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Old Jan 10, 2011, 10:22 AM   #1
farmermac
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For those doubting the capabilities of the 1.4 ghz base 11" C2D CPU

I was a bit worried myself that a 1.4 might choke on everyday use, but decided to just try it anyways. After all, it is a third mac and it wont be doing much work besides the basic itunes/web browsing.

First things first, forget about benchmarks for the CPU. Sure, it'll rank lower then an i5 or i7, but it's all relative. In my case, this computer is replacing a 12" Powerbook 1.5 ghz PPC G4. That computer was a dog CPU wise, and couldnt play any web based videos.

So the ultimate CPU test in my book is via handbrake encoding. At the moment I am encoding a HD show at a solid 28 fps. The range varies from low 20s to mid 30s FPS. The Powerbook struggled to maintain 1fps, often around 0.5 fps to 0.8 fps. In everyday use, I havent noticed a slowdown going to any website, or accomplishing any task (copying large multi gigabyte files through my N network, while web browsing and encoding). The CPU throttles down from encoding as required and lets you just do whatever you want.

So don't be afraid of the base model. Mine is the really basic - 2 gb ram, 1.4 ghz, 64 gb SSD. Hasnt bogged down once!
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 02:11 AM   #2
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I am quite surprised at just how powerful my Ultimate 11 is...at 1.6GHz with the 128SSD and 4GB RAM this little guy blew me away with just how fast it can do some things that take longer with my i5 MBP...
I know much of it is related to the SSD vs. the 5400rpm 320GB HD in my MBP, but it was truly astonishing watching how fast I was able to add the Beatles Boxed Set that I ripped in full Apple Lossless to my iTunes library on my 11" MPA...it added each full CD in literally the blink of an eye...
It was also very fast converting avi video files to mp4 in handbrake...
I was truly stunned....
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 03:53 AM   #3
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I'm a huge advocate of this laptop because whilst it's not fast in hardcore benchmarks, it feels snappy in day to day use when surfing the web and launching applications. At the end of the day you are always making a trade-off somewhere in a computer purchase whether it's price, performance, battery life, weight/portability, etc... so whilst the laptop may be great for some, it doesn't suit everyone.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 05:45 AM   #4
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Win7 in Paralells?

@jace88: how is the performance of this when running Office 2010 on Win7 in Parallels?

I'm considering getting the lowest end Air to have as a travelcomputer. I will only use if for surfing, email, watching movies and office work. Do you think the 64GB and 2 GB of ram is too little (I normally use an external hd for files).

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I'm a huge advocate of this laptop because whilst it's not fast in hardcore benchmarks, it feels snappy in day to day use when surfing the web and launching applications. At the end of the day you are always making a trade-off somewhere in a computer purchase whether it's price, performance, battery life, weight/portability, etc... so whilst the laptop may be great for some, it doesn't suit everyone.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 05:55 AM   #5
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I also cannot speak highly enough of this machine.

It's the fastest laptop I've ever owned, and my last laptop was a 2.2ghz Core 2 MacBook. So perhaps it will lose to it's predecessor in handbrake, but as far as everything else I've used it for, it wins hands down. No graphical lag compared to that god awful X3100, boots up in 10 seconds.

I'm currently running the App Store, Safari, iTunes, Spotify, MAMP, Pages, TextWrangler, and Windows Server 2008 in a VM (I have the 4GB RAM version), absolutely no slowdowns. I know for a fact my MacBook would be choking right now (also 4GB RAM).
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 06:04 AM   #6
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@MartenJF - Word/Excel 2010 runs fine in Parallels but keep in mind (I'd say 90-95% compared to Boot Camp) that whilst it'll fit all your objectives, the battery life of the MBA (and any Macbook) dives dramatically when running Parallels or any virtualisation software. Better off using Boot Camp or native Office 2011 for Mac.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 06:09 AM   #7
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i have the ultimate 11 and for day to day use it feels just as snappy as my i7 2.8 iMac. i was a bit weary of its ability before purchasing, wondering if i would get frustrated watching it choke on simply tasks but if it weren;t for the fact that i know its a 1.6Ghz C2D, i would assume its 2.4 or faster.

