Poll – Which of the following two MacBook Air Rev D Models would you rather buy?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Jobsian, May 14, 2010.

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Which of the following two MacBook Air Rev D Models would you rather buy? Specs below

  1. Option 1: Minor Update, Lower Price (see below)

    41.4%
  2. Option 2: Major Revision, High Price (see below)

    58.6%
  1. macrumors 6502a

    Jobsian

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #1
    Suppose the MacBook Air is refreshed at WWDC (yay!). Which of the following two models would you rather see announced and subsequently buy? Not certain how feasible the prices are, I pulled them off the top of my head!

    Option 1: Minor Update, Lower Price:
    • Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz Processor
    • 4GB RAM
    • 192GB SSD
    • Nvidia 320M
    • Same form factor/screen/trackpad
    • Slight battery bump
    • $1799


    Option 2: Major Revision, High Price:
    • Core-i7 680UM (1.46GHz, 2.53GHz Turbo)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 256GB SSD
    • Discrete low TDP ATI/Nvidia GPU
    • New Form Factor
    • Cooler Temps
    • IPS Display
    • USB 3.0
    • Glass Trackpad
    • Slight battery bump
    • $2899
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    cleric

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #2
    Option 1: Minor Update, Lower Price:

    * Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz Processor
    * 4GB RAM
    * 192GB SSD
    * Nvidia 320M
    * Same form factor/screen/trackpad
    * Slight battery bump
    * $1799


    And this is the most likely upgrade. I doubt we will see it move back above $2000 now with the ipad out (yes i realize its not a direct replacement).
     
  3. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #3
    Another nice thread, Jobsian. I really like this poll.

    The biggest factor in this potential Core i7 ultra low voltage CPU is the graphics... I don't see Apple giving the MBA a dedicated graphics card when it wouldn't give the MBP a dedicated graphics card (13" model).

    Also, there's another thread where a link says the Intel CPUs can run overclocked at the boost clock speeds all the time. I have to assume that is only possible with the GMA IGP turned off. That would lead one to suspect a real GPU. I guess I would even be happy with an Nvidia 310m with 256 MB VRAM (dedicated) in the MBA...

    I still believe we're getting an Nvidia 320m GPU/Chipset with a de-throttled C2D CPU. And truthfully, that's all we need as long as it has 4 GB RAM.
     
  4. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2008
    #4
    C2p would mean they have to upgrade again end of the year.

    Technically feasible but i doubt that. Upgrades cost them money, they probably cant recoup with niche product like the air.

    To go from 128gb to 256 ssd is consistently 450$ on all models i checked. I dont think we see that either maybe as a custom built option.

    Since they always underdeliver what i expect i'd say end of the year for the update.

    I have a rev a, just got the hinge fixed and am thinking either 15" pro or getting a runcorme as a short term fix.
     
  5. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    #5
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 7.11) Sprint PPC6850SP)

    I'd probably pick the lower model, in part 'cause the high alternate is so expensive. ^^^^ But I'd also buy the $1,799. Air right now, if they upgraded nothing but the 3 physical defects (hinge, "white donut" problem, and trackpad-button hits screen/bezel)... if these improvements were independently verified. /// I do agree with your idea of letting higher and lower models get designs that are farther apart. I need little more than a netbook with big memory and long battery life for days at the research library / travelling (plus I need Apple for ease of use, stores with classes and "geniusses", and the 1:1 help option.) I may qualify as geeky about some things, but NOT at solving computer-operating problems. ----- OTOH, some people want every bell and whistle. So, IF the market is so very bifurcated, then let the design revisions also widely bifurcate. ----- The NEWTON debacle showed that the most geektastic product (if offered, alone) may not win. Look what won. The company that started with the premise that they'd be simpler in the o/s and software, and not be afraid to put a few buttons on it -- Palm Pilot. I had 'em both... I liked the Newton a little better, but never used most of its abilities. Both screens broke.
     
  6. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    #6
    If it doesn't have at least two USB ports; neither.

    I just wish they'd put one out already, my PB G4 does not meet my requriements anymore.


    Did anyone write that email to Steve?

    Z1
     
  7. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #7

    What you're forgetting is the 128 GB 1.8" SSD found in the MBA cost over $650 when it was introduced in October 2008. Apple did reduce the pricing with the June 09 non-update as the price had dropped on the SSDs. The original MBA cost about $1300 more for a 64 GB SSD and tiny boost in CPU.

