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iRun26.2
Jan 10, 2011, 09:24 PM
With Intel's very recent licensing of nVidia's technology to go into future Sandy Bridge IGPs, it seems likely that it might be a good idea to SKIP the first release of Sandy Bridge for the MBA:

The first Sandy Bridge chips (that we see now) barely can keep up with the graphic performance of what the current MBA already has. It will take a while for Intel to set up and use nVidia's better technology...but when they do, I bet it will be quite an improvement!

(Thinking in this manner will help me talk myself out of the MBA Sandy Bridge update when it becomes available...) :)



2IS
Jan 10, 2011, 09:27 PM
Well, I think it's way to early to be making these types of predictions. Who's to say that the first MBA with SB isn't one with an nVidia IGP?

chrmjenkins
Jan 10, 2011, 09:28 PM
You presume there will be a sandy bridge MBA. Also, there will be no change to sandy bridge as a result of the announced licensing agreement today.

iRun26.2
Jan 10, 2011, 09:36 PM
Well, I think it's way to early to be making these types of predictions. Who's to say that the first MBA with SB isn't one with an nVidia IGP?

You are right. That would make the most sense for Apple (wait for a SB version with the nVidia technology). I think it might be a difficult sell for them, to release a Sandy Bridge MBA that has greatly improved CPU power yet goes backwards with the GPU performance.

I don't think Apple will upgrade the MBA for a while either, since it is selling so well and there will certainly be a MBP update before the next MBA update.

iRun26.2
Jan 10, 2011, 09:48 PM
You presume there will be a sandy bridge MBA. Also, there will be no change to sandy bridge as a result of the announced licensing agreement today.

Ivy Bridge, then?

chrmjenkins
Jan 10, 2011, 11:09 PM
Ivy Bridge, then?

That's my guess. Ivy bridge igp will have full dx11 capabilities.

foiden
Jan 11, 2011, 07:38 AM
I've learned my lesson. When I see a machine come out with intel graphics, I will always wait and view various opinions and reviews from early adopters and journalists. This may mean months, but it sometimes takes that long to get the real truth on what something can and can't do.

I got the recent Macbook air. (My first one) So I don't plan on upgrading to a new model until maybe a few revisions down the line. It'll have to be pretty significant for me to want to bite. This already has spec to handle the releases I know about for the next couple of years, at least.

iRun26.2
Jan 11, 2011, 10:09 AM
I got the recent Macbook air. (My first one) So I don't plan on upgrading to a new model until maybe a few revisions down the line. It'll have to be pretty significant for me to want to bite. This already has spec to handle the releases I know about for the next couple of years, at least.

I agree. I'd need to see the return of the backlit keyboard and a SSD increase from 128G to 256G to get me to consider upgrading my 11.6" MBA (and there's no way I'd be willing to go backwards with the GPU capabilities).

Hellhammer
Jan 11, 2011, 10:18 AM
From AT (http://www.anandtech.com/show/4122/intel-settles-with-nvidia-more-money-fewer-problems-no-x86/2):

Intel Gets

Continued Access To NVIDIA's Graphics Patents

Intel has to license NVIDIA technology to avoid running afoul of the company's large patent portfolio with their own IGPs. It's for all practical purposes impossible to build a desktop GPU without infringing on an AMD/NV patent. This agreement allows Intel to continue producing their IGPs, just as how the original 2004 chipset agreement allowed Intel to produce more modern IGPs in return for NVIDIA getting a chipset license

No, you won't see NVidia IGP in Intel CPU. This agreement doesn't seem to add any new things for Intel, just continued access to use NVidia's old patents.

You guys are dreaming too much.

2IS
Jan 11, 2011, 10:46 AM
I got the recent Macbook air. (My first one) So I don't plan on upgrading to a new model until maybe a few revisions down the line. It'll have to be pretty significant for me to want to bite. This already has spec to handle the releases I know about for the next couple of years, at least.

My sentiments exactly. I got a 13" MBA a couple weeks ago (it too is my first Mac) and it suites my needs perfectly and unless something in here fails that cannot be easily repaired, I think will continue to do so long enough for me to skip a couple generations. I've got a powerful dual monitor desktop for all my heavy tasks.

chrmjenkins
Jan 11, 2011, 12:29 PM
From AT (http://www.anandtech.com/show/4122/intel-settles-with-nvidia-more-money-fewer-problems-no-x86/2):





No, you won't see NVidia IGP in Intel CPU. This agreement doesn't seem to add any new things for Intel, just continued access to use NVidia's old patents.

You guys are dreaming too much.

