New MBAs: worse battery & graphics, more weight

solmaker

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 23, 2007
89
14
Battery: Apple advertises same battery life as before (5 hour for 11" MBA and 7 for 13"), but according to Laptop magazine testing the 11" lost half an hour of life (5:13 to 4:46) while the 13" lost 10 minutes (6:36 to 6:25). Also CoolBook app (which can add an extra hour) doesn't work for the 2011 models. See:
http://www.laptopmag.com/review/lap...x?mode=benchmarks&cids=2392,2844,1461,2393,pa

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 3000; 'nuff said.

Weight: Not a big deal, but 0.08 pound was added to the 11" and 0.06 pound to the 13".

Of course, the new MBAs have some big advantages in terms of CPU, backlit keyboard, and Thunderbolt support for the cool new Apple Display dock. But the battery and graphic hits are bad news, which will hopefully be helped when the Ivy Bridge chips arrive.
 
Last edited:

cleric

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2008
533
0
Memory: Integrated graphics takes between 256MB and 384MB of shared memory on the 2011 MBAs (which hits the 2GB base model particularly hard).
I don't think you will get the 384mb of ram if you only have a 2gb, but I don't know this to be fact.
 

Davidkoh

macrumors 65816
Aug 2, 2008
1,059
18
Battery: Apple advertises same battery life as before (5 hour for 11" MBA and 7 for 13"), but according to Laptop magazine testing the 11" lost half an hour of life (5:13 to 4:46) while the 13" lost 10 minutes (6:36 to 6:25). Also CoolBook app (which can add an extra hour) doesn't work for the 2011 models. See:
http://www.laptopmag.com/review/lap...x?mode=benchmarks&cids=2392,2844,1461,2393,pa

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 3000; 'nuff said.

Memory: Integrated graphics takes between 256MB and 384MB of shared memory on the 2011 MBAs (which hits the 2GB base model particularly hard).

Weight: Not a big deal, but 0.08 pound was added to the 11" and 0.06 pound to the 13".

Of course, the new MBAs have some big advantages in terms of CPU, backlit keyboard, and Thunderbolt support for the cool new Apple Display dock. But the battery and graphic hits are bad news, which will hopefully be helped when the Ivy Bridge chips arrive.
Going by the same test as you linked the graphics performance in WoW gave higher FPS on the 2011 model. I don't think this will be the case when we get more review out testing different conditions and so on. But it shows the problem with basing your opinions on a single review.
 

Maziar

macrumors 6502
May 22, 2010
383
4
First of all,let's wait for more reviews.The MBA's that Laptopmag reviewed maybe test systems,also do you really consider 10 minute loss noticeable ?
As for GPU,well it's the same case as MBP 13".Also I don't see the point of gaming on MBA because both HD 300M/GT 320M are low-end cards and not suited for gaming.
Aside from these,all other upgrades are positive IMO.The new MBA's are much faster(In both CPU and SSD),have thunderbolt and backlit keyboard as well
 

Patriot24

macrumors 68030
Dec 29, 2010
2,811
793
California
If 10 minutes is all they lost in the 13", then I'd say that is great.

You added a backlit keyboard, new OS, new processors (not sure if they are more hungry than C2D at this point) and Thunderbolt without adding any additional space for batteries.

I'd be willing to be that you could make up a decent portion of the time "lost" if you shut off the backlit keys permanently. Everyone wanted the feature, and now they are complaining about battery life. Amazing.
 

solmaker

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 23, 2007
89
14
in the 2010 MBA the 320m also used 256MB from your RAM. Nothing has changed...
You're right; my mistake. The original post and thread title have been changed accordingly.
 
Last edited:

Jobsian

macrumors 6502a
Jul 30, 2009
828
13
Battery: Apple advertises same battery life as before (5 hour for 11" MBA and 7 for 13"), but according to Laptop magazine testing the 11" lost half an hour of life (5:13 to 4:46) while the 13" lost 10 minutes (6:36 to 6:25). Also CoolBook app (which can add an extra hour) doesn't work for the 2011 models. See:
http://www.laptopmag.com/review/lap...x?mode=benchmarks&cids=2392,2844,1461,2393,pa

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 3000; 'nuff said.

Memory: Integrated graphics takes between 256MB and 384MB of shared memory on the 2011 MBAs (which hits the 2GB base model particularly hard).

Weight: Not a big deal, but 0.08 pound was added to the 11" and 0.06 pound to the 13".

Of course, the new MBAs have some big advantages in terms of CPU, backlit keyboard, and Thunderbolt support for the cool new Apple Display dock. But the battery and graphic hits are bad news, which will hopefully be helped when the Ivy Bridge chips arrive.
How dare you criticise it with empirical fact. How dare you. A shower of negative votes awaits.
 

ender21

macrumors 6502
Jul 15, 2010
291
33
Southern Cal
I'd be willing to be that you could make up a decent portion of the time "lost" if you shut off the backlit keys permanently. Everyone wanted the feature, and now they are complaining about battery life. Amazing.
Are they the same people?

I'd be surprised if the testing laptopmag did utilized the backlit keyboard for any extended portion of the test. Isn't it automated to just start and then let it run? If so, I would think that would mean most, if not all, of the benchmarking was with backlit keyboard off.
 

Patriot24

macrumors 68030
Dec 29, 2010
2,811
793
California
Are they the same people?

I'd be surprised if the testing laptopmag did utilized the backlit keyboard for any extended portion of the test. Isn't it automated to just start and then let it run? If so, I would think that would mean most, if not all, of the benchmarking was with backlit keyboard off.
I guess it depends if the BLK is on by default or not. My assumption would be that it is on by default (why not show off all the features)?

