or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › How the MacBook Air stacks up against other ultra-light notebooks
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

How the MacBook Air stacks up against other ultra-light notebooks - Page 3

post #81 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by OccamsAftershave View Post

Ask and you shall recieve.
Since the Fujitsu at 4 lbs was included in this category for comparison, here's a configuration for the just-under 4 lb.
Dell XPS M1330:

So... 1.5x the price for these feeble-in-comparison components buys over a lb. lighter, slimmer, superduper trackpad, camera w/ more MP... and [drumroll] tapered for illusion of even more slimness. Whoopi.
And Leopard (+ iLife). Whew. OK. Not a RDF ripoff.
?

For a Windows user that would be a nice portable machine. That is also the cheapest price for 64GB SSD that I've seen. Does that not include the rebate from the HDD?

PS: Great username!
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #82 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

As you stated, "in the interests of accuracy" it was with the, "spinning hard drive>"

I am very curious on this difference. I presume that an SSD with a 1.6htz processor may be say 20% longer lived than an HDD with a 1.8htz processor. Could be like 40 minutes to 1hr, though perhaps I am making too much of this.

But the screen is LED and so already more efficient irrespective of brightness right? What else is sucking up energy other than screen, processor, graphics card?
post #83 of 142
Yes, Dell's $750 is the 64GB SSD swap price for the 160GB 7200RPM.
Ala, Apple swapping it's 80GB 4200RPM HD for the SSD for $999. Heh.

Now, Dell and HP are the BigBoys. Can someone explain how AI can ignore the major competion's products with some babble about "consumer market"?
post #84 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by OccamsAftershave View Post

Now, Dell and HP are the BigBoys. Can someone explain how AI can ignore the major competion's products with some babble about "consumer market"?

Perhaps you failed to notice that the M1330's price was a "limited time offer"? I don't expect that that will last; it's likely they're selling this machine at a loss, probably to let this kind of chat happen.
MacBook Pro C2D 2.4GHz and a battle-scarred PowerBook G4 1.33GHz

"When you gaze long into a dead pixel, the dead pixes gazes also into you"
Reply
MacBook Pro C2D 2.4GHz and a battle-scarred PowerBook G4 1.33GHz

"When you gaze long into a dead pixel, the dead pixes gazes also into you"
Reply
post #85 of 142
Spec correction!

The Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (in both tablet and non-tablet form) has an X3100 GPU. I have one.

The older X60 (is that even still available?) has the 950. My brother has one.
post #86 of 142
In this article, and in other reviews the MBA is described as a "light" machine - not a power house - not a real replacement for a desktop - not meant as a main computer - not meant for pro-users.
I understand that there are computers with faster specs, but could someone with knowledge in CPU/RAM/etc. explain why this seems to be the general take?

What is meant by a pro-user in this context? Someone who edits movies and renders complex 3D animations all day long?
What is considered light or "unpro" use? Some emailing, browsing and the occasional excell-sheet?

I am a webdesigner and webprogrammer have been satisfied with my 12" g4 pb as my main computer, although I realize that there are faster computers.
I mainly use Apple's own apps (Safari, iPhoto, iTunes) + texteditors (Coda, BBEdit) + FTP (Transmit) + Photoshop CS3.
The MBA would serve my needs in terms of size, design, etc. but how would you expect the MBA 1.6 to suit this type of use in terms of speed and performance?

How would the 12" g4 pb and the MBA compare?

Thanks!
post #87 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by wirc View Post

Perhaps you failed to notice...

I haven't failed to notice that Dell's "limited time offers" are like rain in Seattle. Dell is constantly handing out coupons, having discounts, etc. A quick trip to e-bay shows several hundred M1330's, many identical to the above, new-in-the-box machines with BuyItNow prices ~$1650, auction price to be lower. What do you think these speculators paid Dell?
post #88 of 142
Quote:
Too large and too heavy all of them. We need a true full handheld and true pocket computer like these (5 inches screen or so), but with FireWire and with full Mac OS X 10.5.1 inside:

Ultra mobile PC's don't sell very well. They are too small to actually be useful with software designed for desktop. That is the reason for the iPhone Apple designed a new version of OS X and new application interface.

Quote:
How would the 12" g4 pb and the MBA compare?

Assuming you mean to compare performance. With software optimized to run at least on Tiger with Intel processors. The MBA would blow any PB G4 out of the water.
post #89 of 142
Quote:
Of course, planes also have power sockets, too.

Isn't power only available for business class and higher?

Quote:
Until Apple did it, who could imagine a notebook shipping without an Ethernet port?

When Steve Jobs first introduced the Powerbook G4, he made fun of other "thin" laptops for not having a built in optical drive. So Apple makes fun of other manufacturers for lacking features, only to drop those features themselves.
post #90 of 142
Quote:
"....The (SSD) drive might be faster, but I don't think the speed and power improvements are going to be anywhere worth the extra money."

Those speeds may very well be worth the extra money....

