MacBook Air upgrades

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Dcschwartz, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. Dcschwartz macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2013
    I'm about to buy my first new Mac in about 10 years and I've got a few questions that I wasn't able to get answered satisfactorily at the Apple store. If anyone is able to guide me, I would really appreciate it!

    1) If I buy a MBA now, will I be upgraded to Mavericks for free when it comes out in the new few months? I'm not saying that I expect or deserve this - I just want to know how much I'm going to be spending total and from what I understand, the new MBA was built "for" Mavericks OSX so it almost seems natural that it would come with it.

    2) I know that I only need a MBA as opposed to a MBP or rMBP based upon my limited usage and price constraints, but I don't want to skimp on the upgrades now and regret it later since I plan on using this for the next 3-4 years. What benefits will I obtain from upgrading the RAM to 8 GB and the i5 CPU to i7 CPU based upon my usage? The Apple store was recommending that I upgrade RAM but not CPU. I plan on using the computer to do the following activities:

    -internet browsing/shopping
    -HBO/Netflix streaming (possibly with Airplay use to an Apple TV in the future)
    -minimal word/excel work. Zero powerpoint usage.
    -using Microsoft remote desktop to log into my PC work computer and run intensive tax computational software (I assume that the heavy lifting will be done by the work computer and I just need a good internet connection)
    -viewing and organizing photos and iphone movies (no editing at this point)
    -possibly Rosetta Stone version 4
    -Playing Counter-Strike: GO (the new one) - I don't care about graphics being turned up to max - I'd rather the fan not sound like my computer is taking off like my recently-deceased Sony Vaio did.
    -playing old computer/console games with emulators

    At this point, my only unknown is that I don't know if my gaming will be occasional (at best), non-existent, and/or solely limited to retro games and Steam store games. I've been out of computer gaming for at least 12 years so I'm not really sure what is available and what I would like on a Mac, but I find that most of the newer console games (not sure about computer games) are prettier versions of the same games that I've been playing for the last 15-25 years. At this point, exclusive TV time for console gaming is difficult to find with a wife and kids, so I think that I would be much more likely to play games if I can curl up on the couch with a MBA so long as the MBA doesn't feel like an oven and sound like a rocket ship.

    3) I have a 4th gen airport extreme that I do not believe uses the new Wifi technology that the new MBA utilizes. I haven't done any research on this so pardon the stupid question, but will I need to upgrade my Airport to take advantage of this technology? I only have the base Time Warner Cable internet, so I'm not even sure if this is something I could take advantage of.

    4) Are the wifi issues resolved with the MBA? I assume that if I get a faulty unit, that they will simply replace it or fix it immediately since this is a known problem.

    Hopefully this isn't information overload, but now I hopefully don't have to elaborate in a 2nd post!

    Thanks in advance!
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I could be wrong but I believe when apple announces the release date, that's when new owners will get Mavericks free. So if you buy now you may not be entitled to Mavericks.
  3. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    I don't see anything on your list that would benefit from a faster CPU.
  4. Beachguy macrumors 6502a


    Nov 23, 2011
    I have a 2011 MBA with i5 and 4GB RAM. I don't play the games, but for that kind of use, it is plenty of computer. I think with the upgrades you mention, you'll be just fine. Other than gaming, what you describe is exactly how I use mine, and my machine is less powerful than yours will be.
  5. Dcschwartz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2013
    What about the RAM?

  6. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    To me, I wouldn't assess need with RAM. It can't be upgraded so I wouldn't buy less than 8GB on a new machine. If we were talking 16GB it'd be a different story.
  7. jjhoekstra, Jul 4, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2013

    jjhoekstra macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2009
    I think the Apple store gave you very wise advice. The 8Gb future-proofs your new MBA as much as is needed. And the i5 is plenty strong for years to come. You will really like your mba!

    By the way, a new Airport will only benefit you if you have a fast internet connection. You can always buy one later.
  8. irDigital0l Guest

    Dec 7, 2010
    1. No one knows, most likely you will have to buy it later this fall unless Apple makes Mavericks for free. Like I said, no one knows.
    2. i5 to i7 won't make that big a difference for most people. I would go with 8GB RAM just to be safe since you cannot add RAM later.
    3. Yes, new AirPort is needed to use the MBA's 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
    4. Its not a widespread problem. If something does happen, Apple will most likely help.
  9. crashlander macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2007
    Possible missing feature from Mavericks?

    I have more or less the same question as you except for one extra. Is the new 2013 MBA going to be 100% compatible with Mavericks? My current MBA was bought in Jan 2011. In June 2011, Mountain Lion came out, together with a new Air. I upgraded my Air to Mountain Lion but to my dismay, it cannot mirror to the Apple TV, even though it upgraded fine. I'm trying to avoid getting one now, even though my old one died, if it means Mavericks will have some functionality that the current 2013 MBA can't accommodate. Any chance of that happening ?
  10. irDigital0l Guest

    Dec 7, 2010
    Some features might not work with older Macs, I don't see why Apple would add features that its newest Macs wouldn't be able to support.
  11. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    OP: For the most part, the speed of your router (ac vs. n vs. g) affects only things on your INTERNAL network - transfers between computers. A fourth gen router (or earlier) will still handler your internet connection as fast as possible.

    There's no way of knowing if you'll get a free upgrade to Mavericks. Apple hasn't announced when it's coming and who will be eligible. Upgrade costs are fairly minimal though. Upgrade to Mountain Lion was $20.

    And yes, when you remote desktop into another computer, all the processing remains on the remote computer.

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