Rumors about the appearance of the MacBook Air display high-resolution went a long time — how about the fact that the 11 – and 13-inch models will come an intermediate version with a screen diagonal of 12 inches. The reality, however, not fully confirmed these expectations. The MacBook Air lineup remained intact, successfully updating to processors generation Broadwell, and ultra-compact laptop with high resolution screen was dedicated in a special class of devices – “just” MacBook. The

benefit of this position is in the production of Apple vacant since then, how was discontinued last plastic “MacBook”.

New MacBook 2015 is, without a doubt, a full-fledged laptop, but in some terms, he is moving closer to class tablets and clearly designed for a similar usage scenario to carry all day and put to charge at night.

The ground for the emergence of such a “Poppy” has produced a wave of “transformers” on Windows 8 (and less on Android), but Apple has not followed this recipe and produced a standard PC form factor, not particularly the lack of performance and at the same time, in size similar to tablet. But to achieve this goal, Apple had to bend the standards almost as much as the once with the original MacBook Air. Born at the point of connection of the tablet and laptop worlds, the novelty should become a universal device for a wide audience, but due to the unavoidable trade-offs risks being the target of much criticism in the aspect of laptop qualities.

Thanks to the store First Store we got the computer for testing soon after the official launch on April 10 and tried to learn new details as much as possible in the short time we had at our disposal.

Specifications, prices

The basis for the MacBook is Intel Core M core Broadwel-Y, which extends the Core architecture for a class of systems-on-chip with a TDP of 4.5 W, corresponding to tablets. Buyers are given the choice of three configurations with a relatively low basic frequency CPU: 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 GHz. But don’t jump to conclusions: Intel has left a huge space for overclocking in Turbo mode — upper limit frequency is 2.4, 2.6 and 2.9 GHz. By the way, MacBook, the chips are allowed to work on a slightly higher base frequencies than specified in Intel specifications. How is it manifested in practice, we have yet to see.

MacBook standard with 8 GB of RAM without the possibility to upgrade to 16GB at purchase. This volume set features SoC Core M. the Storage set volume of 256 or 512 GB.

Configuration with Junior CPU and 256 GB of ROM in the U.S., Apple sells for $299 1, top – for $1 749, in the Russian Apple Store is a converted respectively 89 and 119 990 900 RUB Thus accessible from the Macintosh remains MacBook Air 11″ for $899 (62 990 rubles). But if we leave aside the crazy prices for equipment in Russia, the new MacBook is not much more expensive than the 11-inch Air was loaded with the same components (8 GB RAM, SSD 256 GB) – $1 199.

Apple Macbook Early 2015
Display 12-inch 2304 × 1440, IPS
CPU Intel Core M-5Y31 (2 cores, 1.1 to 2.4 GHz)/Intel Core M-5Y51 (2 cores, the 1.2-2.6 GHz)/Intel Core M-5Y71 (2 cores, 1,3-2,9 GHz)
Chipset PCH-LP on the substrate CPU
GPU Intel HD Graphics 5300
Drive SSD, PCIe 2.0 x4, 256/512 GB
Ports I / o 1 × USB 3.1 Type-C Gen. 1, 1 × mini-jack
Network IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0
Battery, WH 39,7
Weight, kg 0,92
Overall measures (WxHxD) cm 28,04 × of 19.66 × 0,36-1,32

The set of ports to connect with peripherals – that’s a bombshell. MacBook carries only one port of USB Type-C for all needs: charging, connecting flash drives and even external monitor. Let’s start with that: even if we leave aside the significance of a new connector for the new MacBook, it is also the first device with USB Type-C, which fell into our hands.

USB Type-C, delivery set

Standard USB Type-C is presented as a universal replacement USB ports Type-A and Type-B, in other words, it is reversible (reversible) connector, which can be equipped with both the host device and the peripheral. Some of the physical lines can be isolated for direct connection of devices via other protocols than USB. Currently supported protocols for transmission of video MHL 3.0 and DisplayPort 1.3. When powered devices using USB Type-C voltage and current can be up to 20 V and 5 A respectively, which gives a power of 100 watts.

The actual USB Protocol in the MacBook has version 3.1, however, refers to the so-called first generation (Gen. 1). Consequently, bandwidth (5 Gbps) there is no difference from USB 3.0. SuperSpeed mode+ generation 2 at a speed of 10 Gbps is simply not supported built-in controller SoC Broadwell-Y and an additional controller would be inappropriate on a compact motherboard of the laptop.

For all these qualities the standard Type-C reminiscent of great proprietary interface Apple Lightning. For full functionality also requires active, chipped cables. Physically, the connectors are very similar, with the difference that the USB Type-C has 24 pins, and Lightning – 16. In addition, a male connector USB Type-C, unlike Lightning, hollow inside, and the “female” part has the tab on contacts. Even plug the USB Type-C is not latched in the nest as Lightning. At first glance the connector looks sound, but knowing examples of when the proverbial reeds were broken, from the point of view of mechanics we will give preference to Lightning. Surely Apple considered variant of the Lightning instead of USB Type-C, but it definitively would make the MacBook the “cloud” device.

By itself, the Type-C connector is more convenient than Type-A (as in full-scale and Mini/Micro version) due to the symmetrical contacts. Probably sooner or later it will be introduced everywhere. But as long as the adapter Type C is a large Type-A ($19 or 1 2190 RUB) necessary for survival, if you plan to make the MacBook the main computer (which is often the situation for owners of the MacBook Air). It is a pity that Apple for reasons of economy or, rather, obstinacy did not include it in the package.

