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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 (Page 2)
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Urkel
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Oct 22, 2010, 09:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
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).
If thats true then shouldnt the question be "Would you rather sacrifice Graphics Performance or CPU/Battery/Heat efficiency in your ultra-portable computer".

I can understand the MBP sticking with C2D just to get the nvidia gpu. But someone doesn't buy the MBA for graphics performance. They buy for portability so "integrated graphics that suck" makes more sense than forcing in an outdated CPU in a $1200 system.


That said, i'm still considering an MBA for the wife. But as a consumer then it's not a good feeling to buy a new computer using two year old technology.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 22, 2010, 09:34 AM
 
11" is too small and too expensive. Battery life is not great, and it will be obsolete quick. If you don't order it with 4GB RAM it will be obsolete before you take it out of the box IMO.

I cannot see why anyone in their right mind would think it preferable to the 13" version. Its a netbook. Jobs said they couldn't build a decent one of those for the right price, he has now proved himself correct by building the most decent one for a stupid price.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Maflynn
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Oct 22, 2010, 10:43 AM
 
I think apple would have been better served to give the 11" an i3 or even an i5 processor and use the integrated GPU. I think these small machines will be used less for apps/games that would need a better GPU but conversely the faster CPU would be more useful in these machines
~Mike
     
scaught
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Oct 22, 2010, 11:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
11" is too small and too expensive. Battery life is not great, and it will be obsolete quick. If you don't order it with 4GB RAM it will be obsolete before you take it out of the box IMO.

I cannot see why anyone in their right mind would think it preferable to the 13" version. Its a netbook. Jobs said they couldn't build a decent one of those for the right price, he has now proved himself correct by building the most decent one for a stupid price.
I agree with the 4GB of RAM, but if people are going to use this for general purposes I think it's fine. Browsing, managing itunes, photos, etc will all be perfectly usable with this rig.

Jobs point about netbooks is the dinky screens and keyboards. This has neither of those issues. If I was in the market for a laptop I'd get the 11" model.
     
Eug  (op)
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Oct 22, 2010, 11:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
I think apple would have been better served to give the 11" an i3 or even an i5 processor and use the integrated GPU. I think these small machines will be used less for apps/games that would need a better GPU but conversely the faster CPU would be more useful in these machines
I actually don't mind a poorer CPU if the GPU is decent... in certain situations.

However, one of the problems with this is that while OS X has cool OS uses for the GPU, media playback isn't always one of them. Quicktime sucks royally on slow CPUs, because Quicktime often doesn't leverage the power of the GPU for decode acceleration as much as it could.

I'm still wondering how well the MBA will be able to decode 1080p30 video with that 1.4 GHz C2D in Quicktime. Hopefully it will be adequate, but I'm not sure. Quicktime is supposed to do H.264 acceleration on the Geforce 320M, but I wonder how much. Hopefully, all 1080p on Apple's site will play perfectly on the MacBook Air.

It will be interesting to see how well HD Flash works on it though.

Originally Posted by scaught View Post
I agree with the 4GB of RAM, but if people are going to use this for general purposes I think it's fine. Browsing, managing itunes, photos, etc will all be perfectly usable with this rig.

Jobs point about netbooks is the dinky screens and keyboards. This has neither of those issues. If I was in the market for a laptop I'd get the 11" model.
My number 1 beef against tiny netbooks is the crappy keyboard. However, there are several 11.6" netbooks out there, and they have normal keyboards, so the MacBook Air is no pioneer here. Its benefits are that it's a smaller and nicer looking machine, and it has OS X and SSD.

( Last edited by Eug; Oct 22, 2010 at 11:34 AM. )
     
Maflynn
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Oct 22, 2010, 11:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I actually don't mind a poorer CPU if the GPU is decent... in certain situations.
But are those certain situations applicable for the MBA, specifically the 11" MBA which has extremely limited storage capabilities.
~Mike
     
scaught
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Oct 22, 2010, 12:05 PM
 
All things considered, I'm literally planning on buying a mac that will play Portal 2 at least reasonably well. I'm pretty sure this isn't the one that's going to suit that need.
     
