Is upgrading to a newer Mac over rated?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by bowadoyle, May 19, 2012.

  1. bowadoyle macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2012
    I picked up a 11" 2010 Macbook air earlier this year and I must say, I love it it. Sure it's only a Core2Duo with 2GB of ram and 64GB sad, but it does everything I need quick. I'm only using it for school and Microsoft Office related task as well as email and surfing the net. I see no season to have a faster machine as I do not think I would notice the speed upgrade.

    So don't you think in today's world, for most people, a new faster machine is a waste of money unless you really need it?
  2. torana355 macrumors 68030

    Dec 8, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    Im still using a 2008 iMac as my main machine and it does everything i need, i am only going to upgrade for usb3 and thunderbolt in the next 2 years or so. I have a 2011 MBA for my portable needs which should last over 5 years before needing an upgrade.
  3. nissan.gtp macrumors 6502

    Aug 22, 2007
    I think if you skip several generations of machines, then the upgrade is very noticeable. If you buy every new system, you'll not get a lot of benefit unless there is a specific new capability that you want, like t-bolt.
  4. jj48 macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2011
    I agree. But the flip side of this argument is that one generation old macs have brilliant resale value and so upgrading every generation is not as expensive as it could be.

    I can see why many people see the value in upgrading each year for maybe 1/5 or 1/4 of the value of the full price. This way you always have the newest machines and if you resell smartly won't spend too much. Compare this to keeping a machine for 4-5 years and not reselling it at all because it's worn out. It's the same cost over the period and yet you are stuck with (slightly) slower hardware for that time.

    Personally I have a hard time working out which way is better value.
  5. fortunecookie macrumors regular


    Dec 3, 2010
    In general, one should buy something based on needs. But sometimes it just feels so good to buy based on wants hehe. I bought my macbook air because my old thinkpad's LCD broke down - T61p. Its a 2006 model if I'm not mistaken, I'm hoping that my macbook air would last me even longer :)
  6. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    This is true. If all you do is browse the net and work with office software, you don't need a fast machine.

    However, some of us do get noticeable improvements out of a faster computer.
  7. Boyd01 macrumors 601


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    If a machine meets you needs, why would you upgrade it?

    I went from a 2008 15" MBP to a 13" 2011 i5 MBA. For starters, the 2008 machine had several problems and I didn't feel it was worth the time or money to fix them. But aside from that, the new MBA is much, much faster in every way. And it had MacOSX 10.7 already installed where my old machine had 10.5.

    The old machine had a 160GB 5400 RPM disk so the 256GB SSD is a huge upgrade for that. And I paid $2500 for the old MBP but the new MBA cosdt $1500.

    This upgrade made a lot of sense for me. But your machine is newer than mine was, and you say it does what you want. So I don't see a reason for you to upgrade.
  8. bowadoyle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2012
    I still have the first Mac I ever purchased which was back in 2002. It 's was ibook i3 600 MHZ and every once in awhile I'll boot it up and think, man I could still use this laptop.

    I really love Apple products. I am glad I made the switch then.

    My very 1st computer was a TI 99/4a. So you can figure out my age!
  9. Boyd01 macrumors 601


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    Well I have upgraded more times than I can count myself. My first computer was an Apple ][ - serial number 4546 - so we are probably about the same age. :) I paid $1225 for that in 1978 and it had a big 16k of memory (the base system only had 4k). No disk drives were available yet so I used a cassette recorder to store the BASIC programs I wrote.

    First Mac was a 512k "Fat Mac" in 1985. I still have an old PowerMac G4 which is basically a doorstop (although it works fine) and an aluminum PowerBook G4 which also works fine but isn't used. My PowerMac dual G5 died about 3 years ago and I just pulled the drives and trashed it.

    There were a lot of others along the way, and there was always a reason to upgrade - usually because I wanted to run some high end software that either didn't run acceptably or didn't run at all on the old machine.
  10. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    A complete, absolute waste, yes.

    I think most people just like having something new. It's a cool rush to be opening something brand new and shiny, I get it. But it's not even close to necessary most of the time. Maybe this new thing has new, cool features that would make your life easier. But honestly, you don't need them and it's a waste of good money IMO. If your current piece of technology still does what it did when you bought it (And I can almost guarantee it does), you don't need a new one.
  11. Beanoir macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2010
    51 degrees North
    Spot on!

