Apple MacBook Air Buying Guide
Light, fast and multi-ported, the MacBook Air has long held a place in the hearts of Apple enthusiasts as a transportable tool for businesspeople and students alike. In 2016, Apple quietly pulled the 11-inch MacBook Air from the product line and the 13-inch MacBook Air became the last of its kind.
The entry-level MacBook Air does its best work generating documents, surfing the web and generating emails. Saved from obscurity in 2016 with a slight processor bump – from 1.6GHz to 1.8GHz (and a standard 8GB RAM) these computers are relatively lighter on the pocketbook than the redesigned MacBook and MacBook Pro cousins.
detailed look at MacBook Air:
For starters, the PowerMax website has detailed specifications on the current MacBook Air. You might want look give this page a quick glance to get familiar with the terms mentioned below.
Random Access Memory (RAM) sticks can either be inserted into slots built into a computer’s logic board or are permanently soldered to it, which is the case with the MacBook Air: 8GB non-upgradable RAM. This is the recommended minimum amount of RAM needed for contemporary Apple operating systems.
Computers have become an integral part of the threads that weave together our work and home lives. They contain important work or school documents, photos of family and friends, favorite movies, playlists and games, financial information – all . All this data accumulates over time and If not regularly cleared out or saved to an external hard drive, it may slow your computer’s performance. Therefore, reliable storage is space is essential.
The 13-inch MacBook Air comes with either a 128GB, 256GB or 512GB Solid State Drive (SSD). These storage solutions are faster, more efficient, use let energy and are more durable than the standard SATA drives available in some Macs.
Typing up documents, loading videos, running games or visiting web sites; the processor controls everything. Last updated in 2017, the MacBook Air is one of only two Macs currently being built that features Intel’s “Haswell” chip. Keep in mind however, the Haswell chip did not support external 4K displays until the MacBook Air’s 2015 release.
Depending on the complexity of the task, your Mac may process anywhere from billions to tens of billions of instructions per second. The speed at which your processor can run these instructions depends on factors that include clock speed and the number of cores.
Gigahertz and Cores
The clock speed is the rate at which a processor carries out a task and is often measured in Gigahertz (GHz). Cores are the computer’s separate processing units that work to carry out specific tasks. Ostensibly, the more cores a processor has and the greater the clock speed, the faster your computer. This is not always the case, however. Many new processors have advanced architectures which run faster at lower clock speeds and with less cores. If you’d like more information, talk to one of our PowerMax experts for more insights into processors.
The MacBook Air features a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache. They can be configured with a 2.2GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 with 4MB shared L3 cache.
A computer’s processing requirements depend on specific chores it’s tasked to do. For example, typing a document or scrolling through images requires less power than running a video editing program or graphics intense games. Therefore, there are times when a processor will need a boost and times when it can afford to take a rest. This is where the 13-inch MacBook Air’s Turbo Boost feature comes in handy.
Designed to automatically be activated when your computer detects an unusual surge of activity, the Turbo Boost increases your 13-inch MacBook Air’s processing speed from 1.6GHz to 2.7GHz, on the base model or from 2.2Ghz to 3.2GHz on the upgraded laptop.
DDR3 stands for Double Data Rate and indicates the speed of the RAM installed. The number following indicates the age of the technology.
Contemporary computers, such as the 13-inch MacBook Air, run on LPDDR3 a low power version which has similar processing power but uses less energy. A plus for portable devices that frequently run on battery power.
Depending on the software the graphics card may one of the most important components of your Mac. Acting as a middleman between the processor and your display, it relays instructions from one to the other translating data into an image or video. It also determines how quickly an image will load and the quality of the image on the screen.
There are two types of graphics card: shared and dedicated. All MacBook Airs offer shared graphics cards that rely on RAM already installed on the computer to carry out tasks. Dedicated graphics cards have their own RAM whose sole job is to independently power the graphics cards.
While both types of RAM serve the same function, computers with dedicated graphics tend to perform better when handling graphic-intensive tasks such as live streaming, loading games that depend on detailed graphics or rendering 3D animation models.
The 13-inch MacBook Air’s Intel 6000 HD graphics card, while shared, is rated on par with mid-range dedicated graphics cards. Though some of the higher end graphics software programs do not work well on these portables, they can perform tasks that were nearly impossible for a laptop with an integrated graphics card a handful of years ago.
For computer users much of the day is often spent staring at a monitor, so the display is an important consideration when buying a new computer, and the 13-inch MacBook Air offers a 13.3-inch widescreen display that can support an array of resolutions.
Resolution is the number of vertical and horizontal pixels that fit on a screen. A screen’s resolution is measured by how many of pixels per inch can fit on the screen.
In the case of the 13-inch MacBook Air, the native resolution of 1440 x 900 indicates 1,440 horizontal and 900 vertical pixels. This is currently better than the global average for laptop screen resolution at 1366 x 768. Additional settings are available.
The higher the resolution, the better the image on the screen. This enhances the experience when watching movies, viewing photos shot from long distances or working with programs that benefit from wider screens such as spreadsheets.
The web camera is arguably one of the most frequently used applications on Macs and laptops in general. Used for communication with relatives, friends or co-workers, camera resolution is important.
On average, built-in laptop cameras offer a 640×480 resolution (roughly equivalent to 0.3 megapixel) or 800×600 (roughly equivalent to 0.5 megapixel).
The 1280×720 camera resolution available on a MacBook Air is roughly equivalent to 1 megapixel, a considerable improvement over the average — resulting in noticeably sharper images and videos.
Laptops are built for portability, so a long running battery is a must. The 13-inch MacBook Air allows for up to 12 hours of web browsing, 12 hours of movie playback, and 30 days of standby time before it runs out of power.
Lithium ion batteries – typically the gold standard of rechargeable batteries — have become a common choice for laptop manufacturers. Like all things Mac, Apple goes one step further in the13-inch MacBook Air with lithium polymer.
Lithium polymer batteries are similar to the lithium ion, but have a solid chemical used to allow lithium to process energy instead of the liquid chemicals used in a lithium ion battery. Because the solid material is more flexible than its liquid counterpart, polymer batteries can be squeezed into tiny spaces — allowing for thinner devices without sacrificing battery life.
Charging and Expansion
Apple utilizes a MagSafe Power Adapter to charge it’s portables. Connected by a magnet, the charger disconnects easily without damaging the laptop. Useful if someone trips over the cable.
As ported computers go, the MacBook Air keeps it at a minimum to maintain its thin and light form factor. The Thunderbolt 2 port, Apple’s most varied, allows users to connect up to six devices via adapters. These support transfers of both data and video (up to 4K in the current model). VGA, HDMI, DVI, USB, Firewire 800 and Ethernet are all available to connect via Thunderbolt adapter.
Fiber optic internet connections that offer speeds from 100 Mbps (megabits per second) to 1 Gbps (gigabits per second) were once a rarity. Thanks to advances in computer technology, they are becoming increasingly common.
The 13-inch MacBook Air’s 802.11ac wireless standard – the latest and most speedy connection in wireless technology — can deliver speeds between 400 Mbps to 1Gbps or more. Compare that to 802.11n, wireless technology from 2012, which delivers a maximum download speed of 300 Mbps and remained the most common wireless standard for contemporary laptop technology until relatively recently.
Is the MacBook Air right for you?
It all depends on what you want. If you require a light and portable laptop that offers dependable service with adequate speed, the MacBook Air might be the Mac for you. If you need a laptop with better performance for processor intense tasks, the MacBook Pro might be a better option.