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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > New MacBook Air: 11.6" $999, 13.3" $1299

New MacBook Air: 11.6" $999, 13.3" $1299
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Eug
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Oct 20, 2010, 02:40 PM
 
$999 for the 11.6", and comes with an SSD. Pricing is not stellar, but still better than I thought it'd be, esp. considering it's got the SSD.

One interesting part for me is the fact that the software restore is on a USB flash drive.



I was wondering when this was going to start happening.
     
Brien
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Oct 20, 2010, 02:50 PM
 
What a snazzy flash drive.

Eug, now that Apple can (and will, exclusively, sooner than later) distribute software via the Mac App Store, and media via iTunes, Apple will, very likely, remove the optical drives from the MBP (and possibly iMac) sooner than you'd think.

Pricing on the new MBA is better than I would've thought, but I wonder if they'll still bother selling the white MacBook much longer.
     
Eug  (op)
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Oct 20, 2010, 02:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by Brien View Post
Eug, now that Apple can (and will, exclusively, sooner than later) distribute software via the Mac App Store, and media via iTunes, Apple will, very likely, remove the optical drives from the MBP (and possibly iMac) sooner than you'd think.
FWIW, iDVD is still alive.
     
Brien
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Oct 20, 2010, 03:08 PM
 
That doesn't prove me wrong.

We'll see. I could foresee a 15"/17" MacBook Air in 2012 or so.
     
Eug  (op)
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Oct 20, 2010, 03:11 PM
 
Hey, decent pricing for Canadians compared to the US.

CAD$1049 for the 11.6", or $999 for edumacation.
CAD$1349 for the 13.3", or $1299 for edumacation.

For the regular pricing, that's a difference of 3.8% and 5.0% respectively vs. US pricing. That's quite reasonable, considering the US $ is worth CAD$1.02 right now.

Hmmm... The Airs qualified in the past for the free iPod touch deal for education too. If that holds true for the new models, I may just get one in summer 2011 if/when the 11.6" gets updated and 10.7 Lion is out.

I wonder how well that 1.4 GHz Core 2 Duo can handle 1080p H.264.
     
chichow
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Oct 20, 2010, 03:34 PM
 
Does that offer for the free touch usually only happen later on or do you think they will have this .edu deal starting now.
     
Eug  (op)
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Oct 20, 2010, 03:44 PM
 
In Canada in 2010, I believe the education deal was May to early September (when school starts).

If I buy the 11.6" in August 2011:

1) Maybe it will be updated with a faster CPU.
2) Maybe it will be updated with a bigger SSD.
3) Maybe the iPod touch deal will be in place.
4) 10.7 Lion will have been released.

That's a lot of maybes, but I'm not in a huge rush to buy as I already have a 13" MacBook Pro. I just find it a bit unwieldy because of the size, and a bit heavy.

I'm still not completely ruling out an 11.6" Win 7 netbook though, if I can find one with all the bells and whistles (like a decent CPU and GPU, and full-sized keyboard) for $500.
     
chichow
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:18 PM
 
I'm thinking about selling my current MBA. I was hoping for some thoughts from the forum.

My MBA is my primary machine. Its the 1.6 Rev B version.

As for other computers at home:
1) winbloz 7 machine at home for some gaming and
2) mini for HTPC

--

If I sell my current for $800, I should be able to get a
13.3 MBA
4Gb
256 GB SS HD
better GPU for $1800

What I have listed above seems to be the difference between my current MBA and Parallels runs terrible in my current MBA with 2Gb

Does 4Gb / an extra 128 GB and solid state / and a better GPU seem worth $1000?

I do travel with my MBA everyday.
     
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:37 PM
 
any news on the TRIM command, now that it uses SSD exclusively?
     
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
For the regular pricing, that's a difference of 3.8% and 5.0% respectively vs. US pricing. That's quite reasonable, considering the US $ is worth CAD$1.02 right now.
I don't think that's reasonable at all.
     
Eug  (op)
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
I don't think that's reasonable at all.
Well, I agree the Air is still overpriced, but I meant that the price vs. exchange rate this time is actually decent.

