New Macbook Air in November?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by soundtonoise, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #1
    I read that a couple of you in the ‘Would like MBA Users opinions please’ thread are ‘are holding off until November to see if a 4GB model goes on sale’. Is something happening then?

    I have a neck injury that prevents me from carrying much weight and would love to have the MBA as my next Mac. However, since I am a student of modest means, still have a few months of AppleCare left on my current Macbook, and won’t need to take my computer to school on a daily basis until next semester, I have decided that I won’t buy the MBA until the next revision comes out so that I can get a little more value for my dollar and more computer for the next 3 or so years it will need to last me. In the meantime, I’ve been coveting the MBA, looking at the MacRumors MBA forum and Apple website daily, hoping that a revision will miraculously come despite the fact it was just updated 3 months ago.

    From the MacRumors Buyers’ Guide, I understood I could expect to wait until approximately February for a new revision, based on the intervals at which previous revisions came out. Is this not the case? Is there something I can get excited about?

    For all you Mac gurus (or anyone who notices patterns), can you predict what the likely improvements will be? It seems to me that hard drive is the most common, followed by RAM, then processor speed. Is that the case? Can all three happen in one revision??

    Thanks!
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Jobsian

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #2
    Like yourself, I covet a new MBA like you wouldn't believe! I've been following this forum like it was my religion, every single day for news of an MBA update. I adore the MBA.

    A few observations I've picked up from around the web, worthy of note:


    SSD:
    The fastest shipping 1.8" SSD (the kind the MBA uses), is currently at 128Gb capacity - by companies including Mtron, Samsung and RunCore (I think Apple use the Samsung)

    The fastest announced 1.8" SSD is currently at 512Gb using 32Gb/die components - by Sandforce. Samsung have already previewed a 256Gb 1.8" SSD and is apparently going to ship Q4 2009.

    Processor:
    The next major upgrade of Intel processor architecture (updated approximately every two years) is the 34nm Arrandale (up from the Penryn's 45nm). Now for the MacBook Air, intel designed a stunning custom-made version that was about 60% of the size. As far as I'm aware, such a custom-made Arrandale hasn't been announced yet (I may be wrong on this), but even if so, it shouldn't be far behind. Shipping for Arrandales is Q4 2009 as far as I'm aware.

    Graphics:
    It looks Nvidia is going to follow up the phenomenal 9400m mobile motherboard graphics chip with a version possibly to be called 200m (name not confirmed). Source was the usually reliable DigiTimes. As far as I remember, shipping is Q1 2010.

    The only problem with this will be whether Intel and Nvidia settle the dispute - Intel have their own new mobile integrated graphics chip now and look like they're trying to nudge Nvidia out - unfortunately for us, while Intel's new chip outperforms their own older one, it is still utterly smoked by the Nvidia 9400m, so if pitted against an Nvidia follow up, the 200m, well an actual sex-crime would probably occur.

    RAM:
    4Gb minimum is almost a given now.


    Another note is that as Scott has pointed out, due to the Intel-Nvidia dispute potentially hamstringing Apple from using Nvidia's next mobile motherboard graphics chip, it isn't unforeseeable for Apple to release an MBA update with the current Intel chip (Penryn), and current Nvidia graphics chip (9400m) and upgrading the RAM to 4GB and SSD to 256Gb.

    So, predictions:
    1) 2.13GHz Penryn, 4Gb RAM, 256Gb SSD, Nvidia 9400m in Oct/Nov
    2) 2.? GHz Arrandale, 4Gb RAM, 256Gb SSD, Nvidia 200m in Jan/Feb (an instant-purchase for me)
    3) 2.? GHz Arrandale, 4Gb RAM, 256Gb SSD, no Nvidia (instead use Intel's integrated chip) in Dec/Jan/Feb
    4) No MBA upgrade, focus on the Tablet and next MBP.

    I seriously hope it's number 2. Or at least number 1. Not number 4 please lord!
     
  3. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    #3
    The only thing holding me back is that I need a firewire port...
     
  4. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    Location:
    Co. Meath, Ireland.
    #4
    No, It's just wishful thinking. I mean it would be a kick in the teeth to buy a MBA with 2GB RAM and then a few months later Apple decide to roll out a MBA with 4GB RAM. It would be nice if they dropped the price of the 2.13GHz and made it the entry level MBA and released a faster MBA With 4GB and 160GB HDD/SSD. Still one can dream.

