Which Air for my needs: i5/8GB/128 --or-- i7/8GB/256

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by blueskyy., Aug 29, 2012.

  1. blueskyy. macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2012
    My old dinosaur of a computer, 17" 2006 Macbook Pro, is on it's last legs. I've determined that the best replacement will be a 13" Macbook Air, but I'm having the hardest time making a final decision on the specs. I'm hoping your opinions will give me some more insight. Thanks in advance.

    I will choose one of the following 13" models: i5/8GB/128 -or- i7/8GB/256.
    I'm not considering any other model or configurations.

    The biggest issue for me is the price-performance factor. In Japan (where I'm living), the approx. price difference is $430. Is it really worth $430 extra for the i7 and an additional 128GB SSD?

    My computer needs:
    - general (internet, itunes, ms office)
    - design (photoshop/indesign/illustrator) *light-medium frequency/use
    - video (imovie) *light frequency/use
    - future needs: (virtual DJ, possibly light gaming) *frequency unknown
    - I'm really hoping for a HUGE increase in speed/performance over my current computer, which is just killing me!

    The extra disc space is welcomed but not absolutely essential for me. I would describe it as slightly better than a bonus. I use a external HHD already but the less I have to bring with me the better.

    Converted from yen into dollars with educational pricing, the price differences are approx. $1390 and $1820 ($430 difference). I can afford either one, but $1820 is kind of pushing my budget. Based on everything here, which would you recommend for me? Thank you!
  2. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    The uses you describe don't really seem that demanding, so the i7 seems like a bit extraneous and will only reduce your battery life in most of those tasks (although it will be a tiny bit faster). It comes down to a question of disk space. Personally, I don't think the $430 is worth the extra 128gb ssd. I'd rather spend $90 of that on a 1tb portable 2.5" USB 3.0 drive, and save the rest. It's really up to you though.
  3. SuperRob macrumors 6502

    Mar 14, 2011
    I got the 128GB i5 with 8GB of RAM. I did get a 64GB SDXC card (KomputerBay sells fast ones) to use for document and photo storage. So far, it's running great, but I've only had it for about three weeks.
  4. wolfpuppies3 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2012
    Virginia, USA
    I am photo processing intensive and went with

    the 2012 13" MB Air, 2 Ghz i7, 8 GB RAM, and 512 GB SSD. It is fully eight times faster than my 2012 MB Pro with 2.66 i7, 8 GB RAM, and 7200 500 MB HDD.

    Works for me.
  5. bubbleboyjones macrumors member

    Jun 4, 2010

    Then you don't need it. :)

    I got an i7/8GB/256 because ill be planning on keeping it for a long time and 128 gb is annoying for me.
  6. m.demian macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2012
    I'm also having trouble deciding on a final configuration. I'm sticking with the default RAM config; no way in hell I'm going to need more than 4GB of RAM - like ever. It's laughable when I see casual users getting 8GB or more RAM "just because." Obviously, there are people who need the extra memory, but it's a select niche.

    My main concern is the permanent storage. Can any new 2012 Air users post how much available space their machines had (either 128 or 256GB) when they first purchased and booted up their machines (absolutely fresh install without any applications installed)?
  7. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a


    May 19, 2009
    Midwest US
    I bought an 11" i7/8GB/256SSD because portability and power were important to me ... and I seriously wanted to get off the "upgrade my MBA every year" bus.

    The machine is expensive, but worth it. Buy the best you can afford, whether you anticipate a need for it or not. You'll limit your chances of being disappointed further down the road.
  8. polotska macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2007
    If the extra storage is not critical to you, it’s probably not worth the price difference.
  9. bubbleboyjones macrumors member

    Jun 4, 2010

    Application requirements will continue eat up more RAM as the years go on. $100 to double your RAM is a no brainer for me. Just like if it was $100 to double your SSD space I would say that is a no brainer as well.

    Thats the sticking point. Apple gave a very reasonable price for RAM upgrade(which they didn't do in the past) but the SSD upgrade is really high.
  10. chacolo macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2012
  11. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    I would go as baseline as possible and use externals for storage if need be, since your design/editing usage is light by what you describe.
  12. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    It's not $100 when you have to purchase from apple. The base model is available much cheaper, and you can even get it without tax if you order online (and the store doesn't have a retail location in that state). stating "It's only $100, come on" is pretty false.
  13. m.demian macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2012
    RAM requirements won't inflate so drastically that the standard user will be wishing they had 8GB of memory instead of 4. No, $100 for 4GB is actually not a no-brainer. Nor is paying $300 for 128GB more of SSD storage. Yes, for Apple standards, these prices are just about as "reasonable" as you can get.

    Obviously, money is typically not an issue for anyone buying an Apple laptop, but that doesn't justify the costs of these upgrades. I stand by my claims and will most likely just get the base 13'' Air. If the Air wasn't so damn light and didn't have such a great form factor, I'd just get a 13'' Pro and toss in a 256GB SSD for nearly half the cost of the Air upgrade. The 500GB HDD that it comes with would just be used as a storage unit at home.