    The point is SSD costs are dropping considerably, and Apple would probably have to bump the MBA's price by $200 on the top end to cover the costs differences for a 256 GB SSD. Apple could offer it as a BTO option and go with maybe a 192 GB SSD or even a 160 GB Intel SSD. Intel recently announced a 1.8" 160 GB SSD, so there's hope Apple would change the cable from LIF to SATA-II or MicroSata to make it happen. I would love a 160 GB Intel SSD over a 256 GB Samsung SSD.

    The pricing and availability on an aftermarket 256 GB SSD for the v 2,1 MBA will be around $650 within three or four months. I wonder if Runcore is going to product a 256 GB SSD for the MBA? I wonder if there MBA SSD ventures have been profitable and what their sales look like? It will be nice to have several choices for the next MBA. My Runcore SSD has been excellent, but I really like the idea of the best SSD in an Intel drive... or a 256 GB SSD with a good controller and driver.


    ADDED: I would be ecstatic with either of these two upgrades in all reality. I mean the problem is we're not considering Core i7 ULV and sole use of Intel's GMA HD for graphics... this would be tragic. I actually don't see option two happening as I don't see dedicated graphics, but it's nice to think about it.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jobsian

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #8
    Thanks for the comments (+in other threads)

    You are right in saying that it might be difficult to see how Apple will include a Core-i CPU in the MBA when they didn't with the 13" MBP. However one way they might justify its selective inclusion in the MBA is by underlining that it's not the Low Voltage CPU (as I used to want) but the Ultra Low Voltage model.

    Interesting about the permanent overclock, I have not seen this at all myself before. The 18W ULV Core i's really seem to turn on the afterburners - 1.46GHz to 2.53GHz (in the i7 680UM) is over 2/3 of an increase, I can't wait to see these perform.

    To be honest, I'm tending to veer away from that constant yearn for higher clock simply because of the heat issue, especially as I'm starting to become more aware of heating patterns on my own notebooks and realise I don't need a highly geared CPU most of the time because it causes needless heating-fan(noise)-throttle-performance hit cycle. However don't get me wrong when I do want some heavier pushing, I love the GHz :D

    Ultimately, yes the main problem with Option 2 is feasibility of discrete graphics, but I have hope. I also agree that not providing adequate graphics for the sake of increased battery isnt an option I'd like. We'll see though.

    Would like to know what more MBA fans think especially gwsat.
     
  9. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #9
    It makes sense though, to be able to permanently overclock the CPU, assuming the GMA will not be used. The whole purpose of the "extra" capabilities is to be able to use it for graphics OR for normal CPU clock speed performance boosts. When the GMA is turned off, there's either less draw on energy or more performance available for CPU performance. It makes sense and it makes the Core ULV CPUs a hell of a lot more interesting. This is all IF a dedicated GPU is being used.

    So would Apple truly do this??? I hadn't thought so in the past, because I had no clue that the CPU could be overclocked permanently. I knew the GMA could be turned off, but I wasn't sure that it would use any less TDP because it seemed obvious to assume the extra performance would be for performance "boost" operations. So it wouldn't use any less energy than 18W, but that's okay as it's just the CPU... It leaves about 11W for a dedicated GPU. Now here's a question - can Apple use an Nvidia 320m instruction set on a 310m? Or, does Nvidia have an "alternate" 320m that isn't integrated into the chipset? This is very interesting indeed.

    I always thought Apple would have to market a 1.2 GHz MBA to sell it with a ULV CPU. However, being able to run the CPU at 2+ GHz is big news. But does this mean Apple can throttle the CPU just as it has with the SL9x00 CPUs? Not necessarily, IF Apple could use an ATI that only required 8W TDP, the MBA would be at 26W, whereas the current MBA is at 29W. But here lies another problem, how does Apple make the MBA last 7/8 hours when it's drawing 89% of the power as the v 2,1 MBA?

    This is a lot of interesting news for the MBA... I am intrigued as I had always thought a Core i7-6x0UM would be a devastatingly bad thing as we would get a <1.46 GHz CPU and Intel GMA HD... bad news on both fronts. So a 2 GHz Core i7 runs like a 2.4 GHz C2D.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jobsian

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #10
    Ahhh, I see what you mean exactly now by the turbo in terms of switching off the IGP, freeing up the entire power draw to the CPU, rendering anything less than turbo CPU unnecessary.

