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Benchmarks show Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air comparable to MacBook Pro

post #1 of 22
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Performance of Apple's new thin-and-light 13-inch MacBook Air is comparable to the notebook's 13-inch MacBook Pro counterpart, according to a new series of benchmark tests.

Macworld this week published the results of a thorough benchmark of Apple's new line of MacBook Air notebooks. Testing with Speedmark 6.5 found that the new models, despite having slower clock speeds than their predecessors, have significantly improved performance due to their reliance on flash storage.

Even when compared with the MacBook Pro, the flash storage helped the new 13-inch MacBook Air achieve a Speedmark 6.5 score higher than the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.4GHz processor, released in mid-2010.

The new 1.86GHz 13-inch MacBook Air doubled its Speedmark score to 108, up from the score of 64 that the 2009 1.86GHz 13-inch MacBook Air achieved. Many of the gains came in drive tests, where it was found that the new lightweight notebook took 13 seconds to copy a 1GB file, compared with the 69 seconds that the 4200rpm hard drive of the previous model took.

Graphics performance was also improved, thanks to the nVidia GeForce 320M integrated chip. A test of Call of Duty 4 found that the new MacBook Air displayed more than three times as many frames per second as the nVidia GeForce 9400M found in the 2009 MacBook Air.

"Interestingly, the new 1.86GHz MacBook Air outperforms its predecessor in processor intensive tasks as well, even though they both use a Core 2 Duo processor with the same speed rating," author James Galbraith wrote. "iTunes encoding, Photoshop, HandBrake, MathematicaMark, and CineBench CPU tests were markedly faster on the new system. The new 1.86GHz MacBook Air was even faster than the previous 2.13GHz MacBook Air in all of those same tasks, despite the older system’s supposedly faster Core 2 Duo processor."



The tests also found that the new 13-inch MacBook Air with a 1.86GHz processor is about 27 percent faster in the Speedmark 6.5 performance when compared to the smaller, 11.6-inch model with a 1.4GHz processor. The larger notebook was faster in all tests except for duplicating a 1GB file -- in both cases on that test, the integrated flash storage accomplished the task in just 13 seconds.

And the mid-2010 13-inch MacBook Pro, with a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor from mid-2010, reached a score of 106, two points less than the 108 that the 13-inch MacBook Air with a 1.86GHz processor received.

The MacBook Air does not stand a chance, however, when compared with the 15-inch MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i5 processor. In tests that could take advantage of the faster processor's HyperThreading technology, the 15-inch MacBook Pro earned scores twice as fast as the 13-inch MacBook Air, and nearly three times as fast as the 11-inch MacBook Air.

The mid-2010 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Core i5 processor earned a Speedmark 6.5 score of 132, making it the best of the Apple notebooks tested.

Macworld also did a stress test on the batteries of the new MacBook Air notebooks. It found that the 11-inch model looped a movie at full-screen full brightness and volume set at 1 for 3 hours and 40 minutes. The larger 13-inch model ran for 4 hours and 25 minutes. Both of those totals bested the 3 hours and 5 minutes achieved by the 2009 MacBook Air.

The latest benchmarks paint a slightly different picture than a separate set of tests published Monday. In those benchmarks, the new 13-inch MacBook Air was found to be slightly slower than the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The new 11-inch MacBook Air was also portrayed as a "smaller but slower MacBook Pro, or a much faster but larger iPad."
post #2 of 22
So the MBP with i5 or i7 is faster by a big margin? And you get wet when standing in rain, too!
Matyoroy!
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Matyoroy!
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post #3 of 22
As long as next refresh we get a 13" MBP with SSD+HDD...
post #4 of 22
Ok, I'm sorry AppleInsider, but this is just crazy.

If you have ever read any hardware review, you will notice that they post dozens of benchmarks, not just one. Different combinations of processors, storage, RAM, chipsets, and GPU play to different strengths or weaknesses in different software tasks - some are RAM- or storage-intensive, while others are GPU- or processor-limited .

In this example, the 1.86 Ghz processor is most certainly slower than the 2.4 Ghz chip in the MBP. If you run a benchmark that just responds to processor power, it should favor the older MBP hands-down.

The Speedmark score, I'm assuming, is an amalgamation of many sub-tests, each then weighted by the authors of the Speedmark software, summed up or averaged somehow, and magically producing just one pretty number.

