Friday, August 26, 2011

Apple MacBook Air 13 Notebook Review

After updating the case of air in the fall of last year, we now see completely new internal hardware based on Intel sand bridge. The extremely thin aluminum chassis is unchanged, still sets the standard for attractiveness, overall feel and thinness.

When 2010-MacBook Air was introduced, Apple has been bombarded with criticism for sticking with out-of-date technology, Intel Core 2 Duo (ULV), while the new Intel Core processors are already available. Instead, Apple has built on the GeForce 320M at the time a relatively powerful graphics card.

It is always a dual-core ULV CPU is used, but the MacBook Air is available with two new Intel ® Core ™ portfolio, which should provide a significant increase in processor performance. It's a different story, however, when it comes to graphics solution. Nvidia Geforce 320M was discharged and replaced by Intel HD 3000 graphics, integrated into the processor.

We are interested in what the new platform to improve performance, and can really be a step back in graphics. You can still use an Intel Turbo powers in full effect in this case, the Slimline, especially since Apple is always a great effort to keep the system from a minimum of noise?

Specifications Apple Macbook Air 13 inch 2011-07 MC966D/A :
  • Processor : Intel Core i5 2557M 1.7 GHz
  • Mainboard : Intel ID0104
  • Memory : 4096 MB, DDR3 1333MHz
  • Graphics adapter : Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • Display : 13.3 inch 16:10, 1440x900 pixel, LP133WP1-TJA3 , LED, glossy: yes
  • Harddisk : Samsung SM256C, 256GB
  • Soundcard : HD Audio
  • Connections : 2 USB 2.0, 1 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: headphones, Thunderbolt
  • Networking : 802.11a/b/g/n (abgn), 4.0 Bluetooth
  • Size : height x width x depth (in mm): 17 x 325 x 227
  • Weight : 1.33 kg Power Supply: 0.19 kg
  • Battery : 50 Wh Lithium-Polymer
  • Price : 1400 Euro
  • Operating System : Mac OS X 10.7 Lion
  • Additional features : Webcam: Facetime Camera, 12 Months Warranty
DisplayPort Goodbye, Hello Ray. Although not as accurate for the function of the beam was introduced into the same port Mini DisplayPort. And that's really the only significant change in the area of ​​connectivity.

What is lightning? It is a universal port that was originally developed by Intel and Apple in "Light Peak", the codename. As the name indicates the code was based on the original transfer of the optical data. For cost reasons, however, fell back on traditional copper wiring for the moment.

Despite this, Ray is expected to exceed the speed of USB 2.0 transfer may be present in a certain way (10 Gbit / s), allowing you to use as a connection for appliances, high-resolution image reproduction .

However, looking at the details, the user-centric performance to catch up with certain limitations to this system in the MacBook Air. The air has less control of the beam, they can not even match the current MacBook Pro in terms of transfer rates up (two bi-directional 10 Gbit DisplayPort channels and four against and two 10 Gbit DisplayPort).

A small problem with the whole exciting story: there is a distinct lack of compatible devices, the new port Thunderbolt. Apple does not offer its own 27-inch Thunderbolt-compatible, but this is not exactly what you want to call cheap, about $ 900 on average, although it also acts as a docking station, when access to air a series of other ports. You can expect more options available (such as external storage devices, Sonnet FireWire or LAN), but very little is currently available.

Aside from the Intel integrated graphics HD 3000 is only able to control an external monitor option. So, which imposes certain constraints on you, both as a work space multi-screen is affected.

While the basic instructions given in this exhibition do not seem to show no change (LED 13.3 "1440 x 900, 16:10, shiny), it is worthwhile to look behind the scenes. The type of the selected panel LP133WP1-TJA3 ( LG Philips) seem to differ only slightly used its predecessor that we reviewed (* A01).

But Apple would not be Apple if the air flow has not been involved in a series of intensive discussions, inter alia, what evidence was used. According to reports from users, Apple has used two different panel of the current model. One of these is LP133WP1, which is what we must look to the model, but the other, which manifests itself in numerous models have LTH133BT01A03 Samsung. MacBook Air 2010 previously tested for us to use the Samsung panel, even if the previous version (A01), which differs from LG Philips' new panel, a slightly better result of measurement.

We measured a maximum brightness of 322 cd display area / m² in the heart of our review model (LP133WP1-TJA3), while the average brightness is a good m² 277 cd /. Overall, these results are respectable, but compared to the screen in the previous model with identical specifications, the screen is a little (max 333 cd / m², an average of 306.8 cd / m²).

The display also lost a little face when he reached the maximum contrast. Do not worry - 575:1 on the screen of our review model remains one of the best in its class, but is a bit behind its predecessor (640:1), in this sense.

It's time to take a look at the color space of the screen can reproduce, it was particularly strong in the previous model, which was average in this regard. The comparison of color spaces that shows the current LG panel is almost exactly on par with Samsung's predecessor. As before, sRGB is largely unprecedented, the poster series is still very MacBook Pro ahead.

