Future Proofing Thoughts?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Tazojla, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. Tazojla macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2014
    I'm looking into an MBA 13", I need this computer to last me through College and possibly Uni depending on the length of my course, I am looking to study Marketing so I would have to do light video and picture edititng and I need this machine to last 3+ years, I am thinking to get the 8GB of Ram and the I7 processor and I think the I7 would be overkill but I do want to future proof and and have it last 3+ years before it starts to feel slow. Applecare is also a must.
    Any advice would be greatly appriciated (Sorry if there have other threads like this :D)
  2. iMacBooked macrumors 6502a


    Jul 19, 2013
    4 8 15 16 23 42 ✈ Country: Belgium
    An i7 would definitely be overkill, but the choice is up to you of course. It will be faster, but as for the future i don't think it will make much difference when it comes to lifespan. Just wondering, why a MBA and not a rMBP? :)
  3. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA

    I wasn't even aware that you could future proof thoughts!:eek:

    How is that done?

    :rolleyes: :p
  4. Tazojla, Jun 8, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014

    Tazojla thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2014
    Haha, maybe I should've re worded that ;)


    I just think that the rMBP is a little out of my budget but I do like the idea of the retina display, and I like the better battery life in the MBA, Choices :eek:
  5. taelan28 macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2014
    Get the Retina. Its worth it. All those hours you'll be staring at the screen will hurt your eyes on anything under a Retina class display. I used to have power sessions on my Samsung notebook with its 13xx by 768 display and my eyes would feel it. A week of having my Macbook those 5-6 hour sessions of reading were a goddamn breeze.

    You're toasting a bunch of money on college anyways. Get an entry level RMBP or a midlevel with 8gb of ram and the 256ssd. Besides, even windows machines are lasting 3, 4, 5 years. I saw a friends Laptop running Vista and I was like WTF?! Macbooks last forever too. Its hard to not get 4 years out of it.

    Seriously. The few hundred bucks for a better screen will buy you an extra 2-4 hours a day of easier studying. You'll take breaks less often. Don't beef up a MBA, just get a Retina MBP
  6. jg321 macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2012
    Agreed with this. The GF has the 11" Air and I have the 2.4/8/256 rMBP and mine is worlds apart.

    i5 vs i7 only really makes a difference with CPU intensive tasks. My work Mac is the i7 (Ivy Bridge) and day-to-day use is no difference. Using Handbrake though shows how slow the i5 is in comparison (of course the quad iMac blows these bot out of the water!)
  7. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    The i7 is unlikely to make a difference either way. It's just spec porn. The benchmarks are a bit higher, but the only way to derive really meaningful gains is to go to something with a higher core count. 8GB will probably show a greater improvement. You're just less likely to see stuttering due to lack of available memory.
  8. taelan28 macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2014
    This isnt the 90s where **** was obsolete after 2 years. A big problem for PC makers is that people are holding on to their PCs for 5+ years. I think I saw an article that said the average PC was 6 years old. Another thing to note is that manufacturers dont sell a PC at a proper price that won't last 3+ years. If they are its at a fire sale discount. Apple also releases computers with the intent of supporting them for 4-5 years. Go ahead and see what systems are supported by Mavericks and Yosemite. Check out whats been supported by iOS as well.

    The price you're spending to future proof your MBA is putting it at the same price as a RMBP. Just get the RMBP. Seriously, just effin get it. Yes the MBA is hella light but in the grand scheme of things my RMBP is damn small too.

    Finally, in a few years you'll have an old suped up MBA that you spend a few hundred bucks on, and something new will be out and you'll be itchin for that as well. My point is by not supin it up you'll have a down payment on the next computer.

