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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

Four 2011 MacBook Airs versus
nine other Apple laptops

Originally posted Friday, July 29th, 2011, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

In response to popular demand, this is an attempt to put the 2011 MacBook Air in perspective by comparing it to previous MacBook Airs. We included various examples of MacBook Pro as far back as 2009. For this performance snapshot, we chose Cinebench and Geekbench because they emphasize CPU power, because we've collected test results for both over the past two years, and because you can easily obtain both benchmarking apps to see how your Mac compares.

Though it appears to be just another artificial benchmark, Cinbench uses code from a real world 3D modeling app, Cinema 4D. The numbers in the graph represent a rating that Cinebench gives. Higher is better. The
RED bar represents the fastest.

The overall score combines the integer, floating point, and two memory tests into one overall score. (
LONGER bar means faster rating.) Note we used the 64-bit version.
The RED bar represents the fastest.

MBP 2.3 2011 (Q) = 2011 MacBook Pro 2.3GHz quad-Core i7
MBP 2.7 2011 = 2011 MacBook Pro 2.7GHz dual-Core i7
MBP 2.66 2010 (i7) = 2010 MacBook Pro 2.66GHz dual-Core i7
MBA 1.8 2011 (13) = 2011 MacBook Air 1.8GHz dual-Core i7 (13")
MBA 1.8 2011 (11) = 2011 MacBook Air 1.8GHz dual-Core i7 (11")
MBP 2.53 2010 = 2010 MacBook Pro 2.53GHz dual-Core i5
MBA 1.7 2011 = 2011 MacBook Air 1.7GHz dual-Core i5
MBA 1.6 2011 = 2011 MacBook Air 1.6GHz dual-Core i5
MBP 3.06 2009 = 2009 MacBook Pro 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo
MBP 2.66 2010 (c2) = 2010 MacBook Pro 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo
MBP 2.4 2010 = 2010 MacBook Pro 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo
MBA 2.13 2010 = 2010 MacBook Air 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo
MBA 1.86 2010 = 2010 MacBook Air 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo

BIG MAHALO to Other World Computing for sending us their results for the 2011 MacBook Air models we didn't have.

With the exception of the 2011 Quad-Core i7 MacBook Pro, the 2011
MacBook Air does well versus MacBook Pros. And it is a significant performance improvement over previous MacBook Airs.

Because we concentrated on CPU power, we must caution you. The MacBook Air does have bottlenecks in other areas of performance. Its memory is hardwired at the factory. So even with the 4G option, you will find yourself at a disadvantage when running pro apps like Adobe After Effects and Apple Motion.

Also, when running GPU intensive apps, the integrated GPU can't hold a candle to the dedicated GPU in the 15" and 17" MacBook Pros.

The 2011 MacBook Air has an appeal that transcends performance stats. Many users are willing to lose a little in "punch" to gain some thinness and lightness.

We're working on a pro app shootout and game shootout. Also we will be comparing how fast the SD slot performs in the 2011 MacBook Air compared to the MacBook Pro and iMac.
To be notified of additional test results, subscribe to our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter@barefeats. If you have a question, comment, or want to volunteer to do testing on your Mac, .

WHERE TO BUY A MACBOOK AIR and other Apple Products
Click on our Apple Store USA text links or display ads when you order a MacBook Air. It's a great way to support Bare Feats since we earn a commission on each click-through that results in a sale.

Order directly from Adobe USA. Don't live in USA? Try these links to Adobe France, Adobe Germany, Adobe Sweden, or Adobe UK. (Clicking our links helps us earn a commission.)

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copyright 2011 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster