Which is best for my needs?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by lightning33, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. lightning33 macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2012
    I need some advice. I am a first time Mac laptop buyer. I understand the whole Haswell probably not coming out until October/fall thing – that is not my question. My question is mainly what do I NEED and how do I get the most bang for my buck for the longest period of time. Let me explain.

    I am NOT a power user (I would use it semi-daily for web and email and monthly at most for the movies). My uses for my new machine will be: web surfing, email, occasionally MS Office-ing, watching movies off of Netflix of Amazon Prime, and the once-in-a-blue-moon game, but nothing intense (maybe a Splinter Cell or Shogun or something). My current laptop (Dell M1530 from 2008 – 15.4 1440x900, 2GB RAM, 1.667GHz C2D, etc) is crapping out. So, I need to replace it. I also plan to keep it for a while. I would like to get 5 years out of it of being a viable computer.

    I was waiting for the Hawell rMBP 13” like everyone else, but oh well. The other wrinkle is that I can buy a premade Apple tax free from the military exchange as I was in. I am thinking an Air would be fine, but I should upgrade the RAM to 8GB to help with that future-proofing (I don’t know though that I NEED this…just may WANT this). This would be a BTO system and I would have to get it from Apple plus Applecare makes it 1450ish. OR, I can get a stock 13” rMBP from the Exchange for 1490 then buy AppleCare making it 1650ish. This comparison is based on me thinking I should up the RAM on an Air though. Buying a stock Air would be 1250ish all said and done (includes AppleCare).

    So, what do I NEED based on my described usage? I don’t NEED Retina, but it sure is nice…i wasn't even considering the Retina but if the base Retina is same price as speced up Air plus tax, why not? And the new battery life on the new Air is nice, but I usually have it plugged in anyway, so not much of a factor.

    Which system will give me the most bang for my buck for the longest period of time?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. B..., Jun 11, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013

    B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    Really, any computer from 2010 on would fit your needs. Even an iPad probably. But if you really wanted a 2012-2013, go for the Air 13" base. Or, if you really want retina, go for that 13" base. But both above computers are insanely overkill for your needs.
  3. lightning33, Jun 11, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013

    lightning33 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2012
    My concern, and it may be WAY unfounded, is future OSes and apps that might require more than 4GB of RAM. Or if 4 is the minimum, then I'd be scratching by. Right or wrong?

    And i know ANYTHING will be better than my current setup.
  4. robanga macrumors 68000


    Aug 25, 2007
    If you want more assurance of future Os compatibility, then yes max out the specs although its is no way a guarantee. I would likely get 8GB is I were buying one this week. True, that the uses you have described are in no way going to use that. If you were editing video, doing graphics or audio work you would notice.

    Who knows if we will see an OS X 11 by 2016 or so though, and then you never know.
  5. lightning33 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2012
    What about Mavericks? I know it is new, but would that work well on the base Air?
  6. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
  7. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    if it doesn't there will be lots of PO'ed people! I can't imagine that it wouldn't work fine. ML has a reputation of being bit of a memory hog, but my 2008 Macbook runs fine with 4 gigs of ram. I'm not doing anything super-demanding on it, but it doesn't sound like you will be either.

    Either way, if you don't like Mavericks or if it takes them a version or 4 to "get it right" then you could always go back to Mountain Lion while you wait.

    Me I would upgrade the RAM first - especially now that there's no more 64g 11" drive...

    the truth of the matter is, for what you described any of these computers would work great for you, or as someone else mentioned an iPad. But imo the OS is what makes the macs great and there is no finer OS than OS X. So if any of them would meet your needs, the cheapest one is obviously going to be the best "bang for your buck"

    The other option would of course be to upgrade that Dell. For less than $300 you could but a SSD in it and upgrade to 8gigs of ram. It would be like a brand new computer.
  8. lightning33 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2012
    1) that's no fun!
    2) on a full charge, my battery got 35 minutes before dying!

    Are you saying I should upgrade the RAM? Final price tag is not the big issue but if I am getting my money's worth. I mean, a 15" rMBP could be swung (maybe), but that would be a waste for me. The $1500 13" rMBP is closer to my usage, but that doesn't mean it's close. (side question: I know Retina nice for text, but does it make movies look better?)

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