MBA - Regrets for not buying the 1.7 GHz?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dmaxdmax, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. dmaxdmax macrumors 6502

    dmaxdmax

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    #1
    I need a laptop for a 9th grader who, at least for now, won't be pushing it too hard. Sketchbook Pro is probably the most intense application she uses but who knows what next year will bring? This needs to last through four years of high school.

    There are 3 possible upgrades, the first being what I consider a no-brainer, 8GB RAM for $100. I'm not sure about upgrading to 256GB storage for $200 - more is certainly better but I'm not sure it's worth the money. (we use iTunes Match so music won't have to clog up the disk) What I'm really not sure about is the processor speed for $150.

    So it comes down to this - is it better to upgrade storage for $200 or speed for $150?
     
  2. Mcdevidr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2013
    #2
    I would say storage. From what I've read on here plenty of people are very happy with the performance of the i5 chip.
     
  3. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #3
    You would get exactly zero speed increase with the i7 chip with that kind of usage. Total overkill.

    If I could make a suggestion.

    http://prices.appleinsider.com

    Look here and see if you can get by with one of the standard configurations, as there are some really great deals to be had now. Particularly the Best Buy price on there. If you custom order, you end up not getting those deals.
     
  4. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Location:
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    #4
    I too agree, that said when I get the new 12" Retina MBA, it will be the i7, for no other reason but I want it, and at 66 I say why not:cool:
     
  5. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #5
    When it comes down to it, a baseline MBA will most likely last your daughter 4-6 years. I used a 2010 2GB/128GB MBA up until a few months ago for web browsing, writing, watching movies, and light gaming (Portal 2, League of Legends). It did all of these tasks perfectly on Mavericks. The only reason I got a new computer was because a relative wanted my old one.

    If you really want to upgrade RAM/storage/processor, you should probably just get a 13" rMBP. If she is really into Sketchbook, the retina display will be a joy to use. The rMBP actually has a smaller footprint than the MBA because it isn't the wedge shape, and weighs only 1/2 pound more (less than a can of coke weighs). I don't think your daughter will need more than the power of a baseline MBA for the next 4 years, but if you do want to spend the extra money on power, you might as well get an 8GB/256GB 13" rMBP.

    Just yesterday, the baseline MBA was $750 at BestBuy, and it went back up to $800 today. Every few weeks it drops down to $750, which is a really amazing deal. This deal is the reason why 8GB of RAM/i7 processor are not worth it. Because they are custom models, the market value is much higher because Apple produces less stock. The depreciation value is also greater because, as in any market, those add ons will depreciate quickly. If your daughter was using professional photography editing software or running VMs on a weekly basis, I would recommend a higher end configuration, but she most likely will not see any benefit from an i7 or 8GB of RAM. The 256GB SSD will have faster write speeds than a 128GB SSD, but in terms of storage space itself, you can definitely make 128GB work.

    The Apple notebook lineup is really great right now, and I am sure no matter what computer you get her, it will be a joy to use. I personally think the marginal benefit of the CPU/RAM upgrades is insignificant at best for 95% of tasks. If you think that she will use professional applications in the next few years, then go ahead and get the upgrades. If she doesn't use those programs, the upgrades will not benefit her at all, but they won't hurt either. If you have the money and really think she will be using graphics/compute intensive software, then go ahead and get the upgrades.

    Really look into the 8GB/256GB/i5 rMBP though if you do want upgrades, because it is a stock configuration, so it is seriously only $20 more than the equivalent MBA configuration. The i5 rMBP has the exact same processing power as the i7 MBA, better graphics, a much nicer screen, better speakers, and more ports. If I hadn't been able to get a baseline 2014 MBA for $750, that is the computer I would have purchased. If you can afford $1400 for a computer, that is the one to get. If you think it is overkill, then a $750 MBA will be perfect.

    Best,
    Matt
     
  6. dmaxdmax thread starter macrumors 6502

    dmaxdmax

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    #6
    Matt, thank you for that wonderful response! We'll go to the Apple Store this week and compare the machines.
    Cheers
    Dave
     
  7. dmaxdmax thread starter macrumors 6502

    dmaxdmax

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    #7
    Matt, thanks again! We went to the Apple Store today and came out preferring the Pro. We'll wait for tomorrow's updates and jump. They like the Air's sleekness but not as much as they love the retina display.

    Dave
     
  8. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #8
    Glad to hear it. Checking out the computers in store is always a good idea. If you don't live in NY, think about buying from Adorama or B&H Photo as they don't have sales tax, and they have pretty good deals on AppleCare.

    Best,
    Matt
     
  9. dmaxdmax thread starter macrumors 6502

    dmaxdmax

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    #9
    We had been to the store many times but they never looked at MBPs, only Airs. And iPods, and iPads, and phones, and....

    Since I need two I may skip the apple care on the theory that it's unlikely to need major repairs on both machines. With Amex I'll get 2 years anyway.
     

Share This Page