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jcschlic
Dec 3, 2010, 08:25 AM
Or will it?

When the new MBA was released, I was literally salivating. I have wanted to pull the trigger and get the stock 13" so bad. However, right now for me would kind of be a "want" purchase rather than a "need".

So, that has left me to think that maybe the next iteration of the MBA will include the i3?

Perhaps there have been conversations on Macrumors about this already...not sure. What are your thoughts on that?

Is this the last of the C2D? Or will Apple milk it for a little while longer?



andrewsd
Dec 3, 2010, 08:42 AM
I say they milk it but of course it depends on their update cycle as we saw before the macbook air was not updated as annually as the rest of the line although Me personally thinks they will go to more of a "normal" update cycle with it now. I say it also depends on what they do with their other MacBook pro's and the design course they go both internally and externally. The C2D is a reliable processor and apparently a low enough voltage one so I think they may milk a little longer. Also if it is more of a want how you stated then wait till the next revision.

netdog
Dec 3, 2010, 08:44 AM
If you want cr@ppy Intel integrated graphics, then wait. Otherwise buy.

andrewsd
Dec 3, 2010, 08:53 AM
If you want cr@ppy Intel integrated graphics, then wait. Otherwise buy.
This is a very good point that I didn't think about about but at the same time there is no guarantee that they will use Intel integrated graphics either. How I said though you also said it is more of a want then it is a need so again I say wait. Unless you can afford it and not put strain on yourself or other bills/obligations then go for it. Either way you know it will be around for a little while longer now after this last up date so it will be there tomorrow.

jcschlic
Dec 3, 2010, 09:12 AM
If you want cr@ppy Intel integrated graphics, then wait. Otherwise buy.

Can you expand on that?

Do you mean that if the i3 was utilized in the MBA, the i3's video capabilities would only be the workhorse?

I doubt that Apple would release an inferior revision (when it comes to video processing capabilities).

KPOM
Dec 3, 2010, 09:56 AM
Can you expand on that?

Do you mean that if the i3 was utilized in the MBA, the i3's video capabilities would only be the workhorse?

I doubt that Apple would release an inferior revision (when it comes to video processing capabilities).

Space becomes an issue here. The MacBook Pros get around the limitations of Intel's graphics by adding a discrete GPU. Apple couldn't manage to fit one into the 13" MacBook Pro last time (and stuck with the aging Core 2 Duo), so the odds that they will be able to fit a Core i3 or i5 with a discrete GPU in next year's MacBook Air are pretty slim unless they make the case thicker. I can't see Apple doing that.

Hellhammer
Dec 3, 2010, 10:05 AM
I wouldn't be surprised to see AMD in MBA instead of Intel. Why? Because Intel IGPs are crap, they are way behind the 320M which is used in current gen. While iX would provide better CPU, the GPU would take a hit. With AMD, Apple could still get a decent CPU (hopefully/likely better than C2D) and still get outstanding graphics with AMD IGP

jcschlic
Dec 3, 2010, 10:09 AM
I wouldn't be surprised to see AMD in MBA instead of Intel. Why? Because Intel IGPs are crap, they are way behind the 320M which is used in current gen. While iX would provide better CPU, the GPU would take a hit. With AMD, Apple could still get a decent CPU (hopefully/likely better than C2D) and still get outstanding graphics with AMD IGP

I completely agree with this logic. However, from a business standpoint I don't know if Apple would dive into AMD chips (even though this has been rumored in the past.

Scott6666
Dec 3, 2010, 10:15 AM
Space becomes an issue here. The MacBook Pros get around the limitations of Intel's graphics by adding a discrete GPU. Apple couldn't manage to fit one into the 13" MacBook Pro last time (and stuck with the aging Core 2 Duo), so the odds that they will be able to fit a Core i3 or i5 with a discrete GPU in next year's MacBook Air are pretty slim unless they make the case thicker. I can't see Apple doing that.

I'm sorry doesn't the current air have a Nvidia 330 as a discrete CPU? What would the difference be in the number of chips?

KPOM
Dec 3, 2010, 10:20 AM
I'm sorry doesn't the current air have a Nvidia 330 as a discrete CPU? What would the difference be in the number of chips?

No, the current Air, MacBook, and 13" Pro have the NVidia GeForce 320m integrated graphics processor. The 15" and 17" Pro have the discrete NVidia GeForce GT 330M GPU.

