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Apple's 11-inch Upgraded MacBook Air: Do 1.6GHz and 4GB Make a Difference?
by Anand Lal Shimpi on 11/6/2010 2:35:00 AM
Posted in Mac , Apple , Mobile , MacBook Air
Buy the be.ez 100678 LAROBE Notebook MACBOOK
Last month we looked at Apple’s new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs. I
concluded the 11-inch was the
pinnacle of portability, delivering the weight and form factor of a netbook
but without the drive-you-crazy
performance of an Atom. The 13-inch was more of a regular, get-your-work
done notebook - just in a
very thin and very light chassis. I liked carrying the 11-inch MBA, but I
liked working on the 13-inch. My
typical workflow was simply too slow on the 1.4GHz 11-inch system.
Apple offers two potentially important upgrades for the 11-inch MacBook Air
that could alleviate some of
my concerns. For $100 more than its $999 starting price, you can outfit the
11 with 4GB of memory instead
of 2GB. Light web browsing and writing don’t need more than 2GB, but start
editing videos, photos or open
way too many apps at once and you’ll quickly want more memory. If you’re
planning on keeping your
system for a while, the 4GB upgrade makes a lot of sense. And many Apple
stores actually stock the
upgraded 4GB model.
The next upgrade is a bit harder to swallow. The base 11-inch MacBook Air
can’t be upgraded aside from
memory. The $1199 model however, can. You get a 128GB SSD (up from 64GB) as
well as the option to pay
$100 for a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo.
Normally 200MHz isn’t much to write home about, especially not for $300
more than the standard 11.
However, 200MHz is a 14% increase in clock speed compared to the base model.
In applications that are
CPU bound, you may see close to that percentage in improved performance. The
magic number for feeling
a performance increase is 10%. Anything below that is tough to feel in real
world use, but anything at or
above that 10% mark usually feels quicker.
MacBook Air Spec Comparison
11-inch Upgraded 11-inch 13-inch
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz Intel Core 2
Duo 1.86GHz (2.13GHz optional)
Memory 2GB DDR3-1066 soldered on-board 4GB DDR3-1066 soldered on-board
soldered on-board (4GB optional)
GPU NVIDIA GeForce 320M NVIDIA GeForce 320M NVIDIA GeForce 320M
Storage 64GB SSD 128GB SSD 128GB SSD (256GB optional)
Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR 802.11a/b/g/n Bluetooth
2.1 + EDR
802.11a/b/g/n Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
Battery Capacity 35 Whr 35 Whr 50 Whr
Dimensions 11.8 " x 7.56 " x 0.11 - 0.68"
(29.95 cm x 19.2 cm x 0.3 - 1.7 cm) 11.8 " x 7.56 " x 0.11 - 0.68"
(29.95 cm x 19.2 cm x 0.3 - 1.7 cm) 12.8 " x 8.94 " x 0.11 - 0.68"
(32.5 cm x 22.7 cm x 0.3 - 1.7 cm)
Weight 2.3 lbs (1.06 kg) 2.3 lbs (1.06 kg) 2.9 lbs (1.32 kg)
Price $999 $1399 $1299
Combine the two upgrades and you’ve got a fairly expensive MacBook Air ($
1399 if you’re keeping score).
But if you want the portability of the 11 and are looking to get as much
performance as possible, it’s your
Luckily we happened to come across such a system. And we didn’t hesitate to
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RE: Was this article paid for by Apple? by barnett25 on Saturday, November
"ANAND WHERE ARE YOUR HARDWARE STANDARDS GOING THESE DAYS?? WHAT EFFING
RAM TO THE MOBO? IF THIS WAS A PC OR NETBOOK YOU WOULDA RIPPED IT TO SHREDS!
So if you were on Apple's design team and they said they wanted to make a
laptop that was this thin, and
that they would have to solder the memory on you would tell them to scrap
Cause there is no way they could have put an access door, socket and hold-
down clips for memory, and still
left room for the thickness of standard dimms.
