First MacBook Air Benchmarks

Click to viewObviously, the Air is not about speed, and from the chips, we can tell its among the slowest macs you can buy right now. But we ran some real world benchmarks on the MacBook Air against an aging MacBook and MacBook Pro to see how it held up comparatively. Predictably, the MacBook Pro outperformed its counterparts in the majority of our tests. But the MacBook Air (1.6 GHz Intel, 2 GB RAM) went toe-to-toe with the MacBook (2 GHz Intel, 1 GB RAM) in many of our tests, falling just short in most. And it even bested the MacBook and MacBook Pro in one test. Synthetic benches after the jump for you robots.

We know the MacBook and MacBook Air traded off on processor speed and memory, which is why we also threw the MacBook Pro in the mix. And we know that the MacBook and MacBook Pro aren't the fastest models available. But the computers used, as well as the tests, are ones that will be more applicable to the average Mac user.

We ran 4 different tests to measure the speed differences between the computers. MP3 encoding, video conversion, transferring a .Zip file from a thumbdrive to computer, and file duplication test on the thumbdrive. No other applications were running during the test and the computer was set up for better performance.

First MacBook Air Benchmarks

A few notes on testing...

The Computers:

• The MacBook Air has a 1.6 GHz custom Intel processor, 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 RAM, and an 80 GB, 1.8", 4200 RPM HDD.

• The MacBook (a generation old) has a 2 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, 1 GB 667 MHz DDR2 RAM, and a 120 GB, 2.5", 5400 HDD.

• The MacBook Pro (also a generation old) has a 2.2 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, 2GB 667 MHz DDR2 RAM, and a custom 160 GB, 2.5", 5400 RPM, Seagate Momentus HDD.

The Tests:

• For the MP3 Encoding, we used iTunes and Seu Jorge's album Cru, which is 46 minutes long. We set up custom import settings, which were 192 kbps VBR, set at high quality.

• The Video Conversion test was done using a trailer for 300 that was 1:46 in length and 73 MB (.mov). We converted using the export option in Quicktime 7.4 that used the iPhone export preset.

• The Thumbdrive to MacBook file transfer test was done using an 803 MB .zip file and a 2GB Lexar Lightning Thumbdrive (30 MB/s read, 21 MB/s write).

• The File Duplication test was done on the Lexar thumbdrive using the same zip file used in the previous test.

And if you're curious, here are the Xbench results for the MacBook Air. I'll let you do the honor of comparing it to your own computer.