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View Full Version : Waiting for next update on MBA. Anyone?




hcho3
Feb 3, 2011, 10:36 AM
Core 2 DUO is very old technology and I feel that it would be so outdated by end of this this year or early next year. I am planning on buying MBA this summer to get Mac OS lion right out of the box.

what are the chances that apple will update MBA by this summer like June/July/August time frame? Anyone?

Any thoughts and inputs would be appreciated.



orfeas0
Feb 3, 2011, 10:39 AM
Core 2 DUO is very old technology and I feel that it would be so outdated by end of this this year or early next year. I am planning on buying MBA this summer to get Mac OS lion right out of the box.

what are the chances that apple will update MBA by this summer like June/July/August time frame? Anyone?

Any thoughts and inputs would be appreciated.

Product MacBook Air
Recommendation: Buy - Product recently updated
Last Release October 20, 2010
Days Since Update 106 (Avg = 336)

The current MBA was released 10/2010, so I'm guessing you'll see a new MBA AFTER november, unless they sell a lot and intel stops making c2d chips :P

chrmjenkins
Feb 3, 2011, 10:42 AM
Core 2 DUO is very old technology and I feel that it would be so outdated by end of this this year or early next year. I am planning on buying MBA this summer to get Mac OS lion right out of the box.

what are the chances that apple will update MBA by this summer like June/July/August time frame? Anyone?

Any thoughts and inputs would be appreciated.

Extremely sllim. I personally wouldn't be surprised if an update doesn't happen until Ivy Bridge, which puts it at Q1 2012 at the earliest.

Hellhammer
Feb 3, 2011, 10:47 AM
Possible? Yes. Likely? Maybe. Certain? No.

MBAs update cycle hasn't been very frequent so predicting the timing of the update is nearly impossible.

Extremely sllim. I personally wouldn't be surprised if an update doesn't happen until Ivy Bridge, which puts it at Q1 2012 at the earliest.

Intel will stop shipping C2D on October 14th 2011, so what would sell Apple in the meantime? They couldn't make any new MBAs for months.

chrmjenkins
Feb 3, 2011, 10:50 AM
Possible? Yes. Likely? Maybe. Certain? No.

MBAs update cycle hasn't been very frequent so predicting the timing of the update is nearly impossible.



Intel will stop shipping C2D on October 14th 2011, so what would sell Apple in the meantime? They couldn't make any new MBAs for months.

Apple can either persuade them to extend it for them or they could buy a glut of stock. Apple is no stranger to making huge supply deals ahead of time.

The problem I have with assuming there will be a Sandy Bridge ULV is the fact that they'd have to potentially add discrete graphics to maintain performance. That shouldn't be an issue with Ivy Bridge, which will have a fully capable DX11 graphics core.

JonLa
Feb 3, 2011, 10:58 AM
I'm fairly certain they'll have supplies of C2D processors if they want them - they can stockpile them after October if they like?

It may be an old processor, but doesn't it do everything the Air is designed for? Does the average user really need the power contained in core i7 for their everyday word-processing, web browsing, photo-trimming, imovie editing? I bet the C2D will be fine with that for a few years yet!

Equally - a Sandy Bridge processor with intel graphics will probably achieve about the same - no worse, but only slightly better.

The real question may be - how can they justify the price for such an old (and thus cheap!) processor, and will they update it with the macbook pro in a month or two, thus annoying everybody who buys it now.

I want one. Soon.

BlackMax
Feb 3, 2011, 11:02 AM
Extremely sllim. I personally wouldn't be surprised if an update doesn't happen until Ivy Bridge, which puts it at Q1 2012 at the earliest.

That was my concern. With the current Sandy Bridge chipset flaw the next release of the MBA could be some time away and with the move to a completely new architecture the next generation MBAs may have different issues or worse graphics performance (it will probably be integrated graphics) than what is provided by the NVIDIA GeForce 320M today.

Yes, the C2D has been around for a while, but it has also had a lot of time to mature and it is stable and runs well. We don't know much about the next architecture yet, so I chose to buy now and know exactly what I am getting.

This article helped me make up my mind: Why Apple saddled the MacBook Air with "gimped" CPUs (http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2010/10/why-apple-saddled-the-macbook-air-with-gimped-cpus.ars)

topmounter
Feb 3, 2011, 11:19 AM
I'm actually pretty happy with the 2.13GHz c2d in my 13" MBA... it seems to run fast and cool.

I was a little nervous since my 15" MBP w/ a 2.4GHz c2d would get unbelievably hot.

TheRealDamager
Feb 3, 2011, 11:25 AM
I'm way more happy with the 13" ultimate than I thought I would be - it is my main machine, no question.

I'm not sure when the original Airs came out, but it was a LONG time ago. I know the timeframe between that original intro and the current batch doesn't necessarily translate to release cycles moving forward, but I'd be very surprised to see a refresh before late 2011.

Hellhammer
Feb 3, 2011, 11:27 AM
The problem I have with assuming there will be a Sandy Bridge ULV is the fact that they'd have to potentially add discrete graphics to maintain performance. That shouldn't be an issue with Ivy Bridge, which will have a fully capable DX11 graphics core.

Ivy Bridge IGP will have 16 EUs, only 4 more than the current IGP does. Of course we don't know yet how well it will perform but judging by the amount of EUs, it doesn't sound too promising. Anand wasn't too excited about it, he doesn't expect it to be as big bump as Westmere to SB.