" Not only does Samsung's new offering increase the capacity available in solid state drives, it increases the performance as well. Samsung claims the respective read and write performance on the drive have been increased by 20 and 60 percent:*
- the 64 GB SSD unit can read 64 MB/s, write 45 MB/s, and consumes just half a Watt when operating (one tenth of a Watt when idle).*
In comparison,*
- an 80 GB 1.8-inch hard drive reads at 15 MB/s, writes at 7 MB/s, and eats 1.5 Watts either operating or when idle."

http://news.digitaltrends.com/news/s...id_state_drive
post #91 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Isn't power only available for business class and higher?


When Steve Jobs first introduced the Powerbook G4, he made fun of other "thin" laptops for not having a built in optical drive. So Apple makes fun of other manufacturers for lacking features, only to drop those features themselves.

On one hand that example sounds pretty old, but on the other, it does seem odd to say that dropping the ethernet port as a feature. The way the article says it, it sounds like how the proles acted in the book 1984.
post #92 of 142
I just had to fix a few things on my Dad's ancient Titanium PowerBook G4.
That thing was amazingly thin too, especially the screen, considering it was not LED backlit.
Does anyone remember the exact thickness of these things?
Matyoroy!
Reply
Matyoroy!
Reply
post #93 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by OccamsAftershave View Post

Yes, Dell's $750 is the 64GB SSD swap price for the 160GB 7200RPM.
Ala, Apple swapping it's 80GB 4200RPM HD for the SSD for $999. Heh.

But $900 swap price for a 120 GB 5400 drive.
post #94 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by thgd View Post

Those speeds may very well be worth the extra money....

" Not only does Samsung's new offering increase the capacity available in solid state drives, it increases the performance as well. Samsung claims the respective read and write performance on the drive have been increased by 20 and 60 percent:*
- the 64 GB SSD unit can read 64 MB/s, write 45 MB/s, and consumes just half a Watt when operating (one tenth of a Watt when idle).*
In comparison,*
- an 80 GB 1.8-inch hard drive reads at 15 MB/s, writes at 7 MB/s, and eats 1.5 Watts either operating or when idle."

http://news.digitaltrends.com/news/s...id_state_drive

First, that assumes that it's Samsung's drive being used.

I really doubt that the 1.8" hard drive consumes 1.5W at idle. That would kill the iPod. I don't know who is in current iPods (they were in older iPods), but here's Toshiba's specs for their 80GB single platter drive:

http://toshibastorage.com/main.aspx?...Specifications

0.8W reading & writing, idles at 0.3W.

So the difference at max is 0.3W. But even a 1W savings doesn't mean much. The CPU takes 20W at max, I haven't seen a number for idle. Then there's the screen's power consumption, even if it's LED, it's not going to eliminate power consumption. Even if the SSD takes no power at all, I don't know if the power savings would be noticed. The screen, chipset and CPU takes a lot more power than that.

So really, we should see what Macworld says, hopefully they'll do a good test.
post #95 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by G-News View Post

I just had to fix a few things on my Dad's ancient Titanium PowerBook G4.
That thing was amazingly thin too, especially the screen, considering it was not LED backlit.
Does anyone remember the exact thickness of these things?

One inch, courtesy of MacTracker (free download)
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #96 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by OccamsAftershave View Post

Ask and you shall recieve.
Since the Fujitsu at 4 lbs was included in this category for comparison, here's a configuration for the just-under 4 lb.
Dell XPS M1330:
3GB (to 4GB) vs. Air's 2GB
nvidia 8400MGS 128MB DDR3 vs. Air's integrated Intel x3100
160GB 7200RPM (320GB 5400RPM +$75, 64GB SSD +$750) vs. Air's 80MB 4200RPM
9-cell 85WHr battery vs. Air's 37Whr
smaller LxW dimensions vs. Air
Same new LED display&resolution, video- audio-out, 1 USB, .11n/BT
Plus: 2nd USB, FW, Enet, HDMI, internal broadband option, slotload DVD burner, ExpressCard, 8-in-1 card reader, audio-in, dual array mics, fingerprint reader

2.2GHz T7500 vs. Air LV Merom Whatever 1.8GHz
$1404 (with SSD: $2154) vs. $2099

So... 1.5x the price for these feeble-in-comparison components buys over a lb. lighter, slimmer, superduper trackpad, camera w/ more MP... and [drumroll] tapered for illusion of even more slimness. Whoopi.
And Leopard (+ iLife). Whew. OK. Not a RDF ripoff.
What does that mean?

Whenever someone pulls something off the Dell website, I can't help but smell BS.

First of all, the 160 GB HD option is a 5400 RPM drive, not 7200 (same with the 250 GB option).

Secondly, the Dell starts at 4 lbs (with a 4-cell battery). I doubt very much that M1330 as spec'd with a 9-cell battery and larger hard drive is even under 5 lbs.

