Optimum time to replace?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by lukekarts, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. lukekarts macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2009
    Just wondering if anyone has any opinions, or if there any previous topics or recommendations, on the best time to buy and or sell a MBA?

    - What is the depreciation like?
    - What is the best time to sell?

    I've been looking at upgrading recently, and having seen prices on 2.5 year old MB Alu Unibody's on ebay, it looks like I will be able to sell mine for roughly £500, therefore I've lost roughly £240 per year of ownership.

    Can I expect, if I buy a new MBA, that after 2.5 years, it will also be worth £500?

    Is there an age at which re-sale value tends to drop off significantly?

  2. KPOM, Jul 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011

    KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    The MacBook Airs have dropped in value more quickly than other Macs because of the extensive changes and price drops with each new generation. That said, most of the decline in value of any computer is in the first year, or just after the replacement model has been released. That's particularly been the case with the Air. The Rev B in November 2008 brought lower prices and higher performance, killing the resale value of the Rev A. So did the Rev D in October 2010. The Rev E kept prices the same, but doubled the processor speeds.

    If you know you will only keep it 2 years or so, and resale is important to you, get the lowest-priced model that will work for you. That's probably the i5 with the storage that you need today (not what you think you might need in the future). The lower-end models hold the greatest percentage of their value because Apple's original profit margin was lowest. 2.5 years from now, it won't matter so much to a buyer whether you have the 1.6GHz Sandy Bridge Core i5 or the 1.8GHz Sandy Bridge Core i7 when the then-current processor is a Haswell that performs roughly twice as fast as either model. Think about it. Today, with the Sandy Bridge current, would you pay much more for a used Core 2 Duo running at 2.13 GHz vs one running at 1.86GHz?
  3. Obscurelight macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2011
    as the poster above me said, it really depends on how much the airs change. The more drastic the changes the less resale value you'll have
  4. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2009
    Durham, UK
    These posts are right on.

    You'll find that if there is a LARGE change in a revision the prior versions of it will depreciate pretty drastically. for example:

    Sold a 1st revision Core 2 Duo iMac (late 2006 - originally £1000) before the change to Core i processors. Sold for £450 after 3 and a half years. Thats a depreciation of only £550!


    Bought a late 2009 iMac (Core 2 Duo based) for £1000 2 months before change to Core i processors. 15 Months later its worth £500! It has depreciated 3x as fast because its based on the older system architecure
  5. jackyyeow macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2011
    Any computer product is going to depreciate in value very soon. I'd say, forget about the resell value and enjoy the machine. For 20quids monthly to enjoy such wonderful machine it's totally worth it if you ask me.:D

    Above posts are right on. C2D to SB is a big change. SB is still very new technology so they'll hold their value better at least in the coming 2 years time.
  6. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Computers will depreciate more if there is a significant advance in the computer's technology. Some examples...

    G4 > C2D was more of a depreciation than CD > C2D. So assuming when you want to upgrade next the Air is still using a variation of the i5 or i7 (much like Core 2 Duo was a variation on the Core Duo) then the depreciation if the new one uses a significantly advanced CPU. Similarly, if thew new one uses a dedicated GPU there will be more of a depreciation than if it uses a better shared GPU.
  7. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Because the Airs have evolved so rapidly, they have not held their value so well. I'm an early adopter and can afford it, but here's some indication:

    In January 2008, I purchased a Rev A for $2100 (1.8GHz HDD. In November 2008, the SSDs became somewhat affordable and the 9400M was added. I sold my Rev A for $1200 and paid $2300 for a Rev B (1.86GHz 128GB SSD). In November 2010, I sold the Rev B for $800 and purchased a 13" Rev D for $1700 (2.13GHz 4GB, 256GB). When the refurbs came out, I decided I wanted an 11" instead, so sold my Rev D for $1500 and picked up a $1200 Ultimate 11" refurb (1.6GHz 4GB). Now that the Rev E is out, I am attempting to get $750 for the Rev D. Had I stuck with base models of each edition, I'd have lost a bit less, but it still would have been steep.

    For the record, I plan to keep the 2011 model (Core i7 11" 256GB) for a while - at least as long as I kept the Rev B, and probably for 3 years. It's helpful even for an early adopter to jump off every once in a while. My wallet will thank me. Had I not started to get squeezed by the 128GB, I'd have opted for the 11" Core i7 128GB model.

    The upside, though, is that each generation is getting cheaper. That Rev B declined by $1600. My Rev E only cost $1649, so even in two years I won't lose as much as it should be worth more than $49.

    All figures are before sales tax, since that varies.

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