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

MacRumors

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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.
And while the company never names the specific processor models they use, the specifications here - 3.6GHz turbo with Intel UHD Graphics 617 - do not match any known Intel chip, even when factoring in various cTDP options. We've heard rumors of Intel putting together a Core i5-8210Y, and we've reached out to Intel to try to confirm.
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]
 

Goldfrapp

macrumors 601
Jul 31, 2005
4,889
5,642
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????
 
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SuperBuck27

macrumors newbie
Feb 27, 2006
6
1
I'm still baffled as to why they decided to keep using the Air brand

The lineup and naming are a huge ugly mess

Could've been so much simpler and more streamlined:

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






What are they thinking????
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.
 
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rikscha

macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2010
663
245
London
I'm still baffled by their decision to keep using the Air brand

The lineup and its naming is a huge ugly mess

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

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

Air is a freakin' monkey wrench




What are they thinking????
Your names do not make any sense. iPhone pro is ridiculously wrong and shows you have no idea of the product.
 

Mainsail

macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2010
1,134
979
I'm still baffled by their decision to keep using the Air brand

The lineup and its naming is a huge ugly mess

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

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

Air is a freakin' monkey wrench




What are they thinking????
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.
 

Mainsail

macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2010
1,134
979
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.
 

mac1984user

macrumors 6502a
Dec 10, 2009
784
321
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.
 
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DanGoh

macrumors 6502
Apr 6, 2014
341
451
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?
 

Glockworkorange

macrumors 68000
Feb 10, 2015
1,983
3,136
Chicago, Illinois
I'm still baffled by their decision to keep using the Air brand

The lineup and its naming is a huge ugly mess

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

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

Air is a freakin' monkey wrench

Don't even get me started on XS Max


What are they thinking????
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.
 

limo79

macrumors regular
Jan 9, 2009
201
101
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?
 
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satchmo

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2008
2,125
1,973
Canada
I'm still baffled by their decision to keep using the Air brand

The lineup and its naming is a huge ugly mess

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

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

Air is a freakin' monkey wrench

Don't even get me started on XS Max


What are they thinking????
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.