Even then, it will lag behind the real, discrete GPUs since Intel isn't the only one who improves their GPUs.

The real question may be - how can they justify the price for such an old (and thus cheap!) processor

SL9400 - 284$
i7-2617M - 289$

They cost a lot compared to the performance they give.

hcho3
Feb 3, 2011, 12:29 PM
So. I guess... I should buy now. huh?

Hellhammer
Feb 3, 2011, 12:31 PM
So. I guess... I should buy now. huh?

Yes. MBA was updated only couple of months ago so it's safe to buy now.

chrmjenkins
Feb 3, 2011, 12:32 PM
Ivy Bridge IGP will have 16 EUs, only 4 more than the current IGP does. Of course we don't know yet how well it will perform but judging by the amount of EUs, it doesn't sound too promising. Anand wasn't too excited about it, he doesn't expect it to be as big bump as Westmere to SB.

Even then, it will lag behind the real, discrete GPUs since Intel isn't the only one who improves their GPUs.

Yes, but in absolute numbers, that's theoretically 33% more performance (assuming clock for clock). The current IGP is approaching viability, much more so than previous IGPs.

leowyatt
Feb 3, 2011, 12:33 PM
So. I guess... I should buy now. huh?

If you definitely want a MBA then yes buy now.

hcho3
Feb 3, 2011, 01:10 PM
If you definitely want a MBA then yes buy now.

Sorry if I sound picky, but I don't need MBA right now. However, my needs are for school and work. 11 MBA is perfect for my needs. Although I don't need it right now, I can wait until summer so I can take advantage of back to school promo and Mac OS Lion to be bundled in with my new MBA.

Because I expect Lion Upgrade to cost anywhere between 50-100 dollars and I can get iPod touch for free. That's why I am waiting. I was hoping that apple will update by June/July/August time frame. Maybe, I am hoping too much. Again, I don't buy MBA to sell it in 1-2 years. I plan on keep them around 4-5 years and beyond.

iExpensive
Feb 3, 2011, 01:12 PM
if you want to keep it for 4-5 years+ you should definitely wait, there's no place for a C2D in 2014.

hcho3
Feb 3, 2011, 01:15 PM
if you want to keep it for 4-5 years+ you should definitely wait, there's no place for a c2d in 2014.

k k.

fyrefly
Feb 3, 2011, 01:30 PM
if you want to keep it for 4-5 years+ you should definitely wait, there's no place for a C2D in 2014.

This.

Also if somehow the MBA is not updated by August, then make sure you get one with 4GB of RAM is you want to keep it for a while. 2GB of RAM will not cut in 2014 either. :P :D

bobr1952
Feb 3, 2011, 01:33 PM
Humm--there are a few Mac products but what is the Mac product showcased on the Mac page? (was on main page until Verizon took over)

That would certainly seem to show where the MBA stands in the update queue--at the bottom. :D

skiltrip
Feb 3, 2011, 01:36 PM
This.

Also if somehow the MBA is not updated by August, then make sure you get one with 4GB of RAM is you want to keep it for a while. 2GB of RAM will not cut in 2014 either. :P :D

2GB of RAM barely cuts it in 2011, nor did it cut it in 2010. Over 25% of that is taken right away by OSX and it's programs, leaving you with approx. 1.4GB of RAM to actually use.

IMO Apple was just being cheap by sticking 2GB in the MBA instead of 4.

hcho3
Feb 3, 2011, 01:37 PM
Humm--there are a few Mac products but what is the Mac product showcased on the Mac page? (was on main page until Verizon took over)

That would certainly seem to show where the MBA stands in the update queue--at the bottom. :D

Verizon iphone= Feb/March

iPad= March/April

MBP= April/May

iPhone=June/July

iMac= June

MBA= July/August???? MAYBE?????????????????

gri
Feb 3, 2011, 01:47 PM
Product MacBook Air
Recommendation: Buy - Product recently updated
Last Release October 20, 2010
Days Since Update 106 (Avg = 336)

The current MBA was released 10/2010, so I'm guessing you'll see a new MBA AFTER november, unless they sell a lot and intel stops making c2d chips :P

As far as I know (based on previous comments here in MR) Intel stopped the C2D with the end of last year... (Edit: see above, someone says October 2011 - in anyway relatively soon)

Waiting for a return of the backlit keyboard.

TheRealDamager
Feb 3, 2011, 02:16 PM
Verizon iphone= Feb/March

iPad= March/April

MBP= April/May

iPhone=June/July

iMac= June

MBA= July/August???? MAYBE?????????????????

Seriously, you've had a avalanche of feedback that this is highly unlikely. Seems to me that you need to either go ahead and get one now, or resolve yourself to waiting for the next rev (whenever that happens).

Kilamite
Feb 3, 2011, 02:36 PM
The Core 2 Duo processor is fine and plenty power. And the reason Apple stuck a Core 2 Duo in there was so they didn't have to use Intel's integrated GPU. I'd far rather have a Core 2 Duo that was slightly slower than graphics being compromised.

Only thing I'd wait for if they were ever to be included is an antiglare option and backlit keyboard.

Apart from that, performance is fine! You aren't going to be using the Air for rendering hours and hours of video are you?

C64
Feb 3, 2011, 02:50 PM
if you want to keep it for 4-5 years+ you should definitely wait, there's no place for a C2D in 2014.