    Thanks for reading my thread.
     
  5. Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    Kite flying
    #5
    Well, we can all live in hope. Thanks, Jobsian, for your detailed post; your predictions (especially the first three, giving rise to varying degrees of longing) have me salivating - it would be nice if they were borne out. Certainly, the MBA is a future planned purchase that I have dreamed about for some considerable time.

    Cheers and good luck
     
  6. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #6
    Nice post.

    I am betting on one not quite listed though. I think we will get the new Nvidia 200m with the Penryn SL9600 we have, add 256 GB SSD, and 4 GB RAM.

    We all realize what Apple is doing wrong with the MBA, so surely they do too. Just reading these posts all the time, one can identify the number one reason people are choosing the 13" MBP over MBA is the RAM. Number two is the pricing. Number three is the drive space. Followed by a few random FW, optical drive, and etc requests.

    There aren't many people complaining about the 2.13 GHz Penryn CPU, so unless Apple has a prearranged deal to use Nvidia with Arrandale, the Penryn CPU seems like the perfect short term solution. How many buyers know the difference between Penryn and Arrandale? They just read WOW 2.13 GHz!

    I believe the 256 GB SSD is available now for Apple.

    One other thing to note, is the current "rev C" as we are calling it is really still a rev B called "2,1." I tried to raise this point back when the MBA was released with the same 2,1 version naming. So, Apple still has to be planning a bigger set of changes for the MBA.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Veinticinco

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Location:
    Europe
    #7
    You'll be holding back until they carry you out in a pine box in that case.

    Don't get me wrong, I love FW myself and the lack of TDM gives me the heebie-jeebies on any Mac, but in every other aspect the MBA (once they fix the poor QC and bring it up to speed spec-wise in the coming months hopefully) is just too convenient a laptop to ignore or deny yourself all for the want of an almost-mothballed proprietary port and data transfer protocol. Just be thankful they resurrected it in the 13" MBP.

    As to the original question, I confidently predict I'll be (finally, almost a year late) fully geared up with a new rev/D MBA this side of Christmas.
     
  8. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Location:
    Mexico
    #8
    I've also be holding on buying a laptop since June. I went for a MBP 13", but when I saw the Air in the Apple Store I wasn't sure anymore.
    I want a MBA as it is now, with slight changes such as 4 gb ram, glass trackpad, and some issue resolved (overheating, hinge, screen lines).
    With such upgrade alone, I'm sold. But I won't hold forever. October is the last call. If nothing happens by October, then I'll have to buy a MBP.
     
  9. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #9
    I am pretty sure the 200 line is out, granted most of those are either the GTS200 or GTX200 right now in those laptops more gaming oriented. Nvidia does have the 100 which most are re-brands of the 9x000 line, with either a higher clock speed, and/or more ram for the gpu. So, Apple may have to go with a higher end 100 line.

    I hope Apple uses the re-brand of the 9600GT(the 120m is it?), like the hard to find, LG P310 13in laptop has. Hopefully if that gets paired with the the next gen SL cpu the heat generated would be less than what is currently being generated when paired up the P(or was it T) line of cpu in a 13in form factor.

    What I would like to see Apple add is a firewire port, and possibly an HDMI port. I would even be content HDMI mini port. I think at this point USB3.0 maybe wishful thinking, but Apple maybe able to pull it off?
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    #10
    The facts*-

    Early February 2010~ 4GB RAM + 256 SSD and nothing else.

    Total redesign with lighter weight, thinner, usb 3.0, glass screen/trackpad and more power etc ~ Early March 2011.

    *Not certified facts!!
     
  11. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #11
    I would happily wait an extra few months for USB 3.0. At that point, FW becomes somewhat irrelevant for most as USB 3.0 blows away the current FW standard Apple uses FW800.

    I would also guess that the longer we wait the more likely we get a redesigned model.

    I most want the RAM update and would absolutely die for two slots to allow up to 8 GB of RAM. I will happily pay Apple whatever upgrade price it deems to keep margins high... I don't care about the money... I care about the absolute most performance possible from a similar design/form factor as current MBA.

