Lifelong PC user impressed by old MBA - now what?

Muyfa666

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 5, 2019
69
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Sweden
Well, the title says it all; I'm a lifelong PC power user who grew tired of bad hardware QC on most modern PC laptops.

I got a new "old" MBA at work, and I find myself impressed by it and are now considering a MBA 2018 for home.

I consider the MBA over the MBP for a couple of reasons:

-Better battery life, if not by a large margin.
-Gen3 butterfly keyboard. Should hopefully be less prone to problems than earlier generations.
-No touchbar and still have touch ID. Tried touchbar it in the store and it feels very gimicky.
-Retina. This is my main issue with the old MBA. I heard MBP is even better, but I won't be comparing.

My usage is web surf, listen to music, watch movies, playing old games (ScummVM type), nothing really taxing.

So far all well, but I hear lots of negativity of the forums... the retina is bad, the CPU is bad etc.

What to think about this? Is the new MBA really not a good machine?
 
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lambertjohn

macrumors 65816
Jun 17, 2012
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So you've got a pre-2018 Air at work, and you're impressed by it, but you want to get our opinions on the 2018 Air instead? Am I reading your post correctly? I don't have a lot to offer, but I can say this: why not just get a pre-2018 Air instead? If you're so impressed with it, stick with what makes you happy. Plenty of brand new ones out there for sale still. Best Buy, Costco, Micro Center, B&H, they all carry them. With the exception of its somewhat archaic screen, most folks will tell you it's the one to have anyway...for now.
 

Muyfa666

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 5, 2019
69
41
Sweden
So you've got a pre-2018 Air at work, and you're impressed by it, but you want to get our opinions on the 2018 Air instead? Am I reading your post correctly? I don't have a lot to offer, but I can say this: why not just get a pre-2018 Air instead? If you're so impressed with it, stick with what makes you happy. Plenty of brand new ones out there for sale still. Best Buy, Costco, Micro Center, B&H, they all carry them. With the exception of its somewhat archaic screen, most folks will tell you it's the one to have anyway...for now.
You kind of understand me, but if you look up you notice that the lack of retina on the old MBA is the main reason why I won't consider it as my main machine.
 

Ghost31

macrumors 68030
Jun 9, 2015
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You kind of understand me, but if you look up you notice that the lack of retina on the old MBA is the main reason why I won't consider it as my main machine.
I don't think anyone should get an older air for this reason alone. The screen is just god awful by todays standards.

I think you'd be more than happy with a 2018 air. The "keyboard issue" I think may be a bit overblown. It happens, but not as often as you think. Coming to places like this gives a skewed perspective that things are worse than they are. I know people that have the older butterfly keys from 2016 pros and they still don't have a problem. And for what its worth I have a 2018 air and no issues whatsoever for me. But even if there was, apple would cover it

Only minor regret I have is not getting more storage. Feeling like 128 won't last me long and I'll be hacking things together from external drives all the time soon!
 

Anarchy99

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2003
904
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CA
Since your impressed by the old air then the 2015 rmbp is the logical upgrade.

It has more power than what you have, more I/O, It has a superior to any other MacBook made today.
If you go more modern pro you have to deal with all the many downsides and the new airs have there own problems aswell.

Frankly if the 2012-2015 retina MacBook Pro's magically didn't exist then My next laptop would need to be a hackintosh again, at least till apple can learn how to make a decent laptop again.
 

Muyfa666

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 5, 2019
69
41
Sweden
I don't think anyone should get an older air for this reason alone. The screen is just god awful by todays standards.

I think you'd be more than happy with a 2018 air. The "keyboard issue" I think may be a bit overblown. It happens, but not as often as you think. Coming to places like this gives a skewed perspective that things are worse than they are. I know people that have the older butterfly keys from 2016 pros and they still don't have a problem. And for what its worth I have a 2018 air and no issues whatsoever for me. But even if there was, apple would cover it

Only minor regret I have is not getting more storage. Feeling like 128 won't last me long and I'll be hacking things together from external drives all the time soon!
I heard 16gb ram is kind of pointless on the new MBA as the CPU will limit it anyways. 512gb SSD however seem like a nice thing to have. If I get a MBA I will have to run some Windows apps either through Boot Camp or Paralells. Would 16gb benefit me at that? I could get both of course, but almost at MBP price.
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
3,744
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I agree with @Anarchy99 - if you can find a good deal (refurbed?) 2015 Pro that's as close to a retina 2015/17 Air as you'll get. The new Air is a very different beast, it introduces compromises on IO - may or may not be an issue for you, some questions over reliability, IMO the keyboard is acceptable if you only do relatively short bursts of typing throughout the day (i.e. emails) but for anything more significant it poses problems. If the 2018 Air is powerful enough for you, the 2015 pro will be as well, you don't gain any performance with the 2018 machine. The downside would be slightly shorter MacOS support, but I would expect the 2015 machine to be supported another 4+ versions at least, plus two years of security updates once the full OS updates end, so at this point probably still not an issue. A refurbished Pro would probably also still come in cheaper than the Air too. If you really can't bring yourself to get the refurbed Pro, I'd at least go and see a new Air in store and get the measure of it in person before buying.
 