Eug  (op)
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Oct 22, 2010, 01:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
But are those certain situations applicable for the MBA, specifically the 11" MBA which has extremely limited storage capabilities.
128 GB and an external USB 2 drive isn't exactly "extremely limited".

Anyways, for "situations" I was referring to OS considerations. I'm a little worried about a slow-CPU-with-decent-GPU combo because of Apple's history of very poor support of GPU-accelerated video decoding.

However, Apple specifically states that Quicktime accelerates H.264 with the Geforce 320M, so I'm wondering if they've prevented a possible issue of HD Quicktime playback on the 11" MBA using this.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 22, 2010, 01:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by scaught View Post
I agree with the 4GB of RAM, but if people are going to use this for general purposes I think it's fine. Browsing, managing itunes, photos, etc will all be perfectly usable with this rig.

Jobs point about netbooks is the dinky screens and keyboards. This has neither of those issues. If I was in the market for a laptop I'd get the 11" model.
11" IS a dinky screen. Yes its higher res, and its fine for a phone or an iPad to just bump the resolution but I like to use my laptops at arms length as often as not. Plus I remember being blown away by the difference in browsing the web when I went from a 13" MacBook to a 15" MacBook Pro. My iPhone is great because A) its better than any other device its size for browsing the web and B) I don't mind holding it up near my face to use it. I would not want to read as much as I do on an 11" screen.

I don't know what a low clocked Core i3 is like at playing back video, but I suspect Apple went with the Core 2 and nVidia so the GPU can playback HD. I gather they intend it to be possible to power a big display from one of these Airs. An Intel GPU would probably struggle to get good quality h264 on a 27" cinema display.
( Last edited by Waragainstsleep; Oct 22, 2010 at 01:31 PM. )
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Maflynn
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Oct 22, 2010, 01:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
128 GB and an external USB 2 drive isn't exactly "extremely limited".
You're right but then needing to luck around an external portable drive kind of flies in the face of being ultra-portable.
~Mike
     
Eug  (op)
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Oct 22, 2010, 02:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
11" IS a dinky screen. Yes its higher res, and its fine for a phone or an iPad to just bump the resolution but I like to use my laptops at arms length as often as not. Plus I remember being blown away by the difference in browsing the web when I went from a 13" MacBook to a 15" MacBook Pro. My iPhone is great because A) its better than any other device its size for browsing the web and B) I don't mind holding it up near my face to use it. I would not want to read as much as I do on an 11" screen.
I dislike surfing on a iPhone. However, I have an iPhone because IMO it's passable, and everything other phone in existence is absolutely terrible.

The screen size of the 11.6" seems perfect to me, but then again I have an iMac as my main machine.

BTW, I went from a G3 iBook to a G4 Titanium. I enjoyed the speed boost, but disliked the increased size. After the iBook went G4, I went back to an iBook. I currently have a 13" MacBook Pro, but will probably go to an 11.6" laptop in 2011. I haven't decided if it's going to be a Mac or not yet though.

I don't know what a low clocked Core i3 is like at playing back video, but I suspect Apple went with the Core 2 and nVidia so the GPU can playback HD. I gather they intend it to be possible to power a big display from one of these Airs. An Intel GPU would probably struggle to get good quality h264 on a 27" cinema display.
Indeed. One can only hope that the chipset options for new Intel chips won't be totally braindead like they are now.

Intel wants to foster its integrated chipsets, but in this transition period (when Intel's chipset suck), they're just pissing everyone off.

Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
You're right but then needing to luck around an external portable drive kind of flies in the face of being ultra-portable.
I wouldn't be surprised if they add the 256 GB option to the 11" at the next update in summer 2011. I personally want a 128 GB.
     
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Oct 22, 2010, 03:24 PM
 
So they finally got around to implementing a CULV netbook and decided to use a deprecated CPU released over 2 years ago. Stunning development, Apple.
     