    I truthfully don't want a redesign. I think its current size is absolutely perfect for the MBA. I don't want to lose powerful computing to gain thinness. I will be totally stuck with my MBA for years if Apple goes too thin and uses an ULV CPU... deadly!

    I want more power not less!
     
  12. macrumors 68020

    Cheffy Dave

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Location:
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    #12
    Anything Runcore beats any other SSD from everything I have been able to put together.

    RunCore SSD on MBA 2.13GHz Revision C

    Disk Test
    176.54
    Sequential
    152.18
    Uncached Write
    152.04 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write
    104.86 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read
    21.70 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read
    149.49 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random
    210.19
    Uncached Write
    7.43 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write
    112.45 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read
    14.47 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read
    128.80 MB/sec [256K blocks]



    Stock SSD on MBA 2.13GHz Revision C

    Disk Test
    86.89
    Sequential
    70.49
    Uncached Write
    50.88 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write
    34.01 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read
    13.03 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read
    90.01 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random
    113.23
    Uncached Write
    5.50 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write
    24.22 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read
    9.85 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read
    86.90 MB/sec [256K blocks]

    I have a 256 GB Runcore SATA IV in my black 2.2 Macbook, Boots in 9 seconds with 12 programs opening, shuts down in 5 sec.
    Just downloaded the take apart on the MBA from iFixit. I'm thinking the next project is get a new MBA, take out the Apple SSD, Put in a Runcore SSD, then send it out to Colorware for a Ferrari Paint job:rolleyes::eek:
    Hm$1700 for the MBA,$499 for the Runcore SSD and $500 for the Colorware paint job:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::apple:
     
  13. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #13
    Thank you for the interesting and helpful posts. Jobsian, I'll be thinking of of you especially when the next rev comes out.
     
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Jobsian

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #14
    Interesting SSD benches there CheffyDave. Those are impressive stats. Personally, I'm still usually satisfied with stock SSDs. I think the only time I would actually go out of my way to purchase and install an aftermarket SSD is when an SLC SSD becomes available at reasonable capacity and non-prohibitive cost.

    To those who aren't yet aware of these, SLC (single level cell) SSDs fit one bit per cell, as opposed to current stock drives which are almost exclusively MLC (multi level cell) which have at least two bits per cell (you can imagine then that SLC are more precise to control if one cell fails, you only lose one bit as opposed to MLC).

    SLC drives are potentially much faster (two to three times faster generally, according to Toshiba) and an awful lot more durable (last at least 10 times as long as MLC NAND). But they're still expensive :)
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Jobsian

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #15
    That's right, that one would be an instant buy for me too! I didn't add that particular combo because the Nvidia 200m was said to be shipping in Q1 2010 as far as I remember (and possibly even late Q1), by which stage I imagine it would be less likely Apple would stick to the 2.13 Penryn. However, as you also point out with the 256Gb SSD, Apple may well get first dibs on the new Nvidias and manage to release them earlier than general shipping dates.

    For those who don't know, Apple's now closer links with companies like Samsung, Intel and Nvidia has seen them get their hands on components before anyone else before, with Apple being the first company (as far as I'm aware) to get the Nvidia 9400m, the Intel P7500 (1.6GHz) and P7700 (1.8GHz) Penryns and the Samsung SSDs first.


    And as you say Scott, I hope Apple don't try to compete with Sony and Dell's premium ultraportables purely on size/weight if it will sacrifice performance. With the MacBook Air, I think Apple have just about hit an absolutely killer sweet-spot between portability and performance for premium ultraportables that even after two years, has been unmatched by anyone else at all!

    So far... :)
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Location:
    Melbourne & Shanghai
    #16
    With current MLC drives already saturating the SATA II interface I don't think 2 to 3 times increase in speed is going to make any difference at all. MLC based drives with proper wear levelling should last well over 10 years.

    Consider a MLC 128GB drive with a 20,000 write cycle before it starts to fail. It will offer you 128*20000 = 2.5PBs(2,560 TeraBytes) worths of writes. If I write 80GBs of data a day that still offers me around 87 YEARS of usage. For most people SSDs will out last their PCs before they fail.

