MacBook Air SSD vs HDD Battery Life Revisted

Anandtech provides another review of the MacBook Air, however, unique to their review is an objective battery test comparing the Solid State Drive (SSD) vs the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) of the MacBook Air. In this case, they actually installed the SSD drive (same as Apple's) into the MacBook Air themselves and kindly provided instructions for readers to do it themselves.

To review, their standardized battery tests involved the following scripted tasks:

1) Use Wifi to browse 20 pages in a loop, spending 20 seconds on each page, while playing MP3s in iTunes.
2) Play a DVD image (off the internal hard drive) in a loop.
3) Download 10GB of files, Web browsing loop from #1, play two 480p Xvid videos in a loop.

In running these tests on both SSD and HDD MacBook Air, they found that the Solid State Drive did make a difference in battery life (contrary to previous reports), with an improvement of up to 16.8% (43 minutes) in the best case.

Test HDD SSD % Improvement
#1 Wireless Internet + MP3 4:16 4:59 16.8%
#2 DVD Playback 3:25 3:56 15.1%
#3 Heavy Downloading + XviD + Web Browsing 2:26 2:42 11.0%
Time in Hours:Minutes, results from Anandtech.com

Anandtech also compared the MacBook Air's battery life to the 2006 Core Duo 2.0GHz MacBook Pro and the current Core 2 Duo 2.6GHz MacBook Pro. Battery life on the previous generation Core Duo MacBook Pro was much worse than the Air, but the SSD Air's battery compared favorably against the newest MacBook Pro -- besting it in Battery Test #1 and #2.

The SSD upgrade remains a costly ($999) upgrade for the MacBook Air, but prices are expected to drop over time.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Related Forum: MacBook Air

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