It all started with a bad headline from ars, for which Jon Stokes has apologized.

wisty
Jan 11, 2011, 12:57 PM
Intel's new HD is about as good as the nVidia chips in the old MBA (what is it, 9500M?), but no CUDA or OpenCL. Also, TPD should be lower. I'd rather the speed, battery life, and memory bandwidth, but gamers and people who need CUDA (PS users?) will not be happy campers.

There might be a small chance of them making room for discrete - the lower TPD and smaller SSD (if that's possible) might make room. But that would increase the price, and battery life would suffer. Not likely at all.

chrmjenkins
Jan 11, 2011, 01:36 PM
Intel's new HD is about as good as the nVidia chips in the old MBA (what is it, 9500M?), but no CUDA or OpenCL. Also, TPD should be lower. I'd rather the speed, battery life, and memory bandwidth, but gamers and people who need CUDA (PS users?) will not be happy campers.

There might be a small chance of them making room for discrete - the lower TPD and smaller SSD (if that's possible) might make room. But that would increase the price, and battery life would suffer. Not likely at all.

The next IGP (in ivy bridge) will have DX11 compatibility, so I don't see why they shouldn't support openCL as well, but I'm not sure there.

iRun26.2
Jan 11, 2011, 08:36 PM
From AT (http://www.anandtech.com/show/4122/intel-settles-with-nvidia-more-money-fewer-problems-no-x86/2):





No, you won't see NVidia IGP in Intel CPU. This agreement doesn't seem to add any new things for Intel, just continued access to use NVidia's old patents.

You guys are dreaming too much.

While I'm sure they are 'not for sale', it would seem to be Intel's best interest to find a way to buy nVidia much like AMD bought HTI. Integrating the GPU within the CPU makes a lot of sense from system standpoint. Will Intel ever reach an advanced level of IGP on the CPU (from Apple's perspective for a MBA) without help?

2IS
Jan 11, 2011, 08:59 PM
While I'm sure they are 'not for sale', it would seem to be Intel's best interest to find a way to buy nVidia much like AMD bought HTI. Integrating the GPU within the CPU makes a lot of sense from system standpoint. Will Intel ever reach an advanced level of IGP on the CPU (from Apple's perspective for a MBA) without help?

If they make it a priority I think they can do it rather easily given the resources Intel has. I just don't think it's been much of a priority for them, but with the mobile/ultra mobile market is taking off, i'm sure it will be sooner rather than later. Intel IGP is by far the best selling IGP around and Intel has been pretty good about updating it to be "good enough" for the majority of users. It's generally pretty up-to-date on features, but down on raw performance.

I personally don't do any gaming on laptops so for me it's more beneficial to have an Intel IGP that's part of the CPU and consumes less power and come in a smaller package than it is to have a separate GPU that may perform a bit better but at the same time run hotter and consume more power and require more space on the logic board. As long as it has hardware acceleration for flash and avchd video, it's good enough for me.

Hellhammer
Jan 12, 2011, 08:35 AM
While I'm sure they are 'not for sale', it would seem to be Intel's best interest to find a way to buy nVidia much like AMD bought HTI. Integrating the GPU within the CPU makes a lot of sense from system standpoint. Will Intel ever reach an advanced level of IGP on the CPU (from Apple's perspective for a MBA) without help?

The market for high performance IGPs is fairly low. Gamers will anyway opt for a discrete GPU and the people who don't need graphics power are already fine with the current IGP. I think the biggest need for good IGP is in ultraportable like MBA but like I said, the market for ultraportables isn't that huge.

iRun26.2
Jan 12, 2011, 08:35 PM
The market for high performance IGPs is fairly low. Gamers will anyway opt for a discrete GPU and the people who don't need graphics power are already fine with the current IGP. I think the biggest need for good IGP is in ultraportable like MBA but like I said, the market for ultraportables isn't that huge.

There has been a great deal of discussion here (complaining, actually) about how poor Intel's IGP has been in the recent past. I guess I got sucked into thinking that very good graphics are important to everyone. (I remember reading many posts from 'Scottsdale' deriding Intel's horrible graphics.)

I, myself, now that I own the late 2010 11.6" MBA, would never consider going back to my original Rev. A model. Graphics and plots in MATLAB just 'fly' on my MBA... almost rivaling my much faster Dell laptop.

iRun26.2
Jan 12, 2011, 08:43 PM
One off topic question for anyone who may know the answer...

What happened to the graphic posted by 'Shasta Macnasty' on this thread? Was it removed? (I guess I feel kind of stupid because I never completely figured out what was meant by that).