    The other thing is that personally speaking, 1.46GHz isn't so much a disaster IF the CPU can readily and reliably Turbo appropriately, the reports for which I haven't sought yet.

    Wow, this will be a really interesting play IF Apple go for such a major revision. Of course Im also trying to tell myself not to have high hopes and likewise I'd be very happy for even a minor bump, which Id certainly buy. It would be amazing though if they did the major revision, regardless of cost.
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jobsian

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #11
    This is closer than I thought it was going to be, $2899 is a lot of money. An indication of the visiting demographic!
     
  12. macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #12
    Jobsian -- Thanks to your having mentioned the poll in this thread in the your other recent MBA thread, about the news reports concerning an impending MBA upgrade, I finally found your poll and voted. I don't know how I overlooked it but a did. A thousand pardons!

    I voted for Option 2 for entirely selfish reasons. I need an MBA that would have enough power to allow me to run multiple Windows and OS X programs simultaneously. For example, as I type this, I have 7 programs, some Windows, some OS X, open and running on my MBP's desktop. That requires a lot of RAM. Thus, if your Option 2 version of the new MBA's new form factor allowed for the addition of RAM slots I would be all over it because it would allow me to upgrade to 8 Gb of RAM.
     
  13. macrumors 65816

    Fraaaa

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    #13
    Even tho I like the poll, you've been a bit unrealistic.

    You won't see IPS display and USB 3.0 on the next Air, there were no sign so far for this to happen, so don't get high hopes for nothing.
     
  14. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #14
    True, unless the MBA doesn't come until way past WWDC. I believe Apple is going to forgo USB 3.0 for now and wait until it's incorporated in the chipsets as a standard configuration. So you're correct in that assessment as it's not realistic to expect now.

    I believe an IPS HD display is possible, and it will for sure come within two updates. The longer Apple waits to upgrade the display, more likely 3D or OLED play into picture. The display is obvious and easiest way to make the Macs an extremely better experience for the user.

    I think the dedicated GPU is very far fetched. I know it's a possibility, but it just doesn't seem likely that Apple would release a Core i7 MBA with a dedicated GPU three weeks after a 13" MBP with a C2D and Nvidia integrated GPU. I mean, wouldn't the Pro get the new technology too? I think it's completely probable that the MBA gets a C2D and Nvidia 320m GPU. All of the rest is HOPE and speculation.

    Sure I want the MBA to get a Core i7 at 2+ GHz and a discrete ATI graphics card, but why wouldn't Apple do that in the 13" MBP also? Seriously, it could have done that with Core i5 CPUs in the 13" MBP, and used an Nvidia 310m GPU. Funny thing is, the 320m is integrated and performs better and uses lower energy than the discrete 310m Nvidia GPU. So integrated isn't always worse, and the 320m proves that.

    My Guesstimates:

    I am sticking with 85% probability to get an MBA update before or at WWDC with C2D, Nvidia 320m, 4 GB RAM soldered to board, 192/256 GB SSD, and glass trackpad.

    As far as other stuff... far less likely... and not going to happen...

    Far less likely - IPS HD display, new MBA case (might be thinner at thickest point but not tapered so has more space for components and cooling), two RAM slots, discrete GPU,

    Not going to happen now (maybe later) - USB 3.0, LightPeak, and 10-hour battery.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Location:
    Rockville (Despite REM's plea.)
    #15
    I am curious to know if anyone has seen anything in the tea leaves to suggest that 192GB or 256GB SSD drive is commercially available/feasible in the 1.8" form factor, or are these based on a move to a 2.5" drive or just wishful thinking?

    I believe that the chips are available to easily support a move to 4GB of RAM even with the current model of 16 memory chips soldered to the logic board. I was rather disappointed that Apple didn't choose to do that with the Rev C. Maybe they tossed that out when they significantly dropped the price point (out from under those of us who bought a Rev B).
     
  16. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #16
    Yes, there are 256 GB SSD 1.8" drives available by Samsung and Toshiba that are available for custom order in bulk for OEMs. So Apple can buy them if they want to use them. Apple would seemingly special order them with LIF connectors just as it has the current Samsung SSDs in the MBAs. Or they could switch to micro SATA or SATA-II. I would assume they keep them the same to limit third-party replacement drive competitors.

    PhotoFast has a commercially available 256 GB 1.8" SSD but it's not sold with an LIF connector. Again they could make special batches with an LIF connector if they wanted to.

