1. dgrass90's Avatar
    So I just donated my '08 Macbook to my college bound younger sister and am looking to purchase a Macbook Air (I will be traveling a great deal with my new job). I dont do any serious gaming, mostly run of the mill email, video streaming, some light scripting, etc. Nothing very tasking. I am mostly interested in battery life and processor speed (if there is a significant difference).

    I am slightly cash constrained now, but not to the extent that I need to purchase a used '11 model if the long-term benefit for buying a new '12 model outweighs it. So, what I need to know is, given my needs, should I buy a '11 Macbook Air or '12? I know the new ones have the ivy bridge vs the sandy bridge processor but is it such a leap that I should splurge and upgrade? Is the battery life noticably longer? If you think the '11 is the way to go, should I take the discount & risk of buying used (ebay/craigslist) or Apple-store refurbed?

    I KNOW I will be purchasing a model with a Core i5, 4GB RAM and 256GB SSD.

    Any input would be great. Pleast and thanks!
    06-14-2012 01:56 AM
  2. Fausty82's Avatar
    You didn't specify the screen size... 11.6" or 13.3"...

    I always suggest that you buy the current year model if you can afford it. If adds a bit of "future proof" to the deal. However, right after a model refresh (like NOW), you can get the previous year's model and save about $100 by buying the EOL (end of life) model.

    What are the major differences on the 11" MBA between the current and previous year's model? Mostly it's memory speed and processor speed. The '11 models use 1333 mhz DDR3 memory; the '12 models use 1600 mhz DDR3. Not a significant difference, but a bit more "oomph". The '11 models come with the sandy bridge processors; the '12 comes with the ivy bridge processors. Again, maybe not a huge difference, but the ivy bridge processors do offer the ability to natively support USB 3 - something that you can't get on the '11 models at any cost. The processor in the '11 model is a 1.6 ghz dual core i5; the '12 model is a 1.7 ghz dual core i5. The '11 models used two different models of SSD - one faster than the other. The '12 models use a different supplier for the SSD, and reviews are saying that it's faster than either of the SSDs offered in the '11 models. Both models have similar projections for battery life (in the 7 hour range).

    The specs are similarly bumped on the 13" MBA.

    I don't actually see a price on the '11 models anymore on the Apple site, but typically Apple refreshes the models at the same price point... and allowing for the $100 EOL discount, you have to ask yourself what you get (or give up) for that extra $100. And if you're wanting a machine that will keep up with technology just a bit longer, it's a no brainer. The '12 model gets you future proofing and a modest spec bump across several areas processor speed, USB speed, RAM speed... and the new '12 models have faster SSD drives, as well.

    So check the bottom line price difference from the actual models that you are considering ('11 v '12) and judge whether the spec bump and future proof is worth the extra cash.

    IMHO, go with the '12 model. But ultimately, it's your money, and your choice.
    Last edited by Fausty82; 06-14-2012 at 02:43 AM.
    06-14-2012 02:31 AM
  3. dgrass90's Avatar
    Sorry, I did forget to include the size. I am going for the 13.3". Refurbed, I am looking at spending $1189 on the '11 model vs spending $1499 (core i5, 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD). So, I guess you are going to stand by the "future proofing" decision to spend the extra ~$300? I just dont want to shell out that amount if my primary concerns (battery life and processing speed for normal/daily tasks) aren't significantly (ie, $300 worth) improved upon in the latest model. If you think they are, then by all means I will bite the bullet and invest in the future.

    Thanks for your speedy and thorough response, btw.
    06-14-2012 02:47 AM
  4. Fausty82's Avatar
    Sorry, I did forget to include the size. I am going for the 13.3". Refurbed, I am looking at spending $1189 on the '11 model vs spending $1499 (core i5, 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD). So, I guess you are going to stand by the "future proofing" decision to spend the extra ~$300? I just dont want to shell out that amount if my primary concerns (battery life and processing speed for normal/daily tasks) aren't significantly (ie, $300 worth) improved upon in the latest model. If you think they are, then by all means I will bite the bullet and invest in the future.

    Thanks for your speedy and thorough response, btw.
    WIth that stipulation, and with what you've said you are going to use it for, I'd go with the older model and stick the extra $300 in the bank. I can guarantee, barring any physical damage to either, that the '12 will last a bit longer than the '11 model - eventually both will fail to keep up. But at the same time, I don't see any significant difference in the specs that would warrant the extra cost for "mostly run of the mill email, video streaming, some light scripting, etc". There is nothing "demanding" of the hardware in your list. And even if your needs changed, there's nto a lot of difference between the two to matter anyway. What would kill the '11 model would come close to straining the '12 model, too.

    My 22 year old son wants the 15" MBP with retina display and the model that he picked out and configured was over $3K... to watch movies and surf the web. It was tough making him understand that he could do that just as well with the 13" MBP for $1199. Buy the computer to handle the tasks that you want to do. Maybe fudge the purchase just a bit to help future proof it, especially if you anticipate your needs changing... but you also have to be reasonable and smart with your wallet.

    Good luck with your purchase!
    dgrass90 likes this.
    06-14-2012 03:02 AM
  5. Alli's Avatar
    I have the '11 11" MacBook Air. I've loved it...with one exception. There just isn't enough hard drive space. I'm probably going to buy the new 13" MacBook Pro, which I can get for about $500 less than the 11" Air - with more than double the hard drive space. I priced out what I wanted (with the whopping $100 educational discount) at $1500 for a 13" MBP with a 1TB hard drive. I figure I can live with the extra two pounds if it means having a usable hard drive.
    06-14-2012 09:44 AM
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