Should I upgrade MacBook Air's processor, RAM, or flash storage?

Hi! I'm a college student buying myself a new computer for school. I'm a political science major, so I plan on mainly using the computer for school papers and presentations, social media, and picture, music, and video playback and storage. My campus is huge, so I've decided to get the 13-inch MacBook Air for it's portability. I know that my needs probably don't require me to upgrade the standard processor, RAM, or flash storage, but because I'm spending so much money and need to make the computer last for as many years as possible, is it still worth upgrading any of these? (I'd rather upgrade now and spend $140, $90, and/or $270 than have to replace the computer in a few years for thousands of dollars.)

The standard processor is 1.4GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz, and it can be upgraded to 1.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz for $140 with my education discount.

The standard memory is 4GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM and it can be upgraded to 8GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM for $90 with my education discount.

The standard flash storage is 256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage and it can be upgraded to 512GB PCIe-based Flash Storage for $270.00 with my education discount.

Would you recommend I upgrade any of these? If so, which and why? I appreciate any feedback! Thank you!

2 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:


    Given your major in collage, here are recommended priorities for upgraded.

    First: upgrade the RAM to 8GB. OX 10 Mavericks is designed to work at its peak with 8GB of RAM. I had a PC for nine years before going "all Apple everything" but the way I extended my PC life was by upgrading the RAM. If you could only do one, do this.

    Second: Upgrade the processor speed. Since you are a PoliSci major, you won't be working with intensive video editing or photo software. At most, you'll have internet presentations, readings, etc. When I was looking into purchasing my MacBook Pro, I was told by Apple employees that RAM upgrades trumped processor speed unless you're working with editing/movie making software. Professionals may notice a slight difference however as liberal arts majors we won't notice it at all unless we are also computer savvy. I have 2.4 GhZ on my MBP and I've run dozens of internet tabs, iTunes and video playbook, Pages and Keynote all at once. This doesn't even hit the tip of the iceberg on what you could run simultaneously and the Macbook does just fine.

    Third: 256GB is more than enough storage. For $270 you could purchase multiple external hard drives of 512 GB or more. Don't spend money on this unless you want to.

    I hope this helps. For the record, I am an International Relations graduate student with a 2013 late model MacBook Pro with Retina, 2.4 GHZ, 256 SSD, and 8GB of RAM. I will never use another PC again.

    • Answered by Marshall M from Aberdeen
    • May 18, 2014
  • I always up the ram first.

    • Answered by Rhonda S from Little Rock
    • Aug 29, 2014