Which to buy? Refurb 2011 MBA or new 2012 MBA?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by gdog75, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. gdog75 macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2012
    If you had to choose one for yourself, which would you choose? Both of the below models are $1199 on the US apple store.

    1. The new basic model 13" MacBook Air:

    MacBook Air 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor
    13-inch display
    Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz
    4GB memory
    128GB flash storage
    Intel HD Graphics 4000

    2. Or the this refurbished 2011 model:

    Refurbished MacBook Air 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i7
    Originally released July 2011
    13.3-inch (diagonal) high-resolution LED-backlit glossy widescreen display
    4GB memory
    256GB flash storage
    Intel HD Graphics 3000

  2. charlieegan3 macrumors 68020


    Feb 16, 2012
    Do you think you will need the 256GB SSD? Thats the main difference you will have to face. The other thing to think about is the more modern CPU in the 2012 one, but in terms of what you will have to deal with the SSD is your main question.

    EDIT: also you shouldn't worry about buying a refurb - they are all covered by the standard warranties.
  3. gdog75 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2012
    I think the 128GB SSD should be plenty to be honest. I'll throw on a few HD movies and tv shows, but nothing crazy.

    I love Apple refurbished stuff. I bought lots of their refurbs before.

    EDIT: Any idea how the refurb's i7 would compare to the new i5?
  4. nexsta macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2007
  5. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    If you qualify for an education discount, go with the new system and get $50 off plus a $100 app store gift card... unless you really truly need the larger SSD.
  6. gdog75 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2012
    Game, set, match! :D I think I have my answer! Thank you everyone!


    Good point. I'm sure I can wrangle up a student discount some how some way.
  7. Nebrie macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2002
    Don't forget the new model has a new quieter fan.
  8. gdog75 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2012
    It is? Isn't the new fancy fan only on the Retina MacBook Pro?
  9. Zzari macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    I was in the same boat, and I'm going with the 2012 13" base model with the upgrade to 8GB RAM. I personally don't need very much storage, and seeing the greatly improved benchmarks from 2011 to 2012 plus the addition of 8GB RAM has me sold.

    Definitely a touch choice and you can't go wrong either way. It basically boils down to 256GB v. 8GB RAM + Better Processor + HD4000 + SATA III. If you need storage, the 256GB is probably a better buy, but if you don't, then I think the 2012 definitely wins.
  10. twobslick macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2009
    I'm debating the same thing. My question is weather I will really see $300 difference in performance? I don't believe that I will. This notebook is really for about two to three year upgrade and by then hopefully the upgrades will be more significant and less expensive. It isn't often you can get 25% off on a Mac.
  11. mds macrumors 6502

    Oct 6, 2006
    I'm also in the same boat. Trying to upgrade from a 2010 Macbook air. Both have their pros and cons. Maybe the real answer is wait for 2012 refurbs.
  12. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    From a 2010 MBA the decision would be easy, in my opinion. Sandy Bridge was a huge upgrade in 2011, and now you have another upgrade with Ivy Bridge, not to mention the backlit keyboard, USB 3.0, etc. The 2011 to 2012 upgrade is a little more difficult, and although I would probably end up doing it, that's only because I like new stuff, and it wouldn't make much financial sense.
  13. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I'd get the larger hard drive. Lets put this in perspective, my Macbook Pro from 2006 had a 120gb hard drive, and it was considered small back then.

    6 years later, apps are larger, you have more of them, you have a larger photo + music collection...

    Get an air with 256gb minimum.
  14. dgnr8 macrumors member

    Nov 13, 2010
    I bought the refurb you list, it arrived on Friday. I have been using it nonstop and the fan is quiet to me. I previously had a Core 2 duo MacBook pro and I have noticed a big speed difference when doing mundane tasks. It was worth going with the refurb for the bigger hard drive.
  15. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I am the opposite. I have found I use less and less drive space. I am working easily within 128. I could go smaller, but I have one application that is set up to store data on the local drive, and there is no way to move it off the computer. If that ever changes, I will go to 64.

    I have tons of data -- several terabytes worth. But, with all of the cloud, external drive, time capsule, and other solutions out there, local space matters a lot less these days.
  16. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2007
  17. islanders macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2006
    Charleston, SC
    usb 3

    Mine has to have usb 3. Macs have been handicapped by the slow speed of FW. USB 3 card readers are much faster. If you shoot video transferring over 20gb would take too long. I'm also interested in how much it will boost video editing now that the scratch disk has a decent connection. That's been the bottle neck for MBP in the real world that is moving away from transcoding and rendering. I plan to use my external Lacie USB3 external 7400 rpm to store everything as well.

    I don't plan to edit video on the MBA (or any laptop for that matter) but the faster connection opens up a lot of options and I wouldn't be surprised if if was faster than a MBP that had FW.
  18. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2007
    I do. But just typical family type videos taken on a consumer AVCHD camcorder. Based on this info, how much better would the new 2012 Air do vs the 2011 model? Slight difference? No difference?

  19. GodWhomIsMike macrumors 6502a

    Sep 24, 2007
    Same boat. The 2012 seems like sooo much money. I just got back from a two week stay in Japan, and want to go back. At the same time, I got back to find I need to get a new computer asap. RIP mid-2010 Macbook. :(

    The taxes and apple care add soooo much to the price. :mad:


    I definitely need a minimum of 256GB.
    MUST be able to output hours of 1080p streaming video to 50" HDTV.
    Prefer 13" size.

    Looking at the Air prices, I am kinda tempted to just get a MBP base model, open it up and toss in a 6G SSD drive from newegg and 8GB+ ram.

    I am afraid that I am going to spend about $1200-$1300 on a refurb MBA, and find that the HD3000 sucks at streaming 1080p video to a 50" HDTV.

    If I didn't have 6+ years worth the applications, iTunes stuff, and data all tied to Apple, I would probably just get a 14" Lenovo with a 2GB dedicated video card for $799. For $1000, I could have a 14" powerhouse with 256GB SSD in it.

    I feel like I am going to be paying 100s extra for something that is going to age poorly.

    I know people here sell their Macs after a year or two of use, I hate selling stuff. People suck, and I can't be bothered. I like running computers for years until they no longer work.

  20. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    I have two questions about the new Air...

    1. Anyone have any thoughts about battery life between the 2011 Air and the new 2012? Should I expect any improvements?

    2. Does the built-in SD reader benefit from USB3? e.g. Is it any faster?
  21. riveting macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2009
    Same question,

    I do have a more specific question, does the 2012 MBA run quieter and colder than 2011 MBA? Any one has on-hand experience?

    The performance difference seems to be small.
  22. riveting macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2009
    I think the core i5 2012 13 MBA geekbench is actually 61** in the original source, the 6915 seems like a typo because it is just too close to the i7 version.


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