Which MacBook Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by kitkat9, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. kitkat9 macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2013
    Hi! I'm pretty excited to be buying my first MacBook soon (I also just got approved for $2,000 financing with Barclay's, which was quite a surprise). I know I definitely want the 13", but am conflicted on whether I should pay the extra $200 for the 256 GB vs. the 128 GB.

    The budget that I've set is around $1,300. I am waiting until the tax free day in my state to buy. I will also get the student discount, which will be $100, from what I understood from the Apple employee. So that will put me at $999 for the 128 and $1,199 for the 256. I also would like the Apple Care (btw, would you encourage others to get this or no? Seems like it makes sense to me, but am not 100%). I will get 30% off that too apparently, costing $175. So that will be $1,374 for the 256 or $1,174 for the 128, so obviously over the budget I set for myself for the 256.

    But considering it's only $74 more than I wanted to spend, I want to know, how much it would really matter to me to have double the amount of GB.

    Now, I really get confused with the whole 4GB memory and 128/256GB flash storage. I'm going to be using this computer for pretty basic, casual things (i.e. browsing, watching shows/movies, documents, small amount of music/pictures). So I'm just having a hard time sorting out whether the extra flash storage would be advantageous enough for me to spend an extra $200.

    If anyone would be willing to give their opinion, that would be extremely helpful! Would just like to hear people's thoughts, or maybe what they decided on.
  2. kitkat9 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2013
    Woah, actually just checked the educational pricing and it would only be $50 off for Air, but the MBP is $200 off?! I kind of had my heart set on the Air, but if it would be that much of a savings, I would definitely have to consider the Pro, so now there is a third one in the mix... so input on that would be helpful.

    Also on Apple, where it gives all the stats for each model, it does not give any info on the flash storage of the 13" Pro, but does for the 13" Pro Retina. Can I just assume the flash storage is the same (128 for the 2.5 GHz)?
  3. Fifteen20s macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2012
    Based on your stated needs and the fact your financing I would just get the base model MBA.

    The base model is no slouch. I was contemplating it vs a 13in rMBP and I am pleasantly surprised with this thing.

    Buy the base model. Bust your butt paying off, then if you find it lacking flip it for a higher power model before it runs out of warranty.
  4. mattferg macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2013
    If it's going to be your sole computer, the i5/8/256 is generally the sweet spot, and I wouldn't short change yourself on less but it's up to you - if you do, i5/8/128 is the one to go for, the 8GB is worth it for future proofing :)
  5. m98custom1212, Jul 21, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2013

    m98custom1212 macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2013
    Toledo, Ohio
    I picked up the 13 I5/256gb/8gb price was good and I have main desktop for any heavy tasks which I can log in from anywhere if I have an internet connection. I felt the 11 was to small for me to type on. Also, I like the fact the 13 has a sd slot for extra space if I need it. (Reason I picked the 13 over the 11)

    My reasoning.

    256sd- for my main programs and cloud storage. 3d modeling programs eats space... Larger assemblies load fast on SSD.

    8gb ram- I'm a heavy multitask-er, excel running, pdfs, Solidworks, NX, music, internet and leaves enough room to get a ram disk if I want one.

    I5- easy the money for i7 was not worth money to me when I desktop with 3930k for exporting 1080p video, rendering, larger assemblies

    I do carry 1tb external for my media on the go..

    Your mileage may vary
  6. munakib macrumors 6502

    May 22, 2011
    I would recommend get 8gb Ram version with the basic specs (128gb HDD/i5 1.8GHz)..You can always carry an external HDD/SD card in the case of 13" Air.

    8GB will make your device future proof and once you start using more advance/memory hungry software, you will not feel the urge to upgrade to a newer device.
  7. larry918 macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2013
    I disagree here...all of the OP's stated needs will run perfectly under the base model. As for future proofing, software/applications are now being redesigned to take as less memory/CPU as possible - I've heard discussions with users saying that their devices run Mavericks smoothly with just 2GB of RAM. Just my $0.02, I could be wrong.

    EDIT: I myself got the 8GB model, but that is because I do heavy switching between OSX and Windows 8 on VMWare.
  8. Jefe's MacAir macrumors 6502

    Nov 21, 2010
    Go i5/8/256. Drop the AppleCare or hold off to buy it later. You can purchase it any time up to a year after your purchase.

    Personally I don't think it's needed unless you need that phone support often. If it helps you sleep better at night then get it.

    My first two Airs were the 128 and I haven't had any issues with storage though I'd still recommend the 256.
  9. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    The 13" Pro does not have flash storage. It uses a traditional spinning disk drive as opposed to a solid state (flash) drive.

    Spinning disk drives usually have a higher capacity at a lower cost, while SSDs are much faster at the expense of capacity.
  10. iterva macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2013
    Ram - For me, upgrading the RAM to max from the start is a no-brainer, especially with a system that does not allow aftermarket upgrading.