    Some will argue that they may not "need" but instead "want" and thats fine too, nothing wrong with upgrading if you simply want the latest kit. But many will try to convince themselves (and others on the forum) that you "need" the latest kit for whatever reason when in reality they are just trying to justify a "want" by calling it a "need"

    Cue the "yes but you need 4GB of RAM to run the next gen of OSX".....:yawn:
  12. elppa macrumors 68040


    Nov 26, 2003
    I agree with you on principle.

    That said, you would get a big advantage in upgrading from your eMac.

    Apple's software and hardware is very much superior now.
  13. macbwizard macrumors 6502


    May 23, 2005
    I agree. I'm on about a 5 year cycle of getting new laptops (iBook G4 --> 2006 MBP --> 2011 MBP) and each laptop still runs and is able to do what I originally bought them for. Obviously needs change as time goes on (the advent of flash video on the internet for example) but I could probably go to a 6 year cycle or longer and be ok. Apple's products are built to last.
  14. adder7712 macrumors 68000


    Mar 9, 2009
    I'm still chugging along in a late-2008 MacBook Aluminium.

    I could definitely use an upgrade, this machine is getting old and is suffering from heating issues. At this point however, I could use any computer, regardless whether it's a Mac or Windows, anything faster would be nice. :D
  15. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    It would be nice to have a modern Mac, but I don't want one. Besides the fact I don't care for the new designs or OS changes, I simply don't require one. Pretty much all I do I MR, another forum or two, check my email, perhaps engadget and tumblr. Older games, iChat for IM and iTunes for music, VLC for video. Nobody needs more than PPC can offer when that's all you do. Yes, all those things would run faster with a new Mac, but my eMac is more than speedy enough for all of them.
  16. macbook pro i5 macrumors 65816

    macbook pro i5

    May 13, 2011
    New Zealand
    You don't want a new mac:eek::eek:
  17. elppa macrumors 68040


    Nov 26, 2003
    Have you spent any time using a recent Macintosh? Just curious.

    What about the web? Are you surely not getting left behind a bit in terms of browser support for PPC? Which browser are you using? IIRC none of the latest versions run on PowerPC?

    Aside: It's funny that OS vendors often get a bad rep for so called planned obsolescence, but actually the free and open web has a fair bit of planned obsolescence built in as well!

    To be fair they aren't cheap and people has different priorities.
  18. scarred macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2011
    Of course, if you barely use your computer, you can get by with less.

    There are a whole bunch of computing activities that benefit from more computer power and upgrading to the latest and greatest always makes sense:

    programming, gaming, simulation, graphics artists, video editors, composing music, research. You know, using your computer to "compute". When you can do it faster, you save so much time. I'm stuck on a Core 2 Duo at work (one more month) and the amount of time I waste per day waiting for that thing is sickening.

    Also, newer computers use far less power then beasts like your big eMac.

    So please, stop saying "no one needs the latest".
  19. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    If its fast enough for you, then it doesn't make sense for you to upgrade.

    For me, I'm needing something with a bit more pep for my needs. That is one size does not fit all. Upgrading to a new Mac is overrated only when you don't need too. In the end, its the individual's money and decision and even if they don't need too, but are happy they did, then does that make it overrated when they're content with their own decision?
  20. Cynicalone macrumors 68040


    Jul 9, 2008
    Okie land
    I upgrade my laptop every 3 years or so. I rarely break this cycle so I can expect my next upgrade to be in 2014.

    My desktop is another story. I use a Mac Pro at home so at minimum I get 5 years out of the computer.

    The only time I break this cycle is when something breaks that is not covered by Apple or the Applecare has expired.

    Right now at my house we have 3 Macs that are used all the time.

    2008 iMac
    2009 Mac Pro
    2011 MacBook Air

    The iMac is my wife's computer she uses it everyday. She is not a nerd like us so she never complains about it being slow or outdated. She has said on several occasions that she would like to move to an Air whenever her iMac dies.
  21. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    Nope, I don't like the direction Apple is going with the physical designs, or the OS design. Just not for me.

