MBA, did I screw up?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Apollothedog, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. Apollothedog macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2011
    Old Windows guy here. My 4 year old Sony Vaio was finally dying due to a known defect to the graphics card, also charger port had broke and the laptop no longer charged easily. Figured it was time to explore something new.

    I went to Bestbuy to check out the Macs and saw a late 2010 13" open box MBA. I got it for $800 with a free Apple TV. Receipt had the Mac Air for $700 and the Apple TV for $100. I returned the Apple TV, thus ended up paying $700 + tax for the MBA.

    I brought it over to the Apple store to have it checked out and they indicated that it looked brand new.

    Even though I think I did well on the price and the system runs great(upgraded to Lion for free) I keep on thinking that I could have gotten an ASUS with a CPU that is two generations newer twice the ram and much larger storage for $200 less.

    What really bothers me is that I paid $700 for a laptop that has a CPU similar to my recently retired 4 year old Sony Vaio and only 2 gb of memory and 128 gigs of storage.

    I know the new MBA has the Sandy Bridge, lighted keyboard and a few other odds and ends, but honestly that is almost $600 more then I paid for my open box unit. That can't be worth it, can it? But is it crazy to buy a laptop with such little onboard memory, so little storage space and a 4 year old CPU for $700?

    BTW, I am not a power user anymore, but I do a little gaming every so often, am a heavy MS Office user, I stream videos, web surf, and do emails.

    Being an ex Windows developer the specs on this machine is rather disturbing, but I do have to admit that it is currently very snappy. I do like the lightweight and thinness. Also having fun learning a new OS. Screen is outstanding. The touchpad with all of the gestures is simply awesome.

    Is it true that the SSD is fast enough to simulate RAM without taking a huge hit in performance? If that is the case does it negate any performance issues that having 2 gb of onboard memory might cause?
  2. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    I think you will be fine. Worst case you can sell it on eBay and get most of your money back and get a newer one. For what you say you use it, it will be fine, especially if you got the free Lion upgrade. Use it, enjoy it, and if you get hooked, upgrade! By the time you do, the new thin MacBook Pros may be out, an then you'll have to decide how much money you want to spend on your new addiction!!! :D
  3. scarred macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2011
    "screwed up" is a bit harsh. Would I have done it? Definitely not. But that doesn't mean it won't work for you. From what you say you'll be using it for, you'll be fine. If it works, it works... don't worry about the specs anymore (unless you are still able to return it?). The days of looking at the 'numbers' of a computer before buying are quickly ending (not quite, but almost).

    The "SSD" fast enough to act as Ram thing... well... no. If you are running too many programs and fill up the 2 gigs, your computer will swap, and the SSD is still much slower then memory. But 2 should be enough for what you say you are going to do with it.
  4. ct2k7 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2008
    London or Florida
    At the current time, RAM is faster than SSD. Much faster. Soon though, a time may come where RAM speed = SSD Speed, but that's not now.

    For the record, I currently have open:

    iTunes, Safari (2 windows, 6 tabs, Skype + video call, Outlook, Linkinus and PhpStorm).

    The fans are running, but not very loud. It's a great machine and I am very happy with my purchase from last year.
  5. Beaverman3001 macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2010
    Pretty good deal/price on that. Just play with it a few weeks, decide you don't like it take it back or ebay it and you'll easily get your money back. Really no risk involved.
  6. stark4 macrumors 6502

    Oct 14, 2008
    how did you get the macbook air for $700 only from bestbuy? is it open box? i think it's a good deal no matter what.
  7. Apollothedog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2011
  8. stark4 macrumors 6502

    Oct 14, 2008
    do they usually have open box macbook air at bestbuy?? or u got lucky and found one? i think i should start looking for open box air at bestbuy...
  9. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    i got a similar deal. $750 MBA 2010 11" + Free Apple TV + $100 Back to School Gift Card. It was a great price but the useable buying last years MBA (which is loaded with a 2008 Core2Duo) then I realized I was buying really really old technology. So I returned the AppleTV and sold the MBA on ebay and got a 2011 11" MBA and LOVE it.

    So IMO I don't recommend last years MBA because the improvement gap with the new tennis pretty significant.
  10. VMMan macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2009
    You went for cheaper and older instead of more expensive and newer. That's a personal decision.

    My personal opinion is that I'd spend the extra money on the 2011 model as it is going to last you significantly more years than the Core 2 Duo model because of the roughly 149% increased speed of the SB Core i5 over C2D (Geekbench benchmarks).
  11. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    For the majority of tasks, 2GB of RAM should be enough.

    We are so spoiled with 4GB, 8GB and 16GB of RAM nowadays that I think we are forgetting that 256MB was top of the line 10 years ago, and we are essentially doing the same things, save with higher resolution video and more web browsing.

    SSD is also a good measure to improve general system performance because regardless of how much RAM you have, page file, or virtual memory, is still necessary and actually required by certain applications (Photoshop forces a scratch disk, for instance).

    As for the 4-year-old CPU, don't underestimate it. A laptop with newer CPU may feel faster, but within a year, when you get all of those debris, dirt, and little things in, and the fan has gotten weak, the extra heat will start forcing the processor to throttle, and you'll start feeling the slow-down effect. Not sure if this is your first laptop, but every other laptop I have owned, save for netbooks, have gone through that phase. Be it Vaio, ASUS, HP, Dell, or whichever, any of those laptop with faster processor will eventually throttle their CPU performance to save the computer from excess heat.