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auxbuss

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2014
167
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UK
Your bullet points are pretty much the same as mine prior to buying the new MBA. The lack of retina on the old model is why I waited. I have the 8/128 and have used it fairly heavily most days for three months or so, now. Very happy, so far.

That said, I think the MBA is overpriced – especially the upgrades. I got mine with 15% off, which I reckon is more realistic.
 

mtneer

macrumors 68030
Sep 15, 2012
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Any Air over the last 3 - 4 years should be capable of performing the light tasks you intend to do, presuming your needs dont suddenly escalate. Having said that, the retina Air is usually on Best Buy for a $100-150 off, and is a good buy if you intend to amortize it over the next 4 - 5 years.
 

Dave245

macrumors 604
Sep 15, 2013
7,403
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I don't think anyone should get an older air for this reason alone. The screen is just god awful by todays standards.

I think you'd be more than happy with a 2018 air. The "keyboard issue" I think may be a bit overblown. It happens, but not as often as you think. Coming to places like this gives a skewed perspective that things are worse than they are. I know people that have the older butterfly keys from 2016 pros and they still don't have a problem. And for what its worth I have a 2018 air and no issues whatsoever for me. But even if there was, apple would cover it

Only minor regret I have is not getting more storage. Feeling like 128 won't last me long and I'll be hacking things together from external drives all the time soon!
This, a 1000% this! I have been thinking and saying this for a while now, but i get called an Apple apologist! I do think that there are issues with the keyboard that Apple has admitted, however the numbers are skewed when coming to places like Macrumours because most people will only say anything when they have an issue. The same with the iPad Pro and “bendgate”

Saying that I have been thinking about getting the new MacBook Air after my failed attempt with the Surface Pro 6, however I can’t decide if 16gb ram or standard 8 is enough.

Personally I think the new Air was a great update by Apple.
 
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Muyfa666

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 5, 2019
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So maybe I'll splurge on a new MBA/16/512gb then. I really like the most about it. The CPU is worrying me a bit thou, will it be enough with a DC in a QC age?
 
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Dave245

macrumors 604
Sep 15, 2013
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So maybe I'll splurge on a new MBA/16/512gb then. I really like the most about it. The CPU is worrying me a bit thou, will it be enough with a DC in a QC age?
Mac’s tend to be optimised really well, saying that I wouldn’t expect to do anything too demanding. The MacBook Pro is for really demanding work flows.

Maybe take a look at this video, I was surprised when I saw it. Numbers on a screen or paper don’t always mean everything.

 

auxbuss

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2014
167
135
UK
Saying that I have been thinking about getting the new MacBook Air after my failed attempt with the Surface Pro 6, however I can’t decide if 16gb ram or standard 8 is enough.
I've been using the 8Gb MBA for three months now, and I have a 16/512 MBP for heavy lifting. What leads you to believe you need 16Gb? It's not my cash, so I'm not invested here, but I've not come close to running short of memory on the MBA. Quite the reverse; I've been impressed with the way it manages memory, which it does differently to the MBP – probably 8 vs 16 rather than MBA vs MBP.
 
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Muyfa666

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 5, 2019
69
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Sweden
Mac’s tend to be optimised really well, saying that I wouldn’t expect to do anything too demanding. The MacBook Pro is for really demanding work flows.

Maybe take a look at this video, I was surprised when I saw it. Numbers on a screen or paper don’t always mean everything.

That's a nice video. I'm sold. I found a preowned but unopened MBA 2018 space grey/16gb ram/512gb ssd online at about 22% cheaper than the best new online offer, complete with receipt and everything, so I had to go for it. Seemed like a crazy good deal. Sooo... now I'm suddenly a Mac guy. What gives? ;-)
 

auxbuss

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2014
167
135
UK
That's a nice video. I'm sold. I found a preowned but unopened MBA 2018 space grey/16gb ram/512gb ssd online at about 22% cheaper than the best new online offer, complete with receipt and everything, so I had to go for it. Seemed like a crazy good deal. Sooo... now I'm suddenly a Mac guy. What gives? ;-)
Nice one! Welcome to the dark side :)
 

Dave245

macrumors 604
Sep 15, 2013
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I've been using the 8Gb MBA for three months now, and I have a 16/512 MBP for heavy lifting. What leads you to believe you need 16Gb? It's not my cash, so I'm not invested here, but I've not come close to running short of memory on the MBA. Quite the reverse; I've been impressed with the way it manages memory, which it does differently to the MBP – probably 8 vs 16 rather than MBA vs MBP.
I use Pixelmator Pro for photo editing on my iPad Pro and iMac (late 2012), but mainly I write as that’s my career. I do hear people saying it’s always best to get the most ram as it future proofs the machine, is this true?
 

