Sandy Bridge chip, Backlit Keyboard, Thunderbolt Port (and that's it!)

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by WardC, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. WardC macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    Okay, so...

    Comparing my 2.13GHz / 4GB RAM / 256GB SSD 13.3'" 2010 MacBook Air to the new models I basically noticed that the only differences you would be trading up to with a new model are:

    1. A beefier processor (i5 or i7 Sandy Bridge)

    2. Thunderbolt Port

    3. Backlit Keyboard

    ...and that's it!

    You would be getting a laptop that is clocked lower (but a faster processor), with not-as-good integrated video card sharing memory from your RAM. You would get a Thunderbolt Port (if it matters) and a Backlit Keyboard (*which this is the deal breaker from some people). Some people gotta have the backlit keyboard, haha. Trying to decide if it's really worth doesn't seem that way very much to me right now since I use a Mac Pro for my heavy stuff (i.e. I would never work on heavy video editing or do my 16MP photo work on the MacBook Air).

    Do these three upgrades really make a lot of sense?
  2. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    Except for many of us, this stuff is a big deal. It's also a no-brainer if you don't do heavy gaming (or any at all) or if this is your first Air.
  3. Kendo, Jul 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011

    Kendo macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2011
    I know you said "the only differences are" but those differences are actually quite significant.

    1) Core 2 Duo to Sandy Bridge isn't one leap in generation, but two since Core 2 Duo was an old architecture to begin with. That might as well be a lifetime in computer years. The lower clock speed has no bearing on performance. A 2.0GHZ Core i7 processor in the MacBook Pro performs roughly the same as the 3.4GHZ Core i7 in the 27" iMac. Sandy Bridge ABSOLUTELY spanks the Core 2 Duo with no regard for human life.

    2) Did you see the new Apple Cinema Display? That is what Thunderbolt is capable of. One cable that handles video, audio, USB 2.0, Firewire 800, and Ethernet all in one port.

    3) Backlit keyboard isn't as important to me.

    For what it's worth, if you already have a 2010 Ultimate, I don't think it is worth the upgrade. But if you are a new buyer, I don't think anyone in their right mind would get a cheaper refurb of last year's MacBook Air. And that is saying a lot because refurbs are so popular on these forums as soon as a new refresh comes out.
  4. WardC thread starter macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    Yes, the processor jump is significant, it basically doubles the processor capacity of the machine.

    And, no, I haven't seen all the capabilities of the new Cinema Display. From what I understood, it comes with a Thunderbolt port for additional daisy-chaining. Is has ethernet too?
  5. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    C2D was already outdated when the Air came out.
    Last gen didn't offer any high speed port.
    Another feature that should've been there last gen.
    I think what makes less sense is that the Air came out when it did. All these features were close enough to be available that Apple should've waited so I view this as Apple merely giving us the system they should've in the first place.
  6. Chilulu macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2011
    Tokyo, Japan
    I am "upgrading" from a 2010 13-inch MBP, and to me, it's worth it.

    1. Added portability
    2. Sufficient increase in spec for my needs (the new CPU/arch is more important than graphics to me)
    3. New OS preinstalled alongside the new hardware
    4. Thunderbolt (futureproofing - it's not just whether you need it now or not)
    5. Increased SSD storage (256GB vs 160GB aftermarket in my MBP)

    Just because it doesn't make "sense" to you, that doesn't mean others don't have valid reasons for buying or upgrading to one.
  7. Kendo macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2011

    The previous Cinema Display had a cord for Mini Display Port, USB, and MagSafe. When connected to the MacBook Pro, the back of the Cinema Display had 3 additional USB ports for external devices.

    The new Cinema Display has a cord only for Thunderbolt and MagSafe. Do you know why it no longer has a USB cord? Because that is built into the Thunderbolt port. Taking it a step further, do you know what ports are in the back of the new display? In addition to the USB ports, it also includes FireWire 800 and an Ethernet Cable. Can you guess where those ports will get their information from? Thunderbolt.

