College Student: Should I buy or hold off on my MacBook Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by alice?, May 31, 2009.

  1. alice? macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Location:
    ATLANTA
    #1
    I'm looking to purchase my first Mac, more so my gracious folks, and I would like a 1.86ghz MBA as my main for college next year. What are the major differences between the 1.6 and the 1.86 besides price disparities? I'm not a gamer and I only use my current computer for web browsing and a lot of writing. My music library typically stays constant at about 1500-2000 songs and I do take snap & shoot pics, however, I can compromise for the portability of an MBA as my books are my companions. I am always in transit with my stuff. I'm not really into MBs (so I'd rather not get this suggestion), but I still have slight reservations about MBAs. The first being the rumors of updates fairly soon. I'd hate to spend so much only to find that I could've upgraded for a similar price. And I don't really know how much space I need for pics and music, but I can always use online storage and my ipod etc. What is the speed of a MBA, because I can't stand sluggishness or freezing (although all of my PCs have exibited this behavior). Everyone seems to be on the fence whether MBAs are college friendly and insight about your usage would be helpful. So, should I buy my MBA with the b2s discount or wait for updates? If I should wait...how long 'till the updates?

    --Thank you for your help
     
  2. applecultvictim macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2009
    #2
    Hey Alice, welcome to the forums.:)

    I ll stick to some basics that I am sure most people here will agree with.

    A. There's a wide-held view that the best time to buy, is when you really need to irregardless of updates and so on, I am sure a lot of people here can vouch for how much you can get stack if you are expecting the next best thing, there's always a next best thing coming along. :)

    B. That said, it's very reasonable to want to be up to date and not buy and have an update the next day, although apple offers an exchange for any update happening within 14 days of purchase. It's also very reasonable to wait for something that fits your need if the current scheme does not.

    C. As for the air in particular: You wont see much difference in the 1.6 and 1.8 airs for cpu speed per se, what is a huge difference is the ssd, so if you want to save some money, go for the bto option of ssd and 1.6. The hd one is still a good machine, but people who 've used the ssd swear by it. There's a rumor that the 1.8 screens get the better specs and dont suffer from the rather widespread issue of tiny lines in the white background affecting the air. But that's a matter of speculation and you can always exchange it or return it if you are not happy. If you don't like sluggishness you ll love the ssd btw. Judging by your needs also it seems 128 gbs are more than enough.

    D. As for the updates, well, that's a tricky issue, hence this site, hence the forums. The cpus from intel are already out so apple could potentially update them at any moment, but what has traditionaly been holding back new air releases has been the ssd sizes, and we have yet to see one that will fit the air and be bigger than the current one. So it's fair to assume that apple might wait for it to include it in the update, with the rumored 3g addition which will be great for joining a mobile network much like the iphone, of course if you have the iphone soon tethering (using the iphone as router to connect the air) might be an option. That said apple can just bump the speed a bit and go for a major update much later in early 2010 with the new intel cpus out. I am on the same boat with you since I want an air, but as is things are uncertain, there hasn't been a big product cycle or a fixed one like the ipods and iphones to go by either....



    I would wait as much as could, but not a day more, and if within the coming month or so you see no speed bumps, buy it and enjoy it, I am sure you will love the air with or without 3g or a larger ssd anyway. And in anycase the speed bumps wont be anything major or have much real life difference in your apps.

    Bottom line, wait a little while then go ahead and buy. Next major upgrade wont be in until early 2010.

    Ah, and enjoy it, by all accounts its a great computer.
     
  3. DELLsFan macrumors 6502a

    DELLsFan

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    #3
    Hey there!

    Definitely wait until they've bumped up some specs on the MBs and made some announcements at WWDC next month. You never know what tricks could be up Apple's sleeves. You may THINK you want a MBA, but keep an open mind and you may change it.

    Smart move is to wait at least a couple weeks ... until the dust has settled after WWDC.

    Good Luck.

    :apple:
     
  4. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #4
    If you hate sluggishness, avoid the hard drive based macbook air like the plague! it spins at 4200rpm. slooooooooooooooow
     
  5. applecultvictim macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2009
    #5
    it's not slow at all, I ve used it, and coming from a pc/vista perspective it will be faster than a 7200 rpm loaded up with antivirus background processes, antimalware, vista/xp sluggishness and general crapness. Of course ssd is the way to go by far if one can afford it and we agree there.
     
