Oldest Air Usable Today?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Rocko99991, Aug 14, 2017.

  1. Rocko99991 macrumors 6502

    Rocko99991

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    Jul 25, 2017
    #1
    Would you consider the 2012 MBA the oldest usable version today for running Sierra and as a daily driver?
     
  2. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    Oct 17, 2014
    #2
    A 2011 with 4 GB RAM or 2012 would be the oldest I'd recommend, but as for what models are still usable, it really depends what you plan to do with it.
     
  3. Rocko99991 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Rocko99991

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    #3
    Safari, Pages, Youtube. Nothing more than that really.
     
  4. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    #4
    You should be fine with a 2012 then. I'd get a higher-spec model with 8 GB RAM if possible, as there is no way to upgrade later on, but even 4 GB should be adequate.
     
  5. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #5
    The 2011 Air should be fine too, provided you've got 4GB of RAM. The 2010 Air would be fine, so long as you were running a fully-patched installation of Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 and a fully patched installation of Office 2013, in lieu of Safari and Pages.
     
  6. Boyd01, Aug 15, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017

    Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #6
    Personally I wouldn't go any farther back than 2013 (which is what I have). The battery life was greatly improved in 2013, approaching twice the run time of older models. This was due to the use of a more power-efficient processor.

    If you don't care about battery (why wouldn't you?) then I suppose the 2012 is OK. Definitely would not want the 2011 model because it doesn't have USB 3.0. That will limit external disks to about 30MB/sec which is very slow.
     
  7. weckart macrumors 68040

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    #7
    I'm using a 2010 with only 2GB RAM for that daily and it's fine. I would go for a post 2013 model for the battery life, however.
     
  8. Rocko99991 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Rocko99991

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    Jul 25, 2017
    #8

    So from what I can tell, the 2013 has
    12hr battery life
    802.11ac
    SDXC Slot

    2012 has
    7hr battery life
    802.11n
    SD slot

    These seem to be the major differences.

    There is quite a jump in price for the 2013 compared to the 2012 year. Tough call.
     
  9. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #9
    The SSD is also faster on the 2013 model (although the difference is more significant with the 256 and 512), I get write speeds of about 700MB/sec on my 2013 512gb ssd, I believe the 2012 would be more like 450MB/sec. Probably not a big deal for most people.

    The 802.11ac wifi is a huge plus for accessing network drives if you have a compatible router, probably 5 times faster than the 802.11n. Would also make a difference if you have a fast internet connection like FIOS.

    But the battery life is the most significant, especially for a "daily driver" (whatever that means to you). What's the point of a laptop if you have to take an AC adapter everywhere?

    Also, since the 2012 is a year older, the battery will be closer to the end of its life unless it has been replaced.

    Seems like you are discovering that "you get what you pay for". :)
     
  10. _Kiki_ macrumors 6502

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    Aug 13, 2017
    #10
    last usable, probably C2D 2010 with 4GB RAM it's good machine for small amount of money
     
  11. Rocko99991 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Rocko99991

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    #11
    Can this run Sierra?
     
  12. attilavago85 macrumors newbie

    attilavago85

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    #12
    You can safely code web pages and web apps on it too, no worries. I used a 2011 model a good 4 months as my daily work machine, and I had zero issues with it.
     
  13. weckart macrumors 68040

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    #13
    It can run High Sierra.
     
  14. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #14
    Another thing to consider, the 2012 MacBook Air is the oldest model that Apple will repair or support. That doesn't mean their software won't run on the older machines, just that they no longer provide hardware support. So if you have a 2011 or older MBA, you can't bring it to an Apple store for help. And if it needs a new battery, for example, you will have to get a third party one. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201624
     
  15. _Kiki_, Aug 16, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017

    _Kiki_ macrumors 6502

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    Aug 13, 2017
    #15
    Air 13 2010 and 2011 (A1369) does accept without any problem original batteries from Air 13 2012-2015 (A1466) they also have more capacity

    same situation in Air 11 2010-2011 (A1370) you can use battery from 2012-2015 (A1465)

    my Air 13 2011 i7 died because of short on 3rd party battery (I bought 3rd party battery on Amazon), so I'm not sure about quality 3rd party batteries

    you can buy original used batteries on eBay in very good condition for good price, there is also possibility to find original brand new batteries
     
  16. Rocko99991 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Rocko99991

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    #16
    Great info!
     
  17. Rocko99991 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Rocko99991

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    Jul 25, 2017
    #17
    Were you running Sierra?
     
