I am looking to purchase a refurbished Macbook Air from Apple's refurbished store.

When comparing the models there are two I am looking at. The difference between the two is slight but one of the difference is the processor.

One has a processor of 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz) while the other has a 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.6GHz).

I am experienced with PCs but not Macs. The price is nearly identical ($20 dollar difference.)

The newer model is 1.3Ghz.

Am I going to see a big difference in speed between the two Macs?

  • 1
    FWIW the RAM cannot be upgraded on these so make sure you get the model that has as much as you'll ever want
    – MetaGuru
    May 2, 2014 at 14:56
  • @ioSamurai - Thanks for the tip. I read about this before but it is good information to know because I saw others who bought the computer and didn't realize you couldn't upgrade the RAM.
    – L84
    May 3, 2014 at 18:57

2 Answers 2


1.3 GHz seems to be mid-2013 Haswell based machine with Intel HD 5000 graphics, the other one is probably mid-2012 Ivy-bridge one with Intel HD 4000.

  1. Haswell based CPU is about 5-10% faster than Ivy Bridge according to various benchmarks (so, all in all it should be comparable in terms of pure speed, but read further)
  2. Haswell chips make SSD drives run faster
  3. Intel HD 5000 is much better than 4000 (and that will give most significant boost to overall performance IMHO)

So, if all other specs are the same, I'd go for 1.3 Haswell one, the problem is that you never know what you'll get when buying refurbished machine.

  • 1
    need less to say that the 1.3 will consume less power thus extending the battery life if that is a requirement.
    – Ruskes
    May 2, 2014 at 11:52
  • Good point - each new version should - in theory - have better battery/use it more efficiently, I didn't mention it, because it's refurbished machine, and battery is one of the components, that deteriorates very fast. May 2, 2014 at 11:54
  • 1
    Since Apple has a very strict return policy their refurbished machines are as good as new. Apple stands behind their refurbished machines with a full 1 year warranty.
    – Ɱark Ƭ
    May 2, 2014 at 12:03
  • 1
    Thank you for the answer. I read a few things about the refurbish process with Apple. One source says they replace the covers on the laptops and install a brand new battery. Hard to go wrong there. Plus you can purchase Apple Care with the refurbs. As FYI for others who may see this question. When researching additional information the 1.3GHz machine performed better in majority of the benchmark test compared to the older model (1.8Ghz). Again, thank you.
    – L84
    May 2, 2014 at 14:56
  • @MarekBettman "Haswell chips make SSD drives run faster"- Would you elaborate on that?
    – bot47
    Oct 20, 2015 at 4:49

You mention newer is 1.3 GHz, but you should look at little closer at the specific processor powering the two Macbook Airs (MBA). You can visit EveryMac and based on the year of the two MBAs determine the processor family.

If you find that the 1.3 GHz process is from the Haswell family while the 1.8 Ghz is from the previous family/generation, you're better of going with the Haswell chip which will yield better performance and power management yielding better battery life from the MBA.


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