Without Haswell, why bother buying a new Mac?

iMore by Peter Cohen

If you're in the market for a MacBook Air, times are great. Apple's new machines, updated in June with Intel's fourth-generation Core processor, are better values than ever. But if you need a MacBook Pro, iMac or Mac mini, the current crop of computers from Apple is looking long in the tooth. Is there any point in buying a new Mac until Apple completes the Haswell transition?

What's the big deal?

At its Worldwide Developer Conference in June, Apple took the wraps off a new crop of 11 and 13-inch MacBook Airs. The computers look almost unchanged from their predecessors, but under the hood it's a very different story. The new Intel Core processor, widely known by its code-name "Haswell," is considerably more power-efficient than the processor it replaces. The net result is that both machines see dramatically improved battery life - the 11-inch MacBook Air went from five to nine hours of use per recharge, according to Apple's tests; the 13-inch jumped from seven hours to 12.

MacBook Airs don't have discrete graphics processors - they're dependent on the integrated graphics processor (IGP) that's built into the CPU in order to render graphics. And Haswell delivers there, too - it's up to 40 percent faster than the chips which powered Apple's last MacBook Air.

The improvements to the MacBook Air don't end just at the Haswell chip. Apple's also taken the opportunity to upgrade the MacBook Air's wireless networking performance with 802.11ac. Also known colloquially as "Gigabit Wi-Fi," 802.11ac provides dramatically faster transfer speeds when paired with 802.11ac-compatible Wi-Fi routers like Apple's new AirPort Extreme and Time Machine. read more...

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