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Old Jan 3, 2011, 12:48 PM   #1
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Sandy Bridge Official Release - 17W MBA compatible Processors!

As Part of the official announcement, Intel has announced 29 new Sandy Bridge processors - including 3 17W ULV parts that would work in the MBA!

Full Engadget Story here:
http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/03/i...nced-includes/

The Processors for the MBA would be these two i7 and one i5 models:


The i7-2617M runs at 1.5Ghz, but turbo boosts 2 cores to 2.3Ghz or 1 core to 2.6Ghz.

The i7-2657M runs at 1.6Ghz but turbo boosts 2 cores to 2.4Ghz or 1 core to 2.7Ghz.

Imagine a MBA at 2.7Ghz!

The chips are also priced along the same lines as the SL9600 that's currently in the 2.13Ghz MBA ($314/$317 per chip).

All-in-All, very exciting. These chips should all be available in Feb/March, according to the Roadmap... so a MBA update could happen by WWDC. (hopefully with Backlit keyboard back as well!)
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 01:14 PM   #2
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 01:36 PM   #3
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IIRC, MacBook Airs (currently) use a different processor package so that the CPU is mounted permanently on the circuit board. I'm sure that the MacBook Air will eventually move to Sandy Bridge, but I doubt it's coming in the first half of 2011.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 01:50 PM   #4
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And with the faster processor comes slower graphics.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 01:54 PM   #5
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Unless they solve their issues with nVidia, I'm staying with my 2.13 Ghz C2D and nVidia 320M over crap Intel graphics (unless they solve that issue before).
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 01:55 PM   #6
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 01:58 PM   #7
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And with the faster processor comes slower graphics.
It's likely a wash. According to AnandTech, on low-detail tasks, the new processors outperform the Core 2 Duo/320m combo. On medium-detail tasks, the 320m slightly outperforms the new chips. The big disadvantage is that OpenCL code will be processed by the CPU, not the GPU.

That said, if a MacBook Air can get the i5 and the Pro the i7, then this would help answer the criticism that Apple is relying on the aging Core 2 Duo. I'd expect to see this chip make it into the MacBook Pro by February. The MacBook Air will likely get one this summer when the ULV versions come out. I'm guessing the 11" and 13" models will be updated at the same time.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 02:00 PM   #8
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Unless they solve their issues with nVidia, I'm staying with my 2.13 Ghz C2D and nVidia 320M over crap Intel graphics (unless they solve that issue before).
AnandTech's review shows that the IGP is pretty equal to 320M. Of course, LV and ULV chips have lower clock speed but I'm pretty sure the 320M is MBA is underclocked just like the 9400M was.

11" will likely get 17W parts and 13" will get 25W parts. Yes, that is more than current C2Ds but remember that the IGP is included in that.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 02:24 PM   #9
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AnandTech's review shows that the IGP is pretty equal to 320M. Of course, LV and ULV chips have lower clock speed but I'm pretty sure the 320M is MBA is underclocked just like the 9400M was.

11" will likely get 17W parts and 13" will get 25W parts. Yes, that is more than current C2Ds but remember that the IGP is included in that.
Solved I guess.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 02:27 PM   #10
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It's likely a wash. According to AnandTech, on low-detail tasks, the new processors outperform the Core 2 Duo/320m combo. On medium-detail tasks, the 320m slightly outperforms the new chips.
That's not a wash. On low settings, your 5 out of 6 games were probably facing a scenario in which the CPU was not feeding the GPU fast enough. Thus you ended up being CPU bound and the faster CPU in the Sandy Bridge architecture is what made it pull ahead.

The fact that in medium settings, where the CPU is waiting on the GPU, the 320M beat the SB IGP means that the graphics are slower.

Color me unimpressed. Intel should just hire nVidia to make their graphics part instead of shipping these sub-par offerings.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 02:40 PM   #11
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That's not a wash. On low settings, your 5 out of 6 games were probably facing a scenario in which the CPU was not feeding the GPU fast enough. Thus you ended up being CPU bound and the faster CPU in the Sandy Bridge architecture is what made it pull ahead.

The fact that in medium settings, where the CPU is waiting on the GPU, the 320M beat the SB IGP means that the graphics are slower.

Color me unimpressed. Intel should just hire nVidia to make their graphics part instead of shipping these sub-par offerings.

If the Core 2 Duo is the bottleneck, then the bottom line is that on low-detail tasks, a Sandy Bridge-equipped notebook will outperform the C2D/320m combo, and on medium-detail tasks they will perform similarly. True, the IGP itself appears to be slower, but the key will be total system performance. The Core 2 Duo/320m combo delivers better total system performance on most tasks than the current Core i3/i5 with Intel IGP. That appears to no longer be the case. MacBook Air isn't intended for heavy gamers, so I would not be surprised if Apple has concluded that the Sandy Bridge CPUs will be "good enough" for the MacBook Air line. Whether it is good enough for the 13" Pro without a discrete GPU is a different debate. Also, whether Intel should just hire NVIDIA is another debate (though I agree with you there).

