How old an 11" MBA should I buy to see improved speeds?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by carizma22, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. carizma22 macrumors member


    Nov 27, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Hi Everybody:

    You all have helped me to decide to buy a newer MBA rather than add more storage to my late 2010 11" MBA, so now I am trying to decide how much money to shell out. I mostly do word processing and email and Safari surfing, to be honest. I don't do any gaming at all.

    I realize that I most likely do not need to spend $1000+ for a 2015 machine for what I need it to do, and since I have also been wanting to buy an iPod Nano, if I buy an older refurbished Air, I could probably buy the iPod too.

    So here is the question, in what year did the wireless capability change – I don't know what to call it, but I know something did change. I've been having a problem connecting to wireless printers. I know it could be the connection, but other people on the same network are not having that problem.

    The 2010 MBA has a 1.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. I have no way of knowing how that compares speedwise with the newer MBAs; can someone, for example, enlighten me how a 2014 1.4 GHz is faster than my 1.6.

    And since so many people on here have talked about being sufficiently happy with their older MBAs that they don't want to upgrade them, how old should I consider going?

    Carole ( thought I should introduce myself)
  2. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    For your needs you won't see any major speed improvements by getting a new machine, however what I would recommend you look at Apple Refurbished MBA's. You can find them on Apple's online store, get the new warranty (1 yr.), eligible for AppleCare and they are identical to new. Much smarter and after than buying a 5 year old machine used from someone.
  3. carizma22 thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 27, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I was thinking of buying used from Powermax because they will take my 2010 as a trade-in. I've bought from them before.
  4. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    What do you mean with "speed"?
    Does your current macbook not perform the tasks mentioned anymore?
    What exactly would you want ti be faster?
    What is lacking?
  5. catalyst07 macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2013
    Buy a 2013 i7 or newer.

    The 2012 is pretty much the same speed as the 2013 but the 2013 benefits from double the battery life, faster SDD(only 256GB or larger are faster), and slightly better graphics. These things are well worth the extra money.
  6. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    802.11ac was introduced on the mid 2013, although I doubt your connection problem has anything to do with not having this. The 1.4 i5 is significantly faster than the 1.6 C2D (mainly because of turbo boost not being present on the C2D, among other factors), although I'm not sure how noticeable the difference would be while simply web browsing.
  7. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    I don't think your wireless problem has anything to do with an older laptop. But OK you don't want to deal with it.

    There was a big jump from 2010 to 2011, brand new processor.

    2011 to 2012, ~+20%, battery life almost doubles.

    2012 to 2013, ~+15%

    The thing about buying used laptop is, you gotta know how worn is that battery, otherwise you will have to budget to replace the battery soon. A battery lasts ~1000 charge cycles, UNLESS the user you buying from has replaced it with a non-name Chinese battery in which case it can die a month after you buy it, and that's the risk with buying used.
  8. carizma22 thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 27, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Thank you. Your answer is very helpful.

    I do want to deal with the wifi connection problem, but I don't know how to. I have had my IT friend add the IP address of the printer on to my MBA and when he does it, I can connect perfectly. But the next time I try to print wirelessly, when he isn't around to troubleshoot – and he is a PC guy not a Mac guy – I get an error message saying that the printer is not connected to wifi even though it is. I have been dealing with this for six months or more and it is beginning to wear me down.

    I bought an Air because I travel 4 out of 7 days a week and I take it with me. My 121 GB flash storage is almost full and even though I keep freeing up space, it fills up again. I have an external disk that I use for Time Machine backups, but it is also full. So I can't move stuff on to it. It is music and photos that take up most of the space on my Air. I could could buy a portable drive and move the photos on to it, but I want to be able see my photos, and I don't always have wifi when I travel to access stuff on the cloud or Facebook. I could add more storage to my Air with a Transcend card, but that is going to cost me $250-ish, plus the cost of having someone install it, because I wouldn't feel comfortable doing it myself. So say $350 for new flash storage

    I get about 4 hours on one charge of the battery, so when I am editing, I have to plug it into an electric socket, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a laptop in the first place. And at some point I will have to replace this inadequate battery to the tune of $70 or so, so I am now up to $425.

    I don't have a thunderbolt port. So if I want to hook my laptop up to my TV, I don't get sound. I am told that I could get a sound card and do a work around. I don't know how much that would cost, but let's say another $25 at least and I am up to $450, and I still haven't solved the wifi printer problem or the inadequate battery duration.

    If Powermax pays me $375 for a trade-in, which is what they have offered (subject to checking my laptop out and finding that it is in the condition I say it is), I can add that to the $425 that I was going to spend to upgrade what i have and, with that $800, buy something newer, like a 2014 Macbook Air.

    Of course the printer problem might still be there.
  9. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    You should get sound with a mini-DVI to HDMI adapter. Some early adapters might not have had sound but anything bought in the last ~4 years or so should have it.

    Be aware that you have to go to the System Preferences application, Sound section, and choose your TV as the sound output device.
  10. xylitol, Mar 23, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015

    xylitol macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2013
  11. Abbara macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2014
    I'd say 2013, 2014, 2015.

    Wouldn't buy a 2012, firstly not in 2015, it'll be a 2nd hand old version that'll be pretty outdated in 1-2 years.

    Definitely would not buy a 2012 compared to a 2013 (almost double the battery, storage, faster GPU with 3x the VRAM etc).