Hellhammer
Jan 13, 2011, 09:10 AM
There has been a great deal of discussion here (complaining, actually) about how poor Intel's IGP has been in the recent past. I guess I got sucked into thinking that very good graphics are important to everyone. (I remember reading many posts from 'Scottsdale' deriding Intel's horrible graphics.)

It is poor compared to what NVidia could have offered if Intel allowed them to make chipsets for iX CPUs. The issue in most cases is that people just bash the Intel IGP but they cannot provide any better alternative. C2D + NVidia IGP cannot live forever. iX + discrete GPU is possible but then Apple would have to increase the size of the logic board and that would mean a loss in battery life (battery is the only logical thing they can make smaller). Sure there is AMD but currently AMDs are even worse. One can speculate about AMD's future CPUs but until we have specs and raw numbers, it's pointless.

That leaves us with iX and Intel IGP. Maybe I missed something, let me know if I did. I'm sure I would be bashing the Intel IGP if we had other viable options, but currently I think we don't.

bloodycape
Jan 14, 2011, 03:17 AM
One can speculate about AMD's future CPUs but until we have specs and raw numbers, it's pointless.
I think there are some results for GPU on the just released Fusion platform and it was suppose to be better than SB's IGP if I am remembering it correctly.

2IS
Jan 14, 2011, 03:56 AM
I believe fusion may be a bit more powerful than the SB IGP. That said, ever since Intel introduced Core 2 Duo, AMD CPU's have consumed more power, ran hotter and offered up less performance that what Intel has to offer. Fusion may be ideal for a media center box, but I think Sandy Bridge is going to be a better fit for laptops.

iRun26.2
Jan 14, 2011, 09:09 PM
I believe fusion may be a bit more powerful than the SB IGP. That said, ever since Intel introduced Core 2 Duo, AMD CPU's have consumed more power, ran hotter and offered up less performance that what Intel has to offer. Fusion may be ideal for a media center box, but I think Sandy Bridge is going to be a better fit for laptops.

It really does sound like the new Sandy Bridge CPUs are going to be pretty awesome when it comes to combining processing power and low energy consumption (certainly compared to AMD's). I think just the fact that 'turbo mode' can be applied to either core or the IGU when needed is a major advancement. It really makes sense to me to for SB chips to be applied the ultra-portable MBA product line.

Back about six months ago I was reading all about what people were thinking the next generation MBA computers would have. I was convinced that I was not going to buy a new MBA until they came out with one with the Sandy Bridge chips. well, I was so impressed with what I saw when I used with the old C2D that I couldn't wait. The 11.6" machine was so fast and portable I could not wait for it to have my preferred processor.

Now, I will be kind of jealous if they came out with a new MBA with the SB chips in a few months but I would need more than just a faster processor to upgrade. And, I don't really think Apple will upgrade it until they upgrade the rest of the portable line. I'm sure there are people that bought MBA who will also buy the MBP when they also give it a SSD.

impulse462
Jan 15, 2011, 10:00 AM
Back about six months ago I was reading all about what people were thinking the next generation MBA computers would have. I was convinced that I was not going to buy a new MBA until they came out with one with the Sandy Bridge chips. well, I was so impressed with what I saw when I used with the old C2D that I couldn't wait. The 11.6" machine was so fast and portable I could not wait for it to have my preferred processor.

Is it really that amazing? I'm having the same trouble as you. I went to my local apple store and immediately fell in love with the 11.6 inch form factor, but I wanted to wait and see whether or not the MBA's would eventually get a Sandy Bridge update.

I know Apple hasn't sacrificed CPU power for GPU power, but does anyone have solid benchmarks for the Sandy Bridge IGP?

bella92108
Jan 15, 2011, 10:29 AM
I love these threads...

I have a iMac 3.2 quad core with 16GB RAM, and my MB Air runs circles around it in times of everyday use\speed. SSD affects performance. For my use, a better processor doesn't.

henrikrox
Jan 15, 2011, 10:35 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; nb-no) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

Heh. Apple can do that. Who cares about gpu power in a MBA. if you want a good gpu buy a mbp;)

bella92108
Jan 15, 2011, 10:41 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; nb-no) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

Heh. Apple can do that. Who cares about gpu power in a MBA. if you want a good gpu buy a mbp;)

yeah no sh%$ I dunno why people here who are power users act like they're going to do their power work on a MBA. The MBA will not be a power computer anytime soon.... so if someone claiming to be a power user says hold out for the "next gen" then they're obviously not a power user.

BlackMax
Jan 15, 2011, 11:16 AM
I read a prediction somewhere (I think it was MacWorld) that if Apple moved to the Sandy Bridge architecture on the next MacBooks/MacBook Airs they would probably still include a discrete GP with them because of the anticipated poor graphics processing of the IGP on the first version of Sandy Bridge.

