We benchmarked the MacBook Air against the 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.
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. Here's how the three computers stack up:
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.
As you can see, the MacBook Air placed third in the video conversion, data transfer and data duplication benchmarks. From what we can tell, the MacBook Air makes up for its lack of processing power with RAM, and suffers a little due to its 1.8" 4200 HDD. It did manage to do the best when ripping an audio CD. We think this is because of the newer external Superdrive it comes with.
We ran 4 different tests to measure the speed differences between the computers. MP3 Encoding, Video Conversion, Thumbdrive to MacBook File Transfer Test, and a File Duplication test. No other applications were running during the test and the computer was set up for better performance.
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 the 73 MB .mov 300 trailer 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 300 trailer used in the previous two tests.