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MacBook Air reviewed... as a Windows machine

Nilay Patel

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There are a lot of reasons to pick another laptop over the MacBook Air -- especially if you're into little things like "useful ports" -- but the comparison to non-Apple hardware isn't even relevant unless you're willing to switch to OS X, right? Well, the crew over at Xbit Labs decided to even the slate and evaluate the MBA solely as a Windows machine, wiping the drive clean of Leopard and installing Vista Ultimate. Although actually getting Vista on the Air was a bit troublesome due to the lack of a built-in optical drive and the Vista installer's refusal to wipe out the OS X partition, once installed the OS performed fine, with Apple-provided drivers activating the media and brightness keys and even the multi-touch trackpad. The only major issues were over-aggressive activation of CPU power-management, which resulted in dramatic slowdowns during some tasks, and the fact that the case got fairly warm during use -- both issues MBA owners using OS X have reported. Overall, while the MBA was a solid if unspectacular Windows machine, the lack of support and nagging issues with running a pure Windows MBA mean you're probably better off going with laptop designed for Vista -- hmm, we can think of one that might spark your interest.

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