[Q]Should I get the i5/4/256 or the i5/8/256 11" MBA?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by combataran, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. combataran, Dec 10, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013

    combataran macrumors member


    May 9, 2011
    I'm getting my paycheck soon, and sure as hell gonna get my first Mac to replace my HDD/Mobo-dead-3-year-old laptop. These two configurations come to mind, but the price difference is kinda steep(for me).

    I'm in college, so I only surf/Youtube/write papers/maybe run a separate screen to play Dota 2 on(only on high textures, max rendering, everything else off).

    My university provides workstations for engineering work, so I don't really need the performance boost of a better processor(but for Dota 2 maybe/not?).

    Which would give me the most bang for my buck?

    p.s. I am opting for the 256 for it's supposedly higher read/write speeds for Mavericks, and am gonna run Windows from an external 1TB HDD
  2. mpantone macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2009
    RAM on MacBook Airs is soldered onto the motherboard and thus cannot be upgraded later.

    Buying the 8GB model is a wiser purchase decision if you plan to keep your unit for more than a couple of years as later versions of the operating system will likely have greater memory requirements.

    If you plan on ditching this MacBook Air in a couple of years, the 4GB model should be quite adequate for most of your needs (I don't play Dota 2, so I am not familiar what the performance would be).
  3. kn7671 macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2013
    I think for the price, I would spend an extra $160 to get the Macbook Pro 13 Retina, education price is 1399 compared to 1239, and is normal stock in Apple store. Compared to the MBA 11 you want, you get:

    Faster Processor
    Faster Graphics
    Faster SSD = PCI Express
    Longer Battery Life
    More Ports
    Bigger Screen
    Retina Display
    IPS Display

    The only reason to get the MBA 11 is size, and if you're not stuck on Apple, then you could spend less and get a lightweight Windows ultrabook for hundreds less.
  4. combataran thread starter macrumors member


    May 9, 2011
    As for the processor and graphics, I don't really need an upgrade, AFAIK what I usually do on a laptop aren't resource intensive. Maybe the RAM. I don't know. 256 is supposedly faster than the 128, no matter what it's installed on. I would appreciate the larger screen, however I have a budget and the base 13 doesn't look to tempting atm.
  5. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Please provide some examples of ultrabooks with the same specifications for hundreds less.
  6. Warrenn macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2013
    Try lenovo yoga 2 pro
  7. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Thank you. That looks interesting but I cannot find pricing for the UK. It uses the cheaper ULV CPUs without Intel Iris. Only 1 USB 3 port, no AC wifi and I have no idea of the SSD specs.

    But, it does have what appears to be a stunning screen. Not sure why I cannot configure it on the lenovo UK site to see how much the different configs cost. Looks like an interesting alternative.
  8. yosemit macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2013
    11-in MBA is a good choice for college life. It's probably safe to go 8GB. There is a good chance some professor may ask you to use certain software that is free but only available on Windows. With 8GB, you may run Windows comfortably in a Virtual machine. (In US colleges, VMware is free to students, and Parallels is a low-cost alternative.)

    There is also a chance that the i5 MBA has power than some of those "workstations", if those machines are not up to date. The i5 CPU is marked as 1.3GHz but practically it is 2.3-2.6GHz. Its PCI-e SSD is super fast, much faster than HDDs and significantly faster than most other SSDs.

  9. JoeRito macrumors 6502a


    Apr 12, 2012
    New England, USA
    Unless you really need a retina display, I love your option of getting the 8gb Air. Can't upgrade ram later so buy it now. Also, the color rendition is nice on the MBA, we're pleased with ours.
  10. combataran thread starter macrumors member


    May 9, 2011
    Thanks for the replies. I would probably go for the 8GB, since the 4GB that was on my previous laptop seemed at times, insufficient. Though the choice of 128/256, I'm still undecided on. With both the 8GB/256 options would cost me as much as a base 13 rMBP, so I'll think about the SSD upgrade.
  11. Rod330 macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2010
    I'd also recommend the 8GB of memory. Even when you land your first job after college you'll probably struggle financially to make ends meets (especially if you're paying student loans). You'll probably be happy to defer the purchase of a new laptop for a year or two.
    If your budget is pinched now, I think the extra RAM is a better long-term value than a larger SSD. If you go with the 13" MBA, the SDXC card slot is a nice feature but I strongly prefer the 11" for portability, especially airline travel. I'd think Mavericks, all your apps and your most frequently used files could comfortably reside on a 128 SSD (validate this yourself). As you note, you can use cheap external usb3 storage if necessary for other media.
  12. jondunford macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2013
    Going for a poo Moderator
    if you want to find out the price in the UK just replace the dollar sign with a pound sign

    and add some zeros

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