Feeds
80%

Apple MacBook Air Late 2008

Still sexy, but rather faster now

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

We’d estimate that performance for routine tasks such as running Microsoft Office apps is 10-20 per cent higher on this model. Battery life for this sort of task seems unchanged – a little under four hours when typing away in Word, although you can stretch this quite a bit longer if you turn the screen brightness down low.

XBench 1.3 Results

MacBook Air 2008 - XBench Results

Longer bars are better

You can see from the XBench results that - even allowing for the fact we tested a 1.6GHz early Air and a 1.8GHz new one - the machine's had a big performance boost. We wouldn't take the Overall rating too seriously - it's way beyond faster machines thanks to the very high HDD score, a result of the test machine's SSD. Our real-world experience of SSDs tells is they're not that much quicker than HDDs.

But you can see the improvement in Memory, thanks to the higher frontside bus speed and the use of DDR 3 technology.

However, the most welcome improvement is the Nvidia GPU, replacing the feeble Intel GMA X3100 in the original Air. Apple says that the GeForce 9400M provides four times the graphics performance of the X3100, and we certainly noticed that video playback and tasks such as scrolling through album artwork in iTunes were much smoother. An H.264 standard-definition download of Iron Man from the iTunes Store looked rather splendid running in full-screen mode on the Air’s glossy display.

However, it’s games that show the greatest improvement. The 1.86GHz model managed a respectable 36 frames per second when running Doom 3, whereas the previous model could barely run the game at all. Of course, no one buys a Mac only to play games, but the Mac OS and programs like iTunes involve a lot of graphical trickery, so the improved graphics performance helps make the machine feel much more responsive in day-to-day use.

Boost IT visibility and business value

Next page: Verdict

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.