PC World: MacBook Air runs Windows medium-fast

Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from the Today@PC World blog on PCWorld.com.

Know that Apple ad where the PC calls PC World to complain because we wrote that the fastest notebook running Windows was a Mac? Don’t expect a sequel. Apple’s new ultraportable isn’t dog-slow running Windows, but it’s not a greyhound either, even compared to other thin and light notebooks.

Running our WorldBench 6 test, the MacBook Air scored a 61. Our current top-rated ultraportable, the Lenovo ThinkPad X61, scored an 86 on WorldBench. We generally say that you’ll notice a 5 percent difference in speed, so the gap between the ThinkPad and a MacBook Air would be very noticeable.

That said, the Air is far from the slowest ultraportable out there, though. The Fujitsu LifeBook P7230, scored a glacial 32 on WorldBench 6. The Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150 wasn’t much better at 38. You can see results for more ultraportables on our latest top 10 chart.

Using Boot Camp, we installed Windows Vista on the Air, which uses the Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset and the special miniature Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs developed especially for the PC. WorldBench 6 runs a range of typical applications, including Microsoft Office 2003, Firefox, Adobe Photoshop CS2 and WinZip 10. We’re working on battery tests of the Air, so look for more coverage from our test center on Monday.

As my Macworld colleague Jason Snell put it in his review, the MacBook Air is a story about compromise and it’s clear those compromises are no less if you’re running Windows instead of Leopard.

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