Macbook Air lifespan

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by wrinkster22, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2011
    Ok obviously you cant answer this question *exactly* but...
    How long do you think your macbook air will last you by the looks of it. I plan on getting a maxed out MBA would it be unreasonable to expect it to last 5 years? Do you think it will be fine? I am not a heavy user but I am willing to speng the extra 100$ for the i7 upgrade if it will future proof my MBA. Also how durable is it? Anyone dropped it? thanks in advance :)
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    Five years might be rough.

    Remember, needs change and can change quick.

    Obviously if you baby the notebook, you should be able to have it last five years. But everytime you leave your house and bring the notebook with you, it just opens the doors for things to wrong.

    Still tons of desktops don't last five years.

    Personally, I'm on a 3-4 year hope with notebooks, by that time, my desire for something bigger, better, faster — combined with normal wear and tear just catch up with the notebook.
  3. tdurden12 macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2011
    I don't think upgrading the processor will make much of a difference in future proofing. The ram and the sad will be the limitations. The mba is probably the worst computer for future proofing because it is not upgradeable (aside from ssd). If you really want a laptop to last 5 years, get the 13 mbp. The mba is for rich people who can afford to get a new machine every 1-2 years.
  4. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    I'm shooting for 3-4 years, though the limited hard drive may force me to upgrade sooner. I guess it depends on how long I can put up with an external drive and how long it is until they come out with a 512gb version at a reasonable price.
  5. reputationZed macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2011
    34°55′42″N 80°44′41″W (34.
    I agree that the CPU upgrade probably wont add a whole lot of lifespan to the usability of your MBA. Five years is pushing it, but if your needs are light, web, word processor, picture editing, etc., you can probably squeak by.

    If your planning on dropping it the MBA probably wont last you 5 days much less 5 years, but then I wouldn't recommend dropping an MBP either.
  6. Brandon0448 macrumors 6502


    Aug 2, 2011
    Anchorage, Alaska
    To be honest the i7 won't future proof your machine. Look at last years model and this years. Its just about twice as fast of a processor. the i7 only gives about 10% more processing power over the i5, you won't even notice the difference unless you do some video encoding or something and time it. But if you are a speed demon like me and got an extra $100 buying a hole in your pocket get the upgrade. If you are just using your machine for basic needs then yes i bet you could get 5 years out of it.

    It feels pretty durable, I've dropped it from a couple of feet and it put a little ding in the aluminum, can barely notice though. Very solid feeling machine.
  7. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    5 years from now, it won't matter whether it is a Core i5 running at 1.6GHz or a Core i7 running at 1.8GHz. Think about it. Do you really care if a 5 year old MacBook is running a 1.83GHz Core Duo vs a 2.0GHz Core Duo? If you are looking at the 13" model, there is very little difference even today between the 1.7GHz i5 and 1.8GHz i7. From a "future proofing" standpoint, you'd be better off putting that $100 in a savings account for your next MacBook Air. There's a bigger gap in the 11" model, since that i5 runs slower.

    I think 3 or 4 years is entirely doable. Remember that the Sandy Bridge processor is a new design. It's sort of like where the Core 2 Duo was in 2007 (i.e. the latest and greatest), so I see it keeping up with OS updates for at least that long. 4GB RAM might be a limiting factor as more and more 64-bit applications are released. A MacBook Pro (upgradeable to 8GB) might be better if you are determined to make it through 5 years.

    That said, from a physical standpoint, it should hold up pretty well. Last year's redesign took care of the hinge issue (which plagued the original design - though my late-2008 lasted me 2 years without an issue and ought to still be working for its new owner).
  8. iSayuSay macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    Agreed, in a 5 years ... i5 or i7 today won't matter again. By that time comes, both of them already sloooowww.. All in all i7 only give u a small boost due to Hyper Threading feature.

    So .. it's not quite right if you want a maxed out MBA today and keep it for 5 years. You'll need and want something faster when the time comes. You'll want to throw away your precious MBA then :p ..

    Maybe keep it for around 3 years, and sell it afterwards .. AppleCare can be a good measure of how long your Mac can be used and kept with peace of mind, which is 3 years :D

    Sure .. a lot of folks keep computers for longer period, which means they are durable and great. But consider it a bonus, not a necessity. It should've died but it's still not .. but I wouldn't get mad if suddenly it died. It has live beyond expectation anyway :)
  9. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    This obviously depends on your budget, but 5 years seems a bit too long even for the tightest budget. After 3 years I think it would be getting too long in the tooth. Me, personally, 12-18 months. I hear the MBA 2012 is going to be a MONSTER! :cool:
  10. sloan47 macrumors member

    Aug 3, 2011
    It entirely depends on your personal needs. I typically run my machines pretty hard so I'm on a two year upgrade cycle. (Sometimes I'll upgrade every year if the performance bump warrants it). This computer is my lifeline and how I earn my living. I don't mind upgrading and spending the money when needed. Sometimes you need to spend money to make money. (Just be smart about it. ;))
  11. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    until the next refresh - it should be rooted by then ;)
  12. JulesK macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2002
    I agree with the others. Three years easy; five years really depends on what you mean by "not a heavy user." I'm typing this on a 5-year old iMac running 10.6 and the 2008 version of MS Office, and it's certainly more than fine for that sort of usage. My wife's 15" MBP is still going strong after four years, but she does not do any video editing on it. Neither, of course, is as snappy as the MBA 11 i7 I just picked up, but I would expect both to last for at least another year or two. Same for my old 17" MBP from early 2008, which I just gave to my niece. The build quality of Apple computers is first rate (and should be given their premium prices), so that's not been an issue for me. I'm not sure I'm going to install 10.7 on either of the older machines I still have, however. I suspect that if you go to the G4/5 board, plenty of folks there would tell you that their computers still run fine, albeit with software limitations. My brother-in-law still uses my old 12" MBP, which must be over 6 years old by now.

