MacBook Air 2011 Update Vs MacBook Air 2010: Speed Step Up

The new Apple MacBook Air for 2011 has recently been announced along with the brand new operating system, Mac OS X Lion. We’ve given you specs and price for the new MacBook Air lineup but we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the MacBook Air 2011 vs. MacBook Air 2010 to get an idea of the speed step up.

The MacBook Airs that were introduced last fall came in 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch models as do the new ones just introduced for 2011. The 2010 versions included Intel Core 2 Duo processor while the new refreshed Airs feature the new Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5 and i7 dual-core processors. 2010 graphics were NVIDIA GeForce 320M while the new refresh sees an upgrade to Intel HD Graphics 3000. Standard RAM on the 2010 models was 2GB while only the base-model 11-inch Air now features 2GB of RAM with the other models starting at 4GB of RAM. The latest refresh includes two 11-inch versions base and high-end and two 13-inch versions, again a base level and a high-end model.

The previous 2010 Air 11-inch version weighed 2.3 pounds while the 13-inch Air weighed 2.9 pounds and the new models weigh virtually the same. Also the old Airs were priced at $999 and $1199 for the 11-inch models with 64GB SSD and 128GB SSD respectively and the 13-inch models cost $1299 and $1599 for 128GB and 256GB respectively. We previously posted an article speculating about pricing for the MacBook Air refresh and wondered if Apple would hold the current pricing and Apple has done exactly that with pricing unchanged. As usual, configurations can also be ordered although of course will be more expensive. You can see a complete list of the new 2011 specs at this Apple.com link here.

The other notable new feature of the 2011 MacBook Air is the Thunderbolt port, which was introduced on the MacBook Pro refresh earlier this year, along with 2 USB 2.0 ports and audio in/out jack. Many will be pleased to see the expected Thunderbolt technology coming to the MacBook Air lineup, which gives super-fast data transfers, up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0 and two days ago we gave you details of the new Apple Thunderbolt 27-inch display that you would now be able to use with your new MacBook Air.

If you want to view a speed test comparison of the new MacBook Air against the previous model there’s an excellent YouTube video, courtesy of AyeGear.com, which you can see below this story showing the 13-inch Airs. You’ll be able to see several speed tests and the marked improvement in speed of the MacBook Air refresh for 2011.

We’d like to hear your thoughts on the new MacBook Air for 2011. Do you think it’s worth upgrading from your 2010 model or will you be sticking with it for now until the next refresh? Let us know with your comments.