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Unknown condition 2010 11" MBA turned out to be a good find. What to do with it?

Acronyc

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 24, 2011
752
260
My first Mac was a base 2010 11" MacBook Air with the 4GB RAM upgrade. After being a lifelong Windows user, I remember being so impressed about everything with it, and it's only been Macs for me since. I gifted it to a family member in 2010 after I got my 2012 15" rMBP, and it ran fine until a few months ago when it met its demise after being dropped.

Last week I found a 2010 11" model for sale for only about $180. The seller said it was banged up, had no charger, and had no idea about what model it was or if it would even work at all. He had no knowledge about Macs so was selling it as-is for parts.

I like tinkering, so I took a risk and bought it. Yesterday it arrived and it was very dirty and it wouldn't turn on. The first nice surprise was that it has an English keyboard, a rarity among used machines where I live. I left it charge with my Thunderbolt Display overnight and the second surprise was that it came to life this morning!

After some effort I was able to get El Capitan installed and then checked the system info. A third surprise: it is a fully specced out CTO model for the time, with a 1.6GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. Even more surprising was the battery only has 157 cycles on it! Given it is six years old I don't expect the battery to hold much of a charge, but I think it's evident that this machine either wasn't used much at all or wasn't used away from a desk very often.

As for being banged up, it turned out all of it was just various gunk that cleaned up very nicely. There are a very small scratches on the bottom, but otherwise the case, screen, keyboard, and trackpad are all in excellent condition. It looks like it was rarely used.

I'm surprised how smoothly this machine runs El Capitan. I'm typing on it now and it hasn't had any issues so far. Six years after its release, it still runs the latest version of OS X really well.

Now I'm conflicted what to do with it. I have a lot of nostalgia with this particular machine as it was my first Mac. Part of me wants to keep it, but I have four other Macs between home and work and do not need this machine. If I kept it, it wouldn't see much use. So another part of me feels it's better to sell/donate/gift to someone, but I'm not sure how much use it has left. Any ideas?

TL;DR: got a 2010 11" MacBook Air with unknown specs/condition for cheap; turned out to be the highest specced BTO model; great for nostalgia but don't need it so trying to find a use for it.
 

Acronyc

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 24, 2011
752
260
Never heard of Insomnia. Good idea and thanks, will check it out!
 
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MultiFinder17

macrumors 68020
Jan 8, 2008
2,242
1,035
Tampa, Florida
The older Airs really are wonderful machines. I have a 2011 11" base model with 2GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, and it runs El Capitan wonderfully! Grats on your 2010, and I hope that it serves you well with whatever you end up purposing it for. If you don't think that you'd use it much, I would pass it along to perhaps a younger family member as their first computer. Or keep it around as a spare machine, or something to keep in the living room to look something up while you're watching TV. Whatever you use it for, it will do it well.
 
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SusanK

macrumors 68000
Oct 9, 2012
1,675
2,652
Just love it :)

Sorry, I have an irrational affection for MBA. The Mac seems well worth the cost of a fresh battery if you pass it along to someone else to enjoy.
 
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Acronyc

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 24, 2011
752
260
The older Airs really are wonderful machines. I have a 2011 11" base model with 2GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, and it runs El Capitan wonderfully! Grats on your 2010, and I hope that it serves you well with whatever you end up purposing it for. If you don't think that you'd use it much, I would pass it along to perhaps a younger family member as their first computer. Or keep it around as a spare machine, or something to keep in the living room to look something up while you're watching TV. Whatever you use it for, it will do it well.

They are really great machines. I have nothing but fond memories of my first 2010 MBA and this little computer is running along very smoothly. I'm so surprised how well it runs even though it is 6 years old! I was using it the other night for my regular nightly workflow and it didn't miss a beat. The fans picked up a little once in a while, but overall no problems. I'm really leaning towards keeping it and using it for a guest computer, music server, or maybe kitchen computer.

