I'm looking to update from my 2012 MacBook Air and would like some advice

I have a 2012 Macbook air. It was my first Mac and I love it. But I’m looking to upgrade to something a little newer.

2012 MBA dual core i5 with 4GB memory & 128 SSD

My typical use is I have about 15-20 tabs open in google chrome and several ‘large’ spreadsheets open in Numbers. I’m not a big gamer. If I want something to game on I use my desktop PC.

I work at home, so the MBA is rarely away from home.

It can get sluggish when I have a lot of stuff open at the same time especially the spreadsheets.

Should I be looking for more ram or a better processor? MBP or MBA?

My current MBA has 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5 and a new MBA has 1.6GHz dual‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz. Is this really much faster? Does the GHz rating mean it will be slower in general, then ramp up to higher speeds when needed? Or is a 8th-gen i5 at a slower GHz rating still faster than what I have currently?

I bought one of the new MacBook Air laptops with touch ID earlier this year, pretty well decked out, and promptly returned it for a 13 inch MacBook Pro. The performance on the new Air seems to really be behind the times. I mostly work in Chrome and Outlook, and I also use an external monitor. I believe most of the performance issues were related to video performance driving that monitor. The MacBook Pro handles it just fine.

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Thanks for your experience. In general, for my use-case, do you think I should be looking for more processor or more RAM?

From my experience, you can never give Chrome enough RAM on any platform. I usually get a smaller SSD to cut the cost a bit, as most of my data lives in the cloud anyway.

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Not sure about your price range and I think a MacBook Pro would be better than the Air. With that said I think the more RAM you can get would be better than upgrading the processor. About your GHz question. It very hard to compare speed between generation of chips so anything you buy today will outperform your 2012 MBA with no problem.

The 4GB RAM is what is holding your current MBA back. I would get 16 minimal so in 2026 when your looking for another laptop it might not feel slow.

I had the same MBA as you with 8GB ram and 256 SSD. I got the 2018 MBA w/ 16GB & 256. Very happy with it. I didn’t find the old one too slow (not that it was zippy, just not slow). It was the display quality that tipped the scale for me. I was concerned 2018 MBA might be too slow, but it feels very fast. Unless you’re editing/transcoding video… very impressed with performance.

On the question of processor vs RAM, I believe you’d do well with my setup. Since there’s no upgraded processor on MBA, the decision is easy: if you need more speed, get Pro. Check GeekBench for estimates of your current processor vs MBA 2018 vs MBP config. But it’s not just processor. Like I said, my setup feels fast. Only issue is the 16GB confit isn’t often stocked by sellers, and if it is, rarely on sale.

I think 2018 MBA would serve you well.


You need a solid state hard drive…

I found a couple 2015 Macbook Pros 2.2 / 3.1 GHz i7 16GB 256 / 512 on facebook marketplace for $800 / $750 respectively. Any known issues with 2015 MBP? Is it a clunker year? I like it because it still has ‘normal’ USB ports.

I was in the same boat recently. I swapped my 2012 MBA for a Dell XPS13 and haven’t looked back.