Very very pleased.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 07:27 AM   #8
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Impressive results.

My Powermac G5 2.0 Ghz model (original G5) was able to do 10 fps with Handbrake and I had it loaded with 8 GB. My Powerbook was the same speed as yours and it performed about the same. The G5 was a screamer in comparison. The MBA base model is an impressive Mac for those that have not upgraded to Intel Macs yet.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 08:26 AM   #9
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I too have the base model, and have thrown tons of software at it, and more than surprised with the results.

I've had MacBooks, iMacs, and mac mini's, upwards of 2.4GHz. This performs on par with all of them.

Money well spent. Really, the only thing I could ask for is more hard drive space (64GB is too tight for me, I'm resorting to USB thumb drives...).
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 08:34 AM   #10
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Love my "base" 11'', Never been dissapointed with the performance. Only when playing football manager 2011 does it take a while to load. But not enough to stop me playing it, clocked up over 50 hours of playtime on it.

My missus has the 13inch air, and i wouldn't swap mine for hers.
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 09:58 PM   #11
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My missus has the 13inch air, and i wouldn't swap mine for hers.
Why is that? Can you elaborate? (thanks)
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Old Jan 11, 2011, 10:38 PM   #12
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As someone who has had SSDs in my top two machines for awhile, it's fun to watch everyone go gaga over SSD responsiveness.

It's a much bigger difference than a faster CPU for 95% of users.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 12:59 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by farmermac View Post
First things first, forget about benchmarks for the CPU. Sure, it'll rank lower then an i5 or i7, but it's all relative. In my case, this computer is replacing a 12" Powerbook 1.5 ghz PPC G4. That computer was a dog CPU wise, and couldnt play any web based videos.

So don't be afraid of the base model. Mine is the really basic - 2 gb ram, 1.4 ghz, 64 gb SSD. Hasnt bogged down once!
Compared to a single PPC G4, the Dual-Core 5th Gen Intel Processor would of course be a screamer. But don't forget that going from a 12" PBG4 to a 1st Gen MBP in 2006 would garner you the same results.

I'm not disputing the 1.4Ghz is a capable little processor (My 2008-era Air is a 1.6Ghz, and it's still great, other than the 2GB RAM ceiling and slow-ish SSD).

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The MBA base model is an impressive Mac for those that have not upgraded to Intel Macs yet.
Exactly.

And for those that have more recent Macs, the SSD will pick up the slack, making the 2010 MBA "feel" faster than the other macs, though it's only 'cause the other macs are using platter-based HDDs for the most part.

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As someone who has had SSDs in my top two machines for awhile, it's fun to watch everyone go gaga over SSD responsiveness.

It's a much bigger difference than a faster CPU for 95% of users.
+1.

I can't get over how many people are like "My 1.4Ghz MBA is FASTER than my 2.8Ghz MBP!"

That's obviously not true. But the speedy SSD in the new MBA's makes it *feel* like it's true. Owners of previous MBAs, and other Macs with SSDs have long-since known that an SSD is a super-speed boost to the end-user.

Boot up, program launches, shut downs, all things that users do all the time are sped up. While things like encoding, or CPU-intensive stuff is slower on the new MBAs than MBPs, lots of end-users never tax their CPU, so it won't matter to them and make it *seem* like the MBA is faster.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 02:15 AM   #14
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I can't get over how many people are like "My 1.4Ghz MBA is FASTER than my 2.8Ghz MBP!"

That's obviously not true.
It obviously is true... for anyone who's typical usage is more disk latency bound than CPU bound.

The benchmark number that anyone should use is the one that best matches their intended use. Very few people invert large matrices (or whatever those tasks are that dominate the SPEC numbers these days).

I build iOS apps. XCode builds apps faster on my 1.6 GHz MBA than it does on my 2.4 GHz MBP. That's my "time is money" benchmark.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 02:34 AM   #15
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Yeah if it's faster for YOUR tasks then it's just that faster. Keep in mind when people say "my MBA is faster than my MBP" they're looking at it form their perspective AND the laptop as a whole unit. Just like the car with the most HP isn't necessarily the one that will win the race, the computer with the faster processor isn't always the faster computer
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 05:14 AM   #16
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Why is that? Can you elaborate? (thanks)
I think its all about personal preference and the uses you have for it.

