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View Full Version : Did Intel announce anything @ CES that could potentially be in the next Macbook Air




andygabriel
Jan 10, 2010, 12:49 AM
I didnt hear anything about an arrandale chip for ultra portable like the Air.

Maybe i've missed something. Please let me know if you heard anything. I'm hoping to buy a Air soon(nxt revsion). Will it be Q1 or Q2?



Eidorian
Jan 10, 2010, 01:20 AM
Arrandale has Low Voltage parts that we've known about for months. The biggest problem being the CPU + GPU on the same package. You can't shrink the package with the second die on there.

ayeying
Jan 10, 2010, 01:49 AM
Having the CPU and GPU on the same diode could sorta be good. At least we get a bigger heatsink with only one diode. The downside is that we'll be using Intel GPUs again.

Thunder82
Jan 10, 2010, 08:50 AM
The downside is that we'll be using Intel GPUs again.

I hate Intel for this reason. I doubt they'll be able to do much with the Air and the 13" MBP this revision. They're either stuck with the same generation CPUs & the decent 9400m, or migrate to Arrandale and get.. a GMA 4500? /puke

andygabriel
Jan 10, 2010, 09:51 AM
Having the CPU and GPU on the same diode could sorta be good. At least we get a bigger heatsink with only one diode. The downside is that we'll be using Intel GPUs again.

Why can't apple put a dedicated graphic card in the Air. Is it because of space?
or heat?

I don't think apple will accept downgrading from Nvidia to intel crap GPU.
Now that they've moved Snow leopard to take advantage of graphic processors.

ayeying
Jan 10, 2010, 11:06 AM
Why can't apple put a dedicated graphic card in the Air. Is it because of space?
or heat?

I don't think apple will accept downgrading from Nvidia to intel crap GPU.
Now that they've moved Snow leopard to take advantage of graphic processors.

Both. Remember, currently, the Air has very limited space available even for air flow to cool the internal parts. We're talking about less than 2mm of clearance in any direction. That's not a lot of space to put in a heavy duty heatsink to cool a massively heat generating dedicated graphics card.

The fact we got a 9400M is amazing and only because nVidia created a GPU and Chipset in a single diode.

Thunder82
Jan 10, 2010, 11:10 AM
I don't think apple will accept downgrading from Nvidia to intel crap GPU. Now that they've moved Snow leopard to take advantage of graphic processors.

We'll be stuck with the C2D chips for a long time, if this is the case.

brendu
Jan 10, 2010, 11:28 AM
We'll be stuck with the C2D chips for a long time, if this is the case.

which is fine for the air, but it would be nice to see a really fast c2d in the next model...

not sure if there are any available chips that would work in the air yet, but a 2.8ghz c2d with a 256gig SSD, and 4gigs ram would make for a very nice air...

if and when this happens for under $2000 ill be considering replace my mbp for it.

bossxii
Jan 11, 2010, 08:40 PM
which is fine for the air, but it would be nice to see a really fast c2d in the next model...

not sure if there are any available chips that would work in the air yet, but a 2.8ghz c2d with a 256gig SSD, and 4gigs ram would make for a very nice air...

if and when this happens for under $2000 ill be considering replace my mbp for it.

Throw in a different hinge design and glass trackpad and I'll join ya:)

Scottsdale
Jan 12, 2010, 09:44 AM
Intel's IGP would be the downfall of the MBA, the MBP and other Macs too. I have thought about this quite often, long and hard, and while it's possible for Apple to use Intel's solution, it's not very likely. Thus to say, it's not probable that Apple will accept losing 50 to 60% of the power of the 9400m GPU and go with Intel's IGP solution.

Apple spent a lot of money programming OS X Snow Leopard to greatly benefit from OpenCL and Grand Central Dispatch which take further advantage of CPUs and GPUs. The power of OpenCL is exploited by using one GPU across multiple (the majority of) Macs. The 9400m is used in the MBA, MB, MBP, Mac mini, and iMac. Apple will definitely replace the 9400m with another graphics solution that will be better than and progress beyond the 9400m. It would make no sense from Apple's business model and marketing of Macs to go so far backwards.

I see Apple going with one of two possible solutions with the next MBA. Firstly, we could see Apple sticking with the same Penryn Core 2 Duo SL9x00 series LV CPUs so they could continue utilizing Nvidia's 9400m or progress to a 105m or better Nvidia GPU. The truth is the current class of CPU is very powerful in the MBA, and the weakest point of the MBA's power is the lack of its RAM and the downclocking of the 9400m. To continue using the Nvidia GPU/Chipset solution, Apple would be required to use the Penryn CPU. Intel denied Nvidia a license to provide GPUs/Chipsets for Nehalem class CPUs, so Apple would have to use Penryn CPUs to use the Nvidia GPU.

Secondly, Apple could use an ATI designed graphics solution along with a Core i7 CPU. There is an i7 CPU that would actually be more powerful than the current SL9x00 CPUs in the MBA that has a boost feature all the way up to 2.8 GHz. Other ultraportable computers are using ATI's dedicated graphics solutions. This is more costly than the Nvidia GPU, so some wonder if Apple would use this. However, I think Apple will decide that its overall vision for the Mac is more important than to go backwards two years and revert back to an Intel IGP that is quite frankly GARBAGE.

I think Apple's next MBA could go a step further and use a ULV CPU. This would allow the MBA's design to get much thinner and weigh less. However, we would lose a lot of processing power along with graphics power. It seems to me that Apple wants the MBA to be a MB/MBP replacement for the business/non-graphics professional user. It also seems the tablet will replace the secondary Mac offering, so going that direction seems backwards.

I see Apple using a completely new display technology which will be the key new feature of the next MBA. I definitely think the MBA will be the first Mac to get this new technology, which I think will be an OLED, higher resolution HD display, or even a 3D HD display. I also see more RAM, a larger SSD, and a smaller footprint while still maintaining a 13.3" display. Imagine the MBA's display going right to the edge of the MBA and the keyboard going right to the edge of both sides of the MBA. Basically, cut off the current extra bezel and area around the keyboard to make it smaller. On the other hand, this would reduce the thinnest parts of the MBA, and I don't know that Apple would want to do that.

Apple could also keep the current form factor and go either route with the CPUs and graphics. The current design is actually perfect in my eyes. However, Steve Jobs seems to be obsessed with thin, shiny, and as lightweight as possible. With the competition offering much smaller and thinner ultraportables, it's hard to understand which way Apple goes with the MBA. In the long-run, Apple is going to integrate the MBA form factor into all Mac notebooks. I guess the tablet could change that vision too. Also, Jobs may be so consumed with the MBA that it will stay unchanged until a later time. With the 26th/27th event focusing on "mobility," I definitely think the MBA will get some sort of update then, but Apple has disappointed us in the past.

I do believe the MBA will be a completely new design on the 26th/27th of January, and I cannot wait to see it and discuss it here with all of you!

andygabriel
Jan 12, 2010, 11:03 AM
Awesome post scottdale. I hope that Apple does any of the things you said in your post.

Personally i'm just hoping for 4GB + Ram to make the Macbook Air my main and only machine since i'm an average user ( Safari, mail, itunes, iPhoto, Word, Powerpoint, Youtube).

I don't do any photo or video editing! I'll wait till there's a 256GB ssd available though. Coz i like to have almost all of my data with me at all time!

I love the present form factor the limited Ram and storage are preventing from getting an Air. I'm willing to wait till summer or October upgrade since right now i'm using a 2008 white macbook 2.4ghz, 4gb, 320GB HD. My machine is still smoking fast for my need but i need more portability.

If the Air can have the same spec as my actual computer, then i'll def get one. The present Air is probably faster than mine, since it's got better graphics, SSD 128GB and faster bus ( Correct me if i'm wrong) but i need the extra Ram and more than 128GB SSD.

Do you guys that SSD will be cheaper in Q2 2010? will 256GB SSD for the Air come to the market?

I can't upgrade if there's no 256GB SSD. Since the Air will be my only machine.

bloodycape
Jan 12, 2010, 12:29 PM
Did it ever occur the intel gpu is going to be for times when you want to save battery, but paired with a gpu like the nvidia GT210(rumored to be the basis of ion2). It be pretty nice to see a ULV i7 cpu/gpu combo paired with something like the nvidia GT335 or at least GT310. I could see this combo getting 7-8 hours out of the intel gpu and 5-6 hours with the nvidia.

Scottsdale
Jan 12, 2010, 01:16 PM
Awesome post scottdale. I hope that Apple does any of the things you said in your post.

Personally i'm just hoping for 4GB + Ram to make the Macbook Air my main and only machine since i'm an average user ( Safari, mail, itunes, iPhoto, Word, Powerpoint, Youtube).

I don't do any photo or video editing! I'll wait till there's a 256GB ssd available though. Coz i like to have almost all of my data with me at all time!

I love the present form factor the limited Ram and storage are preventing from getting an Air. I'm willing to wait till summer or October upgrade since right now i'm using a 2008 white macbook 2.4ghz, 4gb, 320GB HD. My machine is still smoking fast for my need but i need more portability.

If the Air can have the same spec as my actual computer, then i'll def get one. The present Air is probably faster than mine, since it's got better graphics, SSD 128GB and faster bus ( Correct me if i'm wrong) but i need the extra Ram and more than 128GB SSD.

Do you guys that SSD will be cheaper in Q2 2010? will 256GB SSD for the Air come to the market?

I can't upgrade if there's no 256GB SSD. Since the Air will be my only machine.

It seems the tech is almost there for a 256 GB SSD. I hope Apple goes back to a BTO option set for the MBA. If that is the case, I think 256 GB SSD would be an option. I really think Apple could price the MBA lower and then focus on BTO options to please a wider range of potential users. Imagine this...

MBA base configuration... $1299
2.1 GHz Arrandale CPU (upgradeable to 2.4 GHz boost to 3 GHz for $350)
Intel IGP (upgrade to dual configuration with ATI 4xxx series graphics for $200)
2 GB RAM (upgrade to 4 GB for $125 or 8 GB for $650)
160 GB HDD (upgrade to 128 GB SSD for $200 or 256 GB SSD for $600)
13.3" Display (upgrade to HD/OLED/3D display for $450)
Silver Al. standard (upgrade to black Al. for $100)

That MBA would make MBA entry a mere $1299. Imagine all the people that would love to get into an MBA as a secondary Mac. Then, Apple can cater to the executive user, tech enthusiasts, entertainment enthusiasts, and even light gamer/traveler via options.

A base user might have always wanted an MBA, and you don't need power just portability. So you buy the base model for $1299.

An executive might not upgrade the graphics, but might want a 256 GB SSD and 4 GB RAM as he/she uses MBA as sole Mac. $2024

A tech enthusiast might upgrade the whole system all the way... and this is what I would do because I am insane. $3649

An entertainment enthusiast might upgrade the graphics, 4 GB RAM, and Display. $2074

A light gamer/secondary traveler might upgrade to the black aluminum, graphics and display, but would otherwise use the MBA as his/her traveling Mac whether it's to the couch or on vacation. $1949

Apple has done this with its Macs forever. I really don't understand the recent MBA transition to two models. Customization makes more money per Mac, but Apple must have decided to just lower the price on both to try to spur growth of the MBA. At the same time, Apple has to be losing a bunch in potential sales margin by not doing this. Us Mac lovers are willing to pay a fortune and be taken advantage of by Apple... why doesn't Apple want our money? TAKE MY MONEY APPLE! That's exactly what I will say if these options are all available on the next MBA.

