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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Opinions on MacBook Air 3rd gen?

Opinions on MacBook Air 3rd gen?
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rambo47
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Sep 29, 2010, 10:28 PM
 
The first two generations of MacBook Airs have some known issues, and while I love the concept and design I've stayed away. So what's the story with the latest generation? Is the third time the charm? I'm soliciting opinions/reviews/gripes from anybody with the latest version of the MacBook Air.

TIA!
     
rambo47  (op)
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Oct 2, 2010, 12:23 PM
 
After speaking with some Apple Store employees I have heard that previous issues with the MacBook Air have been ironed out with the 3rd generation model. However, none of them actually have a MacBook Air or use one on a regular basis. CraigsList NYC has a couple MBAs for sale at what look to be good prices but they're 1st gen devices. I'm leaning towards getting one straight from Apple, maybe from the refurbished section of the Mac Store, but I'm hesitant to pull the trigger on my purchase until I hear from some current owners.
     
Oisín
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Oct 2, 2010, 12:33 PM
 
After speaking with some Apple Store employees I have heard that previous issues with the MacBook Air have been ironed out with the 3rd generation model.
Worst possible source. They’d say that no matter what the issues with the new machines (and no matter if they know anything about it or not). They’re not there to give honest advice, they’re there to sell machines.
( Last edited by Oisín; Oct 2, 2010 at 12:43 PM. )
     
rambo47  (op)
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Oct 2, 2010, 01:17 PM
 
Yeah, I was hoping to glean some info by "reading between the lines" on what they said. Nothing to take out of the conversations though. Just rampant fanboism.
     
rjt1000
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Oct 2, 2010, 09:35 PM
 
( Last edited by rjt1000; Oct 2, 2010 at 09:43 PM. )
     
amazing
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Oct 8, 2010, 10:26 AM
 
At last, a credible article citing how the MBA is out-of-stock at some major retailers, which is easy enough to confirm.

AppleInsider | Apple's MacBook Air supply dries up as rumors of new 11.6-inch model persist

The Apple Store still has 2 refurbished models in stock, which is understandable if Apple is coming out with a smaller 11.6" model. That's what Apple did with the new Nanos: kept the previous gen is stock at the same refurbished price, for people who didn't like the new form factor and stripped down feature set.

Question is, can anyone remember how long we've been hearing supposedly "credible" rumors of new MBAs? Hasn't it been at least a year?
     
amazing
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Oct 8, 2010, 11:25 AM
 
     
rambo47  (op)
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Oct 13, 2010, 05:08 PM
 
Lots of rumors of a new, smaller version but nothing official. Not even semi-official. So far it's all speculation and innuendo. I actually like the current form factor, but I can see how a smaller screen might improve battery life and may be a welcome change. Personally, I'd be very happy with a refresh of the current model. And I'd love to hear that somebody got a contract to fab a couple hundred thousand of them.
     
ajprice
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Oct 14, 2010, 04:45 AM
 
AppleInsider | Apple to hold special 'Back to the Mac' event on October 20th

'Back to the Mac' event on October 20th, Mac updates (probably the Air as supplies are short of the existing one), possibly iLife 2011, maybe an OS X 10.7 preview.

Edit: Make that really very probably an OS X 10.7 preview, I hadn't seen the thread in the OS X forum, or the invite image.



10.7 Lion?

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Waragainstsleep
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Oct 14, 2010, 05:42 AM
 
I don't see the most recent rumours coming to fruition. Or maybe I just hope they won't. 13" screen is the right size as far as I'm concerned, 11.6" would make it a netbook which SJ doesn't like because frankly they suck.

The Air is overdue a refresh because there is no viable chips to upgrade them with. It uses a lower power version of the Core 2 Duo and since the Apple/Intel relationship isn't what it used to be, I doubt Intel will make them another special Core i3 based chip or similar. Also they cannot get a decent GPU even if Intel did make them a low power Core i3.

Basically, unless Apple is going to start buying Fusion chips from AMD, I don't see an Air update thats worthwhile. Or if there is, it will be some kind of multi-touch update rather than CPU or GPU which means it will probably be quite underpowered.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
ajprice
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Oct 14, 2010, 07:47 AM
 
How well would an Intel Atom run OS X?

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P
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Oct 14, 2010, 08:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by ajprice View Post
How well would an Intel Atom run OS X?
Barely.

No, seriously: it's probably OK for non-demanding work if you pick a dualcore model, but the included graphics are beyond horrible. They took the GMA900 - you know, the chip Apple used to joke about - and disabled half the memory bandwidth and cut the clockspeed in half.

In all, Atom doesn't make sense because the upcost for going to a CULV Core 2 model is so small, and they are way faster.

Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep
I don't see the most recent rumours coming to fruition. Or maybe I just hope they won't. 13" screen is the right size as far as I'm concerned, 11.6" would make it a netbook which SJ doesn't like because frankly they suck.
I disagree. Lenovo (formerly IBM) makes good business selling 10-12" laptops to business users. Only issue as far as I'm concerned is the lack of space for a real trackpad, so they rely on that stupid joystick. A Core 2-based 11.6" MBA could be great, at a reasonable price.

Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep
The Air is overdue a refresh because there is no viable chips to upgrade them with. It uses a lower power version of the Core 2 Duo and since the Apple/Intel relationship isn't what it used to be, I doubt Intel will make them another special Core i3 based chip or similar. Also they cannot get a decent GPU even if Intel did make them a low power Core i3.
The MBA chip turned out to be less than special - Intel had shopped such a chip around to OEMs (just a regular chip with tiny packaging, really) before Apple came asking for something like that. Given what they did with the MB, I think a continuation of the current Core 2 setup is most likely.

Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep
Basically, unless Apple is going to start buying Fusion chips from AMD, I don't see an Air update thats worthwhile. Or if there is, it will be some kind of multi-touch update rather than CPU or GPU which means it will probably be quite underpowered.
The Ontario chip is very interesting, but I don't think Apple is abandoning Intel exclusivity for something less than exceptional. With Sandy Bridge around the corner, Fusion isn't exceptional, just a good fit for a tiny niche.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
The Godfather
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Oct 17, 2010, 12:28 PM
 
Re: OSX on Atom
A Mac that doesn't run creative applications is not worth having.
A Mac that can't play Youtube videos at 15fps would be better operated with Windows or Linux.
     
besson3c
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Oct 17, 2010, 01:00 PM
 
What's the point of the MacBook Air, at this point? If you want something really portable, why not get an iPad? It is clear to me that Apple will be putting a lot of eggs into this basket. If you want to run OS X, why not just put up with a more capable Macbook with an SSD?

To me, the future of the MacBook Air is a little cloudy in light of Apple's lofty plans with iOS based devices.
     
ajprice
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Oct 18, 2010, 04:41 AM
 
I think the nearest equivalent to this would be a Sony Vaio X series - VAIO X Series PC | Sony | SonyStyle USA

$1299
11.1" 1366x768 screen, SSD storage, 2GHz Intel, 2GB RAM, Memory Stick & SD slots, Wifi, Bluetooth, Verizon mobile broadband (3G?), 12 hour max battery, 0.55" thick, 1.6lb weight.


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ajprice
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Oct 18, 2010, 11:15 AM
 
More stuff, and a photoshop picture.

More Claimed MacBook Air Specs: 8-10 Hour Battery, NVIDIA 320M, Upgradeable RAM and SSD - Mac Rumors

- Battery life rumored to be 8-10 hours, up from 5 in the current MacBook Air.
- Thinner and lighter form factor with fewer curves.
- Two USB ports, SD card slot, straight-style MagSafe, Mini DisplayPort.
- Base model with 2 GB of RAM, but upgradeable. SSD also upgradeable.
- NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics.
- Unconfirmed CPU claims of 2.1 GHz and 2.4 GHz options, but no claim of a specific processor family is offered.
- Suggestion of $999 for 11.6-inch model and $1100 for the 13.3-inch model, but Cult of Mac believes something like $1100/$1400 to be more likely.

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ajprice
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Oct 18, 2010, 11:50 AM
 
There's a lot of overlap between the 13" MacBook/Pro/Air as it is, if they make this new Air cheaper, something else has got to make room. So maybe the white Macbook will get cheaper, or die?

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Oct 18, 2010, 11:57 AM
 
If it's a 320M, it's a Core 2. The SL9600 (successor to the SL9400 that the machine has today) is a low-voltage model at 2.13 GHz and currently costs the same as the SL9400, so must be considered a likely option. For faster than that, you have to move to the SP9x00 series (medium voltage with a higher TDP), where you can get a 2.26, 2.4 or 2.53 GHz model.

Low voltage variants of Core i7 exist as well, but they do not clock as high as 2.4 GHz.and since there is no "medium voltage" variant (the SP model) you have to move up to the full Core i5 or i7 for anything faster. It's not impossible with good cooling, but I doubt it - and anyway there is no small packaging available, and we'd be relegated to Intel integrated graphics.

Sandy Bridge cannot get here soon enough
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
MikeD
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Oct 19, 2010, 04:22 PM
 
You would think that Apple would wait to push out MBAir revisions until this Sandy Bridge chipset came out if it's currently only due for early 2011.
2009 MacMini 2.0 C2D 4GB (3,1) - Needs update!
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Oct 20, 2010, 05:09 AM
 
While it is true that Sandy Bridge is due soon ("shipping for revenue" this quarter, so in OEM boxes beginning of next year), low-power models usually launch later, and we don't even know if the dualcore model launches this soon. The only leaks are of the quads, which certainly don't fit in the MBA.

Sandy Bridge should be an excellent fit for Apple's laptops eventually though.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Love Calm Quiet
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Oct 20, 2010, 10:17 AM
 
Why does everyone keep project a MBA upgrade today (e.g., What to expect at 'Back to the Mac' - Apple 2.0 - Fortune Tech )?

I thought "conventional wisdom" was that the supply channels should be drying up. Yet the apple store shows (right now) that MBA still ships in "approx. 24 hours".
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:01 PM
 
There have been leaks of the insides. I think an MBA update was a foregone conclusion, the news was the price.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
rambo47  (op)
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Oct 20, 2010, 05:04 PM
 
This all settles my question! At least my original question. I'm leaning strongly towards the new 13" MBA. I was lusting for the 11.6" but I remember my 12" PowerBook G4 and it was just a bit cramped. I've been bidding on a few MBA Rev. C models on eBay but I never chased them. I suspect I'll get some email offering me a "second chance" opportunity now. No way! I'm all about the new Rev. D now!!
     
   
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