When Apple unveiled the 15-inch MacBook Air at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), there seemed to be not too much separating it from its 13-inch sibling. Yet a new round of tests has shown the larger model pulls ahead in a few key ways, making it a much more attractive buy if you want maximum performance in a slim laptop.
The test was conducted by YouTuber Max Tech, who compared the 15-inch MacBook Air with Apple’s smaller 13-inch version. Both laptops had the M2 chip and 256GB of storage, so you might think the only difference would be found in the size of the displays. Yet that is not how the tests took place.
New MacBook Air 15″ vs 13″ – ULTIMATE COMPARISON!
One of the first comparisons involved laptop speakers. Apple’s Macs are well known for their excellent audio output, but in this test, the 15-inch MacBook Air easily outclassed the smaller 13-inch model, sounding richer and fuller in almost every way. That’s thanks to the 15-inch six-speaker array, a 50 percent increase over the 13-inch four-speaker setup. Clearly, that improvement has paid dividends.
Notably, SSD performance was nearly identical on both MacBook Air models. Since Max Tech used the base 256GB versions of Apple’s laptop, this meant that both came with a single NAND chip. As we’ve seen above, this can affect storage speed compared to higher capacity models, which use two NAND chips. In Max Tech’s tests, however, the 15-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs were neck and neck.
While both models were nearly identical in single-core CPU performance, the 15-inch model is slightly superior in the multi-core benchmark, even though the differences were minimal. In Cinebench R23, however, the 15-inch began to extend its lead, scoring 7,930 points to the 13-inch’s 7,753.
Yet perhaps the most important test involved thermal throttling. Unlike the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air doesn’t have a fan and instead relies on passive cooling to keep its components freezing. This includes the chassis acting as a large heat sink, and since the 15-inch MacBook Air has a larger footprint, its cooling capacity should be greater.
This assumption was confirmed by the Max Tech benchmark results. During an extended Cinebench R23 stress test, the 15-inch MacBook Air was able to keep about seven degrees cooler, according to Max Tech. Not only that, but the larger device was able to maintain a higher clock speed thanks to this better cooling. And when the temperature of the 15-inch models rose to parity with the 13-inch MacBook Air, it was still able to preserve its higher clock speeds.
After 10 minutes, the 13-inch MacBook Air saw a noticeable drop in power output as the machines started to slow down. performance rhythms. This resulted in a higher score of 7,509 versus 7,082 in favor of Apple’s largest laptop.
Better graphics performance
In terms of graphics horsepower, the 15-inch MacBook Air once again came out on top, scoring 45,418 points in Geekbench 6.1 versus 39,326 for its rival. In the 3DMarks Wild Life benchmark, the disparity was equally stark, where the larger device achieved 41.3fps versus the 13-inch MacBook Air’s 34.4fps, an improvement of just over 20%.
And again, the 13-inch laptop was bottlenecked more in terms of GPU performance, just like with CPU performance. In long rendering or gaming sessions, this could make a difference.
All of these results are interesting because they suggest that there are many reasons to get the 15-inch MacBook Air other than simply wanting more screen real estate. The larger size of the device and the resulting larger chassis heat sink help the 15-inch model keep the temperature cooler during use, which in turn performs better even with the same chip you’ll find in the MacBook Air 13 inch.
That’s encouraging to see, and while you’ll get much better results from a 14- or 16-inch MacBook Pro, it’s clear that the 15-inch model is the MacBook Air to buy if you’re looking for all the performance you can get from one of Apple’s lightweight laptops. .
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