Apple updated its lineup of 2014 MacBook Air 11-inch and 13-inch models on Tuesday, with a corresponding price drop, too.
Reports gathered show that the company modified its earlier Intel 1.3GHz Core i5 Haswell processors to 1.4GHz. Besides a slightly faster processor, other specifications are unchanged, such as Intel HD 5000 integrated graphics, 4GB DDR3 memory and 128GB or 256GB of PCIe-connected flash storage capacity.
SSDs supplier for the Airs appears to have been changed though, research says. Apple didn't reveal the precise manufacturer or model of the PCI Express SSDs that it uses. Most often, it sources components from various manufacturers.
Meanwhile, the price drop for new Air models were said to be at $100 in the US, though it only translated to Rs. 2,000 in India. The prices for MacBook Air 11 are $899 for 128GB flash storage and $1099 for 256GB flash storage. MacBook Air 13 prices are at $999 for 128G flash storage and $1199 for 256GB flash storage.
To compare the performance of the newly updated 2014 Air from the mid-2013 Air model, Speedmark 9, is a system performance benchmark suite, was conducted by Macworld on the new Air 11 model with 128GB and Air 13 with 256GB. Speed difference between the storage subsystems and the CPUs were studied.
Performance results illustrate that the new laptops were, indeed, two to five percent faster than the mid-2013 models in various application tests that involve Cinebench CPU, iTunes, Aperture, Photoshop, Handbrake and PCMark 8 running in Parallels.
Though in terms of storage performance, the 2014 model appeared slower than mid-2013 model. It took them 28 seconds to copy 6GB of data with the old 11-inch Air, while the new 11-inch Air's SSDs took twice or 54 seconds to perform the same function.
As for compression and decompression of files, the tests show that the recent Air models were slower by up to three times. Further tests on the storage subsystem show considerable reductions in the read-and-write speeds.
The Apple Insider website also made its own Geekbench stress test accessible at Geekbench Browser at Primate Labs, showing that the changes were "relatively small but still measurable gains" for the latest Air models. The mid-2013 models scored 2,461 in single-core test and 4,615 multi-core test as opposed to 2014 models of 2,532 in single core and 4,781 multi-core.
The 2013 and 2014 models of MacBook Air are reportedly very similar because both of them depend on chips that utilize the Haswell architecture of Intel. Its next-generation processors called Broadwell are set to arrive early this year, but computers with Broadwell chips may not come in yet till early next year.
Reports say Apple is on the process of working on a more considerable update to be released later in 2014, speculated to feature a new MacBook Air model with a thinner body, a 12-inch screen size and a high-resolution Retina display.