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MacBook Air Q&A - Updated May 5, 2014

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What are all the differences between the "Mid-2013" MacBook Air models?

Please note that the "Mid-2013" MacBook Air models have been discontinued. However, this Q&A has been updated subsequently and is quite useful for anyone purchasing one of these models on the used market.

Apart from the obvious size differences, the "Mid-2013" MacBook Air models -- the MacBook Air "Core i5" 1.3 11" (Mid-2013) and the MacBook Air "Core i5" 1.3 13" (Mid-2013) -- are quite similar to one another. The custom configurations of each model, the MacBook Air "Core i7" 1.7 11" (Mid-2013) and MacBook Air "Core i7" 1.7 13" (Mid-2013), respectively, also are very similar to one another as well as the stock configurations.

However, there still are some notable external and internal differences as well as identification differences that are well worth reviewing.


Photo Credit: Apple, Inc. (Left - 11" MacBook Air, Right - 13" MacBook Air)

External Differences

Like earlier MacBook Air models, the "Mid-2013" systems use thin "wedge shaped" aluminum cases. Both systems are 0.11 of an inch at the front and taper to 0.68 of an inch at the rear, but the 11-Inch models are 11.8 inches by 7.56 inches when closed whereas the 13-Inch models are 12.8 inches by 8.94 inches when closed to accommodate the larger display. The 11-Inch models weigh 2.38 pounds and the 13-Inch models weigh 2.96 pounds.

The 11-Inch model has a 11.6" 1366x768 display and the 13-Inch model has a 13.3" 1440x900 display. Although the displays are relatively high resolution for their physical size, they are a far cry from the 2560x1600 resolution provided by the 13-Inch Retina Display MacBook Pro models.

Each model has a full-size "chiclet-style" backlit keyboard, although the 11-Inch systems have smaller function keys with the power key integrated into the same row to save space, as well as glass "no button" trackpads with "inertial scrolling" support. Both likewise have integrated stereo speakers and an integrated 720p FaceTime HD webcam.

Connectivity Differences

Connectivity between the "Mid-2013" MacBook Air systems is the same with a single notable difference. Both models have 802.11ac Wi-Fi (which is backwards compatible with the earlier 802.11a/b/g/n standards), Bluetooth 4.0, one "Thunderbolt" port, dual USB 3.0 ports, an analog audio out port (that also supports the Apple iPhone headset with remote and microphone), and dual side mounted internal microphones. Both sizes also have a "MagSafe 2" power connector.

However, the 13-Inch models additionally have an integrated SDXC-capable SD Card slot, whereas the 11-Inch models do not. Neither system has Firewire, optical audio in/out, or Ethernet, although an external Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet adapter was offered as a US$29 option. Neither model supports a remote via IR, either.

Identification Differences

The "Mid-2013" MacBook Air models share the A1465 and A1466 Model Numbers with earlier and later systems, so this identifier is not suitable for unique identification purposes.

When introduced, the EMC Numbers -- 2631 and 2632, for the 11-Inch and 13-Inch models, respectively -- were specific to this line, but they are shared by the subsequent "Early 2014" line, as well. As the site has uniquely done so for many years, EveryMac.com has painstakingly hand documented these details for your convenience.

Unfortunately, the "Mid-2013" models also share Model Identifier in software with the subsequently introduced "Early 2014" line. Both lines use MacBookAir6,1 for the 11-Inch models and MacBookAir6,2 for the 13-Inch models. To locate the model identifier, select "About This Mac" under the Apple Menu on your computer, click the "More Info..." button, and last click the "System Report" button.

Consequently, the only way to uniquely identify specific "Mid-2013" MacBook Air models are by Order Number (which is not available on the computer itself) or by Serial Number with EveryMac.com's Ultimate Mac Lookup feature and the EveryMac app.

More information about specific identifiers is provided in EveryMac.com's extensive Mac Identification section.

Internal Differences

Internally, the "Mid-2013" MacBook Air models are quite similar. Both the 11-Inch and 13-Inch systems have standard dual core 1.3 GHz Core i5 "Haswell ULT" (I5-4250U) processors that support "Turbo Boost" up to 2.6 GHz and have 3 MB of level 3 cache. Both models also could be custom configured with a dual core 1.7 GHz Core i7 "Haswell ULT" (I7-4650U) processor which has 4 MB of level 3 cache and a maximum Turbo Boost speed of 3.3 GHz.

