• 1.8GHz* dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with 3MB* shared L3 cache
  • 8GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 RAM (previously 4GB* – see below)
  • 128GB* PCIe-based flash storage
  • 13.3-inch, 1440 x 900-pixel display
  • Intel HD Graphics 6000
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible); Bluetooth 4.0
  • Ports: 2 x USB 3; 1 x Thunderbolt 2; 1 x SDXC card slot; 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 54-watt-hour battery: Up to 12 hours wireless web browsing (claimed)

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There are still two screen sizes from which to choose, 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch, and following the example set by the last generation, the MacBook Air specification in every other aspect is identical between models.

But wait, is it really? In fact this time around there is an important internal difference that puts clear space between the two sizes of Air models in performance terms. In short, the 13-inch notebook has a flash drive that is three times faster than the best the Windows world can deliver. The 11-inch meanwhile remains only 50 percent faster than Windows laptops, more on this below.

Let’s focus first on where they overlap. All MacBook Air notebooks are based on the same platform taking identical processor, graphics, memory and wireless adaptors. They also share the same port and connector layout, namely two USB 3.0, one each side; MagSafe 2 power connector; 3.5 mm headset jack; and SDXC card slot.

In addition, all MacBook Air (Early 2015) models now feature Thunderbolt 2, a single port here specified to 20 Gb/s in place of the original standard’s 2x 10 Gb/s.

The processor du jour is from the fifth-generation of the Intel Core i5 series – codenamed Broadwell – which comprises what the chip maker calls a ‘tick’ update. That is, a shrink of the microarchitecture from the 22 nm of the preceding Haswell and Ivy Bridge series, to the new record-breaking die size of 14 nm.

As standard 2015’s MacBook Air series takes a 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5-5250U dual-core processor, able to automatically overclock to 2.7 GHz on demand through Intel Turbo Boost technology. Optionally you can configure any model with a 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7-5650U (3.2 GHz Turbo) dual-core processor, for an additional £130. More on the processor below.

Memory is the same as last season, with 4 GB DDR3 RAM clocked at 1600 MHz, configurable at time of purchase only to 8 GB, for an extra £80. Note that Apple has maintained the same low-power memory chips, even though Broadwell processors can take advantage of slightly faster 1867 MHz memory – an opportunity that has already been taken with the Early 2015 refresh of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. We would guess the 1600 MHz memory was preserved for the Air for reasons of budget, both financial and battery economy.

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