Is the base model i5 13'' Macbook Air be okay for a college student?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by JawneeWin, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. JawneeWin macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #1
    Is the base model i5 13'' Macbook Air be okay for a college student?
    It's mainly used for school (Papers) , and things like surfing the web, and youtube videos.
     
  2. teffers macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2013
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #2
    It's prefect.

    Perfect size, perfect weight, great all round portability. Power isn't an issue (plenty for those uses)

    Battery life is stunning too.

    I wish I'd had one then ... I'm convinced my grades / marks would have been way higher ;-)

    I might be tempted to creep up to 8GB ram if I could afford it, but for the purposes you mentioned it wouldn't be a worry if I couldn't quite stretch to the extra $$$/£££.
     
  3. macs4nw macrumors 601

    macs4nw

    #3
    For that it's great, but keep in mind you can't do any subsequent upgrades if your needs change next year, so if you can swing it, you might consider the 8GB memory, or 256GB Flash options, $100 and $200 respectively.

    I have a maxed-out 13"MBA for day-to-day use, and love it. Happy cramming!
     
  4. JawneeWin thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #4
    I think I'll be fine with the base model. I will mainly be using my macbook for school work, and all other entertainment needs, I usually use my ipad/iphone.

    Thank for everyone's input :D
     
  5. Spink10 macrumors 601

    Spink10

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    Oklahoma
  6. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #6
    Mba is perfect for students.
    U might want to consider the 11" base model.
    the weight and size makes a huge difference!
    Its much more portable.
    Enjoy!
     
  7. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #7
    yes, but that sentence won't be:D:p
     
  8. apple_iBoy macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 28, 2003
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #8
    I think so. I'm an engineering professor and it's good enough for me! (I have an iMac in my office and a Mac Pro at home, but in both places I opt to use my 2011 MBA 80%+ of the time).

    Even though optical storage is going the way of the dino, it might be worth the $80 or whatever it is for the external SuperDrive (or some less expensive compatible 3rd party device). At some point, your son will likely need to use a disc to install something or burn something.
     
  9. cerberusss macrumors 6502a

    cerberusss

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #9
    I think 4 GB internal memory is rather poor, if you are expecting to run a number of apps alongside. It's not particularly strange for a user to always have Safari, Mail and iTunes running, and besides that, I've got a note-taking app, Photoshop, Xcode and maybe a Word document opened.

    If you can upgrade something, I'd take the memory upgrade even if it's just for resale value. The SSD can later be replaced by parties like iFixit or OWC, or via eBay.

    On the other hand, if you run most of your stuff from the browser, then maybe the base model is fine.

    By the way -- college? Install Prey and activate Find My Mac.
     
  10. jonasdamn macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 4, 2013
    #10
    I have 2013 i5/4GB/256GB MBA 13". Wanted with 8gb ram but it would cost me 350 euros more, because there was discount for my specification mba. Mavericks RAM management is wonderful. Today used 3 big word documents via word at the same time, safari, powerpoint, skype, dropbox, mail and also used smart tv as external display via Apple TV. And RAM usage didnt surpass 3.7 GB RAM and also didnt swap from SSD. Was smooth as butter. So i would recommend atleast 256gb SSD, because if you would like to use windows also, 128gb is a bit too low.
     
  11. JawneeWin thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #11
    I think 4gb is good for me. I'm basically only going to be using word, safari, and iTunes when I sync my iDevices. When I had my MBP, I realized that I barely used any apps on it. Plus, I have my iPad Mini, and iPhone to handle other tasks like email, etc.

    I'm leaning towards the 13'' model, because I had a 13'' MBP before, so I think the 11'' screen might be hard for me to get used to. I also think I'm going to have to buy a black skin to put over the silver bezel, because I think that's going to be distracting to me as well.

    Thanks for everyone's help. I just wanted to make sure.
     
  12. vicynic macrumors member

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    Aug 25, 2013
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    New Jersey
  13. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #13
    Bought the same specs yesterday :)
    Its snappy :D 8gb ram would've cost me 220 euros more.
    Even the base rmbp only got 4gigs ram. with pcie ssd and mavericks u won't regret it.
    Get 256gb instead of 128gb.
     
