Do the 2010 MBAs have any advantages over the 2011 & 2012 models?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by saintforlife, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. saintforlife macrumors 65816

    Feb 25, 2011
    Routine apps:
    For everyday use like web surfing, office docs, I am guessing you will be hard pressed to find any difference between the Core 2 Duo equipped 2010 MBAs the 2011/2012 models.

    I believe the newer models are better at handling flash, HD videos, youtube and Netflix. My 2010 struggles a bit here with loud fan noise.

    I am not sure about battery life though. Do the C2D machines consume less battery than the i3,i5,i7 models?

    Heat and noise:
    Do the 2010 models have an advantage here? My 13" 2010 MBA with 4GB RAM runs very quite and doesn't generate heat at all during normal usage. Only video playback causes it to struggle some.

    What do you guys think? Will appreciate inputs from owners of both the older and newer MBAs.
  2. silverjam, Jul 8, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012

    silverjam macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2012
    I have a 2010 and a 2011 (i5).

    The only benefit I can see is the 2010 GPU is not an Intel HD GPU (which is in the 2011 and I don't really like). But the 2011 clearly has a better processor that accounts for that. The RAM speed is also faster.

    More importantly the 2010 has a write speed (through a Linux Boot CD test) of about 192 Mb/s (NVIDIA Controller) while the 2011 has 237Mb/s (Intel Controller) and they are both 3 Gbit link speeds. The 2012 is Sata III 6GBit so the 2010 even though it is SSD is slower than both. You can also put an OWC Sata III full 6Gbit speed drive in a 2011, but not a 2010. See

    Also I can watch HD graphics from my Panasonic Home Video 1080P HD Cam on the 2011, but not on the 2010. Both have 4GB Ram.

    Most importantly, the 2010 doesn't have Thunderbolt and the 2011/12 does.

    Heat on 2010 v 2011? No difference. I run SMC fan control on both and both have same temp side by side.

    Power consumption? Can't pick any difference. I get excellent usage out of both 2010 and 2011 and are rarely bought short with either MBA.

    Fan noise? No difference. Both make minimal fan noise unless you push the processor. I think the 2010 may even use more fan (technically) as its heat sink covers both the CPU and GPU, while the heat sink on the 2011 only covers the CPU.

    Routine apps? You're right. There is zero difference in average running, although you get a slightly faster speed on the SSD in the 2011 model.

    The 2010 has an eject button (next to power) for the super drive if you are into ejecting CD's on a regular basis. Also the 2010 model allows iLife to load iDVD, while you can't on the 2011/12 (unless you buy it as a separate CD - not app). Also 2010 you update via a USB, while the 2011/12 you need the internet to DL the OS which can take hours if you are in a hurry.

    I am really pushing to find any advantage in the 2010. They are sooooooooo minimal, and in many respects can be disadvantages to many users depending on how you use the MBA.

    Having said alllllll that. I note my experience is mine and that users on the forum outline posts of high fans noise, temps, heat etc etc etc across the MBA range. The law of averages and spec sheets still say the 2011/12 is better than the 2010 in almost all respects.
  3. Jobsian macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009
    Just to chime in, Anandtech demonstrated the 2010 models consistently have better battery than 2011 models. I've yet to see the 2012 battery rigorously benchmarked against the 2010's.
  4. Jobsian macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009
    Also, a large no. of anecdotes of 2011 model owners said they ran noticeably hotter than 2010. A mixed bag for 2012 reports so far. My own is that the 2012 i7 is warmer than the 2010 1.6C2D, but mainly under load and because it's a faster processor, it's not having to work as hard/rev up the fan etc as often as my C2D for everyday stuff like youtube hd.
  5. Greg M macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2008
    2011 over the 2010
    noticeably faster
    lighted keyboard

    2012 over the 2011
    can get up to 8gb ram
    USB 3.0

    Forget the 2010 unless you can't afford a new MBA. I was going to move from a 2011 MBA to the 2012 just to get USB 3.0. I ended up getting the Retina instead.
  6. jksu macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2009
    every day use: toss up

    video: 2011/2012

    battery: 2011/2012

    heat/noise: 2010

    so other than heat/noise which is anecdotal the 2011/2012 wins -- i had a 2012 11" i7/8/256 for a few days and immediately noticed the greater heat and fan coming on compared to my 2010 11" c2d. which makes sense -- they have all the latest high powered, yet energy saving technology.

    you'd be hard pressed to argue a 2010 is "better." and thus if i didn't have a laptop and was in the market for one i'd most certainly buy a 2012.

    but if you already have a 2010, there's a whole thread, (which i started ;-)) about how if your daily needs are modest, the 2010 is perfectly fine laptop to stick with.
  7. kyjaotkb macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2009
    London, UK
    If you are into 3D gaming, I believe the 2010 with nVidia 320M GPU has a slight advantage over the 2011. Probably not over the 2012 though.
  8. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    2010 >> 2012:
    - Longer battery life
    - Lower heat
    - Lighter weight (due to weight of keyboard LEDs in 2012)

    2010 > 2011
    - As above, +
    - Better graphics

    My 2010 13-UMBA sometimes gets over 18 hours battery life depending on usage... (see screen shot below, upper right hand corner)

    Attached Files:

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