A Limited Mac: The 4 GB Early 2014 MacBook Air

Apple really messed up with the Early 2014 MacBook Air. The base version had just 4 GB of memory, and it shipped with OS X 10.9 Mavericks, the last version of OS X to run comfortably with 4 GB of memory. It’s a good thing Apple also offered an 8 GB option for those planning to use future versions of OS X.

Late 2010 MacBook Air family

Like the Mid 2013 MacBook Air, the Early 2014 models use Intel’s Haswell CPUs.

The 11-incher comes in 1.4 GHz i5 and 1.7 GHz i7 versions, originally retailing at US$899 and $1,099 respectively. The 13-incher has the same CPUs, with the 1.3 GHz i5 retailing for $999 and the 1.7 GHz i7 for $1,199.

Performance

Scores are for the Geekbench 3 64-bit multicore benchmark. Geekbench doesn’t have scores for the 1.7 GHz Early 2013 MacBook Air.

  • 1.7 GHz i7 11″ Mid 2013, 6205
  • 1.7 GHz i7 13″ Mid 2013, 6170
  • 1.4 GHz i5 11″ Early 2014, 5260
  • 1.4 GHz i5 13″ Early 2014, 5186
  • 1.3 GHz i5 11″ Mid 2013, 5023
  • 1.3 GHz i5 13″ Mid 2013, 5013

The 1.4 GHz Early 2014 models are slightly faster than the 1.3 GHz Mid 2013 models they replace. I would guess the 1.7 GHz i7 results for 2013 and 2014 are comparable.

Conclusion

The 4 GB versions of these are good performers and can handily run OS X 10.9 Mavericks from 2013/14. But that’s barely adequate support for a 2014 model, especially compared to the 8 GB MBAs that can run current versions of OS X very nicely.

The 4 GB model has to be considered a Limited Mac, because it really can’t run anything after OS X 10.9 well with the limited amount of memory it has. We don’t consider the 8 GB MacBook Air limited at this point.

Rating

  • 4 GB models one road apple

Keywords: #roadapples #early2014macbookair

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