And lastly, as another poster pointed out, this is the discounted price. The M1330 as spec'd comes to $2198 (with a 250 GB 5400 HD). Yes, I know, Dell discounts, blah blah blah, but the fact of the matter is the regular price is $400 more than the MBA. Not to mention, every time I try to take advantage of one of Dell's so called ubiquitous discounts, they always manage to miraculously disappear on the day I feel like ordering.

I'm sure the M1330 is an impressive notebook. I'm just not overly fond of slippery comparisons to anything that comes out of a Dell configuration widget.
post #97 of 142
Gizmodo did an interesting size comparison between the MBA, the Sony TZ and the Asus Eee PC:

How Slim Is the MacBook Air?





The images should tell you that it all depends on your priorities, and what you use an ultra-portable for. It's obviously not designed as a primary computer, but a secondary, casual use or traveling computer. If Apple wants it to be a stand-alone primary computer, they really need to sell a docking station with optical, extra HDD, and more ports for it, but they don't have one, so it really isn't being sold as one's only computer. If it is, I think the MB is much better buy. It's bigger at 1.08" thick and heavier at 5 lbs, but it has more of everything and costs less. The MB is thinner than many Windows ultraportables!

For me, my frustration with laptops have always been about packing and weight. I've never been bothered about the footprint of a laptop while using economy class. More important was cutting down the number of carry-ons and being able to fit it underneath the seat in front of me. The MBA makes the right set of choices for this. On top of that, I use my old G1 iBook G3 in the house nearly everywhere. The MBA is nearly perfect for this. So, Apple is designing for a specific market here.

Looking at the sideview above, it just seems blatantly obvious that the MBA would be better in terms of packing, handling and such. It is something that would be easier to carry in backpacks, cases, rolling totes, and in the hands.
post #98 of 142
AppleInsider-
This is a classic example of cherry-picking your evaluation criteria and grading system to favor -- no surprise here -- the MacBook Air.
I am not an Apple basher, my iMac is my fav (and I work with a number of folks who are switching from PC to Mac). It's just that I used to think of AppleInsider as doing good unbiased work, and now that seems no longer true.

For people who know about computers and specs, the chart is transparently biased toward the MacBook Air.
The chart does not list a category for: USB ports, FireWire ports, dedicated Ethernet, Portable locking slot, nor user swappable battery, express-card, nor dock-ability.
For most of those categories, the MacBook Air would have to end up with a Yellow Trailing feature. (surprisingly, some of the PC models include Firewire 1394, besting Apple on its own highspeed external bus...)

For device measurement criteria, you only list weight and thickness (the Apple preferred criteria), yet any true measurement of a device size would have to include the length and width - just so folks know... yes?

Your chart lists the the MacBook Air winning the Networking because of the WiFi N and Ethernet via USB-stealing dongle - not an unbiased decision. To be honest, you would need to separate those into the two different categories they are: WiFi as one, Ethernet as the other. And then mark the Mac as leading the WiFi but majorly trailing the Ethernet, since it uses up the only USB port.

Your chart shows the MacBook Air on par with all the others for Battery - yet most (all?) the others have a way to swap in a spare charged battery if you are away from power for a long time. Granted you point out that there seems a lot of variability in battery run lenght.

It seems strange that there is no column to represent one of the Dell XPS or Toshiba Portege models, both of which are in the exact category you are charting.

If you are going to do a comparison chart, please do it in a complete and unbiased manner. It's a great start -- I have seen no other publication attempt this yet -- just needs to be finished fairly.
The Universe is Intelligent and Friendly
Reply
The Universe is Intelligent and Friendly
Reply
post #99 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crackpot View Post

Before MacWorld everyone was speculating that MBA would be flash based which would mean much longer battery life, less heat, and joy and peace for all in the world. Instead it was offered as an option (pricy at that).

All of the battery/time comparisons so far have been using the 80 HD and indicating battery life to be 5 or so hours. What is the expected battery life if one shelled out for the 64 Gb flash drive.?

I'm curious does anyone know the difference, hardware-wise, between the HD and Flash D based MBA? In other words, would it be possible to buy an HD base version now and upgrade it to a Flash based drive in the future when Flash Drives drop in price?
post #100 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by lantzn View Post

I'm curious does anyone know the difference, hardware-wise, between the HD and Flash D based MBA? In other words, would it be possible to buy an HD base version now and upgrade it to a Flash based drive in the future when Flash Drives drop in price?

I think so, given that it's supposed to be easy to open it to replace the battery too. But we need to be patient, when these things are available in a week or so, someone will do a tear-down gallery to show what it's really like.
post #101 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonHurley View Post

Just to deal with some of your points in turn

I've also used my 17" Macbook on long and short flights and it is positively an issue when the person in front reclines their seat, which just about everybody in Economy does (if they are sane!!!)

You missed the primary point. Both the X61 and MBA are FINE for use on a flight. The 17" MBP was for illustrative purposes to show width makes no difference. Only height and depth.

Therefore (since both the MBA and X61 laptops are fine) the reduction in footprint makes zero difference on an airline tray. The reduction in thickness does impact if I can fit more paper in my briefcase.

