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View Full Version : Macbook Air revA Died. Shall I wait for Sandy Air?




ideonode
Mar 22, 2011, 06:39 PM
Hi,

My partner's Macbook Air (revA) has just died. Getting loads of kernel panics - the 128GB runcore SSD may have failed. I haven't quite called time on it yet, but it's circling the drain.

So my partner needs a new laptop. She's a writer, so it's pretty much essential. She loved the revA Macbook Air that I bought her (she'd been working off an aesthetically and functionally displeasing Dell prior to that), and she's taken the Air across lots of places round the world - Guatemala, New Zealand, Cambodia, Philippines - it's a compact and sturdy little thing when it's not completely dead. A Macbook Air and a travel writer is a marriage made in heaven...

The thing is - should I tell her to wait for the Sandy Bridge Air? When do folk think it's due - I've heard rumours of June, but October seems more realistic. My partner could share my Macbook (Alu 2008, 6GB ram, 160GB intel SSD, 128GB factory SSD via optibay), but that's not exactly an optimal situation to be in. Ideally, if the 11in had 256GB from factory, that's be great too. Likely?

Anyway, just some random musings and a general ask from the community to help me make this decision. What say you?

By the way, if I'm getting lots of kernel panics and stuck in infinite "You need to reboot your computer" is it fair to say that the laptop is fubar?

Thanks for reading!



Psilocybin
Mar 22, 2011, 06:42 PM
Nobody knows for sure when it's due to be refreshed.

As for the question it is your decision. If you need sandy bridge wait if you don't than buy

InsanelyApple
Mar 22, 2011, 07:41 PM
The current Air should be fine. Just get the 4GB of RAM option, and you should be fine.

Manzana
Mar 22, 2011, 08:11 PM
I think you should try to repair the air by replacing the HD, maybe you could take it in for a diagnosis at the apple store genius bar.

KPOM
Mar 22, 2011, 08:37 PM
The earliest any of us expect the Sandy Bridge model is this June. If the computer is that urgent, it might not be worth the wait, particularly since as many of us think it might not be until this Fall that the next MacBook Air is released. If the rumors are right, the Air is still one of the best selling Macs right now. Apple has no incentive to replace it right now.

tbobmccoy
Mar 22, 2011, 08:46 PM
The current Air should be fine. Just get the 4GB of RAM option, and you should be fine.

The biggest reason I'm waiting to get my MacBook Air until Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge is because I'm afraid Apple will cut off C2Ds in the next couple OS X(or XI?) updates... definitely want to get off the C2Ds.

Scottsdale
Mar 22, 2011, 10:20 PM
The biggest reason I'm waiting to get my MacBook Air until Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge is because I'm afraid Apple will cut off C2Ds in the next couple OS X(or XI?) updates... definitely want to get off the C2Ds.

The current MBAs are plenty capable of 64-bit. Apple isn't going to cut C2D support for at least five years. It's ridiculous to have those thoughts.

OP, I have a feeling you will be waiting for Ivy Bridge. The SB IGP in low and ultra low voltage variants will be at least a 45% drop in capabilities from the 320m and could be worse.

Apple has updated the MBA very infrequently with tiny spec bumps. I believe it's really going to be a long wait. January is Ivy Bridge or I am actually praying for AMD to come up with a real solution that might give 5x the IGP performance. Apple doesn't need to update the MBA to sell it. Those of us who own MBAs know it's the fastest Mac ever and best Mac ever for normal tasks all with C2D. Apple showed Mac fans it's not all about the CPU or listening to Intel's marketing BS.

nafinator
Mar 22, 2011, 10:34 PM
So any idea of waiting for a new processor in a MBA would be at least until next year? I'm trying to decide on buying one now or waiting till SB or IB comes on it. Nothing else is really holding me back on pulling the trigger. Any thoughts?

Scottsdale
Mar 23, 2011, 02:32 AM
So any idea of waiting for a new processor in a MBA would be at least until next year? I'm trying to decide on buying one now or waiting till SB or IB comes on it. Nothing else is really holding me back on pulling the trigger. Any thoughts?

I think if they could use a standard voltage SB chip maybe October. If that doesn't work January or later.

