The new MacBook Air is here, and this time it comes in a very neat-looking and tiny 11.6-inch variant. While this is certainly no dedicated gaming machine, it is considerably more powerful than a netbook. And thanks to the integrated Nvidia 320M you shouldn’t have any problems playing some games on it. As such, that would make it the smallest gaming (capable) laptop yet.
The question is how much it can handle considering the somewhat weak low-voltage Core 2 Duo CPU? Actually there are already a few reviews of the 11-inch MBA laptop on the web. One of the best reviews so far is one by Hubert Nguyen on Ubergizmo–not least because he has the decency to publish it on a single page. At any rate… Sorry about that. The most interesting aspects from a gamers perspective is the 3DMark Vantage score in Windows, presumably in bootcamp mode; 1,690, which is not as far as you’d expect from the VAIO Z (2,224). An important difference is that the Z has a dedicated GeForce GT 330M with 1GB of video RAM.
Compared to a 17-inch gaming laptop, a Vantage score of 1,690 is pretty worthless, but for an 11-inch wafer-thin mini laptop it’s a sensational score. Here’s how it performed in Just Cause 2.
The new 13-inch MacBook Air comes with the same GPU but can be equipped with faster CPUs. Here’s another video with the 13″ MBA playing Starcraft 2.
Not bad. Although it’s highly unlikely that anyone would purchase a MacBook Air just for gaming, it’s interesting to note that it has the potential.