Scott6666
Dec 3, 2010, 10:26 AM
No, the current Air, MacBook, and 13" Pro have the NVidia GeForce 320m integrated graphics processor. The 15" and 17" Pro have the discrete NVidia GeForce 330 GPU.

Still it's a separate chip, correct? Certainly separate from the CPU? Or are we saying that the NVidia graphics are combined with some other chipset so that with an i3 you'd need 3 chips - the CPU, the GPU and some I/O controller chip. With a core 2 duo the GPU and the other I/O controller are combined?

Hellhammer
Dec 3, 2010, 10:30 AM
Still it's a separate chip, correct? Certainly separate from the CPU? Or are we saying that the NVidia graphics are combined with some other chipset so that with an i3 you'd need 3 chips - the CPU, the GPU and some I/O controller chip. With a core 2 duo the GPU and the other I/O controller are combined?

With C2D you need:

CPU + nVidia IGP (has South and Northbridge in it)

With iX you need:

CPU (which is bigger than C2D due to the IGP and Northbridge) + GPU (and its GDDR chips) + Platform Controller Hub (i.e. PCH which does about the same functions as Southbridge)

jcschlic
Dec 3, 2010, 10:37 AM
With C2D you need:

CPU + nVidia IGP (has South and Northbridge in it)

With iX you need:

CPU (which is bigger than C2D due to the IGP and Northbridge) + GPU (and its GDDR chips) + Platform Controller Hub (i.e. PCH which does about the same functions as Southbridge)

Hmm, so what you are ultimately saying is that (as of right now) the integrated video on the iX lines is simply not fast enough to compete against a CPU/separate Video card combo?

Hellhammer
Dec 3, 2010, 10:41 AM
Hmm, so what you are ultimately saying is that (as of right now) the integrated video on the iX lines is simply not fast enough to compete against a CPU/separate Video card combo?

Depends on the discrete GPU but in most cases, yes, it's nowhere near the performance level of a discrete GPU. Current 320M is actually a very good GPU (well, IGP) so the issue would be that Intel IGP would be a downgrade in terms of GPU performance.

Intel IGP would, however, be sufficient to run OS X and most apps smoothly. It's up to Apple whether they are ready to sacrifice some GPU performance to get a nice bump in CPU performance or not.

servognome
Dec 3, 2010, 11:28 AM
If I recall correctly Sandy Bridge will move the memory controller and integrated graphics onto the CPU.
Without the need for a northbridge there could be space for a discrete GPU. Though power and heat requirements might be a limiting factor

Hellhammer
Dec 3, 2010, 11:41 AM
If I recall correctly Sandy Bridge will move the memory controller and integrated graphics onto the CPU.
Without the need for a northbridge there could be space for a discrete GPU. Though power and heat requirements might be a limiting factor

Nehalem and Westmere (i.e. current iX CPUs) did that already. The i5s and i7s in MBPs have IGP and memory controller (i.e. Northbridge) in them.

As I said above, there is still three chips needed with iX + discrete GPU combo since even Sandy Bridge still requires PCH. With C2D and nVidia IGP combo, there are only two chips.

bamf
Dec 3, 2010, 12:30 PM
The real problem here is Intel's reluctance to allow anyone to use an IGP other than the Intel one on the iX processor series. This is Intel's fault everyone.

Now, if the MBA had space for a discrete GPU it wouldn't be an issue. Like someone said above though, if they can't get a discrete GPU into the 13" MBP, they are not going to get it into the MBA.

KPOM
Dec 3, 2010, 12:45 PM
Hmm, so what you are ultimately saying is that (as of right now) the integrated video on the iX lines is simply not fast enough to compete against a CPU/separate Video card combo?

Exactly. Even the vaunted Sandy Bridge is only expected to provide performance similar to the NVidia 9400m, which Apple first used in its notebooks almost 3 years ago. The current IGP is even slower and doesn't support OpenCL, which was one of Snow Leopard's big selling points.

So for all the complaints about Apple using a 4 year-old CPU in the new MacBook Air and the current 13" Pro, the reply is that switching to a brand new processor would effectively require using a 3 or 4 year-old graphics processor.

jcschlic
Dec 3, 2010, 01:06 PM
Good things to think about...will keep me looking out for iX developments over the next year or so...