    And you know what? I can read for hours on this and not notice a difference. Reading on a low res screen isnt bad for your health, its just strenuous. This retina class display is damn easy. Just listen to us. Get the RMBP. They're just far enough in price from the MBA to pay begrudgingly pay for it.
  9. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    For studying you'll want the lightest computer available. Since you most likely will be using the retina resolution for anything, I say buy the MBA and be happy. It is an amazing machine.
  10. Tazojla thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2014
    Hey guys, really appreciate the help, I think it might just be worth getting the rMBP and getting 8GB of ram. Also just wanted to know common places of wear and year sort of thing like the keys getting shiny etc... Just want to keep it like new. I can't deal with scratches :)
  11. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    The i7/8GB/256GB MBA is about the same price as the i5/8GB/256GB rMBP with student pricing. The i7 on the MBA and the i5 on the 13" rMBP are speced almost exactly the same. Unless you need your computer to weigh 0.5 pounds lighter and have 2-3 hours more battery life, the rMBP is worth it.

  12. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Sometimes it is wiser to work backwards and this means figuring out which apps you are most likely to use.

    You mention doing both some photo editing and light video. You should research the typical apps you might use and figure out what makes them work "best" with respect to CPU, Graphics, memory and amount of space on a drive required for best results.

    I am sorry if I sound a bit cynical but some of the advice here seems to be based more on what they bought rather than what you might really need if you want a system to last for a few years.

    Things to consider -

    If the apps you like do better with more memory, will your purchase allow additional memory to be added or is it hard wired. If the latter, then you'll need to decide if you want to get the max memory possible now.

    If the apps require space to work, you can opt for largest drive you can afford or consider an external drive addition latter (connectivity should be a priority here with thunderbolt first and USB3 second).

    CPU - some apps do go "faster" with a more powerful CPU and in particular, how many cores. Your options suggest 2 cores so then it is a matter of speed of the CPU and if it is significant enough to buy the system with the fast(est) CPU available.

    Graphics - some apps may exploit facets of the graphics chipset/card along with associated memory. Consider which graphic chipset (as example Intel HD 5000) will give best results and how much memory can it use. If it is shared memory (meaning it uses the same memory as your computer), then what ever it is using should be subtracted from the total available memory (RAM) that your computer can use. Thus 8 gigs of RAM (generalizing here) - would be 7 gigs for the computer and 1 gig for the graphics.

    I don't believe any system is ideal for the long haul these days when the device is all "on board" or not available for being replaced with a newer or more powerful item. Apple creates beautiful systems that are often pretty much closed off for any upgrades. This forces obsolescence as newer hungrier apps and OS's come out. Luckily, Apple products usually have a high resale value.

    Just more peanuts tossed into the gallery here.

    Apps I use - Photoshop, Capture 1 Pro, various audio apps as example. I found that SSD, max RAM and fastest processor reduces bottle necks for the most part.
  13. Tazojla thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2014
    Thanks for taking the time with this long response it is very much appriciated and has really helped me with what I may purchase, as for screen quality I will be hooking up my MBA to am external monitor for long essays and any video editing etc
  14. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Sorry if I was a bit wordy. My intent was to hopefully get you on track to realize what YOU might need rather than what others find works for them and their apps. Best to you and your new purchase and hope you get lots of great use.
  15. taelan28, Jun 8, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014

    taelan28 macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2014
    The man is right Im telling you what to buy based on what I bought. Then again isnt that what all advice is based off of? Our own experience?

    Im cynical when it comes to needing power hungry machines and stuff. CPUs have been stagnant for about 4 years now and have made marginal power gains and great efficiency gains. The software is agreeing too. You're not getting machine killing software, then again I havent used much video editing.

    I'll boil it down to this and I've said it before: I dont think you should get a RMBP because the screen is just plain beautiful. I think you should get the RMBP because the Retina screen vastly increases your endurance and comfort when using your computer. Last night I was wasting my life away for 6 hours in front of a computer screen (not bragging, its just sad) and it wasnt a big deal because of this retina screen. Had I had my old computer, which I loved, or a low res screen I wouldnt have been drained after 4 hours before the battery is out.

    When I was in panic mode scrambling for a job I could be on my retina screen ALL DAY, like 6-8 hours looking for a job vs 4-6 on a low res screen. The MBA is a fine machine and the wasteful little man inside me says I should get one because its that much thinner, smaller and sexy, but the truth is if I got a MBA I would be wondering how great the RMBP would have been. As great as the MBA is the truth is the screen and pixel density is at the bottom of the barrel. You might be able to use it comfortably for 2 hours but if you have an all afternoon power session you're going to straining to keep going. I waste more time on my computer than anyone ever should and the Retina class screen has only extended my time using my computer.

