Looking to Purchase a 13" MacBook Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Dsella, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Dsella macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2013
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    #1
    I am looking to purchase the new 13" MacBook Air, just have a few questions!

    I know that new iPhone's always come out around September, but how often do MacBook's come out? I know that it's always around the same time of the year that Apple rolls out new iPhone's, iPod's, iPad's, Mac's, etc.

    Also - isn't it true that Apple releases updated/new Mac devices twice a year? I remember buying a MBP in 2011 and I recall there being a model from spring and one from fall?

    So basically - my question is when will the new Mac's be coming out? I really want to purchase a MacBook Air but I don't want to buy one and have an upgraded model come out a month later!

    Thank you!

    -Dsella
     
  2. zas macrumors member

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    Sep 17, 2012
    Location:
    Florida
    #2
    Buy it now ... Or wait until mid 2014 for the 12 inch MacBook Air... There's an event on October 22nd however this is for iPads and macbook pros. Just go ahead and buy it now and configure it with 8gbs of ram. Cheers
     
  3. Dsella thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 31, 2013
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    Cleveland, OH
    #3
    Thanks pal.

    Looks as though I will buy a 13" now. Although I would love to wait for the Retina Display considering I read that the 12" would most likely boast a 2304x1440 resolution which is absolutely nuts, not sure I want to wait until June!

    Also - I would never pay Apple $100 for another 4GB of RAM. That is absolutely asinine. I'd pay $35-40 on Newegg and put it in myself. They charge enough for outdated hardware!

    One more thing - Any news on what type of specs the new MBP's will have? I had bought a 15" Pro back in 2011 for $1,799 and sold it about 6 months later to build a desktop. However, if the 13" will have Retina Display I may be interested in that seeing as they have slimmed down quite a bit!

    I mainly want the Air just to have as a side laptop since I have a beast of a Windows Desktop that I built two months back. I have an iPhone 5 and an iPad 2, but I use my iPad maybe once a month. If that. I am most likely going to sell that to put towards the Air.
     
  4. Y So Jelly macrumors regular

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    Sep 14, 2013
    #4
    The RAM is soldered brah.. no satisfying self-upgrade for you.
     
  5. NMF, Oct 15, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013

    NMF macrumors 6502a

    NMF

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    #5
    No, you wouldn't. The RAM in the MBA is soldered onto the motherboard. Same with the rMBP. The only thing you could possibly upgrade yourself is the SSD, but even that requires a custom design and I don't believe that there are any vendors selling replacements for the 2013's yet.

    Unless you buy the old "fat" model MBP, the era of upgrading your MacBook is over -- and even then, I'd be incredibly surprised if they even update the fatties this year. If you plan on keeping your MBA for any reasonable period of time and think that you might want 8GB 2-3 years down the road, your only option is to pay for it when you order.

    Besides, $100 is actually a pretty reasonable "Apple tax." It's the SSD prices that are out of this world.
     
  6. beautifulcoder macrumors regular

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    The Republic of Texas
    #6
    I'm with you on not paying extra $100 for RAM. Just turn around and flip it if you ever get that itch again for latest and greatest. Future-proofing is nonsense.
     
  7. Neokiller309 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2011
    #7
    Macrumors has a buyers guide right at the top of the page....

    http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/

    The Macbook Air is mid cycle- New models come out around June/july-ish.
     
  8. zas macrumors member

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    Location:
    Florida
    #8
    The ram is soldered to the logic board... so you can't buy more RAM after you purchase it. This is the best upgrade you can do on your macbook air if you want to future proof it. Sorry.
     
  9. Dsella thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Yea, a few hours after posting that I realized that the thing is so thin you can't add more at a later date haha.

    One more question just since I've been out of the Apple tech loop for so long - When they say "128GB Flash Storage" does that mean it has an SSD? Or is it literally flash storage?
     
  10. Jeepman88 macrumors member

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    #10


    Hmm
     
  11. NMF, Oct 22, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013

    NMF macrumors 6502a

    NMF

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    #11
    It's basically an SSD, but again, it's a proprietary hardware spec designed to fit inside the slim body of the MBA. The SSD vendors for 2013 seem to be Samsung and Sandisk. 2012 and prior were Samsung and Toshiba, with the Toshiba models having horrible reliability issues (just look at some of the threads in this very forum). There's absolutely no possible way to influence the "SSD lottery" regarding the brand you'll get in your MBA. You won't know until you get the machine. It's the same with the displays; you'll get either Samsung or LG, and there's no way to tell until you receive your machine. In this instance the the Samsung displays are definitely better than the LG's out of the box, but there are custom color calibrations floating around MacRumors that improve the LG to the point that it's not really worth it to return your new Mac and roll the dice again for a Samsung. My 2013 MBA has the LG display with Sandisk SSD and I absolutely love it. I use this custom calibration from MR user mbafan.

