PCIE SSD PERFORMANCE
The 2013 MacBook Air contains a proprietary PCIe SSD that is the first to break the SATA barrier in a laptop. As a result, performance of just under 800MB/s is possible for which makes this system comparable to the performance of the Acer S7 we previously reviewed The S7 still tops the charts as the world’s most powerful ultrabook at 890MB/s. The difference between the two is that the 2013 MBA uses brand new MPCIe technology whereas the Acer utilized a proprietary dual sided SATA 3 custom design on the S7. The concern we see with Acer’s solution is one of upgrading or replacement where the ONLY way to upgrade or replace the S7 SSD is to contact Acer Support.
802.11ac is the new standard in Wifi speeds, allows up to 3x increase and is standard in the 2013 MBA. This characteristic alone actually sold me on writing this article as I observed, for the first time, speeds of over 850 Mbps between my router and the MBA. Considering that we have seven systems comprising an open network that is secure and each connects by Wifi access alone, the upgrade to the Netgear R6300 router was well worth the cost. The R6300 even has a USB where we plugged in a 256GB flash drive for an additional open drive for all.
ThunderBolt increases the speed to external data devices immensely, and seconds as a display port as well. Where todays USB 3.0 is now only reaching transfer rates of 5Gbps, ThunderBolt doubles that to 10Gbps and does it in a much slimmer design. Our recent review of the OWC Helios, connected via ThunderBolt and using both the PCIe OWC Mercury Accelsior and Intel 910 SSDs, showed transfer speeds above 800MB/s. Off hand, we can’t name another ultra with ThunderBolt just yet.
12 HOUR BATTERY LIFE
At this point and time, there is not a comparable ultra in the world that can hit 12 hours battery life and the 2013 MBA does that and then some. Even in BootCamp mode (Windows 7), we are getting in excess of 7 hours before recharge and, for someone who seems to be bouncing between airports like a pinball several times a year, this is a huge sigh of relief.
COMPARABLES AND PRICING
With respect to pricing, I don’t think any comparable ultra even comes close to the 2013 MBA starting point of $999, and by ‘comparable’ we are speaking of the Samsung Series 9, Lenovo X1 Carbon, Toshiba Portege Z830, and Acer S7 types of ultrabooks…all ultras that we have had in our hands for some time now. Even maxing a 13″ model out with an Intel Dual Core i7 @1.7Ghz, 8GB of memory and a massive 512GB SSD, you are still well under the 2K mark at $1849. Not only can a similar build not be found in any other ultra, but also, pricing for their premium build can breach the ugly $2K line in the sand. We just had to get this shot in with Windows 7 booting up! MBA Price Check