But in the end, I don't know how much the tablet is going to focus on the things mentioned here. The MBA strategy might change, because the business type non-graphics pro users who need computers would use an MBA. The MBA may lose a lot of users who are currently buying low-end MBAs or rev 1,1 MBA closeouts; those were not originally the targeted buyer of the MBA anyways.

In that scenario, the MBA would go back to its original focus which was high-end executive type users who don't need the power of an MBP but still want a nice Mac capable of stand-alone use as a primary computer. A beautiful native display that is great for writing, sending email, and creating business presentations. Perfect for the desk of a business user while plugged into a 24" LED ACD. Perfect away from the desk as an ultraportable. Capable of everything a business user might do. Still perfect for the writer, educator, students, and etc...

I see the tablet focusing on a portable device that accesses email, the web, and to watch movies, read books and etc. It will take over the "fun" parts of what we currently use a computer from. I really think the tablet is going to be bigger than the iPhone or iPod or even the MAC. I see everyone buying a tablet as it will be their personal entertainment and communication device. I will get rid of my iPhone then. I will use my iTablet for everything my iPhone does now except phone service. Then I will use a basic phone and reduce those costs. If anyone thinks about it, they will quickly realize how the tablet is going to change the way we do everything... not just computing.

I am really looking forward to the new MBA and the iTablet!

Scottsdale
Jan 12, 2010, 01:57 PM
Did it ever occur the intel gpu is going to be for times when you want to save battery, but paired with a gpu like the nvidia GT210(rumored to be the basis of ion2). It be pretty nice to see a ULV i7 cpu/gpu combo paired with something like the nvidia GT335 or at least GT310. I could see this combo getting 7-8 hours out of the intel gpu and 5-6 hours with the nvidia.

I have considered that, but it also affects costs and power consumption. Let's aay that Apple gets the Arrandale with IGP included, it costs more including the IGP than it will if Apple gets the CPU it wants without it. Then, Apple uses the difference for an ATI solution. Apple is the master of margin. It will not pay an extra $20 for dedicated RAM for graphics now as it is on the MBA, hence we are sharing RAM with the system. Apple always does everything as cheaply as possible that will return the maximum on the investment in the components. As much as I would LOVE dual graphics selection on the MBA, I seriously doubt it will happen. I think dual graphics will only be on the top-end MBPs... but I sure hope I am wrong and it's on the MBA too.

Another consideration is power consumption/use. If the Intel Arrandale is used with IGP, that also uses a dedicated second graphics solution, the CPU will draw 25W along with the dedicated graphics of up to 22W (like ATI graphics that Apple could use). The MBA is currently only drawing 17W CPU and 12W 9400m GPU. I don't see how the MBA could have the dedicated running as I believe it would still have a 25W draw on the CPU with Intel IGP that isn't being used while the dedicated graphics are being used. I don't see 47W as being an option... as the battery would be discharged 61% faster if that's the case. Perhaps the Intel IGP wouldn't draw and the 25W would be reduced? It would be interesting to find out the numbers from one of the other ultraportables on that. I hope Apple can improve on the battery consumption from where it is now, but the numbers don't support it even if it can double the current capacity of the battery using the new tech used in MBs and MBPs.

I actually feel it's much more likely that we will get an Arrandale without an IGP than we will get Arrandale with an IGP. I think either Apple gets the Arrandale without IGP or Apple uses Penryn on one more update before having to decide a direction to go with graphics. As much as Nvidia has been a problem for MBPs, it has been the savior of the MBA. Without the Nvidia 9400m, the MBA would be like the original was, incapable of normal computing tasks.

Furthermore, switching between the Intel IGP and a dedicated solution wouldn't just prolong the battery while on IGP, it would slow the whole system down... think of all that would seriously change system performance... OpenCL, Grand Central Dispatch, h.264, and it continues from there. The 9400m is capable of all of those features and that's the low end on the MBP... the Intel IGP would be worthless... and that's the low end. With the current MBPs, the low end is still capable of being fully utilized by the system while it wouldn't be if the Intel IGP was its low end graphics solution.

The only solution I would see is what was introduced by Asus yesterday in their notebook the Asus UL80JT. But they have graphics switching automatically between integrated and dedicated solutions at all times. That sort of system might work and could be totally amazing. Then when doing mundane tasks that don't require the resources, it could be on the Intel IGP. So automatic switching could be a solution... but I don't know exactly how well the battery would do. On the Asus UL80JT, it prolongs battery life to 12 hours!

bloodycape
Jan 12, 2010, 02:10 PM
Furthermore, switching between the Intel IGP and a dedicated solution wouldn't just prolong the battery while on IGP, it would slow the whole system down... think of all that would seriously change system performance... OpenCL, Grand Central Dispatch, h.264, and it continues from there. The 9400m is capable of all of those features and that's the low end on the MBP... the Intel IGP would be worthless... and that's the low end. With the current MBPs, the low end is still capable of being fully utilized by the system while it wouldn't be if the Intel IGP was its low end graphics solution.

The only solution I would see is what was introduced by Asus yesterday in their notebook the Asus UL80JT. But they have graphics switching automatically between integrated and dedicated solutions at all times. That sort of system might work and could be totally amazing. Then when doing mundane tasks that don't require the resources, it could be on the Intel IGP. So automatic switching could be a solution... but I don't know exactly how well the battery would do. On the Asus UL80JT, it prolongs battery life to 12 hours!
Well the newer Sony Vaio Z also has this auto mode if you decide to move the switch to it, otherwise you can choose either the intel gpu or the nvidia GT330m gpu. The previous Asus UL series and Vaio Z had graphic switching and from what I have seen in person it take no more than 7-10 seconds and works very well. Based on what I am reading the new intel igp the 5000 series is suppose to a dramatic improvement over the 4000 series. I like ATI gpus, but last I heard nvidia was better on battery life, while ATI had the slight performance advantage. Then again many of ATI's gpu come with a switchable lower end gpu for battery saving. That could be another option for Apple.

The older UL80VT from what I have seen can do close to 9 hours on the intel gpu and I think oc mode and wifi on. The current Vaio Z does 6-7 hours on the intel gpu and same intel cpu in the MBP, and the new one is suppose to be just as good on battery. I dunno if price is going to be that pricey seeing as the Asus UL series with the nvidia GT210m is still priced under 1k. I think Apple can use its connections to keep the price fair. Apple could do some good things here and would be really disappointed if they didn't.

Scottsdale
Jan 12, 2010, 06:31 PM
Well the newer Sony Vaio Z also has this auto mode if you decide to move the switch to it, otherwise you can choose either the intel gpu or the nvidia GT330m gpu. The previous Asus UL series and Vaio Z had graphic switching and from what I have seen in person it take no more than 7-10 seconds and works very well. Based on what I am reading the new intel igp the 5000 series is suppose to a dramatic improvement over the 4000 series. I like ATI gpus, but last I heard nvidia was better on battery life, while ATI had the slight performance advantage. Then again many of ATI's gpu come with a switchable lower end gpu for battery saving. That could be another option for Apple.

The older UL80VT from what I have seen can do close to 9 hours on the intel gpu and I think oc mode and wifi on. The current Vaio Z does 6-7 hours on the intel gpu and same intel cpu in the MBP, and the new one is suppose to be just as good on battery. I dunno if price is going to be that pricey seeing as the Asus UL series with the nvidia GT210m is still priced under 1k. I think Apple can use its connections to keep the price fair. Apple could do some good things here and would be really disappointed if they didn't.

I still doubt Apple would be happy with the profit margins of including dual graphics in a consumer laptop. Apple goes really cheap when buying components... but I hope it can learn from other companies who can sell laptops with far superior components for under a grand. How about charge more for that feature, as a BTO option. That is more realistic for the MBA.

bloodycape
Jan 12, 2010, 08:20 PM
I still doubt Apple would be happy with the profit margins of including dual graphics in a consumer laptop. Apple goes really cheap when buying components... but I hope it can learn from other companies who can sell laptops with far superior components for under a grand. How about charge more for that feature, as a BTO option. That is more realistic for the MBA. I doubt Apple will take cues from other manufactures, if they did we would see a better 13in MBP with both an express card slot & a SD card slot.

Scottsdale
Jan 12, 2010, 09:54 PM
I doubt Apple will take cues from other manufactures, if they did we would see a better 13in MBP with both an express card slot & a SD card slot.

AMEN! The MacBook Pros are incredibly weak. They are two years behind competitor technologies. If I were a graphics/video/entertainment pro, I would have to use the Mac Pro or a PC laptop. The MBPs are absolutely worthless.

It is honestly sad that Apple has gone totally consumer and is so far behind the curve with its Pro notebook line. The thing is the MBPs were really expensive years ago but they included nice components. Now, they are filled with crappy outdated CPUs and graphics cards that are from the Ming dynasty... you get the point. Pros should be outraged and demand more. If I were a real Pro, I would be using a Mac Pro at home/office and a PC Notebook on the go. SAD SAD SAD!!!

At the same time, Apple is KING at selling inexpensive adds as the reason to buy a Mac. Aluminum casing, $5. LED backlit keyboard, $2. Glass trackpad, literally pennies. Glass covering for the display, $1. And the list goes on. I admit, Apple is king at making me want the newest latest and greatest model of Mac. And while we may be willing to pay more for the Macs, they probably cost less than PCs that cost half as much to the consumer. So all the rest is the cost for running OS X... I think that makes it worse than Microsoft, honestly.

I will really be ticked though if Apple cannot find a dedicated graphics card for an Arrandale MBA. Intel IGP will be the end of me buying MBAs and probably many of you too. The MBA really needs an update to compete with other ultraportables, and let's hope Apple learns from its competitors on how to implement an ATI dedicated solution.

bloodycape
Jan 12, 2010, 11:05 PM
Well I can't say the gpu is too terrible on the MBP(at least the 13in) as most 13in machines in its class either have the same nvidia gpu(in one form or another), or the slightly better ati 4570 gpu, which uses a bit more power. One of the highest gpu's I have seen on a 13in machine is the 9600 GT on the LG P310, but that is pretty hard to find in North America, is fairly pricey, and lacks an optical drive to help keep the device cooler(I hear its still a bit of heat producer).

However, things do look more promising with the introduction of the ugly 11.6in Alienware 11x with the Nvidia GT335(paired with some intel dual core CULV cpu), and the Vaio Z with the GT330(and up to an i7 cpu), which are so far better than average for their class. If the 13in MBP doesn't equal the Vaio Z in specs, or the MBA doesn't have a gpu that is better than nvidia 9500 or 9600m, there is going to be many Apple fans looking at something else.

