Video: What Boots Faster? 11-inch MacBook Air vs iPad vs Fastest Win 7 Notebook

The MacBook Air 11-inch has a lot going for it: thin chassis, gorgeous screen, comfy keyboard, light weight, and speedy flash storage. However, the most amazing thing about it is its record-breaking boot and resume times. According to our tests, it takes a mere 15 seconds to go from a powered off state to fully-functional Mac OS X desktop. If that’s not fast enough, let your Air go to sleep and then open the lid for a near-instantaneous resume time.

How does the Air 11-inch’s super-fast start time stack up to the dual-SSD powered Sony VAIO Z running Windows 7 or the iPad? Check out the video below and see for yourself.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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  1. aftermath Says:

    Hmmm… There’s a quad core version of the Vaio Z (I have it) that’s even quicker than this dual core. However, the underlying SSDs are proprietary and not that quick. You might want to test this against a device one with a higher quality SSD. RunCore also makes astonishingly quick SSDs.

  2. Jesse B Andersen Says:

    That’s pretty darn good. The Air is speedy.

    That Sony isn’t the fastest for a resume from standby. The Viliv S10 is faster.


    About 3 seconds.

    I’m hoping to see Windows machines try harder to get closer to this quick standby resume method. That was my favorite feature of the iPad. Boot times are ancient….

  3. Win7 is faster than that Says:

    Great biased review. I have a Thinkpad x200s with Intel’s 80Gig SSD. I’m able to boot fresh Win7 install in 12 sec from “Starting Windows” text + Post. That makes the total around 20 sec. I can even shave off 5sec. with a little optimizing. Don’t know anything about Sony. Every HW and SW setup is different. Instead of just boot times, make a SSD speed test and tell read/write speeds for Air and others!

  4. Bolezhinkov Says:

    @Win7 is faster than that . . . its anecdotal, sure. but I don’t think the tester is biased towards any particular piece of technology here . . . just showing relatively common usage scenarios and their results. that said, holy mackerel the air is a quick loader.

    @aftermath . . . I don’t think there is a Vaio Z with a quad core processor. maybe you have mistaken the quad ssd option that it was updated with at the start of the year? or maybe you think that an i7-620m is a quad core processor? it’s just a dual core with a high clock speed, no four core option.

  5. david stillwell Says:

    Too bad you can’t see the keys after the Air boots. Forgot the backliighting.


  6. JB82 Says:

    Hmm “fastest win 7 boot” i don’t think so!

  7. Giovanni Says:

    The Mac is very quick indeed. It might have been worthwhile to test some Linux distribution on the Vaio Z too. Ubuntu and Debian, e.g., are renowned for booting very fast. Linux Xandros used to boot in 25” on my old eee900, whose hardware is absolutely not comparable with either the MacBook or the Vaio’s. Linux Mint (not the lightest and fastest of distributions) boots in POST+20” on my HP dv3 with standard HDD without any optimization.

  8. Tritium1790 Says:

    @Win7 – This comparison is about what the general public would get OTC (unmodded). That’s because it is easier to the average Joe to buy computers and use OS’s that have already been optimized from the ground up, rather than those that need to be hacked and tweaked by the end user in order to compete with the speed of others. Let’s consider an even fight here: Build a PC that has the same processor, memory, and disk as the MacBook Air, do an unoptimized, standard install of the fullest version of Win7, and see how it stacks against OSX that was standard installed on the Air. Or something like Slackware. Of course you can build a PC for Win7 to start in like 4 seconds, but you could also build some insane MacPro that could start faster yet.

    All of this arguing about startup times is moot anyhow. I only need to restart my Mac a few times each year. Current uptime: 49d16hr – and that was because of a semi-annual OS update that I do by choice.

  9. Ultimate Says:

    40 seconds is surprisingly long. I have an HP laptop that boots in about 30 without an SSD or other internals the sony does.

    Are you using all your cores to boot it? 7 by default (for who knows what reason) doesn’t boot with all its cores. Try going to search and putting in msconfig, then Boot, then advanced. Increase the number of processors to its maximum number. While you’re there you should go to the startup tab and deselect any services you don’t need at startup.

    I’m not going to argue that the MacBook Air boots crazy fast but a machine with those specs should be doing better than 40 seconds.

  10. jame22 Says:

    two Os it’s different ……

  11. vēer Says:

    I think this startup comparison is quite biased. Some quick bios setting changes and Sony will loose few seconds.

  12. nannanan Says:

    the air is the perfect pc. hell, it can even run gta 4 at 40fps!

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