Newer MBA Worth It?

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
53,419
36,624
The Far Horizon
I have a MacBook Air i5 1.6 11 11 (1.6MHz 11" 2011) model.

The current MacBook Air is an i5 1.4 11 14 (with options for 1.7MHz processor).

It didn't seem compelling to upgrade when comparing the two at: http://www.everymac.com/ultimate-mac-comparison-chart/?compare=all-intel-macs

Might I be missing something?

I switched from a 2010 (the old 'Rev C') MBA to a CTO 13" 2013 model, (and - for a brief while, a 2012 11" with 8 GB and 256GB SSD while I waited for the 13" to be ready) and I noticed a huge difference.

First off, I now had 8 GB RAM, not the 2 which came as standard on the old models. The speed was also better, and - having had - a memory of 128 GB SSD, I now have experience of computers with 256 GB SSD and 512 GB SSD, and can say that they are far better, faster, and more stable.

One more thing differentiated the 2012 and 2013 models, and it was this: Battery life. The battery life on all of the 2013 models is a genuinely significant improvement on that of earlier models. One can now work most of the day off the battery without needing access to a power source.
 

mad3inch1na

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2013
662
6
I have a MacBook Air i5 1.6 11 11 (1.6MHz 11" 2011) model.

The current MacBook Air is an i5 1.4 11 14 (with options for 1.7MHz processor).

It didn't seem compelling to upgrade when comparing the two at: http://www.everymac.com/ultimate-mac-comparison-chart/?compare=all-intel-macs

Might I be missing something?

The newer MBA has over double the battery life and much more powerful graphics. A 2011 MBA will run fine, but a 2014 has some benefits. You can find an 11" for as little as 650$ as well. There is little to no reason to purchase a 2011 model, but it is still a great computer, so you probably should not upgrade at this point if you already have one.
 
Last edited:

larryleveen

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 12, 2011
24
3
The newer MBA has over double the battery life and much more powerful graphics. A 2011 MBA will run fine, but a 2014 has some benefits. You can find an 11" for as little as 650$ as well. There is little to no reason to purchase a 2011 model, but it is still a great computer, so you probably should not upgrade at this point if you already have one.

I DO already have a 2011 MBA 11".

Enhanced battery life is a significant incentive, IMO. It doesn't seem like there is much other incentive in terms of performance gain, though.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,990
2,306
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I upgraded to a 2013 11" i7/8gb/512gb MBA from a 2011 13" i5/4gb/256gb MBA. For me it was a worthwhile upgrade as I sometimes run demanding software like Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro. Performance is maybe 30% better in these programs, but for "everyday" stuff like web, mail, Finder, etc, the new machine seems very similar to the old one. But I like the following things

8gb RAM - was not available as an option in 2011

512gb SSD - also not available in 2011

USB 3.0 - gives me access to inexpensive, fast external drives plus a high speed ethernet adapter that doesn't monopolize the thunderbolt port like Apple's.

802.11ac wifi - I can access network drives wirelessly at speeds that are faster than directly connected USB 2.0 drives on my 2011 MBA.

Greatly improved battery life, the little 11" 2013 MBA runs almost twice as long as my 2011 13" MBA.
 

AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
12,093
9,437
Austin, TX
I have a MacBook Air i5 1.6 11 11 (1.6MHz 11" 2011) model.

The current MacBook Air is an i5 1.4 11 14 (with options for 1.7MHz processor).

It didn't seem compelling to upgrade when comparing the two at: http://www.everymac.com/ultimate-mac-comparison-chart/?compare=all-intel-macs

Might I be missing something?

Not all i5s are the same. I have a MBP with a Sandy Bridge i5. My MBP used to last 8 hours on a charge. Now it makes it about 3 for a four year old machine. It's been said already, but the battery life on the new MBA is in a completely different league. The idea that your MBA in 2017 could get some 7 hours of battery life is just crazy.
 

Mrbobb

macrumors 601
Aug 27, 2012
4,989
194
Enhanced battery life is a significant incentive, IMO. It doesn't seem like there is much other incentive in terms of performance gain, though.


100% agreed.

It's silly, I have thought of upgrading but I HATE with all the fiber of my being MacSafe2, so holding out, maybe Apple sees the error of its way and go back to MacSafe1 (OK no argument from anybody please, I said it's silly).
 

robvas

macrumors 68040
Mar 29, 2009
3,227
622
USA
Battery life is a huge improvement, at times I would only get three or four hours from my 2011. USB 3.0 is a big help as well as the possibility of getting 8GB RAM. Better Intel graphics if you do any gaming
 

motrek

macrumors 68020
Sep 14, 2012
2,437
162
I have a MacBook Air i5 1.6 11 11 (1.6MHz 11" 2011) model.

The current MacBook Air is an i5 1.4 11 14 (with options for 1.7MHz processor).

It didn't seem compelling to upgrade when comparing the two at: http://www.everymac.com/ultimate-mac-comparison-chart/?compare=all-intel-macs

Might I be missing something?

Look at the benchmarks, the 2014 is about 40-50% faster at everything.

The i5 in your 2011 laptop uses much more power, thus gets hotter (annoying to have in lap), which makes the fan spin faster (louder), and also prevents the laptop from running at full turbo boost speed for long amounts of time.

Thus if you buy a 2014, it will be faster, quieter, cooler, and last longer on battery power.

USB 3 is also a big win for me personally, it means much faster backups and file transfers to external drives which is nice.
 

JHUFrank

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2010
645
54
USB 3 has been an absolute eye opener for sure. I would switch over just for that and better battery life. I kept having issues with USB 3 capable drives on older laptops, then I switched over to this 2013 model Macbook, and all those drives work buttery smooth!


Look at the benchmarks, the 2014 is about 40-50% faster at everything.

The i5 in your 2011 laptop uses much more power, thus gets hotter (annoying to have in lap), which makes the fan spin faster (louder), and also prevents the laptop from running at full turbo boost speed for long amounts of time.

Thus if you buy a 2014, it will be faster, quieter, cooler, and last longer on battery power.

USB 3 is also a big win for me personally, it means much faster backups and file transfers to external drives which is nice.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.