Why? If your needs don't change, it really doesn't matter. Software that runs fine on a C2D now doesn't suddenly need a lot more CPU power in a couple of years. Current versions of software from 4 years ago still run perfectly fine on 4 year old computers.

The exceptions are pro-tools, software that really needs as much CPU power and memory it can get, and more heavy photo/video editing, compiling, etc. But if you require something like that, you will a) not be looking at a MacBook Air, b) know perfectly well you will need to update a lot sooner than in 4-5 years. So if you already know that the C2D now is not fast enough for your needs, buy a MacBook Pro and be prepared to upgrade in a year or two.

But with normal use, most people hardly ever stress their C2D CPUs and only use a fraction of its capabilities. That there's a new CPU model doesn't suddenly mean it old one becomes any slower. Turn on the Activity Monitor, do your things, and check the CPU usage. Sure, it might spike every once in a while, but overall it's sleeping most of the time. And this is true for most people. Even though everyone likes to consider themselves a pro-user, this doesn't mean they actually need the best that might be soon available.

Most of the speed you need comes from the RAM (2GB is cutting it close when you multi-task a lot; 4GB is enough for normal use also with newer software the upcoming years) and the SSD. Why do you think that most of the people who use the Air don't notice that this supposedly outdated C2D is too slow? Because they only use a fraction of it. They just notice how lightning fast the drive is. And even if their RAM runs out, the SSD is fast enough so that swapping to it doesn't really seem all that different from simply having more RAM.

Bottom line: things change. The time that you needed to upgrade every year to run the latest software is long behind us. People tend to look at individual specifications, which is understandable, but it's shortsighted to not look at the whole picture. Apple knows that many people don't need an i7 CPU. But they will notice a fast drive and proper GPU for video. And that's exactly what the Air packs. So, don't worry too much about having the latest CPU model. Instead, look at what you'll be using it for, and if you buy it just to have certain specs, or to actually get your work done.

robeddie
Feb 3, 2011, 02:52 PM
Yes. MBA was updated only couple of months ago so it's safe to buy now.

I always hear this kind of wording and it always makes me shake my head. "safe' to buy it now ... just makes it sound like if a newer better machine came out next month that all the sudden this one would break.

I guess I'm just so weary of people talking about 'outdated' technology in a world where current laptops are 2x, 3x, 4x times faster than even the fastest desktops of a half decade ago.

Maybe I'm just getting too old. I'm just a grumpy old man now. :(

robeddie
Feb 3, 2011, 03:02 PM
if you want to keep it for 4-5 years+ you should definitely wait, there's no place for a C2D in 2014.

Kill me now.

C64
Feb 3, 2011, 03:03 PM
I always hear this kind of wording and it always makes me shake my head. "safe' to buy it now ... just makes it sound like if a newer better machine came out next month that all the sudden this one would break.

I guess I'm just so weary of people talking about 'outdated' technology in a world where current laptops are 2x, 3x, 4x times faster than even the fastest desktops of a half decade ago.

Maybe I'm just getting to old. I'm just a grumpy old man now. :(

Well, it's understandable. It's never nice to buy something that's updated a week later. Especially when you paid a considerable amount of money for it. Even though it might be just fine for you, if you'd waited a month...

But I completely agree: an "outdated CPU" doesn't mean it won't still be perfectly fine for the majority of the people for years to come, since CPU power isn't all that interesting anymore.

BENJMNS
Feb 3, 2011, 03:51 PM
i'm enjoying today because it is the present.

DudeMartin
Feb 3, 2011, 04:06 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

if you want to keep it for 4-5 years+ you should definitely wait, there's no place for a C2D in 2014.

Why? If your needs don't change, it really doesn't matter. Software that runs fine on a C2D now doesn't suddenly need a lot more CPU power in a couple of years. Current versions of software from 4 years ago still run perfectly fine on 4 year old computers.

The exceptions are pro-tools, software that really needs as much CPU power and memory it can get, and more heavy photo/video editing, compiling, etc. But if you require something like that, you will a) not be looking at a MacBook Air, b) know perfectly well you will need to update a lot sooner than in 4-5 years. So if you already know that the C2D now is not fast enough for your needs, buy a MacBook Pro and be prepared to upgrade in a year or two.

But with normal use, most people hardly ever stress their C2D CPUs and only use a fraction of its capabilities. That there's a new CPU model doesn't suddenly mean it old one becomes any slower. Turn on the Activity Monitor, do your things, and check the CPU usage. Sure, it might spike every once in a while, but overall it's sleeping most of the time. And this is true for most people. Even though everyone likes to consider themselves a pro-user, this doesn't mean they actually need the best that might be soon available.

Most of the speed you need comes from the RAM (2GB is cutting it close when you multi-task a lot; 4GB is enough for normal use also with newer software the upcoming years) and the SSD. Why do you think that most of the people who use the Air don't notice that this supposedly outdated C2D is too slow? Because they only use a fraction of it. They just notice how lightning fast the drive is. And even if their RAM runs out, the SSD is fast enough so that swapping to it doesn't really seem all that different from simply having more RAM.

Bottom line: things change. The time that you needed to upgrade every year to run the latest software is long behind us. People tend to look at individual specifications, which is understandable, but it's shortsighted to not look at the whole picture. Apple knows that many people don't need an i7 CPU. But they will notice a fast drive and proper GPU for video. And that's exactly what the Air packs. So, don't worry too much about having the latest CPU model. Instead, look at what you'll be using it for, and if you buy it just to have certain specs, or to actually get your work done.