Quote:
Why would anyone "use a mouse with an X61s". The Trackpoint is more than fine, as is the Apple Trackpad.

So what are you doing with the extra 2" of width on the tray? Precariously keeping your soft drink so you can knock it over?

Quote:
As regards the capabilities of Keynote and Powerpoint, I'm glad that Keynote meets your needs and it certainly a decently capable product for some presentations. But it still doesn't match Powerpoint for some of the more complicated tasks. MANY reviews of Keynote (including the recent one here on Apple Insider) refers to its limitations, so I won't repeat them here. Keynote is quite capable but don't overstate its relative capabilities

Link. I use both and the largest limitation is no windows keynote player for distribution and the so-so nature of the exported presentations.
post #102 of 142
post #103 of 142
Wow, that chart is full of inaccurate, dated information. Just a few that jump out at me--the Sony G (I'm pretty sure that's meant to be the TX series) is shown having a 40 GB hard drive. Currently the smallest hard drive that the Sony ships with is 100 GB, and you can get up to a 250 GB hard drive. They also have solid state drive and a solid state/250 GB hybrid set up available.

I'm pretty sure quite a few of the competitor specs are also outdated, just FYI.
post #104 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelily View Post

Whenever someone pulls something off the Dell website, I can't help but smell BS.

Everyone else can't help but smell extraordinary incompetence at finding the configuration. All your claims are completely false.
Quote:
First of all, the 160 GB HD option is a 5400 RPM drive, not 7200 (same with the 250 GB option).
Secondly, the Dell starts at 4 lbs (with a 4-cell battery). I doubt very much that M1330 as spec'd with a 9-cell battery and larger hard drive is even under 5 lbs.
And lastly, as another poster pointed out, this is the discounted price. The M1330 as spec'd comes to $2198 (with a 250 GB 5400 HD). Yes, I know, Dell discounts, blah blah blah, but the fact of the matter is the regular price is $400 more than the MBA. Not to mention, every time I try to take advantage of one of Dell's so called ubiquitous discounts, they always manage to miraculously disappear on the day I feel like ordering.
I'm just not overly fond of slippery comparisons to anything that comes out of a Dell configuration widget.
post #105 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

At last year's Macworld Expo, Apple's dramatic unveiling of the iPhone divided the world into two camps: those who were excited about the state of the art being pushed, and those who were irritated that Apple was the one doing it. This year, the role of the iPhone is being played by Apple's new MacBook Air.

As with the iPhone, Apple wasn't inventing a new category of product when it announced the MacBook Air. The ultra light notebook category has been steadily refined and advanced by Sony, Panasonic, Fujitsu, Lenovo, and many others; each manufacturer has delivered product lines designed to match their customers' needs.

Sony targets high end consumers; it leverages its physical media engineering prowess to build DVD burners into most of its models, something that few other light notebook makers even attempt to do. Sony's Vaio line is splashy and feature rich, but isn't commonly regarded as well built or durable.

Panasonic is known for its ruggedized Toughbook line, designed to operate in rough environments. Its models commonly trade off high end performance and features for extremely light weight and compact size. That relegates Panasonic's fans to mobile business users, and makes it less appealing to mainstream consumers.

Lenovo, which bought up IBM's PC division, continues the venerable ThinkPad line as a highly regarded workhorse that delivers top performance in a thin but well constructed case -- all work and no play. ThinkPads are also known for their long usable life and their fingertip controllers rather than trackpads, something that polarizes users for or against based on their personal preferences.

Fujitsu is another leader in light and thin notebooks, but also makes more general purpose machines that borrow from its leading edge thin designs. Its larger sized lines are powerful and economical while still remaining thin and fairly light. Fujitsu also makes Tablet PC convertible machines with the flip-around monitors that have yet to prove popular because they are gutless and expensive.

Asus, best known for its popular $350 EEE PC toy notebook, is also making inroads into the light notebook business. It's targeting low powered thin models with small but higher resolution displays than most of the competition.

Of course there are many other makers of light notebooks. Dell and HP both make lighter notebook models, but none are really comparable to the top competitors in the ultralight market; instead, those two companies target the mass market, which hasn't yet started chasing light thin notebooks because of the engineering tradeoffs they require to drop the pounds and millimeters and their commensurate price tags.

Enter the MacBook Air

With Apple now competing fiercely against Dell and HP for mainstream notebooks and rapidly gaining market share, it's no surprise that Apple is leading the two contenders in its move into the ultra light notebook market.

Who is in the market to buy an ultralight Mac? Apparently Apple's market research is telling the company that it's well heeled business people who demand mobility first. Steve Jobs has previously talked a lot about building cheaper things that can be sold in volume rather than expensive things that target a niche market. The iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, and other recent products all fall into lower priced devices that the majority of Apple Store buyers can afford.

How The MacBook Air Stacks Up Against Other Ultra Light notebooks.

