Macbook Air i7 and 8gb worth $275 difference?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by TimeWaster101, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. TimeWaster101 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    #1
    I hope this hasn't specifically been asked somewhere else. I'm looking to buy a new 2012 Macbook Air. My 4 year old 2.4Ghz Core 2 duo macbook pro with 2gb is slowing a little and is bulkier than I'd like to carry around. So I've decided I want the 256gb ssd because I can't see myself transfering things too often. I'd like this computer to last awhile-I tend to replace my mac laptops on 4 yr increments so I'd like it to last 4 years. I've heard 8gb of ram is a good idea for future proofing. I also tend to have several applications open at a time (typical use would be like preview for pdfs, word, safari, and itunes). I've been trying to find out if the i7 is worth getting for use with programs like Matlab or Mathematica (Will it significantly speed up run time of code I write?). I have also considered using Parallels (It comes free when you order from B&H) to run like Mathcad or possibly if I'm daring solidworks (but that's less likely) So here's the breakdown. The cheapest prices I can find are the following from B&H:

    $1675 with i7 and 8gb
    $1600 with 8gb
    $1400 w/o either
    (All are of course the 256 gb machines)

    I guess I'm wondering if the extra $275 is worth it for the i7 and 8gb or if the extra $200 is worth it for the 8gb ram? I feel like the $1400 is a much better deal but will I regret not getting the 8gb ram or i7?

    If anyone knows better prices somewhere I'm all ears. So far B&H has had the best prices but the $275 being worth it is hard for me to know?
     
  2. nuke557 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    #2
    my choice

    I just ordered a MBA i7 + 8GB and am upgrading from a system with same specs as you. Your usage patterns sound similar to mine. I opted for maxing out CPU and RAM because I spend so much time in front of my laptop and I intend to keep it for a while.

    My research regarding the i5/i7 debate is that under heavy load, the i7s finish the job in 30% less time and with a 15% battery penalty vs. the i5. Under light use, they are nearly identical (reference)

    Honestly, the things that make a difference to the perceived speed of the computer, in descending order of importance:

    (1)Having an SSD (vs HDD in your current computer)

    (2)RAM from 4 GB -> 8 GB

    (3)CPU from i5 -> i7

    Just upgrade down that list until you run out of money :)
     
  3. iAppl3Fan macrumors 6502a

    iAppl3Fan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    #3
    Good call. That's how I would upgrade too based on that list.
     
  4. TimeWaster101 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    #4
    Hey thanks so much for your reply I really appreciate it! That's an interesting article on the i5 and i7. Sounds like I could see use in it for engineering applications like matlab, etc. I do worry a little bit about those super high fan speeds and heat the i7 reaches. Hopefully that doesn't become an issue.
    Was that a concern of yours at all when you ordered yours? Where did you order yours if you don't mind my asking. Really $1675 is cheaper than me buying it at the apple store even with a student discount due to tax, but the side of me that likes to get a good deal just has such a hard time with going from $1400 to $1675 simply for more ram and a slight cpu bumb. But its really the $1400 to $1600 for the ram upgrade that's frustrating. I don't understand why B&H's prices have a $200 difference on ram vs the apple store which charges $100 extra for ram. Thanks for your thoughts
     
  5. tiwizard macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    #5
    Personally, because the RAM is soldered onto the logic board, I would spend the extra money up front.

    For Safari, Mail, etc, 8 GB of RAM will generally not be super useful. But if you are considering Parallels at any point in the future, *definitely* get the 8 GB of RAM. I have more tips on what amount of RAM to buy on Macbook Tips.

    As for buying your Mac, looking for a place that will allow you to purchase the computer without tax is a good practice for saving money. Depending on where you are located, places such as Amazon or MacMall may have up to a 10% "discount" over other places because of tax. Also, check out Apple Insider's MacMall discount. It's small (3% off), but it makes upgrading RAM cheaper.
     
  6. ArtieFufkin10 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    #6
    Max it Out

    Honestly, if price isn't an issue, I would go ahead and max out the 256GB machine with the i7 and 8GB of RAM. I have this configuration and the machine literally flies - its great and while the i7 might be overkill, you never know when you might need the speed bump depending on what you're doing.

    If you could only do one, I'd do the RAM because its not user upgradable.

    I also had mine shipped to an Apple store in DE (tax free) and cashed in some credit card points to make it cheaper.
     
  7. TimeWaster101 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    #7
    [QUOTE

    As for buying your Mac, looking for a place that will allow you to purchase the computer without tax is a good practice for saving money. Depending on where you are located, places such as Amazon or MacMall may have up to a 10% "discount" over other places because of tax. Also, check out Apple Insider's MacMall discount. It's small (3% off), but it makes upgrading RAM cheaper.[/QUOTE]

    Thank you so much for that Apple Insider discount! Didn't know about that!