    So if I connect a FireWire 800 device to the display and have a Ethernet cable connected to it, it will feed into the MacBook Air solely through the Thunderbolt cord, all the while connecting the video and audio onto the MacBook Air. That one port spreads out to a half dozen other ports. So if I want a wired Ethernet connection on my Macbook Air, I don't need an adapter. I just plug the Ethernet cord into the back of the display and the Ethernet runs into the MacBook Air via Thunderbolt.
  8. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    Stop trying to talk yourself out of upgrading....just do it...
  9. PeterKG macrumors 6502

    May 2, 2003
    I don't plan on upgrading my 11" Ultimate this time around. It is plenty fast running Lion. I'll wait for the next refresh. I mean look what they left out of this version, a HD FaceTime camera! Give us one good explanation for that? Then they cheapen the value of the 2010 models by dropping price in the refurb store.
  10. xkmxkmxlmx macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2011
    ...for the same price?

    Is there something I am not getting here? You're looking at it as some type of mac nerd who has to upgrade with each refresh. And although your inane post of "all it has" has been debunked so hard already, it still perplexes me that you can't see that there are MANY, MANY people that this is worth to, especially to ones that don't already have an Air from last year.

    Quit sounding like a spoiled child that has to **** on everyone else's parade rather than be happy for them.

    This is a refresh. It isn't a redesign.
  11. jbolt macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2011
    Slightly better RAM. Don't forget the RAM went from 1066MHz DDR3 to 1333MHz DDR3.
  12. Maven1975 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    Thunderbolt for an eGPU and 256 SSD in the 11" is awesome. Also the same spec i7 as the 13" is cool.
  13. ksz macrumors 68000

    Oct 28, 2003
    San Jose, CA
    Don't forget Bluetooth 4.0. Significant or not, it is another difference.
  14. still in school macrumors 6502

    Feb 21, 2009
    If you're going to think like that, then your 2010 mba merely has any changes from the previous gen.:rolleyes:
  15. KillerTree macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2008
  16. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    You wrote the same thing in another thread and then admitted that you're envious. Look, you don't have to upgrade if you don't want to. No one here is going to be upset about it so you don't need to keep justifying it to us. ;) :cool:
  17. leftywamumonkey macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2010
    Speaking of faster SSD.
    What are the r/w speeds of the new SSD?
  18. Patriot24 macrumors 68030


    Dec 29, 2010
    Not everyone has to worry about upgrading. For those of us that don't already have an Air, the point is likely moot. I was going to buy either way. I'm thankful for any upgrades over the 2010 model.

    Most typical consumers will think in a similar manner or pay little attention to specs in the first place.

    While the "upgrade every year" mentality may be the norm on this community, it does not hold true for the majority of customers.
  19. revelated macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2010
    Maybe because nobody really uses it? I mean there are people who do their occasional video chats but I would submit that these people are the exception rather than the rule. I, for one, would much rather just pick up the phone. Don't really need to see the person. If it's for business purposes the MacBook Pro's camera, or the iMac's camera, are sufficient.

    That's nothing new. The 2010 is already outdated by this refresh. And in any case I wholeheartedly agree with one thing that was said. This refresh is basically what the previous gen should have been, bar none. And I'm typing this on a 2010 11" Air that I have every intention of selling for around $500 rather than the $700 I was initially asking.
  20. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    Some people are never satisfied. The only one of those upgrades that is small is the backlit keyboard, but some people really wanted that.
  21. trondah macrumors 6502

    Dec 1, 2008
    You forgot about 4GB of RAM and the "internet recovery" feature (boot and install Lion from internet). No matter how you look at it, this is an awesome update. Those who think otherwise are mostly 2010 MBA owners for some reason.
  22. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Not every update can be revolutionary. What did you expect? It was widely expected that this will just be a speed bump - no redesign, no magics. IMO it's ridiculous to upgrade a less than one-year-old computer anyway, unless the new one offers something you really need.

    According to the early screenshots, the SSDs appear to be exactly the same.
  23. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

    Aug 2, 2008
    Why would it be?
  24. kappaknight macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2009
    Because in the end, these are just tools. There's nothing you can do on a 2011 that you can't do on a 2010.
  25. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

    Aug 2, 2008
    And? If you want the new one why not get it? It's not as the cost is of any significance when selling your old one and updating. I rather get more satisfied with my computer then have a few hundred extra in the bank, money isn't everything in the world.

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