I admit that this product isn't for me, but I also understand that there are
lots of different people out there
with different needs and priorities. Just because their priorities are
different than mine doesn't make them
RE: Was this article paid for by Apple? by Ryan Smith on Saturday, November
Actually it's more complex than that. We're pretty sure Apple isn't even
using standard DDR3, but rather
they're using 1.35v DDR3L. This would allow Apple to save on RAM power
consumption to further boost
battery life, but it also means that RAM upgrades are made unavailable by
the fact that you can't get DDR3L
SO-DIMMs. Apple saves space by soldering the RAM on, but it also allows them
to get away with lower
power RAM in the process.
Of course we can't confirm this - Apple's suppliers don't really talk about
their parts. What we do know is
that the DDR3 chips on the MBA have a part number that is not standard for 1
.5v DDR3 parts.
RE: Was this article paid for by Apple? by dsumanik on Sunday, November 07,
Listen im not a fanboy, i own an iPhone, i work on a pc, and my gf has
macbook. Im also probably going to
pick up a BB playbook and WP& handset for testing for some of my clients to
see if its worth it....but who
cares... im just saying im not a fanboy, i learn to use and administrate the
tech my customers want and
need or recommend products that i feel can solve their PROBLEMS.
The problem I am having here is this:
Anandtech HIGHLY recommended this laptop.
$1299, for 2 year old processor tech in a non upgradeable form factor with
poor battery life, mediocre
performance and known display issues.
Those are the facts.
Exactly at what point does AT consider a notebook to be a "bad buy". LOL!!
Everybody, please get past the nice aluminum cover and pretty OSX wallpaper.
Just slow down and think
If they keep the same architecture in the next refresh..is it still a good
Doesnt it suck if you buy a piece of hardware and then like 2 weeks later a
company releases the next
generation without warning for the same amount of money?
Do you feel ripped off in this scenario?
The MBA does this deliberately out of the box. You're buying outdated gear
folks and it aint gettin any
This website used to be one of the most credible on the net, and while AT's
reviews are still fairly in
depth...over the last 5 years the conclusions leave me scratching my head
more and more often.
Imagine if this notebook was a dell, acer, hp......what are the odds AT
would even do a review of a dell
notebook based on a 2 year old platform priced for 1299 dollars?
It would be laughed off the stage instantly.
I understand the arguments you are trying to make, the engineering focus was
obviously in form factor...ok
fine. So why did they use old processor technology?
They could have made it just as slim on the current intel core architecture.
Why is 4gb not standard, 4 gigs
of ram can be had for PEANUTS nowadays.
You argue the ram was soldered onto the mobo in order to achieve "superior"
.....this implies apple went to engineering extremes in order to achieve low
power consumption...If apple is
willing to go to the extreme of soldering memory in order to save a few
miniscule milliamps of power.....why
does the notebook have subpar battery performance if this was such a key
They could have SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVED BATTERY LIFE by SIMPLY basing the
notebook on the latest intel
architecture....it would have improved performance and battery life FAR FAR
more than soldering ram to the
Now listen up and listen up good, because you guys already know everything
ive stated here...but it has
become foggy in your brain because of Apples PR and the media, and websites
like AT. ..and don't feel bad
Apple has gotten into my mind once or twice too...but for gods sakes guys we
have to snap out of it.,
THE TRUTH IS
The ram is soldered into the mobo because Apple doesnt want you to buy a
cheap aftermarket upgrade for
a 2 gb stick of ram when they can hammer you 300% markup for it, and get
that all money themselves.
THE TRUTH IS
Apple didnt want to put in the latest processor tech in the MBA because they
saw an opportunity to make
more money off of a simple form factor change for a platform they already
had kicking around.
THE TRUTH IS
They released this hardware deliberately even though they knew about the
THE TRUTH IS
They are probably making disgusting profits on each and every single sale of
the MBA, and making you
believe it is a good deal.
Dont feel bad guys....apple even managed to fool Anandtech.
Get your balls back.
Make this into the site it once was.