Ca$hflow
Jan 12, 2010, 11:10 PM
which is fine for the air, but it would be nice to see a really fast c2d in the next model...

not sure if there are any available chips that would work in the air yet, but a 2.8ghz c2d with a 256gig SSD, and 4gigs ram would make for a very nice air...

if and when this happens for under $2000 ill be considering replace my mbp for it.

add matte screen option and i'd join ya too.

jimboutilier
Jan 13, 2010, 12:38 AM
AMEN! The MacBook Pros are incredibly weak. They are two years behind competitor technologies. If I were a graphics/video/entertainment pro, I would have to use the Mac Pro or a PC laptop. The MBPs are absolutely worthless.

It is honestly sad that Apple has gone totally consumer and is so far behind the curve with its Pro notebook line. The thing is the MBPs were really expensive years ago but they included nice components. Now, they are filled with crappy outdated CPUs and graphics cards that are from the Ming dynasty... you get the point. Pros should be outraged and demand more. If I were a real Pro, I would be using a Mac Pro at home/office and a PC Notebook on the go. SAD SAD SAD!!!

At the same time, Apple is KING at selling inexpensive adds as the reason to buy a Mac. Aluminum casing, $5. LED backlit keyboard, $2. Glass trackpad, literally pennies. Glass covering for the display, $1. And the list goes on. I admit, Apple is king at making me want the newest latest and greatest model of Mac. And while we may be willing to pay more for the Macs, they probably cost less than PCs that cost half as much to the consumer. So all the rest is the cost for running OS X... I think that makes it worse than Microsoft, honestly.

I will really be ticked though if Apple cannot find a dedicated graphics card for an Arrandale MBA. Intel IGP will be the end of me buying MBAs and probably many of you too. The MBA really needs an update to compete with other ultraportables, and let's hope Apple learns from its competitors on how to implement an ATI dedicated solution.

All I can say is good riddance to those that want to go back to PC's because Apple doesn't have the bleeding edge hardware and ultra fast release cycles from the spec wars.

I'll take a reliable, stable, fast machine over a temperamental, flakey, spec demon any day. I prefer to work productively over having bragging rights to the latest high spec hardware.

You seem to be under the impression thats its the specs of the components that make a good machine and that its the cost of the raw materials that make up the cost of the machine.

There is this thing called R&D, that is responsible for the many features of both Apple hardware and Software that account for a lot of innovation and desirability. There is this thing called design that makes those "absolutely worthless" MBP's benchmark faster than most of the competition with far better "specs" even under Windows. There is this thing called a release pipeline that allows the systems to be reliable and well supported. There is this thing called support by onshore, knowledgeable techs that can actually help people with their issues. These are the reasons most of us love Apple products so much and a large part of why they cost what they cost.

Its not hardware specs that make MACs popular and its not hardware specs of software feature lists that make MAC owners happier than any other brand. Its the whole user experience. And nothing would more surely destroy that that than speedy release cycles with poorly matched bleeding edge high spec components and limited testing and support so common in the PC world.

Think about what you are asking for.

Eidorian
Jan 13, 2010, 01:04 AM
Think about what you are asking for.More powerful hardware and options. :p

iMacmatician
Jan 13, 2010, 07:31 AM
It is honestly sad that Apple has gone totally consumer and is so far behind the curve with its Pro notebook line. The thing is the MBPs were really expensive years ago but they included nice components. Now, they are filled with crappy outdated CPUs and graphics cards that are from the Ming dynasty... you get the point. Yeah the CPUs have gone lower and lower-end over the years. There's recent speculation going around that the MBPs will have Core i5 (no word on Core i7). If they indeed max out at Core i5 that's like two steps back. Using the Core i7 on the high-end won't be too much of a downgrade unless they put it as a BTO rather than as standard.

I will really be ticked though if Apple cannot find a dedicated graphics card for an Arrandale MBA. Intel IGP will be the end of me buying MBAs and probably many of you too. The MBA really needs an update to compete with other ultraportables, and let's hope Apple learns from its competitors on how to implement an ATI dedicated solution.Do you think we will see a repeat of the first Intel Macs where they went from (very low-end) discrete GPUs to integrated GPUs?

Right now I wouldn't be surprised at a Penryn/Arrandale refresh, with Arrandale updates for only the discrete GPU models. Especially when the LV Arrandales are Core i7 as opposed to Core i5 Arrandales for the MacBook Pros.

Thunder82
Jan 13, 2010, 08:33 AM
Its not hardware specs that make MACs popular and its not hardware specs of software feature lists that make MAC owners happier than any other brand. Its the whole user experience. And nothing would more surely destroy that that than speedy release cycles with poorly matched bleeding edge high spec components and limited testing and support so common in the PC world.

Think about what you are asking for.

I'm going to agree and disagree with you at the same time. Sure, user experience and having a stable machine is extremely important, but Apple also needs to stay with the times.

What we're talking about here is not bleeding edge technology, it's apples ability to offer the same generation of equipment as the rest of the PC world. I don't need the fastest CPU & GPU currently available, but I DO need the latest generation of equipment. Spending top dollar on a machine that has last years technology is stupid for anyone to consider.

jimboutilier
Jan 13, 2010, 09:16 AM
I'm going to agree and disagree with you at the same time. Sure, user experience and having a stable machine is extremely important, but Apple also needs to stay with the times.

What we're talking about here is not bleeding edge technology, it's apples ability to offer the same generation of equipment as the rest of the PC world. I don't need the fastest CPU & GPU currently available, but I DO need the latest generation of equipment. Spending top dollar on a machine that has last years technology is stupid for anyone to consider.

I would disagree with that. Clamoring for the delivery of new systems using components that have not even been released yet IS asking to be on the bleeding edge.

Think about the time it takes to deliver a quality laptop. You have to do the R&D and Design on real, available components and prototype, tune, and test, you have to make deals with dozens of manufactures and make sure they are delivering quality components to build you product, you have to have folks documenting and testing in preparation for supporting the products and put spares and repairs supplies, processes and procedures in, you have to develop drivers for many bits and pieces that need tuning and integration. Almost everything beyond the raw component level is custom.

In this case we have a set of new CPU/GPU's, not even been released yet, that will require entirely new motherboards, likely entirely new graphics designs and agreements and folks hare want the new machines to be released in the next few months. How is that not bleeding edge?

I bless whoever at Apple is holding the line at approximately annual product cycles (except for minor speed bumps) so we end up with well designed, stable, reliable, well supported products. And if that puts Apple a number of months behind the PC manufactures slapping the latest components together with little design, tuning, stability, reliability and support, I'll gladly pay EXTRA for being so far behind.

What is it you can't do on your current MAC that you think you will be able to do using the next generation MAC? Computers evolve year after year in an evolutionary rather than revolutionary way so are you really willing to sacrifice the current MAC user experience in favor of getting the latest 5%-10% performance or duration increase a few months earlier?

Thunder82
Jan 13, 2010, 10:28 AM
I would disagree with that. Clamoring for the delivery of new systems using components that have not even been released yet IS asking to be on the bleeding edge.

Think about the time it takes to deliver a quality laptop. You have to do the R&D and Design on real, available components and prototype, tune, and test, you have to make deals with dozens of manufactures and make sure they are delivering quality components to build you product, you have to have folks documenting and testing in preparation for supporting the products and put spares and repairs supplies, processes and procedures in, you have to develop drivers for many bits and pieces that need tuning and integration. Almost everything beyond the raw component level is custom.

In this case we have a set of new CPU/GPU's, not even been released yet, that will require entirely new motherboards, likely entirely new graphics designs and agreements and folks hare want the new machines to be released in the next few months. How is that not bleeding edge?

I bless whoever at Apple is holding the line at approximately annual product cycles (except for minor speed bumps) so we end up with well designed, stable, reliable, well supported products. And if that puts Apple a number of months behind the PC manufactures slapping the latest components together with little design, tuning, stability, reliability and support, I'll gladly pay EXTRA for being so far behind.

What is it you can't do on your current MAC that you think you will be able to do using the next generation MAC? Computers evolve year after year in an evolutionary rather than revolutionary way so are you really willing to sacrifice the current MAC user experience in favor of getting the latest 5%-10% performance or duration increase a few months earlier?

I'll agree to disagree. I'm not a stay at home mom who uses her mac for web browsing and email, where old technology might be "ok." I often have two virtual machines, excel, a VPN client, and half of the Adobe suite among other things open for work. AnandTech ran tests on the new Arrandale chips, and concluded that they are anywhere from 11.2 to 45.9% quicker depending on the task. If it takes, on average, 30% longer to encode a video or render an image, my boss will force me to use the in-house PCs. (which obviously isn't what I want) Obviously this doesn't apply to the MBA as it's not what I use for work, but purchasing another C2D based notebook when the rest of the world has corei5/i7 is not a possibility.

Eidorian
Jan 13, 2010, 11:12 AM
I would disagree with that. Clamoring for the delivery of new systems using components that have not even been released yet IS asking to be on the bleeding edge.The components have been released though and some models are shipping.

jimboutilier
Jan 13, 2010, 04:51 PM
The components have been released though and some models are shipping.

Sorry, I was talking about the Arendale mobile chips that might be suitable for the MBA and are of the same or faster speeds. To my knowledge none of these have been released - although engineering samples are likely out already.

I don't blame anyone wanting better/faster/longer system, it just seems most folks are expecting such short release cycles I'm not sure how they expect an Apple quality user experience.

I'm up for good power, less heat, better battery life, more RAM, more SSD too, but am willing to wait for Apple to "get it right".

Eidorian
Jan 13, 2010, 04:53 PM
Sorry, I was talking about the Arendale mobile chips that might be suitable for the MBA and are of the same or faster speeds. To my knowledge none of these have been released - although engineering samples are likely out already.Arrandale Low Voltage processors are out with their Standard Voltage siblings.

I don't blame anyone wanting better/faster/longer system, it just seems most folks are expecting such short release cycles I'm not sure how they expect an Apple quality user experience.

I'm up for good power, less heat, better battery life, more RAM, more SSD too, but am willing to wait for Apple to "get it right".You make it sound like Apple can't design a computer in the same time many other vendors can.

jimboutilier
Jan 13, 2010, 05:13 PM
You make it sound like Apple can't design a computer in the same time many other vendors can.

That is indeed my opinion - with a slight qualification. While design is only part of the rollout process I would say that Apple can not and does not want to use the shorter cycles used by most PC manufacturers. Longer product cycles are required provide the superior overall user experience and satisfaction ratings Apple differentiates itself with.

Hence my vehement objection to those who would visit the spec wars from PC land on Apple and then wonder why they started having a similar user experience.

Eidorian
Jan 13, 2010, 05:32 PM
That is indeed my opinion - with a slight qualification. While design is only part of the rollout process I would say that Apple can not and does not want to use the shorter cycles used by most PC manufacturers. Longer product cycles are required provide the superior overall user experience and satisfaction ratings Apple differentiates itself with.Yet many other vendors didn't have any problems switching over to Clarksfield and Arrandale quickly.

brendu
Jan 13, 2010, 06:43 PM
add matte screen option and i'd join ya too.