  6. mrrippey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2009
    #6
    personally, the best time to buy is when something new is about to come out. I never buy Rev 1 of anything (except the iPhone). If there is a Rev C coming out, you are bound to get super deals on Rev B's which are great.

    My 2 cents....
     
  7. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    #7
    (1) The SSD model is worth the money. I will never buy another computer without one.

    (2) The Line issue does affect the 1.8 model (I had two of them before getting so frustrated with it, and other issues that I traded for a Macbook Pro). This is a huge problem in my opinion, and can be a real dealbreaker.

    (3) There are rumors of an update soon, so at least wait until WWDC on June 8th. If nothing happens then, you likely should jump in (plus you get a free iPod for the Back To School Promotion).

    (4) I know you don't want to hear Macbook, but now that the screens have been updated, it is a much more viable option. The size and weight are pretty close and worth it considering this would be your only computer. Seriously consider it (the extra RAM is also useful).
     
  8. tsubikiddo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, AUS
    #8
    Disagree:eek:
    my rev. B base model isn't sluggish at all

    Not as fast as the SSD, yes;
    but Slow, can't be.
     
  9. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #9
    slow is a matter of perspective, but the fact is that the macbook air has a 4200 rpm hard drive. that's a fair bit slower than even a 5400 rpm hard drive, no matter how you look at it.
     
  10. caonimadebi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    #10
    I think the views on SSD on this forum may be polarized by a few power users who frequently uses their MBA's for disk-intensive tasks. I personally own a 120GB HDD MBA and a last-generation macbook with the 7200rpm 320GB scorpio black HD. I'm not sure how the 7.2k drives compare to the MBA SSD's, but for what I need (which are similar to OP's needs), I don't see a dramatic difference between the 4.2k and 7.2k drives. Both are fairly quiet, and start up apps in a acceptably small amount of time.
    I have owned an SSD laptop previously, and was really impressed by the spectacular boot up time and app launch time, but really not much else.

    But again, if you're in the market for a MBA, you can probably afford to go all out and get the 1.86/SSD, you can only get two netbooks with the extra $700 so why not?
     
  11. ducatidoc macrumors regular

    ducatidoc

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    #11
    something to keep in mind, the ssd is more expensive and performs MUCH faster, no controversy here.

    BUT if you do not regularly backup your computer (and i recommend that you do) SSDs typically last longer than their spinning HDD counterparts.

    nothing sucks more than a hard drive failure...

    i vote you wait a month and get a revC
     
  12. TheRiseofTheFal macrumors regular

    TheRiseofTheFal

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    Lexington
    #12
    All things considered it's difficult to assume if/when the Rev.C. comes out, but as a soon to be senior in college who has a Rev. A 1.6 ghz MBA, I'd say go with the MBA. As a Rev. A user I ran into the overheating issues and freeze ups last spring when I first took the plunge, but I've had the computer for over a year now and the updates have turned everything around. I must say I absolutely love it, I use it as my main computer and do more than just word processing and browsing, for speed and portability it's a pretty darn good computer, I know people will say hey why not a macbook, but it's pretty evident you know exactly what you want. I went through the same thing and I don't regret my purchase in any way.

    I definitely don't have any idea when the next version comes out, but I will say you can go for the 1.6 Rev B with either the HDD or SSD and I can guarantee you won't be unsatisfied. O

    On another note, regardless of what you get, make sure you have an external hard drive. I will say that there have been countless times when Time Machine has saved my butt. They have come down a great deal in price and are a good idea.

    Good luck with whatever you choose keep us posted!

    :D:D:D
     
  13. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #13
    If the rev C MBA is updated, the rev B high end may be available at huge discounts. At the same time, at these prices, I would suggest you wait for an update and buy the updated model. The rev B is seven months old now. That is old tech in terms of dating tech. I would at least wait and see what updates happen in June and go from there.

    Finally, I would definitely recommend the SSD, as for me the MBA requires SSD to make up for its other component shortcomings. It makes the MBA seem very fast for common tasks. For me, the 4200 rpm HDD seems too slow for a primary Mac... but that is just my opinion from limited use with an HDD. I have owned and used an SSD version primarily, and my experiences with SSD are so positive.

    Good luck.
     
