Apple's New MacBook Air Uses MacBook-Class Amber Lake Chip [Updated]

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple's newly upgraded MacBook Air is equipped with a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz, a chip configuration that does not match any of the 8th-generation chips that Intel has announced to date.

    Intel, in fact, lists only a single 1.3GHz dual-core processor in ARK, which does not line up with the chip Apple is using in the MacBook Air.


    Instead, Apple appears to be using an unannounced Intel chip that, according to AnandTech, is part of the 5W Y-Series Amber Lake chips. Intel announced these Amber Lake chips, traditionally used in the MacBook, back in August.
    Historically, Apple has used 15W U-series chips in its MacBook Air upgrades, but power wise, this will put the new MacBook Air on par with any future MacBook upgrades that also use Intel's Amber Lake chips.

    Though the MacBook Air is now using a lower power Y-series chip, because the previous-generation MacBook Air was still equipped with a Broadwell chip, the new model is still going to see significant performance improvements. Unfortunately, the performance gain isn't going to be as impressive as it would have been had Apple stuck with U-series chips.

    Using a 5W chip has allowed Apple to significantly cut down on power consumption, which explains why the MacBook Air has the longest battery life out of any of Apple's notebooks.

    The new machine offers up to 12 hours of battery life when web browsing and 13 hours when watching iTunes movie playback, which is two hours more battery life for web browsing and one to three hours more when watching movies compared to the MacBook and MacBook Pro.

    Apple is only offering a single processor for the MacBook Air, and there are no build-to-order options to upgrade it to a faster speed.

    Using a MacBook-class chip in the MacBook Air makes some sense if Apple plans to keep the MacBook in its lineup. With the MacBook Air's slimmer bezels and new Retina display, there's not a lot separating it from the 12-inch MacBook. If it also used U-series chips, it would outperform future MacBook models, and it would make little sense to purchase a MacBook.

    This way, the MacBook Air offers a Retina display, MacBook-class performance, and a slimmer body, while the MacBook retains its position as Apple's thinnest, lightest machine, presumably with faster Y-series chips once an upgrade is released.

    Apple's revamped MacBook Air can be purchased from the online Apple Store for $1,199, $100 cheaper than the MacBook, but $200 more expensive than the previous-generation MacBook Air.

    Update: Intel has added the new MacBook Air chip to its ARK database. As AnandTech guessed, the MacBook Air is using a Core i5-8210Y Amber Lake Y processor, but at 7W, not 5W.

    Article Link: Apple's New MacBook Air Uses MacBook-Class Amber Lake Chip [Updated]
  2. Goldfrapp, Oct 30, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018

    Goldfrapp macrumors 601


    Jul 31, 2005
    I'm still baffled by their decision to keep using the Air brand

    The lineup and its naming has become a huge ugly mess

    Could've been so much simpler and so much more streamlined:

    Mac - Mac Pro
    iMac - iMac Pro
    MacBook - MacBook Pro
    iPad - iPad Pro
    iPhone - iPhone Pro

    Air is a freakin' monkey wrench

    Don't even get me started on XS Max

    What are they thinking????
  3. - rob - macrumors 6502

    - rob -

    Apr 18, 2012
    Oakland, CA
    It will probably only make sense after the arm based MacBook is delivered and the pros are upgraded again.
  4. auduchinok macrumors newbie


    Sep 26, 2017
    If it's an unannounced processor how do you know it's exactly 5W?
  5. SuperBuck27 macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2006
    I think with regard to the Air, it is mainly about:

    Form Factor (thin)
    Limited CPU/GPU Power
    Battery Life

    I think they view the basic MacBook as being:

    The Entry Level Machine
    Larger Form Factor
    Still somewhat limited CPU/GPU Power
    Modest Battery Life
    Limited on-board connections

    And the MB Pro being:

    Power user oriented
    Features, speed and graphics over everything else
    Much more powerful CPU/GPU options
    Typically more on board ports/connections