Either way, 10 minutes is probably a drop in the bucket compared to battery life in any other laptops that people have used before acquiring and Air (with the exception of the 2010 Air obviously). Most consumers will be elated with the life they can get.
 

ender21

macrumors 6502
Jul 15, 2010
291
33
Southern Cal
I guess it depends if the BLK is on by default or not. My assumption would be that it is on by default (why not show off all the features)?

Either way, 10 minutes is probably a drop in the bucket compared to battery life in any other laptops that people have used before acquiring and Air (with the exception of the 2010 Air obviously). Most consumers will be elated with the life they can get.
When you say on by default, that means if I just let the MBA sit and idle, the keyboard backlight is on nonstop?

I agree about 10 minutes. That seems well within the margin of error for most any notebook battery test.I could go home and test my MBA 2010 five times doing as near-to-identical tasks as possible and would get 5 different results, with likely >10 minutes of variance.
 

solmaker

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 23, 2007
89
14
Twice the processing power and they lost 10 mins...sign me up.
How do you feel about losing 1 hour and 10 minutes (with CoolBook)? In any case, I agree the 13" drop is within the margin of error, but MBA 11" battery life could have used improvement, so to have that drop 30 minutes is unfortunate.
 

Spankey

macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2007
757
237
NJ
The difference is also on different hardware on an OS that has been optimized for more than a year through OS and driver updates.
 

manueld

macrumors 6502
Jun 8, 2009
254
0
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 3000; 'nuff said.

All the benchmarks were taken from www.notebookcheck.net.
The results are quite reliable, I have used this source for years.

According to benchmarks, HD3000 is BETTER than 320M !

Also, remember that 320M has 256MB of shared memory,
while HD3000 has 384MB - 1.5x more memory for game textures!

But it is worse than 330M GT, if don't count the Cinebench.

Hope this information will help you to make a right choice.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1102927
 

h00ligan

macrumors 68030
Apr 10, 2003
2,914
86
A hot desert
How do you feel about losing 1 hour and 10 minutes (with CoolBook)? In any case, I agree the 13" drop is within the margin of error, but MBA 11" battery life could have used improvement, so to have that drop 30 minutes is unfortunate.

Doesn't bother me in the least. I would rather have a machine that can scrape by the photoshop stuff I need than give me 15% more battery. Ymmv. And that 15% more battery is with undervolting too...there could easily be a solution shortly for the new machines.
 

calvol

macrumors 6502a
Feb 3, 2011
991
2
Battery life drop with 2011 MBA will be even worse than -10mins with any graphic intense apps as TurboBoost will be engaged longer to make up for weaker IGP.
 

Kendo

macrumors 68020
Apr 4, 2011
2,161
625
I'm pretty sure the addition of the backlit keyboard as well as the electrical hardware and light bulbs to produce the lights is the reason for the .08 pound increase.

And I'd imagine the addition of those very lights (along with the significantly more powerful CPU) is attributed to the 15 minute loss in battery life.

Very fair trade off considering what we got in the update no?
 

revelated

macrumors 6502a
Jun 30, 2010
993
1
I'm pretty sure the addition of the backlit keyboard as well as the electrical hardware and light bulbs to produce the lights is the reason for the .08 pound increase.

And I'd imagine the addition of those very lights (along with the significantly more powerful CPU) is attributed to the 15 minute loss in battery life.

Very fair trade off considering what we got in the update no?
The problem is people don't understand. They want "...the world chico...and everything in it." and don't seem to grasp how simple this really is. I blame Apple in part for perpetuating this mythological phenom.

  • They want massive battery life. Apple tells them "up to 8 hours". They get 4 because they're using it more heavily than Apple's theoretical maximum which IS POSSIBLE, just unrealistic. Blame Apple for piss poor marketing and users for being idiots and not realistic.
  • They want a backlight keyboard. Apple gives them the keyboard. Then people complain about the battery impact, as if the light is coming from pixies in the keyboard and thus should not impact the battery.
  • They want a super slim machine. Apple releases the 2010 model. People complain that the backlight is gone and can't understand why it's gone, but tons of people say "ehh...backlight annoyed me anyway", as if they were incapable of just TURNING IT OFF.
  • They wanted a trackpad similar to the one in the Pro. Apple gave basically the same trackpad. People complained about how "mushy" it was compared to the Pro, same as with the keyboard. Even though it should be obvious to be a blindfolded stuck in the basement asleep Stevie Wonder why this is - given the existing chicklet keys' travel is about a third the total thickness.
  • They want an nVidia card. Apple gave them one. Problem is, people don't really know why they want that card; they look at the brand name and assume that it must be superior to the Intel card. In some ways it is. The issue is that for 90% of the use cases out there, the Intel is more than suffcient.

Now, here we are in 2011.

People are complaining AGAIN about the battery impact of the backlight keyboard. The backlight will consume power. It is not run from pixie ass. If this bothers you, TURN IT OFF.

People are complaining AGAIN about the graphics card. Stop being brand hookers. The Intel card is fine for the majority of regular users. If you are a power user, you need to go to another machine.

People are complaining AGAIN about the reported battery life. The battery life reported is an ESTIMATE. It is not to be held to with any real confidence. It depends on how you use the frickin machine.

People are complaining AGAIN about the weight of the machine. It's not the same processor. It's not the same board. They added the backlight. Yes, it will weigh a slight bit more. This should NOT be a dealbreaker.
 

ender21

macrumors 6502
Jul 15, 2010
291
33
Southern Cal
The problem is people don't understand. They want "...the world chico...and everything in it." and don't seem to grasp how simple this really is.

<snip>

Now, here we are in 2011.
And yet its voicing ones opinions that likely affects the greatest amount of change versus keeping ones mouth shut.
 

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