Advice: Wait For Better Processor?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by John25, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. John25 macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2010
    Hey, I'm considering picking up a 13" Ultimate MBA to replace my early 2008 MB Pro. My CPU uses are quite minimal, and I plan to use this machine for basic tasks (word-processing, web browsing, listening to music). With Sandybridge release around the corner, my only worry is that the C2D will become obsolete soon and will diminish the longevity of the MBA, which I would like to last for at least 1-2 years. Is it better to buy now, or wait a few months for the refresh? Thanks!
  2. applebook macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2009
    You don't need a better processor. You could wait forever for "something better."

    Get it now.
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)

    What processor is outdated for "minimal" usage?
  4. tmoerel macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2008
    It is very simple. If you have no use for a MBA now, wait. Otherwise get one and enjoy it.
  5. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Anything under a P66. Yes, that POS with a broken FPU.
  6. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    First of all, the last refresh was 2 months ago. I'd be very surprised if the next refresh comes before July, even with the Sandy Bridge debut in January. Expect the MacBook (if it's being continued) and the MacBook Pro line to get those chips first.

    Second, the Core 2 Duo-based current version should have ample power for the next 2 years for the tasks that you describe. It's still far more powerful than the Atom chips that Intel will be selling to manufacturers of netbooks for the next few years.
  7. MXSkier62 macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2006
    I'm in the same boat. I am going to use it a lot for word, PDFs, hulu and Netflix. I'll be fine with the 1.4ghz c2d? Im gonna upgrade the ram too.
  8. stockscalper macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2003
    Area 51
    The Core Duo Nvidia graphics combo in the current MBA is very powerful and won't be easily topped by the new Sandy Bridge chip. What will go into the next upgrade, rumored to be 4th QTR 2011, is a Sandy Bridge i3 (read relabeled Celeron) using Intel integrated graphics. First, it will be questionable that the new chip alone will be much more powerful than the current one. But whatever is gained by the newer processor will be lost with the crappy Intel graphics.
  9. Beanoir macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2010
    51 degrees North
    Statements like that that really get my goat!

    The C2D in today's MBA will be just as fast in 2 years time it won't slow down. What you're concerned about is there being something better on the market in 6 months time... Well of course there will be, in fact i'd put my house on the fact that there will be a faster processor in the MBA in 12 months time, but so what?? How on earth would that make it obselete!? I have a 5 year old MacMini with a CD processor, but it's still my main home computuer, runs latest OSX, CS5 Master Suite and everything else needed, but just not as quick as a new one, hardly obselete is it!

    As long as the MBA you buy today performs the tasks you need it to, then whats the problem?
  10. thelookingglass macrumors 68000

    Apr 27, 2005
    Well said, but unfortunately this may be too rational for many on here. :)
  11. bella92108 macrumors 68000

    Mar 1, 2006
    Definitely wait...

    - for bigger battery..
    - for bigger processor..
    - for bigger memory..
    - for bigger video card..
    - for bigger BUS speed..
    - for bigger storage drive..
    - for bigger price tag..
    - for bigger apple store to buy from..
    - for bigger fear of commitment..

    hehe, all kidding aside, like others have said... if you buy on the day something comes out it still means something better will soon be released, so the bottom line is this:

    Do you think it's sexi?
    Do you have the $ to pay for it?
    Will it do what you want?

    If YES to all of the above, then buy it.
  12. sotiredofsoup macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2010
    Santa Monica, CA
    I'm in the exact same boat with my Early 2008 MBP. I was going to SSD swap the SuperDrive to make it feel a little snappier, but I'm attracted to the 13 MBA because it has the same resolution and isn't weighing down my mobile lifestyle with a massive 5.4lbs in my bag. I am considering selling the MBP now to get the most money for it and just using a desktop/iPad combo and wait for the move away from core 2 duo.
  13. bella92108 macrumors 68000

    Mar 1, 2006
    You live just fine now with a C2D, why not buy the sexi light new system and live with it for 2 years since it obviously suits your needs.