    Intel also announced its 1.8" SSD at 160 GB.

    Any drive Apple gets it's going to have custom ordered for the MBA. I suspect 128 GB or any combination up to 256 GB, but 192 GB would be a lot more affordable than 256 GB and would be a significant boost from 128 GB. Meaning Apple can improve the SSD in the MBA by going to 192 GB, as it doesn't have to double the drive. SSDs can be made in any size but generally made with several chips. Could be 8 x 32 GB chips.

    The biggest factor is the size of the chips are getting smaller with new smaller nm processes to make the same capacity chips. So while once 128 GB would only fit in a 1.8" SSD form factor, now double that could fit if the size of the chips get smaller or they double the capacity in the same size chips.

    Apple could order 160 GB SSD, 192 GB SSD, 200 GB SSD, 220 GB SSD, 256 GB SSD... you get the point. It's whatever Apple is willing to spend the money for and yet offer an upgrade from the current 128 GB SSD. I do believe Apple would benefit the most by selling a 256 GB SSD in the MBA, because that capacity is about the normal size people want out of their laptops. No matter how big, some are going to want bigger and they're just not available yet as they cannot make the chips small enough to fit more in the same form factor of drive.
     
  17. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Rockville (Despite REM's plea.)
    #17
    OK. I vaguely recalled some mention of larger 1.8" drives, but I was curious if they were showing up anywhere or still in the pipeline particularly from manufacturers that are Apple suppliers and make SATA-LIF drives (e.g. Samsung, which you mentioned). The world recession probably has put a hitch in some of these coming to market sooner.

    I really wish Apple would just drop the SATA-LIF like a bad habit, and move to an interface more widely supported on the 1.8" drives. I suppose this runs counter to their tendency to be masters of vendor lock -- not to be hater, it's just a source of frustration.
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    manhattanboy

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    #18
    Can we at least have a semi-realistic poll?
    Option 2 is for the dope smokers among us.
     
  19. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #19
    There is a third-party manufacturer making a 256 GB SSD with an LIF cable that is expected to be coming out within a few months. That SSD will fit in v 2,1 MBAs and will be marketed to those wishing to upgrade their MBA's. The pricing is expected to be about 70% to 80% higher than the 128 GB SSDs available from other third-party providers like Runcore.

    I don't know how many computer manufacturers offer 256 GB SSDs in their ultraportables that use 1.8" drives (it could be NONE). However, that's a good place to start. It is extremely costly to make them, so it's going to be high cost ultraportables that need a 1.8" SSD. The Adamo has a 256 GB SSD available and isn't terribly expensive, but I don't know the size of the drive. Remember that it takes an awfully thin ultraportable to need a 1.8" SSD in the first place. I think about the LG x300, but I don't think it has a 256 GB SSD right now.

    It really doesn't matter if they're not being used as they might be just too costly for any competitor right now. It doesn't mean that they're not available for a price and that Apple cannot buy them for the MBAs. Apple was paying the same price for the 128 GB SSDs for the MBA when introduced in October 2008 as a 256 GB SSD costs now. In addition, Apple was paying more money for 64 GB SSDs when the MBA was introduced in January 2008 than a 256 GB SSD costs right now. So the money factor isn't the issue here for Apple. Apple will just have to raise the price of the MBAs to include a 256 GB SSD. I would guess that a 192 GB SSD might make its way into the high-end MBA and allow BTO alternative of a 256 GB SSD. But it could really be any size SSD from maybe 160 GB up to 256 GB. I also think it's possible the low-end MBA will get a 128 GB SSD standard. I believe it might raise the price, but Apple needs to get the price of the MBAs higher as it now has an iPad to cover the secondary computing market for those who really just want a netbook like device. Apple should focus on getting the prices up again on the MBA, and it will have to add features or technology to make that happen.

    Since we got a $700 price break on the MBA with 128 GB SSD in June of 2009, I do expect the price to go up by around $300 to $350 for a 256 GB SSD in the MBA. I also expect Apple to raise the price above that if it add an IPS panel or changes the MBA in other big ways with superior parts. For example, let's say Apple continued to solder the RAM on the boards and soldered 4 GB standard. However, let's assume they offered 4 GB standard in the low-end and 8 GB standard in the high-end MBAs (THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN IT'S JUST A HYPOTHETICAL "WHAT-IF" DEMONSTRATION). Apple would have to raise the price by about $300 more in the high-end MBA to cover that cost.

