A Limited Mac: The 4 GB Early 2015 MacBook Air

We’re sounding like a broken record here, but what was Apple thinking by offering a 4 GB Early 2015 MacBook Air that shipped with OS X 10.10 Yosemite – an operating system that limps along with 4 GB of system memory and cries out for 8 GB? I hope most users had the sense to buy the 8 GB version.

Late 2010 MacBook Air family

Unlike the Early 2014 MacBook Air that uses Intel’s Haswell CPUs, the Early 2015 models use more efficient next generation Broadwell CPUs as well as HD Graphics 6000, a step up from 5000. The base model now runs at 1.6 GHz, up from 1.4 GHz for the 2014 MBA. The 2015 model adds Thunderbolt 2, which has twice the bandwidth of the original Thunderbolt interface.

The 11-incher comes in 1.6 GHz i5 and 2.2 GHz i7 versions, originally retailing at US$899 and $1,099 respectively. The 13-incher has the same CPUs, with the 1.6 GHz i5 retailing for $999 and the 2.2 GHz i7 for $1,199.

Performance

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

  • 2.2 GHz i7 11″ Early 2015, 6878
  • 2.2 GHz i7 13″ Early 2015, 6868
  • 1.6 GHz i5 11″ Early 2015, 5703
  • 1.6 GHz i5 13″ Early 2015, 2639
  • 1.4 GHz i5 11″ Early 2014, 5260
  • 1.4 GHz i5 13″ Early 2014, 5186

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 ship with OS X 10.10 Yosemite and are so-so performers . But that’s barely adequate support for a 2015 model, especially compared to the 8 GB MBAs that can run current versions OS X 10.10 and later very nicely.

The 4 GB model has to be considered a Limited Mac, because it really can’t run any supported version of OS X very 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 #early2015macbookair

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