MacBook Air now with Thunderbolt I/O (2011 model)

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MacBook Air now with Thunderbolt I/O (2011 model)

Postby Antony » Wed 20 Jul, 2011 9:09 am

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Apple today updated the MacBook Air with next generation processors, high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology, a backlit keyboard and Mac OS X Lion, the world’s most advanced operating system. With up to twice the performance of the previous generation, flash storage for instant-on responsiveness and a compact design so portable allowing users to take it to almost everywhere.

MacBook Air is available in 11-inch and 13-inch models that easily slip into a briefcase, purse or bag. The MacBook Air’s durable aluminum unibody enclosure measures an incredibly thin 0.3 cm (0.11 in) at its thinnest point and 1.7 cm (0.68 in) at its thickest. Flash storage allows MacBook Air to turn on instantly and deliver fast data access, improved reliability and incredible energy efficiency. The 11-inch model weighs 1.08 kg (2.38 pounds) and provides up to 5 hours of battery life, while the 13-inch weighs 1.35 kg (2.96 pounds) and provides up to 7 hours of battery life.

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With the latest Intel Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors, the new MacBook Air is up to twice as fast as the previous generation. MacBook Air also features Intel HD Graphics 3000 and offers up to 4GB of faster 1333 MHz memory.

The 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air are available for order on the Apple Store today and in Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers starting July 21. The 1.6 GHz 11-inch MacBook Air is available in two models, one with 2GB of memory and 64GB of flash storage for a suggested retail price of $999 USD ($1,099 AUD), and one with 4GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage for $1,199 USD ($1,349 AUD). The 1.7 GHz 13-inch MacBook Air comes in two configurations, one with 4GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage for a suggested retail price of $1,299 USD ($1,449 AUD), and one with 4GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage for $1,599 USD ($1,799 AUD). Configure-to-order options and accessories include a 1.8 GHz Core i7 processor, additional flash storage, MacBook Air SuperDrive® and a USB Ethernet Adapter.

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You can order the new MacBook Air from Apple Online Store or Apple Online Store (Australia) via SillyDog701's link and support SillyDog701.
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Re: MacBook Air now with Thunderbolt I/O (2011 model)

Postby Antony » Mon 01 Aug, 2011 7:00 am

So, I bought myself an 11-inch MacBook Air. It is a beauty, especially the light-wight.

To comply with Don's longevity principle, I upgraded the processor to 1.8GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7, flash storage to 256GB, and 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM.

This MacBook Air is less then the weight of my previous laptop (MacBook Pro, 15-inch, early 2008 model). Very portable, and it is the cheapest Mac laptop available.

weight of MacBook Pro (15-inch):
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weight of MacBook Air (11-inch):
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Despite the processor (clock speed) is slower than Don's laptop which clocked at 2.0GHz, the MacBook Air feels pretty fast in my honest opinion (although I haven't performed any speed tests).
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Re: MacBook Air now with Thunderbolt I/O (2011 model)

Postby iJohnE » Mon 01 Aug, 2011 6:38 pm

Antony wrote:So, I bought myself an 11-inch MacBook Air. It is a beauty, especially the light-wight.

To comply with Don's longevity principle, I upgraded the processor to 1.8GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7, flash storage to 256GB, and 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM.

This MacBook Air is less then the weight of my previous laptop (MacBook Pro, 15-inch, early 2008 model). Very portable, and it is the cheapest Mac laptop available.

weight of MacBook Pro (15-inch):
Image

weight of MacBook Air (11-inch):
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Despite the processor (clock speed) is slower than Don's laptop which clocked at 2.0GHz, the MacBook Air feels pretty fast in my honest opinion (although I haven't performed any speed tests).


Your processor is actually much faster than Don's. Clockspeed is a very misleading thing nowadays.
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Re: MacBook Air now with Thunderbolt I/O (2011 model)

Postby Antony » Tue 02 Aug, 2011 8:23 am

iJohnE wrote:Your processor is actually much faster than Don's. Clockspeed is a very misleading thing nowadays.

Are you sure about that? Don's laptop is Turion 64 X2 TL-60 (2GHz) which is 64-bit and dual core with a clock speed of 2GHz each.

His laptop also has a huge amount of RAM and storage space.
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Re: MacBook Air now with Thunderbolt I/O (2011 model)

Postby Don_HH2K » Tue 02 Aug, 2011 5:58 pm

Antony wrote:Are you sure about that? Don's laptop is Turion 64 X2 TL-60 (2GHz) which is 64-bit and dual core with a clock speed of 2GHz each.

His laptop also has a huge amount of RAM and storage space.


