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Apple’s new MacBook packs the same power as a 2011 MacBook Air

Apple’s new MacBook is one of the most beautiful notebooks the Cupertino company has ever produced, but that ultra-slim form factor comes at a cost. According to early benchmarks, the device is only about as powerful as a 4-year-old MacBook Air.

Although the new MacBook doesn’t go on sale until later this month, it has already made its way out into the wild. It appeared in an early unboxing video on Wednesday, and now it has been put through its paces in Geekbench benchmark tests.

The MacBook — which is clocked at 1.1GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.4GHz — achieved a single-core score of 1,924, and a multi-core score of 4,028 — which is close to the scores achieved by a top-tier 2011 MacBook Air.

This year’s MacBook Air, however, offers almost double the performance, with a single-core score of 2,881, and a multi-core score of 5,757.

But this is the kind of performance we should expect from a machine with an Intel Core M processor, which is purposely built for fan-less, ultraportable devices. And we should remember that processing power isn’t everything.

For writers, students, web surfers — the kind of people who will be most interested in the MacBook — things like RAM and the speed of the machine’s SSD will likely be more important, as will its ultra-sharp Retina display.

The MacBook wasn’t designed for editing video and playing games, so you shouldn’t purchase it for that purpose. But if you want a notebook that runs OS X, that you can slip into a small bag without worrying about its weight, it is ideal.

You’ll be able to order yours on April 10, with prices starting at $1,299.

Geekbench Cult of Mac

Killian Bell

Killian Bell is a 20-something technology journalist based in a tiny town in England. He has an obsession with that little company in Cupertino...