I think that ultimately, C2D is going to have to go away. It's just interesting to think about the repercussions.

servognome
Dec 3, 2010, 01:25 PM
Nehalem and Westmere (i.e. current iX CPUs) did that already. The i5s and i7s in MBPs have IGP and memory controller (i.e. Northbridge) in them.

As I said above, there is still three chips needed with iX + discrete GPU combo since even Sandy Bridge still requires PCH. With C2D and nVidia IGP combo, there are only two chips.

Doesn't the i5 in the MacBook Pro 15" it has a seperate die for the IGP on the CPU package - so it's really a 4 chip solution vs. 2 in the air.
I thought Sandy bridge actually integrates the IGP onto the die so would shrink the necessary package size, power, and thermal requirements.
This might buy margin to have the 3 chip solution fit - at least into the air 13"

emotion
Dec 3, 2010, 01:37 PM
This is rooted in the spat between Intel and NVIDIA.

I'd say we're 18 months off and we're waiting until LV (or ULV) versions of Ivy Bridge (the tock to Sandy Bridge's tick).

...or Apple make the huge leap to AMD....or longer term to some sort of ARM-based processor (which would need 64 bit enabled).

Interesting stuff though but ultimately I bought an 11" loaded Air right now :)

gwsat
Dec 3, 2010, 04:02 PM
This is rooted in the spat between Intel and NVIDIA.

I'd say we're 18 months off and we're waiting until LV (or ULV) versions of Ivy Bridge (the tock to Sandy Bridge's tick).

...or Apple make the huge leap to AMD....or longer term to some sort of ARM-based processor (which would need 64 bit enabled).

Interesting stuff though but ultimately I bought an 11" loaded Air right now :)
I went through the same calculus as you did and like you decided to buy an MBA now. I did, however, buy the loaded 13 inch model instead of the 11 inch because I needed the 13 inch Ultimate MBA's extra storage and increased screen size.

jcschlic
Dec 6, 2010, 07:48 AM
New post related to this thread:

http://www.macrumors.com/2010/12/06/nvidia-intel-settlement-could-boost-macbook-and-macbook-air-processor-speeds/

aldo818
Dec 6, 2010, 08:13 AM
I think we ll see a speed bump with a silent refresh in like 8 month but still C2D.

Then in an year or so they ll come with a real update and will replace the C2D

KPOM
Dec 6, 2010, 09:09 AM
I think we ll see a speed bump with a silent refresh in like 8 month but still C2D.

Then in an year or so they ll come with a real update and will replace the C2D

Since the Core 2 Duo is going end of life in a few weeks, Apple will need to place the order soon (if it hasn't already), so I doubt that we'll see another processor boost for the MacBook Air. If they couldn't solve the heat issues to get the 2.4GHz or 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo in the current generation (or even make the 2.13GHz the standard 13" model) then I doubt they will waste the time and resources to figure it out for a mid-cycle refresh. More likely, once the IGP is up to snuff, they will put in a "slower" Core i5 that can Turbo Boost when necessary and hyperthread to maintain lower processor speeds and generate less heat.

aldo818
Dec 7, 2010, 12:48 AM
Since the Core 2 Duo is going end of life in a few weeks, Apple will need to place the order soon (if it hasn't already), so I doubt that we'll see another processor boost for the MacBook Air. If they couldn't solve the heat issues to get the 2.4GHz or 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo in the current generation (or even make the 2.13GHz the standard 13" model) then I doubt they will waste the time and resources to figure it out for a mid-cycle refresh. More likely, once the IGP is up to snuff, they will put in a "slower" Core i5 that can Turbo Boost when necessary and hyperthread to maintain lower processor speeds and generate less heat.

I have the 2,13GHz air and it doesn t get hot i really doubt there s a heat issue with 2,13GHz or higher

linkandzelda
Dec 7, 2010, 01:07 PM
This is not coming from previous refresh experience but, I think we will see a discrete graphics chip in the next MBA 13" while the 11.6" will have a cpu bump up to probably 1.86 or 2.13+ (most likely C2D) which leaves it in the cold as most likely, the only C2D MB left at that time as If they can fit AMD + discrete into a 13" Air then the whole MBP lineup will get AMD too.

The only reason I think that is for the new MBP's they cant keep the same GPU and CPU as IIRC this is a major refresh coming up. They will either keep their 2GPU solution and upgrade the processors more and upgrade the GPU to a better Nvidia, or they will go for AMD with probably an ATI discrete. It's possible that the 13" Air even get's the specs of the current 15" MBP with the 11.6" following the current 13" Pro.

