The peppy Air has come a long way from its birthday, when it crawled out of the Apple womb scrawny and anemic. Now it's got serious processing muscle—but not enough to edit insanely high-res video, right? Wrong!
Now, to be fair, this particular MBA is cheating—sort of. The rig is using an external graphics card hooked up via Thunderbolt, imbuing the Air with superpowers that can't yet be crammed into its thin chassis. It chews through uncompressed 4k video that would make a normal MBA crawl on its knees.
This is really, really cool. Now of course, tethering your superskinny laptop to a bulky external graphics drive negates the point of having said superskinny laptop to begin with. But for times when you're going to be parked at a desk for some time—say, for a gaming or video editing marathon, who cares? Put it behind your display and forget about it. The ability to stick a Thunderbolt syringe into your Air whenever you want is like having a second computer entirely.
The setup above is running on Windows—presumably for compatibility reasons—but if you don't mind using Boot Camp or waiting for more OS X drivers, Thunderbolt is handing us the potential to upgrade forever through a straw. [9to5Mac]
Update: Dave Helmly of above video fame was kind enough to write in regarding his choice of operating system. Good news!
No real reason I chose to show it running under Windows 7 other than I've been surprised that we haven't seen any demos of Windows running TB before now. It actually works pretty good in it's current beta state. That said the Mac OS kicks @ss running the same config. Please keep in mind that half the battle is getting alpha/beta Windows 7 64bit drivers for each TB device. All TB devices need drivers at some level. All necessary Mac OS driver are already shipping.
The Mac + TB is really last years news and we all want more TB peripherals to start shipping and to start showing Intel and PC makers that there is lots of interest on both sides and it will benefit all TB users. I have no preference on OS and use both everyday.