Help me pick out the ideal specs for a new MBA...

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by dwchambers, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. dwchambers macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2013
    #1
    I'm a student and looking to upgrade from 2011 model MBP. I typically use my machine for intense internet/database research, near constant music streaming (from Spotify usually), torrent downloading, picture editing, design programs (including Illustrator & Sketchbook Pro), frequent word processing, and frequent video streaming.

    So I'm thinking I want the 13" and 8GB of RAM, but I'm trying to figure out how much HD space I need (between either 256 or 512) and whether or not I want the i5 or i7.

    Budget is not an issue.

    Any thoughts?

    Ideally I'm hoping to purchase it today, August 18th, so I can get it before school starts up.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ronnoco macrumors 68030

    Ronnoco

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    United States of America
    #2
    From what i read here, most people say the 256 is the "sweet-spot". I set a soft budget for this purchase at $2000 (I was was willing and able to spend a bit more if needed). I definitely wanted a new Ultra-Book, so any of the MBP's (retina or non-retina) were ruled out.

    Anyway, I went with the 512 SSD and am very happy with it. I don't do a lot of cloud stuff (although I do use dropbox a bit) and I do A LOT of "large file" transfers from my external drives at home as I take a lot of media (movies, tv, music) with me when I travel and don't like toting external drives with me.

    The drive is VERY fast and I like not worrying about how much space I have. Also, I know drives like to have free-space to be most efficient. I couldn't be happier with the (Samsung) 512 in my MBA. Just my opinion, of course.
     
  3. AXs macrumors 6502a

    AXs

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    #3
    Truthfully, 512GB isn't that much space at all in 2013. I've personally got about 10TB shared on my server.

    Anyways, the real question is how much do you want in your Macbook at all times?

    External storage are really cheap these days. You'd get a usb3.0 passport drive - 2TB for about $120. So basically, you would get about 5TB of external 3.0 storage.

    I personally think the Time Capsule is a great buy for $300. AC wireless speed and 2TB storage to go with the highest wireless speed available? amazing.

    But of course, we'll have to wait for Apple to sort out their AC issues... hopefully Mavericks solves it :D
     
  4. fark macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    #4
    OP: If budget is not an issue; 8 gigs memory, 512 gig SSD and i7.

    The idea of using an external drive with one of the most portable laptops available strikes me as ludicrous.
     
  5. yliu macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #5
    You'd definitely want an i7 since you seem to do a lot of multitasking. You could get an external hard drive to store files you don't need to access every day. But it is always recommended to get as much storage as your budget allows.

    You might get a better idea if you look at how many GB of stuff you have in your current computer.

    I think a 15 inch cMBP or rMBP would suit you better as they have quad core CPU for multitasking and video streaming, more screen space for researching and a dGPU for graphic work. With the cMBP you can always install a second hard drive instead of the optical drive, this way you can have an SSD for its speed and an HDD for storage.
     
  6. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Sunny Florida
    #6
    Ummmm, yes. Buy the 13" i7/8GB/512GB model. Duh! :p
     
  7. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

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    May 1, 2009
    #7
    why not save mom and dad a few bucks and just spend that money on an external drive?:p
     
  8. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    Jul 2, 2007
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    #8
    Hey, budget is almost ALWAYS an issue. When it isn't, take advantage of it. Merry Xmas! ;)
     
  9. m98custom1212 macrumors 6502

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    Jul 20, 2013
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    Toledo, Ohio
    #9
    Apple is having ac wireless issues? On what the new airport extreme?
     
  10. dwchambers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2013
    #10
    Ha! Parents haven't helped me out buying electronics since they gave me the first gen iPod Shuffle.

    Regardless, despite cost not being an issue it's always my goal to save money where possible. So I'm looking to just get what I need, not what I CAN.

    I'm thinking that 256 SSD, 8 RAM, and the i7 seem the way to go, seeing as I don't mind at all if I store a decent amount of files an external USB3 HD.