So what about the Air? At $1799, the new model is nearly twice the cost of an entry level MacBook. Clearly, it's not directed primarily at education. However, compared to other ultralight notebooks, the Air is very competitively priced. While clearance deals can be found among last year's models, the current Sony Vaio G series, Lenovo ThinkPad X60, Panasonic Toughbook R6, Fujitsu LifeBook s6510, and Asus U1F are all at least within $100 of the Air, and most of them are priced significantly higher when configured with the same processor, RAM and other core features of Apple's entry level Air configuration.

The Illusion of Features in Complex Configurations

Apart from the models I looked at in detail, all of the ultralight makers also maintain various other model numbers and lines that all deliver slightly different mixes of features. The common thread is that each model also offers a bewildering variety of options unto itself. However, it appears that all of this choice is largely designed to mask reality behind attractive sounding numbers.

Base model prices frequently exclude Bluetooth and Wireless N and most of the models ship with 1GB of RAM or less in the default configuration, neither of which could be described as reasonable when running Windows Vista to do the actual work buyers expect to do with their new ultralight notebook.

Also, many ship with a lean battery which the manufacturer includes primarily to advertise a slim profile and light weight. Over half of the models I looked at recommended a big strap-on battery that made the unit considerably heavier and bulkier, just to pull off the advertised "maximum" battery life ratings. Additionally, while most of the models advertise around 8 hours of battery life, they hit that target by turning off WiFi. When wireless is turned on, they actually achieve about 4 hours of use, based on tests performed by reviewers. Apple only advertises one number for the MacBook Air: 5 realistic hours of life with WiFi running.

On page 2 of 2: How to Be Thin; What's Missing in the Air; and The Very Hot Air.

How to Be Thin

Different manufacturers target their own intended market by specializing in one area or another. Sony skimped on CPU performance, graphics resolution, and display size in the Vaio G series to deliver a thin light notebook with a DVD burner, and in doing so scraped the high end of the price comparison. The Lenovo ThinkPad piles on everything from performance to RAM expandability and a full assortment of ports to deliver a full featured machine in a tight but not extremely small package. Panasonic's Toughbook drops features across the board to deliver a very light and thin notebook with a tiny 10.4" screen.

And Apple: it matches the top performance of the ThinkPad, bundles in Bluetooth and WiFi N as standard, delivers a larger 13.3" screen at higher resolution, while matching the ThinkPads weight and remaining thinner at its thickest point than all the other models at their thinnest. And in price, the Air matches the Fujitsu LifeBook, which at 4 pounds and 1.42" thick, is closer to being a full sized machine, and considerably thicker than even Apple's entry level 1" thick MacBook.

Apple also throws in a full featured 1.3 MP video conferencing camera. Many of the ultralights don't include a camera, and those that do, like the Sony and Asus models, commonly use a far poorer quality 0.3 MP unit that won't result in satisfactory pictures. Apple also built in DVI video output allowing the Air to drive a 24" digital display, and analog TV output in addition to the VGA output that most other notebooks settle upon.

What's Missing in the Air

The art of engineering is as much about leaving things out as it is building things on. Apple made some risky decisions with the Air that other manufacturers weren't likely to try anytime soon. If the Air succeeds, expect them to start copying, as indeed they should. That's how the state of the art is pushed.

For example, Apple simplified RAM configuration by making one: 2GB standard, with no room for expansion. That means that the Air comes with enough RAM to be highly usable, while lacking the option to drop in more DIMM cards at some point in the future when 2GB won't seem like very much. Of course at that point, the Air itself will likely be obsolesced by a more powerful version, and third parties will likely start offering a mail in option to solder on higher density chips. The main use for more RAM is running intensive applications, something that nobody with an Air should be planning to do; it's a mobile unit, not a desktop replacement.

How do competitors' compare? They all ship 1GB of RAM, but many of them can't even support more than 1.5GB total. Only the LifeBook and ThinkPad can expand to 4GB, and do so by being physically bigger. The other problem for notebooks not running Mac OS X is that no matter how much RAM you install, Windows only lets you use 3.3GB of it because of its 32-bit limitations. As Fujitsu warns: "When 4 GB of memory is installed in a Genuine Windows Vista system, approximately 3.3 GB is addressable memory; the upper memory is reserved by Genuine Windows Vista for hardware usage."

Apple also doesn't offer a wide range of hard drive options. There are in fact only two: an 80 GB HDD and a 64GB option to use a Flash RAM Solid State Drive at an expensive $999 premium. Of course, users will have the ability to pop open the Air and install their own hard drive as prices of SDD fall and capacities of HDDs rise. Apple doesn't match the 120GB HDD options other makers offer because the MacBook Air uses smaller format drives and the 120GB version of those drives, such as the one used in the iPod Classic, are simply too big to fit in the notebook because they require additional physical platters. Again, the Air is designed to be mobile, not an all encompassing data repository or a film editing workstation.

There's also no option to hang an extended capacity battery unit off the back end of the Air. Presumably, users will need to carry a charger and keep it plugged in whenever they plan to work for longer than 5 hours. Since Apple's battery rating applies to having WiFi on, the actual life you'd get in a plane should be longer. Of course, planes also have power sockets, too.