    I don't think there is anything else going on here. The Air is unique and they like keeping the name and the machine around. Given it's small form factor, it probably is more expensive to manufacture than the base MacBook's so they give it a unique name and higher price to warrant that investment.
  6. apfelmann macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2007
    No surprise. But still: didn’t expect it ... unbearable!!!!
  7. kemal macrumors 65816


    Dec 21, 2001
    They can later offer the Air with a Y series i7 and then cancel the nTB MBP.
  8. Pearple macrumors member

    Dec 28, 2017
    They could have called it MacBook Air Professional 64 Bit Corporate Edition Volume license.
  9. rikscha macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2010
    Your names do not make any sense. iPhone pro is ridiculously wrong and shows you have no idea of the product.
  10. Mainsail macrumors 65816

    Sep 19, 2010
    I understand your point, but I think the ntb MBP was awkwardly branded. It really wasn't a pro model. This allows Apple to take advantage of their most beloved laptop brand, and try to breath some new life into the lineup. We will see how it goes.
  11. Amorun macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2016
  12. Mainsail macrumors 65816

    Sep 19, 2010
    So, back to the topic at hand....does the 5w processor mean there is no fan for cooling?

    Edit: the post above mine came in while I was typing my question.
  13. ccsicecoke macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2010
    They should discontinue 12 inch MacBook. It was never a good size at first place.
  14. mac1984user macrumors 6502a


    Dec 10, 2009
    United Kingdom
    It does make you wonder how long they’ll sit on the MacBook update given the weird space it now occupies. Perhaps they’ll just stick to the refresh window they’ve established with it. The new Air is an interesting product; it’s just a shame they couldn’t keep it sub-$1k. Still, there’s a market for it, and it’s a tempting product.
  15. DanGoh macrumors 6502


    Apr 6, 2014
    This was the biggest unwelcome surprise to me. I wasn't expecting the 28W CPU on the Pro, but I didn't expect the Core M / Y series intel chips, I expected the U series.

    I guess I'm thinking about the long term use of the laptop. Wouldn't a higher clocked U series chip fare better than the Core M / Y series chips in 3-5 years time? Assuming future releases of MacOS are more demanding/taxing on the system?
  16. Bacillus Suspended


    Jun 25, 2009
    Mmhh, it did serve the purpose that the new Air CPU got underdimensioned in order to keep it meaningful...
  17. Glockworkorange macrumors 68000


    Feb 10, 2015
    Chicago, Illinois
    I agree, but I don't think Apple cares about the symmetry anymore. The marketing name of the Air is clearly very important to them.
  18. Lesser Evets macrumors 68040

    Lesser Evets

    Jan 7, 2006
    That "sub $1000" rumor dried up and blew away like dead, autumnal weeds.
  19. oldmacs macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2010
    Wow so to thin the bloody thing down and keep the battery life they had to sacrifice performance?

    Would have been a killer machine if they'd just kept the old enclosure and updated it accordingly.
  20. limo79, Oct 30, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018

    limo79 macrumors regular

    Jan 9, 2009
    Performance to price ratio terrible. 2 core CPU while latest Zenbooks have similar form factor and base on Intel Whiskey Lake platform with 4 core CPUs like i5-8265. Video hardware decoding on famous T2 chip. Seriously Voodoo accelerator or DVD hardware decoding card in late 2018?
  21. Wiesenlooser macrumors 6502a

    Jul 9, 2010
    Or call it the 12 inch MacBook Air.
  22. satchmo macrumors 68020

    Aug 6, 2008
    It is a mess. But I think it has a lot to do with Steve Jobs legacy then anything else.

    The Air was his baby and Tim Cook wouldn’t dare kill off something so near and dear to Steve.
  23. bigtomato macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2015

    This chip is useless other than web browsing and think and iPad Pro can run circles around it. My MacBook Air is an i7, 2.2 which is really fast compared to this and bought it years ago !!
  24. mprime_17 macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2018
  25. Infinite Vortex macrumors regular

    Infinite Vortex

    Mar 6, 2015
    Maximising profit opportunities. Is there anything else for a company to be thinking about?

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