In my case, the price may actually be OK too, because I'd be paying the $999 education price, and I'm hoping to get the free iPod touch deal. If so, I'll just immediately sell the iPod touch, and the Air effectively becomes $850.

I was hoping for a $799 Air, but this may just be close enough for me to pull the trigger.

However, like I said, if I can find a good 11.6" netbook/notebook with Win 7 for $500, I may just save myself the extra cash and get that instead. I already have a zillion Macs in my house.
     
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:51 PM
 
With the exception of the puny 2 GB RAM that are included with these machines (why do we have to pay extra for something that should be standard?), they look great. Damn, I wish my previous machine had died later, for sure I would have gotten an 22" iMac/11" MacBook Air setup.
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Oct 20, 2010, 04:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by chichow View Post
I'm thinking about selling my current MBA. I was hoping for some thoughts from the forum.

My MBA is my primary machine. Its the 1.6 Rev B version.

As for other computers at home:
1) winbloz 7 machine at home for some gaming and
2) mini for HTPC

--

If I sell my current for $800, I should be able to get a
13.3 MBA
4Gb
256 GB SS HD
better GPU for $1800

What I have listed above seems to be the difference between my current MBA and Parallels runs terrible in my current MBA with 2Gb

Does 4Gb / an extra 128 GB and solid state / and a better GPU seem worth $1000?

I do travel with my MBA everyday.
That's for you to decide, but I personally wouldn't even attempt to run Parallels in 2010 for real work with only 2 GB total in the Mac. Not only will Parallels run poorly, so will Mac OS X.

My Win 7 machine has 2 GB RAM, which I think is adequate for Win 7 but not great. My MacBook Pro has 2 GB RAM, which I think is adequate for OS X, but not great. You can get away with less RAM for XP though.
     
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Oct 20, 2010, 05:40 PM
 
i've admired the ipads, but i need to CREATE content, not just view it. need logic, photoshop, dreamweaver, etc etc.
so...this looks great (maybe even the 11"...), something impossibly small & light to carry work around. hmmm...
"At first, there was Nothing. Then Nothing inverted itself and became Something.
And that is what you all are: inverted Nothings...with potential" (Sun Ra)
     
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Oct 20, 2010, 05:53 PM
 
I sure wish Apple would have put a ULV i3 in these, not an ancient by now C2D.
     
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Oct 20, 2010, 06:25 PM
 
But they they couldn't have used the 320M.
     
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Oct 20, 2010, 06:27 PM
 
I don't see why they couldn't find something else to use. Like Nvidia Ion.
     
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Oct 20, 2010, 07:06 PM
 
Tiny, tiny hard drive on the 11".

But a good solution for anyone who doesn't have to use it for images or video.

And the 2 Gb RAM out of the box does just mean that the real price of the MBA is higher, as you have to upgrade it.

Generally, I think this is the beginning of the end of the MacBook. Why would you buy a MacBook if you can have the super slim package of the MBA for the same price. And I don't think it'll be a lot slower.
     
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Oct 20, 2010, 07:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by Veltliner View Post
Tiny, tiny hard drive on the 11".
Yeah. It's so tiny that it's not there.
     
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Oct 20, 2010, 08:02 PM
 
His point stands though. After you install OS X, you're left with less than 60 Gb. When Apple is pushing HD movies and TV shows, that's not much space at all.
     
Brien
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Oct 20, 2010, 08:20 PM
 
Well, better hope the cloud shows up soon.
     
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Oct 20, 2010, 08:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
His point stands though. After you install OS X, you're left with less than 60 Gb. When Apple is pushing HD movies and TV shows, that's not much space at all.
It can be configured with 128 GB. IMO that's the sweet spot for an entry level machine.
     
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Oct 20, 2010, 10:19 PM
 
My iTunes folder on my MacBook Pro is larger than 128 Gb, and all I have is the final season of LOST and three iTunes HD movies and 30 Gb of movies.
     
