Originally Posted by mcarling
I'm guessing that your Acer 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo has an 800MHz front side bus and memory. I think the 1066MHz front side bus and memory of your MacBook Air accounts for most of the performance improvement you're seeing during your finite element analysis. I hope and believe that the imminent MacBook Air models will include 1333MHz front side bus and memory. It would be interesting to know how that affects your calculation times.
It's more probably a P8800 C2D (4x266 FSB, 10x multiplier), with a 800 FSB you'd get a 2.60 cpu (4x200 FSB, 13x multiplier). The main difference between the P8xxx series and the SL9xxx series is 3MB of cache vs 6MB of cache, that can explain in part the very similar results in performance. FWIW there's no more FSB since Arrandale, but LV Sandy Bridge cpus can support 1066/1333 RAM.
The current MBA (2.13/4GB/SSD) is already faster overall than the mid-2010 MBP (2.40/4GB/HDD), there's no doubt that if Apple can use a LV 2.10/2.30 Core i7-26xxM in the future 13" MBA, it will have performances on par with the new 13" MBP (2.30/4GB/HDD), as the Core i7-26xxM cpus are better cpus than the Core i5-2410M used in the 13" MBP: more cache, better turbo-boost. Only the integrated graphics are clocked slightly lower (but that's how they can achieve a lower TDP). There's also an OEM model that could be interesting as it offers slightly better graphics performance, with slightly slower cpu speeds:
Core i7-2629M 2C/4T 2.1GHz (2.7/3.0 turbo) 4 MB cache HD 3000 5001100MHz 25W $311
Core i7-2655LE 2C/4T 2.2GHz (2.7/2.9 turbo) 4 MB cache HD 3000 650
1000MHz 25W OEM (other customized models could be available)
Core i7-2649M 2C/4T 2.3GHz\t(2.9/3.2 turbo) 4 MB cache HD 3000 5001100MHz 25W $346
For comparaison the specs of the 13" MBP cpu:
Core i5-2410M 2C/4T 2.3GHz\t(2.6/2.9 turbo) 3 MB cache HD 3000 6501200MHz 35W OEM
Any of the 25W Core i7 cpus mentionned above will have overall performances on par with this 35W Core i5 cpu. That doesn't make the 13" MBP obsolete, performance is only one thing, as this computer has very different features/capabilities in terms of connectivity, RAM and storage. To each his own.
The latest ULV models are also very nice:
Core i5-2467M 2C/4T 1.6GHz\t(2.1/2.3 turbo) 3 MB cache HD 3000 3501150MHz 17W\tOEM = cheaper
Core i5-2557M 2C/4T 1.7GHz\t(2.4/2.7 turbo) 3 MB cache HD 3000 3501200MHz 17W $250
Core i7-2677M 2C/4T 1.8GHz\t(2.6/2.9 turbo) 4 MB cache HD 3000 3501200MHz 17W $317
Let's hope the "delay" on the new MBAs release allows Apple to use some of those new cpus, as the previous ones were so-so (slower clock, turbo-boost, graphics).
11" MBA 1.6 Core i5-2467M, 2GB RAM, 128GB
SSD, starting at $999
BTO: 1.8 Core i7-2677M, 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD
13" MBA 2.0/2.1 Core i7-26xxM/LE, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, starting at $1299
BTO: 2.2/2.3 Core i7-26xxM/LE, 256GB SSD, 512GB SSD
In terms of the MBA being more expensive, like mcarling said, you have to configure both devices as close as possible: a new SB 13" MBA (2.30/4GB/128GB SSD) may cost less than $1499 ($1299 + cpu/RAM upgrade), the current 13" MBP (2.30/4GB) with 128GB SSD costs $1449. If you move both models to 256GB SSD, the new 13" MBA may cost less than $1799 (above +$300 for 256GB) while the current 13" MBP (2.30/4GB) with 256GB SSD costs $1849. All in all, very similar prices for 2 equally powerful computers, still with very different features/capabilities. That would make the new MBA, more than ever, a viable alternative to the 13" MBP, without much compromise on performance. Again, to each his own.