    Well thanks to all of your suggestions! I ended up ordering the 256 with both the i7 and 8g ram and think it will turn out to be a good choice. I spent $1675 at Macmall but will get $50 back with my mail in rebate for Parallels! So $1625 for it with a free copy of Parallels. That's the best deal I could find and I'm pretty excited for it to get here! Although its been a slight pain getting the order through with Macmall and my credit card company :/

    @ ArtieFufkin10- I'm glad to here it flies! I'm pretty impatient which is to me one of the main reasons I'm a mac guy :D
     
  8. stchman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #8
    The 4GB 256GB SSD model is $1500. The 8GB i7, with 256GB SSD is $1675.

    That's a difference of $175, not $275.

    Yes, it's worth the difference.
     
  9. hwrdrrk macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    #9
    4 -> 8. Definitely worth it.

    128 -> 256. Frustratingly expensive, but better than being frustrated with 128.

    i5 -> i7. I'll let the experts weigh in on that one, but i7 was my choice due to some video work.
     
  10. bgsnmky macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    #10
    Just curious will the apple stores match a reseller like macmall if it is cheaper?

    Thank you so much for that Apple Insider discount! Didn't know about that!

    Well thanks to all of your suggestions! I ended up ordering the 256 with both the i7 and 8g ram and think it will turn out to be a good choice. I spent $1675 at Macmall but will get $50 back with my mail in rebate for Parallels! So $1625 for it with a free copy of Parallels. That's the best deal I could find and I'm pretty excited for it to get here! Although its been a slight pain getting the order through with Macmall and my credit card company :/

    @ ArtieFufkin10- I'm glad to here it flies! I'm pretty impatient which is to me one of the main reasons I'm a mac guy :D[/QUOTE]
     
  11. wolfpuppies3 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    #11
    Max it

    I did and am very glad I did. Do not restrict yourself to 256 GB SSD, upgrade to the largest available. You will use the space. I do.
     
  12. TimeWaster101 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    #12
    Well not exactly because if I had gone for the 4gb i5 256, B&H had the best price on that for $1400 with free shipping and no tax...
    With the Apple Insider discount I got the $275 difference down to $225

    ----------

     
  13. modular macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    #13
    i also went for the 11" i7/8gb/256 - partly because they had this in stock at the apple store. This is replacing my 2010 15"mbp, so I decided i didn't want to compromise on performance or portability. Every time I use it I think, firstly I'm glad I got the 8gb, second, I'm glad i've got the 256gb, and last I'm glad i got the i7.
    worth it.
     
  14. Frankied22 macrumors 68000

    Frankied22

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    #14
    I just received my 13" i7/8gb/256gb, and this thing screams. I am not disappointed at all.
     
  15. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #15
    Yes sir

    I have those specs in my 11" MBA, and yes.

    If you want to save some money, get a 128 gig SSD and upgrade it later.

    That's my plan.
     
  16. dlimes13 macrumors 6502a

    dlimes13

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Location:
    Perrysburg, OH
    #16
    Here's my 2 cents:

    I'm about to get a base 13" MBA but with an 8 GB RAM upgrade.
    Why? 128 is enough and with USB 3.0 out there, do you really need 256 GB+ internally at once? Plus you have the SD card slot and the ability to swap the SSD out (yes, special connector but still removable) at a later date and sell the current SSD.

    The i7 CPU is a waste, IMO. If it was a quad, it would be worth it.
    The 8 GB RAM is a no-brainer. One-time chance to upgrade.

    So overall, the best bang for your buck is: http://www.macmall.com/p/product~dpno~9232325~pdp.hgcjcbb ($1231.88).

    i5 1.8 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD.
     
  17. stchman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #17
    I too got that configuration and was 100% glad I did. I was definitely going to get 8GB and a 256GB SSD, but was on the fence about the i7. For $100 extra, I got the i7 processor.

    ----------

    My advice, get the 256GB SSD. One can make comparisons about the i5 vs. the i7, but the extra drive space is really nice.

    I ordered the i7 as if I'm going to spend $1575, then $1675 was not too much more.

    IMO, unless you are a HUGE video person 256GB is the perfect size. 128GB was just too small. With Apple using a proprietary gumstick style SSD, your upgrade options are very limited (OWC).

    Your choice.
     
  18. bubbleboyjones macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    #18

    I know what you're saying but man 256 gb internally still is really nice to have. I understand there's USB and SD options but 128 is lame. My iPod had more storage.


    The only thing I know is I always regret not getting enough HD space and RAM. I finally solved that. It wasn't cheap obviously but I tend to keep my computers for a long time.
     
