Which macbook air do I need for University?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ste1164, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. ste1164, Aug 24, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012

    ste1164 macrumors 6502a

    ste1164

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    #1
    I'm going to start uni in October doing biomedicine at Durham. I wanted to get a Macbook air. Ill be keeping it for at least 4 years over the period of the course. In that time ill probably use it for using office software, word processing etc. Using a mathematical modelling software (SPSS) and some growing & light gaming. I might need to run windows either in bootcamp or parallels sometime. I was planning on just getting 256GB of storage but I'm unsure wether I should upgrade to the i7 & 8GB of RAM to future proof myself, just keep the i5 and 4GB of ram or just upgrade the RAM or just the processor.
     
  2. anotherjoey macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2012
    #2
    I'd say just get the 8 GB ram upgrade and the bigger SSD if you need it, as you'll most likely not notice the difference between the i5 and i7 for your needs. I'm personally fine with the 128 gb SSD as I have an external drive.
     
  3. ste1164 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ste1164

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    #3
    Ah right thanks, only reason I considered the i7 because I read in places that there is a noticeable performance increase. Would i notice a big change playing team fortress 2 for instance.
     
  4. Bauer24 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 18, 2009
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #4
    I'm assuming you're referring to the 13" Air. Because you say you want to keep this for 4 years I would absolutely at least max out the RAM to 8 GB and grab a 256 GB SSD. Over the course of 4 years you're going to be glad you have the extra room.

    As for the i7, you'd probably notice it in games and I think the last benchmarks I saw put it ahead in by a good margin in all other OS tasks as well (compressing folders, iTunes imports, etc).

    Here are some benchmarks for you to look at; for the $110 upgrade cost I think the increases are significant enough - especially if you want to keep it for 4 years. Spread out over 4 years, it's about $2.50 a month!

    http://www.macworld.com/article/1167418/ultimate_macbook_air_2012_models_put_to_the_test.html
     
  5. boto macrumors 6502

    boto

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    #5
    I would definitely advise you to get the 8GB RAM option for certain. As for the i7, save yourself the $100 unless you really need it. There isn't really any significant performance boosts except maybe a few seconds to render and process things, otherwise, in terms of gaming you won't notice any higher framerates than the i5 processor, they both have the exact same GPU shaders and VRAM.
     
  6. Bauer24 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 18, 2009
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #6
    Don't forget that resale value could be a consideration. I always advocate buying what you can afford, but if having an i7 increases resale value by even $50 in four years then he's only paid $60 for improved performance for 4 years. Just something to consider.
     
  7. ste1164 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ste1164

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    #7
    Thank you for the replies :) ill defiantly get the 8GB of RAM then. As for the i7 im still a bit unsure. This is a long shot but is anyone doing/done biomedicine at Durham uni and could they recommend anything?
     
  8. Drmedic macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2012
    #8
    I'm doing Medicine in the UK which is basically biomedicine with hospital stuff if I'm honest. I'm starting in September too.

    I bought the MBA with 8gb RAM and also bought the Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter. I ordered it a couple of days ago actually, still hasn't arrived :(
    http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MD463ZM/A/thunderbolt-to-gigabit-ethernet-adapter

    It costs £25, but if you buy it WITH your MBA it'll only cost £21.60.
    If you plan on going on the internet in your room you definitely need this adapter as the MBA doesn't have a Ethernet port. Or you could get a USB->Ethernet cable, but this may reduce internet speeds.
    You might have wifi in your room in Durham, I have no idea. It's probably better to use an ethernet cable anyway.

    It'll cost you £949.20 in total.
    £859.2 for Base model
    +£68.4 for 8gb RAM
    +£21.6 for adapter
     
  9. ste1164 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ste1164

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    #9
    Do you use any modelling programs in medicine? & yea I was told biomedicine was medicine without the caring :p ill probably at least get 256GB of storage and use an external drive.
     
  10. LeeM macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    #10
    if you want to keep it for 4 years id get the best you can afford in every aspect.
     
  11. Drmedic macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2012
    #11
    I personally don't see the point of getting the 256gb SSD if you're using an external drive anyway :confused:
     
  12. ste1164 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ste1164

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    #12
    Id rather avoid using an external drive. If possible ill get a 512GB but if not 256GB
     
  13. iamsen47 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2012
    Location:
    Kobe, Japan
    #13
    Agree with the Doc.

    You could always carry a 32~64gb USB stick if you don't want to carry an external around the whole time.
     