  14. Minhimalism macrumors 65816

    Minhimalism

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Location:
    Texas
    #14
    I have the base 2013 13" MacBook Air and I'm in my 3rd year of college! It was my first ever laptop purchase and I can say it works really well for the tasks you described. It's good for the occasional Photoshop or Lightroom task as well, would definitely recommend :)
     
  15. DanTSX macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    #15
    An external hard drive will be needed for kids that like a lot of music or Movies/TV shows downloaded on their computers.

    I was in school during the height of open internet piracy, before any effective DRM, and even back then a decade ago, we had guys with 250gb drives maxed out with movies and music.

    I'm not suggesting that your kid is a pirate either but there is always the need for backups as well. The dog ate my laptop or hard drive is a common excuse in college these days.

    Look into some external storage options for peace of mind.

    Outside of that, good to go
     
  16. irDigital0l Guest

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    #16
    If your major isn't computer/software engineering, computer science, graphic design, etc. then base model should be fine.

    I went with i5 / 8GB / 256GB.
     
  17. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Sunny Florida
    #17
    I personally found the screen to be too small, but computing wise it would be just fine.
     
  18. A Hebrew macrumors 6502a

    A Hebrew

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    Jan 7, 2012
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #18
    You would be fine with the 13" if your major is software engineering or computer science. I am not sure about graphic design...probably would be fine too if you had a monitor.
     
  19. cerberusss macrumors 6502a

    cerberusss

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    Aug 25, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #19
    I'm not sure about that... Recently I talked to a CS major, and some of their topics required running up to five virtual machines. He didn't say for what purpose, but they ran Windows and Linux servers in there.

    He already had 8 gigs of RAM, but had an 128 gig SSD. So in the end, he got a 256 go external SSD in an USB 3 enclosure.
     
  20. A Hebrew macrumors 6502a

    A Hebrew

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    Jan 7, 2012
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #20
    There is nothing that a CS Major would do that would require more than 1 virtual machine. The only explanation for that is a) He is lying or b) He is a graduate student doing something ridiculously unnecessary.
     
  21. Knara macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    #21
    Not only that, but if it comes to needing large amounts of computing resources, the University (or departmental) computer labs are a better tool than trying to jam that all on a laptop.
     
  22. mpress03 macrumors member

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    Feb 24, 2012
    #22
    Works great

    I am studying for my MBA in finance, which means I usually have quite a few complex Excel spreadsheets open, safari, and two separate apps that track certain financial measures. Although it can occasionally be a pain to switch between all the programs, I have never had any issues with performance and all I have is the base model. You shouldn't have have any issues and since its so light and small, you can carry it with you almost everywhere. I agree with the comment to make sure you turn on Find My Mac. You should also have a strong password, backup to an external hard drive at home, and encrypt private data.
     
  23. Atomic Walrus, Oct 30, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013

    Atomic Walrus macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    #23
    It's a good choice for college, absolutely. Even with the 128GB SSD. If you're not installing large games or keeping videos on your computer you'll be fine with the storage. For usage on campus cloud solutions are extremely viable since we're talking about campus-wide solid wifi (at least at my uni). So keep your favorite music on the machine, use iTunes cloud and/or Spotify for the rest. Or just use your phone since it's always with you and less of a hassle to plug headphones into.

    Personally not a big mobile video watcher so would keep zero video on the machine. If you want to do some light indie-style gaming, you can certainly run things like Minecraft or Dwarf Fortress on it.

    That i5 chip isn't even as slow as you might think. 16% faster than the i7 in my 2010 17" MBP.

    4GB RAM is probably the only thing that even could be a valuable upgrade for you, but for word processing and light web work on Mavericks? Absolutely unnecessary.

    The only thing you might want to look at is the 13" rMBP base being just $150 more. Slightly faster CPU but 0.5 lbs heavier. Personally I still think the Air could be a better choice because of the superior battery life and weight at the lower cost.
     
  24. BenTrovato macrumors 68020

    BenTrovato

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2012
    Location:
    Canada
    #24
    It's perfect for everything you suggested. I have about every single app open at one time and they all work flawlessly on 4gb RAM.
     

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