However that is just my opinion based on how Apple has dealt with updates to the MBA previously. Nobody has actual knowledge. But look at the MBA's prior updates for likelihood.

Apple has zero reasons to update now and in low and ultra low voltage variants the SB IGP is a massive dog to the current Nvidia GPU. At what point is the "update" so backwards that Apple thinks it needs to wait for Ivy Bridge or find another solution?

nafinator
Mar 23, 2011, 03:22 AM
I think if they could use a standard voltage SB chip maybe October. If that doesn't work January or later.

However that is just my opinion based on how Apple has dealt with updates to the MBA previously. Nobody has actual knowledge. But look at the MBA's prior updates for likelihood.

Apple has zero reasons to update now and in low and ultra low voltage variants the SB IGP is a massive dog to the current Nvidia GPU. At what point is the "update" so backwards that Apple thinks it needs to wait for Ivy Bridge or find another solution?

I got that feeling too. They'll slowly phase the current ones out over time. I saw that post how there order for CD2 will end in Oct. Hope they put a better graphics chip in the second phase of the MBA and MBP

Personally, I'm on the fence between a 13' MBA 1.86 w/ 4gb ram and 128gb drive or a 13' MBP 2.3 i5 w/ 128 SSD. price difference is 15 bucks which is almost nothing. Future proof wise, the MBP is the way to go but I like the idea of having no moving parts and being quiet. Hoping the SSD in the MBP may offset some of that, while I'm not too pleased with the display.

Gotta say its a tough spot. Considering my usage, there both good machines. Any advice?

alexandero
Mar 23, 2011, 10:13 AM
Apple has zero reasons to update now and in low and ultra low voltage variants the SB IGP is a massive dog to the current Nvidia GPU. At what point is the "update" so backwards that Apple thinks it needs to wait for Ivy Bridge or find another solution?

Can you name any real world usage besides gaming where a Sandy Bridge 2649M with a HD3000 GPU clocked at 1100MHz (which is nearly as fast as the HD3000 in the current MBPs which are clocked at 1300MHz) is slower than the current C2D with Nvidia 320M?

jamesryanbell
Mar 23, 2011, 11:09 AM
I read the whole thread and the original post. I would have to agree that I think the smartest thing to do in your situation is to buy now.

GekkePrutser
Mar 23, 2011, 11:41 AM
Personally, I'm on the fence between a 13' MBA 1.86 w/ 4gb ram and 128gb drive or a 13' MBP 2.3 i5 w/ 128 SSD.

Wow I didn't know they made a 13 foot version of those as well ;) That would be the MacBook Mega!

jamesryanbell
Mar 23, 2011, 11:46 AM
Wow I didn't know they made a 13 foot version of those as well ;) That would be the MacBook Mega!

It's actually called Macbook Wall.

stompy
Mar 23, 2011, 11:49 AM
I read the whole thread and the original post. I would have to agree that I think the smartest thing to do in your situation is to buy now.

The smartest thing to do would be to find out exactly what's wrong with the computer. OP says it may be the SSD. Well, find out. Drives are easily replaced.

hcho3
Mar 23, 2011, 12:33 PM
Sandy bridge sucks with Intel graphic card. If you are waiting, then wait for IVY bridge.

alexandero
Mar 23, 2011, 12:42 PM
Sandy bridge sucks with Intel graphic card. If you are waiting, then wait for IVY bridge.

ULV versions of Ivy Bridge won't be available before spring 2012 (and I'm still hoping to hear which real world usages there are besides gaming where a Sandy Bridge CPU with HD3000 would be slower and not twice as fast than the current MBA).

lshirase
Mar 23, 2011, 02:14 PM
The current MBAs are plenty capable of 64-bit. Apple isn't going to cut C2D support for at least five years. It's ridiculous to have those thoughts.

OP, I have a feeling you will be waiting for Ivy Bridge. The SB IGP in low and ultra low voltage variants will be at least a 45% drop in capabilities from the 320m and could be worse.

