Apple just announced its MacBook Air and the thing looks stunning. If you haven’t already seen the specs, here’s what we’re looking at:

3 lbs
0.16” - 0.76” x 12.8” x 8.94” (H x W x D)
Full Size keyboard from the MacBook
13.3” 1280 x 800 LED backlit screen
2GB DDR2-667
Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz or 1.8GHz, 800MHz FSB, 4MB shared L2
80GB 1.8” 4200RPM HDD or optional 64GB SSD
802.11n/Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
Starting at $1799

The MacBook Air looks to be a very well designed ultra portable, making very few compromises (no optical drive, but you get a full sized keyboard) while keeping the size down.


One feature that stood out from Steve’s announcement of the Air was that it appears to use a low-voltage Merom based Core 2 Duo instead of an Ultra Low Voltage Merom like most of its competitors.

Standard Merom (65nm) based Core 2 Duo processors run off of a 1.0375 - 1.3000V core voltage under normal operating conditions (full clock frequency). These chips range from 1.8GHz all the way up to 2.6GHz (not including Extreme Edition parts).

Low Voltage Core 2 Duo processors are lower yielding parts that can work at lower voltages, and thus Intel charges a small premium for these chips since they aren’t as common. These LV Core 2 Duos run at 0.9V - 1.2000V under normal operating conditions, and they are available in 1.4GHz, 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz speeds. We believe that these are the cores Apple is using in the MacBook Air.

Ultra Low Voltage Core 2 Duos drop operating voltage even lower, down to 0.8V - 0.975V, but clock speeds are limited to 1.06 - 1.33GHz. Mobile Penryn will eventually be offered in a ULV version, at which point we expect clock speeds to jump a bit but not enough for Apple’s needs.

Apple wanted the MacBook Air to be no-compromises, and thus the LV Core 2 Duo made the most sense. Mobile Penryn would’ve actually made even more sense, since the move to 45nm not only increases battery life but reduces thermal output; unfortunately there are no Low Voltage versions of the new core, not to mention that availability is extremely limited.

So with relative certainty we know what CPU core Apple is using in the MacBook Pro (there is no 4MB L2 Penryn and Intel wouldn’t spin a new version of a CPU just for Apple so we’re dealing with a 65nm Merom), but the bigger question is one of packaging size.

Intel's SFF Merom: Just for Apple
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  • andreschmidt - Wednesday, January 16, 2008 - link

    I don't quite get the general opinion about the MacBook Air. It is priced competitively against other portables in its weight class. It is faster than competing products in its weight class too. Reply
  • Randum - Wednesday, January 16, 2008 - link

    lets face it. Apple tries to market existing products or just brand something to look trendy.
    This is a great example. Add some chrome hubcaps to an old lincoln-boom, you just pimped my ride apple...

    wish this fade would change but people are more concerned with how it looks rather than actual performance.
    Reply
  • legoman666 - Wednesday, January 16, 2008 - link

    sure is nice looking. Id like to buy one and toss XP on it, but $1800? go to hell. I'll stick with my more capable Thinkpad. Reply
  • Eug - Wednesday, January 16, 2008 - link

    All I can say is that I'm very happy I kept my MacBook Core Duo.

    I bought my MacBook in May 2006, and after almost 2 years Apple releases a machine that is much, much more expensive, is not any faster, and has much less functionality.

    The MacBook Air is a gorgeous design that I lust after... until I see the multitude of compromises and sticker price. It's almost like the Cube all over again.
    Reply
  • WileCoyote - Wednesday, January 16, 2008 - link

    I'm in for one when the 2nd gen comes out (or at least the next revision). Awesome, just awesome. Apple might not be the first to come out with something but they're usually the first to do it right. Reply
  • Griswold - Wednesday, January 16, 2008 - link

    Well, they didnt do it right, else you could buy this one, aye? Reply
  • grifonik - Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - link

    the mac herd will buy these things because of how they look and their efforts to be "cool" to peers. its art to them. for the rest of us using logic, it'll never make sense to pay more money for less functionality.

    Reply
  • BZDTemp - Wednesday, January 16, 2008 - link

    Sometimes less is more.

    If for one do not want to carry what I do not need. I hardly need a optical drive so I'm fine without one, as with most of the other stuff found on the more "standard" laptops. When on the move I don't need anything but a USB slot (to do backup on a stick) and wireless is everywhere so that is fine also.

    I like that the Air is not so bulky but more importantly it is light while still having a decent size monitor and an full size keyboard.

    The slow disk does make me wonder so I shall wait till there are some reviews before making a buy or not. But I do expect that with 2 GB space it will only really be when starting apps that it will be felt.
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Wednesday, January 16, 2008 - link

    High price and low functionality is the Apple standard.

    This thing is much more interesting: http://tinyurl.com/26lwvh">http://tinyurl.com/26lwvh
    Reply
  • lopri - Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - link

    "the mac herd will buy these things"

    including Mr. Anand whose judgment has been impaired for quite some time. I am terribly sorry to say this but please Anand, keep your hobby at your blog posts. That was enough already.
    Reply

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