This was probably a waffle post but just my views, i couldn't find a better place to say them than here.

p.s. Damn intel for being tight ****ers.

Hellhammer
Dec 7, 2010, 01:28 PM
This is not coming from previous refresh experience but, I think we will see a discrete graphics chip in the next MBA 13" while the 11.6" will have a cpu bump up to probably 1.86 or 2.13+ (most likely C2D) which leaves it in the cold as most likely, the only C2D MB left at that time as If they can fit AMD + discrete into a 13" Air then the whole MBP lineup will get AMD too.

The only reason I think that is for the new MBP's they cant keep the same GPU and CPU as IIRC this is a major refresh coming up. They will either keep their 2GPU solution and upgrade the processors more and upgrade the GPU to a better Nvidia, or they will go for AMD with probably an ATI discrete. It's possible that the 13" Air even get's the specs of the current 15" MBP with the 11.6" following the current 13" Pro.

This was probably a waffle post but just my views, i couldn't find a better place to say them than here.

p.s. Damn intel for being tight ****ers.

1. 1.86GHz and 2.13GHz C2Ds are too hot for 11.6" (10W vs 17W). 1.6GHz is the fastest ULV C2D from Intel and it's unlikely that there will be faster ones since mobile C2Ds should be EOLed during this year.

2. No need for discrete GPU with AMD APU as the IGP should perform as well as a mid-level discrete chip. Maybe 15" and 17" still get a discrete GPU but the rest should be fine with the IGP. Also, there are no news about low-power Llanos so AMD in Macs is still very speculative as it's unsure will there be suitable chips for most/all laptops.

3. You can't just fit 35W CPU and ~30W GPU in the MBA, thus MBA with 15" MBP's specks is very, very unlikely. MBA uses low-power chips which perform worse than their standard-power counterparts

wordoflife
Dec 7, 2010, 02:25 PM
Just because it may have an iX series processor, it doesn't mean it can't have ATi graphics or intel and nvidia finally come up with an agreement.

linkandzelda
Dec 7, 2010, 02:54 PM
1. 1.86GHz and 2.13GHz C2Ds are too hot for 11.6" (10W vs 17W). 1.6GHz is the fastest ULV C2D from Intel and it's unlikely that there will be faster ones since mobile C2Ds should be EOLed during this year.

2. No need for discrete GPU with AMD APU as the IGP should perform as well as a mid-level discrete chip. Maybe 15" and 17" still get a discrete GPU but the rest should be fine with the IGP. Also, there are no news about low-power Llanos so AMD in Macs is still very speculative as it's unsure will there be suitable chips for most/all laptops.

3. You can't just fit 35W CPU and ~30W GPU in the MBA, thus MBA with 15" MBP's specks is very, very unlikely. MBA uses low-power chips which perform worse than their standard-power counterparts

1. I see. As C2D are phasing out, they probably won't make lower W versions... Unless they make a ULV iX which would be sweet. Not sure if that already exists.

2. Wow an IGP that fast? That's nice, perhaps it would go in the 13" Air too. I think that AMD is pretty much the only option for Apple at this point if they want to have a more powerful revision. Unless they redesign the Logic Board or something, perhaps use SB with another discrete GPU.

3. I understand that. Didn't appreciate such a high W CPU and GPU. Seems like no discrete then, but perhaps that fast IGP, or just a CPU bump for a minor revision.

iZac
Dec 8, 2010, 08:32 AM
Space becomes an issue here. The MacBook Pros get around the limitations of Intel's graphics by adding a discrete GPU. Apple couldn't manage to fit one into the 13" MacBook Pro last time (and stuck with the aging Core 2 Duo), so the odds that they will be able to fit a Core i3 or i5 with a discrete GPU in next year's MacBook Air are pretty slim unless they make the case thicker. I can't see Apple doing that.

Plenty of room in that 13" MBP when they remove the optical drive! I could see them phasing it out of the 13" and adding the descrete GPU with the argument that you now have a machine that keeps up with its 15" brother and isn't matched by the MBA and plastic macbook. the 15" retains the optical drive in the same way that the 17" retains the expresscard slot, with more features / "legacy support"?