Thank you. All I have to say...

sesnir
Feb 3, 2011, 04:11 PM
I'm looking to buy one, too... but I'm having flashbacks of when I bought my MBP in January 2009. MBP's got a major refresh in Oct 2008 and I figured I was safe. Less than a week after my purchase, they released the new MBP's with the 8 hour battery and minor CPU bump.

I don't expect a major refresh of the MBA for a long time, but it's anybody's guess if they might do a minor CPU/storage capacity bump, or if they'll actually add in the backlit keyboard everybody wants before then.

C64
Feb 3, 2011, 04:26 PM
I don't expect a major refresh of the MBA for a long time, but it's anybody's guess if they might do a minor CPU/storage capacity bump, or if they'll actually add in the backlit keyboard everybody wants before then.
CPU: Nope.
They probably still have C2D contracts or at least stockpiles of those chips. If they suddenly phase out all their computers that use the C2D, they'll never sell them and be stuck with them. Also, Apple never jumps onto the newest tech. We will probably see new MBPs with the new Intel CPU in the near future, but there's no point to change all this in the MBA only a few months after it already had a major overhaul.

Storage capacity: Nope.
Flash storage is still expensive. Not much has changed about that in the last few months, and even if it did, that wouldn't be a reason for Apple to suddenly earn less on MacBook Airs they will sell anyways. Unless prices drop considerably, don't expect much more than 128GB for the base models for the same price. Upgrades to 256GB might become cheaper though, or maybe a 512GB option. But not at this time.

Backlit keyboard: Nope.
For one, not everyone needs this. Yes, it's a bummer for the people who do or were used to it on their previous Air revs, and they'll complain about it every chance they'll get. But it's not like every other notebook on the planet has a backlit keyboard. Most of them don't. And somehow people do seem to find those keys. I don't know why they didn't include it exactly. It could be saving costs. No, a few leds aren't that expensive, but it is another component non the less which influences the manufacturing process. It might also be that there simply isn't enough room left in this crazy thin device, or that adding the backlight causes the MBA to heat up more since there's less room for hot air to escape through the keys. But those are just guesses. I wouldn't hold my breath though.

Buck987
Feb 3, 2011, 08:18 PM
what are the chances that apple will update MBA by this summer like June/July/August time frame? Anyone?

Any thoughts and inputs would be appreciated.

None...no chance

Buck987
Feb 3, 2011, 08:21 PM
Sorry if I sound picky, but I don't need MBA right now. However, my needs are for school and work. 11 MBA is perfect for my needs. Although I don't need it right now, I can wait until summer so I can take advantage of back to school promo and Mac OS Lion to be bundled in with my new MBA.

Because I expect Lion Upgrade to cost anywhere between 50-100 dollars and I can get iPod touch for free. That's why I am waiting. I was hoping that apple will update by June/July/August time frame. Maybe, I am hoping too much. Again, I don't buy MBA to sell it in 1-2 years. I plan on keep them around 4-5 years and beyond.


Has apple ever offered the ipod touch promo with purchase of an air?

I just dont recall if they have.

Buck987
Feb 3, 2011, 08:25 PM
Why? If your needs don't change, it really doesn't matter. Software that runs fine on a C2D now doesn't suddenly need a lot more CPU power in a couple of years. Current versions of software from 4 years ago still run perfectly fine on 4 year old computers.

The exceptions are pro-tools, software that really needs as much CPU power and memory it can get, and more heavy photo/video editing, compiling, etc. But if you require something like that, you will a) not be looking at a MacBook Air, b) know perfectly well you will need to update a lot sooner than in 4-5 years. So if you already know that the C2D now is not fast enough for your needs, buy a MacBook Pro and be prepared to upgrade in a year or two.

But with normal use, most people hardly ever stress their C2D CPUs and only use a fraction of its capabilities. That there's a new CPU model doesn't suddenly mean it old one becomes any slower. Turn on the Activity Monitor, do your things, and check the CPU usage. Sure, it might spike every once in a while, but overall it's sleeping most of the time. And this is true for most people. Even though everyone likes to consider themselves a pro-user, this doesn't mean they actually need the best that might be soon available.

Most of the speed you need comes from the RAM (2GB is cutting it close when you multi-task a lot; 4GB is enough for normal use also with newer software the upcoming years) and the SSD. Why do you think that most of the people who use the Air don't notice that this supposedly outdated C2D is too slow? Because they only use a fraction of it. They just notice how lightning fast the drive is. And even if their RAM runs out, the SSD is fast enough so that swapping to it doesn't really seem all that different from simply having more RAM.

Bottom line: things change. The time that you needed to upgrade every year to run the latest software is long behind us. People tend to look at individual specifications, which is understandable, but it's shortsighted to not look at the whole picture. Apple knows that many people don't need an i7 CPU. But they will notice a fast drive and proper GPU for video. And that's exactly what the Air packs. So, don't worry too much about having the latest CPU model. Instead, look at what you'll be using it for, and if you buy it just to have certain specs, or to actually get your work done.

this post rings so much truth..it should be a sticky

PsyD4Me
Feb 3, 2011, 08:26 PM
nah, i'll be finally replacing this one with a top of the line Z, the performance is just not what i need at this point

Funkymonk
Feb 4, 2011, 12:08 AM
I'm waiting on the 13" pro but if and when MBA gets ivy bridge I'll be selling the pro for that :cool:



nah, i'll be finally replacing this one with a top of the line Z, the performance is just not what i need at this point

My friend's job got him one. It is a beast! good luck

fyrefly
Feb 4, 2011, 03:07 AM
I agree with a lot of C64's post. But certain things just don't jive...

