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View Full Version : Honest Steve's review of MacBook Air 2013




SteveJobs2.0
Aug 6, 2013, 04:08 PM
I have been testing two i5/8gb ram machines. One has 128gb sad storage and the other 256 ssd. I have Mountain Lion and Windows 7 installed on both. Both the screens and the ssd drives are Samsung.

Likes:

- Excellent performance. I am getting the same windows experience score as my 2010 quad i5 iMac with 8gb ram and HD5750 1gb ram video card. I doubt that the average person will need more than the basic specs.
- Gaming performance in windows is impressive
- Screen has a nice contrast and is sharp enough for most people
- Sound is loud
- Computer is ultra quiet under light and medium load


Don't Likes:

- Keys are a tad mushy despite being very responsive and easy to type on
- Not used to the trackpad yet since sometimes it doesn't register right clicks properly. I might need more time with this.
- Drivers for windows are not 100% there yet. Keyboard backlight keeps on resetting to max brightness after every restart and I cannot connect to any wifi networks occasionally. Restarting the system seems to restart the wireless adapter inside the machine which fixes things.
- Despite the impressive gaming performance, the machine does get very hot and loud. This necessitates removing the laptop off the lap and onto a table to allow for better air flow.


128GB vs 256GB:

- 256 gb ssd definitely has faster write speed (700MB/s vs 400MB/s)
- 256 gb machine keep on getting a higher windows experience score (6.7) than the 128 gb machine (5.9)
- You can't help but feel that the 256 gb ssd should cost around $100 more than the 128 gb sad, not $200.



radiohead14
Aug 6, 2013, 04:16 PM
128GB vs 256GB:

- 256 gb ssd definitely has faster write speed (700MB/s vs 400MB/s)


huh.. interesting.. and you're sure both have a samsung drive? here's a vid that reflects your finding on the 128GB also:

http://youtu.be/30T_ujbBkuw?t=13m50s

i wonder if all 256's are considerably faster

AXs
Aug 6, 2013, 04:30 PM
Thanks for sharing your feedback, but honestly- why are you primarily giving us gaming feedback and windows feedback?

It's a...MACbook....AIR.

Ztormie
Aug 6, 2013, 04:44 PM
When you say that the 256 is faster, does that mean "faster in benchmarks" or is it such a difference that a casual user would actually notice it in normal (not heavy) usage of the computer?

SteveJobs2.0
Aug 6, 2013, 05:11 PM
Thanks for sharing your feedback, but honestly- why are you primarily giving us gaming feedback and windows feedback?

It's a...MACbook....AIR.

Good call. I find that games in general run better in windows so that is where I focused on the gaming performance. If you have a good way to test the performance on a mac using free software I will do it. Most of the things that I do on the osx side of things are not demanding enough where these differences would be appreciable.

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When you say that the 256 is faster, does that mean "faster in benchmarks" or is it such a difference that a casual user would actually notice it in normal (not heavy) usage of the computer?

It was in benchmarks, I will time how long it takes to move a 10gb file from one folder to another in osx later today. However, I doubt that this would have a large impact on the casual user since people tend to copy things to usb sticks etc which would become the bottleneck and not the ssd speed.

----------

huh.. interesting.. and you're sure both have a samsung drive? here's a vid that reflects your finding on the 128GB also:

http://youtu.be/30T_ujbBkuw?t=13m50s

i wonder if all 256's are considerably faster

I believe that it is not the manufacturer that determines the speed but rather the size due to the nature of the connection to the motherboard.

Stetrain
Aug 6, 2013, 05:15 PM
- Not used to the trackpad yet since sometimes it doesn't register double clicks properly. I might need more time with this.

Are you using tap-to-click or the physical click?

SteveJobs2.0
Aug 6, 2013, 05:38 PM
Are you using tap-to-click or the physical click?

I made a mistake. I meant "right clicl" not double click. I am using the physical click. It works 98% of the time in OSX but in windows I will get an occasional time when it will work only 10% of the time. I am sure that updated driver would fix that. I know that in OSX you can do control-click and even set the bottom-right portion of the trackpad to active that right click.