    The Macbook Air is among the very few exceptions that don't degrade performance after a while because it's using a low-voltage CPU.
  12. Vudoo macrumors 6502a


    Sep 30, 2008
    Dallas Metroplex
    If you had bought the new one, it would cost you much more and you would be complaining that you have gotten a Windows version for cheaper.

    $700 is a good deal. I paid about $1200 for the same thing last December, but the MBA still works great.
  13. Lagmonster macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2007
    That was a good deal, so good that you can sell it for the same amount if you end up regretting it.
  14. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    I agree with everything else, but 2 gigs is just too small. Especially if you plan on using the computer for some period of time.

    Of course, it depends on what you're doing, but if you're doing less than 2 gigs worth, why buy a machine that costs more than 500 to do it? Of course, form factor is relevant in this sense, but the cost to performance ration is terrible.

    If the OP can, I'd suggest trying to get Apple to up the RAM for you; don't know how, but I'd try it.

    The SSD will help you though when you do run out and constantly have to read/write to the drive in place of RAM.
  15. stark4 macrumors 6502

    Oct 14, 2008
    so bestbuy only have 2010 open box macbook air? Do you think i can find the latest model 2011 open box at bestbuy?
  16. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    If you'd tried 2GB of RAM, it's not so bad.

    I run Lightroom 3, Photoshop CS5.5, and Windows XP on a virtual machine, all at once, every day... and haven't had any problem with responsiveness. All of those mentioned applications utilize the SSD more than RAM in most cases.
  17. ybz90 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2009
    I think it's a good deal for the MacBook Air, but only because Apple computers retain so much resale value.

    As for whether it's a good price for a computer of those specs, I personally would not have made that purchase. I agree with above posters who say that the performance gap between 2010 and 2011 are simply too large.

    Also, while I agree we are spoiled by the specs these days, that's a bit of an unfair comparison as the demands have largely kept pace until now, as RAM capacities are going crazy at dirt cheap prices... So while most computers will give you 4GB or so standard now, to perform well, the software demands it (whether it's the advanced computation or just lazy, sloppy programming, probably both) whereas simpler programs existed in the past and simply didn't need (or couldn't even use) more RAM. This is similar to the phenomenon we see if console games, which look great on ancient hardware. Those developers are simply pushing coding extremely efficiently, whereas many computer games (especially rubbish console ports) simply use bad code and leverage the monstrous computing power available to PCs relatively speaking. Back to the Macbook Air, in today's world, 2GB doesn't (or barely) cuts it.

    If you like your computer and it performs well to your needs, then keep it. You shouldn't do anything that works for other members, just you. That said, since you are asking our opinions, I would return it and pay the difference for a 2011 model.

    As I said, 2GB is barely sufficient today, and you know the demands of computing will only continue to skyrocket in terms of capacity. 2GB is NOT futureproof, and in a year or two, you will be regretting the inability to upgrade the RAM. Also, the Core 2 Duo will perform just fine today, and for the near future. But it will be a very short amount of time before it lags behind. The i5s are leaps and bounds above it, and will last you longer.

    I personally think it's better to spend the difference on a more futureproof computer that will last you several years, instead of having to upgrade again in a year or two. Plus you'll be happier with the better performance, and there's no money value you can peg to that utility.
  18. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    Stick with it, you got a great deal on a good machine. The MBA has lot of advantages over the ASuS in build quality and performance (SSD). I'm very happy with the 2010 model, and my use profile is similar to yours.
  19. Ramunas macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2010
  20. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    I would keep it for sure. Sell it next year and buy the 2012 model. $700 is a great deal.
  21. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    Ummmmm, what? :confused:
  22. hcho3 macrumors 68030

    May 13, 2010
    Op is one of those people who are extremely picky about shopping.

    700 dollars is a very good deal for 13 inch MBA.

    Core 2 Duo processor is good enough for most of people

    You went for the old generation because it was cheaper. That's personal choice.
  23. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    I think it's the RAM that so many people here get caught up on, and I feel the same way. There's no reason Apple should have released anything with 2 gigs of RAM; now they have people in 2011 buying older machines that, although are great, are underpowered for the price.

    700 dollars for a ulv c2d with 2 gigs of ram? Now you know that ain't no good deal.
  24. BayouTiger macrumors 6502


    Jul 24, 2008
    New Orleans
    You got a great rig for a great price.

    The 2011 MBA's are a big upgrade. I had a 2010 11" and planned to relegate my 17" i7 to stop duty, but when the Sandy Bridge units came out I decided to retire the 17 and go full time with the 13" i7 MBA. Had I not been thrilled with the 11" I would have never pulled the trigger on the new one.

    Most people that deride the C2D MBA's have never used one. While you might notice the speed if you are transcoding video or doing heavy graphics, but for the day to day stuff, it simply flies and has better life than the new units. The 2010's got across the board raves when they can me out. They did not just suddenly become turkeys. I run Aperture on it during trips and routinely left the 17 at the office with the little 11". I cant even bring myself to let it go now that I have the new 13" (which is the most amazing laptop I have ever carried).
  25. roccobladr macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2011

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