Sent for my iPad

AMDGAMER
Jan 15, 2011, 11:20 AM
The macbook air snaps....its a strong laptop for its size, no doubt. If you want power, MBPRO or a laptop like an alienware M15X/17X if you want to talk crazy GPU power and dual SSDs etc...The GPU in my desktop can run circles around any GPU in any mac but why COMPARE? two different things.

2IS
Jan 15, 2011, 12:32 PM
I read a prediction somewhere (I think it was MacWorld) that if Apple moved to the Sandy Bridge architecture on the next MacBooks/MacBook Airs they would probably still include a discrete GP with them because of the anticipated poor graphics processing of the IGP on the first version of Sandy Bridge.

Sent for my iPad

That sounds a lot more like guess work than anything. I highly doubt Apple is going to use SB AND a separate GPU on a MBA considering where they want to go with it, which is smaller, lighter, more efficient. On the MBP it would make a bit more sense because they have quite a bit more room to play with. It would also add more separation between their product lines, which may or may not be a good thing.

pandamonia
Jan 15, 2011, 01:19 PM
INTELS NEW IGP IS AS GOOD AS THE CURRENT 320M NVIDIA GPU. READ http://www.anandtech.com/show/4084/intels-sandy-bridge-upheaval-in-the-mobile-landscape/6

The CPU owns the C2D and the GPU is just as good on the graphics front and the power usage is even less!

henrikrox
Jan 15, 2011, 02:01 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; nb-no) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

Good point. The MBA is all about battery life, portability etc. I wouldn't be suprised if the new MBA will have intel gpu. Which is more then good enough. Really. People can't blame the MBA for not having a good gpu. If you want to game the MBA isn't for you.

lewdvig
Jan 15, 2011, 02:51 PM
The ULV SB notebooks are not due until late spring early summer. They won't support OpenCL.

My guess is the MBA gets a backlit kb and Ivy Bridge for Christmas 2011 or January 2012.

Using the Alienware M11x as an example: it was updated from C2D to i7. The C2D is actually faster according to people on NBR that have both.

So I would not jump to conclusions before we know what ULV SB is all about. There could be all kind of compromises such as 2000 series IGP vs 3000. In which case the 320m would be faster.

Who knows what Nvidia will have by the time Ivy Bridge and new MBAs come out. Also the license agreement between INtel and Nvidia relate to existing patent violations on both sides. So Intel will be paying for technologies already in their chips that Nvidia claims patents to. There won't be Nvidia GPUs on Intel dies. If Intel wanted to do that they would just buy Nvidia.

weckart
Jan 15, 2011, 03:08 PM
INTELS NEW IGP IS AS GOOD AS THE CURRENT 320M NVIDIA GPU. READ http://www.anandtech.com/show/4084/intels-sandy-bridge-upheaval-in-the-mobile-landscape/6

The CPU owns the C2D and the GPU is just as good on the graphics front and the power usage is even less!


I don't see an ULV cpu in those tests. How does the IGP function when underclocked for thermal reasons? Does it still 'own' the 320M.

Jury's still out on this one.

pandamonia
Jan 15, 2011, 03:19 PM
I don't see an ULV cpu in those tests. How does the IGP function when underclocked for thermal reasons? Does it still 'own' the 320M.

Jury's still out on this one.

The CPU can be run at a much higher TDP since the chipset isnt sucking down power for the GPU. The new CPU is also extremely power smart it makes C2D look like an antique. It also has turbo boosting which means it can clock up significantly to a set TDP pushing out as much power as it can within its thermal parameters.

Lets face it the Air isnt a gaming rig and if your playing casual games then its going to be more than enough.

Increased battery life which could even double the current model. Windows PC's are getting 6-7 hours on Sandy!

Faster and smarter CPU which leaves C2D for dust.

couple this with the new double density SSD NAND and your looking at a 256gb Air for the price of the current 128GB model.

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1506/1/

25w TDP will have FULL power GPU and 17w will have max 200mhz less than the 25w TDP model. This TDP includes the Southbridge CPU and GPU also! its WAY better than C2D

Hellhammer
Jan 15, 2011, 04:36 PM
I don't see an ULV cpu in those tests. How does the IGP function when underclocked for thermal reasons? Does it still 'own' the 320M.

Jury's still out on this one.