    Not sure why people don't actually research what a processor does and actually realize that a C2D is by no means a "crippled" processor. If you want to burry your head in the sand and just listen to marketing, buy a PC. You can buy the same specs in a super-lightweight netbook from Acer for about $299.
  14. MooneyFlyer macrumors 65816


    Nov 18, 2007
    The MBA Ultimate will seem a lot faster anyway with the SSD. I replaced a late 2008 MB Alu 2.4/4/250 with the 2010 MBA Ultimate and aside from the MBA starting up much faster, being 2/3rds the weight, and having a much nicer screen I hardly notice a difference ;)
  15. gwsat macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    Same here. I can tell no difference between the way my 13 inch Ultimate MBA performs and the way my 2.4GHZ Santa Rosa MBD was running the same setup.
  16. John25 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2010
    Thanks for all the replies! I'm now leaning towards picking up the 13" Ultimate in a week when I go home for christmas break, it should make a nice christmas present for myself!
  17. applebook macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2009
    ...and even the latest duo-core Atoms are quite serviceable with Windows 7.
  18. M87 macrumors 65816

    Jul 18, 2009
    The Air is much more than capable of the things you mention. Hell, my phone is more than capable of those tasks.
  19. drjsway macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2009
  20. gdeputy macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2008
    New York
    honestly the MBA has felt extremely quick for me in my uses, which include HD video viewing, microsoft office 11 suite, lots of forum browsing, and the likes.

    the SSD makes it feel incredibly quick, go play with one in an apple store and see for yourself.
  21. Scott6666 macrumors 65816


    Feb 2, 2008
    When's that?

    (PS What's that?)
  22. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Ivy Bridge is the code name for the next upgrade of the Core i-series chips after "Sandy Bridge." Sandy Bridge is coming next month. Ivy Bridge is coming at the end of next year. Both will provide graphics processor updates.
  23. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2004
    Where are you getting this info? There is no i3 processor (at least in Arrandale, and therefore probably not in Sandy Bridge) that can get the thermals right for a MBA without sacrificing HUGE CPU Speeds. The only Lower-Voltage (18W or lower) i3 chip is the i3-680UM - it runs at 1.33Ghz and now turbo boost. Even if Sandy Bridge bumps that to 1.4 or 1.6Ghz, there's no way Apple's using that in a MBA.

    Same with the i5-UM processors - they only go to 1.33Ghz, with a turbo to 2.13Ghz. That might work for an updated MBA.

    The best bet (though by no means a sure thing) would be the successor to the current i7-680UM (which runs at 1.42Ghz and turbos to 2.53Ghz). If they can bump that clock speed a little, and keep the TDP at 18W, that part is the same $$ as the current SL9400/9600 being used in the 13" MBA.

    And regarding Graphics, they've already benchmarked the higher-end Sandy Bridge i7 mobile chips and found they handily beat other IGPs, and matched even the 330M currently in the 15"/17" MBP. It's surprising to me too, but it looks like Intel *finally* got graphics chips right with Sandy Bridge.
  24. mousouchop macrumors 6502a


    Oct 22, 2008
    New York
    I am waiting for the first spec bump update, at least.

    Hoping the CPU gets bumped to 2.0Ghz+ on the base model 13". And who knows, maybe 4GB RAM will be standard by then too!

    Also, it's a good way to avoid the issues that always arise in early adopter units of newly redesigned products. I've been there before (when the Macbook first went aluminum), and it's not fun.

    Just my 2 cents!
  25. HiRez macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    I'm also waiting, although since I already have a MBP, I can wait it out. The Core2Duo is a solid, venerable architecture, but it's very old and far behind current technology. The speed is adequate, but newer machines, and particularly the 11" MBA with its severe size and weight constraints, will really benefit from the better power efficiency of today's architectures. Currently it gets 5 hours of battery, that's not horrible, but it's not that great either.

    Ideally I would like an i7-class CPU (but downclocked), a little better graphics than the 320 (which are not bad), an SD slot, 256 GB SSD HD option, and a return of the backlit keyboard. And a pony. If they can get that into the 11" MBA form factor with a 7 hour battery life, that would be one awesome machine.

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