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When will C2D be replaced by i3 on the MBA?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jcschlic, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. macrumors regular

    Or will it?

    When the new MBA was released, I was literally salivating. I have wanted to pull the trigger and get the stock 13" so bad. However, right now for me would kind of be a "want" purchase rather than a "need".

    So, that has left me to think that maybe the next iteration of the MBA will include the i3?

    Perhaps there have been conversations on Macrumors about this already...not sure. What are your thoughts on that?

    Is this the last of the C2D? Or will Apple milk it for a little while longer?
  2. macrumors 6502

    Milk it

    I say they milk it but of course it depends on their update cycle as we saw before the macbook air was not updated as annually as the rest of the line although Me personally thinks they will go to more of a "normal" update cycle with it now. I say it also depends on what they do with their other MacBook pro's and the design course they go both internally and externally. The C2D is a reliable processor and apparently a low enough voltage one so I think they may milk a little longer. Also if it is more of a want how you stated then wait till the next revision.
  3. macrumors 603


    If you want cr@ppy Intel integrated graphics, then wait. Otherwise buy.
  4. macrumors 6502


    This is a very good point that I didn't think about about but at the same time there is no guarantee that they will use Intel integrated graphics either. How I said though you also said it is more of a want then it is a need so again I say wait. Unless you can afford it and not put strain on yourself or other bills/obligations then go for it. Either way you know it will be around for a little while longer now after this last up date so it will be there tomorrow.
  5. macrumors regular

    Can you expand on that?

    Do you mean that if the i3 was utilized in the MBA, the i3's video capabilities would only be the workhorse?

    I doubt that Apple would release an inferior revision (when it comes to video processing capabilities).
  6. macrumors G4

    Space becomes an issue here. The MacBook Pros get around the limitations of Intel's graphics by adding a discrete GPU. Apple couldn't manage to fit one into the 13" MacBook Pro last time (and stuck with the aging Core 2 Duo), so the odds that they will be able to fit a Core i3 or i5 with a discrete GPU in next year's MacBook Air are pretty slim unless they make the case thicker. I can't see Apple doing that.
  7. Moderator


    I wouldn't be surprised to see AMD in MBA instead of Intel. Why? Because Intel IGPs are crap, they are way behind the 320M which is used in current gen. While iX would provide better CPU, the GPU would take a hit. With AMD, Apple could still get a decent CPU (hopefully/likely better than C2D) and still get outstanding graphics with AMD IGP
  8. macrumors regular

    I completely agree with this logic. However, from a business standpoint I don't know if Apple would dive into AMD chips (even though this has been rumored in the past.
  9. macrumors 65816


    I'm sorry doesn't the current air have a Nvidia 330 as a discrete CPU? What would the difference be in the number of chips?
  10. macrumors G4

    No, the current Air, MacBook, and 13" Pro have the NVidia GeForce 320m integrated graphics processor. The 15" and 17" Pro have the discrete NVidia GeForce GT 330M GPU.
  11. macrumors 65816


    Still it's a separate chip, correct? Certainly separate from the CPU? Or are we saying that the NVidia graphics are combined with some other chipset so that with an i3 you'd need 3 chips - the CPU, the GPU and some I/O controller chip. With a core 2 duo the GPU and the other I/O controller are combined?
  12. Moderator


    With C2D you need:

    CPU + nVidia IGP (has South and Northbridge in it)

    With iX you need:

    CPU (which is bigger than C2D due to the IGP and Northbridge) + GPU (and its GDDR chips) + Platform Controller Hub (i.e. PCH which does about the same functions as Southbridge)
  13. macrumors regular

    Hmm, so what you are ultimately saying is that (as of right now) the integrated video on the iX lines is simply not fast enough to compete against a CPU/separate Video card combo?
  14. Moderator


    Depends on the discrete GPU but in most cases, yes, it's nowhere near the performance level of a discrete GPU. Current 320M is actually a very good GPU (well, IGP) so the issue would be that Intel IGP would be a downgrade in terms of GPU performance.

    Intel IGP would, however, be sufficient to run OS X and most apps smoothly. It's up to Apple whether they are ready to sacrifice some GPU performance to get a nice bump in CPU performance or not.
  15. macrumors newbie

    If I recall correctly Sandy Bridge will move the memory controller and integrated graphics onto the CPU.
    Without the need for a northbridge there could be space for a discrete GPU. Though power and heat requirements might be a limiting factor
  16. Moderator


    Nehalem and Westmere (i.e. current iX CPUs) did that already. The i5s and i7s in MBPs have IGP and memory controller (i.e. Northbridge) in them.

    As I said above, there is still three chips needed with iX + discrete GPU combo since even Sandy Bridge still requires PCH. With C2D and nVidia IGP combo, there are only two chips.
  17. macrumors 6502

    The real problem here is Intel's reluctance to allow anyone to use an IGP other than the Intel one on the iX processor series. This is Intel's fault everyone.

    Now, if the MBA had space for a discrete GPU it wouldn't be an issue. Like someone said above though, if they can't get a discrete GPU into the 13" MBP, they are not going to get it into the MBA.
  18. macrumors G4

    Exactly. Even the vaunted Sandy Bridge is only expected to provide performance similar to the NVidia 9400m, which Apple first used in its notebooks almost 3 years ago. The current IGP is even slower and doesn't support OpenCL, which was one of Snow Leopard's big selling points.

    So for all the complaints about Apple using a 4 year-old CPU in the new MacBook Air and the current 13" Pro, the reply is that switching to a brand new processor would effectively require using a 3 or 4 year-old graphics processor.
  19. macrumors regular

    Good things to think about...will keep me looking out for iX developments over the next year or so...

    I think that ultimately, C2D is going to have to go away. It's just interesting to think about the repercussions.
  20. macrumors newbie

    Doesn't the i5 in the MacBook Pro 15" it has a seperate die for the IGP on the CPU package - so it's really a 4 chip solution vs. 2 in the air.
    I thought Sandy bridge actually integrates the IGP onto the die so would shrink the necessary package size, power, and thermal requirements.
    This might buy margin to have the 3 chip solution fit - at least into the air 13"
  21. macrumors 68040


    This is rooted in the spat between Intel and NVIDIA.

    I'd say we're 18 months off and we're waiting until LV (or ULV) versions of Ivy Bridge (the tock to Sandy Bridge's tick).

    ...or Apple make the huge leap to AMD....or longer term to some sort of ARM-based processor (which would need 64 bit enabled).

    Interesting stuff though but ultimately I bought an 11" loaded Air right now :)
  22. macrumors 68000


    I went through the same calculus as you did and like you decided to buy an MBA now. I did, however, buy the loaded 13 inch model instead of the 11 inch because I needed the 13 inch Ultimate MBA's extra storage and increased screen size.
  23. macrumors regular

  24. macrumors regular

    I think we ll see a speed bump with a silent refresh in like 8 month but still C2D.

    Then in an year or so they ll come with a real update and will replace the C2D
  25. macrumors G4

    Since the Core 2 Duo is going end of life in a few weeks, Apple will need to place the order soon (if it hasn't already), so I doubt that we'll see another processor boost for the MacBook Air. If they couldn't solve the heat issues to get the 2.4GHz or 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo in the current generation (or even make the 2.13GHz the standard 13" model) then I doubt they will waste the time and resources to figure it out for a mid-cycle refresh. More likely, once the IGP is up to snuff, they will put in a "slower" Core i5 that can Turbo Boost when necessary and hyperthread to maintain lower processor speeds and generate less heat.

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