KPOM
Dec 8, 2010, 12:14 PM
Plenty of room in that 13" MBP when they remove the optical drive! I could see them phasing it out of the 13" and adding the descrete GPU with the argument that you now have a machine that keeps up with its 15" brother and isn't matched by the MBA and plastic macbook. the 15" retains the optical drive in the same way that the 17" retains the expresscard slot, with more features / "legacy support"?

I definitely agree with you on the 13" MacBook Pro. It WILL get a Core i5 or i7 (depending on what the next 15" gets), since it is really out of date compared to its Windows competitors. The MacBook Air is a bit different since it is geared toward a different market.

Hellhammer
Dec 8, 2010, 12:37 PM
I definitely agree with you on the 13" MacBook Pro. It WILL get a Core i5 or i7 (depending on what the next 15" gets), since it is really out of date compared to its Windows competitors. The MacBook Air is a bit different since it is geared toward a different market.

In the past the 13" has had inferior specs compared to its big brothers. No way it will get an i7 and even i5 is doubtful, maybe in high-end or as a BTO. Apple wants people to pay more for 15" and 17". As i3, i5 and i7 are product categories, 15" won't get i7 in base model, especially as there will only be one dual core i7 according to the leaked CPU lists.Also, i5s and i7s cost more and Apple definitely does not want to cut their profits.

KPOM
Dec 8, 2010, 01:07 PM
In the past the 13" has had inferior specs compared to its big brothers. No way it will get an i7 and even i5 is doubtful, maybe in high-end or as a BTO. Apple wants people to pay more for 15" and 17". As i3, i5 and i7 are product categories, 15" won't get i7 in base model, especially as there will only be one dual core i7 according to the leaked CPU lists.Also, i5s and i7s cost more and Apple definitely does not want to cut their profits.

I can't see Apple sticking with the Core 2 Duo for another year in the MacBook Pro, even the 13" model. It is going end of life in a few weeks. The stated reason last time was that they couldn't fit one in with a discrete GPU. If they get rid of the optical drive, they no longer have the "no room" excuse as they can move the batteries around to make room. There is very little differentiation between the MacBook Air and 13" Pro right now besides ports and storage. Switching to a Core i5 would position it better as a pro alternative. They can always use faster processors or a better GPU in the 15" and 17" to differentiate them.

Hellhammer
Dec 8, 2010, 01:09 PM
I can't see Apple sticking with the Core 2 Duo for another year in the MacBook Pro, even the 13" model. It is going end of life in a few weeks. The stated reason last time was that they couldn't fit one in with a discrete GPU. If they get rid of the optical drive, they no longer have the "no room" excuse as they can move the batteries around to make room. There is very little differentiation between the MacBook Air and 13" Pro right now besides ports and storage. Switching to a Core i5 would position it better as a pro alternative. They can always use faster processors or a better GPU in the 15" and 17" to differentiate them.

What I meant is that 13" will get i3

fyrefly
Dec 8, 2010, 01:22 PM
The current MBA Logic board looks like this:

http://modmyi.com/images/wiley/11.6-inch_MacBookAir_LogicBoard.jpg
(It's tiny).

There's no room for a CoreiX + Discrete GPU as others have stated, and Intel won't let Nvidia make chipsets (like the 320M) for the CoreiX processors.

Now there have been some developments on that front, and it's looking like things *may* be ironed out, but I doubt NVidia can flip a switch and get an CoreiX complimenting chipset out in ~6 months to meet with the timeframe for the next MacBook Pro refresh (likely in Spring, or by WWDC at the latest, IMHO). Which leaves us with C2D (which is getting EOL'd) or a Sandy Bridge-only solution for any early-mid-2011 refresh of the MBA. Not sure how that'll work...

Anyone know if (were the lawsuit resolved) NVidia could take the 320M and adapt it's chipset quickly/easily to match a part like the i7-680UM? That might offer us some hope for an earlier refresh? Or do they have to start from scratch?

Cost is also not necessarily a factor (at least for MacBook Air adoption of i5/i7 LV parts...). The Current SL9600 part goes for $316 and the current (arrandale) suitable replacement the i7-680UM goes for the same $$.

So it all comes down to how good Sandy Bridge's IGP is. Recent reports indicate that Sandy Bridge's IGP is decent and supports OpenGL. Might be enough to have Apple use a lower-end i5 in the 13" MB/MBP? The only problem is that the current i5 chips that have been leaked, only have 35W thermals. That's fine for 15"/17" MBPs, but the 13" MBPs only have about 30W thermals between the P8800 and the 320M chips. So we'll have to see what Apple will do there...

