MBA 13" base specs (i5 4gb 128) for Programming

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Aa-Roon, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. Aa-Roon macrumors newbie

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    Jul 30, 2013
    #1
    I have been a windows user, but I want to purchase a MacBook for college. I don't do gaming and stuff, but I will be doing quite a bit of programming.

    It seems like the MBA 13" is better than cMBP 13" performance-wise. Or at least that's what I gather from reading the forums.

    May I know if MBA 13" base specs (i5 4gb 128) is enough ? It is not upgradeable after purchase, so I wonder if I should upgrade to 8gb? Or maybe upgrade the SSD?

    Is 4gb sufficient? From user experience, in what condition (how many / which programs opened) did you feel 4gb is not sufficient? Or is it fine ?

    Thanks
     
  2. Vampire5003 macrumors 6502

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    Texas
    #2
    I owned the 13 inch 2013 Air, in fact I preordered. The 4GB RAM was not enough for dreamweaver, and it was laggy in my experience. I do tend to keep some tabs open to test the site and check webadmin. I'm a hosting provider and web designer, and in my experience you need 8GB RAM. Perhaps the 13 inch pro for $999 with ed discount? If you do a lot of graphic work then invest in a display as well. I am looking to replace my Asus with the Thunderbolt display or U2713HM/U2713H.
     
  3. Aa-Roon thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Thanks ... The $999 pro with Ed discount sounds attractive as well, but it's 4gb. Since you recommended 8GB, 13" MBP with 8GB costs $1299 with Ed discount though. 13" MBA with 8GB costs $1249.
     
  4. Vampire5003 macrumors 6502

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    #4
    That's true, however keep in mind for the MBP the RAM is not soldered. Apple charges out of the *** rates for RAM. You can go to Amazon and get 8GB (2X 4GB sticks) for $60 dollars.

    ----------

    The battery life when working in dreamweaver was 5 hours or so at half way brightness. So both the MBA and MBP will have similar battery life, but the MBP is user upgradable. Hmm, the MBP is heaver though, but honestly which do you prefer? Check this out too: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834100302

    and then here is the 8GB RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231299

    SSD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233484

    That all comes out to $1269 lol, but you'll get a 15 inch macbook pro lol. I love Newegg, they are mostly for gaming pcs though.
     
  5. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #5
    I have a 2011 MBA and while I never found it laggy - it's something like 87% as fast as the 2013 model! - the 128gb SSD is a killer. It's impossible to have xcode, visual studio, the adobe suite, and anything else on the drive at once.

    Go with a 256gb SSD, or get a MBP.
     
  6. Vampire5003 macrumors 6502

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    #6
    That's what I said too, the MBP is a must if he's using programming tools. He will benefit from the raw CPU power, as well as the user upgradeable nature of the MBP. I sent the OP some links to a refurb 15 inch $1079 at the egg. It is a 2011 model, but they sell warranties at Newegg, and I've used them for the parts to build my gaming PC (which I'm using now).
     
  7. ohbrilliance macrumors 6502a

    ohbrilliance

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    #7
    I disagree that a MBP is a must for programming. I do a bucketload of development on my 2007 MBP, which is much less powerful than the 2013 MBA.

    4GB/128GB may be fine for now, but it doesn't give you any room to grow. I strongly suggest speccing a MBA with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD.
     
  8. Vampire5003 macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Well that may work, but 4GB RAM is not good for dreamweaver at all. I assume he's using similar software. I have personal experience with the stock MBA 2013 128GB SSD and 4GB RAM. It was not good, I kept getting the spinning wheel. Dreamweaver really needs 8GB RAM. I disagree that the MBA is a better buy. User upgradable parts are IMO better with this type of work.
     
  9. ohbrilliance macrumors 6502a

    ohbrilliance

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    #9
    You're the only person here talking about Dreamweaver :) Ae-Roon, what programming tools do you see yourself using?
     
  10. Vampire5003 macrumors 6502

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    #10
    -_- oh woops lol. Well to the OP get 8GB in whatever you prefer. I just prefer MBP and recommend it to others, because if you want 16GB later you could add it. If you want to pop out the DVD bay you could and put a SSD in there or HDD.
     
  11. Aa-Roon thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 30, 2013
    #11
    I was trying to dig what are used in my course and here's what I found:
    Eclipse IDE
    Assembly (a little)
    C
    C++
    Java
    Python
     
  12. Vampire5003 macrumors 6502

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    #12
    MBP bro you won't regret it, the MBA cannot be upgraded down the road, and also has a ULV processor. Haswell is the only good thing about the air. And weight. Trust me, you won't regret the MBP, and if you buy it and don't like it, then send me a PM and I'll buy it from you.
     
  13. ohbrilliance macrumors 6502a

    ohbrilliance

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    #13
    So long you spec 8GB RAM and at least 256GB SSD, the MBA will do fine :) Go for the pro if you're looking for a 15" or retina screen.
     
  14. Aa-Roon thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 30, 2013
    #14
    Thank you ! yes, I do plan to get 8GB and 256GB now ... i5 in MBA is fine right? not too different from i5 in cMBP?
     
  15. ohbrilliance macrumors 6502a

    ohbrilliance

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    #15
    According to geekbench, the MBA i5 scores 5942, the MBA i7 scores 7275 and the cMBP i5 scores 6811. So the MBA i7 is closer in performance to the cMBP i5. However, the MBA i5 is by no means a slouch. It is still a fast machine, especially with the high speed of the latest pcie SSD.

    Anandtech has an informative article that focusses just on the CPU choice in the latest MBAs:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/7113/2013-macbook-air-core-i5-4250u-vs-core-i7-4650u
     
  16. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

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  17. Rasta4i macrumors member

    Rasta4i

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    London
    #17
    I'm also interested in buying the latest macbook air. I couldn't decide if i should get the 11" or the 13" as I want something thats really portable so I can do programming and everything i need to do for my course when I'm away from my my computer which is quite often. Anyway I decided on the 13" as it has longer battery life and I'm assuming the screen on the 11" will feel a bit too small. I would just like to know if the i5 cpu with 4GB and 128hdd will be enough for working on Eclipse, Java, C, C++ and others. I'm a student and i don't have that much spare cash so if I would love 2 buy the basic 13" model but if i need to upgrade i can afford one upgrade if I have to... probably 4gb ram v 8gb ram
     
  18. iAppl3Fan macrumors 6502a

    iAppl3Fan

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    Sep 8, 2011
    #18
    The base model is fine. It's educational programming not sophisticated professional coding.
     

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