    The SSD is actually the only part of the MBA that you can upgrade without much issue. The problem is that the part needs to be designed specifically for the MBA since it won't fit anywhere else. The only company I know of that offers these upgrades is OWC, but they don't yet offer a product for the 2013 models. The 2013 MBA's connect via PCIe rather than SATA, so they're much faster than the industry-standard SATA III SSD's. However, the new connection means OWC needs to develop a new product for upgrades. They almost certainly WILL release one, but they haven't yet, so I would go ahead and order the amount of storage you think you'll need from Apple. OWC's prices aren't really cheaper anyway, they just give you the peace of mind of knowing that if you ever want to upgrade your MacBook Air to a ridiculous amount of internal flash storage a few years down the line, you'll almost certainly be able to.
     
  12. Dsella thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 31, 2013
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    Cleveland, OH
    #12
    So if I was to purchase a 13" MB Air for $1,099 and upgrade the RAM for another $100 to get 8GB of RAM instead of 4, I would get either a Samsung or a Sandisk SSD? Because I do NOT want a Toshiba. Not even because you said they have problems, but because ALL Toshiba computer parts seem to have horrible issues! A buddy of mine had a Toshiba 17" laptop that was really nice.. i7, Bluray drive, some sort of NVIDIA graphics and the motherboard took a crap on him and he just ended up giving it to me broken in exchange for me getting him all of his data off the hard drive onto his new laptop. Which, was nice for me since parted out I ended up making $350 :p

    So one last time just so I know EVERYTHING about what I will be spending over $1,000 on..

    13" Macbook Air:
    1.) $1,099 Base price + $100 for another 4GB of RAM to make it 8GB which can not be done by adding it at another time.
    2.) The "128GB Flash Storage" is an SSD and it will either be a Samsung or Sandisk drive.
    3.) The screen will either be a Samsung or an LG. And although the Samsung screen IS nicer, the LG can be tuned to make it look almost identical to where it's not worth returning in hopes for a Samsung screen.
    4.) This one is a question, not a statement that I want verified: If I am upgrading the RAM from 4GB to 8GB and bringing the price to $1,199 - HOW much better is the 1.7GHz core i7 compared to the 1.3GHz Core i5? Is it actually worth the $150 extra, or is it not THAT noticeable?

    I just built a new desktop two months ago with the following specs:
    -MSI Z87-G41 LGA 1150
    -Intel Core i5 4670K 3.4GHz (Newest socket + top model Core i5 on the market)
    -8GB (4x2GB) Kingston HyperX DDR3 1600 RAM
    -EVGA GeForce GTX 650Ti BOOST 1GB
    -Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD 6.0GB/s
    -Thermaltake TR2 600W PSU

    So this Macbook Air will more or less just be for basic computing, as I have a pretty damn good desktop (factoring in the price :p). So with that being said, would the extra $150 spent on upgrading from the 1.3GHz i5 to the 1.7GHz i7 be justifiable, or would it just be a waste? The main reason I want this laptop is because my Core i3 ASUS I have is a bit of a drag, and I want something new, sleek, and 13" for when I go to Vegas next March since I turn 21 in February :D.

    I know this post was VERY long, but thank you for all of your help everyone, and NMF in specific! I truly do appreciate it pal.
     
  13. NMF, Oct 22, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013

    NMF macrumors 6502a

    NMF

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    Oct 27, 2011
    #13
    1.) Correct.
    2.) Correct. It's an SSD with a custom physical design. You won't be able to add any old SSD from Newegg in the future, but you'll almost certainly be able to buy one from OWC (it also appears that the new Mac Pro might use the same module, which would make finding replacements much easier in the future). I haven't seen any 2013's with Toshiba drives, only Samsung and Sandisk.
    3.) Correct.
    4.) In your situation it makes the most sense to stick with the i5 since you already have a beefy desktop system. You won't notice any difference with the i7 during day-to-day use. The i7 will give you slightly better gaming performance (Intel's Iris graphics chips are very CPU-dependent, obviously) but that's about it. I guess you'd get faster video encodes too, but it'd be silly for you to be encoding video on a MacBook anyway since your desktop's 4670K will handily blow all of them out of the water (even the Pro's). The i5 will give you slightly better battery life as well. In my opinion it's the perfect chip for use in portable, everyday computers.

    Also, it's worth noting that the Haswell rMBP's were announced today with $200 price cuts across the board. For $1399 (or $1289 if you're a student) you could get the 13" model with 2.4 GHz i5, 8GB DDR3 and 128GB PCIe SSD. Keep in mind the rMBP still uses all custom parts, just like the Air. RAM is soldered on and all that.

    Personally I'd still go with the Air, especially since this MacBook won't be your "primary" powerhouse machine. The 12-hour battery life really is incredible, and the half-pound difference in weight is nothing to scoff at either. The Speck snap-on shell added about half a pound to my MBA (yes, I weighed it) and that was just enough to make my legs fall asleep after extended use on the couch. I returned it and am now rolling with a "naked" MBA again. Though I did add the matte skin from bestskinsever. ;)
     
  14. Dsella, Oct 22, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013

    Dsella thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Cleveland, OH
    #14
    I just looked on the Apple store and I see the MBA's got cut $50 as well.. which is always nice!

    However, now that the 13" Retina MBP's are $1,199 before upgrades and the 13" MBA's are $1,049 before upgrades, it has me considering a MBP..