Apple also dropped additional USB ports, FireWire, and Ethernet ports, expecting users to do their business with a single USB jack. For users who desire the mobility of the Air, not being able to tether to an Ethernet cable seems like a non-problem. Until Apple did it, who could imagine a notebook shipping without an Ethernet port? A variety of other ultralight limitations have been worked around in software for the Air:
a more capable multi-touch trackpad that goes far beyond what a finger joystick or standard pad can do.Remote Disc networking and discovery software that makes an optical disc drive largely unnecessary.a Wireless Migration Assistant that magically imports settings and files from another computer.
That package of features gives Apple the simplicity of marketing two MacBook Air configurations: the $1799 base model with a HDD and a high end $3100 model with the fastest processor and futuristic SDD storage. Everyone else is left marketing the many configurations of the s6510 and the X61 and the G-11 alongside their C291NW/G and P1610 and R61e, T61, and X61s. Apple also sells a MacBook and MacBook Pro line. Imagine which model names will make any sense to consumers and be something they can remember.

The Very Hot Air

Even if Apple's MacBook Air wasn't competitive in its raw performance, its graphics display, its weight and size, and its pricing, the fact that its models stick out as well designed machines in easy to understand configurations should make the Air a hot seller.

The fact that Apple will be showcasing the new model in its own white-hot retail stores will also help push Air out the door rapidly. The company's sky-high satisfaction ratings from everything from Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard to the iPhone should also help fuel uptake of the new Air.

The burning question that remains is: what's up next from Apple?

Where did you get the Sony G? It sounded like you were describing the TZ, except for the screen size which is only 11.1 inches. But the TZ is available with a Core 2 chip, soon to be Penryn, and 2 Meg of Ram. With the new chips is will be as fast (except for the Vista penalty), and be much lighter. The carbon fibre chassis is both stronger and lighter than aluminum. Not a very fair comparison. The MBA has been crippled to satisfy Jobs' desire for svelteness.
post #106 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by georgep View Post

Where did you get the Sony G? It sounded like you were describing the TZ, except for the screen size which is only 11.1 inches. But the TZ is available with a Core 2 chip, soon to be Penryn, and 2 Meg of Ram. With the new chips is will be as fast (except for the Vista penalty), and be much lighter. The carbon fibre chassis is both stronger and lighter than aluminum. Not a very fair comparison. The MBA has been crippled to satisfy Jobs' desire for svelteness.

Heads up, George. There is no need to quote the entire article.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #107 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Namdnal Siroj View Post

In this article, and in other reviews the MBA is described as a "light" machine - not a power house - not a real replacement for a desktop - not meant as a main computer - not meant for pro-users.
I understand that there are computers with faster specs, but could someone with knowledge in CPU/RAM/etc. explain why this seems to be the general take?

What is meant by a pro-user in this context? Someone who edits movies and renders complex 3D animations all day long?
What is considered light or "unpro" use? Some emailing, browsing and the occasional excell-sheet?

I am a webdesigner and webprogrammer have been satisfied with my 12" g4 pb as my main computer, although I realize that there are faster computers.
I mainly use Apple's own apps (Safari, iPhoto, iTunes) + texteditors (Coda, BBEdit) + FTP (Transmit) + Photoshop CS3.
The MBA would serve my needs in terms of size, design, etc. but how would you expect the MBA 1.6 to suit this type of use in terms of speed and performance?

How would the 12" g4 pb and the MBA compare?

Thanks!

I owned the last revision of the 12" PB at 1.5GHz, let me tell you this, any Intel based CPU is going to be leaps and bounds faster than that old G4. Especially if you move to a new dual core MacBook, with at least 2GB's of RAM, you are going to wonder how you still used that G4 on a daily basis Sounds like it's time to upgrade my friend, you won't be disappointed in the new technology, I can guarantee you that.
post #108 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by lantzn View Post

In other words, would it be possible to buy an HD base version now and upgrade it to a Flash based drive in the future when Flash Drives drop in price?

Well, I was just going to put this on my own blog, but I thought I would post this here as well. If you plan to wait for SSD prices to sink at all noticably, you are going to wait a while -- at probably till year's end, if not longer.

I spent some time researching the MB Air's drive requirements the other night. The Air takes a 1.8"-long, 5mm-high drive. Any flash- or hard drive that meets this spatial criteria, and and has the appropriately placed PATA-ZIF (not CE) connector, and presumably consumes sub-1W power, will work. There are not currently very many drives, HD or SSD, that meet this criteria. A friend of mine asked an Apple Store if they could do such an HD>SSD up/side-grade and they said yes -- quoted him $60 in labor (though this is obviously not at all a sure thing until the Air's actually hit the shelves.)