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Oct 20, 2010, 11:02 PM
 
Ooooh I saw a 256GB SSD too but still, the processor is probably too slow. I'd have to bring a bunch of stuff I use/do at work and keep open at the same time to the apple store to try it out...
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Oct 20, 2010, 11:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Well, I agree the Air is still overpriced, but I meant that the price vs. exchange rate this time is actually decent.
I don't think the Air is overpriced, I think the Canadian price doesn't properly reflect the exchange rate. Should be closer to $999 if the exchange is $1:1.02
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 01:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
With the exception of the puny 2 GB RAM that are included with these machines (why do we have to pay extra for something that should be standard?), they look great.
At least you *can* get 4GB. And... it's only $100 - way more reasonable than Apple's previous RAM hyper-charges. Makes it now a great deal for me!
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Oct 21, 2010, 02:46 AM
 
I ordered the 11" version only 1 hour after the keynote.

This is exactly what I've been looking for, for years.

Many years ago, before netbooks were the thing, I bought a Sharp MM20. It was okay, except it was too delicate. I was scared to take it anywhere. The quality was okay, but it just had that real thin metal feel to it. It had the feel of bump it a little too hard and it would be dead.

Anyhow, I didn't use it too much. The iPad has been great, but the 11 inch MBA should be fantastic.
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 03:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
It can be configured with 128 GB. IMO that's the sweet spot for an entry level machine.
I figured it could be configured.

$999 + RAM upgrade + SSD upgrade - and you're close to $1500 for an 11" notebook.

Which makes the larger MBA the better deal.

But still: we are seeing the next generation of laptops here.
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 03:25 AM
 
Can you remind me why I'd want one of these over a much more capable 13" MBP?

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
Eug  (op)
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Oct 21, 2010, 03:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
I don't think the Air is overpriced, I think the Canadian price doesn't properly reflect the exchange rate. Should be closer to $999 if the exchange is $1:1.02
Well, the high priced Air is 3.8% more in CAD$, which means there is really only a 2% premium for that machine. Plus the dollar fluctuates. It's been at 96.x¢ to over $1 in the past couple of months. An effective 3% premium is quite reasonable IMO. I just think the actual price should be lower in both countries… but I'm not complaining because I'll just take the education price and free iPod touch, thank you very much.


Originally Posted by Veltliner View Post
Tiny, tiny hard drive on the 11".

But a good solution for anyone who doesn't have to use it for images or video.

And the 2 Gb RAM out of the box does just mean that the real price of the MBA is higher, as you have to upgrade it.

Generally, I think this is the beginning of the end of the MacBook. Why would you buy a MacBook if you can have the super slim package of the MBA for the same price. And I don't think it'll be a lot slower.
The MacBook is a lot faster, is more upgradable, and has optical for those who need it. My guess is that the MacBook will remain the Mac machine of choice for students.

As for the MBA, I'd really want an 96-128 GB SSD. 64 is really pushing it.


Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Can you remind me why I'd want one of these over a much more capable 13" MBP?
I have the 13" MBP, and I've wanted an 11" uberlight Mac laptop ever since just about forever. The 13" is heavy and too bulky for my tastes. When I travel, the 13" is annoying in economy class, plus the added weight does become noticeable.

When the 13" MacBook Air came out, it IMO had some of the worst of both worlds. Slow like an ultralight, but as big as the 13" MBP and cost way more.

The new 11.6" MacBook Air changes that. It costs less than the 13" MBP, yet includes an SSD. I still think it's overpriced, but nowhere near as overpriced as the 13" MBA used to be.
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 04:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Can you remind me why I'd want one of these over a much more capable 13" MBP?
Size.

Weight.

Aluminum.

SSD (which will probably more than make up for the CPU speed difference in most casual usage scenarios).
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 05:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Can you remind me why I'd want one of these over a much more capable 13" MBP?
If you want an ultraportable laptop? A chick could probably fit the 11" in her purse and barely notice.
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 06:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Can you remind me why I'd want one of these over a much more capable 13" MBP?
Weight, size and feature set.
If the new MacBook Air were available half a year ago, I would have switched from a 15" MacBook Pro to a 11.6" MacBook Air/iMac solution. I'd do all serious photo editing on my iMac with a faster CPU than I currently have and I'd be able to have a machine that weighs less than half. Bummer, now I have to wait three or four years.
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Oct 21, 2010, 09:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Can you remind me why I'd want one of these over a much more capable 13" MBP?
size is really the only factor for choosing the MBA over the MBP
~Mike
     
chichow
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Oct 21, 2010, 09:45 AM
 
I have a 13" MBA. 1.8Ghz. Rev B 2Gb.
At the same time, I also HAD a 13" Macbook 2.0Ghz 4Gb Alum

The 13" Macbook killed. KEEEEEEELED the MBA in terms of performance. Its NOT EVEN CLOSE.
Parallels ran just fine on the Macbook, not well on the MBA. I didn't get the spinning ball on the Macbook as I did on the MBA.

