Will the 2015 11" Macbook Air be OK for the next 4 years?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by EightyTwenty, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. EightyTwenty macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2015
    I know the 13" comes with 8GB of ram, but I really prefer the smaller form factor. I'd plan to use it as my main PC for the next 4 years and hopefully sell it for $250 Canadian in 2020. I'm seeing 2011 Airs go for over $600 now, so I think that is pretty reasonable.

    Basically looking to budget around $200 CDN per year of use.

    My main questions is how do you people think it will hold up for the next 4 years (basically for Sierra and the next 3 OS updates). Do you think the 4GB of ram could make it unusable at that time?

    My personal needs are very minor. Just web surfing, watching videos, using Microsoft Office, etc. Nothing demanding at all.

  2. bwillwall macrumors 6502a


    Dec 24, 2009
    I personally would go for an 8GB upgrade if you're getting it directly from Apple, I think 4GB without the option to upgrade seems very limiting for 2016 and especially for a number of years ahead.
  3. fierarul macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Nobody knows what Apple will do but from past experience it should work 4 years from now. Assuming there are no hardware issues (the warranty doesn't cover the whole 4 years).

    But for such basic needs and a $200 budget per year you might as well just buy a new Chromebook every year.
  4. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    My 2014 4GB/128GB 11" MBA is still going as strong as it was on day-1. I render videos in iMovie and run virtual machines on it and it doesn't even break a sweat. (The fan has only come on maybe a dozen times during these 2 years. That's in addition to all of the usual productivity stuff... iWork, MS Office, LibreOffice, graphics work in Pixelmator, etc. Absolutely love it, it is the best notebook I've owned... and I've owned many over many years. ;)

    Having said that, I bolded the important point in your post. My MBA is NOT my primary PC. It complements my iMac. I think that the 4GB of RAM won't be the problem but the 128GB storage might. The 11" MBA doesn't have an SD Card slot, so I have a 64GB nano USB stick permanently installed to store media and other files where speed of access is not critical. (the USB 3.0 nano-stick isn't slow by thumbdrive standards but compared to the internal SSD, it is)

    IF I needed an MBA to be a main system, I would opt for the 13" MBA. You probably won't do any of the "heavy lifting" that I'm doing on my MBA so the 11" might work for you, but wanted you to consider this.
  5. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502


    Apr 2, 2012
    Somewhere In Time
    I still use my 2011 11" MBA. I upgrade to the latest OS at each opportunity. It runs great with 4GB RAM.

    As has been stated, no one knows for certain what Apple will do (probably not even Apple). Although the naming convention is changing from OS X to macOS, it's a mature system that I think is unlikely to get a major overhaul anytime soon. From that perspective you should make 2020 easily.

    Looking at RAM, if you won't be happy unless every click elicits speed-of-light response, you better plan on 8GB and you'll still be disappointed. If you're on a budget 4GB will serve most needs well, although YMMV if you're planning heavy usage of Final Cut, or something like that.
  6. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    My 11" i7/8gb/512gb MBA just had its third birthday and I still love it. I'm sure it will meet my needs for a couple more years. It's my primary computer and I do some pretty intensive things - Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, VectorWorks, Filemaker Pro, Strata 3d CX, Vue Infinite, etc.

    But all my software is old, so I have not upgraded from the original MacOSX 8.xx - it ain't broke, so I ain't fixin' it. :D

    For what you describe, I'm sure the MBA would be fine. I previously had a 13" 2011 MBA but switched to the 11" in 2013 and like it much, much more. Couldn't care less about the lack of a retina display. I use a big external monitor at home, along with a bunch of USB peripherals.

    I do tend to agree with the recommendation to get 8gb of RAM if possible. But my 2011 MBA only had 4gb and it ran all the above software just fine. The SSD is so fast on these machines, you will probably not even be aware that swapping is taking place. I sold my 2011 MBA to a very close friend in a "sweetheart deal". She still uses it every day and loves it. She has upgraded to the newest version of MacOS and doesn't seem to have any issues.
  7. toddzrx macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    Just a warning: I would never try to predict what you'll be able to sell a used computer for in the future, especially 4 years from now. There's just no way to reliably know what could affect the market that far away, which for electronics is a long time.

    Case in point: I sold my Apple TV2 last year for $150, over 4 years after purchasing it, which is $50 more than I bought it for. 2012 Mac Minis are on eBay for about the same cost as the current (2014) Mini. My guess is that the Air as a lineup will be gone within the next couple of years, so that should make an impact on used prices in some way; whether for the better or worse is anyone's guess.

    All of that said, getting 8GB RAM isn't that much of an extra expense, unless your budget is really tight. I would recommend it based on my experience of switching between 4 and 8GB RAM on my iMac, and the fact that future Mac OS's will probably only get larger.

    Just a thought: why not consider the MacBook? Given your usage, it seems it would be worth a look.
  8. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
  9. jetlagged macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2012
    I have a 2012 mba 13" and it's now 4 years later, it still fits my need. it's my main computer. I use Lightroom and iMovie to edit 1080 hd videos. I have no need for 4K editing at this time. Definitely it will last you 8 years for sure.