Why? If your needs don't change, it really doesn't matter. Software that runs fine on a C2D now doesn't suddenly need a lot more CPU power in a couple of years. Current versions of software from 4 years ago still run perfectly fine on 4 year old computers.

So you're saying we should all be using CoreDuo 1.83 MacBook Pros with Adobe CS2 running in Rosetta? 'Cause we all got along with it fine back in 2006?

Software updates. Demands increase. You can't tell me that 99% of current MBA owners won't want to update to OSX Lion when it comes out in the Summer. And I bet OSX Lion will put even more demands on the CPU/GPU/RAM. Those people who bought 1.4Ghz machines with 2GB of RAM are gonna start feeling a bit a slowdown.

The exceptions are pro-tools, software that really needs as much CPU power and memory it can get, and more heavy photo/video editing, compiling, etc. But if you require something like that, you will a) not be looking at a MacBook Air, b) know perfectly well you will need to update a lot sooner than in 4-5 years. So if you already know that the C2D now is not fast enough for your needs, buy a MacBook Pro and be prepared to upgrade in a year or two.

I get what you're saying, but it's not just Pro software.

These days people watch 720p or 1080p on YouTube and Netflix. The MBA as it is barely handles those thing. Yes, people should be buying a different machine if they want 1080p, but in 4 years, do you think YouTube will still be at 320x240? I sincerely hope not. And the SU9400 CPU won't be cutting it (even with 720p) in 4 years, imho. The video will be more compressed and the processor will be more taxed.

But with normal use, most people hardly ever stress their C2D CPUs and only use a fraction of its capabilities. That there's a new CPU model doesn't suddenly mean it old one becomes any slower. Turn on the Activity Monitor, do your things, and check the CPU usage. Sure, it might spike every once in a while, but overall it's sleeping most of the time. And this is true for most people. Even though everyone likes to consider themselves a pro-user, this doesn't mean they actually need the best that might be soon available.

This I totally agree with.

With the caveat that demands *will* increase, and even if one is using, say, 25% of their processor power these days, by Lion and the next OSX, they may be using much more.

Recall that Tiger only needed a G3 and 265MB of RAM. That was in 2005/2006. Leopard needed a G4 867Mhz in 2007 and Snow Leopard in 2009 (less than 4 years later) only supported Intel processors.

Anyone who bought a G5/G4 in late 2005 was SOL less than 4 years later for System Updates. Sure those systems will still run Leopard. But most new software requires Snow Leopard/Intel and those who bought those systems hoping for 4 years from them are... disappointed to say the least.

Most of the speed you need comes from the RAM ... And even if their RAM runs out, the SSD is fast enough so that swapping to it doesn't really seem all that different from simply having more RAM.

This is marginally true at best. Barefeats did a test (http://www.barefeats.com/mbpp27.html), and the RAM is about 20x faster than the SSD on the 2010 MBA. That's nothing to sneeze at.

Of course the Page-Outs feel faster than with a 4200rpm HD in the older Airs. But the SSD is still nothing compared to the RAM.

But yes, this "bottom line" still rings true:

Bottom line: things change. The time that you needed to upgrade every year to run the latest software is long behind us. People tend to look at individual specifications, which is understandable, but it's shortsighted to not look at the whole picture. Apple knows that many people don't need an i7 CPU. But they will notice a fast drive and proper GPU for video. And that's exactly what the Air packs. So, don't worry too much about having the latest CPU model. Instead, look at what you'll be using it for, and if you buy it just to have certain specs, or to actually get your work done.

AKA: If you're not a power-user and you want to use the Air as a simple, portable machine for light use (email, surfing, Word processing) and you get 4GB of RAM, the machine should suit you for a few years (as long as your needs to increase).

impulse462
Feb 4, 2011, 07:14 AM
I was under the impression that 1. intel and nvidia "made up" their differences 2. the sandy bridge IGP didn't perform to apples standards.

I think even when sandy bridges do come out, apple will want to bank on the better GPU, at least for the air since a slightly slower cpu is something they can handle.

Also, what about OpenCL? Has it been put to use by good apps, including the native applications that ship with snow leopard?

Doc750
Feb 4, 2011, 07:26 AM
I'm in the same boat. I honestly don't need a new laptop. Between the MBP, and the Ipad I'm covered pretty good. But every time I go to the apple store, I see the MBA, and I'm like "damn it, why doesn't it have better specs." I'm just having a hard time dishing out $1k+ for outdated tech.

I might just pick it up at the store tonight, and test it out for a week, and then decide.

Kilamite
Feb 4, 2011, 09:13 AM
Backlit keyboard: Nope.
For one, not everyone needs this. Yes, it's a bummer for the people who do or were used to it on their previous Air revs, and they'll complain about it every chance they'll get. But it's not like every other notebook on the planet has a backlit keyboard. Most of them don't. And somehow people do seem to find those keys. I don't know why they didn't include it exactly. It could be saving costs. No, a few leds aren't that expensive, but it is another component non the less which influences the manufacturing process. It might also be that there simply isn't enough room left in this crazy thin device, or that adding the backlight causes the MBA to heat up more since there's less room for hot air to escape through the keys. But those are just guesses. I wouldn't hold my breath though.