  14. masands macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    #14
    I have the 13" 128gb for University. Storage is not an issue because even with all the programs you will need like Microsoft Office, iWork etc + Windows and simulation software, I have around 85gb free. My Uni has Wifi so I just stream music from the cloud (no need for super large library). I have plenty of room for games (CS:GO party during large break? Hell Yeah!).

    So yeah, 128gb should be large enough. You can also pick up a small USB flash drive for 30-40$.
     
  15. phr0ze macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    Location:
    Columbia, MD
    #15
    Getting 128GB was my biggest mistake.

    I was trying to keep my life minimal. I keep all my music and videos on a seperate NAS drive. However Itunes kept finding ways of eating my local storage (artwork, apps, etc). Also photos from my iphone were eating storage. I started off loading pics to my external drive to help that. Then my virtual machine images were also growing. Although I kept the usage light and just patched what I had to, the virtual drive was growing and solutions to shrink it were temporary at best.

    In all I found I had to make lots of compromises and I had to constantly 'clean up' the drive. Is 128GB do able? yes. But its painful even with the NAS and an external.

    I eventually put a 64GB MicroSD in the SD slot with a flush adapter. It helped storage a lot, I put my itunes root folder there. But I also noticed my responsiveness was greatly reduced from anything on the microSD. Not a little reduced, but several second delay reduced.
     
  16. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Kansas City
    #16
    Here's another review to consider.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6063/macbook-air-13inch-mid-2012-review

    I opted for the i7/8GB/256GB as I plan on having this for at least 4 years and want it to be as future-proof as possible. I would have loved to upgrade the SSD to 512GB, but wasn't too keen on dropping yet another $500 on it. I figure in a year or so the aftermarket SSDs will drop in price and I can add one for half that cost, plus resell my 256GB one. I've only had mine a week, and after moving my iTunes library and modest iPhoto library to it I've already consumed 100GB of SSD space. In my opinion, 256GB is the minimum workable SSD size if you plan on having this for as long as you think you will, unless you plan on continually pruning and optimizing what you have on it.

    Another option I've seen folks use to increase storage is to use a large SD card in the card slot. It's similar to using a USB stick, but a little less obtrusive. The downside is that I think the card slots are limited to 40MB/sec, and I've seen others complain of latency issues.
     
  17. TallManNY macrumors 68040

    TallManNY

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #17
    Don't worry about the extra space. A thunderbolt external drive will be very cheap well before you ever use up your existing 256 GB. And cloud storage options are increasing exponentially. I wonder if your University won't offer one and ubiquitous fast WiFi is common at most schools these days.
     
  18. astoxos macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2012
    #18
    Get the basic 13'' and you'll be fine. Spend the difference in stuff you gonna need more for your new adventure in durham.
     
  19. Titanium81 macrumors 6502a

    Titanium81

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    #19
    Get the basic 13" with the 8 GB of RAM upgrade which is only $100. It will be well worth it in a few years when 8 GB is the norm.
     
  20. asting macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2012
    #20
    the whole "only $100" doesn't pan out when it's available much cheaper elsewhere. It turns into a $250 upgrade when you consider you have to order from apple (if you bought from best buy during their sale for instance).
    I realize OP isn't from the US, so the use of USD is improper, however I'm sure it's a similar situation.
     
  21. Blackberryroid macrumors 6502a

    Blackberryroid

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    Aug 8, 2012
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    #21
    Same here. Good thing I didn't go with 64 GB. No one could survive the dreaded storage of that one.
     
  22. astoxos macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2012
    #22
    Fortunately for me was the greatest call. You dont need to load up storage with the entire media librady. All you need is a decent usb stick. I have put almost everything in there and as a result SSD has around 90gb free space.
     
  23. Trunks87 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    #23
    Not to mention saving almost $300 and potentially spending half of that when money's not so tight later on toward a LaCie 1TB external rugged drive for example
     
  24. phr0ze macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    Location:
    Columbia, MD
    #24

    You missed my point. I don't keep ANY of my library on my Air 128. Just the meta file so I can atleast open itunes. My llibrary is on the NAS. BUT itunes still insists on putting loading certain folders back on the internal storage. It eats it away.

    Plus the virtual machine is eating it away too.

    Whats the point of the air if you are stuck dragging an external drive and more wires with you.
     
  25. Nathan576 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    #25
    I have the 128gb and I stream my whole iTunes library with ituens match and after everything is installed, all the apps I want, etc I still have 80gb free.
     

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