The new MacBook Air: Faster and $100 cheaper

The new MacBook Air: Faster and $100 cheaper

Summary: Apple has unveiled a new, updated MacBook Air, making its ultrathin notebook faster and cheaper.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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Apple has unveiled a new, updated MacBook Air, making its ultrathin notebook faster and cheaper.

New MacBook Air
(Source: Apple)

The revamp centers around Intel's Haswell CPU, with the 11-inch base model MacBook Air getting a speed bump thanks to a 1.4GHz Core i5 processor (compared to the 1.3GHz part that was shipping previously). And for an extra $150 buyers can bump the processor up to a 1.7GHz Core i7 part.

The Haswell silicon, in conjunction with the battery-saving features found in OS X 10.9 Mavericks, gives the MacBook Air all-day battery life, with the 13-inch MacBook Air capable of lasting 12 hours.

Storage has also seen a boost as Apple replaces the mSATA-based SSD from the previous model with faster PCI-e storage. Based on my testing of the 1TB PCI-e drive that Apple ships with the MacBook Pro, this drive is fast, giving me read and write speeds in excess of 930 MB/s.

Missing off the new MacBook Air is the faster Thunderbolt 2 port found on the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro.

The base RAM stays at 4GB for all MacBook Air devices, with an option to increase this to 8GB for $100.

The GPU also stays the same, which is still powered by the Intel HD Graphics 5000 part.

Apple has dropped the prices on all of its MacBook Air notebooks by $100. The base 11-inch model now starts at $899, with the 13-inch starting at $999.

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Topic: Hardware

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74 comments
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  • Still No Retina. 13" Model days are numbered....

    The 13" Retina MacBook Pro. is now in direct competition with more features at little extra cost.
    5735guy
    • Just a hardware bump

      This isn't a product refresh. I'm certain that a MacBook product refresh would be coming in the 2nd half of the year where we'll see Retina displays on the Air models.
      NitzMan
    • Come one...get real

      The reason why MacBook Air's do not retina is because its main selling point is portability. It is light, sturdy, quiet and has 10+ hours battery life. For this price and build quality it blows the competition away. Of course you can get cheaper but noisy plastic laptops with 5+ hours battery life does not a portable device make these days.
      global.philosopher
      • The reason there is no MBA Retina

        is because it would canabalise Macbook Pro Retina profits.
        It's Apple's yield management strategy.
        warboat
        • Bull, and yet another example of you not knowing what you're talking about

          First, there are numerous other specs that are different between the two. Second, for many in the pro market, the retina display is not a selling point. In fact, if it suits your argument, you, yourself, are quick to jump on the retina display as marketing over function.
          You are a hypocrite of the highest order, surpassed only by your status as a troll (and you ignorance of how professional video editors work).
          .DeusExMachina.
          • you dunno whatchutalkinbout

            Ramblings........ramblings.....ramblings.....youdunnowhatchutalkinbout......insults....
            "...and you ignorance of how professional video editors work"

            Yeah, how's are your video pros going with your multiple nvidia cards solution in a cage hanging off the thunderbolt cable?
            warboat
          • Just fine, actually, thanks

            First, video pros in general DON'T have multiple video cards unless they are doing CUDA. Rendering is done on render farms, not on the workstation. You know this, right?
            Second, even if they did, what is the problem with a card cage? Even with a multi card cage, the desktop foot print would STILL be smaller than most PC workstations.
            Third, nothing I wrote was "rambling". Do you even know that the word means?
            .DeusExMachina.
          • have you ever done it?

            Or just rambling hypotheticals?
            Please name the thunderbolt cage where you can plug in multiple PCIex16 GPU cards and actually work thru PCIex2 bus.
            Stop rambling and do it.
            Rambling......rambling....server farms....rambling
            warboat
          • And once again you clarify that you don't know what you're talking about

            First, there are numerous multi-card cages, including those from such manufacturers as Sonnet.
            http://www.sonnettech.com/product/thunderbolt/index.html
            Second, all PCIex16 cards work "thru PCIex2 bus" [sic]. Part of the PCIe spec requires lane configuration negotiation, to allow data to travel down the number of lanes available,
            Third, AGAIN, unless you are doing CUDA, graphics and video professionals ARE NOT ADDING MULTIPLE GRAPHICS CARDS. Rendering is NOT done on the workstation.
            Fourth, I said NOTHING about "server farms". Do you even know how to read?!?

            Finally, you clearly don't know what the word rambling means. EVERY one of my sentences was under 18 words long. Every one touched on a point in the O.P..
            Go back to troll school.
            .DeusExMachina.
          • yudunnowhachutalkinbout

            Sonnet does not have any cages that support ANY nVidia GPU cards. Try again.
            None of them have multiple full length slots so how do you SLI jumper them?
            As for PCI downscaling of channels, you don't know what you are talking about. I call BS.
            Ramblings...ramblings...strawman....pedantics.....BS assumptions.
            warboat
          • Actually I do, moving of the goal posts aside.

            First of all, good job conflating two different points. The issue was not card cages with nVidia. The issue was card cages in general. Second, are you claiming that you can't add nVidia cards at all via TB, 'cause you'd be wrong.

            And again, you don't know what the words ramblings. strawman [sic], pedantics [sic], or assumption mean, apparently (let alone how to spell them!).
            .DeusExMachina.
  • PCI-e ssd

    Seeing this technology find its way into lower tier hardware is really exciting. This is the future of data storage and with 1 TB drives already here, it is just a matter of time before ssd's smash the hdd barrier in the same way they smashed the speed barrier. I predict in 3-5 years hdds will become a niche product.
    CornheadsBack
    • SDDs are quickly approaching $0.50 per GB. HDDs are approaching ...

      ... $0.10 per GB. I don't expect HDD technology to go away but it bottoms out at about 320GB today. In the timeframe you mention, I expect that we will see SDDs at $0.10 per GB at sizes between 64GB and 1TB (for the portable market) and HDDs for at little a $0.01 per GB with sizes up to 10TB or more.

      The best thing about SSD's is low-power, low failure rate. The best thing about HDDs is low cost and very high capacity.
      M Wagner
      • The issue here is not that it is an SSD, it is that it is PCIe, not SATA.

        .DeusExMachina.
      • low failure rate?

        I repair laptops and my pile of failed SSDs is growing.
        I had 2 SSDs in raid0 on a file server that cops a lot of action and BOTH of them died within 3 months. I don't think SSDs are fit for heavy duty.
        I swapped an SSD into my PVR and it killed it within 6 months so it's back to good ole spinning HDDs.
        warboat
        • Your anecdotes provide no useful data

          The data, OTOH, show the exact opposite of your claim, especially for Intel's drives.
          .DeusExMachina.
          • Try it

            Use an 128gb SSD for buffering live TV 24/7 and it will fail in months. Use 256gb and it lasts twice as long. Worse still, use it for buffering when it's 75% full and it'll die even quicker.
            My anecdotal evidence are empirical data, your plausible deniability doesn't even qualify for data.
            warboat
          • What part of "anecdote" do you not understand‽

            Me "trying it" would provide no more useful data than yours.
            Beyond that, your anecdotes are NOT data, empirical or otherwise. You are in serious need of a dictionary.
            .DeusExMachina.
          • you are such a banana

            Trying to argue about irrelevant pedantics and pushing strawman angles.
            warboat
          • Try learning to spell

            (Grammar wouldn't hurt, either.)
            Also, good job addressing the fact that your anecdote is not data (let alone the fact that the actual data do not support your claim).
            .DeusExMachina.