Reinvigorate early 2008 MBA or buy another?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Franimal19, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. Franimal19 macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2012
    Hey All,

    So I've just got a few questions for you. I have an early 2008 MacBook Air (The original) with a 60GB hard disk and an older battery.

    Currently my hard disk usage is about 20GB out of the 60, but I hear intermittent ticks coming from the hard disk which concerns me. The battery is also older. Istat Pro reports that the battery health is currently 88% and OS X reports that the condition is "normal". However, the battery doesn't last more than a hour and half from a full charge. Currently Istat reports 251 cycles out of the 300 the battery is guaranteed for.

    So I have two options:
    • Replace the battery and purchase an SSD
    • Purchase a new MacBook Air

    I was considering purchasing the following SSD replacement kit from

    And the following battery replacement as well (or get Apple to replace it, I think it's $120 for a battery replacement):

    All in all it looks like I would spend about $300 for the replacement parts.

    Some other background that would affect the decision:
    This is not my main machine; I also have a 2011 Macbook Pro that is used as my main machine by docking it.

    What do you all recommend?
  2. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    It's under the 300 cycles that the battery is supposed to last for, so Apple might give you a new battery if you ask nicely. That would make your decision between a $1400 computer, and a $150 SSD.

    How does your model handle everything you do on it? Does it still work well enough?
  3. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    If it's a secondary machine, then it might be worth doing the repairs to keep it going for a while longer. It's probably too old for Apple to replace the battery under warranty, but it's worth seeing what they say.

    Maybe first see how much your battery improves after adding the SSD. It might help a little. Then if it is still unacceptable go ahead and have it replaced.
  4. Franimal19 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2012
    Thanks for the quick reply. I'll call Apple and see what they say. I've heard is pretty difficult to convenience them to replace batteries with diminished capacity (rightfully so, batteries are a competent that is expected to diminish with usage).

    Either way to answer your question: Yes it handles everything I do pretty well. as I mentioned the MBA is not my primary machine and is often used for typing up word documents and some light web surfing.

    I have had issues with netflix streaming however. For some reason the audio and video don't sync very well. I can pause the video and start the stream again but this only solves the issue for at most a few minutes. I even let the full stream buffer once with the same issues. I've confirmed this is NOT an issue with my MBP however.

    I can't help but feel like it's time to upgrade but I love my current MacBook Air as it has served me faithfully for the last four years and is perfectly functional for most non intensive tasks =).
  5. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    personally, I'd bite the bullet and buy new.
    even after spending $300 for repairs, you'd still have a 2008 MBAir.

    hopefully, with a ticking HDD you have all your data backed
  6. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Sounds like a waste of money for an outdated slow 2008 MBA. It actually has an HDD? ewww.
  7. redache macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2011
    Personally I'd do the upgrades to the MBA, we throw enough stuff away as it is and if it is a fixable device then I don't see the reason to throw away something that does what it needs for you. Adding an SSD should give it a nice performance boost and will keep it's usefulness longer :).

    Battery wise 88% at 251 cycles is probably a reasonable number, it's not rated to be 100% at 300 cycles but above the 80 or 75% health limit that Apple specify so it sounds like the battery degradation is normal.

    I hope you figure out a way to make the Air useful again instead of replacing it with new if there are no other issues with it :).
  8. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Because its uselessly slow! If you feel bad about throwing it away, do what I do with useless electronics...give them to charity! Some poor kid would LOVE that old MBA even if it has to be plugged in!
  9. redache macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2011
    My point is if there are no issues with the MBA as it stands then I would focus on upgrading and repairing it rather than dropping money on a brand new system that offers little tangible benefit.
  10. Franimal19 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2012
    Thank you KPOM! I may give that a try, I am trying to cycle the battery right now to see it I can improve it's performance.

    Thank you Halledise, I do have my data backed up.

    I agree that the health percentage is reasonable and likely normal for the batteries age. However I can't seem to get an hour and half of battery life even while using battery conservation techniques (Dim the screen, turn off WIFI, etc).

    Thanks Gentlefury. I have certainly considered giving the laptop to a charitable organization as a donation. However, I would say that the MBA is not "uselessly" slow. It serves it's purpose for the most part but I do have a feeling that it's time to upgrade.

    I really appreciate everyone's input. I may go to the Apple store later and have a look at the new MBA's. I have fallen in love with all the gestures available in Lion but it's kind of cumbersome to use them all when a portion of the trackpad is "taken" up by the physical button.
  11. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    As someone who has owned the Rev A, Rev B, Rev D, and now Rev E, I'll respectfully disagree. If someone has the discipline to stay with a single model for 4 years, why not spend $300 and keep it going for another year or so?

    I kept the Rev B (with SSD) for 2 years, and that's my intent with the Rev E. It handled basic tasks pretty well, and with a decent SSD I can see the Rev A doing the same.
  12. macguy360 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2011
    Sell it on craigslist or ebay and buy a new macbook pro or air. The reason I say this is because the 2008 model will not support Sata II/III speeds that a SSD will provide. You will get a speed boost but not enough to really get your moneys worth.

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