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Can a base model i3 8GB MBA remain useable for 8-10 years for a basic user?

krs


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If his computer is "fast and snappy" this year, and if his software (both OS and apps) are substantially similar 10 years from now to what he is using now, I think that his computer can easily be just as "fast and snappy" in 10 years as it is now.
Based on my experience with my 2012 Mini I would have to agree with Randy, except....
I upgraded from macOS 10.8 the OS the Mini came with to 10.11 and now to 10.14, six versions of the macOS
and
I filled the HDD up with over 400GB of date(on a 500GB drive)
and the Mini is still plenty fast for all the types of tasks the OP mentioned.

Windows PCs in the office we have to replace every 2-3 years because they slow down so much that it really affects connectivity, but I don't remember ever having replaced a Mac because its performance deteriorated significantly over time.
 

krs


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AS the others have eluded, if you are specific about what you install and your use case doesn't dramatically change, then yes. But people tend to always update their applications as new versions come out and developers tend to focus on supporting hardware/OS's that fairly recent and not care much about how poorly it might perform on a 10 year old machine.
That is not my actual experience with my 2012 Mini at all.
 

pigoo3

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This discussion is starting to become circular. The OP wanted to know if he purchased a Mac now, could it be used for 10 years and still have good performance for all that time. My 12 year old iMac shows that it is certainly possible. Can he do it without sacrificing some things...probably not. A decade old Mac will never be the same as a new, or even just a newer, Mac. I'm not trying to say that it is. To keep a Mac running well for a decade he'll have to decide what things are a good idea to upgrade, and which aren't. He may even have to do without some new technology or feature that appears at some point. But it's not at all a sure thing that his Mac will slow down, and he doesn't have to go 10 years without upgrading his OS, or upgrading many of his apps, to keep it from slowing down.
I think we both know there is a small subset of users that are perfectly ok using a computer for a very long time (8-10+ years). If we consider 100% of all Apple computer users...a large percentage of all users fall into the 3-5 year group..and a smaller group of users that probably upgrade every 2 years ("power-users" or users that prefer to always have something fairly new).

Also...much of the experiences mentioned in this thread are representative of "Monday morning quarterbacking". It's easy to say that a 2008-2010 computer is doing fine in 2020 (10-12 years later)...after the fact. But who could accurately predict (if asked in the 2008-2010 timeframe) that their computer would still be going well in 2020.

And of course...what's the percentage of Apple computer purchasers from 2010...who are still using that exact same computer in 2020? This data might be hard to come by (or expensive)...but my educated guess would be less than 5% (certainly less than 10%).

In this particular case we have no idea what sort of computer user the OP is...thus hard to know what group he/she falls into.

I still stick my my original advice...if someone asks "Will an Apple computer purchased in 2020 still be "fast & snappy" 8-10 years from now?"...I still say "Don't bet on it".

If the question was more like..."Will an Apple computer purchased in 2020 still be "useful/useable" 8-10 years from now?"...I would say...very good chance.:)

"Fast & Snappy" is the key phrase used by the OP.

- Nick
 

krs


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That said - keep in mind the Macbook Air you are looking at is NOT upgradeable by the average user. So all the stuff I did to the 2009 MB would not be possible on a new MBA - unless you have real skills and a love of soldering.
Lisa
On that note, for that 2020 MBa the OP is looking at, I would go for the i5 version if it's only $100.- more and also very seriously consider upgrading it to 16GB of RAM.
 

pigoo3

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..and also very seriously consider upgrading it to 16GB of RAM.
If the OP intends on keeping it for 8-10 years...I would consider the 16GB of RAM almost a mandatory upgrade!:)

- Nick
 
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Also...much of the experiences mentioned in this thread are representative of "Monday morning quarterbacking". It's easy to say that a 2008-2010 computer is doing fine in 2020 (10-12 years later)...after the fact. But who could accurately predict (if asked in the 2008-2010 timeframe) that their computer would still be going well in 2020.
Well obviously none of us has a crystal ball to know whether a computer will experience a major technical fault within that time frame, but that's true whether it's a base model Mac Mini or a top-level Mac Pro. But in terms of normal use with functioning hardware, the base model MBA he is looking at should be just fine for the tasks he described for a long while. Sure, as time goes on, newer Macs would seem "faster" and "snappier" than his MBA, should he do a side-by-side comparison, but I doubt he's going to notice any significant slowdown of the MBA as he simply uses it day after day.