  14. applecultvictim macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2009
    #14
    Good point, I would suggest going for the time capsule, which has a fair price (And you can get some sweet deals too with last gen time capsule which is not that big a deal of a difference if you only have wifi n devices such as the air - the new one allows both n and older generation wifi g devices and allocates each one its own bandwidth instead of degrading the n devices to a g overall network if there are g devices connected too), allocating some space for the ssd time machine backups, and using the rest as an always on space for media, large files etc. etc. Your backups will happen over the air (pun not intended!) in no time with no worries without you having to plug or unplug anything and whenever you are at home/dorm/base you will have an extra space to you can throw things in or take things out of.

    That's my ideal set up too, and I will be waiting with you for that air update or going for the rev. b soon.:apple:
     
  15. drew0020 macrumors 65816

    drew0020

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
    #15
    I think its painfully slow, but I also feel that way about 5400 drives. I guess you should take a trip to the Apple store and try them both out with the programs you typically use.
     
  16. Testify macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #16
    Hello, what usually happens to older tech like the Rev A if they update to the Rev C?? Will they still have refurbs to sell on the Apple Store, or they lower a bit the price of the Rev B and thats it?

    PS: Sorry to hijack this threat :)
     
  17. duncanapple macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #17
    My suggestion is if you are buying for college next year, since this is only May, to wait. In the next three months, there may be updates (rev C Im sure), plus if you don't need the MBA yet, may as well buy later, so the clock on the warranty doesnt start for another couple months.

    Plus, at least around me, closer to back to school time there is a tax free day that applies to computers as well (in MO... but I think most states do this??). If you combine a tax free day, along with your student discount, and a free iPod, and thats a pretty good deal.

    As has been said many times above - buy when you need it, but at this point, since a new release of the MBA is imminent, I would wait until after WWDC at the EARLIEST to buy.

    Good luck either way!

    - Chris

    (edit - actually I guess its June now ey? :) )
     
  18. Airforcekid macrumors 65816

    Airforcekid

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    United States of America
    #18
    The MBA is a great college secondary computer I would get the entry level iMac and the the ssd Air for ultimate performance. Even a refurb with an iMac is a good setup!
     
  19. LAS.mac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Location:
    Mexico
    #19
    I agree, it's a great secondary computer. I don't know whether it can be used as primary computer. At least, my suggestion is to have an external monitor to hook it up in your dorm. This is specially useful if you do something like graphics, draws, things that generally take advantage of increased screen.
     
  20. Rhosfelt macrumors 65816

    Rhosfelt

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    Location:
    I don't want to be raped :(
    #20
    Hey guys, my family is looking to upgrade laptops this fall and I know I want to wait until June 8th mainly because I want snow leopard to ship on all of our laptops.

    Right now I am using my Blackbook 2.4ghz, with the 5400rpm drive. I love the speed of this drive, the laptop boots up so quickly and I've bested my friend's MBP in a lot of processes. I noticed a lot of talk about how slow the 4200rpm MBA drive is, and I've never used a SSD. All I would want in the MBA update is a processor bump and at least a 5400rpm drive.

    I still do not see SSD being worth the amount of money that they are currently selling for right now. I am really hoping for just a small processor bump to a 2.0ghz and hopefully a hard drive upgrade and it would be the PERFECT computer for me. I already have an older white intel iMac. I just do not need the power of this laptop I need the portability of the MBA.
     
  21. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
  22. alice? thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Location:
    ATLANTA
    #22
    LAS.mac and airforcekid, my post said I wanted the MBA as my main computer. If you wanted to push it as a secondary I would like to know why, because I don't plan on having more then one computer for college. I don't do graphic stuff or play video games. The MBA is pretty much the only appealing mac to me. However, I'm kind of open to persuasive reasoning.

    Thanks all for the suggestions and insight, with little to no macbook suggestions, I think I'll be waiting a little while longer! :D

    Also, can anyone guess how long these babies will last? A couple of years or more?
     
  23. Rhosfelt macrumors 65816

    Rhosfelt

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    Location:
    I don't want to be raped :(
    #23
    wrong.

    The beauty of Mac is that they can last for five to seven years to forever! I have a ten year old iMac in my friends house and my brother is using an iBook from when they first came out, from roughly 2000.

    As long as you take care of it, Macs will easily last ten years and about four operating systems.
     
  24. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
  25. norsemen macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    #25
    Just remember that there´s no easy way to lock a MBA, so be ready to carry it to the restroom etc. The UMB would be a better and cheaper choice for college.

    However, if you are fine with that, by all means buy the MBA. And get the SSD. You won´t regret it. I would wait a week though for an update. You never know what they would improve on.
     

Share This Page