A Limited Mac: The 4 GB Mid 2013 MacBook Air

Apple messed up with the Mid 2013 MacBook Air. It shipped with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, and the base version had just 4 GB of memory. That was enough to run Mountain Lion and OS X 10.9 Mavericks, but OS X 10.10 Yosemite and beyond really want more memory. It’s a good thing Apple also offered an 8 GB option.

Late 2010 MacBook Air family

Once again, Apple adopted a faster system bus, this time On Package Interface, and the SSD connects via PCIe x2 instead of the more familiar, slower SATA Rev. 3 of the previous generation. The Mid 2012 models use Intel’s Haswell CPUs.

The 11-incher comes in 1.3 GHz i5 and 1.7 GHz i7 versions, originally retailing at US$999 and $1,199 respectively. The 13-incher has the same CPUs, with the 1.3 GHz i5 retailing for $1,099 and the 1.7 GHz i7 for $1,299.

Performance

Scores are for the Geekbench 3 64-bit multicore benchmark.

  • 1.7 GHz i7 11″ Mid 2013, 6205
  • 1.7 GHz i7 13″ Mid 2013, 6170
  • 2.0 GHz i7 11″ Mid 2012, 5920
  • 2.0 GHz i7 13″ Mid 2012, 5780
  • 1.8 GHz i5 13″ Mid 2012, 5168
  • 1.3 GHz i5 11″ Mid 2013, 5023
  • 1.3 GHz i5 13″ Mid 2013, 5013
  • 1.7 GHz i5 11″ Mid 2012, 4875

For the first time in MacBook Air history, the new entry-level models don’t offer significantly better performance than the models they replace. In fact, the entry-level 13″ Mid 2012 outperforms the 13″ Mid 2013. On the top, though, it’s a different story. Mid 2013 gave us the most powerful MBAs to date.

Conclusion

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

The 4 GB model can be considered a Limited Mac, because it really can’t run anything after OS X 10.9 well with the 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 #mid2013macbookair

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