    Any more thoughts on the processor choice?
     
  11. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

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    May 1, 2009
    #11
    you're going to find that is quite a contentious issue around here. some people argue that the i5 8g RAM 256 is the proverbial "sweet spot" and that the i7 is a waste of money. some people disagree. others think that you should only get the i7 if you "absolutely need it" and there is no shortage of name calling and misuses of the word 'your' on both sides.

    there is an article on anandtech that deals with this topic...if you are looking to lose a few hours this evening you could google it.
     
  12. AXs macrumors 6502a

    AXs

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    #13
    The Airs don't seem to be reaching full AC speed, according to some expert analysis. Or at least not as fast as Windows AC computers.

    The issue has been taken to apple. Not sure what the status is right now, but haven't heard that its been fixed.

    That's the only reason I'm holding out before buying a Time Capsule.

    Great Value for $300 though. Apple really cut the price on this one.
    You're getting the highest transfer speed available wirelessly, and 2TB of storage along with it. $100 more and that's 3TB storage.
     
  13. Boyd01 macrumors 68030

    Boyd01

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    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #14
    You really need to make up your mind. Cost is not an issue, but want to save money? :confused: If so, then cost is an issue.

    If cost really isn't an issue then get the i7/8gb/512gb model. What further discussion is needed? You will never think you got too much RAM, too fast a CPU or too large a SSD in the future... trust me.

    I just got a i7/8gb/512gb myself to replace a 2011 i5/4gb/256gb model.
     
  14. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

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    May 1, 2009
    #15
    Yep. my attitude on this was that A- it's probably software related and B - my ISP is definitely going to be the bottleneck upstream of whatever network standard i decide to use. So with that on one side of the equation and wireless/painless backups on the other I went with the 2tb 2013 TC and haven't looked back. Very happy with it.
     
  15. Ronnoco macrumors 68030

    Ronnoco

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    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    United States of America
    #16
    I also purchased the 2013 2TB TC. Couldn't be happier with it.
     
  16. AXs macrumors 6502a

    AXs

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    Sep 7, 2009
    #17
    I'm gonna go pick one up as soon as Mavericks is released. I want to make sure that I'm going to get full AC speed. And in the mean time I get to decide whether to get the 2TB one or the 3TB one.

    $100 for 1 TB - seems legit, but lets see. Depends on performance reviews... which I haven't begun to read.
     
  17. mattferg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    #18
    If you're a student, I'd say i5/8/256, it's the best compromise of performance and price. I do some of what you do (the design stuff) and I've got no issues whatsoever with my i5/8.

    However, if you are a professional and you do this for a living, go for the i7/8/512 if this is gonna be your primary machine. Having the i7 will make rendering some stuff a little bit faster :) but not really much else.
     
  18. dwchambers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2013
    #19
    Honestly, this makes sense to me. I've been tracking with the i5/i7 thread and I think for what I typically use my MBP (and now MBA) for, the i5 will work well. My design work is largely for fun/freelance & my largest use right now is just internet research and word processing.

    As far as the HD, 256 seems fine seeing as I don't mind if some files (music, movies, books) are on an external HD.

    Thanks for all the help, everyone!

    Re: Price

    It's absolutely a false dichotomy to claim that you can't say "budget is not an issue" at the same time as "I'd like to save money." Reckless spending is still reckless, no matter what percentage of your gross income is being spent.
     
  19. AXs macrumors 6502a

    AXs

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    Sep 7, 2009
    #20
    Very well said.
    Opportunity cost is lost on so many.
     
  20. fark macrumors regular

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    Aug 13, 2013
    #21
    No, it's not very well said.

    It's nothing more than a common understanding of the phrase, "Budget is not an issue."

    Otherwise, why did you, the OP, even include this phrase in your original post? :rolleyes:

    Reckless spending? Pfft.
     

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