ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

MacBook vs MacBook Air 2008 - a comparison

Updated on October 27, 2011

A Note About this Article

This article was written in 2008 about the initial release of the Macbook Air. If you want to read an evaluation of the new 2010 Macbook Air please go here.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Black MacBookWhite MacBook
Black MacBook
Black MacBook
White MacBook
White MacBook


The MacBook, one of many in a line of Apple laptop computers, was introduced on May 16, 2005 as the iBook replacement. Boasting a speed increase of five times over the iBook G4 and four times faster than the PowerBook G4 the MacBook promised to be a viable alternative to these venerable laptops.

It has kept it's promise.

However, with the recent release of the MacBook Air I thought it advisable to compare the two models on performance, expandability, connectivity, size, and weight.

First, there have been some improvements to the original MacBook since it's introduction.

The MacBook now sports the Intel Core 2 Duo processor. When originally released it came with the slower Intel Core Duo. It also now supports 802.11n WiFi over the "g" specification it was originally released with.

Hard disc choices are 80, 120, or 160 Gigabytes. All are Serial ATA drives for faster performance.

Like the original Model-T Ford it came on one color; white. Now you can get a black model as long as you order the high end 2.2 GHz model.

The outer-skin of the MacBook is polycarbonate. For those who don't know about this material it is the same polymer sandwiched between sheets of glass to create bullet proof glass.

The base retail price MacBook is $1,099.00.

MacBook Air

The MacBook Air is the latest and greatest from Apple. It's not a true notebook, but a sub-notebook or ultra-portable.

It's skin is aluminum and the external connections are restricted to three. A earphone jack, one USB port, and something Apple has dubbed the Micro-DVI.

It comes with one hard disc size (80 Gigabyte) Parallel ATA drive or one solid state drive of 64Gigabytes. Processor speed is limited to 1.6 GHz or 1.8 GHz.

MacBook Air
Intel Core 2 Duo
Intel Core 2 Duo
2.0 & 2.2 GigaHtz
1.6 & 1.8 GigaHtz
Storage (Hard Disk)
80, 120, & 160 GigaByte SATA
80GigaByte SATA
1GigaByte Standard up to 4GigaByte
2GigaByte no expansion
Optical Drive
24X slot-loaded combo or 8X super (opt)
8X superdrive (opt)
Battery Charger
55WattHour* 6 hour or 60 WH MagSafe
37WattHour* MagSafe or 45 WH MagSafe
Display Resolution
13.3" diagonal
13.3" diagonal
1280 X 800 native
1280 X 800 native
1920 X 1200 external monitor
1920 X 1200 external monitor
Network Connectivity
10/100/1000 BaseT
Wireless Connectivity
802.11n WiFi
802.11n Wifi (a,b, & g compatible)
version 2.0
version 2.1
Built-in Stero
Built-in Mono
Built-in Omni Microphone
Built-in Omni Microphone
1 X 400 port
2 X 2.0 USB
1 X 2.0 USB
1.06cm X 32.5cm X 22.7cm
0.4~1.94cm X 35.7cm X 24.3cm
5.0lbs / 2.27Kg
3.0lbs / 1.36Kg
* Dependent on use
MacBook Air
MacBook Air

Summary Comparison

Though there are some definite similarities between machines the differences are pronounced.

The processor speed, hard disc size and speed, and ability to connect are all lacking when comparing the MacBook to the MacBook Air.

The MacBook has more processor options, better disc speed (Serial ATA), more options in storage capacity, can have considerably more memory installed, and has one more USB port than the Air. It also has an Ethernet and FireWire connection where the MacBook Air has neither.

The MacBook Air does not include FireWire, the optical drive is an external option, and has no Ethernet connection. Basically, what the additional six hundred dollars retail gets you is a considerably lighter machine with decent performance with limited connect-ability.

The MacBook Air retails for $1,799.00.


The author was not compensated in any way, either monetarily, with discounts, or freebies by any of the companies mentioned.

Though the author does make a small profit for the word count of this article none of that comes directly from the manufacturers mentioned. The author also stands to make a small profit from advertising attached to this article.

The author has no control over either the advertising or the contents of those ads.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)