The MBA just launch and I did a little research on the baseline 13 inches for both years:


MBA 13' (2012): i5-3317U @ 1.7GHz (turbo: 2.6GHz); 4000 Graphics: 350MHz-1050MHz

MBA 13' (2013): i5-4250U @ 1.3GHz (turbo: 2.6GHz); 5000 Graphics: 200MHz-1000MHz


Since both Ivy Bridge and Haswell are 22nm, doesn't that means the 2012 model's processor has a greater power? And same goes to the graphics?

I'm getting a sense that Apple's trying to lower their performance on CPUs, thus extended battery life, then ultimately increase the lowered performance by putting a faster SSD; and Apple did that because they really have nothing to show around to the developers and the public in WWDC anyway so they launched a new macbook air which the only thing it does is stays on for 12 hours.

Am I correct? Please correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks!

  • 1
    And what is the point here ? You disagree with Apples product plans ?
    – Ruskes
    Jun 14, 2013 at 1:35
  • Comparing with the processing/graphical powers between 2012/2013 MBA 13'
    – user48589
    Jun 14, 2013 at 1:39
  • Pulling engineers from Mac OS X to iOS was a big mistake, and it turned out that they couldn't launch anything but "it will be available in the fall"
    – user48589
    Jun 14, 2013 at 1:41
  • 1
    Now your "Nothing to show" characterization must be a trollish comment thrown in. I think Phil Schiller addressed that sentiment with his "Can't innovate anymore, MY ASS!" quip while on stage.
    – bmike
    Jun 14, 2013 at 4:42
  • 1
    as @bmike said below, the cpu clock speed is only one part of the speed chain. An you got it wrong, the cpu is not slower, just opposite, it is more intelligent and has wider operating range. The base clock drops to 1.3GHz across all of the models, but max turbo remains at 2.6GHz.
    – Ruskes
    Jun 14, 2013 at 5:01

1 Answer 1


Have a look at the CPU die micrographs and reviews in the press and all are singing the same tune:

  • modest CPU performance gains
  • significant overall power reductions
  • dramatically better GPU - competes with mid-range dedicated GPU where the 4000 level graphics were adequate at best and lagged behind it's era of mid-range GPU substantially in many cases.

I would say the 2013 Air are a significant step up from the 2010/2012 models - enough so that I'll be selling and upgrading as soon as I can find a buyer for my current Air.

Although you mentioned only the CPU and GPU, the flash storage is benchmarked at 45% faster than 2012 (and now 9x as fast as 5400 RPM drives) and they have the 802.11ac wireless chipsets so it's quite the improvement overall.

The reviews are coming in and they seem to confirm my thoughts that the "slower" CPU in the 2013 models get more work done than the "faster" CPU from the 2012 models. Clearly the clock rate isn't the bottleneck for these tests.

MacWorld review of the 2013 MacBook Air

The full article is the source of this image above: http://www.macworld.com/article/2041698/review-latest-intel-chip-boosts-speed-and-endurance-in-new-macbook-air.html

  • The haswell i5 processor that they use for the new macbook air would be the one with the lowest clock rate to reduce the use of power, but the processor found in the 2012 air is faster though before they're turbo-boosted
    – user48589
    Jun 14, 2013 at 5:19
  • Faster at what? Most tasks are not constrained by one core having a full queue and running at exactly the nominal rated cloak rate. Those numbers on CPU speed do match some synthetic bench marks, but in real world tasks, a marginally slower but architecturally newer CPU almost always is faster running real world workloads. All I've read is the cache and other internal changes of the Haswell chip generation shipping now makes the 1.3 GHz chip you mentioned fight "well above its weight" to use a boxing metaphor.
    – bmike
    Jun 14, 2013 at 11:22
  • @herpderp AnandTech has benchmarked the old and new Macbook Air. The result is that last year's Ivy Bridge 1.8GHz i5-3427U is comparable to this years Haswell 1.3Ghz i5-4250U regarding CPU performance.
    – gentmatt
    Jun 14, 2013 at 13:07

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