One plus is that Sandy Bridge can "turbo boost" it's graphics cores too - almost doubling graphics performance from 650Mhz to 1150Mhz when the need is there (flash video anyone? ;) ).

Regardless, here's Anandtech's chart (http://www.anandtech.com/show/3876/intels-core-2011-mobile-roadmap-revealed-sandy-bridge-part-ii) of the upcoming Sandy Bridge Mobile Parts - so we know what's going to be readily available in January after Intel announces it:

http://forums.macrumors.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=263277&stc=1&d=1291836257

KPOM
Dec 8, 2010, 01:22 PM
What I meant is that 13" will get i3

Really? The main thing that would add over the Core 2 Duo is hyperthreading. I'd have thought they would get more mileage from a low-voltage i5.

Hellhammer
Dec 8, 2010, 01:29 PM
Really? The main thing that would add over the Core 2 Duo is hyperthreading. I'd have thought they would get more mileage from a low-voltage i5.

i3 is just lower clocked i5/i7 without Turbo. It's not only HT, it offers much greater clock for clock performance when compared to C2Ds. How much is still a question but seeing that Nehalem/Westmere provided something like 20% over C2D and SB is supposed to be ~15% faster than Nehalem, it will be nice. Definitely the biggest bump in 13" MBP's CPU since the introduction of Intel CPUs.

As I said above, i5s cost more and in the end doesn't provide much to the average end user.

fyrefly
Dec 8, 2010, 07:20 PM
i3 is just lower clocked i5/i7 without Turbo. It's not only HT, it offers much greater clock for clock performance when compared to C2Ds. How much is still a question but seeing that Nehalem/Westmere provided something like 20% over C2D and SB is supposed to be ~15% faster than Nehalem, it will be nice. Definitely the biggest bump in 13" MBP's CPU since the introduction of Intel CPUs.

As I said above, i5s cost more and in the end doesn't provide much to the average end user.

The only problem with the i3 processors is that the only two that currently fit with the MBA's thermals are the i3-380UM (1.33Ghz) (http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=50028&processor=i3-380UM&spec-codes=SLBSL) and the i3-330UM (1.20Ghz) (http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=49021&processor=i3-330UM&spec-codes=SLBUG). Not exactly barn-burners, especially w/o Turbo-Boosting.

All of the other i3 Chips are 35W TDP chips - so they won't work in a MBA. Now these are Arrandale chips, not Sandy Bridge, but I don't believe Sandy Bridge is gonna up the clock speed that drastically.

To me, an i3-UM processor is no better than the Core2Duo offerings they have in the 13" model right now.

At least the i7's have "LM" models that don't skimp on base clock-speed as much. Like the i7-660LM at 2.26Ghz up to 3.06Ghz on turbo. It's a 25W part, so it might be tight with the thermals in a MBA tho. But if they can pair this speed with Sandy Bridge's better graphics... that would be a KILLER MBA.

Again, all of the stuff I'm referencing if Arrandale chips - so not Sandy Bridge yet, but if they can pull all these clock speeds off with Arrandale, I expect Sandy Bridge to be slightly better, (with a much better graphics core).

In other news today: Engadget reports that someone got their hands on an Unreleased Alienware Laptop (http://www.engadget.com/2010/12/08/unreleased-alienware-m17x-spotted-running-next-gen-intel-sandy-b/) with a Sandy Bridge chip in it (the i7-2630QM) and the integrated graphics chip scored a 15,940 on 3DMark06.

If this isn't a Hoax, and it doesn't seem like it is... and if the graphics chip in the i7-2630QM is clocked the same as the graphics chip in the i7/i5 destined for the MBP's... than the intergrated graphics chips of SB are AMAZING (and definitely *this* amazing when paired with an i7 CPU.

To put it in comparison... 3dMark06 scores for other Apple GPUs (links go to reference sites):

GMA950 --> 91 (http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Update-Apple-MacBook-Aluminium-Unibody-13-9400M.12533.0.html)
9400m --> 2,207 (http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Update-Apple-MacBook-Aluminium-Unibody-13-9400M.12533.0.html)
320M --> 5340 (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=904300)
330M --> 6,746 (http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops/apple-macbook-pro-15-inch-core-i7.aspx)

That compares to a SB Integrated Chip score of 15,000! Wow. This seems much too good to be true...?