    Everything Apple adds to the MBA will have to raise the price so Apple can make enough money on the MBA. I already feel like the MBA is an incredible bargain for what it offers, but since they have been offering it for that price for over eleven months I expect more for that money now. We all want the newest technology for our same money.

    I wish Apple would just upgrade this MBA already. I really want it to happen this Tuesday, but I dream about what a WWDC MBA might actually have in terms of upgraded components and new innovative technologies. And there's always the possibility we will all be terribly disappointed and not get an updated MBA... or an MBA with 2 GB of RAM soldered to the board with a new GPU and larger SSD but no extra RAM. Anyone considering these possibilities? Apple has really disappointed us before, even remember the June 2009 non-update to consider the disappointment possible this Tuesday or even at WWDC.

    This is true. I believe Option 2 is really just focusing on a Core i7. The hope of a dedicated GPU is further off in the realm of realistic possibilities. In addition, IPS displays are further off, and USB 3.0 isn't in any way going to happen unless this MBA update doesn't come for another three to six months. An MBA update between now and WWDC just isn't going to be as amazing as option 2. I would be SHOCKED if the update looked anything like option 2 in terms of component makeup.
     
  20. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    #20
    Does this apply to all of the core-ix CPUs? When I was reading another thread it was implied that this was only possible on the ULVs. It doesn't really make sense to me why, but that was my understanding.

    Also, I would love that option 2, especially if it came in a 15" flavour for maybe 3000. I wish apple would just go with ati, but I fear that is very unrealistic.

    -Nice thread 5*'s
     
  21. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    Sep 19, 2008
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    U.S.A.
    #21
    Possibly? I don't know? It's interesting, and I don't know if it's possible or legitimate even with the ULV Core series CPUs.

    ATI truly has low TDP dedicated GPUs that actually meet the total TDP required by the MBA (assuming 29W current form is the max capable).
     
  22. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jobsian

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #22
    The sad thing about this post is that you (and I and everyone else) are coditioned to believe such a spec list is for "dope smokers" not because of any technological limitation but because of Apple's tendency toward conservative hardware (with notable exceptions).

    Each one of the items I mentioned are technologically feasible (to various degrees) and moreover some of the specs have been utterly eclipsed by others - eg Toshibas rumored MBA killer is said to use higher voltage Arrandales in an even thinner form factor, 512GB SSD etc etc. Not to mention Sony's MBA-weighted (though thicker) behemoth Vaio Z, the top spec of which if we were to utter it for even the 13" Macbook Pro we'd be directed to psychiatry!
     
  23. macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
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    U.S.A.
    #23
    You are correct. Apple has let us down lately and usually does. However Apple truly made a move like this with the SL9x00 CPU, Nvidia 9400 GPU, 128 GB SSD on SATA-II controller, DDR3 RAM, and mini Display Port to drive up to a 30" ACD. Apple has proved it can make a huge upgrade if and when it wants to. With the price points being raised, everything listed becomes very possible. Just remember that Apple has to raise the price by a good $500 to $700 to get all of the components in option two.

    Maybe we'll know something in another 24 hours??? Maybe not until WWDC.
     
  24. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jobsian

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #24
    Indeed, and among the 'notable exceptions' to hardware conservatism I foremost had in mind was the Macbook Air, it buried premium ultraportable competition at the time in terms of hardware alone (not to mention osx).

    Which is the reason why I'm still hoping for something more dramatic (for Apple's standard) hardware-wise for the updated MBA.

    The odds are still on a minor spec update but I put the odds for a bigger revision higher for the MBA than I did for the 13" MBP update because of this very reason that the MBA has been a recent trailblazer, but also for the reason of the longer delay.

    Either way, I'm certainly getting one :D

    Let's hope it hasn't been EOL'd, lol!
     
  25. macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #25
    You came to your own defense before I had a chance to do it for you. There was nothing listed in your MBA dream machine's configuration that isn't available today. As you mentioned, a loaded Sony Vaio Z, which has been available for awhile, is even more powerful than your putative dream machine would be. The only thing that puts your dream machine in the "dope smoker" category is Apple's consistently disappointing recent history of unimpressive hardware revisions.

    Unfortunately, we aren't going to know what the revised MBA will look like, or even if there will be one, until Apple does something. Steve Jobs' passion for secrecy makes Joseph Stalin look like a blabbermouth.:)
     

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