“Apple typically offers three different CPU upgrades in its portable Macs: the base CPU, one that comes with the upgraded SKU and a third BTO option that’s even faster,” Anand Lal Shimpi writes for AnandTech. “In the case of the 2013 MacBook Air, Apple only offered two: a standard SKU (Core i5-4250U) and a BTO-only upgrade (Core i7-4650U).”
“As we found in our initial review of the 2013 MacBook Air, the default Core i5 option ranged between substantially slower than last year’s model to a hair quicker,” Lal Shimpi writes. “The explanation was simple: with a lower base clock (1.3GHz), a lower TDP (15W vs. 17W) and more components sharing that TDP (CPU/GPU/PCH vs. just CPU/GPU), the default Core i5 CPU couldn’t always keep up with last year’s CPU.”
Lal Shimpi writes, “For most users upgrading from an older machine the regression won’t matter. The 2013 MBA includes a much faster SSD, better graphics, and better CPU performance compared to older MBAs as well. For those users who are either trying to make an ultraportable more of a workhorse, or who otherwise need more performance than last year’s MBA can offer there is one solution. The BTO upgrade increases the base clock to 1.7GHz, adds an extra 1MB of L3 cache and includes much higher turbo frequencies”
Read more in the full article here.