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Oct 22, 2010, 03:47 PM
 
I check them both out at the Apple Store Short Hills (NJ) today and both are extremely drool-worthy. I plan on picking up the 13" model as the 11.6" one is just a bit small for me. Über-sexy, would be great for mobile email and web browsing, but I still prefer the larger one. And the hotter processor on the 13" will make a difference to me.

I always end up using my Macs for more than I originally intended. And after buying "just enough" computer for those needs, I'm always disappointed when that computer won't meet my new needs. So I'm going right to the top.
     
Maflynn
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Oct 22, 2010, 03:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
So they finally got around to implementing a CULV netbook and decided to use a deprecated CPU released over 2 years ago. Stunning development, Apple.
From what I've been reading it was a tactical decision. Go with a C2D and you can use an nividia GPU, go with the i3/i5 live with the intel integrated gpu.

I'm not agreeing with it, just that seems to be the reason why.
~Mike
     
Spheric Harlot
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Oct 22, 2010, 04:02 PM
 
Would you rather they cut graphics capability to half in the new machines?

They'd rather take flak for a compromised status quo than a DOWNgrade.
     
mduell
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Oct 22, 2010, 04:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
From what I've been reading it was a tactical decision. Go with a C2D and you can use an nividia GPU, go with the i3/i5 live with the intel integrated gpu.
That's correct given the space constraint; I'd prefer the modern CPU and weaker GPU (still more than enough for H.264 video decode, light games) to the several year old CPU and midrange GPU (OpenCL? LOL).

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Would you rather they cut graphics capability to half in the new machines?

They'd rather take flak for a compromised status quo than a DOWNgrade.
Half the CPU or half the GPU? I'll take the better CPU. Intel HD graphics is enough for everything I'd do on this netbook (mostly video decode, quartz) while I'd be waiting on CPU a lot (web javascript, etc).
     
Spheric Harlot
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Oct 22, 2010, 04:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Half the CPU or half the GPU?
What IS the difference in CPU power at equal wattage?

I thought it was more like 5-10% - or was that the Kool-Aid?
     
mduell
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Oct 22, 2010, 06:14 PM
 
The 1.4-1.6Ghz Core 2 Duo in the new MBA is a 10W TDP plus ~15W for the 320M chipset (I can't find an exact/reliable figure). The current CULV parts are 18W TDP for the entire platform.

Performance gain varies by application, but generally 15-45% (same as the mainstream C2D->Nehalem transition).

So in terms of performance per watt they're up ~80%. I suppose Apple could do a little overclocking if they wanted to get the wattage level up instead of taking the battery life gains.
     
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Oct 22, 2010, 06:22 PM
 
my first-ever mac was the 2400c, a color powerbook with a 10.4" screen; an external floppy and cd...1998. i LOVED that thing, my fave mac laptop (until, finally, the 13" mbp).

i'm into the idea of an imac at home, and maybe the 11.6" for running around; an ipad that CREATES sounds great to me. maybe not the fastest, most powerful, but running os x, i could do my real work (logic, photoshop, dreamweaver, etc).
will def go & drool over one at the apple store...
"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)
     
Brien
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Oct 22, 2010, 11:33 PM
 
Well, assuming the next revision finally crams an i3 in there, I'd be all for it. But I think going from a MBP to that thing would be a hard transition.
     
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Oct 23, 2010, 01:10 AM
 
1) Can someone test 1080p .mov Quicktime HD playback on the 11.6" MacBook?
2) Can someone test 1080p .mkv (with H.264) playback in VLC (and/or Movist) on the 11.6" MacBook?
3) I wonder if Apple would consider using AMD Zacaté to power the next 11.6" in 2011. My guess is no, but who knows.
     
Maflynn
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Oct 23, 2010, 08:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Would you rather they cut graphics capability to half in the new machines?
YES, absolutely. I'd have an order in for the MBA, in an instant.

The 11" MBA with its storage and ram, lack of optical drive means its not an ideal desktop (or laptop) replacement. That is, its not a machine meant to be the sole computer.

