The question I had to ask myself was is it really worth upgrading from a 1st gen MBA with a 1.8Ghz Core 2 Duo to a brand new one with a 1.86Ghz Core 2 Duo and could I do something better with the money. Since I was already buying lots of gear for the upcoming trip, I put my old one up on CL and wandered over to MacMall. A few days later, I got rid of the old one, had the new one, and had a more manageable number in my bank account.
This machine has been nothing but fantastic and solves every one of the problems that I had with the original. The new machine runs much cooler. Even in a warm room, its comfortable to place on your lap. For someone that uses their laptop a lot on the couch, that alone is worth a price premium.
Because it’s cooler, it’s much faster. While the processor on the original was 1.8Ghz, the heat dissipation problems inevitably meant that one core would be shut down or you’d have to use a program like Coolerbook to keep it from overheating. A fully running processor coupled with 4 gigs of ram and a modern SSD makes for a very quick machine.
The last two points are more about how this version is not DOA. What makes the 13” the perfect traveling laptop is that along with the sleek looks and low weight, it’s really capable of doing everything you need. The extra resolution of the screen, up to 1440x900 from 1280x800 transforms picture management, programming, and video creation from an ordeal to possible. On this trip I’ve written some PHP, poked around a little with new search engines that are written in JAVA, edited videos of our house to show to our family that haven’t been to the states recently. And I did all that without pulling my hair out or getting frustrated at the computer. Sure, it’s clearly slower than my quad core desktop and has less storage that my wife’s 13” Macbook Pro, but it’s more than adequate for everything I need to do when I’m not near my desk or home.
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