The macbook air is a matte screen, is it not? or is it just non glass glossy like the macbook...

zedsdead
Jan 13, 2010, 08:01 PM
The macbook air is a matte screen, is it not? or is it just non glass glossy like the macbook...

It is glossy. It does not have the second coating of glass the iMac's and Macbook Pro's have (hence the term, "glassy screen").

Scottsdale
Jan 13, 2010, 11:36 PM
All I can say is good riddance to those that want to go back to PC's because Apple doesn't have the bleeding edge hardware and ultra fast release cycles from the spec wars.

I'll take a reliable, stable, fast machine over a temperamental, flakey, spec demon any day. I prefer to work productively over having bragging rights to the latest high spec hardware.

You seem to be under the impression thats its the specs of the components that make a good machine and that its the cost of the raw materials that make up the cost of the machine.

There is this thing called R&D, that is responsible for the many features of both Apple hardware and Software that account for a lot of innovation and desirability. There is this thing called design that makes those "absolutely worthless" MBP's benchmark faster than most of the competition with far better "specs" even under Windows. There is this thing called a release pipeline that allows the systems to be reliable and well supported. There is this thing called support by onshore, knowledgeable techs that can actually help people with their issues. These are the reasons most of us love Apple products so much and a large part of why they cost what they cost.

Its not hardware specs that make MACs popular and its not hardware specs of software feature lists that make MAC owners happier than any other brand. Its the whole user experience. And nothing would more surely destroy that that than speedy release cycles with poorly matched bleeding edge high spec components and limited testing and support so common in the PC world.

Think about what you are asking for.

No, I have to disagree with you. I think the MBP is incredibly inferior to most professional grade PC notebooks. In addition, Windows 7 is rock solid, and extremely close in stability to OS X (especially Snow leopard).

If Apple wants to keep us years behind the specs in consumer models so we can all feel "safe and stable" that's one thing. However, it's completely different to develop a professional model that focuses on how thin and shiny it is rather than a component makeup that would benefit users.

ASK MOST PROFESSIONALS. Real professionals would tell you they would rather their MBP be an extra 1/4 inch thick and contain updated components! I am not saying the MBA needs a dedicated graphics card by ATI with 1 GB of dedicated memory, but we're talking about the MBP NOW!

I really enjoy OS X, but when I was "stuck" on Windows 7 I actually felt like the experience was incredibly similar and better in some respects. I think it's fair to expect hardware components that are relevant from Apple.

The Apple tax does exist and it comes in the way of outdated and inferior components at twice the price of PCs with twice the quality of components.

I love my MBA. I know that it was ahead of the curve when it was released in October 2008 with its component makeup, but it's quickly moving behind the curve. I really hope we get an update soon.

Stability is not just with OS X, it's also available from many PCs with Windows 7. In addition, the application compatibility is far superior on Windows 7. We all compromise considerably to use OS X. We all compromise in paying more for components that are worth less. We all compromise in not being able to run apps that are available on Windows. We all compromise in performance to be stuck with 2 GB of RAM when there are comparable ultraportables that accept up to 8 GB RAM. We all compromise in display quality on the MBA. We all compromise in battery performance and by not having the ability to swap our battery. We all compromise considerably to use our MBAs... it's reality.

jimboutilier
Jan 14, 2010, 08:48 AM
Yet many other vendors didn't have any problems switching over to Clarksfield and Arrandale quickly.

No doubt a number of PC vendors were able to quickly design and manufacture a new motherboard that works ok. Someone was able to make drivers that work ok. Someone was able to procure sets of parts from some set of manufacturers for some relatively small number of units to be able to manufacture them and bring them to market fast. Support folks may have some documentation in whats in this batch and may have some inkling if the common problems with this batch.

But is this set of motherboards optimal - no. Future sets, including Apples will perform better. Are these early drivers optimal (let alone stable) - NO, again future drivers will be faster and more stable - including Apple's. It this batch of machines the same as the next batch - NO, and will this batch have the same issues as the next batch NO, and will support be able to deliver a good quality support experience most of the time on these small ever changing batches - NO.

Its just a difference in philosophy. The folks at Apple are not stupid or slow any more than the PC folks are incompetent but fast. The different drivers result in different timelines and different outcomes.

Apple differentiates based on the whole user experience not on big feature lists or leading edge specs. That emphasis costs more and is harder to sell. One of the reasons Apple has a relatively small market share.

Not to beat a dead analogy, but you will always have less Lexus, Acura and Infinity drivers out there than Toyota, Honda, and Nissan drivers. Some will argue that the premium brand are not really and better and they are just over priced, and the Premium drivers will be happy with their "overpriced" user experience. Some will even Argue that their Dodge Neon RT has better specs than that Mercedes AMG CLK and those Mercedes owners just most be crazy. And hey' Mercedes, why can't you have more models and why can't they be cheaper, and why can't they have the specs of my great Neon RT? Yeah, to each their own.

jimboutilier
Jan 14, 2010, 09:13 AM
No, I have to disagree with you. I think the MBP is incredibly inferior to most professional grade PC notebooks. In addition, Windows 7 is rock solid, and extremely close in stability to OS X (especially Snow leopard).

If Apple wants to keep us years behind the specs in consumer models so we can all feel "safe and stable" that's one thing. However, it's completely different to develop a professional model that focuses on how thin and shiny it is rather than a component makeup that would benefit users.

ASK MOST PROFESSIONALS. Real professionals would tell you they would rather their MBP be an extra 1/4 inch thick and contain updated components! I am not saying the MBA needs a dedicated graphics card by ATI with 1 GB of dedicated memory, but we're talking about the MBP NOW!

I really enjoy OS X, but when I was "stuck" on Windows 7 I actually felt like the experience was incredibly similar and better in some respects. I think it's fair to expect hardware components that are relevant from Apple.

The Apple tax does exist and it comes in the way of outdated and inferior components at twice the price of PCs with twice the quality of components.

I love my MBA. I know that it was ahead of the curve when it was released in October 2008 with its component makeup, but it's quickly moving behind the curve. I really hope we get an update soon.

Stability is not just with OS X, it's also available from many PCs with Windows 7. In addition, the application compatibility is far superior on Windows 7. We all compromise considerably to use OS X. We all compromise in paying more for components that are worth less. We all compromise in not being able to run apps that are available on Windows. We all compromise in performance to be stuck with 2 GB of RAM when there are comparable ultraportables that accept up to 8 GB RAM. We all compromise in display quality on the MBA. We all compromise in battery performance and by not having the ability to swap our battery. We all compromise considerably to use our MBAs... it's reality.

If you are talking about specs and feature lists I agree that MACs can be anywhere from several months to close to a year behind the latest PC's (depending on where things are in Apple's refresh cycle). I'm sure this year MAC's will get the latest generation of components - but months behind many PC's and early next year Apple will appear to be a whole generation behind as new PC's are released with 2011 generation components.

I can even agree that the thinness of Apple products while very attractive, makes heat a problem and limits the power of components, the number of features and the number of ports.

Your ASK MOST PROFESSIONALS comment is a bit non sequitur. MBP owners are very happy as are most other MAC owners - Apple consistently gets higher ownership satisfaction than any other brand. So either most professionals don't buy MBP's or your opinion is incorrect. I'm a "professional" Been in IT for my whole life (and I'm 47). Have undergrad and grad degrees in Engineering, Computer Science, and Business. Make my living as a consultant making well over 6 figures. I owned a MBP and loved it. I loved all my MACs in fact.

No one is forcing you to buy or use a MAC. You like Win7 or PC's better because they have many features and better specs and are cheaper - switch back. Whats keeping you here? You constantly pontificate about how terrible these MACs are and why can't Apple do this and why can't Apple do that, and how yet another stupid decision by Apple is going to kill them. Yet MAC market share is growing and the vast majority of MAC users are very happy, and indeed here you are - a MAC user.

There in lies the rub. Us mac users put up with daily compatibility struggles, small model selections, long product cycles, modest power and feature lists, high prices etc. But that hard to quantify and codify and "sell" user experience hooks you.

Us happy MAC users know why were are hooked and what it takes to deliver that wonderful bait that keeps us here. Clearly some of us are unhappy because we want the best of both worlds and don't understand why we can't

Scottsdale
Jan 14, 2010, 09:57 AM
No doubt a number of PC vendors were able to quickly design and manufacture a new motherboard that works ok. Someone was able to make drivers that work ok. Someone was able to procure sets of parts from some set of manufacturers for some relatively small number of units to be able to manufacture them and bring them to market fast. Support folks may have some documentation in whats in this batch and may have some inkling if the common problems with this batch.

But is this set of motherboards optimal - no. Future sets, including Apples will perform better. Are these early drivers optimal (let alone stable) - NO, again future drivers will be faster and more stable - including Apple's. It this batch of machines the same as the next batch - NO, and will this batch have the same issues as the next batch NO, and will support be able to deliver a good quality support experience most of the time on these small ever changing batches - NO.

Its just a difference in philosophy. The folks at Apple are not stupid or slow any more than the PC folks are incompetent but fast. The different drivers result in different timelines and different outcomes.

Apple differentiates based on the whole user experience not on big feature lists or leading edge specs. That emphasis costs more and is harder to sell. One of the reasons Apple has a relatively small market share.

Not to beat a dead analogy, but you will always have less Lexus, Acura and Infinity drivers out there than Toyota, Honda, and Nissan drivers. Some will argue that the premium brand are not really and better and they are just over priced, and the Premium drivers will be happy with their "overpriced" user experience. Some will even Argue that their Dodge Neon RT has better specs than that Mercedes AMG CLK and those Mercedes owners just most be crazy. And hey' Mercedes, why can't you have more models and why can't they be cheaper, and why can't they have the specs of my great Neon RT? Yeah, to each their own.

First, I normally agree with most of what you say, and I enjoy your posts. Right now, I think you're being too big of a fan to be realistic, open, and truthful about how much you're paying to compromise. Make no mistake about it, your safety and stability with beautiful user interface is coming at a HUGE cost in performance and capabilities.

Actually, a good number of people will tell you that Apple is one of the worst at writing drivers. Apple uses such a limited number of components across all models so it doesn't have to worry about writing many drivers. The philosophy works great on paper, but it has been the leading factor of Macs being stuck on the same components for years. Then 9400m (introduced October 2008) is a great example. It's a nice way to run certain systems, but Apple has taken it overboard because they don't want to have to write another driver. It's in every Mac product except the Mac Pro... and if Apple had its way it would be there too!

I wish OS X were everything grand, as it could be really great. However, Apple's model is quickly going mainstream consumer and it leaves the professional much to be desired. Be realistic about what OS X is and isn't. Is it stable, yes. Why is it stable, Apple uses few components and allows almost no customization so it doesn't have to write new drivers or support them. In fact, some of Windows biggest problems are having to be compatible with tens of thousands of components from many hundreds of suppliers. When Windows has quality written drivers, like mainstream suppliers include, it's something amazing. Realize that you have a poor selection with the Mac to get around this... and if you were selective about the PC you purchase, ensuring it uses top components, you would realize that Windows 7 is just as stable and provides better performance because it can be designed to use far superior components.