The thing to keep in mind is that, right now, we are missing out on hyperthreading, TurboBoost, and the elimination of the front side bus. For CPU-intensive tasks like encoding we would benefit from any Core i-series chip. The 1.5GHz Core i7 ought to compare favorably against any of the Core 2 Duos in the current MacBook Air lineup. If the graphics are adequate (not the same as equal to the 320m), then many users will conclude the Sandy Bridge chip is an upgrade.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 02:44 PM   #12
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If the Core 2 Duo is the bottleneck, then the bottom line is that on low-detail tasks, a Sandy Bridge-equipped notebook will outperform the C2D/320m combo, and on medium-detail tasks they will perform similarly. True, the IGP itself appears to be slower, but the key will be total system performance. The Core 2 Duo/320m combo delivers better total system performance on most tasks than the current Core i3/i5 with Intel IGP. That appears to no longer be the case. MacBook Air isn't intended for heavy gamers, so I would not be surprised if Apple has concluded that the Sandy Bridge CPUs will be "good enough" for the MacBook Air line. Whether it is good enough for the 13" Pro without a discrete GPU is a different debate. Also, whether Intel should just hire NVIDIA is another debate (though I agree with you there).
You can see it as a combination, I see it as Intel's greed holding back the graphics performance. An nVidia IGP/Sandy Bridge CPU would be that much better, even a 320M level nVidia IGP with the Sandy Bridge CPU. The fact is, Intel has again failed at making a GPU that is level with its competition. In fact, Intel resorted to lawsuits and licensing to prevent its competition from shipping their products, instead of killing them through shipping a better one. That is greed and jealousy no matter how you look at it.

If you want to buy slower/mediocre tech that's brand spanking new, that's your perogative. I like my new technology purchases to be upgrades, not perceived sidegrades that are in fact downgrades of some aspects.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 02:48 PM   #13
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KnightWRX, we're tired of Core 2. That is all.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 02:48 PM   #14
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You can see it as a combination, I see it as Intel's greed holding back the graphics performance. An nVidia IGP/Sandy Bridge CPU would be that much better, even a 320M level nVidia IGP with the Sandy Bridge CPU.

If you want to buy slower/mediocre tech that's brand spanking new, that's your perogative. I like my new technology purchases to be upgrades, not perceived sidegrades that are in fact downgrades of some aspects.
NVIDIA apparently has exited the chipset business in order to concentrate on SoCs for mobile devices and discrete GPUs. Even if Intel had licensed the Core i-series line to NVIDIA it is possible that the market would have shrunk.

Since Apple has yet to announce any devices based on the new chips, I can't say whether or not I will purchase them. I'm inclined to skip the Rev E MacBook Air unless there is something else compelling, like Light Peak or USB 3.0, which would make my external hard drive much quicker. My "ultimate 13" should be sufficient for a while.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 02:50 PM   #15
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KnightWRX, we're tired of Core 2. That is all.
So ? You're telling me that since you're "tired of Core 2", you're ready to just accept Intel's ******** ? What if they repackaged a 486 dx2 66 mhz and called it Core i9, you'd be happy because it's not Core 2 anymore ?

If Intel wants to lawyer their way to the top of the industry, then they should at least ship proper parts.

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NVIDIA apparently has exited the chipset business in order to concentrate on SoCs for mobile devices and discrete GPUs. Even if Intel had licensed the Core i-series line to NVIDIA it is possible that the market would have shrunk.
And you think that the Intel lawsuit and settlement has nothing to do with this ? Get real. For all we know, getting out of the chipset business was the settlement.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 02:56 PM   #16
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And you think that the Intel lawsuit and settlement has nothing to do with this ? Get real. For all we know, getting out of the chipset business was the settlement.
I'm sure it had something to do with it. Whether it was everything is a different story. Besides Apple, who else was using NVIDIA chipsets to the same degree? Dell used integrated Intel graphics in the Adamo line, even the current one equipped with the 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo. So did Toshiba with the Portege. It's entirely possible that NVIDIA saw the market shrinking no matter what Intel did, and accepted a cash settlement.

Anyway, NVIDIA is continuing to license technology to Intel. For all we know, Ivy Bridge will incorporate further NVIDIA technology to provide a bigger boost.


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Originally Posted by KnightWRX View Post
So ? You're telling me that since you're "tired of Core 2", you're ready to just accept Intel's ******** ? What if they repackaged a 486 dx2 66 mhz and called it Core i9, you'd be happy because it's not Core 2 anymore ?
The Core i5/i7 is a significant boost over the Core 2 Duo. As I noted before, it gets hyperthreading and TurboBoost. Sandy Bridge also gets a new out-of-order execution architecture to provide more processor power per GHz.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 02:58 PM   #17
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So ? You're telling me that since you're "tired of Core 2", you're ready to just accept Intel's ******** ? What if they repackaged a 486 dx2 66 mhz and called it Core i9, you'd be happy because it's not Core 2 anymore ?