I'm not sure too many people will be doing heavy graphic work on an 11" display, or play some intensive FPS games on it. Why put a component into such a form factor when most people will tap into it, but yet they would/could have with a current generation CPU

I'm, using a dell mini 10v hackintosh for my mobile needs for the moment. Its not a bad laptop, atom processor not withstanding. There are large differences between apple and dell. The keyboard is cramped, the touchpad is aweful and the 10" is a tad cramped but doable.

I'd love to get the 11" mba but at 1,000 its a tough sell. I spent 250 for the mini, its got 2 gig of ram and a 160 gb HD, that price included the cost of getting an actual license for snow Leopard (I don't pirate). For such little money I can't really complain too much but I would like what apple has to offer. I have the ability to cash in one of my vacation weeks, maybe if push comes to shove I'll do that so i'll not have any actual out of pocket expense on this.

I'm at a dealership waiting for my truck to be serviced working on my mini 10v. FWIW, I'd be on ubuntu's netbook remix as its much more resource friendly then OSX on these small computers but I couldn't get gotomypc/rdp/vnc working too well for some reason and I perfer OSX when ever possible
( Last edited by Maflynn; Oct 23, 2010 at 08:38 AM. )
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Eug  (op)
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Oct 23, 2010, 10:03 AM
 
I was almost tempted by a $149 Compaq netbook last night. However, it has a terrible Intel GPU, that irritating 10.1"-class keyboard, 1 GB RAM and Windows 7 Starter. I'm still looking for an 11.6" - 12" netbook with faster GPU, 2G RAM, and Windows 7 Home Premium, for cheap. They're available, but they're more in the $489+ range for dual-core. If they drop closer to $399 on sale near Xmas, I may just make the jump.

With OS X like Maflynn I'd probably take a faster CPU at the expense of the GPU as well. H.264 is accelerated by the Geforce 320M in Quicktime, but I personally don't actually use Quicktime for a lot of media playback. So, on OS X, for general OS usage and media playback, CPU speed still trumps GPU speed by a long shot IMO. CPU speed also trumps GPU speed on Windows too overall, but it's matured to the point where on Windows you can get away with having even lowly Atom class CPU speed as long as the GPU is good. Like I've mentioned before, I'd be fine using my Atom ION machine all day long, except for stuff like video editing and Aperture.

I've pretty much decided I won't get this version of the 11.6" MacBook Air, but I'm still interested in what Apple will have to offer next year, and at what price. As I've mentioned before, the existence of the free iPod touch deal or not for education will factor a lot in the decision to make this purchase.
( Last edited by Eug; Oct 23, 2010 at 10:11 AM. )
     
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Oct 23, 2010, 05:49 PM
 
As a former 2.13 GHZ 128 SSD MacBook Air owner... I can tell you that OS X does not play nice with underpowered systems. That latter was an engineering disaster. Had been from the start. What happens is, the processor heats up so much that it ends up cycling down, and the computer is basically useless. There is really nothing that will solve it. It's just underpowered. Apple's forums and elsewhere are filled with the heat complaints.

What causes it problems? Apply this to any Mac really. Too many problems open at one time, Flash, most notably Safari, and, heavy duty programs like Photoshop.

But it was really Safari that bogged down the MacBook Air. It struggled with more than about 10 tabs going, and with only a couple light applications open in the background. In the end, I just got tired of the slow processor and paltry 2 GB RAM. It's not enough to do stuff that we all take for granted with our MacBook Pros, etc.

If it were me, I would not even touch any of these MacBook Airs but the top end, with the 2.13 GHz processor add on, and the 4 GB RAM option. Anything less than this I would run from in the OS X environment.

OS X is simply a bleeding beast of resource hogging badness. I really hope they fix it. I know I'm not alone. Snow Leopard is not the best release: it's full of bloat and is really slow at times when it shouldn't. Having said that, I know one of the major culprits is Safari, or another web browser. It hogs a lot of system resources, and Flash is just terrible on the Mac. These are the things that really tax a computer like the MacBook Air. And OS X is really bad at addressing memory on SSD and probably Flash memory too. That's because sectors that are supposed to be free are treated as full.

