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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  • crimson117 - Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - link

    Who would use an optical disc or a flash card reader to transfer business files when you could use a USB Flash Drive instead? Reply
  • Chaotic42 - Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - link

    You're supposed to pull them out of thin air! That's where the name came from. Fortunately they changed the name from "Macbook Ass" just in time. Reply
  • arklab - Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - link

    This is PERFECT!
    I had just ordered a five pound black MacBook for my 80's mother, and it's going back!
    It was to be her first ever computer, and was chosen for it's light weight, small size, and easy to see white-on-black keys.


    At only three pounds (almost HALF the weight)and with a brighter, easer to read screen the MacBook Air is just right.

    She will not be doing video editing, gaming, or use it to record HDTV shows.

    She just wants to do word processing, email, and internet.
    You could use a Celeron 300A for that!

    Plus she'll get to have all the geeks drooling all over it! ;)

    Thank You, Steve.
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - link

    An 80-yr old might want a larger screen... Reply
  • nofumble62 - Thursday, January 17, 2008 - link

    Sounds like she is taking it back to store and replace with a XPS. Hahaha Reply
  • vijay333 - Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - link

    no ethernet port. one usb port. no replaceable battery. no disc drive. 4200rpm hard drive --- but it's THIN! Reply
  • cmdrdredd - Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - link

    You're supposed to use the airport (wireless). The loss of optical drive is significant, how do you update the OS in a year or two when Apple releases a new version? You're expected to use an external? Then it's not very portable is it? Reply
  • ceefka - Wednesday, January 16, 2008 - link

    I am thinking about boxing my optical drive in a USB 2.0 enclosure so I can use it with all of my computers. Maybe that is an option with these too if you don't like using the WiFi for that. Reply
  • andreschmidt - Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - link

    Apple introduced a new feature called Remote Drive that enables you to use the SuperDrive (Read: normal CD/DVD) of another computer wirelessly.

    Normally you do not need a SuperDrive on the road so I don't see it as an issue.

    The name, MacBook Air, indicates you are supposed to embrace the wireless life heh.
    Reply
  • cmdrdredd - Saturday, January 19, 2008 - link

    andreschmidt, don't need a drive on the road? I want to watch a DVD perhaps... Reply

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