HARDWARE DESUGBER Apple has managed to cut its dependence on Samsung silicon for the 11in Macbook Air, while larger batteries have helped boost its battery life.
Apple's Macbook Air models were updated earlier this week with Intel Haswell processors and PCI-Express based solid-state disk (SSD) drives. While the firm's 13in Macbook Air uses Samsung chips for its SSD, Ifixit's teardown of the 11in model shows Apple opting for a Sandisk SSD controller, using just one Samsung DRAM chip for the cache.
Apple's use of the PCI Express bus to connect the SSD is a big change for the firm, arguably far more important in the long run than its adoption of the Intel Haswell processor. As with the firm's 13in Macbook Air, the SSD is proprietary, although Ifixit shows it is user upgradable if users can find aftermarket parts in the future.
Apple also took the opportunity to beef up the batteries in the 11in Macbook Air, which combined with power savings from Intel's Haswell processor has resulted in a significant increase in battery life. The firm has put a 5,100mAh, 38.75Whr battery in the machine, which is larger than the battery in the previous generation 11in Macbook Air.
Apple's battery improvements have paid off. In our tests, the new 11in Macbook Air managed about four hours and 30 minutes, with the screen at full brightness and powering a secondary display. In comparison, we found that the previous generation 11in Macbook Air could last for only around three hours in the same usage scenario.
According to Ifixit's teardown Apple is slowing managing to reduce its reliance on Samsung, at least when it comes to silicon in certain products. However the firm's achievement in increasing battery life by close to 50 percent in a demanding usage scenario is perhaps the most impressive technological aspect of the latest version of the 11in Macbook Air. µ