For myself and others I have seen, restarting our SSD Airs would result in sometimes over 10 GB of space freed up again. Only to have it rapidly disappear again. There's lots of discussion about how OS X is lacking regarding SSDs. I just wonder how well Flash will perform. I suspect very good, but I also suspect there's going to be problems with it too.

Another thing: no backlit keyboard. That is an unfortunate omission. Really bad actually. How many of us can live without the backlit keyboard anymore?

Anyway, my advice is to go with the 13.3" 2.13 GHz 4 GB RAM Air, if you are to buy one. Anybody who buys any other model is, IMHO, just getting sucked into Apple's marketing...

Stay with your larger MacBook Pro, iPad, and iPhone. The 11" Air is just not needed.
     
Maflynn
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Oct 23, 2010, 06:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by freudling View Post
As a former 2.13 GHZ 128 SSD MacBook Air owner... I can tell you that OS X does not play nice with underpowered systems. That latter was an engineering disaster. Had been from the start. What happens is, the processor heats up so much that it ends up cycling down, and the computer is basically useless. There is really nothing that will solve it. It's just underpowered. Apple's forums and elsewhere are filled with the heat complaints.
I think this was caused by inclusion of a non ULV processor and the TDP of the processor was too much for such an enclosure.

I believe this new generation of MBAs use a stock ULV Core2Duo processor so those issues should be behind us
~Mike
     
imitchellg5
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Oct 23, 2010, 07:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I've pretty much decided I won't get this version of the 11.6" MacBook Air, but I'm still interested in what Apple will have to offer next year, and at what price. As I've mentioned before, the existence of the free iPod touch deal or not for education will factor a lot in the decision to make this purchase.
I'm with you there, but my worry is that Apple will do what they've done with the MacBook Air already: just let it sit for a very, very long time.
     
Eug  (op)
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Oct 23, 2010, 08:51 PM
 
Well, new low power chips are supposed to be coming out next year, aren't they.

And yeah, my #1 favourite feature of my 13" MacBook Pro is the backlit keyboard. Too bad the Airs don't get it.
     
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Oct 23, 2010, 10:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
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.
That's a good article that shows well Apple's decision to go for better graphics than sheer processing power.

Now I'm curious how good the screen will be.
     
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Oct 23, 2010, 11:00 PM
 
Some people mentioned they don't see any reason in buying an 11" MBA. Sure, price-wise it's not that great an option.

I am curious to see the two versions sitting next to each other at the Apple store. If you want maximum portability and don't do things that require great processing power the portability of the 11" might be just what you want.

Not all people buy the smaller version because of lack of funds, but because they want it smaller.
     
Buckaroo
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Oct 24, 2010, 12:57 AM
 
My 11.6" is suppose to arrive on the 27th.

Oct 23, 2010 12:57 PM
Left FedEx origin facility
SHANGHAI CN
     
Maflynn
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Oct 24, 2010, 07:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by Buckaroo View Post
My 11.6" is suppose to arrive on the 27th.

Oct 23, 2010 12:57 PM
Left FedEx origin facility
SHANGHAI CN
What was your configuratioin? ram/storage?
~Mike
     
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Oct 24, 2010, 07:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by Veltliner View Post
Some people mentioned they don't see any reason in buying an 11" MBA. Sure, price-wise it's not that great an option.

I am curious to see the two versions sitting next to each other at the Apple store. If you want maximum portability and don't do things that require great processing power the portability of the 11" might be just what you want.

Not all people buy the smaller version because of lack of funds, but because they want it smaller.
Heh, IMO, the 13" MacBook Air is pointless. I've been saying it should be 11.x" ever since it was released.
     