EDIT: just saw your RAM post. My 4GB MBA is still running basic apps just fine in 2020, even when I have multiple apps (e.g. Chrome, Word, PowerPoint) open simultaneously. His target purchase will have twice that RAM. Obviously more RAM won't hurt, but if the OP is budget-conscience, I'm not sure if he will see all that much difference for his use-case. I think if they had to choose, I'd recommend the OP spend $249 on AppleCare+ before $200 on more RAM. Again, given his use-case.
 
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pigoo3

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EDIT: just saw your RAM post. My 4GB MBA is still running basic apps just fine in 2020, even when I have multiple apps (e.g. Chrome, Word, PowerPoint) open simultaneously. His target purchase will have twice that RAM. Obviously more RAM won't hurt, but if the OP is budget-conscience, I'm not sure if he will see all that much difference for his use-case. I think if they had to choose, I'd recommend the OP spend $249 on AppleCare+ before $200 on more RAM. Again, given his use-case.
I'm basing my 16GB RAM recommendation on what might be the norm 8-10 years from now...not what the norm is in 2020.

Right now I would always recommend that someone purchasing a new Apple computer in 2020...that they get at least 8GB of RAM. This is also based on the average person using a computer for 3-5 years before upgrading.

But if someone says they plan on using a computer (purchased in 2020) for 8-10 years (or maybe more)...in 2028-2030 (8-10 years from now)...16GB of RAM might be the norm then. This is also based on all Apple portable computers having non-user upgradeable RAM (got to get as much at time of purchase as the computer/user will ever need).

If someone intends on using a computer purchased in 2020 for 8-10 years...I would prefer they purchase as much computer as their budget can afford.:)

- Nick
 
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I'm basing my 16GB RAM recommendation on what might be the norm 8-10 years from now...not what the norm is in 2020.
And so was I by saying the 8GB should be sufficient. My MBA has half that (4GB) and is still going strong 7 years later. Thus I figure a 2020 machine with twice what mine has ought to be good for what the OP intends to use it for for at least that long if not longer.

I would prefer they purchase as much computer as their budget can afford.
afford being the key word there, which is why I was saying if the OP's budget dictates they can't go beyond the base config, then they should be fine, and if they have a little $$$ extra to spend, then to go for AppleCare vs. a RAM upgrade. Obviously, if the sky's the limit or they have a wide margin to play with, then maxing out the RAM or anything else can't hurt.
 

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And so was I by saying the 8GB should be sufficient. My MBA has half that (4GB) and is still going strong 7 years later. Thus I figure a 2020 machine with twice what mine has ought to be good for what the OP intends to use it for for at least that long if not longer.
I don't think the norm in 10 years will be 8GB of RAM. 8GB of RAM is the norm now. Thus for someone purchasing a new computer now...and intending on using it for 8-10 years...16GB of RAM would be a less risky purchase decision.:)

But...if a 16GB RAM upgrade is absolutely out of the question budget-wise...then 8GB of RAM it would have to be.:)

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I don't think the norm in 10 years will be 8GB of RAM. 8GB of RAM is the norm now. Thus for someone purchasing a new computer now...and intending on using it for 8-10 years...16GB of RAM would be a less risky purchase decision.:)

But...if a 16GB RAM upgrade is absolutely out of the question budget-wise...then 8GB of RAM it would have to be.:)

- Nick
Sorry, I should have said that 8GB should still be sufficient (which is what counts) 7-10 years from now, not the norm. My bad.
 