    Also, if you get the MBA with an external screen then you have clutter. I find 13 inches to be fine especially with a retina class screen, but if you need extra screen real estate then go all out with the 15in RMBP with the money you would have spent on the screen, however at that size you're clipping portability.

    Sounds like you already decided to upgrade to a Retina over a suped up MBA though and even if you haven't decided yet it seems like you have all your variables laid out to decide what you need.
  16. mtneer macrumors 68030


    Sep 15, 2012
    If you are doing any serious photo editing, and will only have this one machine in your dorm; then keep in mind that the Air does not have an SD slot. The rMBP does.
  17. majkom macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    Using mba several hours a day - noproblems. Owned retina mb pro few weeks - yes, screen is superior, but there is absolutely no problem returning to air/using air for many hours a day - you are exaggerating little bit;)
  18. Orr macrumors 6502


    Oct 8, 2013
    No such thing as 'future proofing'. In 4 years time, the new entry level base model will be far superior to whatever you have now. Get the mid level (i5/8/256) 13" rMBP and enjoy. The Air is a great machine but that screen is already the past. 'Retina' is the current standard and it will only get better. The dual TB and HDMI ports will also be useful if you ever decide to run multiple monitors.
  19. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    The 13" air has an sd slot, too.
  20. TechGod macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2014
    New Zealand
    No he isn't at all. I have a rMBP and a 2011 MBP for downloads. I can't stand the screen on the 2011 anymore it hurts my eyes literally.
  21. majkom macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    Yes he is, had both, rMBP and air, no problems using air...
  22. TechGod macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2014
    New Zealand
    As I said. I have a 2011 mbp with non retina of course, I hate using it now because of the screen.
  23. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    I just got an 11.6" MBA and was considering returning it for a 13.3" rMBP but at almost double the price for the $1489 rMBP model (to get a larger SSD and 8Gb RAM) compared to my MBA I can't justify the additional $$ when all I need to do is hook it up to one of the large spare monitors I have at my house...for my use the portability was a greater need and the 11.6" 2013 models finally had enough battery life to satisfy me also...

    By the time I want/need to do something this 11.6" MBA can't do on it the rMBP would be underpowered (or close to it) as well.
  24. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    My personal opinion is that you should buy the upgraded processor only if you need it now, not because you want to "future proof" your Mac.

    Apple's requirements for Mavericks, for instance, only state that 2GB of RAM & 8GB of storage are required for installation. They then list the supported systems that can run the OS. (http://www.apple.com/osx/specs/) Notice that any mention of CPU type or speed are absent. The CPU makes a negligible difference in running the OS anyway.

    Most other software packages list the systems by their internal ID's, such as MacBookPro5,2.

    The point is, rarely, if ever, will you find a piece of software that will run on a 2013/2014 i7 MacBook Air that won't also run on an i5 model from the same year.
  25. Narien macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2011
    I can't tell you what you should do, but I can give my thoughts on the whole.

    I own a 2012 mba (the sandybridge version, 4 gig ram and i7).
    In hindsight, the i7 was more or less pointless I believe. I don't regret it though, not as much as I do getting the larger ssd, completely pointless as I've never filled it past 128 gigs anyway (or even close), but then again, I dont work with images or videos.

    I love the low weight, and really can't see myself buying a heavier lap top ever again, the only way is down!

    At the same time, the resolution needs a buff, the retina display seems sexy as hell and I really want to see a rMBA, that would be ideal.

    You talked about it needing to last for 3 years, the screen on the mba feels really soft, luckily I'm really carfull with my things and havn't gotten any scratches, but it sure feels like that screen is made for being scratched, I do belive the pro's are better in this regard, at least they seem safer at a glance.

    This became quite a long post so lets put it in a short list:
    MBA advantages: weight, battery life (that's about it, and lets face it, you probably will bring a charger with you a lot of the times)
    rMBP advantages: higher resolution, higher processing power, essentially better for use.

    And I think the screen on a retina will stay scratchless longer.

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