In my case, I was interested to see if the Air's stock drive could be upgraded to one of a higher storage capacity. In case anyone's interested, the maximum size storage device of any kind at the moment that will fit is in fact Apple's stock 80GB HD (made by Samsung, with an 8MB cache.) In the middle of this year, Samsung is set to release a 1.8"-L x 5mm-H 128GB SSD, but this will (if memory serves) be of the slower MLC (multi-level cell)-based, rather than SLC (single-level)-based, SSD variety. Also the only edition of the 128GB SSD Samsung has so far only announced is an SATAII version, that would presumably be incompatible with the Air (which expects PATA), though I imagine editions with other interfaces from Samsung (and others at some point) will be forthcoming, if only later. Meanwhile in the HD game, Toshiba is on-track to release a 120GB HD in in this form factor, but that won't be until 2009.

If capacity is not an issue for you, if you want a real 'uprade' and not more of a trade-off/sidegrade, I would urge you to upgrade to an SLC-based SSD. On a per-GB basis, the MLC versions will be cheaper. But take a look around at the spec's vs. real-world testing on SSD's -- at the usual sites like Tom's Hardware, etc -- there is in fact some wide variation in performance between brands and types, and some (not all) do quite poorly or offer no performance advantage over HD in many key areas, and not just in the areas one would expect like sequential writes. Even though SSDs of any type will always have faster access times any HD, all SSD is not made equal, and when you take into account all the performance criteria of the drive, in many cases you can end up getting a worse real-world user experience than a competing, best-of-breed HD. It's true that in the case of the Air, current 1.8"x5mm HD's just aren't all that fast anyway (e.g. 4200 rpm, etc), and so the particular ineffeciencies of even the slowest SSD may not seem as noticeable in a side-by-side comparison. Still, if one seeks an ugrade and not just a side-grade, one should be aware of which SSDs actually rock, and which just walk...

By far the highest-performing SSD at the moment seems to be made by a relatively new company called Mtron. At the moment, they have not yet released even a 64GB-sized module (only a 32GB one). But when the time comes to upgrade, I would try to get an SLC-based SSD, and if possible, one from Mtron, since right now anyway, theirs blow the Samsung/Sandisk et al ones away.
post #109 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

That's because the people that are drooling over SSD bought into the hype.

It is way too soon to expect a cheap solid state drive.

You'll probably have to wait for Macworld mag to test it.

I don't expect much, iPod hard drives don't consume much power, and it's a pretty small factor compared to the CPU and screen. I would be surprised if it meant a half hour battery run time improvement. The drive might be faster, but I don't think the speed and power improvements are going to be anywhere worth the extra money.

Well, I don't mind the price if it gives more performance/battery life. I'd be happy with an extra 30 minutes. But note that this may be partially offset by the 1.8htz processor if you opt for that. Who knows.
post #110 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCMacFan View Post

Well, I don't mind the price if it gives more performance/battery life. I'd be happy with an extra 30 minutes. But note that this may be partially offset by the 1.8htz processor if you opt for that. Who knows.

You can get a 1.6GHZ with the SSD, if you wish. I'm getting the slower processor for the extra battery time, but waiting until I see real world results between the two stoarge types.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #111 of 142
thanks for the comments on my question, and for reassuring me
post #112 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

So ppi is the only thing to look at when choosing a computer? it wasn't long ago that 1024x768 was the limit for 15" displays, and people were happy with that.

Not long ago? I have a Dell 15" notebook purchased in 2005 thats is 1920 x 1200.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hansii View Post

Both Vista and Leopard are great operating systems, when it comes to personal taste I prefer Vista, there are so many design decision that makes working on a Mac real tedious to me and I find the whole OS very cluttered and messy in design, so if I buy an MBA, the first thing I will do is install Vista.

Vista a great operating system? Lollerskates. I cant think of an operating system released in the last 5 years that doesnt kill Vista dead. Its trash period. If you read other pc message boards, all you see are posts of people buying new computers and looking for XP drivers cause Vista sucks azz.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelily View Post

Whenever someone pulls something off the Dell website, I can't help but smell BS.

First of all, the 160 GB HD option is a 5400 RPM drive, not 7200 (same with the 250 GB option).

Secondly, the Dell starts at 4 lbs (with a 4-cell battery). I doubt very much that M1330 as spec'd with a 9-cell battery and larger hard drive is even under 5 lbs.

And lastly, as another poster pointed out, this is the discounted price. The M1330 as spec'd comes to $2198 (with a 250 GB 5400 HD). Yes, I know, Dell discounts, blah blah blah, but the fact of the matter is the regular price is $400 more than the MBA. Not to mention, every time I try to take advantage of one of Dell's so called ubiquitous discounts, they always manage to miraculously disappear on the day I feel like ordering.

I'm sure the M1330 is an impressive notebook. I'm just not overly fond of slippery comparisons to anything that comes out of a Dell configuration widget.

While I completely agree with you on the HD and battery/weight issue, you cannot take Dell's regular prices as the "real" price. Only someone VERY naive would pay the prices listed on dell.com with any coupon codes. I got a fully loaded XPS M1330 a few weeks ago for $614 with coupon codes.
post #113 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

You can get a 1.6GHz with the SSD, if you wish. I'm getting the slower processor for the extra battery time, but waiting until I see real world results between the two stoarge types.