    SLCs have been the better choice in the past but with new MLC technologies today there is really no point for average consumers to go with SLC based SSDs
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Jobsian

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #17
    Thanks dude, interesting, I wasn't aware that the current speed bottleneck on SSDs is the SATA II interface. Any info on upgrades to SATA II? Or something more mobile than PCI-E?

    Hmm, the figure I've seen myself several times including from Toshiba themselves and several other places like Anandtech is 10,000 cycles before it stops reliably holding charge. (see this link for example)

    As to real-world lifespan - that is still an unknown, and a point of debate it seems. I wouldn't go quite as far as 87 years though.

    See this excerpt from one of Anandtech's latest SSD articles (30 August 2009):

    http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3631&p=6
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    #18
    My preference would be for a redesign. First of all if the screen were to go right up to the edge making it larger by an inch or so, that would really hit a sweet spot between the 15.4" and the 13.3". Secondly the whites have that slightly silvery/course appearance and the whole screen tonal balance is too yellow.
    Of course the underside air vents are easily blocked and that could be addressed too. I think the Air would benefit from around a half pound drop in weight and a reduction in the maximum thickness would only add to it's portability and distinguish it further from the MBP. I suspect that in order to achieve this and the addition of a glass trackpad Apple will have to change the overall shape to be more even in thickness overall, however the basic shape whilst not as accentuated I would imagine will stay the same.

    An addition of a micro SD slot I think is also a must and am confident it will be added.

    Power will be increased over current versions, but yes, there will be significant power disadvantages.
     
  19. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2009
    #19
    It would be really sweet to get the glass touchpad and (while I know some people aren't keen on the gloss finish) I love the screen on the Macbook Pro's.

    Give me that with the 4GB RAM and the 256GB SSD and I am in. :p

    Curiously unfussed about new processor and quite happy with the 9400, just want the aesthetic....
     
  20. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Location:
    Melbourne & Shanghai
    #20
    The speed of SATA II is about 300MegaBytes/S however with communication overhead it works out to be around 260MB/s current MLC drives are reaching that on a regular bases. There is currently a MLC drive on the market that does both 260MB read and 260MB write.

    SATA 6Gbit/s specification has already been release however nothing in the current market is compatible. Probably looking at another 12months before it becomes available and then probably only for SSDs.

    While you look at SLC as a great technology it hasn't always been the cases. Around 15 years ago SLC drives could only provide around 10,000 write cycles before going. Now you are looking at 100,000+ write cycles. MLC is also advancing and will probably be the more developed/researched because of its appeal from a commercial perspective. The same amount of flash ram can be used for double the amount of storage when comparing SLC to MLC.
     
  21. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Location:
    Mexico
    #21
    I do not agree. 13" is a perfect size for an ultraportable. It can lose weight, but only without reducing specifications or with further compromises. I'd prefer 1 more USB than micro SD or other ports, and and the security lock is a must. Increase battery life if the size allows it.
    100% in agreement about the glass trackpad, without buttons.
     
  22. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    #22
    8gb of Ram may be asking too much! You have to remember that the ram on the MBA is integrated into the motherboard... so it doesn't even have one "slot" right now. if it did, people would be upgrading to 4gb already (I know I would). 4gb is a realistic amount to build into the motherboard of the next gen, 8 would either take too much space (depending on how many chips have to be used, if not, see next), cost wayyy too much, or get too hot for use in the MBA.
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    #23
    You really wouldn't rather have a 14" inch rather than a 13" why? A 13" is great for such a portable machine, but if Apple utilized that wasted space around the screen they're likely to attract buyers who are tempted by the larger 15" screeen too. That would also help justify the extra expense over the 13" MBP. It would be more of a MBP Air in terms of screen space.

    With 1TB or even more on a micro SD card and the addition in the current MBP 13/15 of the SD slot, I don't think Apple will want to deprive users of that over another USB.
     
  24. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    #24

    I figured so myself. It's not even TDM I need. But there really is no alternative for me to connect Audio Interfaces. USB 2.0. ist just too unreliable.

    I'll wait for the next refresh and either buy the MBA /w Firewire or an MBP. No whining, I promise :)
     
  25. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #25
    I'm hoping to be able to jump in on a Rev D. At this point, the only thing that I'm really wanting is 4GB of RAM, even though I might not need it right away. But I wouldn't complain about having a 256GB SSD, glass trackpad or faster graphics.
     

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