A software update has given new life to my ancient MacBook Air

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/09/04/a-software-update-has-given-ne.html

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It’s a golden oldy!

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I use an 11" MBA for writing, but it is currently in storage. I miss it.

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I have a mid-2011 13" Air, so I can’t upgrade to Mojave. I’m stuck with High Sierra. It’s been a great little machine but it’s definitely showing its age. I’ve already replaced the battery once and I can hear the fan getting to go out. I guess it’s time to look for an upgrade.

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I have a 2013 MacBook Air that I’ve used pretty much every day since I got it with no complaints

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I have the exact same machine. I bought a new SSD from OWC. Save your receipt because mine failed and needed replacement. It is still a great nachine.

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If you are as much of a fan of the 11" Air as I am, then you might consider getting one that is 2013 or later. The battery life is much much better on these. If you sell the 2011 on eBay, you can get an “upgrade” for just a couple hundred dollars, net.

A battery replacement will cost about $80, so check the battery life left on the computer.

If you want to go big, get a 2015, which will run 4K (with an active MDP -> HDMI 2.0 adapter).

  • sent from my 2015 MacBook Air

A software update that makes old hardware run better? Is that supposed to happen?

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Dig it out! We can be antiques together.

Oof. How long did it last? I know that there gear tends to run hot.

Hahahah. I live in a Vanagon. Storage is 500 miles away.

I feel you.

OSX accumulates cruft and slows down over time if you don’t clean it out periodically. An OS upgrade would clean it out. (The way repainting your house also involves cleaning it along the way.)

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I got a 2009 imac, the poor bastard is more of a space heater than a real computer now, so I buy a PC tower (Win 10), plug it with a display>minidisplay cable and now the imac act as a screen.

I feel like some kind of evil genius every time I start the damn thing, 10 more years for you !

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Never fear! A couple of weeks ago I ran an iOS update on my iPod Touch (the first one for it in years, iOS 9.3.5?) and now won’t charge beyond 30%. It won’t charge off the computer and claims ANY lightning cable I connect isn’t supported. It’s pretty much bricked. I think this evens things out again.

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I have a theory about why the 2011 Air would match or exceed the current Surface Go.

That link is a comparison of the 4415Y in the Go with the base-model i5-2467M, and the optional upgrade i7-2677M offered with the 2011 Air. The 4415Y achieves similar performance using around half the power, and I suspect costs substantially less; but isn’t actually punchier; it’s very much a bargain option.

In terms of supporting components, the Go is pushing a substantially higher screen resolution(1800x1200 vs. 1366x768), so any improvements between the Air’s HD 3000 and the Go’s HD 615 are likely substantially sopped up there.

There’s also the matter of storage. I’m pretty sure that the Air preceeded PCIe storage as a thing(I’m not 100% sure, if not it was using the very early, very pre-standardization, Apple implementation; but I think it was SATA internally); but Apple typically doesn’t use trash SSDs. The Go has two basic options: eMMC on the bottom tier; NVMe on the others. eMMC is kind of garbage compared to all but disasterous SATA(though attractively cheap, compact; and low power); NVMe varies by controller and number of NAND packages in parallel but it’s much more likely to be competitive.

I don’t know exactly which versions of each you are comparing; but it isn’t hugely surprising that the two are actually trading shots fairly evenly.

If you update the SSD (a replacement will give you more storage and MUCH faster performance) and replace the battery, you won’t believe how nice it is. The only reason I updated from my 2011 machine to the 2015 is that the older one was stolen—just after I’d done the updating that I suggest. :frowning:

The process isn’t difficult. Replacement parts come with the tools you need to do the job, and the instructions are clear. Just make sure you get the versions that match with your MBA model.

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I have one too, it follows me into datacenters. I will keep it until it no longer functions for just such a purpose. It is a perfect ultraportable when I just want a terminal window, browser, and tftp server.

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you can if you use the same loader the hackintosh community uses.

“ancient MacBook Air”

Yeah, no.

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