When it comes to outdoor use, not much has changed. MacBook Air is still offering good brightness and excellent image contrast, but again, the surface of the glossy screen produces annoying reflections when the light falls on its quality, viewing angles or in certain (albeit slightly with anti- reflex that produces a purple-colored reflections).

The range of angles in our review model is slightly better than the average for modern laptops. Horizontally, you can probably cope with even greater differences from the front on the perfect perspective, and this in turn reflections on the screen, rather than reversing the image, it will come in the first way. For the range of vertical angles, the screen displays small changes in the image, and you expect a darkening or bleaching of the screen.

To what extent the two display types were used for this model is different in terms of angles could be determined by direct comparison side by side. But when the display type can be read on the system itself, and since no systematic approach has not yet been identified as the distribution of the different panels, the display allows you to get at least one question chance.

As we mentioned at the beginning, the biggest change is the MacBook Air compared to its predecessor took place inside the machine. As of now, Apple has the latest Intel Core processors, the i-line. Provides information, an i5 Intel CPU 1.7 GHz 2557M 13-inch air (as used in our review model), with the option 2677M 1.8 GHz Core i7 base rate.

They are super low-voltage processors with a core clock speed and power of relatively low thermal design power (TDP) of 17 W. For comparison: the lowest of the latest Intel dual-core standard range, the i3-2310M has a clock speed of 2100 MHz, but with a TDP of 35 W.

However, due to the Turbo Boost function, the i5-2557M can reach speeds up to 2.7 GHz, a single core is used. If both cores are needed when the maximum speed is 2.4 GHz ULV While technology can approach the performance of entry-level processors in the standard range, and consume far less power.

The beach architecture bridge contains an Intel graphics solution called HD 3000 Graphics, which is integrated directly into the processing unit. But here the UBV system loses, because the graphics unit is somewhat limited compared to their counterparts 35 W, with a rate base of only 350 MHz (650 MHz 35 W) and up to 1200 MHz with Turbo Boost Technology ( 1100-1300).

CPU Performance
To classify definitively the power of the new Intel Core i5-2557M processor, shot a series of benchmarks, most of which are undoubtedly based on Windows. Thanks to Boot Camp, however, run Windows on an Intel Mac is not a problem, and Apple, drivers for Windows AO, now fits nicely, easy to jump to the side.

In reference superPi tested (32 M), 2557M CPU needed 763 seconds to calculate Pi to 32 million decimal places. A look at the database shows dozens of notebooks with Intel, the latest generation of AOS 2410M i5 midrange processors in the immediate vicinity of this result. (For comparison: C2D SL9400: 1480 / 2, 50%).

WPrime multi-threaded benchmark tests (2.x) 2557M CPU reaches 764.6 seconds, compared to when it is due to the same level as the i3-2310 m CPU. Intel, the AOS i5-2410M is an average of almost 25% faster in this test. Air predecessor SL9400 processor needs to 1379.9 seconds for this test, which means that it takes about twice as long as the current CPU 2557M.

In Cinebench R10 benchmark that Maxxon (1 x CPU, 64 bits) 2557M i5-CPU score 4201 points. With this result the back of the main processor packaging i5 2410M (4450-4560 points).

To compare: Intel CPU AOS SL9600 (SL9400 is a precursor of the MacBook Air) Score 2726 points in the test itself (Thinkpad X200t), which leads to approximately 54% of the CPU 2557M.

With 8266 points in the film R10 multi-threaded test, the CPU 3557M rows at the same level as the previous Arrandale i5-460M. It is capable of overcoming the CPU 2310M quite some way (from 7200-7600), but the Core i5-2410M is still a long way to go with 9300-9800 points.

Our final reference point of R11.5 CPU Cinebench benchmarks, which led to 2.3 points. This corresponds to an i5 520 and 460M Arrandale processors. 2.5 to 2.6 points can 2410M CPU, Intel, the Apostleship of the Sea, 2310 m i3 score about 2.0 points.

Intel Core 2 Duo SL9400 CPU in the MacBook Air in 2010 were put on 1.1 points, so this test can not be said also that the performance of the processor is twice as good.

With the Turbo Boost, Intel CPU Sandy Bridge is perfectly able to cope with peak demand in the short, so make the best use of the cooling system. But how does this work in an ultra-thin machine that puts the low end sound system on top of your priority list? The first Apple MacBook Sandy Bridge processors has been criticized as limiting terms.

In order to examine the latest issue of Air, we turned once again a combination of BootCamp Windows and MacOS. Of course, the majority of airport users are understandably not in Windows, but it gives us the opportunity to use a wide range of testing tools, which provide detailed information on temperature, CPU speed, and fan behavior, but unfortunately is not available for MacOS.