Look at these screenshots:

A 320M paired with a Core2Duo 2.4Ghz: 5340
http://forums.macrumors.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=223808&d=1272296916

A Sandy Bridge with IGP and an i7-2630QM: 15,940!
http://img121.imageshack.us/img121/8241/16001132.png

Hellhammer
Dec 9, 2010, 08:58 AM
The only problem with the i3 processors is that the only two that currently fit with the MBA's thermals are the i3-380UM (1.33Ghz) (http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=50028&processor=i3-380UM&spec-codes=SLBSL) and the i3-330UM (1.20Ghz) (http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=49021&processor=i3-330UM&spec-codes=SLBUG). Not exactly barn-burners, especially w/o Turbo-Boosting.

All of the other i3 Chips are 35W TDP chips - so they won't work in a MBA. Now these are Arrandale chips, not Sandy Bridge, but I don't believe Sandy Bridge is gonna up the clock speed that drastically.

I was talking about MacBooks and 13" MBPs. For 13" MBA, Apple would have to use i7-6x0LM.

See the SB mobility chip table above in this thread. i5s should feature the same 650MHz clock speed for the IGP but i7s will have 150MHz better Turbo. So sounds pretty capable. Of course LM and UM chips will likely come with slower clock speeds due to heat

dime21
Dec 9, 2010, 10:14 AM
Why do you think you need a core i3 processor? Core i3 sucks. It's slow. It's Celeron with a new name. C2D processors are faster than Core i3 in most benchmarks. Add the mandatory intel graphics, and Core i3 is really a lame duck.

Hellhammer
Dec 9, 2010, 10:19 AM
Why do you think you need a core i3 processor? Core i3 sucks. It's slow. It's Celeron with a new name. C2D processors are faster than Core i3 in most benchmarks. Add the mandatory intel graphics, and Core i3 is really a lame duck.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/56?vs=143

C2D wins in two games and in one synthetic benchmark. i3 dominates in others

stockscalper
Dec 9, 2010, 11:34 AM
Why do you think you need a core i3 processor? Core i3 sucks. It's slow. It's Celeron with a new name. C2D processors are faster than Core i3 in most benchmarks. Add the mandatory intel graphics, and Core i3 is really a lame duck.

C2D paired with a superb graphics card ala the Air is much better than any i3 with Intel graphics.

fyrefly
Dec 9, 2010, 01:37 PM
Well, the new rumour this AM from CNET is that Apple's gonna use Sandy Bridge's integrated Graphics for 13" and smaller MacBooks (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20023505-64.html). CNET also re-iterates that they're hearing that Sandy Bridge has OpenCL (they've even released Alpha Drivers and DevKit for SB OpenCL).

This is all good news, and if it's all true, it points to Apple conceivably updating the 13" MB/MBP out of C2D sooner, rather than later... probably as early as January, but I kinda doubt it'll be that soon. Feb-April timeframe feels more right, for Apple. They're not usually the first out the gate with this stuff.

As for the MBA - the article conspicuously says Sandy Bridge graphics for all "MacBook models with screen sizes of 13 inches and below". So Sandy Bridge MacBook Air sooner, rather than later too? At least on the 13" Model? Hmm...

dime21
Dec 9, 2010, 01:44 PM
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/56?vs=143

C2D wins in two games and in one synthetic benchmark. i3 dominates in others
I don't think "dominates" is quite the right word. LOL. At your benchmark link, both the C2D and the i3 got *exactly* the same score in Crysis. 79 fps. Most of the other benchmarks on that page are close to being tied, only a few percentage difference.

And that's with both using the exact same GPU. If you were to run those same benchmarks, but using the Nvidia graphics with the C2D (as the MBA is today), against i3 with Intel graphics, the C2D would dominate most everything on that list.

The point being, that there is not a significant CPU performance benefit to i3 over C2D, so there is no reason to hold off on an MBA purchase for that reason alone.

CaoCao
Dec 14, 2010, 12:19 AM
I'm guessing either nothing until Ivy Bridge and the MBA gets a shrunken Sandy Bridge LV/ULV i5-i7
or MBA joins the Red Team. Probably a Bobcat with similar specs, but with better battery life. If this switch occurs Apple might dangle a good loan in front of AMD for exactly what they want