I didn't know 2GB of RAM and a 100GB hard drive were considered "huge" anytime within the last couple of years. And I remember you and Mandrake telling me how even the first Core Duo was outperforming the Turion 64 X2 clock-for-clock back when I bought the thing five years ago.
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Re: MacBook Air now with Thunderbolt I/O (2011 model)

Postby Antony » Wed 03 Aug, 2011 12:40 am

Don_HH2K wrote:I didn't know 2GB of RAM and a 100GB hard drive were considered "huge" anytime within the last couple of years.
Sorry, I thought you upgraded it to 4GB or 8GB of fast RAM.

Don_HH2K wrote:And I remember you and Mandrake telling me how even the first Core Duo was outperforming the Turion 64 X2 clock-for-clock back when I bought the thing five years ago.

Did I? Sorry, I do not recall that at all.

Isn't Turion 64 X2 64-bit and a dual-core design? Which should be equipment to Intel's Core 2 Duo (64-bit) since if I remember correctly, Core Duo is merely 32-bit.

Assuming Core i7 is also 64-bit, then 2.0GHz is faster than 1.8GHz.
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Re: MacBook Air now with Thunderbolt I/O (2011 model)

Postby iJohnE » Sun 07 Aug, 2011 12:00 pm

Antony wrote:
Don_HH2K wrote:I didn't know 2GB of RAM and a 100GB hard drive were considered "huge" anytime within the last couple of years.
Sorry, I thought you upgraded it to 4GB or 8GB of fast RAM.

Don_HH2K wrote:And I remember you and Mandrake telling me how even the first Core Duo was outperforming the Turion 64 X2 clock-for-clock back when I bought the thing five years ago.

Did I? Sorry, I do not recall that at all.

Isn't Turion 64 X2 64-bit and a dual-core design? Which should be equipment to Intel's Core 2 Duo (64-bit) since if I remember correctly, Core Duo is merely 32-bit.

Assuming Core i7 is also 64-bit, then 2.0GHz is faster than 1.8GHz.


I still do not understand how a Core Duo is only 32-bit when a 775 Pentium 4 is 64-bit.
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Re: MacBook Air now with Thunderbolt I/O (2011 model)

Postby Mandrake » Tue 16 Aug, 2011 12:30 pm

iJohnE wrote:I still do not understand how a Core Duo is only 32-bit when a 775 Pentium 4 is 64-bit.


Not all 775 Pentium 4s had 64-bit extensions. The Core Duo was based on the Pentium-M architecture, which lacked the 64-bit extensions. They were added to the Core 2 Duo (Conroe/Merom).

The Sandy Bridge part in the new MacBook Air will be far more efficient in terms of IPC than any other mobile processor out there. Given that the Turion X2 in Don's laptop is equipped cores that date back to 2003 from the original Athlon 64, I'd say that it's a pretty good chance that it wouldn't stand a chance.
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Re: MacBook Air now with Thunderbolt I/O (2011 model)

Postby Antony » Wed 17 Aug, 2011 9:28 am

Mandrake wrote:I'd say that it's a pretty good chance that it wouldn't stand a chance.

Excuse my broken English, and just to make sure that I don't read it wrong. Do you mean the MacBook Air (1.8GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7) won't stand a chance?

Also, how do you compare the MacBook Air (1.8GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7) to my 3+ years old MacBook Pro (2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, early 2008 model)?

Despite the clock is being slower than MacBook Pro, I feel that MacBook Air is faster.
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Re: MacBook Air now with Thunderbolt I/O (2011 model)

Postby iJohnE » Fri 19 Aug, 2011 1:14 pm

Mandrake wrote:
iJohnE wrote:I still do not understand how a Core Duo is only 32-bit when a 775 Pentium 4 is 64-bit.


Not all 775 Pentium 4s had 64-bit extensions. The Core Duo was based on the Pentium-M architecture, which lacked the 64-bit extensions. They were added to the Core 2 Duo (Conroe/Merom).

The Sandy Bridge part in the new MacBook Air will be far more efficient in terms of IPC than any other mobile processor out there. Given that the Turion X2 in Don's laptop is equipped cores that date back to 2003 from the original Athlon 64, I'd say that it's a pretty good chance that it wouldn't stand a chance.


Ah, I see. I just wondered because my P4 3.20Ghz with HT was. So it just seemed odd that something newer wasn't.
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Re: MacBook Air now with Thunderbolt I/O (2011 model)

Postby Mandrake » Sat 20 Aug, 2011 2:06 am

Antony wrote:
Mandrake wrote:I'd say that it's a pretty good chance that it wouldn't stand a chance.

Excuse my broken English, and just to make sure that I don't read it wrong. Do you mean the MacBook Air (1.8GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7) won't stand a chance?

