11″ MacBook Air (Early 2015)

The Early 2015 MacBook Air (MBA) uses 5th-generation Intel Core processors and finally gains Thunderbolt 2.

The 5th-generation low-power Intel Core i5 and i7 processors include Intel HD Graphics 6000. The stock CPU is a 1.6 GHz Core i5 with Turbo Boost to 2.7 GHz, and the 11-incher can be configured with a 2.2 GHz Core i7 that has 3.2 GHz Turbo Boost. That should improve performance by nearly 50%!

The PCIe-based SSDs are up to 40% faster than SATA SSDs used in older Airs and about 17x as fast as a typical 5400 rpm notebook hard drive. 4 GB of system memory remains the norm; upgrading to 8 GB in the era of OS X Yosemite makes a lot of sense.

Ports on Early 2014 11" MacBook air

Unlike the new 12″ MacBook with its USB 3.1 and USB-C port, the Early 2015 Airs retain USB 3.0 support. USB 3.0 is over 10x as fast as USB 2.0 and has one-quarter the bandwidth of Thunderbolt 2, which is also included. Apple uses the same port for USB 2.0 and 3.0 to simplify things, while the standard in the PC world is separate ports for each protocol.

There’s also a 720p FaceTime HD webcam, and the MBA includes two microphones for improved sound pickup. The native screen resolution remains 1366 x 768. The keyboard is backlit so you can see the keys in even the darkest setting.

Apple offers a number of build-to-order options for the better model: Upgrade to a 2.2 GHz Core i7 CPU for $150, which should provide nearly 50% more power than the 1.6 GHz i5. You can double system memory to 8 GB for $100 more.

A few things are missing: The MBA has no built-in optical drive, but you can add an external USB SuperDrive for $79. There is no FireWire port, but that’s far less necessary with USB 3 and Thunderbolt 2. And there’s no built-in ethernet port; if you need ethernet, Apple sells a USB ethernet adapter for $29.

Closed Lid Mode: All Intel ‘Books support “lid closed” (or clamshell) mode, which leaves the built-in display off and dedicates all video RAM to an external display. To used closed lid mode, your ‘Book must be plugged into the AC adapter and connected to an external display and a USB or Bluetooth mouse and keyboard (you might also want to consider external speakers). Power up your ‘Book until the desktop appears on the external display and then close the lid. Your ‘Book will go to sleep, but you can wake it by moving the mouse or using the keyboard. The built-in display will remain off, and the external monitor will become your only display. Since all video RAM is now dedicated to the external monitor, you may have more colors available at higher resolutions. The MacBook Air is designed to run safely in closed lid mode, but if yours runs hot (perhaps due to overclocking or high ambient temperatures), you may want to open the lid when in closed lid mode: The screen will remain off and the computer will more readily vent heat from the CPU.

To resume use of the internal display, you need to disconnect the external display, put the computer to sleep, and then open the lid. This will wake up your ‘Book and restore use of the built-in display.


  • introduced 2014.04.29 at US$899 (128 GB SSD) and US$1,099 (256 GB SSD), 2.2 GHz i7 $150 build-to-order option
  • Identifier:
  • Part no.:
  • Model no.:

Mac OS

Core System

  • CPU: 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost to 2.7 GHz), 2.2 GHz i7 option (3.2 GHz Turbo Boost)
  • Level 2 cache: 3 MB in i5, 4 MB in i7
  • Bus: 1066 MHz
  • RAM: 4 GB, 8 GB a $100 build-to-order option
  • Performance (1.6/2.2 GHz):
    • 64-bit Geekbench:
    • Speedmark 7:


  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000, supports extended desktop.
  • VRAM: uses up to 1.5 GB of system memory
  • Video out: Thunderbolt (to 2560 x 1600 resolution)
  • display: 11.6″ glossy 1366 x 768 135 ppi color active matrix
    • supports 1366 x 768, 1344 x 756, and 1280 x 720 pixels at 16:9 aspect ratio; 1152 x 720 and 1024 x 640 at 16:10 aspect ratio; 1024 x 768 and 800 x 600 at 4:3 aspect ratio
    • allows mirroring to external display and extended desktop mode


  • Hard drive: 128/256 GB solid state drive standard, 512 GB $300 option on 256 GB model
  • SSD: PCIe-based
  • SuperDrive: optional external USB drive, requires high power USB port


  • Thunderbolt 2: 1 port
  • USB: 2 USB 3.0 ports
  • FireWire: via Thunderbolt adapter
  • Ethernet: via Thunderbolt adapter
  • WiFi: 802.11ac AirPort Extreme built in
  • Modem: No longer offered by Apple
  • Bluetooth: BT 4.0 built in
  • ExpressCard/34 slots: none
  • SD Card slot: none
  • expansions bays: none
  • IR port: none
  • webcam: FaceTime 720p HD camera


  • battery: 38 Watt-hour, 9 hours of wireless productivity
  • AC adapter: 45W MagSafe 2


  • size: 7.56 x 11.8 x 0.11-0.68″ (192 x 300 x 3.0-17 mm)
  • Weight: 2.38 pounds (1.08 kg)

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