    So why am I even getting an Apple product if I keep bitching about the terrible price points? The machines are just nice to use. From the physical characteristics, like trackpad and build quality, to the Unix-like OS and functionality that comes with it, I can justify the premium. This is a machine that I'll be using day-in and day-out, which is worth the investment for me.
  14. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    I know $100 means a lot of different things to different people, but in my opinion, those who don't get the 8GB of memory now will regret it, as I do feel it will limit their resale potential in the future. Just my 2 cents.

    BTW I agree that the SSD pricing is still silly.
  15. m00min macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2012
    Apple's RAM upgrade costs are not reasonable. I looked into buying a Mac Mini.

    Cost to BTO 8gb of RAM from Apple: £80, that's for 4gb since they just add to what's already installed.

    Cost to buy from Crucial: £40, for 8gb, since I'd still have the original 4gb from the Mac Mini to repurpose.

    Four times the cost most definitely isn't reasonable.

    Obviously for an Air this is a moot point.
  16. stchman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    Problem is that the only way to get any 8GB models of the MBA is to order them. None of the retailers sell them that way.
  17. m.demian macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2012
    That's an interesting perspective you bring with the memory upgrade. With the potential for increased resale value, it does somewhat mediate the upgrade cost. I can see your point on that issue.

    True, $100 by itself is not a large amount. However, comparing it with current RAM prices is nevertheless disheartening. I'm glad we agree on the insanity of the SSD pricing, though :)

    I'm not even trying to dissuade anyone from buying the upgrades (it's your money, the hell if I care what you spend it on); just shining some light on the ridiculousness of the pricing.
  18. iAppl3Fan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2011
    Get the i5, you said the i7 is a nice to have. Simple as that.
  19. bubbleboyjones macrumors member

    Jun 4, 2010

    Oh christ here we go.....

    Listen Im referring to the BTO upgrade pricing. If you can somehow get your Air with 4gb for a dollar and then the 8gb RAM upgrade will cost you $1199+tax then please by all means don't upgrade. I said the $100 RAM upgrade is a no brainer for me. Thats because I have a BTO Air.
  20. asting, Aug 29, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012

    asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    don't christ me, that is a valid point. It doesn't matter if it's only $100 more than the base at apple because it's a ~$250 price increase vs buying the same computer somewhere else. If you were going to buy the base at the store then I have to conclude you're not very bright.
    If the only BTO option you're doing is 8gb ram, then yes, it does cost ~$250. If you're too ignorant to see that then there's nothing i can do.
  21. bubbleboyjones macrumors member

    Jun 4, 2010

    For you it isn't then.

    Lets put it this way. If i had a 2010 Air and didn't have the 4gb option I would be pretty bummed and its only been 2 years since its release. If I was looking to pick up an Air on ebay from 2010 i sure as hell am not buying a 2gb model unless its dirt cheap.

    In 2014 and beyond I will be gladly smiling with 8gb in the Air.


    What do you want me to do? Look at every store sale and educational discount and then put a giant fat disclaimer in my post as to not offend anyone about the rude $100 upgrade statement I made.

    I clearly stated that the $100 RAM upgrade is a no brainer for me. Maybe not for you, I don't your situation, I don't know if you have in your possession some magical coupon for some local brick and mortar computer store where the RAM doesn't equal $100. I don't know any of that. I'm just saying that the upgrade of RAM was a no brainer for me.
  22. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    Because the well documented BB price+coupon or BHphotovideo are both local mortar stores. :rolleyes: You don't have to be a genius to figure that one out.
    I bought the 8GB ram upgrade, however don't think I woudl if buying again (I bought right when the new models came out and Bh didn't have any discount, neither did bb).
  23. blueskyy. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2012
    Thanks for all of your opinions thus far! But in this particular thread I think some discussion is getting a little off track heh. In Japan, the RAM upgrade is approx. $100 because I can't buy from any of the stores you've mentioned. My only option is from the apple.jp store. So for me, upgrading to the i7/256 is indeed $430 more no matter how you look at it. I should mention that while my design work is light-moderate frequency, when I do actually work on stuff it can get pretty processor intensive, it just isn't like I'm doing that every day. I didn't really think of resale value as a big factor before though... but I presume as long as had the 8GB RAM, I could still make out fairly well.
  24. marc79 macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2012

    TS, i'm from Malaysia. Understand how u felt that to purchase from local Apple online store. from your post, i understand that money is not an issue (maybe slight tight budget). I'm a proud owner if i7 - 8GB - 256GB SSD.

    so far, i'm quite happy with the purchase eventho the $$ is slight costly for a 256GB SSD.

    8GB RAM by common sense, it is a no brainer.. Just go for it.

    As for i5 or i7 , the price doesnt much different, so select which u think u comfortable with.

    As for 128GB or 256GB SSD, you may need to ask yourself, do you want to store documents in your AIR? Do you travel often and would like to carry an extra portable HDD with you always?

    Since u no plan to resale purpose, please take note that its non-upgradeable for AIR. so if the $430 u can absord it, go for it.. its a no regret investment :p
  25. asting macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2012
    If your only option is from apple, then go for it I guess. It sounds like you're worrying about it so get it and never wonder if it would be faster with the upgraded ram.

    However, for the vast majority of forum users based in the US the pricing observations I made above still apply.

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