    I plan to keep mine until it dies. But get 8gb of ram
  10. tentales macrumors 6502a


    Dec 6, 2010
    Judging by your "personal needs" statement. 4GB will definitely serve you well.
    If you feel your needs won't change, then why change OS ? For the sake of it ?

    I know lots of people still using Mavericks or even Mountain Lion now. Look Windows 7 still leads the overall OS marketshare by 40%+ and that's 7 years old, so if you're happy with El Capitan now and it works fine on your new MBA11, then stick with it.

    If budget allows (and consider refurb prices) then future proof it with 8GB now and you should be fine for 5+ years.
  11. awair macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2011
    Two questions in one: the MBA and your 'fit' with the MBA...

    Based on past experience, my fully 'maxed' MBA13 from 2013 would probably still be good for me for another 2 years. (My 2011 refurb MBP17 should also be good for that.)

    Unfortunately, my 'maxed' 2014 MBA11 will not be suitable for me in the next year, and it's only 6 month's old...

    Not the problem of the machine, it is my fastest computer. Age/eyesite are no longer a match for the screen size. You might have to consider whether you will still be suitable in 4 years.

    (OK, maybe not you specifically, but anyone else with an interest in this question...)
  12. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    Well that also comes back to your "fit" for the machine. You can connect a big external screen to the MBA if it's primarily used in one place. I'm 67 and my eyesight sucks, have been putting off getting new glasses for years. But I have no problems with my 11" MBA.
  13. EightyTwenty thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2015
    I've been wanting to make the jump from Windows to mac OS for a while now. Even though I probably wouldn't *need* the newer versions of the operating system, it would piss me off not to be able to use them after spending more than $1000.
  14. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    It would surprise me if Apple stopped supporting 4gb machines, I believe there are a lot of them out there. 4gb was the maximum memory you could purchase in the MBA until 2012. They were still selling MBA's with 2gb in 2011.

    Nevertheless, it wouldn't be a bad idea to go with 8gb if you can afford it.
  15. Pugly macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2016
    Computers aren't really increasing in power that quickly in recent years. I fully expect a computer purchased today to be usable for 10 years. Assuming of course no hardware failures.

    I had a white unibody MacBook from 2009, and it was still usable in 2016. And not in a limited way either, I was running Logic Pro X on it. Anything on the internet was perfectly fine with that old computer.

    A MacBook Air is about 3x as powerful, so there's no reason it can't continue to do what it needs to do for many years. There's no real killer app anymore for high end hardware... expcept VR... but that's a non-issue if you are considering a Mac anyways.
  16. Mal67 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 2, 2006
    West Oz
    There's an argument here somewhere for Apple to push the 8 gig mem as standard across the all the Airs.
  17. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    My 2011 11" Air is still working beautifully, and runs 10.11 like a champ. The machine is the base model, 1.6GHz/2GB RAM I am frankly amazed that it runs as well as it does. I am curious to see just how far it will go in terms of support, and in terms of usefulness, but we shall see.

    I usually have Safari, Word, iTunes, TextEdit, Keynote, Excel, FirstClass, Preview, and QuickTime open on it at any given time, and it doesn't seem to slow down much at all.
  18. Osty macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2008
    Melbourne, AU
    Depends what you do with it. My wife still happily uses her 2010 Macbook Air with 2GB of RAM for productivity tasks.
  19. Jay-Jacob macrumors regular


    Sep 10, 2015
    I have mid 2011 MacBook Air base model. It now 5 years old. I really want Mac but couldn't afford get better spec so I got base model. It was my first Mac.

    I am amazed it still can run well now with El Capitan. It not my main computer. 2GB do affect speed sometime when open big PDF files or anything bit heavy. I use it for safari, mail, some docs. I will eventually replace it some time future but I don't need laptop much at moment so it good enough for me.

    I did use iMovie and iTunes until 2014 and it was fine then but now no idea cos use my main desktop instead. It probably run slow if I try to use it now MBA.
  20. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2013
    I think any upgrade you can afford is worth it. I upgraded to i7 and 8gb of RAM on my mid-2013 and 3 years in this thing is still like brand new. It'll take some unexpected tragedy for it to not last another 3 years easily. Fingers crossed!

    If you honestly think your usage will be minimal for the next 4 years any version will do. Don't let it get in your head that you NEED the 8GB, I'm fairly certain I've never NEEDED it, I just like that it's there so I'm not limited in case something new comes along or if I want to try out something new like video editing.
  21. yoimrae macrumors newbie


    Jul 11, 2014
    Yes I think? just get the model with the 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD. i5 or i7? depends on what you do with your computer. but the i5 is already great.
  22. manhattanboy macrumors 6502a


    Jan 25, 2007
    In ur GF's bed, Oh no he didn't!
    Yes, if you can live with only 11"

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