Just love it :)

Sorry, I have an irrational affection for MBA. The Mac seems well worth the cost of a fresh battery if you pass it along to someone else to enjoy.

I'm there with you! It's amazing that besides the lack of a backlit keyboard you couldn't tell this machine from a 2015 MBA. Before buying an rMB I had a 2015 11" MBA for a few weeks and honestly can barely tell the difference between that machine and this 2010.

Good idea on the battery. It only has 157 cycles (well, 158 now!) and I got about 25 minutes over 10% of battery life. Does that seem good? Or better to just throw in a new battery to give it some more life? It's probably better to get a new battery from Apple before it's classified as vintage.
 
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SusanK

macrumors 68000
Oct 9, 2012
1,675
2,652
They are really great machines. I have nothing but fond memories of my first 2010 MBA and this little computer is running along very smoothly. I'm so surprised how well it runs even though it is 6 years old! I was using it the other night for my regular nightly workflow and it didn't miss a beat. The fans picked up a little once in a while, but overall no problems. I'm really leaning towards keeping it and using it for a guest computer, music server, or maybe kitchen computer.



I'm there with you! It's amazing that besides the lack of a backlit keyboard you couldn't tell this machine from a 2015 MBA. Before buying an rMB I had a 2015 11" MBA for a few weeks and honestly can barely tell the difference between that machine and this 2010.

Good idea on the battery. It only has 157 cycles (well, 158 now!) and I got about 25 minutes over 10% of battery life. Does that seem good? Or better to just throw in a new battery to give it some more life? It's probably better to get a new battery from Apple before it's classified as vintage.

I would get a new battery while it is still available. That's just me. My love of MBA makes me not at all objective. I think they are great machines!
 
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Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,694
2,123
They are really great machines. I have nothing but fond memories of my first 2010 MBA and this little computer is running along very smoothly. I'm so surprised how well it runs even though it is 6 years old! I was using it the other night for my regular nightly workflow and it didn't miss a beat. The fans picked up a little once in a while, but overall no problems. I'm really leaning towards keeping it and using it for a guest computer, music server, or maybe kitchen computer.



I'm there with you! It's amazing that besides the lack of a backlit keyboard you couldn't tell this machine from a 2015 MBA. Before buying an rMB I had a 2015 11" MBA for a few weeks and honestly can barely tell the difference between that machine and this 2010.

Good idea on the battery. It only has 157 cycles (well, 158 now!) and I got about 25 minutes over 10% of battery life. Does that seem good? Or better to just throw in a new battery to give it some more life? It's probably better to get a new battery from Apple before it's classified as vintage.


250 mins about 4 or so hours, I think that one was rated by Apple at only 5 hours when released, considering the changes in websites and apps and how much or intense they often are these days that seems almost like new performance for the battery.
 
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ignatius345

macrumors 68040
Aug 20, 2015
3,016
4,014
Not to be a buzzkill, but this could be very great to pass on to someone in need.
 
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Acronyc

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 24, 2011
752
260
Just an update. I've been using it on and off since I got it and the nostalgia is very strong. It's amazing what a good computer it still is. I ran some tests on the SSD and saw that there are some bad blocks and lots of power on/off cycles, which means I'm thinking this was tethered to a power supply for most of its life since the battery cycles were so low.

I got a brand new OWC Aura Pro 120GB SSD for it, just waiting for some time to put it in. A new battery from Apple is cheap enough right now, so I think I'll do that as well and this little Mac should be as good as new.

Not to be a buzzkill, but this could be very great to pass on to someone in need.

I totally agree! I had a family member who could have used it but I bought them a new Mac already a couple months ago. So no friends/family I know of right now that need it. I'm still keeping my eye out though and think I'll hold on to it for now until I find someone that needs it.
 
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jetlagged

macrumors 6502
Sep 6, 2012
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Not that it's related but I own an iPhone 5, had it since 2012, just recently replaced the battery and it's amazing now.

Keep it, change the battery and as others echoed, you can use it as s guest computer or pass it on to a family member.
 
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