Also, how do you compare the MacBook Air (1.8GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7) to my 3+ years old MacBook Pro (2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, early 2008 model)?

Despite the clock is being slower than MacBook Pro, I feel that MacBook Air is faster.


The MacBook Air should be faster than the Turion X2 and also the Core 2 Duo by a significant margin.
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Re: MacBook Air now with Thunderbolt I/O (2011 model)

Postby Antony » Sat 20 Aug, 2011 11:23 pm

Mandrake wrote:The MacBook Air should be faster than the Turion X2 and also the Core 2 Duo by a significant margin.

Until late last year, I had been referring to Don's Turion X2 laptop as “superfast 64-bit dual-processor laptop” (to Don's disliking).

Now, you are telling me that 1.8GHz (Core i7) is faster than 2.0GHz (Turion X2) and also the 2.5GHz (Core 2 Duo) by a significant margin. A quick look (just by the numbers) seems like “less is more”.

And, is 2.0GHz (Turion X2) faster than 2.5GHz (Core 2 Duo)?

I guess one reason why MacBook Air feels faster: it uses flash storage, while the 3+ years old MacBook Pro uses slow 200GB (7200 rpm) hard disk.
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Re: MacBook Air now with Thunderbolt I/O (2011 model)

Postby Mandrake » Sun 21 Aug, 2011 6:01 am

Antony wrote:Until late last year, I had been referring to Don's Turion X2 laptop as “superfast 64-bit dual-processor laptop” (to Don's disliking).

Now, you are telling me that 1.8GHz (Core i7) is faster than 2.0GHz (Turion X2) and also the 2.5GHz (Core 2 Duo) by a significant margin. A quick look (just by the numbers) seems like “less is more”.

And, is 2.0GHz (Turion X2) faster than 2.5GHz (Core 2 Duo)?

I guess one reason why MacBook Air feels faster: it uses flash storage, while the 3+ years old MacBook Pro uses slow 200GB (7200 rpm) hard disk.


So yes, absolutely, the 1.8GHz Sandy Bridge part will be faster than a 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo or a 2GHz Turion 64 X2. Compared to the aging Core 2 Duo part from ~2007, the new Sandy Bridge CPU enjoys many benefits to greatly increase speed at the same frequency. Since the Core 2 Duo Intel has had two new architectures, the Nehalem architecture and now Sandy Bridge.

A browsing of sites like Anandtech and TechReport might prove useful in seeing what went into Nehalem and Sandy Bridge. Needless to say that both architectures were a giant leap forward so the performance improvements are staggering.

You may find these Anandtech articles of use in understanding the improvements in these newer architectures:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2594/1
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3922/inte ... -exposed/1

The net result of these improvements is that, certainly, a 1.8GHz Sandy Bridge CPU will outperform a 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo CPU.

The Turion 64 X2 is really a dated CPU now, and will be lacking in performance even when compared with your old Core 2 Duo notebook. The Turion 64 X2 is based on the original Athlon 64 'K8' architecture, dating back to 2003 and it performs accordingly. The Athlon 64 was an amazing CPU back in the day, and indeed, it was the basis of AMD's success around the 2004 -> 2006 time frame. Unfortunately they haven't been able to follow up with another CPU architecture that has had the same success. AMD is due to release the new Bulldozer architecture within the next few months and I'm really hoping they'll give Intel some serious competition.

I agree completely regarding the use of solid state storage in computers. The difference in performance is simply amazing. I've seen older systems upgraded with an inexpensive SSD (I like the OCZ Vertex drives) and they suddenly feel like new again with a huge increase in responsiveness.
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Re: MacBook Air now with Thunderbolt I/O (2011 model)

Postby Antony » Sun 21 Aug, 2011 8:43 am

Thank you for the detailed explanation and the AnandTech articles. Although the articles seem too geeky for me, I did read them through.

Slightly off the topic, I found some comparisons for my Macs.
According to Primatelabs, the performance indicated by Geekbench:
6400 (64-bit) 5795 (32-bit) for MacBook Air (1.8GHz, Core i7)
3712 (64-bit) 3290 (32-bit) for MacBook Pro (2.5GHz Core 2 Duo)
---- (64-bit) 655 (32-bit) for PowerBook G4 (1.33GHz PowerPC G4)

And for comparison,
HP Compaq nx6325 scores an impressive:
2273 (64-bit) 2109 (32-bit) for 2.0GHz Turion 64 X2 TL-60.

In case anyone who wonders, it is good to know that my main computer is still faster than the MacBook Air, according to Primatelabs: 22645 (64-bit) 20345 (32-bit) for Mac Pro (2.66GHz, 12 core)
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