Likely not. ULV chips have clock speed of 350MHz and LV chips have 500MHz. Normal chips have 650MHz so I would expect there to be a noticeable difference.

pandamonia
Jan 15, 2011, 05:21 PM
Likely not. ULV chips have clock speed of 350MHz and LV chips have 500MHz. Normal chips have 650MHz so I would expect there to be a noticeable difference.

It wont make much difference on an AIR

foiden
Jan 16, 2011, 08:46 AM
Gaming isn't the only use of the GPU. And even with some of those tests, once you start using higher end graphics, the IGP still has problems. It's only better for the lower end graphics stuff.

However, the bigger use of GPU is probably Audio/video stuff (that includes 3D transforms) like iMovie/Final Cut express/ and the like. Those jump quickly to higher end graphic demands.

Sure, the Air is made mainly for the road warrior kind of stuff. But then again, if that was the case, they'd hardly ever need to release an MBA that is neither the Stock 11" or 13" models. There would be no real point to releasing anything other than versions of those models with higher SSD capacity. The default stuff handles all your quick typical road tasks that people argue the point with. So obviously some of the heavier-lifting tasks were in the plans for these non-stock machines.

KPOM
Jan 16, 2011, 10:10 AM
It wont make much difference on an AIR

To be fair, it was only on the low detail tests where the Sandy Bridge slightly outperformed the 320m. On the medium detail tests, the results were reversed. What that suggests is that the low detail tests were benefitting from the faster CPU.

I suspect that the Sandy Bridge MacBook Air will have only the integrated graphics. Its primary purposes are to be small, light, and "powerful enough." A ULV Arrandale Core i3/i5/i7 wouldn't have met the last criterion, but it seems that a ULV Sandy Bridge i5 or i7 might.

weckart
Jan 17, 2011, 02:56 AM
I suspect that the Sandy Bridge MacBook Air will have only the integrated graphics. Its primary purposes are to be small, light, and "powerful enough." A ULV Arrandale Core i3/i5/i7 wouldn't have met the last criterion, but it seems that a ULV Sandy Bridge i5 or i7 might.

I wasn't expecting anything other than the i3 for the Airs. Would an i5 even be feasible?

Hellhammer
Jan 17, 2011, 08:42 AM
I wasn't expecting anything other than the i3 for the Airs. Would an i5 even be feasible?

There is only one ULV i5 that is suitable for MBA, so Apple's only option is to use i7s.

xlii
Jan 17, 2011, 08:47 AM
If you are skittish about buying Sandy Bridge when it first comes out... don't. Wait a few weeks... let the early adopters do the testing for you. They will tell you if the machine has problems or if it's a sweet machine.

altecXP
Jan 17, 2011, 01:27 PM
I love these threads...

I have a iMac 3.2 quad core with 16GB RAM, and my MB Air runs circles around it in times of everyday use\speed. SSD affects performance. For my use, a better processor doesn't.

Then why did you buy a quad with 16GB of ram is the CPU makes no difference ein what you do?. Also why not just spend $150 on a good SSD for your desktop?

iRun26.2
Jan 18, 2011, 08:04 AM
yeah no sh%$ I dunno why people here who are power users act like they're going to do their power work on a MBA. The MBA will not be a power computer anytime soon.... so if someone claiming to be a power user says hold out for the "next gen" then they're obviously not a power user.

But you must understand that 'power users' still use email, surf the web, watch video, and use MS Office like everybody else. When 'power users' are away from their 'more powerful machine' they still want basic computing power and, I would argue, a machine capable of at least running the same software they would normally use on their 'more powerful machine'. Even if it is slower on a MBA, still being able to take it with you (in a very compact package) make a MBA a very useful tool for the 'power user'.

chrmjenkins
Jan 18, 2011, 10:46 AM
There is only one ULV i5 that is suitable for MBA, so Apple's only option is to use i7s.

This is why I don't expect an update until Ivy Bridge, personally.

iRun26.2
Jan 19, 2011, 06:26 PM
This is why I don't expect an update until Ivy Bridge, personally.

When can we expect to see Ivy Bridge?

wisty
Jan 19, 2011, 11:56 PM
Ivy may be as late as 2012. Ouch.

As far as I can see, Apple has 4 options:
1. Skip yet another generation of chips. Why did they even bother going x86?
2. Discrete graphics! Some people will hate this idea, and I'm not even sure if it's possible due to space / TPD considerations.
3. Go AMD - Llano might be capable, but I've really no idea.
4. An early update to Sandy, taking a hit on GPU, and losing OpenCL for a generation. Update to Ivy a little later than they would otherwise do.

Hellhammer
Jan 20, 2011, 01:55 AM
When can we expect to see Ivy Bridge?

CES 2012, i.e. early 2012.