A big question that’s come up since the new MacBook was announced has been whether or not the laptop is powerful enough to use as an everyday computer. The design and engineering of the laptop is undeniable, but there are a lot of compromises. Not only does the device sport a single USB-C port, but it also comes packing an Intel Core M processor, which isn’t the most powerful processor around.
Now that we have our hands on the higher-end MacBook (1.2GHz dual-core), we decided to see how it stacks up performance-wise to an older MacBook Air (13-inch, mid-2013 with 1.3GHz Intel Core i5). A lot of people freaked out a few weeks ago when early benchmarks for the base MacBook were spotted, suggesting performance was on the level of a 2011 MacBook Air. That’s pretty pathetic for a computer that’s being released in 2015 for a starting price of $1,299.
So what did we find? Well, at least for Apple’s 1.2GHz dual-core model, the new MacBook is pretty much on a par with the 13-inch, mid-2013 MacBook Air with 1.3GHz Intel Core i5, which I use on a daily basis. For what I do—light photo editing, Web browsing, emailing, text editing—Apple’s machine is more than capable of handling the tasks I throw at it.
Just because Geekbench scores are similar doesn’t mean you can expect the same exact performance. By all accounts, the new MacBook is a terrific machine that people admire for its design, keyboard and battery life. But early reviews have said that once you begin to throw more tasks at it, performance becomes sluggish, which is obviously a problem for those who need to do more intensive tasks.
We ran both Geekbench tests with no other programs running on either machine, the results of which are in the gallery above. We don’t have the low-end 1.1GHz dual-core model here at the office, so we aren’t able to provide the scores for that. But in case you were weighing up whether or not the new MacBook was powerful enough, at least you now have some information to base your decision off of.