Benchmark tests for 2010 11" MBA 4gb and 2011 11" MBA 4gb?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by macbookpro45, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. macbookpro45 macrumors 6502

    Jun 20, 2010
    Where can I find a benchmark test comparing the two macbooks both with 4gb of ram? I'm hoping to find them with both running lion.
  2. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    Well, you can find geekbench scores out there but as it really only concentrates on a couple of areas it's a very poor indicator of overall system performance.

    Xbench which is a much better overall indication of system performance doesn't fully work on Lion yet so the scores you see are skipping some tests and it's not much better than geekbench at the moment.

    We know the CPU in the 2011 is about double the raw performance but also that it's GPU is not as strong as that in the 2010. User reports are a mixed bag that are consistent with this. Some claim the 2010 is faster overall and some claim the 2011 is much faster at some things. I expect the result depends on the programs you use the your usage patterns.

    From what I've seen so far I'd say that while they may be true on some level, apples claims of 2x or 2.5x performance improvement are Hype and that overall performance improvements are much more modest. Some areas got better and some got worse. So sadly unless you happen to find a benchmark that happens to duplicate your usage patterns it may not be very helpful.
  3. macbookpro45 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 20, 2010
    What's the difference between CPU and GPU?

    I am also skeptical of the 2-2.5x performance improvement which is why I am seeking concrete numbers.
  4. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
  5. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    While this is a bit of an over simplification, the Graphic Processing Unit is responsible for graphic related calculations and io while the Central Processing Unit performs most of the non graphical operations.

    This is over simplified because these days the CPU and GPU and memory often share responsibility so when needed a program can sometimes offload non graphical work to the GPU and vice versa and they often share the same memory and bus.

    Games, video, and some elements of the graphical interface rely more on the GPU while calculations programs like spreadsheets and the non graphical elements of games and other programs use the CPU more.

    Even the CPU and GPU are not the only elements of a systems perceived performance which is why good benchmarks test a combination of many elements. Just remember the weight give to each element by various benchmarks differs so benchmarks may not address your specific usage pattern.

    My gut feel offered with no proof is that for most the 2011 is not a compelling upgrade but would be a bit (10-20%) quicker, for some who use the CPU more it would be a more compelling upgrade doing some tasks a lot quicker, and for some who use the GPU more it would be a downgrade. So depending on your usage pattern your choice should likely be different.
  6. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I'd disagree. There are two groups of people for whom this isn't a compelling upgrade:
    • Gamers (who likely aren't using the MacBook Air anyway)
    • People who just browse, check e-mail, etc.

    For just about every other task, the CPU makes a significant difference. This is a jump of 2 full CPU generations. People who import from a camera into iPhoto or Aperture, encode video or audio files, use any kind of design application, or who run a virtual machine should notice a marked improvement.
  7. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    For various reasons I upgrade my computers pretty much annually. I've seen the 2x CPU speed upgrade quite a number of times over the years and while it sounds impressive, it's largely a yawn because it's only a small part of system performance and it typically results in a 10-20% overall performance improvement.

    So maybe we just differ on our definition of compelling. If the 2010 is on the edge of usable for someone the 2011 might make a big difference. But otherwise not that much. I tried a 2011 in an apple store and noticed a modist improvement. There was no oh god this thing flies and I have to have it for me. But usage patterns vary.
  8. nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
    not sure if this is what you meant, but:

    CPU = central processing unit = 'processor'
    GPU = graphics processing unit = 'video card'

    just read the reviews. you can start with Anandtech's.

    i'm pretty sure this, like most things on the forum, has been beaten to death, but since i like punching corpses in the face ...

    it's essentially like KPOM said it above. for the email-only user, it doesnt matter. of course, such a person probably doesn't exist in the wild. most people like to watch videos online too, and there, i believe, the 2011 CPU will be helpful. for (some) gaming, the 2010 NVidia is better, (but i dont really read/know these data). for everyone else, the 2011 CPU is a huge leap forward that will at least be noticed if not absolutely game changing.


    it comes down to what '2x' means.

    it does not mean that every task will be 2 times faster on the 2011. even if it did, shaving 2 seconds off a 4 second task is not earth shattering.

    it's only CPU intensive tasks. encoding a video in 30 minutes vs 1 hour IS pretty earth shattering. for music software, being able to run twice as many virtual instruments IS pretty earth shattering.

    if you think that opening up a 2011 at the Apple store and going to in Safari is going to be so fast your eyebrows will fly off, then you will be very disappointed. (on the bright side, however, you will still have your eyebrows.)

    again, this subject has been poured over countless times, but it does get lost in the heap.

    here's a test i did in garageband with the 2011 MBAs and my 2.26 Mini (which should be noticeably faster than a 2010 MBA): garageband CPU test
  9. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    I'd say save a few hundred bucks and get the last gen if you are a basic user and in the coming years as your needs change, sell it and buy a better one.
  10. bursthead macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2010
    I purchased a macbook air 2010 11inch in addition to my MBA 2011 i5 13inch. While they are not exactly in similar spec, I get alot of beach balls and lag with the 2010. The only upside to it, is the 2011 seems like it has the same battery life as my 2010 11inch. I'm still debating whether or not to sell the 2011 vs 2010.
  11. gdeputy macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2008
    New York
    GPU is worse but the CPU is a pretty fair leap forward. Sandy Bridge is very powerful.

    People don't realize the real bottleneck on modern PC's is going to be the HDD. Programs will boot nearly the same, where you'll notice a difference is CPU intensive tasks like encoding, decoding, video editing ect.

    Web browsing, normal programs ect will be nearly unchanged.

    Also, the new sandy bridge handles multi-core work better. Overall it's more efficient but truthfully if your doing heaving video work you're probably on an iMac anyways.

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