    And definitely wouldn't buy a 2012 if you already have a 2010, not a gigantic difference.

    2013 can still be bought refurbished afaik. And a 2014 can still be bought now. Both with pretty nice discounts yet decent resale value.
  12. PBG4 Dude macrumors 68030

    PBG4 Dude

    Jul 6, 2007
    Yeah, it was the 2013 model that got the battery boost. The 2012 models still have 2010-style battery life.
  13. SmOgER, Mar 23, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015

    SmOgER macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2014
    Cinebench R10 64Bit Multithreaded:

    MBA 2010 1.6Ghz C2D: ~3600 points
    MBA 2014 1.4Ghz i5: ~10000 points

    There you have it, there was a huge step up in terms of performance from 2010 to 2011 MBA and the later generations weren't exactly lazy either. So that being said, 2014 MBA is close to 3 times faster than 2010 MBA. Thats's massive.

    So for improved speed, depending on the budget, go for 2011/2012, or if you want even more battery life - 2013/2014 models.
  14. numtini macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2015
    I had a 2012 from work and upgraded to a 2014 because they're cracking down on long term borrowing. I don't notice any speed differences, but the difference in battery life is absolutely worth going for a 13/14 over a 12. It also seems to recharge faster. The 2014 is only $679 on the refurb store, which is hard to beat.
  15. RUGGLES99 macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2015
    i just bought a new 2014 base 11 for $720 at best buy.
  16. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
  17. Y So Jelly macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2013
    IIRC the 2012 processors benchmarked slightly better than the 2013s. However the PCIe SSD, faster graphics, and longer battery life are advantages of the 2013. Another benefit of the '13 is support for UEFI Windows 8 boot, if you need to use it.
  18. mzeb macrumors regular


    Jan 30, 2007
    Performance Boost

    pretty much any proc from the Core-i series will be a boost of the C2D. The reason is that the Core-i processors all have hyper-threading. This means that while the processor has two "physical" cores it will show up as four "logical" cores. This means that the processor can use otherwise wasted cycles (cycles where it's waiting for disk access or other things) to work on another task. The C2D can't do this. The turbo boost can help as well but you'll only find that in the 2012 and up.

    I had a maxed out 11" 2012 for the past three years and *just* upgraded to a 2015 13" retina MBP. It was hard to leg go of because that machine was so good, and it's Ivy Bridge platform was rock solid stable compared to the more modern Haswell.

    I generally got about 6 hours battery life of derping about on the internet (reddit, etc.) so it held up pretty well. The 2013 & 2014 do get better battery life but with a minor performance it (5-10%) that didn't get made up until the 2015 machines due to a slightly slower clock speed. That's probably not going to be a big deal for you though.
  19. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    I would also recommend a 2013 model at the oldest.

    My first MBA was a 2010 model, a lovely computer, but the difference between that and the 2013 model I bought (speed, processor, power, memory and above all, battery) was very striking.
  20. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    All of the i5s/i7s have always had turbo boost including the 2011 models:

    Hyperthreading can improve the performance of some things sometimes but there were a lot of architectural changes going from C2D to Nehalem that makes it much faster:
  21. SusanK macrumors 68000

    Oct 9, 2012
    That MBA is not listed on the refurb page now but it will be back. Keep checking if you are interested.
  22. technosix macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2015
    West Coast USA
    My brother has bought a couple of refurbished Mac Laptops over the last three years, they come out of the box looking and operating like the new ones I buy. It's very impressive. The savings is like icing on the cake.
  23. SusanK macrumors 68000

    Oct 9, 2012

    I agree 100%. I'm posting from a refurbished MBA now. The only way I can tell it from the MBA purchased new is by the arrangement of the dock icons. Engraving on the bottom case is too small to read on a frequent basis.

    I've purchased Apple refurbs for more than twenty years. Good products and the same great service Apple gives to all customers.
  24. jdechko, Mar 30, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015

    jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    I'll echo the comments that you should at least get a 2013 model. Apple made significant strides in battery life that year. The 2014 models were a minor speed bump (same series i5, but 1.3GHz vs a 1.4GHz) on the base model and the i7 models are identical (both use the same 1.7GHz processor). Everything else is identical. If you can get the '14 for the same price as a '13 model, go for it, but personally, I wouldn't spend extra for a '14 model.

    Of course, as the owner of a 2013 Air, it made me feel good that all they did was a .1 GHz speed bump in 2014. :p

    EDIT: I almost forgot about the SSD failures in the 2012 model. I'm not sure which exact models were affected, but several of the SSD's in the 2012 models ended up failing. Apple has a replacement program, but they can't do anything about data loss. So if you end up with a 2012 model that was affected, but not repaired, you could potentially risk losing data. I'm not trying to scare you off, but I thought you should be aware.
  25. carizma22, Apr 16, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2015

    carizma22 thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 27, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Got My 2015 11" Air

    :) In the end I bought the most recent one. I had the money, and I might not be in this position again for a long time, so I wanted the best I could afford right now. Since the new 12" retina Macbook base model has 8 gig ram, it implies that it might be needed down the road. So based on that gut feeling – and despite all the advice y'all gave me – I got 8 gig ram and 256 gig storage.

    Loving how fast it is in comparison to my late 2010.

    Thanks for all your feedback and suggestions. I was much better informed when I did place my order.

Share This Page