If you remember, the Intel Core i5-2557M used here is defined as having a speed of 1.7 GHz Core and a range of up to 2.7 GHz Turbo. The use of the monitor and Intel Turbo Boost HWInfo64 during normal use of Windows, has been observed above 2.4 GHz, with gusts of up to 2.7 GHz, in other words, he fell just within specification. They were not able to read the clock speed in the operating system due to lack of appropriate tools (MSR tool did not work).

1x in Cinebench R10 rendering test processor (64 bits), there were 4338 points with the clock speed remains between 2399 and 2655 MHz (depending hwinfo).

Our set of benchmarks for the provision of multi-core test is interesting in the first run through we have achieved a score of 7844 points, and the CPU speed is 2399 MHz for the most part, but the final test was read a speed reduction to 1699 and then a choke to 799 MHz core temperature was around 99 ° C according to HWMonitor, ie high temperature limit of the CPU (TJ Max). The fan relatively late accelerated around 95 ° C, until then run at least 2000 rpm.

Immediately thereafter, began to turn the other tests at the same point of reference: 8076 points, 8624 and 8617 were the results. The fan has obtained more quickly and on the last two spinning stayed at the maximum 6500 rpm, from beginning to end. The result of strangulation and not produced in the past two cables, and the CPU speed was kept constant at 2399 MHz with the CPU temperature to 94-97 ° C by hwinfo.

In Cinebench R10 OpenGL benchmark, we found a very similar way. We started in 4770 and then the points scored in a row 5023, 5056 and 5001 points. So this is a problem in Windows, or a more general phenomenon that also occurs under MacOS? We first carried out in Cinebench R10 MacOS, and looked at the internal temperature and fan speed (iStatMenus).

We started with 1 CPU makes a test temperature of 50/52 ° C. About 96 ° C, the fan that comes with MacOS X Test score: 3621 points. We immediately followed this second session, the fan was already running when the temperature is kept below 93 ° C. Result: 3645 points. We are forced to fan up to maximum speed (smcFanControl) and ran the test again: this time, 3634 points.

So we also test multi-core while running MacOS. From cold, the first result was 7679 points, with temperatures climbing as high as 98 ° C. The next time through we were given the number 2 result: 7477 points, with temperatures remaining more or less at 98 ° C (depending iStatMenus), and the fan speed is constantly increasing. Result 3: 7666 points; result 4: 7703 points 5 and results: 7715th

We manually the fan speed to max, and once again began benchmarking: points 7741, 7747 and 7709. These results are about 3.6% more than the exercise "critical" second. The CPU temperature did not exceed 86-88 ° C. This

In Cinebench R11.5, which is also a burden on all the issues of CPU, measuring 2.1 points in the first run through Windows. In this short period there is a limitation to 799 MHz according to HWInfo64 (temperature of 99 ° C). The test phase immediately after clearly showed less throttle and gave it a score of 2.2 points. We tried again with the fan on maximum 2.25 points, and a temperature not exceeding 85 ° C.

Running MacOS, the temperature in the first period quickly hit the point 99 ° C, and only when the fan starts. Result # 1: 2.13 points. We tried again with a fan: 2.26 points, and the CPU temperature below 91 ° C. In the OpenGL test, similar behavior was observed in both Windows and MacOS.

3D performance
In 3DMark 2006 tests, our review model scored 3808 points in the standard resolution of 1280 x 1024 pixels. Intel HD 3000 graphics processor units based on the score reaches normal speed between 3000 and 5000 points in that event, depending on the model of laptop. Due to the Turbo, which is also present in the printing unit, the result depends on the cooling capacity of the machine of each review, among other things.

CPU performance also plays an important role in the 3DMark 2006 test. Systems with Intel 2310M CPU is spread around 3000-3500 points, while i5-2410M systems with Intel HD 3000 Graphics solution generally fall in the region between 3500 and 4500 points. In this regard, i5-2557M ULV processor with its somewhat limited integrated graphics certainly do a good job to keep position as a mid-ranking here.

Fears of a decline in performance than the GeForce 320M be legitimate: Apple MacBook Air 13 in 2010 were placed in 4222 refers to the benchmark itself, which is 11% more, even if the SL9400 ULV processor is only about half i5 powerful as the new CPU, the tests we did. 11-inch MacBook Air 2010 SU9400 CPU score 3824 points in the test itself, which is practically the same level as the new 13-inch machine.

In the most up-to-date of 3DMark Vantage, the performance of the processor is in the background, while a pure performance graphics are highlighted. With 1712 points, a new 13-inch Air goes bare 11-inch Air 2010 (1694), but Apple MacBook Air 13 in 2010 is slightly below the 1836 points, but the benefit was reduced to only 7%.

We examined a number of other systems running the same level, is equipped with an Intel 2410M, 2520m and 2620m-up processors. In practice, it is not really possible to distinguish significant differences in performance between the processor ULV and the ordinary.

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