Macdctr

macrumors 6502a
Nov 25, 2009
615
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That's a nice video. I'm sold. I found a preowned but unopened MBA 2018 space grey/16gb ram/512gb ssd online at about 22% cheaper than the best new online offer, complete with receipt and everything, so I had to go for it. Seemed like a crazy good deal. Sooo... now I'm suddenly a Mac guy. What gives? ;-)
I'm looking forward to hearing what you think about the 2018 MBA compared to the one you're using at work...
 

auxbuss

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2014
167
135
UK
I use Pixelmator Pro for photo editing on my iPad Pro and iMac (late 2012), but mainly I write as that’s my career. I do hear people saying it’s always best to get the most ram as it future proofs the machine, is this true?
Unless your images are huge, then I doubt you'll use that extra 8Gb. But I know nothing about your image editor's memory usage. Keep in mind that 8Gb is an enormous amount of memory.

re: future proofing: The term needs to be defined. I don't think it has been defined. A lot of assertions are made, but little evidence. Of course, more memory won't hurt; so it seems to me to be a trade off between usage and cost. If you have a working crystal ball, then that'll help mitigate any perceived risk ;-)

To clarify my thinking: I paid ~1,000 for my MBA. Extra memory and extra disk would have bumped that by 400. That 40% increase is, clearly, significant. At that price, if I needed a (spare) workhorse, then I'd start looking at another MBP (perhaps a refurb). However, I wanted something portable and with long battery life. If my needs change, then I'll reconsider my options. ymmv, etc.
 
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Dave245

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Sep 15, 2013
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Unless your images are huge, then I doubt you'll use that extra 8Gb. But I know nothing about your image editor's memory usage. Keep in mind that 8Gb is an enormous amount of memory.

re: future proofing: The term needs to be defined. I don't think it has been defined. A lot of assertions are made, but little evidence. Of course, more memory won't hurt; so it seems to me to be a trade off between usage and cost. If you have a working crystal ball, then that'll help mitigate any perceived risk ;-)

To clarify my thinking: I paid ~1,000 for my MBA. Extra memory and extra disk would have bumped that by 400. That 40% increase is, clearly, significant. At that price, if I needed a (spare) workhorse, then I'd start looking at another MBP (perhaps a refurb). However, I wanted something portable and with long battery life. If my needs change, then I'll reconsider my options. ymmv, etc.
I've just tested my iMac 2012 with Activity Monitor, my iMac has 16GB Ram. i've attached a screen shot of my usage, that's with Pixelmator Pro, Youtube video playing in Picture In Picture, a couple of Safari tabs open and Pages open.
 

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auxbuss

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2014
167
135
UK
The way macOS manages 8Gb is very different to 16Gb – from comparing my two machines. 8Gb will start compressing things quite quickly (which I've never seen on my 16Gb) and backing them out to swap (which I've also never seen on my 16Gb).

I can perform identical tasks on both machines, and the figures reported by Activity Monitor bear no relation to each other.
 

Dave245

macrumors 604
Sep 15, 2013
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The way macOS manages 8Gb is very different to 16Gb – from comparing my two machines. 8Gb will start compressing things quite quickly (which I've never seen on my 16Gb) and backing them out to swap (which I've also never seen on my 16Gb).

I can perform identical tasks on both machines, and the figures reported by Activity Monitor bear no relation to each other.
Are you saying that you don't think the 16GB upgrade is worth it? my old 2011 Macbook Pro had 8GB i think (before it died last year). I don't think it's worth me getting the Pro for my usage. I know there are people who will say that for just an extra £200 i could get the 13" Touch Bar MBP, and they are correct especially with my Corporate Perks Discount! however if i'm not going to be using the power of the MBP it seems a waste to me. I do like the look of the Macbook Pro and the Macbook Air.
 

auxbuss

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2014
167
135
UK
Are you saying that you don't think the 16GB upgrade is worth it?
Nope, just sharing my experience of 8Gb vs 16Gb.

re: extra 200: I look at that as 20% increase in price; that changes my purchasing decision. Part of the attraction of the MBA for me is its price; the extras skew that very quickly.