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I was a bit apprehensive about installing Windows on the Apple machine but the process couldn’t have been any smoother. Using Apple’s Boot Camp, the application walked me through the entire process, from downloading Windows drivers and creating a partition to loading Windows alongside OS X.
I used a USB drive to install Windows since the Air doesn’t have an optical drive. I did try using an external USB drive but for some reason, the system wasn’t able to successfully read from my Windows 7 install disc.
Once installed, I was able to select which OS I wanted to boot from and everything worked well. I was able to finish the majority of our benchmark tests although PCMark Vantage kept erroring out in Windows.
The Ivy Bridge-equipped MacBook Air performed well, showing surprising results in our iTunes and File Copy tests even though it wasn't the only system running using a solid state drive. These three particular tests were ran in OS X.
Beyond those, most of our remaining tests (marked with an asterisk) had to be run on Windows for obvious reasons. 3DMark and PCMark are some of our standard synthetic tests. We added Geekbench to the list so we can continue to compare systems in the future regardless of platform, and also because we are working on a MacBook Pro Retina review.
Gaming benchmarks were also run on Windows so we could measure using Fraps. We tested Starcraft II under OS X and our informal observation is that performance was on par with that of Windows.
|Synthetic Tests||MacBook Air||Asus N56VZ
|3DMark Score||5785 3DMarks*||7033 3DMarks||9665 3DMarks||3472 3DMarks|
|PCMark Suite||n/a||7349 PCMarks||8675 PCMarks||8594 PCMarks|
|Application Tests||MacBook Air||Asus N56VZ||Folio 13|
|iTunes Encoding Test||51 sec||
||1 min 44 sec|
|File Transfer Test|
|Small files||22.3 sec||
||1 min 2 sec|
|Large file||21.8 sec||
The iTunes encoding tests consist of converting 14 MP3s (119MB) to 128Kbps ACC files and measuring the operation's duration in seconds. For the file transfer test, we measure how long it takes to copy two sets of files from one location to another on the same drive. On the small files test we transfer 557 MP3s, totaling 2.56GB. For the large file, these same MP3s were zipped into a single file measuring 2.52GB.
|Gaming Performance||MacBook Air||Asus N56VZ
|Far Cry 2|
|1024x768, Medium Quality||37.3 fps||43.3 fps||85.2 fps||26.3 fps|
|1366x768, High Quality||19.3 fps||20.5 fps||36.4 fps||24.9 fps|
|1024x768, Medium Quality||25.1 fps||31.2 fps||68.4 fps||14.4 fps|
|1366x768, High Quality||16.1 fps||17.6 fps||31.5 fps||11.4 fps|
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