Unless you're a heavy gamer (you shouldn't be, since you have an air), the SB procs will run circles around the current c2d procs in the mba. Have you seen the new MBP benchmarks? the lowest end SB proc destroys the highest end procs found in the previous gen mbp. Yes, the SB IGP is SLIGHTLY worse than the 320m, but the processor speed makes up for it.

fyrefly
Mar 23, 2011, 02:17 PM
Apple isn't going to cut C2D support for at least five years. It's ridiculous to have those thoughts.

Lion is already phasing out CoreDuo support - and they just introduced those in mid-2006. So yeah, 5 years is a good idea for support. Not much more, I'm afraid.

OP, I have a feeling you will be waiting for Ivy Bridge. The SB IGP in low and ultra low voltage variants will be at least a 45% drop in capabilities from the 320m and could be worse.

Do you have *any* actual information, other than your hatred of the (arguably lame) Intel IGP?

The only machine (I've seen) so far with an LV Sandy Bridge CPU is the Samsung Series 9. And I can't find any GPU benchmarks comparing it to anything yet.

Can you name any real world usage besides gaming where a Sandy Bridge 2649M with a HD3000 GPU clocked at 1100MHz (which is nearly as fast as the HD3000 in the current MBPs which are clocked at 1300MHz) is slower than the current C2D with Nvidia 320M?

This.

The point is that no-one knows how the 1100Mhz GPU vs. the 1300Mhz GPU will perform. Looking only at the Mhz, the LV GPU can reach 85% of the 35W's GPU (in the current MBP 13"). That's not 45% less. Even if it's a 20% drop, other than in Gaming, I'm not sure where people would notice.

ULV versions of Ivy Bridge won't be available before spring 2012.

And this.

I really can't see Apple leaving it's biggest selling portable stagnant for 18+ months. That's a LONG time in the computing world.

And as I've said before, even if the SB MBA update means a small step back in GPU performance, there can still be an Ivy Bridge Update in mid-2012 that bring that GPU performance right back up.

Personally, I'm on the fence between a 13' MBA 1.86 w/ 4gb ram and 128gb drive or a 13' MBP 2.3 i5 w/ 128 SSD. price difference is 15 bucks which is almost nothing. Future proof wise, the MBP is the way to go but I like the idea of having no moving parts and being quiet. Hoping the SSD in the MBP may offset some of that, while I'm not too pleased with the display.

Any advice?

It all depends on if you want Portability. That's the main advantage the MBA gives you. The MBP with SSD will beat it in almost every other test (except for Windows Gaming). But the MBP weighs a pound and a half more.

How much do you move the machine around? Do you carry it with you 8 hours a day? Then the MBA's portability will make a difference.

The only other concern would be the display res - as it's pretty unforgivable that Apple didn't include the 1440x900 higher-res display in the 13" MBP, even as a BTO.

WalcomTV
Mar 23, 2011, 02:46 PM
If your partner is a travel writer, she wouldn't need the power that 'Sandy Bridge' has to offer.

I suggest you just get a 13" Air for the larger screen size. It'll also ease the transition between her old Air, and the new one.

Also, you said: "compact and sturdy little thing when it's not completely dead. A Macbook Air and a travel writer is a marriage made in heaven..."

The current generation is the same. Perfect in its own way.

ideonode
Mar 24, 2011, 04:31 PM
Thanks for all the comments - it's been most useful!

I shall attempt to fix the RevA this weekend (although not looking good - I can't even get it to boot the OS X installation DVD :eek:)

I shall tell my GF to wait , if she can. Whilst better graphics is not a strong requirement for her (she's absolutely not a gamer), I think that having Sandy Bridge would be good, as she can then do some more intense photo processing.

The wait will also provide Lion for free, and, of course, help with any re-sale later on. However, at the end of the day, if she needs a functioning computer, she needs a functioning computer, and a live C2D MBA is better than a dead one...

alexandero
Mar 24, 2011, 06:19 PM
Whilst better graphics is not a strong requirement for her (she's absolutely not a gamer), I think that having Sandy Bridge would be good, as she can then do some more intense photo processing.

The wait will also provide Lion for free, and, of course, help with any re-sale later on. However, at the end of the day, if she needs a functioning computer, she needs a functioning computer, and a live C2D MBA is better than a dead one...