    Every time I get a chance, yes. I've played around on some new iMacs with Lion, and though it's not a horrible experience, it's one that doesn't suit me, nor do I need.

    I use TenFourFox, still supported and updated to this day. Haven't come across anything yet that it can't do compared to a modern browser, though I admit I haven't really put it through the ropes.

    Pretty much anything technological does, it's kind of a bummer for people such as myself, but I can see why it's exciting to have new things and features.

    I never said nobody needs a new computer, just the majority. I'd be willing to bet there's more people like myself who only have very light computing needs. Yes, an eMac is probably old enough to where it would make sense for an upgrade of some kind. But Core Duo's, and C2D's are more than enough for most of the computer using population. Plus, at least in my case, I love finding uses for machines most consider to be outdated, I love using older technology that still gets the job done. I do a decent amount of browsing on an iBook G3 with OS 9. Yes, there are more than a few sites these days which give it trouble, but at least it's getting used and not just sitting in a closet/landfill somewhere.

    If you use your computer for your career, then obviously it makes sense to have one that can get your work done fast and efficiently, and I have no issue with these people buying new machines more often.

    No arguments here, I'm sure it uses quite a bit more power than today's machines. But my entire electric bill is $60 a month, so the "beast" is OK with me. :p
  22. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    To the OP, yes, upgrading every one or two years is overkill, and probably not needed unless there is a feature needed, such as Thunderbolt to drive a display. Otherwise, the improvements year over year in hardware are not that significant. A 3-5 year upgrade cycle makes sense for most people. Those who chase technology by upgrading every year, are paying a premium, which pays for the R&D for the rest of us.
  23. Pinkie Pie macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2012
    Los Anhelles
    My MacBook's 4 years old now and isn't slow at all. Macs aren't cheap or disposable - I expect this one and the MBP I'm buying next year to last 5 years.
  24. onthecouchagain macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    I plan to keep my 2011 Air for at least a few years. It'll be tempting to upgrade, especially now if the Pros are getting thinner with improvements too. I also just bought a Thunderbolt Display to pair with my Air. I'm pretty committed to it, I think.
  25. katewes, May 21, 2012
    Last edited: May 21, 2012

    katewes macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2007
    I have a late 2006 iMac - the last of the white iMacs - and, more significantly, the last of the matte screen iMacs. In 2007 when the first of the mirror-screen iMacs came out, I rushed to buy one of the remaining matte-screen iMacs. Since then Apple has refused to budge on the issue of forcing glossy-only onto iMac users. No doubt many or even a majority like glossy, but many also want matte screens. See where there are now over 2,000 petitions pleading with Apple to bring back matte, or some form of non-reflective screens. But it's close to 5 years and Apple has refused to listen.

    I mention all this by way of background, because, if not for Apple's refusal to offer matte screens, I would probably have bought a new iMac every 2 years, even more often simply because I can tax deduct them for my business, and it's easy to sell and transfer data between Macs.

    Apple's intransigence has forced me to stick to this old 2006 iMac -- and you know what, it's taught me that that old equipment meets my needs just fine. It is running Snow Leopard 10.6.8, the most rock solid Apple OS available right now. Lion is still coming good. Apple's stubbornness has weaned me off this fixation of having upgrade my Mac every few years. What if I only upgraded when my current Mac doesn't suit my needs. But if I'm only doing word processing, emails, web browsing and communications - which won't slow down even in 5 years - and even if the hard disk dies I can get that replaced for less than $200. So why on earth should I get a new iMac?

    I have Steve Jobs's obstinacy to thank - for refusing to bring back matte screens for 5 years - thereby saving me the purchase cost of about 3 iMacs. As I've used my white iMac, I've come to love its classic form - ahead of the more crass, rather more soulless silver ghouls with their mirror-like pretences. After going through periods of frustration at being unable to upgrade to new iMacs, I've settled into a state of contentedness, realising that my present iMac - with perhaps a hard disk upgrade - might last me 10 years.

    Then again, the latest rumors are that the forthcoming iMacs will have anti-reflective glass. Maybe those new iMacs might stir up Mac-purchase lust again, and I might jump back onto the conveyor belt of consumerism needed to support our economy.

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