Well, if the benchmarks on these chips are anything like those on existing C2D's, the 200MHz difference of which you speak will result in negligible power savings (certainly nothing like 30mins, if that's what counts for you.) I think you would best served getting the 1.8GHz chip, particularly since the CPU will also be doing a lot of the lifting on graphics-related tasks, which in OS X is not insignificant.

If you are a heavy battery user, that extra '30mins' (or whatever you hope to get with help from a 1.6GHz vs 1.8GHz CPU) will quickly evaporate on its own anyway as the battery degrades, so if battery life is the crucial criteria, replacing it about once a year (depending on intensity of use, of course) will get you a lot more mileage than a slower CPU.

However, if memory serves the SSD supposedly offers at least a 10% improvement on battery life compared to the HD alternative. This seems plausable, and if real-world tests bear this out, this would be worth it, that is if capacity and cost are not issues for you.
post #114 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by OccamsAftershave View Post

Everyone else can't help but smell extraordinary incompetence at finding the configuration. All your claims are completely false.

Huh?

Care to explain which of my claims were false? Your link proves everything I just wrote except, of course, my claim about the revised weight but Dell doesn't divulge that information. So come again?
post #115 of 142
I think most people here don't get this, but this machine is a fashion accessory. It will appear in Elle and Vogue. It will show up in architectural and interior design magazines. It will be seen in business and first-class airline ads. It will be used by Hollywood stars and high-flying CEO types.

I know all of this because the Mac Book Pro / Powerbook line is already used this way, as are some iPod models and the iPhone. The Air will be the same, squared, because it's not just great design like the Pro / Powerbooks, it's also, by being thin and more rounded, a fashion accessory. The kind of computer Tiffany would build.

So, my wife is dying for one, and she's right, too, even in a technical sense. She's a journalist. She doesn't need anything the machine doesn't have. And she's got friends.

I'm convinced it will sell extremely well. Apple is now in the fashion business. Nobody else is, though Sony and Toshiba are sometimes close. The others are clueless.

All you whiners on technical grounds are just using the wrong criteria. If you really need the stuff you think you need, this machine isn't for you.

And no, I'm not a fan boy. For example, I think Apple's locked iPhone business model screws the consumer and I will never buy one till they unlock it. But the Air will be a hit, no question.
post #116 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Actually it is, because that assumes you can get to a working outlet, on the airplane or at the airport. I've never been on an airplane that had a working power jack. One airport lobby I was at had four accessible jacks for about every 100 seats.

Which is one reason I *always* carry a 1 to 3 power outlet outlet multiplier when I travel. Simply ask one of the folks plugged into the nearest outlet if you could disconnect them for a moment while you plug your adapter in, plug them back in, plug in your own power cord, and away you go.
post #117 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

You can get a 1.6GHZ with the SSD, if you wish. I'm getting the slower processor for the extra battery time, but waiting until I see real world results between the two stoarge types.

Exactly my plan as well... I use a G4 1.3 hertz PowerPC and it works fine. I assume 1.6 core 2 duo with 2gigs of ram and an SSD will be blazing fast. I mean how much speed do I need for word, excel, powerpoint and firefox...
post #118 of 142
I appreciate seeing PANASONIC

Would it be better if they put the LAST one R7 and not the R6 and also the Y7 and W7 as was suggested in a post before...

As they put the R6 they should have compared it to the MBA of last year !?
Ooooh there wasnt.... stupid comparison with no objectivity greatz

The MBA is may be a great computer but till no one could get a hand on it and make real test, you should stop trying assessing something no one can touch. This has no mean!
post #119 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post



And no, I'm not a fan boy. For example, I think Apple's locked iPhone business model screws the consumer and I will never buy one till they unlock it. But the Air will be a hit, no question.

I'm still wondering if this was an Apple Decision or an ATT Wireless Decision. I'm not too sure who to blame for this except to say that the US cell phone market sucks major balls.
Follow me on Twitter.
Reply
Follow me on Twitter.
Reply
post #120 of 142
About the article, it seems a little unfair to compare a 'not-yet-released' model to other current models (are some 2007 models?). How about waiting until other models have been updated (specs and prices for 2008) and then we can make fair comparisons.

About the MBA, I remember reading an article about Steve Jobs on his thoughts about the iPod. He (correct me if I am mistaken) expressed that ideally he wanted everyone to buy a new iPod each year. Of which his marketing aim, I guess, has worked from my own experience: I have x3 iPods now.

I cant help but wonder if he has applied this philosophy to the Macbook Air... judging by the specs and lack of expandability, the machine has an extremely short-term value (seasonal like fashion itself?). I wonder how many MBA owners are going to feel the desperate urge to ditch the 2008 model and buy the new model in 2009?

What happened to the rational idea of getting a laptop to last 4-5 years? Or am I being too idealistic in this ever-changing consumer world we all live in today?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Current Mac Hardware
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › How the MacBook Air stacks up against other ultra-light notebooks