Exactly. If you can wait, then keep waiting: MBAs with Sandy Bridge will probably be available between June and September. Sandy Bridge will increase the resale value of your MBA, you'll get Lion for free, as the CPU is at least twice as fast as the C2D you'll enjoy the MBA for a longer time, and due to (slowly) decreasing SSD prices you might even be able to buy a larger SSD for all the photos you mentioned for the same price.

Scottsdale
Mar 25, 2011, 12:17 AM
Exactly. If you can wait, then keep waiting: MBAs with Sandy Bridge will probably be available between June and September. Sandy Bridge will increase the resale value of your MBA, you'll get Lion for free, as the CPU is at least twice as fast as the C2D you'll enjoy the MBA for a longer time, and due to (slowly) decreasing SSD prices you might even be able to buy a larger SSD for all the photos you mentioned for the same price.

CPU twice as fast :confused:

It is this sort of misinformation that leads people to think grandly about a CPU that for the vast majority will make very little difference. The MBA already tackles the bottleneck in the average computer, and with the software that makes the MBA feel far faster than any other Mac for typical uses. Sure there are certain apps that will do very specialized processes maybe 30% faster but the average Mac user isn't doing any of that.

In addition, you're ignoring the GPU losses, and you're probably off on your timing guess. I think the MBA has proven that Apple doesn't care about specs nor following any sort of timeline, as the last real update to the MBA before the last was exactly two years prior. Early 2012 makes a lot more sense given the problems with the Intel SB IGP route in low and ultra low voltage variants.

I think people are simply dreaming to expect a June update when even Apple's MBP is on a yearly update schedule. Apple is realizing that it can get away with selling Macs like the MBA by showing people the speed of the MBA in stores without focusing on its C2D CPU or any specs and instead focusing on real world practicality and performance unmatched except in very specialized CPU intensive apps which most couldn't care less about.

I would gladly bet against anyone on this mythical June MBA update. I think the iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro, MacBook, iPhone, and iPods all get updated before the MBA. Heck, we may even get an iPad Pro with Retina display before the MBA gets updated. Check the history!

Bye Bye Baby
Mar 25, 2011, 04:25 AM
I think if they could use a standard voltage SB chip maybe October. If that doesn't work January or later.

However that is just my opinion based on how Apple has dealt with updates to the MBA previously. Nobody has actual knowledge. But look at the MBA's prior updates for likelihood.

Apple has zero reasons to update now and in low and ultra low voltage variants the SB IGP is a massive dog to the current Nvidia GPU. At what point is the "update" so backwards that Apple thinks it needs to wait for Ivy Bridge or find another solution?

I know this is complete speculation, but I do not agree.

I think that the Apple has a real winner with the Air and I think that is precisely the reason that they will upgrade the processors. I think they will be doing this in time for the US college season. It is my guest.

They will give preference to the 'high end' pros for a while, but they do not want to jeopardize their leadership with the Air. it is the only ultralite on the market that is worth the premium.

Bye Bye Baby
Mar 25, 2011, 04:29 AM
I would gladly bet against anyone on this mythical June MBA update. I think the iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro, MacBook, iPhone, and iPods all get updated before the MBA. Heck, we may even get an iPad Pro with Retina display before the MBA gets updated. Check the history!

I will take that bet. Apple can't get greedy or lazy about the Air. You snooze and you loose.

Every computer manufacturer is watching Apple and looking for a chink in its armour. You leave the door open by being slow to upgrade the processors and HP Samsung etc will jump in. They may not win, but the can be annoying.

alexandero
Mar 25, 2011, 05:07 AM
Sure there are certain apps that will do very specialized processes maybe 30% faster but the average Mac user isn't doing any of that.

In addition, you're ignoring the GPU losses, and you're probably off on your timing guess.

So you're telling me that the CPU caused speed improvements you notice each time you Aperture, iMovie or other Apple apps are less relevant than the GPU losses some people are expecting (they have not been benchmarked anywhere yet and might only be visible when gaming)? Let's agree to disagree on that.

As for the timing: I know Apple is moving towards a yearly schedule, but a shiny new MBA might be a nice item to use when presenting the final version of OSX 10.7, don't you think? If you add the argument that buyers might not want to keep buying a four year old CPU and 64GB SSDs until late 2011, it's possible that we'll see a refresh before summer.