5 Year Old Macbook vs the Latest Macbook Air

I recently noticed that my Apple MacBook, (late 2006), doesn’t seem to be slowing down. I’d think that an almost five year-old computer would start to be sluggish.

I don’t use that many processor intensive applications, but with Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6.7), I am able to run SETI@Home, VMWare Fusion running Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat, Remote Desktop Connection, Photoshop, iTunes, Transmit, Chrome (with 10 tabs open) and Firefox, all at the same time without bogging down. When I boot my Macbook to Windows 7, the performance is similar.

My Macbook has an Intel® Core2 Duo Processor T7200 (4M Cache, 2.00 GHz, 667 MHz FSB). The only hardware upgrades I’ve done on it were to increase the RAM to 3GB and install a 320GB 7200 rpm hard disk. I have three paritions on the disk: a 100GB Mac OS Extended for OSX, a 75GB NTFS for Windows 7 and a 140 GB NTFS for data.

While browsing EveryMac.com for the specs for my computer, I noticed that the Geekbench score of the latest Apple MacBook Air (late 2010) – 2698 – wasn’t that much higher than my Macbook – 2603. The current Macbook Air uses an Intel® Core2 Duo Processor SL9400 (6MB Cache, 1.86 GHz, 1066 MHz FSB). I would think that the MBA, with a larger L2 cache, faster FSB and SSD would at least be a lot faster than my Macbook. In fact, when I run Geekbench on my Macbook, it scores 2706.

Of course the Macbook Air is 2.3 lbs (1.04 kg) lighter and has a much greater cool factor than my Macbook, but I’m strong enough to handle 5.2 lbs (2.36 kg). When my Macbook starts to feel slow, I’ll probably go to an SSD and replace the DVD drive with my current hard disk in a MCE OptiBay.

The latest 13″ Macbook Pro, with an Intel® Core i7-2620M Processor, has a Geekbench score that 6796. That would probably be OK for another couple of years.

MacBook Windows 7

I installed Windows 7 (Build 6801) on my MacBook “Core 2 Duo” 2.0 13″ (Black) with 3GB RAM.

To manage the boot menu for my Vista and Leopard partitions, I use rEFIt instead of Boot Camp. After I made a backup disk image of the Vista partition, I booted the Windows 7 DVD, reformatted the Vista partition and began the installation. It went a lot faster than the Vista install.

The Boot Camp drivers from the Leopard DVD installed without any problems in Windows 7 – the Apple Built-in Bluetooth, the Apple Built-in iSight, the Apple Trackpad Enabler, the Apple Keyboard, the Apple IR Receiver, the Atheros AR5008X Wireless Network Adapter, the Marvell Yukon 88E8053 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller, the SigmaTel High Definition Audio Codec and the Boot Camp Control Panel. Windows 7 installed the Mobile Intel(R) 945 Express Chipset Family (Prerelease WDDM 1.0 Driver) for the display adapter.

I used Randy’s SharpKeys 2.1.1 (a registry hack) to remap the Apple enter key (on the bottom row) to a forward delete key so I don’t have to hold down the fn key and delete for that function. I also mapped F8 to Prtscr – another Windows key that’s missing on the MacBook keyboard.

Thankfully, my two year old MacBook still feels responsive in Windows 7 (and in Vista). I’ve never had any major problems with Vista, and so far, Windows 7 seems to be an improvement.

Macbook Vista SP1

I applied Windows Vista Service Pack 1 to my dual-boot Macbook. I use rEFit instead of Boot Camp, with OS X as the default OS, so after each restart, I had to manually select the Vista partition.

After a couple of restarts, Vista started up OK and I ran the Windows Experience Index tool and got this. (I manually stuck the old Apple logo in there; Apple is not a Windows OEM Vendor)