I did consider the 13inch model when I got mine, for the extra money you do get a fair bit extra (extra battery life, faster cpu, Bigger res, Sd slot, bigger trackpad?).

At the end of the day though, The 11.6'' is just a perfect size, I take it so many places with me and because it's so light and doesn't dominate the space in my bag, it doesn't matter if i don't use it, I just take it just incase.

As mentioned though, its all about personal preference. If i didn't have a big desktop iMac I probably would have opted for the 13inch, or maybe splashed out on an external monitor/dock setup.

Hope my ramble has been moderately helpful.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 05:33 AM   #17
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As someone who has had SSDs in my top two machines for awhile, it's fun to watch everyone go gaga over SSD responsiveness.

It's a much bigger difference than a faster CPU for 95% of users.
Disagree- my Dell Mini9 had a 16gb SSD and it was damn slow. Useless POS. Should've just gotten the hard drive model!

At least my MBA is awesome
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 05:53 AM   #18
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pure joy...

Just moved to Mac and started with MBA 11.6 with 2gb and base processor, started with 64gb but swapped for 128gb at Apple store no issue. What a thing! looks amazing, sending grannies great HD videos of grandson with Imovie, found aperture for 44 quid on Uk app store (Vs $250 in OZ!) works a dream for managing my big library. And streaming music and video around the house is soooooo easy! with Apple TV.

So amazing bit of kit, needs 128gb, just waiting for the new MBP's to arrive later in the year for heavy duty photo and video work.

The one thing that is making the apple experience so easy is the multi touch pad, now when I go back to work pc find my self frustrated buy how one dimensional it is!

Now a convert and happy
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 05:57 AM   #19
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I'm loving this glass touchpad. Makes me wonder how I lived without it. Nice and big. Lots of features/gestures. I wish more programs supported it though (e.g. Chrome should support pinch to zoom).
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 06:58 AM   #20
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...

cpu speed seems to not matter as much as people think. When installing the 10.6.6 combo update I had a race between my i3 3.06ghz imac with 8gb of ram and my macbook pro 2.4ghz with 4gb ram...no differance in time to complete at all
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 07:04 AM   #21
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It obviously is true... for anyone who's typical usage is more disk latency bound than CPU bound.

The benchmark number that anyone should use is the one that best matches their intended use. Very few people invert large matrices (or whatever those tasks are that dominate the SPEC numbers these days).

I build iOS apps. XCode builds apps faster on my 1.6 GHz MBA than it does on my 2.4 GHz MBP. That's my "time is money" benchmark.
your wrong,

2.4ghz mbp is much faster then 1.4 both being dual core,

the saying "my 1.4ghz air is faster then my 2.4ghz mbp" is nothing to do with cpu and is false.

if the macbook pro had a equal ssd it would be faster.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 07:24 AM   #22
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(e.g. Chrome should support pinch to zoom).
It does
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 07:28 AM   #23
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1.4 GHz is a bit slow but more than enough for every day use. The SSD is what is making the difference. Pop one into any MBP, and the MBP will be the snappier machine.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 10:03 AM   #24
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your wrong,

2.4ghz mbp is much faster then 1.4 both being dual core,

the saying "my 1.4ghz air is faster then my 2.4ghz mbp" is nothing to do with cpu and is false.

if the macbook pro had a equal ssd it would be faster.
No one said the MBA CPU is faster than the MBP CPU. If they did, you'd be right and that would be false.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 10:17 AM   #25
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your wrong,

2.4ghz mbp is much faster then 1.4 both being dual core,

the saying "my 1.4ghz air is faster then my 2.4ghz mbp" is nothing to do with cpu and is false.

if the macbook pro had a equal ssd it would be faster.
you're not quite correct

it depends on first, the firmware optimisation of the SSD and OSX, next the random read/write speed of the SSD and lastly its capability to maintain its speed without trim.

Also, other factors like FSB speed and L2 cache size come into play here so a 2.4ghz old old C2D may not be much faster
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