Apple MacBook Air 2010 Review: Performance, Benchmarks and Gaming (cont.)

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

The flash-based storage found inside of the MacBook Air was given a substantial amount of talktime at Apple’s press event. While the marketing team in Cupertino would like the world to believe that Apple has done something incredible, using the “same flash memory” found inside of the highly-successful iPad, it’s really just an SSD designed like a stick of RAM.

At least it’s fast, which is why the MacBook Air has such speedy suspend and wake states. While the OS X install responds in just about 2 seconds upon opening the lid, a similar Windows 7 installation varied from between 3 and 5 seconds.

CrystalDiskMark disk benchmark results:

Apple MacBook Air 2010


One of the more exciting aspects to the MacBook Air, even the lower-powered 11.6-inch version, is the fact that it stands to be a pretty capable little gaming notebook (for its class). While gamers shouldn’t expect the same results as those given by the previously mentioned Alienware M11x, the Air can handle itself in a pinch.

Apple MacBook Air 2010

Both Left 4 Dead 2 and Call of Duty: World at War were run at the Air’s native 1366×768 resolution, with AA and AF turned off and settings at medium and normal, respectively.

Apple MacBook Air 2010

While the Air should also have no trouble playing local HD content (specifically, in a GPU-accelerated player), it will stutter a bit on the various online options.  YouTube content played back smoothly at 720p and even at 1080p there weren’t any slowdowns (thanks to the NVIDIA GPU) but it was clearly not as smooth.

For those Apple diehards who only care about how the 11-inch MacBook Air compares to other Macs, we’ve included the XBench results below.

XBench 1.3 summary results (higher scores mean better performance):

Model Overall Score
MacBook Pro 13-inch 2009 (2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) 135.52
MacBook 2008 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) 126.23
MacBook Air 11-inch 2010 (1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) 118.94
MacBook Pro (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) 106.05
MacBook (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) 95.89
MacBook Air 2008 (1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) 50.76




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