Yeah, but I'm sure Apple is using the same keys that they use on the backlit keyboards, so they are slightly transparent. They could have made them a much more solid white.

Or, made them glow in the dark slightly.

The backlit keyboard isn't a big deal, but they've made it difficult for people to see the keys in the dark by keeping the keys slightly transparent, rather than solid white.

C64
Feb 4, 2011, 09:52 AM
So you're saying we should all be using CoreDuo 1.83 MacBook Pros with Adobe CS2 running in Rosetta? 'Cause we all got along with it fine back in 2006?I'm not saying anyone should do anything, just pointing out that things haven't changed that much for your day-to-day apps, and they probably won't for some time to come. Obviously software changes and demands more and more of your computer. But it just doesn't change that fast anymore. Browsing 4 years ago isn't that different from browsing now. Four year old computers can still run new browsers just fine. Same goes for most of Apple's software. The newer versions of all the iLife and iWork apps still run fine, albeit a bit slower.

These days people watch 720p or 1080p on YouTube and Netflix. The MBA as it is barely handles those thing. Yes, people should be buying a different machine if they want 1080p, but in 4 years, do you think YouTube will still be at 320x240? I sincerely hope not. And the SU9400 CPU won't be cutting it (even with 720p) in 4 years, imho. The video will be more compressed and the processor will be more taxed.The MBA can handle 1080p just fine when it goes through the GPU, not the CPU. Flash videos on OS X cannot, as far as I know, use the GPU yet, so everything needs to go through the CPU. Try playing it on an i7 MBP, its CPU usage will spike just the same and it'll get crazy hot. The GPU can handle these things just fine, if you use an application/format that actually uses the GPU.

But apart from that, yes, needs change. And that's where my earlier "If your needs don't change" comes into play. Future-proofing your system is basically impossible. Maybe for a year, or two. But 4-5... too much changes. So yes, if you want to watch videos on double the resolution in 5 years than you're doing now, or play new video games that come out in a couple of years, you will obviously notice that a MBA that you buy now can't handle it anymore. But that's something everyone needs to decide for themselves. Many people out there really don't need all that much power. And if that doesn't change, you can use a current MBA for many years to come.

With the caveat that demands *will* increase, and even if one is using, say, 25% of their processor power these days, by Lion and the next OSX, they may be using much more.

Recall that Tiger only needed a G3 and 265MB of RAM. That was in 2005/2006. Leopard needed a G4 867Mhz in 2007 and Snow Leopard in 2009 (less than 4 years later) only supported Intel processors.Looking back at when Leopard was introduced, instead of forcing you to buy a new computer, for many (with the more recent models at that time) it was actually a huge improvement over Tiger, speed-wise. Even for the CoreDuos that were sold in 2006. Snow Leopard only improved the speed even more. I don't know what Lion will bring, but judging on what I've seen so far I don't expect that the core will be that much heavier. If anything, it'll be lighter, faster, improved and more efficient. And all the eye candy like Mission Control can easily be handled by today's MBA due to its GPU.

Anyone who bought a G5/G4 in late 2005 was SOL less than 4 years later for System Updates. Sure those systems will still run Leopard. But most new software requires Snow Leopard/Intel and those who bought those systems hoping for 4 years from them are... disappointed to say the least.Well, that's a good point. The shift to Intel changed a lot, especially for legacy support in the years that followed. But that's the world of technology. However, can we expect change like that any time soon? I don't know, but I'm guessing we can't.

But again, I'm not saying that you will be able to run everything forever on any device. Things will slow down eventually. But the whole discussion here is about how the C2D CPU is suddenly this ancient piece of tech that can't handle anything anymore. And since every CPU nowadays can handle most things just fine, and the real speed comes from the combination of all the components that each excel in different areas, everyone needs to realize that it's not all that black and white, and shouldn't obsess too much about not having the Sandy Bridge CPU.

This is marginally true at best. Barefeats did a test (http://www.barefeats.com/mbpp27.html), and the RAM is about 20x faster than the SSD on the 2010 MBA. That's nothing to sneeze at. Of course the Page-Outs feel faster than with a 4200rpm HD in the older Airs. But the SSD is still nothing compared to the RAM.You're absolutely right. But this is the big difference between benchmark numbers and how you experience it in real life situations. Sure, 20 is more than 1. But if you don't notice this when you're multi-tasking and doing some work, who cares? There is a huge difference between having your computer slow when it runs out of RAM, and not really noticing any of this because of the SSD. Either way, I don't see a lot of laptops out there with 6 or 8GB of RAM.

Apple simply looks at what most people can use more, and that's upgrading one of the slowest components of today's computers, the hard drive, to an SSD. And that it'll help a lot with your computer's speed when the RAM runs out, is only a good thing. But of course, if you can, buy as much RAM as possible.

AKA: If you're not a power-user and you want to use the Air as a simple, portable machine for light use (email, surfing, Word processing) and you get 4GB of RAM, the machine should suit you for a few years (as long as your needs to increase).Just to add to the list of things you can do with the Air: they go far beyond browsing and Word processing. Many people always assume that they suddenly need a quad core CPU to process their vacation videos. There is quite a lot the C2D can easily handle, even if you're more serious about video editing or photography, do a great deal of multi-tasking, work with VM ware, etc. And the SSD comes in real handy here too.