To connect external displays Apple offers a cable to three connectors: USB Type-A, Type-C, and HDMI 1.4 a or VGA (for $79 or 5 490 rubles). Thus, it is possible to simultaneously use the monitor to charge your MacBook and connect standard peripherals. The MacBook also supports DisplayPort 1.2 resolutions up to 3840 × 2160, but it is not entirely clear whether Broadwell-Y to provide a frequency of 60 Hz and open it in OS X (GPU performance may not be enough for a smooth animation of the desktop in this mode).

Regular power supply MacBook also has a port USB Type-C and the size is an intermediate step between BP and BP iPad MacBook Air. Devices, familiar with new USB specifications for power, the unit can provide 29 watts (14.5 V, 2 A), and the rest – 11.4 W (5.2 V, 2 A).

Charge “MacBook” after many years of use connector MagSafe unusual. Moreover, I feel wary, remembering why MagSafe is the name of the word safe. Each user “MacBook” for once in my life tripped over the cable and thanked the magnetic connector for the laptop flew onto the floor.

Other accessories attached to the MacBook only a double USB cable Type-C and a brief paper manual.

Appearance, ergonomics

The shape of the laptop is tailored by the MacBook Air: the same tapered edges with flat ends, the same tapering at the front of the case. The outer surface is almost entirely metal, including the lid hinge and part of the display frame. Restrictions on the thickness was made to replace even the standard glowing logo polished metal as on the iPad and iPhone.

Another feature that makes the MacBook already with iOS: available in three color options anodized aluminum housing – unpainted silver, gray (space gray) and gold. And most importantly: in MacBook no fans and even vents for cooling — heat transfer occurs through the hull.

The new MacBook is noticeably thinner than Air: maximum thickness is 1.32 against a 2 cm Mass close to the similar indicator of the 11-inch MacBook Air: about 0.92 and 1.08 kg, respectively. By the way, despite the low weight and the thickness of the bottom, MacBook balanced, as a standard laptop. The cover is not heavy, and the loop is so tight, how you want the laptop can be opened with one hand, but the lid in this case would not fall.

The main question in connection with the dimensions of the MacBook: and whether it was better to sacrifice so thin edges to accommodate another port of the USB Type-C? The current thickness does not allow for this, keeping the audio mini-jack.

Screen with a diagonal of 12 inches has a non-standard resolution of 2304 × 1440. To get the aspect ratio of 16:10, the width of the screen in the standard WQHD took 256 pixels. And correct: in these diagonals are harder to make productive use of screen space with the 16:9 aspect ratio. The pixel density is virtually the same as in the “retinoic” MacBook Pro (226 PPI), however, Apple claims that the display power consumption is 30% less than other Macs. The same number was previously announced for the iMac with Retina display, so it’s easy to assume that the MacBook also uses IPS-matrix with a substrate of similar thickness from longtime partner Apple – LG.

What is also interesting in connection with the screen is the fact that the default resolution of 1280 × 800 mode HiDP. It is not a multiple of the native screen resolution, so the image is slightly less crisp than in 1152 × 720, which is also available in the settings, but provides very little usable space.

Along with the latest incarnation of the MacBook Pro with Retina display new Mac got the touchpad Force Touch, perfectly simulating a keystroke at the expense of the electromagnet. As a result, the touchpad is equally sensitive at any point of the surface.

To make a computer so thin, the keyboard also had to be changed. All the “Macs” unibody-chassis keys with a relatively short stroke, but in the new MacBook the course even shorter, and pressing gently. Under the hood lies a new key mechanism (Apple calls it a butterfly switch), providing more stable position of the plane of the keys compared with the traditional “scissors”.

Butterfly switch (photo from iFixit)

The keys are larger, and the intervals between them decreased. Changed and the ratio of sizes between some of the buttons: Esc became longer due to the function keys. A bit unusual look arrow “left” and “right” twice as high.

Each key is illuminated by its own led. Apple even cared about the individual calibration of brightness, to ensure uniform illumination. Light leaks around the edges of the keys is minimal.

It’s an American MacBook, engraving Russian layout made separately

In General, after the last “MacBook” new keyboard requires adaptation, mainly due to a short and soft stroke. But the fact that the keys are completely flat, not so interfere due to their large size.

The internal structure

The mounting of components inside the MacBook has nothing to do with what can be seen in MacBook Air. Battery capacity of 39.7 W·h (Air 11 – 38 W·h ) and the motherboard is attached to the bottom cover and connected with the organs of the I / o on the opposite side of the housing by flexible loops.

Inside the Apple MacBook 12″ Early 2015 (photo from iFixit)

The motherboard of this size and density is typical for tablets rather than laptops. SoC Broadwell-U has a compact BGA package-1234. On the reverse side of the Board are two chips LPDDR3 SDRAM 4 GB.

Motherboard Apple MacBook 12″ Early 2015 (photo from iFixit)

The biggest surprise was that the SSD controller for MacBook designed by Apple and manufactured by TSMC (as reported by Chipworks). On this hint, and the device ID AP025H in OS X (the manufacturer determines the first letter: SD, SM, and TS to SanDisk, Samsung and Toshiba, respectively, in previous models).

Remarkable SSD PCIe x4 and support for the NVMe Protocol designed specifically for SSDs, unlike now widely used AHCI Protocol, which was designed for hard drives. The main advantage of NVMe — reduced latency of the command processing. Another important factor is support for multiple command queues and the increased queue length (from 32 to 64 teams, respectively). The new Protocol largely manifests itself in the server, rather than client drives, however, and the latter will be able to benefit from the change AHCI to NVMe. In particular, the reduced latency of the SSD will allow you to spend more time in sleep mode, reducing energy consumption. The widespread introduction of NVMe in the client computers is inevitable, but Apple, in this case, controls the process of design and production of computer from start to finish, forcing event. It is not clear why it needed to create its own controller if Samsung and Marvell already have options for NVMe.


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