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Oct 24, 2010, 09:03 AM
 
The current 13" will probably last an extra year over the 11" Maybe more. I have an original 1.8GHz Air with the SSD. I can't work out why they used an ATA based SSD instead of SATA, but regardless it is ideal as a light weight, light use portable. Mine can handle flash and h264 and I don't really get any heat issues from it. Maybe the 2.13 is just a fraction too much for the casing.

I think the 13" is exactly what a consumer laptop should be. Using a previous generation chip is fine since any Intel chip from the last few years can handle basic web, mail and video playback. Charging as much as they are for an overly small, underclocked machine with a short useful lifespan is a bit of a stretch. It looks to me like Apple are trying to make the laptop into something as disposable as a phone.

I assume the GeForce can decode .h264 without generating the same heat and general system slowdown that you'd get using the Core i3 instead. Thats why its in there.
( Last edited by Waragainstsleep; Oct 24, 2010 at 09:06 AM. Reason: Spelling mistake and added the last line.)
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Maflynn
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Oct 24, 2010, 09:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Heh, IMO, the 13" MacBook Air is pointless. I've been saying it should be 11.x" ever since it was released.
Agreed, there's too much overlap with the MB and 13" MBP, and under those configurations its more expensive then the the MB/MBP
~Mike
     
Voch
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Oct 24, 2010, 12:40 PM
 
I'm impressed that the MBA has finally equaled or surpassed my Rev. A Unibody MacBook for a reasonable price. I look forward to what Apple is going to do with the MBA and will definitely consider one in my upgrade plans.

Some scorekeeping, if I got this right:

MacBook Unibody 13" Rev. A 2.4Ghz/250MB HD ($1599 new in Oct 2008...I got mine refurb though)
vs
MacBook Air 13" 2.16Ghz/256MB SSD "maxed out" ($1799 now)

MacBook Air advantages:
+lighter (2.9 lbs vs. 4.5 lbs)
+better battery life (7 hours vs. 2-3 hours)
+higher resolution display (1440x900 vs. 1280x800)
+SSD instead of hard drive
+2X faster video (GeForce 320M vs. 9400M)
+SD card slot

MacBook Unibody advantages:
+gigabit Ethernet
+Kensington security slot (I've never used mine)
+backlit keyboard (I've used mine a few times, but not as much as I thought I would)
+user-replacable drive (the MBA uses mSATA (?), which third-parties *may* make drives for someday)

Similarities:
-processor (2.4Ghz w/ 3MB cache vs. 2.16ghz w/ 6MB cache)
-memory (4GB RAM @ 1066Mhz)...my MacBook's *is* user-replacable but is maxed (I think?) at 4GB anyway
-storage size similar (256GB vs. 250GB) [Is the MBA's SSD *real* gigabytes (256GB) or billions of bytes (~238GB)?]
-two USB ports
-DVD-RW capability (+$79 external drive vs. internal drive)
-mini DisplayPort output for external display
-actual microphone on Air vs. microphone port on MacBook
-non-removable battery vs. removable (I've never removed my removable battery)
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 24, 2010, 12:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by Voch View Post
I'm impressed that the MBA has finally equaled or surpassed my Rev. A Unibody MacBook for a reasonable price. I look forward to what Apple is going to do with the MBA and will definitely consider one in my upgrade plans.

Some scorekeeping, if I got this right:

MacBook Unibody 13" Rev. A 2.4Ghz/250MB HD ($1599 new in Oct 2008...I got mine refurb though)
vs
MacBook Air 13" 2.16Ghz/256MB SSD "maxed out" ($1799 now)

MacBook Air advantages:
+lighter (2.9 lbs vs. 4.5 lbs)
+better battery life (7 hours vs. 2-3 hours)
+higher resolution display (1440x900 vs. 1280x800)
+SSD instead of hard drive
+2X faster video (GeForce 320M vs. 9400M)
+SD card slot

MacBook Unibody advantages:
+gigabit Ethernet
+Kensington security slot (I've never used mine)
+backlit keyboard (I've used mine a few times, but not as much as I thought I would)
+user-replacable drive (the MBA uses mSATA (?), which third-parties *may* make drives for someday)