    I know the battery life on them says 9 hours, and the Air's are 12 hours.. but I highly doubt I would be using it that long without a charge anyway! Not to mention, 2.4GHz compared to 1.3GHz is a big difference.. that alone is worth the price difference!

    Do the Air's have retina display by default, or no?

    One more thing - How big of a difference is the "Intel HD 5000 Graphics" in the MBA vs. the "Intel Iris Graphics" in the rMBP?

    And where did you get $1289 for that MBP? When I click on Education Store, I do not see $1289 anywhere.
     
  15. NMF, Oct 23, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013

    NMF macrumors 6502a

    NMF

    Joined:
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    #15
    Hell no. The rMBP's are the only Macs with Retina displays. To be honest, the display is the weakest aspect of the MBA. The MBA is the only Mac model still shipping with a TN display rather than IPS. The viewing angles aren't as good and the color accuracy isn't either. This isn't even taking retina into account. The old, "fat" MBP's had much better displays than the MBA's too.

    Unless you're a photography professional it really doesn't matter, but as someone with both a MBA and MBP (non-retina) in the house, I definitely notice the difference. The MBP's display looks substantially better.

    As far as the actual compute power of the chips are concerned, the Iris model is more powerful. The Iris Pro is significantly more powerful, but only available in the 15" rMBP. It's 2013, you don't want a 15" notebook. Take it from me. Over the past year or so I've moved from a 15" cMBP to a 13" cMBP to my current 13" MBA. Lately I've even been looking over at the 11" model with lustful eyes.

    Unless you need the extra juice for work purposes, portability is king.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, "Iris" is just Intel's marketing slogan for the higher-end Haswell GPU chips. There are three models this year. The jump from the HD 5000 to the HD 5100 is big, but the much more significant performance rift occurs when you go from the Iris (HD 5100) to the Iris Pro (HD 5200). The Iris Pro has its own on-package eDRAM that greatly improves its performance. It also greatly increases its power draw (45w!), which is why you can only get it in the 15" rMBP and its much larger battery modules.

    When comparing the standard HD 5000 of the MBA to the Iris (HD 5100) of the 13" rMBP, things get quite a bit more complicated due to the retina display. Since the demands of simply running the pixels on the desktop are so much greater, the rMBP might not necessarily "feel" more powerful during day-to-day tasks despite the better GPU chip. I haven't used the 2013 rMBP yet, but this was definitely the case with last year's model. The 13" rMBP (2012) felt quite a bit much more sluggish than the MacBook Air. 2560x1600 is just a ridiculous number of pixels to drive with integrated graphics. For those counting at home, that's almost 70% more pixels than the 1440x900 resolution of the 13" MBA. The HD 5100 is faster than the HD 5000, but it's not 70% faster.

    Keep in mind that even the "base" HD 5000 is significantly more powerful than last year's HD 4600. The 2013 MBA will give you way better raw GPU performance than 2012's 13" rMBP. The jump from the HD 4600 (Ivy Bridge) to the HD 5000 (Haswell) is much more drastic than the jump from the HD 5000 to the HD 5100 (both Haswell). As long as you buy the 2013 model of either laptop, you really can't lose. That's not to say that the HD 5100 (Iris) isn't more powerful than the HD 5000. It definitely is, by a fairly decent margin.

    However, it stands to reason that the MBA will probably feel faster when browsing intensive web pages or doing light Photoshop work (again, I haven't tested the 2013's yet). The Iris chip will definitely provide better performance when running a video game (assuming you're connected to an external display and using a standard resolution like 1280x720 or 1440x900), but with your dedicated gaming PC you shouldn't be doing that on a MacBook anyway.

    In my opinion, Apple should have waited until 2013 to release the first 13" rMBP's. The Intel 4600 they used last year was simply not powerful enough to provide the snappy experience one expects from a $1500+ computer. This year's Iris chip is likely the minimum spec needed to drive the 13" rMBP's display properly. With the MBA, the minimum spec needed was achieved several years ago. We're now at the point where the MBA's GPU is way more powerful than what is required to comfortably drive its 1440x900 display. 1440x900 has been a walk in the park for just about every integrated GPU from the past five years. Personally, I'd much rather be using the product that's at this mature stage of its life cycle.

    I think the rMBP's will really hit their performance sweet spot with next year's Broadwell refresh. Until then, I think the MBA is the much better buy for the average consumer. The only real exception is if you're a serious photographer or do Photoshop work that requires perfect color accuracy. For the time being, the MBP really only makes sense for actual "Pros."

    In other news, over 15 hours of battery life with OS X Mavericks. Yowza.

    If you want to hedge your bet, do the i7 upgrade on the MBA. With the education discount, the 13" MBA with the i7/8 GB upgrades comes to $1279. If you don't mind waiting a couple weeks, you could even get a refurb model with the i7/8 GB and 256 GB SSD for $1319. Just sign up for a text message alert at Refurb.me to be notified when one is in stock.

    Yes, I buy too many computers. :p

    Base model 13" rMBP with 8 GB RAM upgrade comes to $1289.

    That's also why you're seeing $1049 for the price of the 13" MBA. That's not a price drop, you're just looking at the education discount. ;)
     

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