M2 MacBook Air Available to Order Now, Already Backordered
Apple opened orders for the redesigned M2 MacBook Air on 8 July 2022 at 5 AM PDT; the first batch will ship and arrive in stores on 15 July 2022 (for more on what’s new, see “Apple Unveils M2-Powered MacBook Air and Updated 13-Inch MacBook Pro,” 6 June 2022). However, on Apple’s website, ship dates have already slipped to mid-August.
The M2 MacBook Air comes in two base configurations: an 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU model with 8 GB of unified memory and 256 GB of storage for $1199 or an 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU model with 8 GB of memory and 512 GB of storage for $1499. If you don’t need the M2 MacBook Air’s improvements and want to save some money, you can still purchase the M1 MacBook Air from 2020, which starts at $999 for an 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU model with 8 GB of memory and 256 GB of storage.
As impressive as the M2 MacBook Air sounds, those who plan to perform processor-intensive tasks may want to hold off ordering until early reviews come in. There has been a report of thermal throttling with the updated M2 13-inch MacBook Pro while exporting 8K video, which is among the most processor-intensive tasks to throw at a Mac. Thermal throttling happens when the CPU temperature gets so hot that the CPU intentionally reduces its performance to cool down. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has a built-in fan, so it’s better equipped to combat overheating than the fanless M2 MacBook Air. The relevance of the thermal throttling report is contingent on two key questions. First, would the thermal throttling have applied to any M2 13-inch MacBook Pro, or was it limited to that particular unit? Second, would thermal throttling have come into play with more normal usage patterns for a low-end laptop?
I’d point out though that exporting 8K RAW video is perhaps not your most typical MBA task. This is the kind of task IMHO the MBP series (the true 14"/16" Pro, not the 13") was built for. And indeed, the same Twitter thread indicates a 14" M1 Pro MBP had no issues doing the same export. I’d wager if you export 8K RAW footage such that execution time really matters, you should probably be investing a tad more in your work tool than $1199. Just my 2¢.
It is, nevertheless, interesting analysis of the fan and thermal behavior. I hope to see them try this on more M1/M2 models and of course to replicate on another unit for validation.
Yeah, we tried really hard to call out that fact—it’s really hard to imagine someone using a MacBook Air for 8K video. Anyone who works with 8K video will know they need beefier hardware.
I was looking to replace a still-working 12" MacBook Pro (after realizing it was from 2012) with a new m2 MacBook Air, but after hearing about the m2 throttling I started wondering if the 13" MBP would be a better choice with the addition of the fan. However, after checking out some of the comparisons between the 13" m2 MBP and the 14" m1-Pro MBP I decided to go with the 14" MBP which just seemed like a better CPU at this point than the m2.
I chose the configuration with 16GB and 1TB of storage (and a few bonus cores) to minimize impact of swapping memory with 8GB. The 14" Pro certainly adds some bulk as well as cost, but seemed like an overall better machine that won’t get stressed out as easily as the Air might and has real function keys besides. It should be a great machine for a number of years. I’m not sure if I’ll hang onto it for as long as I’ve had the 12" MBP Retina, but so far I’m very pleased with it.
I guess “you get what you pay for” may be true with these m2 MacBooks; if you’re on the fence (even as a moderate power user), I’d suggest considering the m1 Pro Mac Book Pro (14" or 16").
Yeah, that’s been my feeling. The M2 MacBook Air is likely a fine machine, but if you really want performance, jump to the M1 Pro or M1 Max in the 14-inch MacBook Pro instead. The M2 13-inch MacBook Pro may help Apple through supply chain issues, but I can’t see really meeting the needs of many customers who would be better served with either the MacBook Air or 14-inch MacBook Pro.
That’s been my opinion all along.
I guess if somebody were a big fan of TouchBar, the 13" M2 might be a suitable choice. But for pretty much anybody else I’d suggest either M2 MBA or M1 14"/16" depending on their (sustained) CPU needs and screen size preference. Either is a great machine.
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