1. cwbcpa's Avatar
    I am going to be giving my daughter a MacBook Air for her graduation present in the spring. I am just thinking in advance. I will wait until spring to buy. I am looking at the 13 inch for $999. My question is, should I get any upgrades to it? Is it worth it to pay for the extra storage or the bump up in processor? She uses the cloud to store almost everything so I don't think I need to worry about storage. What about the processor? She will mostly be using it for the web and typing papers. She will be a business major so nothing to crazy. I just want it to last all four years if possible. Thank you for any advice. I appreciate it.
    12-07-2014 08:17 AM
  2. jclisenby's Avatar
    The storage should be fine, so should the standard processor. What you Want to upgrade is the memory (RAM). You should upgrade to the 8GB of memory. It's only $100 and it's by far the best upgrade.

    If you don't mind the extra $150 on top of that, upgrading the processor would ensure an extra fast experience for years to come.
    cwbcpa likes this.
    12-07-2014 08:20 AM
  3. warcraftWidow's Avatar
    Agree on the 8GB RAM. Otherwise the base configuration should be fine. She can always use an SD card or external hard drive is she finds she needs more storage.
    cwbcpa likes this.
    12-07-2014 08:23 AM
  4. Bazza1's Avatar
    Gotta agree with the above. I have 4GB RAM and while adequate, I can certainly see where the additional 4 would be of benefit. Not so much for the tasks you refer to, but when she would start multi-tasking and having a number of apps open at once.

    Meanwhile, if there's another 'upgrade' to consider - and this may be moot point if she'll be staying at home or the school she'll be attending has really good Wi-Fi - but a good internet service and / or Wi-Fi Router would not go amiss (especially as she relies on cloud services), if the service is not great.
    On a similar vein - the Air does not have an ethernet port, so the hard-wired option to an internet connection is not included. Apple does produce adapters (a USB one and a Thunderbolt version) to add ethernet. May seem excessive, but often a troubleshooting session with Apple or an Internet Provider will require a hard-wire connection.
    cwbcpa likes this.
    12-07-2014 03:59 PM
  5. cwbcpa's Avatar
    Thank you. All great info to have. I have some time but since it's a chunk of cash I want to make sure I have what I need. I would rather spend extra now on upgrades than two years from now on a new computer.

    Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus using Tapatalk
    12-07-2014 04:10 PM
  6. rdubmu's Avatar
    I would seriously look at the surface pro 3. I think it is much better for a college student. It has a pen to take notes and is windows. Mac OS is nice, I find that office and tools for college are much better on a windows machine.... OneNote is a killer app with the pen.
    cwbcpa likes this.
    12-07-2014 05:24 PM
  7. cwbcpa's Avatar
    I would seriously look at the surface pro 3. I think it is much better for a college student. It has a pen to take notes and is windows. Mac OS is nice, I find that office and tools for college are much better on a windows machine.... OneNote is a killer app with the pen.
    I actually did think about that. We will look at all options equally before buying in the spring. She has been wanting the Air for a while, but she her main goal is to get the best computer for what she needs to accomplish over the next four years.

    Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus using Tapatalk
    12-07-2014 05:40 PM
  8. iEd's Avatar
    The Air is a great computer plenty powerful for a student and super lightweight.

    Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus using Tapatalk
    cwbcpa likes this.
    12-07-2014 06:08 PM
  9. cwbcpa's Avatar
    I appreciate all of the replies. I was just reading the buyers guide on iMore. If I am going to upgrade the RAM and maybe the processor on the 13" MacBook Air it will end up at about $1250. Would I be better off going with the 13" MacBook Pro w/ Retina display for $1299? It seems like for the extra $50 I am getting a better screen and better processor. Any thoughts on that? Anyone consider the same thing?
    12-16-2014 03:49 PM
  10. iEd's Avatar
    I believe it all comes down what the use will be. The retina display is great for all things photo and video. When it comes to a processor of course there is a difference in a more powerful processor but will the power be used for? Multimedia editing like video or audio and gaming is where a more powerful processor comes into play not really doing word processing.
    The 1299 for the MBP still reflects a 128 gig drive after the system software and some apps what's left maybe in the mid to low 80's. Gig for storage for music and movies. So it all depends on the usage.
    Watching videos of course on a retina would be a better experience than a Air.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    cwbcpa likes this.
    12-16-2014 04:21 PM
  11. Trees's Avatar
    We went through a similar process and landed on an 11" MacBook Air for use on campus. Proposed a tablet for classroom use, but then quickly got into the functionality aspects - missing keyboard. Sure, bluetooth keyboards are an option, but another thing to drag around. At the time we thought about Surface, our daughter wanted to stay in the Mac ecosystem. Her older MacBook Pro stays in the apartment, and via Dropbox, all content stays synced up.

    Rdubmu brings up an important point to consider. While Office 2011 has worked well overall so far, there have been a few classes that required her to use the campus lab computers (Windows and Excel for statistics and analytical capabilities that the Mac version did not have). That then brought up the quandry of "do we go for an Office 365 subscription, setup a Bootcamp or Parallels instance on the MacBook Pro and run Windows as a virtual machine with a fully functional and feature complete MS Office installation, or rely upon the computer lab?". Office and other app requirements may/may not be an issue depending upon major and course requirements. The free Pages, Keynote, and Numbers are in my view plenty capable; but some courses require advanced features or plug-ins that the Mac Office or OS X Office Suite don't provide. Now if Office 2015 (rumored) comes out, that may solve the feature gap or will have to go for one of the options noted above.

    Now we did buy the 11" MBA fully loaded with the intent that it last for the full four years as an undergrad. So far that part of the plan has been working out quite well as it has plenty of horsepower, is solidly built, has great battery life to last all day on campus, a fully functional keyboard, USB connectivity, etc.

    Another variant to consider is a smaller form factor Windows laptop that is light yet functional and powerful enough for required apps, easy to carry around campus; and then pair that back up with a docking station/monitor/keyboard/mouse setup in the dorm/apartment. iTunes and iCloud would work well in this case given there are Windows versions.
    cwbcpa likes this.
    12-16-2014 08:28 PM
  12. Mulia Studios's Avatar
    Im student as well. it will work perfectly for you.
    01-14-2015 10:26 AM
  13. Nathan Bael's Avatar
    Not sure if you have made your purchase yet but don't forget to get the student discount.
    02-05-2015 04:48 PM
  14. Algus's Avatar

    I do not believe the i7 CPU upgrade in the MacBook Air is worth the money. By far the best upgrade you can purchase for the MacBook Air is the 8 GB RAM upgrade. Once you begin purchasing multiple upgrades for the Air, you are starting to spend the kind of money that could get you a MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro is not significantly heavier than the MBA but its CPU is significantly more powerful. The MBA does have industry-leading battery life but unless you are spending a significant amount of travel time away from an outlet, you likely don't need this much battery life. To top it off, the rMBP still has one of the best batteries on the market. It just can't compare to the Air's battery.

    Apple does not use low-end parts in their computers. The i5 and i7 CPUs that are offered in their systems are performance leaders in the market. Any computer now, even the cheapest MBA is going to have enough computing power to run modern apps for several years. RAM is a concern in the MBA however. 4 GB of RAM is not very much and Macs with 8 GB of RAM are noticeably faster.
    02-05-2015 06:01 PM
  15. Nathan Bael's Avatar
    I agree on the ram. SSD can be swapped out so I prefer to buy the smallest size and do a custom upgrade if I end up using more than the base amount.
    02-05-2015 08:16 PM
  16. warcraftWidow's Avatar
    I agree on the ram. SSD can be swapped out so I prefer to buy the smallest size and do a custom upgrade if I end up using more than the base amount.
    The SSD can be swapped out but it would void your warranty.
    02-05-2015 08:20 PM

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