Power Consumption & Thermals

I dug up my old power draw and thermal numbers from the 2011 MacBook Air review, retested the old models to ensure they still performed as expected, and added the 2012 models to the list.

First up is power consumption. Here we're measuring total system power consumption with the display running at max brightness and the battery fully charged. We are forced to use a different power adapter for the 2012 MacBook Airs so there may be some variance here but the power rating remains the same.

Maximum Power Draw - Cinebench R11.5

Cinebench shows a real reduction in power consumption under load. This is exactly what we expect to see from Ivy Bridge, which should translate into better battery life numbers.

Maximum Power Draw - Half Life 2: Episode 2

The power savings are basically non-existant under HL2ep2, but you have to keep in mind that the HD 4000 is able to deliver over 70% better performance at roughly the same power level as the HD 3000.

Surface temperatures haven't changed all that much, at idle the 11-inch system measured a bit cooler than its predecessor while the 13 was within a degree.

Surface Temperature - Web Browsing

Under load these things can get hot - despite the power savings it looks like the base of the chassis gets roughly as warm as it did last year. There's only so much you can do with a tiny chassis and a single fan. Note that during my Diablo III benchmarking pass I measured 45C just north of the F2 key on the keyboard on the 13-inch MBA.

Max Temperature - Half Life 2 Episode 2

GPU Performance Battery Life


View All Comments

  • C1aymore - Monday, July 16, 2012 - link

    Nothing, just want to be the first Reply
  • krylon - Monday, July 16, 2012 - link

    how about I go first all over your face? Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Bahaha Reply
  • ssddaydream - Monday, July 16, 2012 - link

    I really hate it when people do that^
    I am wondering what percentage of "power users" will start trending towards machines like the MacBook Air and Pro. It seems that the cost differences are eroding away between the likes of computers like Clevo-based Malibal and Apple products.
    It seems to me that the Apple products are priced pretty competitively, and offer more flexibility by being able run OSX as well as Windows or Linux.
    I doubt I'll purchase an Apple computer, but it seems more compelling than ever, especially with the display on the MacBook Pro.
  • ananduser - Monday, July 16, 2012 - link

    Yes...Apple is to be commended for allowing choice in the OS department, unlike other OEMs.

    Only the boss is qualified to review them apples, eh Anand :)
  • Samus - Monday, July 16, 2012 - link

    what? choice in os? every 'OEM' that's tried to make a Mac OSX compatible computer has been sued out of business by Apple.

    I don't see how Apple giving you choice because they don't allow their competitors to have any is something to be commended!
  • OCedHrt - Monday, July 16, 2012 - link

    And compatibility issues (USD 3.0, WIFI) is the peripheral's manufacturer's fault on OS X. But on Windows damn that Microsoft!!! Reply
  • KPOM - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Where has Anand ever blamed Microsoft because some random peripheral doesn't work right? In general, it's up to the peripheral manufacturer to write decent drivers. Because of OS X's small market share, a lot of manufacturers don't bother, or at least don't do as good a job of writing OS X drivers as they do Windows drivers. Reply
  • ananduser - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    Apple is the one in control of OSX' drivers. The manufacturers of various interfaces have no say. Reply
  • KPOM - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    No, individual peripheral manufacturers write their own OS X drivers. Apple has standards, but even Microsoft requires digital signing.

    Apple isn't in the business of writing drivers for every peripheral out there. They provide APIs to let peripheral manufacturer write their own drivers.

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