  19. TimeWaster101 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    #19
    I agree on the 256 and am so glad I got it! My Macbook Air came in and is awesome! Besides being a wonderfully light and elegant machine its very snappy and fast. My point with the 256 is I was surprised that it started with only 229.93gb of space. I expected the loss to 250.14gb for the formatting but did not expect the other 20gb of apple stuff already on there. So 128gb people beware. I think in this day and age files are so big spring for the 256gb. I might even eat of this harddrive too quickly much less the 128. Also aren't SD readers way slow compared to usb and SSD? My point would be if you have the money definitely upgrade the hard drive! All in all I love this thing. Its the ideal laptop and so for I've really enjoyed using it! Thank you all for your suggestions to upgrade! So glad I did :)
     
  20. tiwizard macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    #20
    I have some tips on cleaning your SSD to save space. I'd take a look at the "Removing Files" section for info on how to remove unnecessary system files. In particular, the language files will save a lot of space (sometimes ~2GB)
     
  21. jrasero macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    #21
    if you can i7, 256GB, 8GB

    I originally bought an open box Best Buy Macbook Pro 13" with i7 for $1250. Pretty good deal considering Apple charges $1500 for this.

    As soon as I got it home I was so disappointed. The machine was in perfect condition and it was very fast with the full fledged i7 but I was shocked by the thickness and weight. For some perspective I came from using a MBA 11", Nexus 7, and my Galaxy Nexus. So in sum I had been using very portable devices. This is not to say that the MBP 13" is portable, but in comparison to the MBA line it feels like bricks. Secondly even thought the MBP 13" came with 750GB HD I found it to be so slow compared to a SSD. Quickly I realized I had a made a mistake and realized I neglected my main need of portability.

    I returned the MBP 13" and opted for the MBA 13" i5, 4GB, 128GB. This machine was brand new and cost $1500 through Best Buy. The computer ran great but I quickly realized 4GB is okay for now but what about 2-3 years from now since ram in soldered in. I went online and went to Apple's refurbished site and saw a 2012 13" MBA i7, 256GB, 8GB system for $1450. This all happened on the day of the release of the 13" RMBP. I quickly became confused of what to do. Return the MBA and get the refurbished or return the MBA and get a 13" RMBP.

    I opted to not get the Retina. Sounds odd, why not get the latest and greatest right? But after seeing the 13" RMBP I was amazed and confused. For $1700 you get the best Screen in the business and you get a slimmed down design that's a mix between the OG 13" MBP and a MBA. But for $1700 you get a dual core i5, 8GB, 128GB, and Intel 4000. The i5 isn't a huge deal since it's not an ultra low voltage processor but I did hope for $1700 a quad core option was at least available. The 8GB is fine but no option for 16GB is odd and since the graphics are Intel 4000 adding more ram would make sense. That leaves me to the biggest disappointment. The Intel 4000 is good. It's the graphics that runs the MBA but by no means is it great. The Intel 4000 makes the 13" RMBP look like a Ferrari but with a Honda Civic engine. Yes the car will move but not rapidly. A more minor problem was the 128GB HD. The standard 128GB is fine for me but I felt more comfortable 2-3 years from now with 256GB, but with the 13" RMBP the 256GB is a $300 upgrade. With that being said the the 13" RMBP with 256GB is $2000 and at that price you might as well get the $2200 "15 RMBP.

    So after I digested all of this I returned the Best Buy MBA and decided I didn't want to spend $2200 on the 15" RMBP and I thought the 13" RMBP at $1700-2000 was a bad value. So I bought a refurbished 2012 MBA 13" i7 256GB 8GB for $1450.

    In the end I would highly highly recommend going refurbished. They come in perfect condition and Apple backs it up with their great 1 year warranty. The only problem is you don't get a Apple Box* and their selection is limited to what they have on hand.

    In sum I would defiantly upgrade in this order:

    8GB
    i7
    256GB

    Unless you are the type of person that has GB or even TB of items.

    You could got 512GB but that really puts you at the price of a 15" RMBP
     
  22. Calot macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2012
    #22
    I have the i7 8GB 256SSD one.

    I can not be happier.

    Knowing that there is not a faster MBA right now.

    :)

    If money is not an issue, go for it.
     
  23. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Location:
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #23
    ...since USPS won't ship lithium battery products to APO addresses I had to decide between a base model open box 2012 13" MBA @ $1,070.10 or an open box 2011 13" MBP @ $806.40.

    Yes the MBA was nice and light (but that also made it feel flimsy compared to the 11" MBA), the screen resolution was nice (but screen color didn't look as good as the MBP) and it had USB3 (but I have no USB3 devices at this time) however, I wasn't comfortable with the inability to add RAM to the machine at a later time.

    On the MBP, I had 8Gb of RAM that I pulled out of my 2011 iMac and swapped it with the RAM the MBP came with = that gave both machines 8Gb of RAM and then I snagged a Crucial M4 512Gb SSD off an Amazon lightning deal for $349 shipped = for $1,154.40 (no shipping/no tax) I have a faster CPU, 512Gb SSD, 8Gb RAM and the GPU's are comparable between the 2435m and the 3427u intel chips so I'm happy with the speed/weight and power ratio of this choice for a difference of $85!

    Besides, this configuration will tide me over until Broadwell hopefully gives the 11" MBA's the battery life longer than 5 hrs!
     

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