OS X is terrible at certain other things like Flash is horrible and Quicktime is inefficient. In fact, any video playback is worthless on OS X versus Windows. Apple is going so cheap on components that it cannot even provide dedicated graphics RAM. Apple gets its cake and can eat it too; meaning Apple charges the highest prices and one would assume it means its Macs get top tier components, but Apple actually uses low end (mid-line) components.

Apple focuses on the inexpensive "extras" to sell you the grand system called the Mac. Think about the aluminum case... $5 in raw material costs, backlit keyboard... $1 in LED bulbs, shiny display... $2 in sand (glass), glass buttonless trackpad... $2 in sand (glass). Apple is KING at this. It works on making its products look amazing to the consumer. It ensures that it has all of the extras the PCs don't have, yet it makes us believe we NEED these things for computing. A backlit keyboard isn't necessary for most, but we are convinced we NEED it to function. Through all of this, the professionals are dearly paying the price and getting beautiful Macs that aren't half as capable as their PC counterparts.

Look, you have to admit that Apple, the Mac, and OS X is a huge compromise in performance and selection to get the "safety" you so desire. Its user interface and stability come at a huge price in actual costs, and one needs to buy a Mac right when it's released to get the best value. Otherwise people are getting seven month old technology at seven month ago pricing. With PCs, they become irrelevant after three months and are updated with new components. That means if you don't buy right when Apple releases something, you have to wait until it's updated to get a better value. Apple doesn't reduce the price, because most CONSUMERS, LIKE YOU, don't care about the component makeup being old and inferior... they want "stability" and beauty. That mindset you have is exactly what Apple wants you to have!

I love the Mac, but I know that the OS/user interface comes at a huge cost. I also can fairly asses Windows 7 vs. OS X. In fact, my MBA runs Windows 7 great, perhaps even better than OS X.

It's one thing to enjoy the Mac, but you still should understand the loss/compromises you make using it. If you're just a "consumer" all that really matters is that it works... and that's where you are. But understand the argument you're making before you discount other alternative arguments. In fact, I believe that the majority of professionals would be much better off on Windows 7, and I believe that most consumers would be much better off on the Mac. Apple took an alternative route (it started with the media/graphics/entertainment professionals) and it's now becoming apparent to Apple that its products are for CONSUMERS and NOT professionals. Most professionals would agree with this if they really thought about both sides of the argument.

Scottsdale
Jan 14, 2010, 10:36 AM
...Your ASK MOST PROFESSIONALS comment is a bit non sequitur. MBP owners are very happy as are most other MAC owners - Apple consistently gets higher ownership satisfaction than any other brand. So either most professionals don't buy MBP's or your opinion is incorrect. I'm a "professional" Been in IT for my whole life (and I'm 47). Have undergrad and grad degrees in Engineering, Computer Science, and Business. Make my living as a consultant making well over 6 figures. I owned a MBP and loved it. I loved all my MACs in fact.

No one is forcing you to buy or use a MAC. You like Win7 or PC's better because they have many features and better specs and are cheaper - switch back. Whats keeping you here? You constantly pontificate about how terrible these MACs are and why can't Apple do this and why can't Apple do that, and how yet another stupid decision by Apple is going to kill them. Yet MAC market share is growing and the vast majority of MAC users are very happy, and indeed here you are - a MAC user.

There in lies the rub. Us mac users put up with daily compatibility struggles, small model selections, long product cycles, modest power and feature lists, high prices etc. But that hard to quantify and codify and "sell" user experience hooks you.

Us happy MAC users know why were are hooked and what it takes to deliver that wonderful bait that keeps us here. Clearly some of us are unhappy because we want the best of both worlds and don't understand why we can't

First, when we talk professional, let's make certain we're talking about the same "professional." I am talking the graphics professional/engineer/mathematician/CAD designer that needs a professional grade computer to perform his/her current work. The person making a movie, creating CGI, doing 3D modeling/design, doing advanced engineering models, advanced mathematical modeling and etc - that's the professional I am considering.

Most MBP owners ARE NOT PROFESSIONALS. That's where your argument is terribly flawed. Most true "professionals" are NOT using the MBP for their daily workload. If they truly need a "professional-grade" computer, they're using a Mac Pro, Linux, or PC. Now, there are other "professionals" using the MBP that don't really need a "professional workstation-quality" computer. Someone that works on Photoshop could use an MBP, or someone that designs websites (heck that can be done on the MBA).

Now, moving on to your "professional" experience. I am happy for you that you love being a consultant making your six figures. I am happy for you that you earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Did you ever think that perhaps you aren't considering myself and my experiences and education before making that your argument? In fact, our background/history/work experience is very similar. If you want a list of my background, experience, degrees, client list, or etc for "proof" shoot me a PM, and I will be happy to share. And while I too am a professional, I don't need a professional-grade computer for my daily workload and apparently neither do you.

I know some of my clients and colleagues are professionals that do need professional-grade computers... most don't use MBPs, some use Mac Pros, some use Linux/Unix boxes, and MOST use PCs. Most that use notebooks, are using professional grade PC notebooks and their workload couldn't be completed on an MBP - as it's simply not capable. Others (in the minority) do use MBPs and I even know an engineer that does 90% of his work on an MBA.

I don't like Windows 7 more. I prefer using OS X, but I can be honest about what Windows was in the past, what gave it a bad rap, and what Windows is now. I can also be honest about what the Mac is and isn't. I love my MBA, and I will continue to sucker in to buy the Mac "experience" as long as I love the notebook design, user interface, have application compatibility, and it's stable and secure for my work. Fortunately for me, I am a BUSINESS professional, and I can do nearly all of my work on an MBA. I love the design of the MBA. I am as big of an MBA fan as there can possibly be, but I also understand the quality and component makeup of alternative ultraportables on the market. Based on the competitors, I sure hope the MBA gets an update soon.

Don't think that I personally want to use a Windows PC just because I know its advantages. Don't think that I cannot want a Mac just because I know its weaknesses. It's one thing to want a certain product, but it's something entirely different to NEED a certain product. Most of us don't NEED a Mac, we just prefer it.

Eidorian
Jan 14, 2010, 10:40 AM
No doubt a number of PC vendors were able to quickly design and manufacture a new motherboard that works ok. Someone was able to make drivers that work ok. Someone was able to procure sets of parts from some set of manufacturers for some relatively small number of units to be able to manufacture them and bring them to market fast. Support folks may have some documentation in whats in this batch and may have some inkling if the common problems with this batch.

But is this set of motherboards optimal - no. Future sets, including Apples will perform better. Are these early drivers optimal (let alone stable) - NO, again future drivers will be faster and more stable - including Apple's. It this batch of machines the same as the next batch - NO, and will this batch have the same issues as the next batch NO, and will support be able to deliver a good quality support experience most of the time on these small ever changing batches - NO.

Its just a difference in philosophy. The folks at Apple are not stupid or slow any more than the PC folks are incompetent but fast. The different drivers result in different timelines and different outcomes.

Apple differentiates based on the whole user experience not on big feature lists or leading edge specs. That emphasis costs more and is harder to sell. One of the reasons Apple has a relatively small market share.I'll just take that as Apple being lazy then.

Hollytree
Jan 14, 2010, 11:19 AM
I'll just take that as Apple being lazy then.

I agree.

But unfortunately because of the reliability factor, apple will still probably get more of my money soon bc I plan on getting the next rev of the mba to replace my 2002 ibook (yes, it's practically a dinosaur, but it still works... as opposed to my old gateway laptop which crashed every 2 minutes).

Scottsdale
Jan 14, 2010, 12:19 PM
I agree.

But unfortunately because of the reliability factor, apple will still probably get more of my money soon bc I plan on getting the next rev of the mba to replace my 2002 ibook (yes, it's practically a dinosaur, but it still works... as opposed to my old gateway laptop which crashed every 2 minutes).

If you buy a Mac, buy it because it's the user interface that you want. Or buy a Mac because you like that it makes you feel cool. Or buy it because you like the experience or how it feels in your hands. Or buy it because you want it to "just work" with a limited number of peripherals and applications (meaning you don't want to install the printer driver yourself). Or buy it because you really like all of the iLife programs. Or buy it because applications you really need can only run on OS X. Or buy it because you want it to work with all of the other Macs in your house. Or maybe, simply, buy a Mac because it's FUN!

If you just want reliable, you can get that from plenty of PC notebooks with far superior component makeup at a HUGELY DISCOUNTED PRICE. However, if you're used to a 2002 iBook, anything current is going to feel like a speed demon. Consider this though... Gateway was NEVER reliable. For many years Dell was considered the most reliable. The reason Dell was so good is it used quality components that had well written drivers that worked in Windows. Windows 7 has changed the game. PC notebooks with quality components are out there, and they're just as reliable as a Mac.

When you buy your new Mac, buy it because it's what you really want to use for all of your computing needs. Don't buy it because it's more reliable because it's not.

I hope you and I both get to (and still want to) buy the "next" MBA really soon! Let's hope the MBA gets really great updates with a Core i7 CPU, an ATI graphics card, 4 GB RAM, a 256 GB SSD, USB 3.0, a glass trackpad, and a display that is 3D, HD, or OLED.

However the main reason I will buy the MBA is because it's FUN! Using the MBA as a primary computer is simply FUN! That's it! That's its primary feature! It's a combination of components, a beautiful design, and a user interface that makes it fun.

Hollytree
Jan 14, 2010, 12:35 PM
If you buy a Mac, buy it because it's the user interface that you want. Or buy a Mac because you like that it makes you feel cool. Or buy it because you like the experience or how it feels in your hands. Or buy it because you want it to "just work" with a limited number of peripherals and applications (meaning you don't want to install the printer driver yourself). Or buy it because you really like all of the iLife programs. Or buy it because applications you really need can only run on OS X. Or buy it because you want it to work with all of the other Macs in your house. Or maybe, simply, buy a Mac because it's FUN!

If you just want reliable, you can get that from plenty of PC notebooks with far superior component makeup at a HUGELY DISCOUNTED PRICE. However, if you're used to a 2002 iBook, anything current is going to feel like a speed demon. Consider this though... Gateway was NEVER reliable. For many years Dell was considered the most reliable. The reason Dell was so good is it used quality components that had well written drivers that worked in Windows. Windows 7 has changed the game. PC notebooks with quality components are out there, and they're just as reliable as a Mac.

When you buy your new Mac, buy it because it's what you really want to use for all of your computing needs. Don't buy it because it's more reliable because it's not.

I hope you and I both get to (and still want to) buy the "next" MBA really soon! Let's hope the MBA gets really great updates with a Core i7 CPU, an ATI graphics card, 4 GB RAM, a 256 GB SSD, USB 3.0, a glass trackpad, and a display that is 3D, HD, or OLED.

However the main reason I will buy the MBA is because it's FUN! Using the MBA as a primary computer is simply FUN! That's it! That's its primary feature! It's a combination of components, a beautiful design, and a user interface that makes it fun.

Thank you Scottsdale :) I've always enjoyed reading your posts bc they are thoughtful & informative. (I've been reading these forums for quite a while tho I just joined as a member today.)

