Did Intel announce anything @ CES that could potentially be in the next Macbook Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by andygabriel, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2009
    #1
    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?
     
  2. macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Cuidad de México
    #2
    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.
     
  3. macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    #3
    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.
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #4
    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
     
  5. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2009
    #5
    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.
     
  6. macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    #6
    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.
     
  7. macrumors 6502

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    Chicago, IL
    #7
    We'll be stuck with the C2D chips for a long time, if this is the case.
     
  8. macrumors 68000

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    USA
    #8
    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.
     
  9. macrumors 68000

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    #9
    Throw in a different hinge design and glass trackpad and I'll join ya:)
     
  10. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #10
    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!
     
  11. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2009
    #11
    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.
     
  12. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #12
    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.
     
  13. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #13
    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!
     
  14. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #14
    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!
     
  15. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #15
    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.
     
  16. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #16
    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.
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
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    California
    #17
    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.
     
  18. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    U.S.A.
    #18
    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.
     
  19. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2005
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    California
    #19
    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.
     
  20. macrumors 6502

    Ca$hflow

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    London, ON
    #20
    add matte screen option and i'd join ya too.
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Denver
    #21
    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.
     
  22. macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Cuidad de México
    #22
    More powerful hardware and options. :p
     
  23. macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    #23
    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.

    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.
     
  24. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #24
    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.
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Denver
    #25
    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?
     

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