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What kind of video processor is provided by the MacBook Air models? How much system memory is reserved by each for graphics? Which models have which type of port for video out? What is the maximum resolution each can support on an external display?
All MacBook Air models have "integrated" graphics that share memory with the system.
Although each subsequent MacBook Air typically has had faster graphics than the model replaced, integrated graphics still tend to have slower graphics performance than systems that have dedicated memory exclusively for graphics use.
Photo Credit: Apple, Inc. (11-Inch & 13-Inch MacBook Air)
Details regarding the video processor, memory reserved by the system for video use, the video out port, and maximum resolution on a second display are all provided on the specs page for each model, but basics also are provided below for your convenience:
|MacBook Air||Video Processor||VRAM*||Video Out|
|Original||Intel GMA X3100||144 MB||Micro-DVI|
|"Late 2008"||NVIDIA GeForce 9400M||256 MB||Mini DisplayPort|
|"Mid-2009"||NVIDIA GeForce 9400M||256 MB||Mini DisplayPort|
|"Late 2010"||NVIDIA GeForce 320M||256 MB||Mini DisplayPort|
|"Mid-2011"||Intel HD Graphics 3000||256 MB
|"Mid-2012"||Intel HD Graphics 4000||384 MB||Thunderbolt|
|"Mid-2013"||Intel HD Graphics 5000||1 GB||Thunderbolt|
*Please note that this is the minimum amount of system memory reserved for video function. No MacBook Air models have dedicated VRAM.
The original MacBook Air is capable of simultaneously supporting 1920x1200 on an external display and all subsequent models are capable of supporting 2560x1600 on at least one display.
Although Apple makes no mention of it, third-parties have discovered that the "Mid-2012" and "Mid-2013" MacBook Air models can simultaneously support two external displays up to 2560x1600 "daisy chained" via Thunderbolt.
However, it is possible that these models may overheat in real-world use in such a scenario, though. If you have experimented with two Thunderbolt connected external displays with your "Mid-2012" or "Mid-2013" MacBook Air (A1465 and A1466), please do share the results of your experiment.
On basic terms, "micro-DVI" is even smaller than mini-DVI, which in turn, is smaller than the full-sized DVI. Even though micro-DVI is smaller than the mini-DVI provided by the "White and Black" MacBook models, it still is capable of supporting 1920x1200 on an external display in dual display or mirroring mode.
Diagram Credit: Apple, Inc.