And yet I carried and still do carry my MBA almost everyday. For what I need to do while moving, its enough. The Macbook was for someone else and frankly it never got used. Too heavy, etc. compared to another tiny Dell laptop.

I was about to drop $400 on a Runcore for the 128Gb SSD for the MBA to increase the speed of my current MBA, but now I just might upgrade.

Damn you Apple for putting in a 256Gb SSD. You...complete...me (for the next 2 years)
( Last edited by chichow; Oct 21, 2010 at 09:58 AM. Reason: grammer)
     
chichow
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Oct 21, 2010, 10:40 AM
 
Ok...who to BTO?

Small Dog or Powermax?
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 11:42 AM
 
Meh, color me unimpressed. In two years, you are going to have a slow obsolete netbook that can't be upgraded.

If you want a notebook, a MB or MBP is a far better option.

If you want small, get an iPad. It's aluminum too, and it gets through airport security w/o fondling.
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 11:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by chichow View Post
Ok...who to BTO?

Small Dog or Powermax?
Apple?
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:26 PM
 
Ever hear of sales tax?^

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Oct 21, 2010, 12:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by MotoArtDesign View Post
If you want small, get an iPad. It's aluminum too, and it gets through airport security w/o fondling.
The iPad would be completely useless to me. Basically added weight for no good reason. When I travel, I need a laptop, and already have my iPhone as well.

Curiously, every single one of my colleagues who bought an iPad and who takes that iPad on business trips, also takes his laptop too, to do real work. Some of them have stopped taking the iPad, while others continue taking both, for reasons I don't quite understand. Perhaps it's because the iPad is a nicer "fun" computer on the plane, and at least you can do some very limited work on it. But you definitely cannot do the stuff on an iPad that you can do on a MacBook.
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 01:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
Ever hear of sales tax?^

Small Dog. Awesome group of people.
They don't offer BTO on the MBA it seems.
     
Eug  (op)
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Oct 21, 2010, 01:52 PM
 
PC Mag review of 11.6" MacBook Air

Pros
Exquisitely thin. Lightest in its class. Full size keyboard. Sharp, vibrant 11.6-inch widescreen. SSD drive is durable and quick. Good graphics chip included. Runs cool.

Cons
No SD Card slot. No Ethernet. Sluggish compared with its peers. Unimpressive battery life.

Bottom Line
The Apple MacBook Air (11-inch) is the lightest, smallest laptop in Apple's inventory, but you'll have to give up certain luxuries and pay a hefty price for it.


Handbrake really doesn't like the Core 2 Duo.

1.2 GHz i3: 5 minutes, 57 seconds
1.4 GHz C2D: 23 minutes, 23 seconds
     
Eug  (op)
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Oct 21, 2010, 09:45 PM
 
     
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Oct 22, 2010, 01:31 AM
 
Could the weakness of the MBA not be the bus or the whole integration of RAM into the processor? The whole system, not just the processor?

I'd say the MBA 11" would be perfect for writing. You don't have that fake keyboard of the iPad, and the 11" MBA should even be easier to transport than an iPad.

I'm curious how good the screen will be in regards to watching images or videos. The iPad's screen is very good for that - but it's a lot thicker.

