Apple MacBook Air 2010 Review: Performance, Benchmarks and Gaming

October 28, 2010 by J.R. Nelson Reads (114,398)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 10
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 3
    • Usability
    • 9
    • Design
    • 10
    • Performance
    • 6
    • Features
    • 8
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 7.57
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Performance, benchmarks and gaming
One of the big criticisms of the current MacBook Air platform is that it uses Core 2 Duo chips at its core. Taking a step back, however, it appears to be a pretty reasonable decision. Until Intel’s Sandy Bridge platform rolls around (presumably), the integrated graphics offered by the chipmaker are…less than stellar.

Unfortunately, the thermal envelope of the MacBook Air is unable to support both integrated and discrete graphics – a necessity if Apple had chosen something like the Core i3-330UM. Using the NVIDIA MCP89 chipset and associated GeForce 320M graphics, (a custom part for Apple based on the more powerful GeForce 335M found in laptops like the M11x) Apple is able to get respectable graphics performance and adequate battery life while maintaining the MBA’s profile.

Even though the Core 2 Duo SU9400 is only clocked at 1.4GHz, it remains a surprisingly robust platform capable of handling some complex tasks.

wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):

Apple MacBook Air 2010

PCMark05 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):

Apple MacBook Air 2010

PCMark Vantage measures overall system performance (high scores mean better performance):

Apple MacBook Air 2010

3DMark06 measures overall graphics performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):

Apple MacBook Air 2010


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