Regardless of processor, all "Mid-2013" models have an "integrated" Intel HD Graphics 5000 graphics processor that reserves 1 GB of system memory for video function.

Both systems also have 4 GB of 1600 MHz "Low Power" LPDDR3 SDRAM soldered onboard, which could be upgraded to 8 GB of RAM for an extra US$100, but only at the time of purchase. As first discovered by AnandTech, the "Mid-2013" models all have PCIe-based flash storage rather than SATA-connected storage like earlier Intel-based Mac notebooks. Specifically, these models use a custom Apple SSD design with a "PCIe 2.0 x2 interface, capable of a theoretical maximum of 1 GB/s in each direction." The Flash memory is not intended to be upgraded after purchase, but it is mounted on a removable module.

The lithium polymer batteries, which provide 38-watt hours for the 11-Inch models and 54-watt-hours for the 13-Inch models, are built-in and are not intended to be removed. The 11-Inch models provide an estimated 9 hours of "wireless web" use and 8 hours of "iTunes movie playback" whereas the 13-Inch models provide an estimated 12 hours and 10 hours of runtime for the same tasks. Real-world battery life is quite similar.

By default, the 11-Inch models were offered with either 128 GB or 256 GB of storage and the 13-Inch models were offered with either 128 GB or 256 GB of storage. However, the higher-end MD712LL/A 11-Inch configuration and MD761LL/A 13-Inch configuration both could be equipped with 512 GB of storage at the time of purchase for an additional US$300.

Comparison Chart

The differences between the stock "Mid-2013" MacBook Air models -- size, display size, connectivity, configuration, and battery life -- are summarized below:

 
Mid-2013 11-Inch

Mid-2013 13-Inch
Processor Speed: 1.3 GHz* 1.3 GHz*
Processor Type: Core i5 (I5-4250U)* Core i5 (I5-4250U)*
Turbo Boost: 2.6 GHz* 2.6 GHz*
Shared L3 Cache: 3 MB* 3 MB*
On Package Interface: Yes Yes
Standard RAM: 4 GB 4 GB
Maximum RAM: 8 GB† 8 GB†
Internal Storage: 128 GB, 256 GB†† 128 GB, 256 GB††
Graphics Processor: HD Graphics 5000 HD Graphics 5000
Display Size: 11.6" Widescreen 13.3" Widescreen
Display Resolution: 1366x768 1440x900
Battery Life: 8-9 Hours 10-12 Hours
SDXC Card Slot: No Yes
Dimensions: .11-.68 x 11.8 x 7.56 .11-.68 x 12.8 x 8.94
Weight: 2.38 Pounds 2.96 Pounds
Order Numbers: MD711LL/A, MD712LL/A MD760LL/A, MD761LL/A
EMC Number: 2631 2632
Model Identifier: MacBookAir6,1 MacBookAir6,2
Intro Price: US$999, US$1199 US$1099, US$1299


* A 1.7 GHz Core i7 (I7-4650U) processor was available via custom order as a US$150 upgrade. This processor shares 4 MB of level 3 cache and provides a maximum Turbo Boost speed of 3.3 GHz.

† Both models could be upgraded to 8 GB of RAM as a US$100 option, but only at the time of purchase. RAM in all models is soldered in place and cannot be upgraded after purchase.

†† The higher-end MD711LL/A and MD761LL/A configurations could be equipped with 512 GB of storage at the time of purchase for an additional US$300.

Comparison Summary

The differences between the "Mid-2013" MacBook Air models are more minor than the differences between any previous MacBook Air models offered at the same time.

As it always has been, though; MacBook Air systems are intended for those most interested in size and weight rather than performance, connectivity, or upgrades, and this did not change. What did change is that the "Haswell" architecture consumes far less power than previous systems and battery life increased considerably as a result.

On the used market, the 11-Inch and 13-Inch "Mid-2013" models both will remain viable for some time, and performance is similar between them, but most users likely will prefer a 13-Inch model as the larger display is better for multitasking and provides a handy SDXC card slot, too. Of course, the 11-Inch is smaller and cheaper, though; so those who are more interested in size or cost may prefer an 11-Inch.

Of course, if price alone is your primary concern, an older used MacBook or MacBook Air would be cheaper, still.

Site sponsor PowerMax sells a variety of used 11-Inch and 13-Inch MacBook Air models free of sales tax.

Please refer to EveryMac.com's Ultimate Mac Comparison feature to dynamically compare any MacBook Air model to any other Mac.


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