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First benchmarks: MacBook Air is the slowest Apple machine on the block

Ryan Block, @ryan
01.24.08
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No one should be surprised, but if you were looking for a speed freak of a laptop, you're going to want to glaze those lustful eyes over the MacBook Air. While the new hotness has a speedy memory bus, overall its performance is dramatically smushed by its integrated graphics, anemic 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo processor, and 1.8-inch hard drive. Yes, you can officially call the MacBook Air the slowest machine Apple makes -- but you already figured as much, right? No one buys an ultraportable for its real ultimate power.



  • All machines tested with Xbench 1.3. Sorry, we didn't have a Mac Pro around.
  • All machines tested were using Leopard (except the MBP in the center). Also, MacBook uses 1GB RAM.
  • You can check the bold Xbench scores to compare the cumulative results for each test.

Air (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo) MBP (2.16GHz Core Duo) MBP (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo, Tiger) MacBook (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo) iMac (2.4GHz Core 2 Duo)
CPU 79.98 90.06 112.93 126.66 138.58
GCD Loop 9.67 Mops/s 14.89 Mops/s 13.17 Mops/s 13.43 Mops/s 14.91 Mops/s
Floating Point Basic 2.03 Gflop/s 2.34 Gflop/s 2.96 Gflop/s 2.95 Gflop/s 3.23 Gflop/s
vecLib FFT 1.71 Gflop/s 1.68 Gflop/s 2.98 Gflop/s 3.36 Gflop/s 3.66 Gflop/s
Floating Point Library 12.82 Mops/s 15.78 Mops/s 14.15 Mops/s 17.80 Mops/s 19.43 Mops/s
Thread Test 148.81 185.75 219.18 186.4 208.77
Computation 2.77 Mops/s 3.36 Mops/s 4.04 Mops/s 3.58 Mops/s 3.56 Mops/s
Lock Contention 7.04 Mlocks/s 9.07 Mlocks/s 10.47 Mlocks/s 8.48 Mlocks/s 11.06 Mlocks/s
Air (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo)MBP (2.16GHz Core Duo)MBP (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo, Tiger)MacBook (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo)iMac (2.4GHz)
Memory Test 140.42 129.56 137.1 150.23 150.82
System 143.51 139.25 126.92 158.95 151.56
Allocate 718.86 Kalloc/s 731.25 Kalloc/s 401.22 Kalloc/s 856.78 Kalloc/s 657.80 Kalloc/s
Fill 5770.30 MB/s 5565.31 MB/s 6490.47 MB/s 6480.99 MB/s 6606.88 MB/s
Copy 2802.78 MB/s 2652.96 MB/s 2954.03 MB/s 2914.92 MB/s 3014.12 MB/s
Stream 137.46 121.14 149.05 142.41 150.08
Copy 2621.64 MB/s 2400.99 MB/s 2923.94 MB/s 2799.64 MB/s 2926.68 MB/s
Scale 2602.03 MB/s 2412.90 MB/s 2918.16 MB/s 2797.66 MB/s 3022.24 MB/s
Add 3230.58 MB/s 2703.93 MB/s 3359.19 MB/s 3196.17 MB/s 3364.41 MB/s
Triad 3199.37 MB/s 2681.42 MB/s 3368.41 MB/s 3211.97 MB/s 3328.48 MB/s
Air (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo)MBP (2.16GHz Core Duo)MBP (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo, Tiger)MacBook (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo)iMac (2.4GHz)
Quartz Graphics Test 96.89 144.23 141.5 154.32 193.4
Line 6.94 Klines/s 8.84 Klines/s 9.23 Klines/s 9.69 Klines/s 11.64 Klines/s
Rectangle 32.23 Krects/s 49.67 Krects/s 51.59 Krects/s 51.66 Krects/s 70.02 Krects/s
Circle 7.22 Kcircles/s 11.31 Kcircles/s 13.30 Kcircles/s 11.54 Kcircles/s 15.29 Kcircles/s
Bezier 2.49 Kbeziers/s 3.58 Kbeziers/s 3.71 Kbeziers/s 3.79 Kbeziers/s 4.51 Kbeziers/s
Text 5.53 Kchars/s 9.12 Kchars/s 6.65 Kchars/s 10.39 Kchars/s 12.66 Kchars/s
OpenGL Graphics Test 17.26 175.06 129.88 23.36 152.66
Spinning Squares 21.89 frames/s 222.08 frames/s 164.76 frames/s 29.64 frames/s 193.65 frames/s
User Interface Test 105.81 217.79 303.98 244.28 335.18
Elements 485.60 refresh/s 999.54 refresh/s 1.40 Krefresh/s 1.12 Krefresh/s 1.54 Krefresh/s
Air (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo)MBP (2.16GHz Core Duo)MBP (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo, Tiger)MacBook (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo)iMac (2.4GHz)
Disk Test 24.05 27.59 38.13 39.64 80.72
Sequential 42.21 49.22 59.81 66.07 115.15
Uncached Write 30.96 MB/s [4K blocks] 31.32 MB/s [4K blocks] 42.60 MB/s [4K blocks] 53.34 MB/s [4K blocks] 72.17 MB/s [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 31.19 MB/s [256K blocks] 28.37 MB/s [256K blocks] 39.19 MB/s [256K blocks] 47.63 MB/s [256K blocks] 66.51 MB/s [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 7.27 MB/s [4K blocks] 12.11 MB/s [4K blocks] 11.59 MB/s [4K blocks] 10.83 MB/s [4K blocks] 27.81 MB/s [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 30.42 MB/s [256K blocks] 28.65 MB/s [256K blocks] 39.37 MB/s [256K blocks] 49.62 MB/s [256K blocks] 69.83 MB/s [256K blocks]
Random 16.81 19.16 27.99 28.31 62.13
Uncached Write 0.57 MB/s [4K blocks] 0.65 MB/s [4K blocks] 1.08 MB/s [4K blocks] 1.03 MB/s [4K blocks] 2.67 MB/s [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 18.35 MB/s [256K blocks] 17.49 MB/s [256K blocks] 19.24 MB/s [256K blocks] 22.73 MB/s [256K blocks] 48.45 MB/s [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 0.35 MB/s [4K blocks] 0.46 MB/s [4K blocks] 0.41 MB/s [4K blocks] 0.48 MB/s [4K blocks] 0.63 MB/s [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 13.28 MB/s [256K blocks] 15.08 MB/s [256K blocks] 16.33 MB/s [256K blocks] 19.31 MB/s [256K blocks] 27.08 MB/s [256K blocks]

In this article: apple, benchmarks, macbook air, MacbookAir
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