BobbyCarbn
Feb 4, 2011, 09:55 AM
How long did the last refresh take? It was years, not months. If you need the laptop now, then buy it. The grass will always be greener and sometimes you need to think about it from the perspective of how much enjoyment will you loose by waiting?

gonnabuyamacbsh
Feb 4, 2011, 03:34 PM
Why? If your needs don't change, it really doesn't matter. Software that runs fine on a C2D now doesn't suddenly need a lot more CPU power in a couple of years. Current versions of software from 4 years ago still run perfectly fine on 4 year old computers.

The exceptions are pro-tools, software that really needs as much CPU power and memory it can get, and more heavy photo/video editing, compiling, etc. But if you require something like that, you will a) not be looking at a MacBook Air, b) know perfectly well you will need to update a lot sooner than in 4-5 years. So if you already know that the C2D now is not fast enough for your needs, buy a MacBook Pro and be prepared to upgrade in a year or two.

But with normal use, most people hardly ever stress their C2D CPUs and only use a fraction of its capabilities. That there's a new CPU model doesn't suddenly mean it old one becomes any slower. Turn on the Activity Monitor, do your things, and check the CPU usage. Sure, it might spike every once in a while, but overall it's sleeping most of the time. And this is true for most people. Even though everyone likes to consider themselves a pro-user, this doesn't mean they actually need the best that might be soon available.

Most of the speed you need comes from the RAM (2GB is cutting it close when you multi-task a lot; 4GB is enough for normal use also with newer software the upcoming years) and the SSD. Why do you think that most of the people who use the Air don't notice that this supposedly outdated C2D is too slow? Because they only use a fraction of it. They just notice how lightning fast the drive is. And even if their RAM runs out, the SSD is fast enough so that swapping to it doesn't really seem all that different from simply having more RAM.

Bottom line: things change. The time that you needed to upgrade every year to run the latest software is long behind us. People tend to look at individual specifications, which is understandable, but it's shortsighted to not look at the whole picture. Apple knows that many people don't need an i7 CPU. But they will notice a fast drive and proper GPU for video. And that's exactly what the Air packs. So, don't worry too much about having the latest CPU model. Instead, look at what you'll be using it for, and if you buy it just to have certain specs, or to actually get your work done.

Most people well be fine with a $400 netbook these days. why get old tech and pay so much for it if something better is available. At premium prices apple should put the best of the best in everything.

bobr1952
Feb 4, 2011, 04:07 PM
^^
Because we can. ;)

C64
Feb 4, 2011, 04:17 PM
Most people well be fine with a $400 netbook these days.Then they should buy one of these netbooks and don't worry about Apple, their prices or there being newer CPU models.

why get old tech and pay so much for it if something better is available.Because a) the new tech wasn't available yet, and b) you don't just pay for the latest CPU model.

At premium prices apple should put the best of the best in everything.At premium prices Apple should offer their customers a crazy thin unibody MBA with a proper CPU, good GPU, fast SSD, great screen with a high resolution, awesome trackpad and superior battery life. Oh wait, they did.

I get what you're saying, but you clearly don't see that there's more to a notebook than just the CPU model it carries. So, Apple notebooks aren't for you, and that's perfectly fine.

gdeputy
Feb 4, 2011, 04:19 PM
The MBA is an ultraportable, nobody is buying one with plans to do heavy photoshop and audio editing. If you are, your an idiot to begin with.

The machine is meant for portability, and it succeeds in that aspect. I adore my MBA for it's weight, form factor, and straight up sexiness, but I also basically browse the web, watch youtube, and write documents ect. on it.

I would never consider doing any heavy lifting with it, it's not built for it, and who the hell would want a cramped 13" screen for SERIOUS video/graphic editing anyways? or especially serious audio recording sessions?

The C2D is plenty fast for the MBA, it blows away anything any netbook currently offers, and for all intent and purpose, thats the market the MBA is in.

Doc750
Feb 4, 2011, 05:57 PM
Microcenter in Rockville had one for $850. I went and looked at it, and it's a damn sexy machine. But I just couldn't pull the trigger. $850 to browse the web, send off an occasional email, YouTube, Facebook, watch movies on the go, edit documents? I sat there and said to myself, isn't that what my Ipad is for.

On the way to five guys for dinner I kept telling myself I did the right thing. $900 ( w/tax) for C2D, 2 gb, 64 mb is definitey not worth it to me.

Sent from my Ipad, which really is a cool little gadget

ClaphamChris
Feb 4, 2011, 06:14 PM
I'm sitting here writing this on a quad core i7 iMac, 2.93Ghz with 12GB of RAM.

I've also got a 2.13 C2D MacBook Air with 4GB of RAM.

For simple use (web, Word, Excel, Mail, VMWare etc) the MBA destroys the iMac for speed. For ripping/reencoding, the iMac destroys every machine I've seen.

But for light tasks, the MBA is simply amazing. Flash vs traditional HD is the difference, clearly. Not the processor.

Horses for courses - if you want to do things that are heavy on the processor, the MBA ain't going to be a great primary machine.

But if your needs are light, the C2D works just fine. The processor doesn't stop working when new ones are released.

I'll bet you now I'll still have the C2D MBA in three years' time.. and I'll still be happy with it.

huffboy
Feb 4, 2011, 06:39 PM
This.