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The OP must be totally confused by now with these replies ;)

...yes
...no
...a definite 'maybe'

Take your pick ;D
 
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The OP must be totally confused by now with these replies ;)

...yes
...no
...a definite 'maybe'

Take your pick ;D
Hey, I can't help that other people gave the wrong advice :Evil:
 
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Wow thank you soooo much everyone for all the advice!! Got back from work and was expecting maybe a couple of replies but to get so much info has been very very useful.

I realised that I should have been more clear, i think I confused everyone with my use of the term “fast and snappy” sorry about that lol, i think what i really meant to say was “useable”. My current windows laptop is definitely unusable, it takes about 10 minutes to boot up and then if i try to open up chrome or a basic application it can take a good 20-30 seconds just to open, i may have to wait a good few seconds when clicking on the “file” or “edit” icons to open on my word processor which is so annoying lol. My current laptop works but is not what i would consider useable. I think what I’m looking for is for a good 8+ years for the MBA to not take too long to boot up when turned on, to not take ages to open up basic apps like office or safari, if i’m watching something on netflix or youtube then (internet permitting) for that to run relatively smoothly, if I’m using something like word then for the very basic functions like opening the file icon to still be kind of fast i guess. Essentially i want the laptop to not become annoyingly slow for everyday tasks and for it remain just quick enough to a reasonable level where it won’t be considered annoying.

The point some of you have made about getting as much as my budget can afford makes a lot sense, i’m a relatively new uni graduate and just started my first job a few months ago, i could go a bit north of £1000 but if a base MBA can cover my needs and can remain useable for that sort of time period then i would much rather prefer to spend that extra money on something else.

Thanks again everyone for all your advice!!
 
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krs


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If you want to minimize your cost right now, another option may be to get a refurb 2015 MBa like this one and plan to use it for four years:
Refurbished MacBook Air 13.3-inch Glossy from PS599 (G0RJ0LL/A) | RefurbMe GB

At that time your financial position would be much better if you just started your first job a few months ago.

PS: Better to buy a refurb Mac from Apple I think, but they don't seem to sell anything older than a year or two - in Canada at least.
 

pigoo3

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i think what i really meant to say was “useable”.
From what you mentioned about your computer use habits...and what you said about it being "useable" for 8-10 years...I think a new or newish MacBook Air will last you 8-10 years. I personally use 2 different MacBook Pro's from 2011 & a 2011 MacBook Air on a daily basis...and they all do most things pretty well.:)

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Thanks everyone for all the advice!! Just wanted to also ask regarding the temps on the i3 model which judging from testimonies and various reviews seems on the most part to run cooler than the i5. Firstly with apps and websites etc becoming more resource intensive in the future is it reasonable to assume that the i3 will run significantly hotter for the same tasks in let’s say 4 or 5 years?? And if in the future the i3 starts to heat up and throttle for basic tasks like watching Netflix etc how much of a noticeable impact is that likely to have? Are we talking about Netflix shows or zoom calls freezing mid video or is the effect of throttling hardly noticeable?
 

krs


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You keep asking about the future - how this Mac will operate 4, 5,8 and 10 years out with apps and websites at that time.
Nobody knows - I think it will be just fine, certainly in the 4-5 year time frame.
There are many members here asking for help with Mac that are 8 - 10 years old and the issue is usually very specific - not generally related to just the age of the Mac.
My Mini is going to be 8 years old soon and I never thought of it being 8 years old from a performance point of view until this thread - it runs everything just fine and is at least as fast as I need it to be.

I think you're "overthinking" this, if you are really that concerned about the performance of the 2020 MBa in 10 years, I would suggest you go back to one of my suggestions, to spend half the money and get a good used one and keep that for 4-5 years and then get a replacement; although you probably won't need it.
 
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You keep asking about the future...
Agree with everything you said. I was just thinking this is sort of similar to how some people keep hesitating to buy a new Mac (or iDevice) because a new model may be coming out "soon." With the rate technology changes, using that logic will mean you never buy anything! I say just buy the machine that makes the most sense for your use, upgrade the heck out of it if you can afford to (because, why not?), but don't hesitate to buy it just because it's the "base model." I've owned quite a few Macs since 2005 and until this year never purchased anything but the base model, and had no regrets.
 
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