MBA Advice (which year)

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by xheathen, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. xheathen macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
    Hi all,

    Just a quick idea of where I'm coming from: I originally needed a 2nd office computer (to split work from the office and home). I wanted to try moving into the mac platform so I bought a 2011 Mac Mini.

    Primarily, I'm really happy with it as a home computer. The way it handles basic stuff like photos, videos, music, sharing, etc is awesome. But I'm finding that I still get way more done and far more quickly in Windows 7 as a desktop. Do however find that working on an Apple laptop to be far quicker than a Windows laptop. So what I'm thinking is I'll let my wife have the newer Mini, and I'll sell her 2010 Mini and purchase a MBA.

    The main use of the computer is going to be showing work to clients, using it as a presentation tool, basic coding while I'm out and about. I'm thinking the MBA can do all that soundly without much trouble at all, and it seems like it is very portable.

    If I've done my research correctly, what I'm seeing is that you definitely want to get 4gb of ram as it's integrated directly to the board. I think for mobility, I'd like to get the 11" as the extended battery life isn't critical.

    My main question is that I keep seeing that "instant on" isn't that instant on the 2011's versus the 2010's. So it's making me think I want to get a 2010 and keep SL on it. Does anyone think the 2010's are significantly slower than the 2011's to the point that it's worth the extra frustration? The "instant" part is what is really attracting me as I'm going to be in front of clients and I'd like it to just be as slick as possible.
  2. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2011
    unless you're doing heavy cpu lifting where you'd notice the i5 or want/need backlit keyboard, there is no difference. That said..the only 2010 MBA i'd be interested in is this one:
  3. PBG4 Dude macrumors 68020

    PBG4 Dude

    Jul 6, 2007
    The issue isn't so much the lack of 'instant on' (my screen comes up instantly). It's the fact you can't move the mouse cursor for a few seconds after the screen wakes up that ruins the 'instant on' experience.

    Some people in the forums say that Lion 10.7.3 fixes this issue, but it's still in beta, and no one knows when it'll be released to the public.

    I noticed this effect in both Snow Leopard and Lion on my 2010 13" MBA.

    If you have an image on your screen that will wow your presentees when you put your MBA to sleep, that will keep them occupied for the few seconds it takes for the trackpad to wake up. :)
  4. xheathen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
    Heh that is true with the awesome slide to start on :)

    That's interesting to know about the new version possibly fixing it. I guess I was a little concerned it would never really get addressed. And I get that it's kind of dumb to complain about like 2 seconds, but still :p

    The one I was looking at was the 64gb 11" w/ 4gb of ram for $899 as a refurb. If I manage all my files remotely, or at least the vast majority of them, I was thinking it would be OK but I kind of worry that I'll regret it. But I can upgrade the SSD I'd assume.
  5. Sirolway macrumors 6502

    Jun 13, 2009
    Well, I get instant on from my 2009 13" MBP ... because I never shut it down - just close the lid to put it to sleep. When you open it up & hit enter, you're immediately ready to log in (Lion as well as Snow Leopard).

    The 11" has a fairly small screen ... with the 2011 13" Air's high-res screen, perhaps that would be better for demos, unless you're using a projector?
  6. xheathen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
    Yeah for a larger group it would be a projector. Usually it's 1 on 1 or 2 at the most, which my iPad worked well for. I didn't think the extra couple inches would make a world of difference as I'd need a project for for larger groups anyway.
  7. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Apple's refurb pricing is often weird on older models. Quite often it's not really worth it compared to refurb pricing on the current year. The 2010 one was reasonably snappy too. I'd avoid the first generation ones.
  8. aham23 macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2011
    off topic from the OP, but thanks for the link. this may be hard for me to pass up. i was looking at a July 2011 MBA refurb from Apple with pretty much the same config, just different chipset.

    im a PC lifer, but dont really use a desktop at all anymore. i do it all on my
    iP4s. i want to move to MAC for better integration of my devices. PC is used for pics, light video making/editing, iTunes, surfing, email.... nothing serious.

    would the linked MBA be a nice start to my Apple computing career or should i go with a 2011 model?

    much thanks all.
  9. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I wouldn't worry too much about the "instant on" in the 2011s, particularly if you keep it plugged in. The "bug" that people complain about is that when it goes into deep sleep after about an hour with the lid closed (which lets it keep power for up to 30 days), it can take about 8 seconds to come back, vs. about 4-5 on the 2010s. If you leave it plugged in, or reopen the lid when it's been closed less than an hour both the old and the new model turn back on in about 1-2 seconds.

    The 2011 has a much faster processor and I'd recommend it over the 2010 for all applications except perhaps gaming, where the 2010 has a slight edge because it has a slightly faster integrated graphics processor. For presentations, coding, etc. the 2011 will be snappier.
  10. jterp7 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2011
    since you mentioned integration..the 2011 may be better since it has the TB port to link with the TB display if you care about that in the future. The other main difference is the backlit keyboard. For your use the difference in i5 vs C2D won't be noticeable. The main advantage of the 2010s is price, allowing you to get the 256SSD at the same price as the 128SSD in the 2011 and its superior battery life. The 13" 2010 will get almost 10hrs, whereas the 2011 hits the rated 7hrs (the same advantage can be applied to the 11")


    in the age of SSDs our patience is so low. My instant on ranges from 1-2 seconds to 5-6 on occasion. It's really not that big of a deal. Gaming I guess could show a difference, but as mine is hooked up to a TB display i'm guessing even at Low settings with say a game like SC2 it will struggle. The difference may be 20fps vs 25? I guess other MBA + TB gamers can comment there
  11. aham23 macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2011
    ^^^^ much thanks. definetly want TB port so the choice is made.
  12. Robyr macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2010
    No, the instant on complaints stem from the damn things freezing for 3 seconds every time you wake them, deep sleep or not. Its a problem, and acting like it isn't does NO ONE any favors. I have an 09 MBP, SSD, running Lion, that wakes within a fraction of a second and has no trackpad lag to speak of. Its a problem.
  13. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I haven't had that issue. I have noticed that the 2011s do take a little bit longer to wake up from deep sleep than the 2010s, so I figured that was the issue people were complaining about. Activating FileVault 2 also slows the wake process slightly.

    If there's another problem there is, but don't imply that every 2011 MacBook Air owner has it.
  14. Robyr macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2010
    I tried every single MBA at the apple store when I went for a different issue (involving the external displays) and they all did the same thing. Screen turns on, you can SEE your work, but you will not be moving the mouse for a slight wait. Its a totally lame thing to complain about, especially as its still many hundreds of times faster than a PC (SSD or not) waking, but after having another mac with similar setups not having issues like this, its maddening.
  15. firefire macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2011
    Re: MBA Advice (which year)

    I hear ya -- though I think it's legit that we raise more complaints about this issue... There are several Windows 7 PC's I've tried that, to my eyes, wake faster than the 2011 Air -- older ones, too, like Lenovo's X60s, Sony's UX series and Fujitsu's LifeBook P1600 series. I think even some netbooks like Toshiba's NB205 felt a bit snapper when waking from sleep, too.


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