Similarities:
-processor (2.4Ghz w/ 3MB cache vs. 2.16ghz w/ 6MB cache)
-memory (4GB RAM @ 1066Mhz)...my MacBook's *is* user-replacable but is maxed (I think?) at 4GB anyway
-storage size similar (256GB vs. 250GB) [Is the MBA's SSD *real* gigabytes (256GB) or billions of bytes (~238GB)?]
-two USB ports
-DVD-RW capability (+$79 external drive vs. internal drive)
-mini DisplayPort output for external display
-actual microphone on Air vs. microphone port on MacBook
-non-removable battery vs. removable (I've never removed my removable battery)
Not sure about the new ones, but my Rev A Air has a backlit keyboard. You MacBook will run 6GB RAM.
New 13" Air is a great example of where a consumer grade laptop should be heading. If I had to choose between the 11.6" Air and the Current MacBook, the MacBook is a no brainer for me.
The price of the 13" Air will take it out of the running for most companies buying general "executive" or "sales rep" laptops, but the hardware in it is right on the mark to my mind.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Voch
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Oct 24, 2010, 01:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Not sure about the new ones, but my Rev A Air has a backlit keyboard.
The new MBAs do NOT have a backlit keyboard. Lots of griping on some of the other forums I read about that. It's not the big of a deal for me.

You MacBook will run 6GB RAM.
Oh yeah...I do remember hearing about that. It was rated at 4GB max when I bought it, but they work with a single 4GB module that can be paired with a 2GB module.

More food for thought: the price of the current MBP 13" with a similar SSD would be $1999 from Apple (+BTO 256GB SSD) or $1768.99 for the base model from Apple with this 240GB SSD from OWC (that's pretty much what the maxed-out MBA costs).

The new MBA may have killed off what I wanted the MBP 13" to become (remove the optical drive and add an i5 and GPU). Here's hoping that Apple can do some compelling stuff with the next MBP 13" rev...maybe get that higher-res screen from the MBA and have lesser-expensive SSD BTO options, but those could run into the MBA feature-wise.
( Last edited by Voch; Oct 24, 2010 at 01:44 PM. Reason: Added MBP SSD price)
     
mduell
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Oct 24, 2010, 04:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by Brien View Post
Well, assuming the next revision finally crams an i3 in there, I'd be all for it. But I think going from a MBP to that thing would be a hard transition.
i3? Nooooooo donotwant. i5 CULV at the very least, maybe i7 CULV. i3 CULV has no turbo!

Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
I think this was caused by inclusion of a non ULV processor and the TDP of the processor was too much for such an enclosure.

I believe this new generation of MBAs use a stock ULV Core2Duo processor so those issues should be behind us
Yes, the new MBAs feature 2008 vintage C2D CULV chips.
     
driven
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Oct 24, 2010, 11:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
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.
The iPad can be used in economy class without feeling crushed. (Unlike most notebooks).

For personal travel I only bring the iPad, not a laptop.
For business travel I bring both. (In part, because I'm developing enterprise software on an iPad.)
- MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.3Ghz / 256SSD (Work laptop)
- iMac 3.2Ghz 1TB
     
Maflynn
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Oct 25, 2010, 07:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Yes, the new MBAs feature 2008 vintage C2D CULV chips.
At least its at 2008 technology and not 2006
~Mike
     
P
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Oct 25, 2010, 07:21 AM
 
The thing about the Core iX versus Core 2 is that the performance increase is mostly in places that you don't often make us of on an ultraportable - better threading and different cache system. The biggest advantage is the threadshrink to 32nm, which as mduell says saves some power (although I'd add the 1.7W from the PCH to the Core iX solution, to make 20W versus 25W).

Note that the Core 2 has "Turbo", although they called it "IDA" back then. Since the mobile Core i5 is missing the new memory controller, has a nerfed cache and Apple doesn't make use of the encryption instructions, the only thing really missing is Hyperthreading. HT adds about 20% to CPU performance on a good day - that's what you're missing from using the Core 2.

