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Topic # 150474 24-Jul-2014 09:00
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My wife is considering getting a MBA to expand her knowledge and experience of Macs and MacOS.  During our research, we discovered that some people have reported the current model as being slower (SSD, I think) than last year's model.  Given the quality of Apple's refurb programme, it's tempting to get a refurbed 13" MBA rather than a new one, especially if the older one is better than the current one.

What do people suggest?  Is the older model "better"?  And is the difference noticeable in real-world usage, or just in benchmarks?

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  Reply # 1094666 24-Jul-2014 09:05
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Apple is rumored to announce a new Air in September, so I'd hold a purchase until then. I have a 2012 model and couldn't tell you the difference between them in real-world. I did notice the graphics are slightly better on newer models.




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  Reply # 1094689 24-Jul-2014 09:40
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Hmm...from my understanding, the newer ones have got better processors and much better battery life. I have not heard of slower SSD performances (as far as I was aware, they were using the same SSDs, but I could be wrong).

I would recommend getting it from some place like dick smith or JB when they have 10 or 15% off macs (they do have those sales once every month or so). Get it brand new, unless you can get it for less than 1k in the refurb program, then that is a better deal.

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  Reply # 1094694 24-Jul-2014 09:50
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The 2013 models have better SSDs compared to 2012. Noticeably faster. Mind you, the 2012 isn't a slouch either.




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  Reply # 1094733 24-Jul-2014 10:41
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From my understanding there was a significant improvement in SSD performance when going from the 2012 model (SATA SSD) to the mid 2013 model (PCIe SSD), Then when some recent MBA from 2014 production were tested, it was found that the PCIe SSD were a little slower than those benchmarked in mid 2013. You're still looking at better then 600MB/s sequential read speeds in the base model .... so faster than almost any other small notebook on the market.




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  Reply # 1094743 24-Jul-2014 10:49
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Oops, my bad.. I was comparing 2013 to 2014 in my comment. Realised that I was quite ambiguous there. But ya, 2012 vs 2013, there were significant improvements. 2013 vs 2014, not so much (besides the battery department!). If you can score a 2013 MBA for less than 1k (13 inch model), with apple warranty (refurb model), then that would be the deal to go with



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  Reply # 1094761 24-Jul-2014 11:02
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Thanks for the replies everyone.  I'd heard about a rumoured update (change to 12" screen, retina display, Broadwell CPU), but with the delays from Intel regarding Broadwell, it seemed like a second refresh in 2014 was unlikely.  While all the new features would be really nice, I'm also wary of waiting for "the next big thing", which can turn into a neverending game.



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  Reply # 1095401 25-Jul-2014 09:10
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So I see that DSE are offering 10% of Apple this weekend.  Looking around the site there's actually a couple of deals - the 2013 model (13", 1.3Ghz, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM) for $1199, and the 2014 model (same specs, 1.4Ghz) for $1259.  This compares with the refurb store (2013 model) at  $1129.

At those prices, buying refurbished seems pointless.  But I'm not sure whether or not it's better to spend an extra $60 for the 2014 model over the 2013 model.  From what you guys seem to be saying, there's almost no (real world) difference between them.  

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  Reply # 1095404 25-Jul-2014 09:17
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I've owned the 2012 model originally, the SSD failed and it was replaced with the 2013 model. I can't tell the difference other than battery life. 

My brother recently got the 2014 model and says he can't tell the difference between that and mine, other than battery of course (he used my one quite a lot when I wasn't home). 

If you can afford it easily and want to, get the 2014 model. But you won't be missing out on much either by getting the 2013 model if you decided to go that route though. They're both fantastic machines.




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  Reply # 1095414 25-Jul-2014 09:42
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Hmm, this is kind of a personal call. Save 60 bucks and get the 2013 MBA.. Or get the 2014 air. If the SSD performance was significantly impacted, then I would stick with 2013.. Your call. 

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  Reply # 1095415 25-Jul-2014 09:43
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Lizard1977: During our research, we discovered that some people have reported the current model as being slower (SSD, I think) than last year's model...

What do people suggest?  Is the older model "better"?  And is the difference noticeable in real-world usage, or just in benchmarks?


We have a 2013 MBA fully kitted out via Tosh computers.

I remember reading about the 2014 vs 2013 SSD speed when the issue first came to light. It appears the issue boiled down to the choice of SSD manufacturer.
I _think_ the 2013 versions only included SSDs from either Samsung or Toshiba. With the 2014 models Apple added Sandisk as an additional source.

There was another link after the infamous MacRumours story (can't remember where) where the 2013 vs 2014 SSD performance was retested and found to be identical. I'm guessing in that instance the 2014 MBA had either a Samsung or Toshiba SSD.

From what I understand, there isn't a way to specifically order a 2014 MBA without a Sandisk SSD.

Having said that,  the 2014 model would appear to be the superior (SSD performance aside) of the two - albeit, marginally so.

Our next notebook/portable will almost definitely be a retina. The one thing I think Apple definitely has going it for it is how OSX handles both non-retina and retina ("resolution-agnostic") assets. I reckon Microsoft should copy the way OSX implements it.


Edit: Subtle correction to scaling point.

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  Reply # 1095538 25-Jul-2014 12:27
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Seems to be some strong indications of an all new 12" MacBook with Retina on the way. Includes a thinner and slightly lighter aluminium body. New MacBook Air, or something new altogether? Will have to wait until October, but my 2012 13" MBA is off to wifey so this sounds like pretty good replacement. 



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  Reply # 1095543 25-Jul-2014 12:34
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another consideration.. this would be the first gen retina macbook (if there is a retina MBA). Would you be ohk with getting first gen? just a thought note.

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  Reply # 1095574 25-Jul-2014 12:59
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Krishant007: another consideration.. this would be the first gen retina macbook (if there is a retina MBA). Would you be ohk with getting first gen? just a thought note.


Considering the Retina display (and drivers) have been out for a while, I'd say it would be mostly safe.




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  Reply # 1095626 25-Jul-2014 14:01
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Krishant007: another consideration.. this would be the first gen retina macbook (if there is a retina MBA). Would you be ohk with getting first gen? just a thought note.


Yeah I have no problems with 1st gen Apple products. Every product gets refreshed on an annual basis so everything's first gen essentially. 


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