Also if somehow the MBA is not updated by August, then make sure you get one with 4GB of RAM is you want to keep it for a while. 2GB of RAM will not cut in 2014 either. :P :D

World is ending in 2012. Why worry about 2014. jk :p
Anyway, it all depends on what you use the MBA for. I have a 6 or 7 year old Pentium 4 at work with 1gb ramm running on XP but I can still do what I need on it. ( emails, browsing, SAS, mainframe, Office ) ( but I sure hope they swap this out soon )

MacRumorUser
Feb 4, 2011, 07:16 PM
Core 2 DUO is very old technology and I feel that it would be so outdated by end of this this year or early next year. I am planning on buying MBA this summer to get Mac OS lion right out of the box.

what are the chances that apple will update MBA by this summer like June/July/August time frame? Anyone?

Any thoughts and inputs would be appreciated.

Given the intel sandy bridge issues, I'll stick with core2duo for now. Also if Apple did switch to a ULV i3, the chances are it would be using intels integrated graphics. So you lose the nvidia chipset, so it would prob balance out the performance boost of the CPU by the weaker intel gpu.

iRun26.2
Feb 4, 2011, 09:12 PM
Microcenter in Rockville had one for $850. I went and looked at it, and it's a damn sexy machine. But I just couldn't pull the trigger. $850 to browse the web, send off an occasional email, YouTube, Facebook, watch movies on the go, edit documents? I sat there and said to myself, isn't that what my Ipad is for.

On the way to five guys for dinner I kept telling myself I did the right thing. $900 ( w/tax) for C2D, 2 gb, 64 mb is definitey not worth it to me.

Sent from my Ipad, which really is a cool little gadget

Then you definitely made the right decision for yourself. For me, for my MBA uses (MATLAB analysis / XCODE coding & debugging ), I definitely could not use an iPad. I do not see the MBA as a iPad upgrade.

I have trouble seeing why I would want an iPad when I have an iPhone 4... :)

TheRealDamager
Feb 4, 2011, 09:18 PM
Then you definitely made the right decision for yourself. For me, for my MBA uses (MATLAB analysis / XCODE coding & debugging ), I definitely could not use an iPad. I do not see the MBA as a iPad upgrade.

I have trouble seeing why I would want an iPad when I have an iPhone 4... :)

Agreed - I don't see the IPad and Air as in the same space at all. If the IPad meets your needs, then you should stick with it.

chrono1081
Feb 4, 2011, 10:12 PM
The Core 2 Duo processor is fine and plenty power. And the reason Apple stuck a Core 2 Duo in there was so they didn't have to use Intel's integrated GPU. I'd far rather have a Core 2 Duo that was slightly slower than graphics being compromised.

Only thing I'd wait for if they were ever to be included is an antiglare option and backlit keyboard.

Apart from that, performance is fine! You aren't going to be using the Air for rendering hours and hours of video are you?

+1 the airs are MUCH faster then most people think they are. I use mine for Maya and ZBrush as well as Unity and XCode.

samiznaetekto
Feb 4, 2011, 10:28 PM
What's the cost of wait? If you can resell your MBA in a year with $369 hit (which is, I think, unrealistically high), that's $0.99/day. Do you value yourself that low as to subject yourself to excruciating wait for the whole year for the cost of small cup of coffee every day?

MBA 11" is the best portable computer ever made. Which costs less than 99 cents a day to always have the latest model. This is truly a magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price.

Just get it and stop overANALyzing. :D

fyrefly
Feb 5, 2011, 01:15 PM
How long did the last refresh take? It was years, not months. If you need the laptop now, then buy it. The grass will always be greener and sometimes you need to think about it from the perspective of how much enjoyment will you loose by waiting?

The long wait between the Mid-2009 and late 2010 refresh was an anomaly. The Air was updated 3 times in 18 months when it first came out (Jan 2008, Oct 2008, July 2009).

The point is: no-one knows how long till the next update. But currently the Airs are selling well, and the Sandy Bridge chipsets have been delayed due to a SATA error, so while I would have said a summer update would/could have been likely, that seems less likely now.

It'll surprise me if the Air goes more than 12 months again w/o an update.

I'm sitting here writing this on a quad core i7 iMac, 2.93Ghz with 12GB of RAM.

I've also got a 2.13 C2D MacBook Air with 4GB of RAM.

For simple use (web, Word, Excel, Mail, VMWare etc) the MBA destroys the iMac for speed. For ripping/reencoding, the iMac destroys every machine I've seen.

But for light tasks, the MBA is simply amazing. Flash vs traditional HD is the difference, clearly. Not the processor.

Yep! My question is: what happens when the 2010 MBA's get to be a year old, and the flash drives (w/o TRIM) have degraded in speed... then how are the 2010 Air's gonna fare?

I'll bet you now I'll still have the C2D MBA in three years' time.. and I'll still be happy with it.

It's not always the processor too - it's the Flash Drive, the RAM and the 320M. The current airs are a neat package... but I had a 1.6Ghz Late-2008 Air with SSD that at the time I thought was the fastest thing on the planet.

Cue 2 years later and I sold my revB Air 'cause it felt slower than any other computer that I own.

ImAlwaysRight
Feb 7, 2011, 11:35 AM
if you want to keep it for 4-5 years+ you should definitely wait, there's no place for a C2D in 2014.

Thanks for your post. I turned my '10 MacBook Air over and etched in 1 pt. font (use a magnifying glass to read it) it says "This laptop will explode at midnight on December 31, 2013." :rolleyes: