A nice surprise for us yesterday when we managed to get our hands on a brand new MacBook Air. Only announced at the World Wide Developers Conference 4 days ago, it's still in the wrapper!
The MacBook Air is a machine that we wouldn't normally be interested in as traditionally a MacBook Pro has always been needed when editing video. Well at least in the FCP7 days. So we were very pleased when the new MacBook Air turned up in the office on Thursday as it will give us the opportunity to see how the Pro Apps manage on the new thin machine.
We must admit to not knowing much about the Air, but this one is the most powerful model available without having to resort to the BTO path.
This 13 inch model has the same processor as all the other three MacBook Airs, a 1.3GHz Dual Core Intel Core i5 Turbo Boost up to 2.6GHz. An extra $150 will upgrade to a 1.7GHz Dual Core Intel Core i7.
RAM is 4GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM, but 8GB is available as an option for an extra $100. Likewise, the supplied 256GB flash storage is upgradable to 512GB for an extra $300.
A couple of thoughts even before we take the clear wrapper off the box. First of all there is no retina screen on an Air yet, the resolution is 1440 x 900. Secondly, we will have to stock up on the adaptors. A Thunderbolt to Ethernet adaptor is needed to get online via a wire to the Internet. There is only one Thunderbolt connection too, so we are going to have to avoid multiple end of chain devices. The USB port (with another adaptor) or WiFi could be used to connect to a network.
So what are we going to do with it? Get it out of the box obviously, but what would make a good test?
The first new apps on the machine will be Final Cut Pro X, Motion and Compressor. It will be interesting to see how the built-in graphics card shapes up to heavy Motion effects on the FCPX timeline. Media will be stored on an external Thunderbolt drive and we will probably power an external monitor in the chain too.
We are open to suggestions on how we can benchmark this model against a Mac Book Pro Retina for example. With the release of the new Mac Pro later in the year, it would be good to have a test which would specifically measure the performance of a machine for the Apple Pro Video Applications.
Speed of import and conversion of media
Speed of rendering on the timeline
Speed of export
Anything else such as using the apps on the screen, battery life, portability e.t.c.
It is going to be an interesting few weeks with the Air. Now where are some scissors? We love the smell of a new laptop in the morning!