    As far as dropping the computer, I suspect any laptop (Apple or otherwise) will break if you drop it just right, unless you get one of those milspec machines. The biggest concern I had with the MBA is that it is so slick and small, so I put a Wrapsol skin on it to give it some grip, and I use a case (BookBook case) when traveling with it. I've used Thinkpads at work for years, and those computers can take real abuse. I think that their composite/plastic cases actually help, because they have a a little give. I've traveled a ton with them, and just throw them into my briefcase without any cover or case, and have never had a problem. They refresh our computers every three years. They do show wear, and I'm not sure how the newer Lenovo versions will do, but I'd buy a Thinkpad laptop without hesitation if I had to get a Windows PC.

    Personally, I think that the computer industry tries to make computers obsolete quicker by writing more and more demanding software that really isn't necessary for the vast majority of users, including me. But my needs are pretty limited.

    Good luck. FWIW, I love my MBA 11, which is maxed out, and I hope/expect it to last a good four years.
  13. bandofbrothers macrumors 601


    Oct 14, 2007
    I normally have my computers for 3-4 years.

    If something is released in the meantime that offers more that im interested in, and I have the disposable income then i'll buy it.

    My previous computer is then normally handed down to one of my children !

    Happy days.
  14. wrinkster22 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2011
    Thats what I wanted to hear, I plan on doing Microsoft Office, iPhoto, and iMovie, and managing my iPod.
  15. jsolares macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2011
    Land of eternal Spring
    Not even that, both i5 and i7 support Hyper Threading, the difference is in those 100mhz which are 200mhz with turbo boost and 1MB more of cache.
  16. plumosa macrumors regular


    Mar 17, 2007
    If all you are doing is very light work, then yes, I believe the current MBA will last for five years. My iMac is over four years and still going strong and my old powerbook, whilst extremely slow, still functions even though its from 2004.

    Just buy it and enjoy it, it will last for a good long time!
  17. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    4-5 years my Macbook Pro is approaching four years and all is good on Snow Leopard 10.6.8, I wont go past Snow Leopard, 10.6..9 will be the final OS. I will leave Lion to the SSD based systems ;)
  18. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    My Air, that I use heavily for schoolwork and medium application development, is a little over two years old now. I plan on getting at least another year out of it, hopefully more. A year ago I upgraded its slow, miserable little HDD to a lightning-fast OWC SSD, and that helps quite a bit. I think that the main thing that will encourage me to upgrade is the 2GB of RAM. So long as you go with a 4GB system, I see no reason that it wouldn't last you 4-5 years with lighter use.
  19. dubAdub macrumors member


    Mar 31, 2011
    Bray, Ireland
    I'm planning on making mine last at least 3 years. That's the length of the Apple Care, which I bought for the first time. Any less and it will feel like bad value on a high end item. My rule is to spec it to the max and then try to make it last as long as possible or I can hold out against the temptation to buy something new.

    I've owned or used for work nine Macs desktops & laptops over 20 years, averaging about a Mac every 2-3 years. Three of the last four are still working and useable, with some repaired failures.

    My previous Mac was a 2007 iMac which is still fast enough for me but the screen has gone an anemic yellow colour. The 2011 MBA is about 50% faster.

    An unknown for me is how well the non user replaceable battery will be doing in 3 years.
  20. komoornik macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2011
    And why the battery would be non user replaceable ?

    The only problem would be to get the battery itself.
  21. jouster macrumors 65816

    Jan 21, 2002
    My White, non-unibody MacBook has lasted five years, despite being the worst-constructed Apple product (bezel chips, discoloration, other stuff) Apple product I have ever bought, so I would expect an aluminum unibody computer to do so too.
  22. dubAdub macrumors member


    Mar 31, 2011
    Bray, Ireland
    I was just referring to the fact that it can't easily be replaced without opening the case with a special screwdriver. But getting a replacement is a concern too if they can't be bought for DIY installation.
  23. pa31t macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2002
    My early rev A MacBook Air still going!, 4 1/2 years later... Does all the basic stuff I need, surfing, excel, word, some basic picture editing, managing my itunes and iphoto libraries, and synching my ipad2 and iphone 3GS. So yes, 5 years with the current MBA is possible, depends on your needs (i5 or i7 won't make much of a difference for most tasks)
    But now I want to get into video editing... so in 2-3 months I'll be either getting the new Air or waiting for the new MBP... (new rumors on that anybody?;))
  24. Razzz macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2011
    From? and how so? :D
  25. ABernardoJr macrumors 6502

    Dec 19, 2006
    I'd think 5 years is a bit of a stretch as well, but I don't mean that to slight the MBA at all. If you think about it, it'd be difficult for even a mbp to make it 5 years, or any notebook for that matter... Of course the upgradeability of the mbp makes it easier to get close to that 5 year period but I think that by then, you'll be looking for a new machine, whether you have a mbp or MBA.

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