Yeah, I can't lie - the coolness factor def gets me... I can't wait for the new mba, yay 2010!

jimboutilier
Jan 14, 2010, 02:19 PM
First, I normally agree with most of what you say, and I enjoy your posts. Right now, I think you're being too big of a fan to be realistic, open, and truthful about how much you're paying to compromise. Make no mistake about it, your safety and stability with beautiful user interface is coming at a HUGE cost in performance and capabilities.

Actually, a good number of people will tell you that Apple is one of the worst at writing drivers. Apple uses such a limited number of components across all models so it doesn't have to worry about writing many drivers. The philosophy works great on paper, but it has been the leading factor of Macs being stuck on the same components for years. Then 9400m (introduced October 2008) is a great example. It's a nice way to run certain systems, but Apple has taken it overboard because they don't want to have to write another driver. It's in every Mac product except the Mac Pro... and if Apple had its way it would be there too!

I wish OS X were everything grand, as it could be really great. However, Apple's model is quickly going mainstream consumer and it leaves the professional much to be desired. Be realistic about what OS X is and isn't. Is it stable, yes. Why is it stable, Apple uses few components and allows almost no customization so it doesn't have to write new drivers or support them. In fact, some of Windows biggest problems are having to be compatible with tens of thousands of components from many hundreds of suppliers. When Windows has quality written drivers, like mainstream suppliers include, it's something amazing. Realize that you have a poor selection with the Mac to get around this... and if you were selective about the PC you purchase, ensuring it uses top components, you would realize that Windows 7 is just as stable and provides better performance because it can be designed to use far superior components.

OS X is terrible at certain other things like Flash is horrible and Quicktime is inefficient. In fact, any video playback is worthless on OS X versus Windows. Apple is going so cheap on components that it cannot even provide dedicated graphics RAM. Apple gets its cake and can eat it too; meaning Apple charges the highest prices and one would assume it means its Macs get top tier components, but Apple actually uses low end (mid-line) components.

Apple focuses on the inexpensive "extras" to sell you the grand system called the Mac. Think about the aluminum case... $5 in raw material costs, backlit keyboard... $1 in LED bulbs, shiny display... $2 in sand (glass), glass buttonless trackpad... $2 in sand (glass). Apple is KING at this. It works on making its products look amazing to the consumer. It ensures that it has all of the extras the PCs don't have, yet it makes us believe we NEED these things for computing. A backlit keyboard isn't necessary for most, but we are convinced we NEED it to function. Through all of this, the professionals are dearly paying the price and getting beautiful Macs that aren't half as capable as their PC counterparts.

Look, you have to admit that Apple, the Mac, and OS X is a huge compromise in performance and selection to get the "safety" you so desire. Its user interface and stability come at a huge price in actual costs, and one needs to buy a Mac right when it's released to get the best value. Otherwise people are getting seven month old technology at seven month ago pricing. With PCs, they become irrelevant after three months and are updated with new components. That means if you don't buy right when Apple releases something, you have to wait until it's updated to get a better value. Apple doesn't reduce the price, because most CONSUMERS, LIKE YOU, don't care about the component makeup being old and inferior... they want "stability" and beauty. That mindset you have is exactly what Apple wants you to have!

I love the Mac, but I know that the OS/user interface comes at a huge cost. I also can fairly asses Windows 7 vs. OS X. In fact, my MBA runs Windows 7 great, perhaps even better than OS X.

It's one thing to enjoy the Mac, but you still should understand the loss/compromises you make using it. If you're just a "consumer" all that really matters is that it works... and that's where you are. But understand the argument you're making before you discount other alternative arguments. In fact, I believe that the majority of professionals would be much better off on Windows 7, and I believe that most consumers would be much better off on the Mac. Apple took an alternative route (it started with the media/graphics/entertainment professionals) and it's now becoming apparent to Apple that its products are for CONSUMERS and NOT professionals. Most professionals would agree with this if they really thought about both sides of the argument.

While we might debate how large the performance gap is, I agree there IS one. I would not agree that Apple writes the worst drivers but I would agree they like to keep hardware as consistent as possible so they avoid changing them as much as possible (not because they suck but because they want the stability and support experience and it take a long time to do a good job). As to the "quality" of Windows drivers, I'll let the blue screens, crashes, hangs, freezes, etc speak for themselves - not saying they are all bad but saying there is a LOT of them and many are bad cause people don't take the time to do better.

Expensive machining operations, custom keyboards and trackpads not used by any other manufactures have very real costs and putting it down to the cost of Aluminum or Led's or Sand is more than a bit disingenuous. Human bodies have about a dollar or raw materials in them but there is a lot of cost to producing each adult one ;-)

And sorry if you thought I was dismissing your background on the PROFESSIONAL thing. I was merely pointing out that I fell into the typical definition of professional and am very happy with the MBP. Not trying to elevate my opinions or devalue others. Maybe power user or something might be better to use than professionals because many professionals (Dr's LAwer's Engineers, IT professionals too) could be well served by a MBP. Someone doing CGI - not so much I agree.

Anyway, enough of this for me on this thread. I accept the comprises Apple makes to give me the user experience they do -and its not safety - its productivity. MACs are not perfect for sure and many improvements could be made without compromising that user experience.

Its just there is not any current way to make many of the major changes people are asking for in such a short period of time and keep that user experience so I object to them pushing in that direction. I left the PC platform for those reasons, am MUCH happier here, and don't want to go back.

I wish you a great year Scottsdale and look forward to reading your posts. I hope Apple finds a way to make both of us happy.

MartiNZ
Jan 14, 2010, 04:03 PM
It is glossy. It does not have the second coating of glass the iMac's and Macbook Pro's have (hence the term, "glassy screen").

Indeed, and if they added that option as well - even if it upped the weight a bit? - then I'd join as well.

Scottsdale
Jan 14, 2010, 07:11 PM
I was merely pointing out that I fell into the typical definition of professional and am very happy with the MBP. Not trying to elevate my opinions or devalue others. Maybe power user or something might be better to use than professionals because many professionals (Dr's LAwer's Engineers, IT professionals too) could be well served by a MBP. Someone doing CGI - not so much I agree.


That is where we are different. I know that we might be professionals, but we aren't in need of "professional grade computers." There is a difference. I would consider myself a professional, yet I don't need a professional grade computer to do my work. And most of those who don't need a professional grade computer could just as well be using our beloved MBA. As I said before, most MBP users don't even need a professional grade computer or don't use it as their primary computer.

In fact, most professionals aren't the actual intended "professionals" for a professional grade computer. Doctors, attorneys, and accountants are commonly referred to as "professionals," but most of us would agree that they don't even need MacBook Pros or "professional grade computers" to do complete their daily computing workload. Our little MBAs can do Excel and Word.

My point is that the MBP isn't really even a professional grade computer; the Mac Pro is a professional grade computer. Apple has chosen the term MacBook "Pro" as more of a marketing term than a designation for professionals who need a professional grade computer. There are plenty of PC notebook options that are professional grade computers. I once owned a Dell Precision Workstation notebook - one amazing computer. Most of those who need a professional grade notebook would ABSOLUTELY LOVE for the MBP to have professional grade components... but Steve Jobs is more worried that it look pretty, be less than an inch thick, and be super glossy!

... and thus Apple has forgotten about the professionals and is focusing on the consumers with the MBP.

I am now done writing about this too...

lucifiel
Jan 14, 2010, 07:27 PM
... and thus Apple has forgotten about the professionals and is focusing on the consumers with the MBP.

probably because there are more consumers out there. and consumers are stupid. and stupid people are easy to exploit. and exploitation is a better business model than catering to people who know what they're talking about and actually having to present the goods.

that said, the MBA will never be marketted at "professionals" in your definition. and i don't think it ever should.

The MBP may have started off as marketted to "professionals", but it's pretty much a shiny consumer grade laptop. Nothing wrong with that per se.

Eidorian
Jan 14, 2010, 08:32 PM
probably because there are more consumers out there. and consumers are stupid. and stupid people are easy to exploit. and exploitation is a better business model than catering to people who know what they're talking about and actually having to present the goods.

that said, the MBA will never be marketted at "professionals" in your definition. and i don't think it ever should.

The MBP may have started off as marketted to "professionals", but it's pretty much a shiny consumer grade laptop. Nothing wrong with that per se.It's nice to know we can admit that. :D

Apple doesn't even cater to the prosumer anymore either. I've narrowed it down to sometime in 2006. It's somewhat sad.

Scottsdale
Jan 14, 2010, 09:49 PM
Apple doesn't even cater to the prosumer anymore either. I've narrowed it down to sometime in 2006. It's somewhat sad.

Agreed! I would say you're really close on the 2006 timing too. Ironically, it was just after it went from PowerBook to MacBook "Pro," that Apple quit using quality components and focused on going thin, lightweight, and super shiny.

Apple really is KING at all of the small extras (backlit KB, glass trackpad, glass covered display, and etc) that it touts those as the reasons people NEED to "upgrade" to a Mac; in reality those components cost Apple very little in terms of real costs.

The MBP has had its downs, mostly. Every release seems to be that much further behind... Even a prosumer has to be seriously willing to compromise to go with an MBP over a PC notebook at half the price with twice the component power. I definitely agree with you all the way there.

We all are huge fans to be willing to do what we do every time we hand Apple money for a new Mac.

In all honesty though, Apple is much much better at providing consumer-grade electronics. The iPod and iPhone have been great, but I think the iPod tablet is going to be the true revolutionary device that changes EVERYTHING.

I don't know if it's smart to abandon its customer base that got them to this point over 20+ years as a computer company. I know they haven't completely abandoned the professional computer user, but the downhill slide has gone pretty quick.

bloodycape
Jan 15, 2010, 12:33 AM
Well I will say the first gen MBP was a bit lacking(15in specifically) as it lacks firewire 800 port and dual layer dvd burner of the 15in Powerbook. However, I think it went up the pro charts for a while after the first gen, Apple did bring back firewire 800 and dual layer dvd on the 15in. Now after that is where I would agree again that it started to move away from the Pro market.

brendu
Jan 15, 2010, 09:03 AM
im not so sure apple charges twice as much for half as much computing power... I just configured a 17" Dell precision workstation and a 17"MBP with all the same specs 3.06Ghz C2D, 4GB (2x2)Ram, 500GB 7200 HDD, both have LED backlight screens, and backlight keyboards, the only difference being (and I will concede that apple is WAY behind on this front) is the graphics. Apple having the 512MB descrete option and the Dell having the 1GB descrete option...

but back to the apple being twice the cost is bull. The dell came to $4004 and the macbook came to $2849....

So apple might not use the newest and nicest cards, but No they do not charge DOUBLE what comparably equipped PC's cost...