Here's a good example of multiple benchmarks - HDTune, Cinebench, XBench, PCMark, 3DMark.. each with detailed sub-scores.

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Apple-MacBook-2010-05-Notebook.32430.0.html


...so there.
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post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by rangerdavid View Post

The Speedmark score, I'm assuming, is an amalgamation of many sub-tests, each then weighted by the authors of the Speedmark software, summed up or averaged somehow, and magically producing just one pretty number.

Right. Because most people want a general assessment of a computer -- like a Consumer Reports 'best buy' rating -- not a whole bunch of specific data that they have to wade through. So the test is likely set up to simulate typical tasks (typical meaning typical for a variety of users, not a specific user like a gamer).

Also note that the previous review AI posted specifically said that they were testing browsing speed of the Air vs. the MBPs and iPads. Specifically 'browsing'.

So yes, you do have to understand what the test was set up to accomplish when you consider its results.
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Macworld also did a stress test on the batteries of the new MacBook Air notebooks. It found that the 11-inch model looped a movie at full-screen full brightness and volume set at 1 for 3 hours and 4 minutes. The larger 13-inch model ran for 4 hours and 25 minutes. Both of those totals bested the 3 hours and 5 minutes achieved by the 2009 MacBook Air.

Proof reader on vacation?
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


Macworld also did a stress test on the batteries of the new MacBook Air notebooks. It found that the 11-inch model looped a movie at full-screen full brightness and volume set at 1 for 3 hours and 4 minutes. The larger 13-inch model ran for 4 hours and 25 minutes. Both of those totals bested the 3 hours and 5 minutes achieved by the 2009 MacBook Air.

No, they don't. 3 hours 4 minutes (11-in model) is less than 3 hours 5 minutes (2009 MacBook Air)
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


Macworld also did a stress test on the batteries of the new MacBook Air notebooks. It found that the 11-inch model looped a movie at full-screen full brightness and volume set at 1 for 3 hours and 4 minutes. The larger 13-inch model ran for 4 hours and 25 minutes. Both of those totals bested the 3 hours and 5 minutes achieved by the 2009 MacBook Air.

No, they don't both best the 2009 MacBook Air.

3 hours 4 minutes (11-in model) is less than 3 hours 5 minutes (2009 MacBook Air)
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by rangerdavid View Post

Ok, I'm sorry AppleInsider, but this is just crazy.

If you have ever read any hardware review, you will notice that they post dozens of benchmarks, not just one. Different combinations of processors, storage, RAM, chipsets, and GPU play to different strengths or weaknesses in different software tasks - some are RAM- or storage-intensive, while others are GPU- or processor-limited .

In this example, the 1.86 Ghz processor is most certainly slower than the 2.4 Ghz chip in the MBP. If you run a benchmark that just responds to processor power, it should favor the older MBP hands-down.

The Speedmark score, I'm assuming, is an amalgamation of many sub-tests, each then weighted by the authors of the Speedmark software, summed up or averaged somehow, and magically producing just one pretty number.

Here's a good example of multiple benchmarks - HDTune, Cinebench, XBench, PCMark, 3DMark.. each with detailed sub-scores.

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Apple-MacBook-2010-05-Notebook.32430.0.html


...so there.

You know what's even crazier? The fact that you blatantly didn't even bother to visit the Macworld review and learn what tests Speedmark consists of:

http://www.macworld.com/article/1546...edmark_65.html
http://www.macworld.com/article/1545...enchmarks.html

From my quick count, there Speedmark consists of seventeen individual tests. It's a suite of tests that measures CPU, graphics, disk performance as well as overall performance encompassing more factors (memory, system bus speed, cache size, etc.).

Maybe you aren't crazy, just lazy.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

Proof reader on vacation?

Who is a proof reader? (And do you need one yourself? )
post #11 of 22
The 11.6'' MacBook Air seems pretty impressive. I used one at the Apple Store and liked it quite a bit. The resolution felt really nice, almost as good as my current 13'' unibody MacBook. I believe the conclusion was that it has roughly 60-70% of the performance of the 13'' MacBook Pro, which for my needs is more than enough.
post #12 of 22
First, I'm not trying to be a jerk, and I'm sorry if I came across kinda' cranky this morning. I was.