I see a lot of people will end up with both an iPad and an MBA
     
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Oct 22, 2010, 07:25 AM
 
Well it seems PC mag seems to like it for the most part. I have to agree with them with regards to the design. What makes it a tough pill to swallow is the price and what you get for that price. You really are paying a premium for a prior generation chipset. I understand the reasoning, i.e., nvidia GPU but for goodness sake don't set the price that's so close and in some configurations exceeds the 13" MBP's price
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Oct 22, 2010, 08:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by Veltliner View Post
Could the weakness of the MBA not be the bus or the whole integration of RAM into the processor? The whole system, not just the processor?
The problem is explained rather well by arstechnica: it's a combination of the weak built-in gpu of the Core i3 and the fact that the size of the Core i3 chip makes it much harder to cool. They're also more expensive.
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Oct 22, 2010, 08:06 AM
 
In a nutshell:

- iX series' integrated graphics suck
- Intel licensing prohibits their use with the nvidia controllers with good integrated graphics
- Thus, decent graphics performance requires a discrete chipset
- iX chips still require separate system controllers

There's no room for both in a 13" design (that's why the 13" MacBook/Pro still run C2Duos, as well).
     
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Oct 22, 2010, 09:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Handbrake really doesn't like the Core 2 Duo.

1.2 GHz i3: 5 minutes, 57 seconds
1.4 GHz C2D: 23 minutes, 23 seconds
Weird. i3, so it's no Turbo effect. The Pentium U5400 has roughly the same stats, so it's not Hyperthreading. What remains? The changed cache system? Don't believe it. Not even Clarksfield (which has the integrated memory controller) show this sort of gain versus Core 2, core for core.

No, either they messed up the test and only ran it on one core or without SSE or something, or the MBA was throttling due to heat concerns. Which would be news, but they don't mention that. I think I'll wait for the Ars review.
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.
     
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Oct 22, 2010, 09:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
In a nutshell:

- iX series' integrated graphics suck
Although much less than previous versions. Also, the iX 2x00 series will suck even less.

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
- Intel licensing prohibits their use with the nvidia controllers with good integrated graphics
Not exactly. The basic design prevents an integrated graphics solution (where memory is shared between the CPU and CPU). What nVidia was apparently aiming to do was create a discrete graphics chip that also included the platform controller, thus getting back down to 2 chips + RAM, except there would be two sets of RAM. Intel spiked this plan by refusing to license their DMA bus, which is required to make a platform controller.

The thing is, this is not changing. GPUs are getting ever more closely integrated into the CPU (today Intel could have made a version without the GPU, if they wanted to. With Sandy Bridge, they can't). At some point, Apple will have to either:

1) Accept Intel's integrated graphics
2) Dump Intel completely (AMD has better graphics)
3) Use discrete graphics on all models
4) Get a DMA license from Intel, for themselves or nVidia, and go ahead with the original nVidia plan
5) Get Intel and nVidia to package up all their various chips together to create one package for Apple

1) is the easy way out, and I think it is what will happened with Sandy Bridge. Intel has two distinct levels of integrated graphics in the pipeline, and the performance o0f the upper one is much improved in early tests
2) is unlikely to happen, although it would be hilarious if it did.
3) is expensive, and goes against Moore's law. Stopgap maybe
4) would in many ways be the best, but if Intel says no, they mean it. The way they keep ramming their B-list graphics down everyone's throat implies that they mean to leverage their CPU monopoly to drive nVidia out of the market. It would probably take government intervention to make this happen - either patent reform to kill the need for a DMA license, or antitrust investigation of Intel
5) is a pipedream. Theoretically Intel could move production of their rather trivial platform controllers to TSMC and let TSMC integrate them with nVidia GPUs and even put some GDDR memory on top, but why would they if they refuse to license their bus?
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.
     
Eug  (op)
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Caught in a web of deceit.
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Oct 22, 2010, 09:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Weird. i3, so it's no Turbo effect. The Pentium U5400 has roughly the same stats, so it's not Hyperthreading. What remains? The changed cache system? Don't believe it. Not even Clarksfield (which has the integrated memory controller) show this sort of gain versus Core 2, core for core.

No, either they messed up the test and only ran it on one core or without SSE or something, or the MBA was throttling due to heat concerns. Which would be news, but they don't mention that. I think I'll wait for the Ars review.
FWIW, these are my benchmarks with an older version of Handbrake:



I can't remember how well Handbrake makes use of quad-core (or 8 logical cores).
     
 
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