First Mac: which MacBook to buy?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 12, 2018
Hi everyone, I'm looking to buy a new macbook and am considering getting the 2018 Macbook Air 8GB RAM, 512SSD.

Need some advice as I am not a tech person and reading all the reviews online has making me more confused. It seems like for specs the higher the number the better, and obviously when compared to the MBP the MBA is relatively worse. I am hoping for my new laptop to be able to last about 5+ years.

I will mainly use it for:

- web browsing/ research (chrome 10-15 tabs)
- office (word doc, powerpoint, excel), pdfs
- emails
- skype
- itunes - streaming videos online
- occasionally IBM SPSS (stats analysis for research)

I am not a gamer, and will unlikely be doing any photo/ video editing. I am not sure if SPSS is considered heavy lifting. This will be my first time using the macOS. My previous laptop of 8 years was a Windows Intel core i5-2410M (2nd gen) 2.3GHz with turbo boost up to 2.9GHz, 8GB RAM, and it is getting really slow now.

I am not considering the MBP nTB at all, and if I should get a MPB I will go for the 2018 TB vers. So if the 2018 MBA is good enough for my needs I would prefer to save the extra cash.

Will the new MBA suit my needs? Do I need to upgrade it to the 16GB RAM?

Thanks in advance!


macrumors 6502a
Sep 11, 2006
Sounds like you should be fine. The only advice I would give is to put 16 GB Ram in there, even if that means having to go with the 256 GB SSD. The RAM is not human replacable, the SSD can be expanded with external storage as needed so I would prioritize RAM over SSD storage.
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macrumors member
Apr 10, 2015
Düsseldorf, Germany
I would also highly recommend to go for 16 GB RAM.

My Outlook 2016 uses already 1.5 to 2 GB RAM
SfB 0.5 to 1 GB; Word, Excel etc. are roughly the same. Microsoft Office consumes quite some memory...

I have a MBP with 16 RAM and on average I am between 10-12 GB RAM utilization.


macrumors 6502
Mar 3, 2010
Second star on the right....
As I see it, the extra memory is a given, getting the MBA to $1599. External SSD requires a Thunderbolt port leaving you with one.

For another $400 you can get the new MBP with the same 16GB/256 SSD and two additional Thunderbolt ports.

Thats probably what I’ll do when I do the next upgrade. I do, however, tend to bump the specs on purchases to the max I anticipate needing then keep them for a long time. Witness my 2010 iMac which still runs well.

You might also look on the refurb site which has a few 2018 MBPs.

Best of luck


macrumors 65816
Mar 7, 2011
I'm much like you... I don't do any heavy lifting .. at all.. everything is basically normal computing with emails, browsing, streaming, and apps.

I currently have the rMBP Mid 2014 2.6GHz i5 256SSD 8GB RAM

Currently have 2 Chrome Tabs (Reg Websites), 2 Chrome Tabs streaming video simultaneously, VPN App, Antivirus program, Flux, 2 connected Bluetooth devices, running on battery (unplugged), and Memory Clean 2 App running telling me I have 2.47GBs RAM available.

I sometimes have to "clean" my available RAM to get it above 1GB which leads me to believe that the extra RAM will do you awesome; I too will get more RAM my next go around.