Second, my beef is with this statement: "MacBook Air comparable to MacBook Pro," the title of this article. Really? The Speedmark Score (yes, an agregate of seventeen or 47 or 1000 sub-benchmarks, it doesn't matter) is nearly the same number. But... the devil is in the details.

I would argue that disk I/O performance, as tested in the first battery of tests, is tipping the scales a bit. Those test were run on an Air with a 4200 RPM 1.5" drive, basicly the slowest possible, and a MBP with a 5200 RPM drive. Those are both easy upgrades, if not originally purchased with the laptops as BTO options.

One more interesting thing these benchmarks highlight is how much the 13" MBP is hamstrung by a shamefully cheap graphics card. Seeing it lose the framerate rase is quite noticable.

Also, it tells of a better underlying chipset and RAM, if the processors are doing so well against "faster" ones.

Ok, I'm really tired today. The point: "Comprable" is a poor choice of words.
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post #13 of 22
The difference in between current gen MBP & MBA is not only in disk drive speeds: another point in favor of the 13" MBA that nobody seems to have catch on is that it has 6mb of L2 cache vs. 3mb on the 13" MBP ... I'm sure this also weighs in the higher benchmark results.

In contrast the 11" MBA has only 3mb of L2 at 800mhz FSB vs. 1066mhz FSB on the 13 inchers, also explaining its poor results..
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by macdad View Post

The difference in between current gen MBP & MBA is not only in disk drive speeds: another point in favor of the 13" MBA that nobody seems to have catch on is that it has 6mb of L2 cache vs. 3mb on the 13" MBP ... I'm sure this also weighs in the higher benchmark results.

In contrast the 11" MBA has only 3mb of L2 at 800mhz FSB vs. 1066mhz FSB on the 13 inchers, also explaining its poor results..

Nice observation. I hadn't even considered those figures. Extra L2 cache was a big consideration when purchasing my 15" MBP last summer. It can certainly make a difference.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperDuperCheese View Post

I think they will do exactly what apple wants - an iPad running Mac OS. I gotta admit - the pricing is aimed for the higher range of the market, though

How in any way is the Air, new or old, or any other Windows PC/Mac with an SSD installed an "iPad running Mac OS?"

It is a laptop. So what if the RAM and storage are soldered onto the mobo? It is not in any way an iPad running Mac OS X.
post #16 of 22
Ha! Take that pundits who said the Air processors were too slow.
http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/quotes.asp

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http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/quotes.asp

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Never quote idiots, they just clog up...
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post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Performance of Apple's new thin-and-light 13-inch MacBook Air is comparable to the notebook's 13-inch MacBook Pro counterpart, according to a new series of benchmark tests.

But the 13" MacPro with its Core 2 Duo is not a fast laptop.

Apple really should put a faster processor in the 13" MBP.
post #18 of 22
Tried both the 11.6" and 13.3" MacBook Airs (MacBooks Air?) today. The keys are definitely shorter and have a shorter stroke than the MB Pro or plastic MacBook. Much nicer. I think Apple is conditioning us for the next-next generation with a touchscreen keyboard with built-in trackpad.

The thing I would miss if I got one of the new Airs (extremely unlikely) is the lack of keyboard backlighting. This problem could be solved with a Super AMOLED touchscreen. If the cost comes down enough, and if users accept the lack of tactile feedback, and if Apple really thinks thinness is more important than low cost and light weight, and all kinds of other 'ifs'.

Judging by the popularity of iPad, it could happen.

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post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by icyfog View Post

Ha! Take that pundits who said the Air processors were too slow.

Exactly. It's really nice hardware.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quillz View Post

The 11.6'' MacBook Air seems pretty impressive. I used one at the Apple Store and liked it quite a bit. The resolution felt really nice, almost as good as my current 13'' unibody MacBook. I believe the conclusion was that it has roughly 60-70% of the performance of the 13'' MacBook Pro, which for my needs is more than enough.

When you consider that it is as powerful as the high-end machines of just a few years ago, I think it is powerful enough for the vast majority of users.

Raw speed and power in computers is getting to be like raw speed and power in cars - not the most important aspect for most people, because pretty much all of them are plenty good enough.

The Air Mini offers lots of compelling aspects. The speed is fine for the vast majority of users.
post #21 of 22
<sarcasm>How does the new macbook air compare to a 1st gen ipod touch?</sarcasm>
post #22 of 22
Does anybody know if FCP will run on the new MAc Book Air?
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