The entry level macbook, thats a whole different story...

bloodycape
Jan 15, 2010, 02:57 PM
That is kind of pricey I have seen core 2 quad 17in gaming laptops going for less than that. Hell, I am seeing some nice 17in machines with the new i7 for less. Then again once you add all those Dell coupons the price should be a good bit lower, I think.

brendu
Jan 15, 2010, 03:50 PM
Yeah, Im sure when you get a computer resale its going to probably be cheaper... partially because of all the bloatware they install on the systems (which most of the time is completely unnecessary) but when I simply configured dells top of the line against apples top of the line on each of their respective websites, thats what I got. I was trying to be as fair as possible... I didnt add anything to the dell to spike the price up..

Scottsdale
Jan 15, 2010, 04:20 PM
That is kind of pricey I have seen core 2 quad 17in gaming laptops going for less than that. Hell, I am seeing some nice 17in machines with the new i7 for less. Then again once you add all those Dell coupons the price should be a good bit lower, I think.

Yes, people can go find what they want on the Internet to to try to prove people wrong. Most of the time, people try to find the highest end 17" Dell workstation to do that. The truth is there are closeout models in many brands that have been around for over a year (maybe closer to 18/24 months) with SIMILAR specs for less than half the price of a 15" MBP. I believe the 15" display is the common size of notebook that most people want. When comparing the 17" the MBP holds up slightly better. When comparing the 13" the MBP is a complete JOKE!

There are PC notebooks with Core i7 and have DEFINITELY TWICE THE GRAPHICS PERFORMANCE that are not really twice the power but represent that as Apple has never been willing to use higher-end components that many PC manufacturers use at 2/3 the price of an MBP. I could go find them to try to prove someone wrong, but it's pointless as there is a huge range. Some will be closer to half others will be more.

If we're talking about a 15" display, Core 2 Duo CPU and piss poor 9600m or EQUIVALENT graphics, there are plenty of "clearance" type models that are over a year old at less than HALF the price of an MBP. That's just the point, these are OLD PC notebooks that are still current when compared to an MBP; that's the sad part. Apple really is a great company to buy stock in. It really has the ability to make a sucker out of any Mac buyer.

If we all only bought Macs within two months of when they were last updated, Apple would be forced to continually compete like PC manufacturers do. It's the unaware consumer that allows Apple to get away with its system of deception (not really deception but will not disclose that they're being updated even a day before an update). I only buy my Macs during the first two months after an update. I simply cannot bare the thought of buying eight month old technology at eight month old pricing... times like right now are the absolute worst time to buy a Mac.

But in all, it was an exaggeration meant to dramatize an illustration that the MBP is far behind in computing performance power and yet it's twice the price for what can be found that's similar. It's more either/or not both... but it can be both depending on how hard you try to prove the point.

brendu
Jan 15, 2010, 04:23 PM
Yes, people can go find what they want on the Internet to to try to prove people wrong. Most of the time, people try to find the highest end 17" Dell workstation to do that. The truth is there are closeout models in many brands that have been around for over a year (maybe closer to 18/24 months) with SIMILAR specs for less than half the price of a 15" MBP. I believe the 15" display is the common size of notebook that most people want. When comparing the 17" the MBP holds up slightly better. When comparing the 13" the MBP is a complete JOKE!

There are PC notebooks with Core i7 and have DEFINITELY TWICE THE GRAPHICS PERFORMANCE that are not really twice the power but represent that as Apple has never been willing to use higher-end components that many PC manufacturers use at 2/3 the price of an MBP. I could go find them to try to prove someone wrong, but it's pointless as there is a huge range. Some will be closer to half others will be more.

If we're talking about a 15" display, Core 2 Duo CPU and piss poor 9600m or EQUIVALENT graphics, there are plenty of "clearance" type models that are over a year old at less than HALF the price of an MBP. That's just the point, these are OLD PC notebooks that are still current when compared to an MBP; that's the sad part. Apple really is a great company to buy stock in. It really has the ability to make a sucker out of any Mac buyer.

If we all only bought Macs within two months of when they were last updated, Apple would be forced to continually compete like PC manufacturers do. It's the unaware consumer that allows Apple to get away with its system of deception (not really deception but will not disclose that they're being updated even a day before an update). I only buy my Macs during the first two months after an update. I simply cannot bare the thought of buying eight month old technology at eight month old pricing... times like right now are the absolute worst time to buy a Mac.

But in all, it was an exaggeration meant to dramatize an illustration that the MBP is far behind in computing performance power and yet it's twice the price for what can be found that's similar. It's more either/or not both... but it can be both depending on how hard you try to prove the point.

+1 great post.

bloodycape
Jan 15, 2010, 07:01 PM
I have to say that Scottsdale is pretty on point, shame there aren't more like him.
I am pretty sure now for around the price of a the 15in MBP you can get a 15in quad core i7 machine with a bettery gpu and a wide choice of screen resolutions and optical drive options. Granted battery life won't be as good, but for some people that not a key issue, not to mention Apple is pretty good at getting solid battery life out of their machines. If Apple made a similar machine I would have to believe battery life would be pretty nice for a quad core laptop.

nanotlj
Jan 15, 2010, 09:28 PM
It is funny for people to think that simply combining high performance components will make a high performance computer.


Yes, people can go find what they want on the Internet to to try to prove people wrong. Most of the time, people try to find the highest end 17" Dell workstation to do that. The truth is there are closeout models in many brands that have been around for over a year (maybe closer to 18/24 months) with SIMILAR specs for less than half the price of a 15" MBP. I believe the 15" display is the common size of notebook that most people want. When comparing the 17" the MBP holds up slightly better. When comparing the 13" the MBP is a complete JOKE!

There are PC notebooks with Core i7 and have DEFINITELY TWICE THE GRAPHICS PERFORMANCE that are not really twice the power but represent that as Apple has never been willing to use higher-end components that many PC manufacturers use at 2/3 the price of an MBP. I could go find them to try to prove someone wrong, but it's pointless as there is a huge range. Some will be closer to half others will be more.

If we're talking about a 15" display, Core 2 Duo CPU and piss poor 9600m or EQUIVALENT graphics, there are plenty of "clearance" type models that are over a year old at less than HALF the price of an MBP. That's just the point, these are OLD PC notebooks that are still current when compared to an MBP; that's the sad part. Apple really is a great company to buy stock in. It really has the ability to make a sucker out of any Mac buyer.

If we all only bought Macs within two months of when they were last updated, Apple would be forced to continually compete like PC manufacturers do. It's the unaware consumer that allows Apple to get away with its system of deception (not really deception but will not disclose that they're being updated even a day before an update). I only buy my Macs during the first two months after an update. I simply cannot bare the thought of buying eight month old technology at eight month old pricing... times like right now are the absolute worst time to buy a Mac.

But in all, it was an exaggeration meant to dramatize an illustration that the MBP is far behind in computing performance power and yet it's twice the price for what can be found that's similar. It's more either/or not both... but it can be both depending on how hard you try to prove the point.

andygabriel
Jan 15, 2010, 10:25 PM
So which chip will most likely be in the macbook air? The i5 or i7?

Scottsdale
Jan 15, 2010, 10:54 PM
So which chip will most likely be in the macbook air? The i5 or i7?

I worked through all of the alternatives in my mind. I had it figured out that it would be nearly 50/50 between Penryn and Arrandale. Then, after I really thought about Apple and its rumored disgust with Arrandale and Intel's IGP, I believed that it would be a Penryn SL9x00 CPU and an Nvidia GPU. Then there was the report that Intel is giving away two new Core i5 MBPs, and it turned my logic back to Arrandale. Now, I don't know which way Apple is going...

55% - Core 2 Duo SL 9x00 CPU with an Nvidia 105m (around 2.4GHz)
20% - Core i7 CPU 2.2 GHz boost to around 2.8 GHz | Intel IGP
24% - Core i7 CPU 2.2 GHz boost to around 2.8 GHz | ATI 4xxx Graphics
1% - ARM CPU with 8 Cores at 1GHz (just for the heck of it) | Nvidia

I say the key new revolutionary feature will be something with the display. It will be OLED, HD, or 3D! Something not available in any other Mac.

That's my guess... anyone else want to take a shot?

andygabriel
Jan 16, 2010, 01:59 AM
I worked through all of the alternatives in my mind. I had it figured out that it would be nearly 50/50 between Penryn and Arrandale. Then, after I really thought about Apple and its rumored disgust with Arrandale and Intel's IGP, I believed that it would be a Penryn SL9x00 CPU and an Nvidia GPU. Then there was the report that Intel is giving away two new Core i5 MBPs, and it turned my logic back to Arrandale. Now, I don't know which way Apple is going...

55% - Core 2 Duo SL 9x00 CPU with an Nvidia 105m (around 2.4GHz)
20% - Core i7 CPU 2.2 GHz boost to around 2.8 GHz | Intel IGP
24% - Core i7 CPU 2.2 GHz boost to around 2.8 GHz | ATI 4xxx Graphics
1% - ARM CPU with 8 Cores at 1GHz (just for the heck of it) | Nvidia

I say the key new revolutionary feature will be something with the display. It will be OLED, HD, or 3D! Something not available in any other Mac.

That's my guess... anyone else want to take a shot?

Thx for the prompt reply Scottdale. I really hoping for the Arrandale Core i7. But what make you think we're going to have OLED, HD or even 3D. Do you think they're are going to change the design of the MAcbook Air. I hope not!

I don't think Apple will go for intel IGP since it doesn't support Open GL.

Right now the Macbook Air is capable of being the primary and sole computer for many people out there including me. I use my 2008 white macbook for (Safari, Email, iLife, Itunes and Microsoft Office). The macbook air is more than capable of handling those tasks. Correct me if i'm wrong.

Is there enough room in the Air to accommodate a discrete graphic card?

Is there hope for 4GB RAM and 256GB SSD?

bloodycape
Jan 16, 2010, 02:46 AM
55% - Core 2 Duo SL 9x00 CPU with an Nvidia 105m (around 2.4GHz)
20% - Core i7 CPU 2.2 GHz boost to around 2.8 GHz | Intel IGP
24% - Core i7 CPU 2.2 GHz boost to around 2.8 GHz | ATI 4xxx Graphics
1% - ARM CPU with 8 Cores at 1GHz (just for the heck of it) | Nvidia

I say the key new revolutionary feature will be something with the display. It will be OLED, HD, or 3D! Something not available in any other Mac.

That's my guess... anyone else want to take a shot?

You don;t think it would be either the Core 2 Duo SL or Core i7 with something like the nvidia GT305m as its suppose to bit more heat efficient?

Scottsdale
Jan 16, 2010, 03:34 AM
Yes, the current MBA will do all you need it to andygabriel. To your next question about space for a dedicated graphics card, I don't know if there is enough room now. However, the 32NM Arrandale CPU/IGP takes up less space on the mainboard. In addition, technology has miniaturized significantly since the MBA was introduced in January 2008. But to be fair, Apple only made the MBA really good in October 2008 with Penryn LV SL CPU inclusion and 9400m. I would think that since other ultraportables have enough space for dedicated graphics, the MBA could easily do it too.

You don;t think it would be either the Core 2 Duo SL or Core i7 with something like the nvidia GT305m as its suppose to bit more heat efficient?

