Longevity of a Macbook Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by JMS803, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. JMS803, Dec 27, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011

    JMS803 macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2010
    I'm amazed at the speed, quality, and portability of the new Macbook Airs, and am seriously considering one for my next laptop. One concern I have is, due laregly to the Air's lack of upgradability, (Ram) is its longevity. How will the upcoming 1.8/2.0 Ghz Ivy Bridge processors in May compare to a 2.4 Ghz Santa Rosa MBP? From what I've seen already in the i5 Air, it seems like they will blow it away. Besides basic word processing and web browsing, I will use it for Photoshop and Lightroom, and perhaps some video editing in the future. Does the Air handle DSLR video files well?

    Also, my late-2007 MBP is approaching the 5 year mark in June, so I suppose somewhere around 4 years would be a target.
    Thanks for any advice!
  2. Xikum macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2011
    I still run an old Lenovo ThinkPad laptop with 512 MB of RAM and a lightweight Linux distro, its perfect for light browsing. I do feel that some people on here over-exaggerate about just how much RAM you need. My 2010 MBA with 2 GB of RAM handles Lion, Word, Safari+countless tabs, and iTunes open all at the same time without problems.

    If you are looking for a computer for alot of professional work, I think that the Pro is better for you; bigger HDD, and upgradable RAM is something that is necessary for things such as virtual machines, photo-editting, etc. The Air is a great portable computer, but I do feel that it is much more suited for a slightly more casual user. Saying that, 4 GB of RAM is plenty, and it is going to be a long time before 8 GB is a necessity.
  3. JMS803 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    That is good to know. I feel like the SSD helps a lot with keeping the speed up. My 5400rpm hard drive can be pretty bad at times.

    Not really doing any professional work per se, moreso hobbyist photography.
  4. LeandrodaFL macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2011
    Since the Air uses SSDs, pages ins and outs are faster. More memory is always welcome.
  5. powerslave12r macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2010
    Do you use Lightroom on yours?
  6. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    Taking Geekbench as a measure, the current 1.7/1.8 GHz Airs are about as fast as the 2010 Pros. They are more than 50% faster than the 2008 models with Santa Rosa chips.

    Ivy Bridge should bring a moderate performance boost (20% maybe), a significantly better integrated GPU, and some power savings. I hope Apple can fit 8 GB at least in the 13'' MBA - that would be a real powerhouse.
  7. VMMan macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2009
  8. doktordoris macrumors 6502a


    Mar 14, 2009
    I only bought my MBA as a toy, so I got the lowest spec. 11inch model. I only bought it for browsing, writing, and using as a thin client with my iMac so I had a powerful tiny computer if I needed one. Much to my suprise the little cheap MBA is amazing. Sometimes I create extra virtual desktops and run programs to put in them just so I can watch what my memory demands are. I can run 3 or 4 desktops, a desktop which is my iMac's screen for CPU intensive jobs, I also use my MBA to control iTunes on my iMac and send the programs to my ATV to watch on my TV. And with all that use I still only use 1.8g or thereabouts. I have no slowdowns at all. For such a cheap machine the MBA is amazing.

    i am not sure that an MBA is appropriate for a main machine, in the spec I have. But it probably is, considering how much power it has. SO I intend to keep it for ages, and in fact my iPad is now completely redundant,
  9. JMS803 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2010
    Yup, but it often runs pretty slowly. It might be either the fact that the photo library is so large, or that I'm running it off an external. I'm going to start a new library soon and run it off of a FW800 external and see how that goes.

    Wow, that's pretty impressive. Agreed on the ram bit, the 4Gb limit worries me a bit, as 2GB was the standard when I bought mine, and I've doubled it since then.
  10. chris2k5 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2010
    I have the base 2010 model with 64GB SSD and 2GB RAM and it works well for basic usage like web browsing, iTunes, word processing, etc. (It actually does it better than anything else I've used)

    The only issue I think making me consider upgrading is definitely the 64GB of HD space and the 2GB of RAM. The processor at 1.4Ghz is kind of a bog especially when I want to watch ESPN360 online.

    I will def upgrade to a 256GB + 8GB model if one comes available.
  11. Total Respray macrumors member

    Nov 16, 2011
    As others have mentioned, the Air is a great machine for writing and browsing. However, I find that graphics-intensive tasks really stretch the processor and the machine rapidly warms up. While it can probably handle some photo-editing, I'd be inclined to wait for the graphics enhancements in Ivy Bridge to do this.

    As for longevity, the machine does everything I bought it for, and I don't expect to replace it for at least 3 years, and probably 4-5. (I have found that all my computers give me about 4-5 years before starting to slow down, but this is my first Apple).
  12. ethics101 macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2011
    I think were going to see technology start tapering off from speed and focusing more on usability. Platforms for tablets and laptops will start to mix together. As a result specs will not be nearly as important. Unless you plan on playing games (you really shouldn't be buying a MacBook air if this is the case), I think you can expect this air to keep up with updates for the next 5 years.
  13. lnferno macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2008
    I just ordered a 13" MBA / 1.8 proc / 4 gb ram. I plan on running VM Fusion3 so that I can also run windows 7 concurrently. Is that enough ram?
  14. ethics101 macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2011
    Yes, but create a separate windows partition and bootcamp into it for longer uses. The extra45 seconds is worth it.
  15. colourfastt macrumors 6502a


    Apr 7, 2009
    I'm still using my 09 MBA and won't replace it until it's irrevocably dead ... mostly because I can't stand the look of the new wedge-shaped Air.
  16. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    My mid-2009 Air is hitting its third birthday next year and shows no signs of letting me down yet. Still runs all the latest software, latest OS, and is insanely fast thanks to the SSD I put in it. I fully plan on getting at least another two years, if not more out of it.
  17. JMS803 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2010
    Did you upgrade the SSD? I noticed there were kits online. How difficult was it?
  18. PurpleMarmalade macrumors regular

    Aug 29, 2010
    I have the 2011 1.7Ghz i5 MBA with 4GB RAM. I fully expect it to cope with anything I may throw at it until at least July 2016. My biggest worry is SSD failure, which seems to be surprisingly common.

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