If Intel wants to lawyer their way to the top of the industry, then they should at least ship proper parts.
I've accepted enough of Apple's (insert hardware vendor here) **** over the years. Spend your money elsewhere or get over the sour grapes when the MacBook Air with Sandy Bridge ships. Apple is just going to spin the OMG CPU performance and you can "still play games too"!

Nothing will be lost to the rest of us besides our money, again. Quad Cores with better battery life than Core 2 Medium voltage is what this is about.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 02:59 PM   #18
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I'm sure it had something to do with it. Whether it was everything is a different story. Besides Apple, who else was using NVIDIA chipsets to the same degree? Dell used integrated Intel graphics in the Adamo line, even the current one equipped with the 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo. So did Toshiba with the Portege. It's entirely possible that NVIDIA saw the market shrinking no matter what Intel did, and accepted a cash settlement.
All my Dell laptops prior to the MacBook purchase in 2008 had nVidia IGPs. Back then, they also had a lot of Intel IGPs in their line-up, you just had to know what to look for.

I doubt the market was shrinking. It did shrink a lot when Intel refused to license the Core iX tech and then sued them however. What good was nVidia if it couldn't even make chipsets aside for some older chips that were getting phased out ?

Intel lawyered nVidia out of the business. They didn't beat them with performance. And now they ship a sub-par IGP offering that is a downgrade to what nVidia shipped last year. I don't see how I'm supposed to be happy about that.

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I've accepted enough of Apple's (insert hardware vendor here) **** over the years. Spend your money elsewhere or get over the sour grapes when the MacBook Air with Sandy Bridge ships. Apple is just going to spin the OMG CPU performance and you can "still play games too"!

Nothing will be lost to the rest of us besides our money, again. Quad Cores with better battery life than Core 2 Medium voltage is what this is about.
When Apple does, then you won't see me hang around this forum for months crying over it like others have done for Core 2 Duo. I'll be plain gone once the MBA reaches the end of its life for me and I'll just switch back to Linux or whatever. I don't have tons of "data stuck in spotlight" holding me back.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 03:05 PM   #19
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I seriously doubt apple will update the airs again until after the free ipod touch offer is over so possibly they will get these by october of next year. That is if apple doesn't switch to AMD and drop this intel BS all together. I can't honestly imagine how intel gets away with forcing nvidia out of the chipset business and creating itself a monopoly on integrated graphics chips
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 03:09 PM   #20
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Intel lawyered nVidia out of the business. They didn't beat them with performance. And now they ship a sub-par IGP offering that is a downgrade to what nVidia shipped last year. I don't see how I'm supposed to be happy about that.
No one is saying you need to be happy about it. However, it's impossible to turn back time. If you think Intel is acting anti-competitively, take it up with the FTC or EU competition authorities. In the meantime, Apple's choices are to stay with the Core 2 Duo, which is in dwindling supply, find a way to cram a discrete GPU into the MacBook Air and 13" MacBook Pro lines, or use Intel Integrated Graphics. We don't know their future plans. All we can point out is that the last option is looking better than it did before, since Intel is at least starting to deliver acceptable performance, albeit less than what we can get using current NVIDIA solutions.

Apple has more leverage than other manufacturers because they are so profitable and have an increasing market share. However, even they can only hold out for so long.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 03:13 PM   #21
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When Apple does, then you won't see me hang around this forum for months crying over it like others have done for Core 2 Duo. I'll be plain gone once the MBA reaches the end of its life for me and I'll just switch back to Linux or whatever. I don't have tons of "data stuck in spotlight" holding me back.
It works wonders over self-delusion and masochism. You should join me.

At least you're not attempting to divine some solution for my hostage data. It's tiresome and that's where apathy comes in.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 03:30 PM   #22
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 03:37 PM   #23
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2011 Processing Power with 2008 Graphics. WOO!
And the MBP13 and MBA use....... from..........
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 03:43 PM   #24
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And the MBP13 and MBA use....... from..........
A 2008 processor and 2009 graphics which in turn are based off of 2006 and 2008 releases respectively.
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Old Jan 3, 2011, 05:24 PM   #25
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And with the faster processor comes slower graphics.
Came here to post this. While the new processors are noticably quicker, what we gain in CPU we lose in GPU. There isn't enough room on the logic board to stick both a Sandy Bridge CPU and a mobile GPU package.

If Apple does decide to start manufacturing the MacBook /Pro/Air line with these CPUs, expect to be taking a step backwards with Intel's integrated graphics.
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