After some thinking, I think I like the new MBAs. The choice of avoiding integrated Intel GPUs this time means that Apple (and everyone else) can pick the 9400M as a reasonable baseline for support for new features - even if they move to Sandy Bridge integrated graphics down the line (while we don't know yet exactly how capable those will be, they will be stronger than 9400M).
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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Oct 25, 2010, 10:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
The iPad can be used in economy class without feeling crushed. (Unlike most notebooks).
Fortunately the 11.6" has that covered.

For personal travel I only bring the iPad, not a laptop.
For business travel I bring both. (In part, because I'm developing enterprise software on an iPad.)
For personal and business travel I personally would still need a laptop esp. if I brought SLR with me. Otherwise I might need neither and would just use my iPhone. Unfortunately, the iPad suffers the same surfing limitations as the iPhone.
     
mduell
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Oct 25, 2010, 12:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
At least its at 2008 technology and not 2006
1.6Ghz C2D did debut in 2006, but it was Merom instead of Penryn and not ULV.

Originally Posted by P View Post
The biggest advantage is the threadshrink to 32nm, which as mduell says saves some power (although I'd add the 1.7W from the PCH to the Core iX solution, to make 20W versus 25W).
Good catch. I swear ARK said 18W system TDP but I must have been on crack.
     
audvidsvs
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Oct 25, 2010, 01:56 PM
 
I just left an Apple store having gone to see if I could resist the temptation and left Empty Handed.

One odd note is that the "Genius" I spoke with said they would do the RAM upgrade on site while I waited?!?
I am fairly sure I have read that this is a factory deal only?

Anyway,nice machine,WAAAAAAY overpriced to me.

Ed
     
Maflynn
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Oct 26, 2010, 07:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by audvidsvs View Post
One odd note is that the "Genius" I spoke with said they would do the RAM upgrade on site while I waited?!?
All other Macs, yes, but you're correct, the MBA is factory installed ram, no way for anyone to upgrade it
This image from ifixit shows the ram modules soldered onto the logic board
~Mike
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 26, 2010, 07:32 AM
 
I think the "Genius" probably meant that they will swap the logic board out. Or that they have CTO units with 4GB in stock.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
audvidsvs
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Oct 26, 2010, 08:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I think the "Genius" probably meant that they will swap the logic board out. Or that they have CTO units with 4GB in stock.
He was insistent that neither was the case.
I said I was certain they could not do it but he was sure they had and had the upgrade in stock.
I agree he still has no idea what he was talking about,more than a little disturbing.

What really struck me was how many new machines were on display and they were there for the buying too.

Just too much for too little for me,I got a new 17" MBP yesterday instead,3rd party,sealed for not a lot more money.
What a Machine!

Ed
     
Spheric Harlot
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Oct 26, 2010, 10:25 AM
 
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 26, 2010, 12:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by audvidsvs View Post
He was insistent that neither was the case.
I said I was certain they could not do it but he was sure they had and had the upgrade in stock.
I agree he still has no idea what he was talking about,more than a little disturbing.

What really struck me was how many new machines were on display and they were there for the buying too.

Just too much for too little for me,I got a new 17" MBP yesterday instead,3rd party,sealed for not a lot more money.
What a Machine!

Ed
Apple store staff categorically do not use soldering irons. I guarantee it. Not at work anyway.
All they do is swap parts out.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Eug  (op)
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Oct 27, 2010, 10:57 PM
 
Most complete 11.6" and 13.3" MacBook Air reviews so far at AnandTech.

I really like the form factor of the 11-inch MacBook Air. It's great to carry around. It's like an iPad for people who have to get real work done. I just wish it was faster.

The 11-inch MacBook Air is effectively a $999 netbook from Apple. I call it a netbook because it can do all of the things you could do on a netbook, without any of the performance or quality headaches. You get a great display, a beautiful chassis and much better performance. The problem is that it’s $999.
     
 
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