  18. mryingster macrumors regular

    mryingster

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    #18
    Interesting topic. I just spent 3 days trying to regress my OS back to Mavericks on my MacBook Air 2011 (11", 1.6 GHz, 2GB RAM) because it just kept getting worse and worse.

    When I first got it, I was able to run CS5 on it without much issue. I could have multiple apps open, and it only took 11 seconds to boot. Each OS revision made it slower and slower. I've been using Sierra, but not happy with it. I could only keep one application open at a time without it slowing way down, and it could kind of handle Netflix if I turned off HD.

    I put on High Sierra for kicks, and that was a HUGE mistake. I couldn't open a single application without it locking up, and boot time raised to 2-5 minutes. I could barely even open System preferences. It was abysmal. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't like you downgrading, so it was making it difficult to downgrade back to Sierra. I decided I had had it, and wiped the drive completely!

    I don't have the original restore disk (10.6) unfortunately, so I run the online recovery. Lo and behold it defaults back to Lion which is fine. I can upgrade from there, the only problem is that it wouldn't authenticate my installation of Lion because it wasn't in my "purchase history". (I skipped lion when it came out, and upgraded straight to Mountain Lion)

    So, I downloaded mountain lion on another machine, and made a restore disk... eventually I got it installed and upgraded it to mavericks. I haven't decided if I am going to upgrade any further because the computer is no good to me as a brick, and at least on Mavericks I can run 5 applications at a time without contemplating my own death.

    End rant.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 16, 2017 ---
    The real irony here is that Apple allows Sierra/High Sierra to be installed on this little machine that can't handle it, yet arbitrarily cut off support for my MacPro 2008 which runs it just fine! What were they thinking??
     
  19. Rocko99991 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Rocko99991

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    Jul 25, 2017
    #19
    This is true. Each year a new OS that has more hardware requirements to run smooth. This isn't by chance. You can create a new OS that will run great on older hardware IF you were inclined-but this doesn't boost new hardware sales.

    Would you say Mavericks is the best OS for your 2011?
     
  20. mryingster macrumors regular

    mryingster

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    #20
    I wouldn't say it's best (yet). I was upgrading one OS at a time to decide where to stop. I've been using Mavericks since the weekend, and it seems fine. My next step is to upgrade to Yosemite, and see how it is. I am setting up two partition and will leap frog installations. If I get to one that is "unusable" I will go back to the previous partition/installation, and remove the offending OS and stick there for the time being.
     
  21. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #21
    He is trying to run it on a computer with only 2GB RAM. Remember, in 2011 the only options for RAM were 2GB and 4GB. I had the 4GB 2011 MBA with 256GB SSD, it was quite a bit more expensive than the base model that had 2GB RAM and only a 64GB SSD. IMO it's not realistic to expect Apple to optimize Sierra for machines with only 2GB of RAM. But I completely agree that Apple shouldn't let you install an operating system on hardware that really can't support it acceptably.

    I kept my 2013 MBA (with 8GB RAM) on Mountain Lion until a couple weeks ago so I could keep using expensive legacy software. But I have been very pleasantly surprised by Sierra on this machine, it's fast, looks good and I had less compatibility issues than expected with legacy software. Unfortunately one of the few programs that won't run anymore is VectorWorks 2008, a $2500 CAD package. For now I'll just run it on my Mac Mini that can dual boot into either Mountain Lion or Sierra.
     
  22. Rocko99991 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Rocko99991

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    Jul 25, 2017
    #22
    I don't expect a 6 year old machine to run perfect on the latest OS but it's been proven that each iteration requires more hardware power. This makes sense from a business model, I just don't like it. ;)
     
  23. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #23
    Well since you were asking about the oldest MBA that can run Sierra.... you should stay away from 2011 and older models that only have 2GB of RAM. :)
     
  24. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000

    MultiFinder17

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    Jan 8, 2008
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    Tampa, Florida
    #24
    I have a 2011 11" Air (1.6 i5, 2GB, 128GB) that runs like a champ under El Cap. I regularly run multiple Office/iWork apps, Safari with multiple tabs, and other applications at the same time, and I don't notice much of a slowdown. I use it for school (I teach middle school technology and robotics) to do my lesson planning and grading, and it works wonderfully. I'll often have upwards of a dozen documents open at once in order to research different ideas, and it handles it well enough. I haven't felt the need to upgrade either the OS or the hardware yet, as it still handles everything I throw at it.

    Attached is a screenshot of its memory usage with a bunch of stuff running.
    Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 10.13.29 PM.png
     
  25. attilavago85 macrumors newbie

    attilavago85

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    Dublin
    #25
    Back then I was running El Capitan, but I see no reason why Sierra would be an issue if El Capitan wasn't.
     

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