    SSD - I went with 256 GB storage, just because my usage gives me approx 120 GB of free space i can use for movies/tv-series and syncing Spotify offline when on the go. I refuse to have a external usb drive hooked to the system...I hate cables in all lengths, forms, colors etc ;)

    Processor - Got the i7 just because i wanted the fastest available (Call it future proofing or as others might call it, stupid), so this is up to personal preference, you got the cash, want the fastest available..Then go for it, but the i5 is in no way a slouch.

    Just my comments, but in general i agree with earlier comments/advice..

  11. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    The advantage of the pro is the ability upgrade the HDD to SSD/Memory in the future for much cheaper than Apple's asking prices. The MBA is stuck, (yes OWC will likely sell upgrade, but their pricing isn't the best and I personally don't like Sandforce controlled SSD's)
  12. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    True. However most users won't ever replace a hard drive, regardless of how easy/ cheap it is to do.
  13. Mighty Anderson macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2012
    I am for OWC Mercury 6G SSD anytime! This is best in all aspects especially for MBP. check this out-http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC
  14. Agent-P macrumors 68030


    Dec 5, 2009
    The Tri-State Area
    Based on the uses you described, I think the base model will suit you just fine (if you find later that you need more space, you can get some pretty small high capacity external hard drives for pretty decent prices). As for the 4gb vs 8gb RAM, personally I would opt for the 8GB as there is no other option to upgrade it if you don't do it now. If you plan on keeping the machine for a long time, this will help make it so you don't have to upgrade as early. Apps and such may be getting more efficient with RAM, but only you know if your usage will remain relatively the same or whether at a later point you'll need to run a VM or something.

    Sorry for rambling. To recap: base model should be fine for your needs, but consider the upgrade to 8gb RAM.
  15. MikeyMike01 macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2010
    I switched from a MBP. Unless you have a very specific reason for requiring the additional power from MBP, the MBA is simply better.
  16. JGRE macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2011
    Dutch Mountains
    Well, there is another point for choosing only 4GB. The computer will certainly use more than 4GB even running not those heavy apps. Point however is, that a SSD equipped machine will not run into swapping problems as it can do this much faster than a HD-equipped machine. So the OP should be fine with the base model even running some heavier apps.
  17. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    My beef with sandforce drives is their 50% hit in performance when processing incompressible data like video/pictures & when using filevault which many of us use for data security. Samsung/Sandisk Apple drives don't have this hit.
  18. techie-struts macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2013
    The 4 GB will work just fine the SSD is what allows this to happen and the heavier apps would not bother the system performance. OP get the base model and applecare. For your needs it will work perfectly. :cool:
  19. Psychj0e, Jul 24, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013

    Psychj0e macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2010
    Why don't you buy a computer you can afford, rather than buy one on credit? Or better still, save up for a macbook air.

    "If you can't afford to pay for it, then you don't need it" is a well known saying that might be useful to remember here.
  20. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Based on your stated uses, the base should be fine. Theoretically, the 8GB model might be a little faster if you use RAM-intensive applications, but it doesn't sound like you will. If you intend to hold onto it for a while, it could be worthwhile, as RAM needs will increase over time. As others have pointed out, when the system runs out of RAM, it pages to your SSD. Since an SSD is faster than a hard drive, it's less noticeable than it would be on a PC or Mac with a hard drive.

    As for 128 vs. 256GB, the main difference is whether you can manage with the internal storage. The overall performance should be very similar. Note with USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt, you can add external hard drives or flash drives that are pretty quick. The 128GB model has a functional capacity of 121GB, and about 90GB free at purchase. The 256GB model has a functional capacity of 251GB, and 220GB free at purchase.

    If you are looking to prioritize RAM vs storage, note that you can always add external storage, but the RAM is soldered.
  21. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    you won't like this but i personally think financing a computer is a terrible idea...unless of course you absolutely HAVE to have it right now.
  22. silverf1re macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2011
    lets be honest u need to save or buy a 300 dollar PC. will it do everything you need to yes, will it be as flashy as an apple? no. being excited because you got approved to take a loan out on a computer is silly.
  23. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Get the $250 Samsung Chromebook. It will serve your basic functioning. That too at the price of applecare.

    Save the money. You will need it there are a lot of unforseen expenses in life. Especially as a student.
  24. JGRE macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2011
    Dutch Mountains
    Don't forget to reserve disk space for the swap-file, otherwise even a SSD equipped machine runs into a swapping issue.
  25. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    There are upsides and downsides. It's best not to get overextended with credit, but in order to build a credit rating you need to take out some credit and pay it back responsibly.

    I'd highly recommend setting up automatic payments so that you make sure that you pay off the MacBook before the end of the deferred interest period. Be safe. Pay it off by month 11. Sometimes the payment dates don't align with the end of the deferral period (e.g. the due date might be on the 5th of the month but the deferral might end on the 20th of the month, meaning you can't wait until the next payment date to pay it off). If there is any balance at all after a year, they whack you with about 20% interest on the entire purchase from Day 1 (making that $1300 MacBook more like a $1600 MacBook when you figure the interest on the taxes).

    Based on this, stick with the base model, or maybe the base model with 8GB. Pay it off in 11 months. Act responsibly with credit now, and once you get settled into your first "real" job you'll be able to get a much better card than the BarclayCard.

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