Stetrain
Aug 6, 2013, 06:11 PM
I made a mistake. I meant "right clicl" not double click. I am using the physical click. It works 98% of the time in OSX but in windows I will get an occasional time when it will work only 10% of the time. I am sure that updated driver would fix that. I know that in OSX you can do control-click and even set the bottom-right portion of the trackpad to active that right click.

It's personal preference but I find using tap-to-click and the two-finger-right-click to be a lot more usable for me.

Tarrou8
Aug 6, 2013, 06:51 PM
The title of your thread was the best part.

iStiggy
Aug 6, 2013, 08:54 PM
i wonder if all 256's are considerably faster

The Apple 256GB will always be faster than the Apple 128Gb. Because the 256GB SSD is made up of 32 independent NAND die, clustered into 8 discrete packages. Where as the 128GB is made up of 32 independent NAND die, clustered into 4 discrete packages. The number of discrete packages is relative to the speed of the SSD. I read it somewhere on AnandTech.

radiohead14
Aug 6, 2013, 09:24 PM
The Apple 256GB will always be faster than the Apple 128Gb. Because the 256GB SSD is made up of 32 independent NAND die, clustered into 8 discrete packages. Where as the 128GB is made up of 16 independent NAND die, clustered into 4 discrete packages. The number of discrete packages is relative to the speed of the SSD. I read it somewhere on AnandTech.

ah.. good to know. thanks

B...
Aug 6, 2013, 09:36 PM
ah.. good to know. thanks

I believe the disctete clusters are in RAID, so more=faster.

throAU
Aug 6, 2013, 09:47 PM
I believe the disctete clusters are in RAID, so more=faster.

Not RAID, as RAID = Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks, and they're not redundant (i.e. fault tolerant), inexpensive or disks.

But they are addressable simultaneously, which means 2x the throughput on the 256 GB drive.

Reads/writes are striped across the clusters.

w00tini
Aug 7, 2013, 12:47 PM
I'm getting 700 throughput on my 256GB.

insane.

Enrico
Aug 7, 2013, 01:15 PM
Let's see what is the speed on the 512!

alexandermont
Aug 7, 2013, 02:28 PM
What kind of usage makes the laptop heat up and the fan start?

I want to use the new model for light video editing. I'm hoping it will be powerful enough to run silently. Just making screencasts with screenflow.

Also, what do you mean about they keys being mushy?

Jefe's MacAir
Aug 7, 2013, 02:43 PM
Let's see what is the speed on the 512!

Basically the same as the 256. Just a tick over 700 read and write consistently.

SteveJobs2.0
Aug 7, 2013, 03:17 PM
What kind of usage makes the laptop heat up and the fan start?

I want to use the new model for light video editing. I'm hoping it will be powerful enough to run silently. Just making screencasts with screenflow.

Also, what do you mean about they keys being mushy?

I find that the keys seem to have a bit less travel than the iMac bluetooth keyboard so they feel softer. I can write just as fast and they are responsive, however.

I think that the fans will run when you start encoding etc. Basically, the fans are silent when you are not using much CPU power. When you start doing demanding things that fully utilize the CPU the fans will come on. The fans on my iMac come on during video encoding so I have no doubt that they would spin up on my Air also. However, I have the i5, so your results might vary with the i7.

alexandermont
Aug 7, 2013, 04:40 PM
I find that the keys seem to have a bit less travel than the iMac bluetooth keyboard so they feel softer. I can write just as fast and they are responsive, however.

I think that the fans will run when you start encoding etc. Basically, the fans are silent when you are not using much CPU power. When you start doing demanding things that fully utilize the CPU the fans will come on. The fans on my iMac come on during video encoding so I have no doubt that they would spin up on my Air also. However, I have the i5, so your results might vary with the i7.

Ah, so almost any option will have a fan issue if I need that kind of processing. Ok, thanks.

robvas
Aug 7, 2013, 05:38 PM
AnandTech covered the i5 vs i7 with some heat/battery life info - good reading:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7113/2013-macbook-air-core-i5-4250u-vs-core-i7-4650u/4