I don't think we will get anywhere near those graphics. If we use Apple's past as a point for predicting, the Nvidia GPU/chipset is what Apple would prefer. Since Nvidia cannot make chipsets/GPUs for the Core-i series chips, it makes sense for Apple to stick with Penryn. Honestly, we don't need an Arrandale CPU. And we should far prefer a Penryn with Nvidia GPU/chipset over an Arrandale with Intel's IGP.

According to some insiders, Apple said they wouldn't use Intel's Arrandale CPUs unless Intel removed the IGPs. I believe Apple will hold firm to this at least in low end Macs. They can use the Intel IGP as a dual graphics option in the MBPs. I think Intel will accommodate specific custom CPUs less the IGP for Apple's Mac order as it means selling Apple chipsets too.

If Apple cannot buy Arrandale without the IGP, I say Apple either goes Penryn/Nvidia chipsets or Arrandale with ATI. I really thought we were going to learn a lot with the iMac updates. At first I didn't think we learned anything. But the more I thought about it, Apple made its strategy perfectly clear. In consumer grade models, it's going to stick with Penryn and Nvidia.

Now, it could be that Apple just included Core i5/i7 CPUs in the upper end iMac because Arrandale mobile CPUs weren't available yet that would be used in the lower end iMacs.

It will be in our best interests for Apple to get custom Core i7 CPUs without the IGP. We are all going to suffer terribly if we go from 9400m to Intel's IGP. It's about 40% of the performance of the 15 month old 9400m. An updated Nvidia GPU with Penryn would improve our graphics performance.

I believe the MBA will probably get a new form factor and definitely a completely different display technology. I "just believe" is my new reason to believe, as I don't want to get flamed about why I believe if it's not true - I will just be wrong. I would rather be called "WRONG" than a Liar.

Eidorian
Jan 16, 2010, 08:08 AM
Intel can't and won't sell Arrandale without the IGP. The same goes for Clarkdale.

danlun76
Jan 16, 2010, 08:34 AM
I don't think Apple will go for intel IGP since it doesn't support Open GL.
That just comes down to Apple writing the drivers, Intel does provide OpenGL support for their IGPs under Windows after all.
I think Intel will accommodate specific custom CPUs less the IGP for Apple's Mac order as it means selling Apple chipsets too.
That's extremely unlikely.

Apple accounts for less than 5% of worldwide notebooks sales, have little desktop presence and are non-existent in the netbook, desktop replacement notebook and server markets. In short, they're small fish as far as Intel is concerned.

Couple that with Arrandale keeping core logic, such as the memory controller, on the IGP die as well as Intel rushing CPU/GPU integration specifically to combat third party chipsets taking a chunk out of their margins and I can't see it happening.

Providing an IGP-less Arrandale would not only defeat the primary purpose behind its introduction in the first place, it'd also require a redesigned CPU.

Sadly I reckon you're right about a MBA refresh that might still be stuck with Penryn due to Apple being stubborn, which would be our loss. The new Arrandale LM processors would be a significant power upgrade for the MBA after all.

The 9400M might offer better 3D performance than the new Intel IGP but it remains a sprinting contest between molasses and a glacier. The IGP has every feature the MBA needs, including switchable graphics, dual-HDMI support, dual-stream decoding of Full-HD video, audio bitstreaming and 2560x1600 support for external displays. Sure, it doesn't play anything but mainstream or casual games decently even at 1280x800 but neither does the 9400M.

iMacmatician
Jan 16, 2010, 09:27 AM
I worked through all of the alternatives in my mind. I had it figured out that it would be nearly 50/50 between Penryn and Arrandale. Then, after I really thought about Apple and its rumored disgust with Arrandale and Intel's IGP, I believed that it would be a Penryn SL9x00 CPU and an Nvidia GPU. Then there was the report that Intel is giving away two new Core i5 MBPs, and it turned my logic back to Arrandale. Now, I don't know which way Apple is going...I wouldn't be surprised if they went to Arrandale despite the GPU downgrade because the same thing happened with the Intel transition, but I think Penryn is somewhat more likely, since that's what the iMac did (although on the other hand Clarkdale wasn't released at that time).

bloodycape
Jan 16, 2010, 02:23 PM
If intel doesn't offer the core i5/i7 without its IGP, then how does the updated HP Envy line with i5 or i7 without the intel IGP, but with a dedicated ATI gpu, or Sony and their Vaio S line where it offers a Nvidia GT310, pair with an i5(and I think even an i7) but no intel gpu option?

Eidorian
Jan 16, 2010, 02:26 PM
If intel doesn't offer the core i5/i7 without its IGP, then how does the updated HP Envy line with i5 or i7 without the intel IGP, but with a dedicated ATI gpu, or Sony and their Vaio S line where it offers a Nvidia GT310, pair with an i5(and I think even an i7) but no intel gpu option?The fact that the Intel IGP is there doesn't mean you have to use it or that Intel somehow didn't provide a PCe 2.0 x16 controller for other video solutions.

danlun76
Jan 16, 2010, 05:13 PM
If intel doesn't offer the core i5/i7 without its IGP, then how does the updated HP Envy line with i5 or i7 without the intel IGP, but with a dedicated ATI gpu, or Sony and their Vaio S line where it offers a Nvidia GT310, pair with an i5(and I think even an i7) but no intel gpu option?
You English teacher called to inform you that the above sentence is an abomination. :)

Anyway, not making use of the switchable graphics isn't a good thing. Notebooks with a discrete GPU but without switchable graphics will have significantly worse battery life.

Scottsdale
Jan 16, 2010, 07:16 PM
Apple doesn't have to use the Intel IGP even if it's there, but I assume it's still drawing power??? Anyone know the answer there? Someone mentioned fusing it off.

I don't think Apple would use a dual solution in the MBA. I think the other laptops offering ATI solutions with ATI aren't as focused on efficiency as Apple (I could be wrong... I am no expert on other manufacturers solutions).

I really hope if Apple uses ATI, and Arrandale with IGP, it uses an automatic graphics switching solution like another manufacturer introduced this week. That would be AMAZING!

I think anyone believing the Intel IGP solely would be sufficient in the MBA doesn't need to use an MBA as their primary computer OR has no care in the world about graphics performance. Going Intel IGP is going to be a 60% DROP IN PERFORMANCE over the 15 month old Nvidia 9400m.

Intel IGP SUCKS and would be a disgrace in any Mac! If Apple only uses an Intel IGP, I will NOT be buying an MBA! The Nvidia 9400m is exactly what SAVED the MBA!

I have a hard time imagining Apple accepting Intel IGP in any Mac as a sole solution as the whole point of Snow Leopard is to take advantage of things like OpenCL and Grand Central. I don't see Apple using such poor graphics given its desire to use the whole system to improve the performance for the Mac user. Also, Apple wouldn't go backwards and use a single-core solution. The point of Snow Leopard is to progress with technology.

Intel is forcing computer manufacturers to use its IGP, but it's anti-competitive in nature. In the long run, this will not be a successful strategy. Until Intel loses in court, it will strong-arm pc manufacturers to buy the whole system. Nvidia will get another chance to build chipsets, and we are all losers by Nvidia not being able to produce for the Core series CPUs.

I will be completely HAPPY with a Penryn CPU and Nvidia chipset/GPU. I will be completely happy with an Arrandale CPU with an ATI graphics card. Anything that solely uses Intel as a graphics solution is a complete failure.

Apple will not be solely using Intel's IGP, as it will be a gigantic step backwards in Mac computing. Everyone knows it including Intel.

danlun76
Jan 16, 2010, 09:27 PM
Apple doesn't have to use the Intel IGP even if it's there, but I assume it's still drawing power?
Obviously it'll draw some power, the entire chip can't be gated off since the memory controller is on the same die as the IGP. That said the IGP does downclock/downvolt automatically and if running on a discrete GPU you'll free up the majority of the IGP power draw.

However, due to the nature of turbo boost - which applies to both the CPU and GPU - that means the CPU will likely run on higher turbo-modes more often since it'll still be within the TDP allowance.

In short, running on a discrete GPU will net you back most of the power but not all.
I think anyone believing the Intel IGP solely would be sufficient in the MBA doesn't need to use an MBA as their primary computer OR has no care in the world about graphics performance. Going Intel IGP is going to be a 60% DROP IN PERFORMANCE over the 15 month old Nvidia 9400m.
Disregarding for a moment the fact that anyone using an ultralight as their primary computer have very insignificant computer needs to begin with, especially graphics-wise, you're post is too much FUD and too little reality.

Lets say it's 50% slower, numbers don't quite support that but it's close enough. 50% slower in what exactly? Synthetics? Sure. Reasonably modern, non-casual, games? Absolutely.

Do keep in mind we're talking about the difference between 7-10 and 10-15 FPS here though, it's not like using the 9400M would suddenly make Crysis playable on your MBA.

Indeed, if gaming is your primary concern why are you playing on a notebook to begin with? Let alone an ultralight notebook built by Apple, that's hardly a good mix for graphics performance.

For the vast majority of tasks one could want a MBA for you'd notice absolutely no difference. It's not like using an Intel IGP instead of the 9400M will suddenly make your window scrolling twice as slow or anything like that.
I have a hard time imagining Apple accepting Intel IGP in any Mac as a sole solution as the whole point of Snow Leopard is to take advantage of things like OpenCL and Grand Central.
Intel offers OpenGL support in their Windows drivers and are quite strongly pushing OpenCL as well. Both of those fact are quite irrelevant though as it's up to Apple to come up with the relevant MacOS drivers. It's by no means impossible, though I'm willing to believe that Apple would rather continue pushing severely outdated tech than write new drivers.
Intel is forcing computer manufacturers to use its IGP, but it's anti-competitive in nature. In the long run, this will not be a successful strategy. Until Intel loses in court, it will strong-arm pc manufacturers to buy the whole system. Nvidia will get another chance to build chipsets, and we are all losers by Nvidia not being able to produce for the Core series CPUs.
It's pretty much irrelevant whether or not Intel lose that particular case as far as the IGP is concerned. Even if nVidia could design chipsets for Arrandale what would that constitute, a southbridge?

By including an IGP, and a very competent IGP at that, on-package Intel has pretty much killed off any reason to create a third party chipset. It's going to be cheaper, and more efficient, to just include a switchable discrete GPU to complement the Arrandale CPU/IGP and the Intel southbridge than creating a full chipset replacement that duplicate existing functionality.

The courts can rule in favor of nVidia as far as their chipset production is concerned but they can't dictate that Intel must not include an on-package IGP in their CPUs.

Indeed, CPU and GPU has been slated for reintegration for some time and you won't see any future Intel chips without it either. Sandy Bridge, the new Intel architechture aimed for late 2010/early 2011 further integrates the IGP by moving it on-die. This will reduce power draw further and help the CPU by reintegrating the memory controller back into the die as well.

Apple may well choose to stick to Penryn for the MBA and low-end MBP but rest assured it's due to appearances and laziness on their part more than any actual drop in performance. For the MBA and MBP 13 an Arrandale-class CPU would be a much more significant upgrade than moving from the 9400M to the Arrandale IGP would be a downgrade.

The vast majority of users simply wouldn't notice any difference.