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First 2018 MacBook Air Benchmark Shows Moderate Gains Over 2017 MacBook Air and MacBook

The first benchmark for the 2018 MacBook Air surfaced on Geekbench today, giving us our first look at how the low-power 7W Amber Lake Intel chip in the machine measures up to the performance of other Macs in Apple's lineup.

Equipped with a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8210Y chip and 16GB of RAM, the benchmarked MacBook Air earned a single-core score of 4248 and a multi-core score of 7828.


As should be no surprise, it's significantly better than the previous-generation MacBook Air equipped with a 1.8GHz Broadwell processor, which earned a single-core score of 3335 and a multi-core score of 6119.

It's faster than the fastest Core M chip in the 2017 MacBook models, but not by much. The 1.4GHz MacBook earned a single-core score of 3925 and a multi-core score of 7567, while the base model with a 1.2GHz Core M chip earned a single-core score of 3527 and a multi-core score of 6654.

Compared to MacBook Pro models, it's not too far off from the 2018 13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro with a 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 processor when it comes to single-core performance, but it can't compete with the four cores in the 2018 MacBook Pro. That machine earned a single-core score of 4504 and a multi-core score of 16464.

It's also slower than the 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro sans Touch Bar that Apple still sells, which earned a single-core score of 4314 and a multi-core score of 9071.

Single-Core Performance
  • 2018 MacBook Air - 4248
  • 2017 MacBook Air - 3335
  • 1.4GHz 2017 MacBook - 3925
  • 1.3GHz 2017 MacBook - 3630
  • 1.2GHz 2017 MacBook - 3527
  • 2.3GHz 2018 MacBook Pro - 4504
  • 2.3GHz 2017 MacBook Pro - 4314
Multi-Core Performance
  • 2018 MacBook Air - 7828
  • 2017 MacBook Air - 6119
  • 1.4GHz 2017 MacBook - 7567
  • 1.3GHz 2017 MacBook - 6974
  • 1.2GHz 2017 MacBook - 6654
  • 2.3GHz 2018 MacBook Pro - 16464
  • 2.3GHz 2017 MacBook Pro - 9071
Previous MacBook Air chips used 15W U-series chips from Intel, but the 2018 model is using a lower-power 7W Y-series chip, and there were some concerns about its performance relative to the rest of the Mac lineup.

Based on these Geekbench scores, which aren't necessarily indicative of how these machines will perform in the real world, the MacBook Air is superior to the MacBook lineup at this time, but falls short of the base-level MacBook Pro, which is about right given its price point ($1,199 for the Air vs. $1,299 for the Pro). What the Mac lineup will look like if and when the 12-inch MacBook is refreshed remains to be seen.

Additional benchmarking results should be available soon, as the MacBook Air is set to arrive to the first customers on Wednesday, November 7, and MacBook Air reviews should come out before then.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Buy Now)


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

2 weeks ago

It’s very simple. For you nothing less than a 2018 13” TB. For casual users i.e. the sort of people who have never opened a computer up and never will, the new MacBook Air or the 12” MacBook if they want a thinner notebook.

Basically, if you go on MR and tech forums, a MBA is not for you. For everyone else they are fine.

But surely a casual user will pay £400 for a windows laptop. Is there such a thing as a Apple casual user who pays £1200 or £1400 for a laptop? I really don't think so. In todays world, £1400 is a hell of a lot of money. Good luck to Apple with the Air but I think that greed has caught them with this and it's going to fail. £1000 for an iPhone X that does everything Ok because that's often bought on a contract but £1400 for a basic, rather unadventurous MacBook Air no thanks.
Rating: 19 Votes
2 weeks ago
Keyboard makes it a hard fail.

And how about cinebench and unigine and . . . ?
Rating: 17 Votes
2 weeks ago
I don’t even know what Macbook I plan to upgrade from my 2013 MBPr much less which one to reccomend to people anymore.
Rating: 15 Votes
2 weeks ago
There's a 2017 Macbook air?
Rating: 14 Votes
2 weeks ago
Oh, and let us not forget the new iPad Pro at 5030/17995.

Imagine an A13x or A14x in an Air form factor...
Rating: 12 Votes
2 weeks ago
What a shame.

Imagine if they'd used the existing chassis and upgraded. They could have made a great machine. Instead they had to thin it down, shrink the battery etc.
Rating: 11 Votes
2 weeks ago
Good to know that top MacBook 12 is close in performance!
Rating: 8 Votes
2 weeks ago
It's an unfortunate thing that the 2018 $1199 MacBook Air come with 128gb SSD but the 2017 $1199 MacBook Air come with 256gb ssd.
Rating: 8 Votes
2 weeks ago

I still think the MBA 2017 is a better buy over the 2018. You don't have to buy any dongles and speed difference is close to negligible.

$200+ difference (once you buy a type C hub) can be used to buy an external monitor (2017's weakest point) or even AppleCare.

No HEVC acceleration on the MBA 2017 (which uses a Broadwell 5th generation Intel CPU). Considering iPhones can record 4K HEVC video, this is pretty significant.



Rating: 7 Votes
2 weeks ago

But surely a casual user will pay £400 for a windows laptop. Is there such a thing as a Apple casual user who pays £1200 or £1400 for a laptop? I really don't think so. In todays world, £1400 is a hell of a lot of money. Good luck to Apple with the Air but I think that greed has caught them with this and it's going to fail. £1000 for an iPhone X that does everything Ok because that's often bought on a contract but £1400 for a basic, rather unadventurous MacBook Air no thanks.

There are plenty of casual apple users who spend over $1000 on a laptop and use it for word documents, YouTube, and social media.

Im not saying that's financially responsible or smart but they exist
Rating: 7 Votes

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