Buy MBA now or wait for Haswell MBA? :)

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by TrollToddington, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. TrollToddington macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2011
    We already know what the SB and IB will bring to the table. However, no-one has ever discussed what changes Haswell might introduce to the MBA. Well, taking into account that SB IGP is branded "crap" and IB IGP will be 30-40% faster "crap" do you think it is worth waiting for Haswell?

    PS If you find this thread too unserious please do not reply. Since there are a lot of threads discussing the SB and IB MBAs (which, BTW, have not been released yet) I think it is only fair if we open a new thread dedicated to Haswell microarchitecture.

    Haswell microarchitecture on Wikipedia
  2. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    Yes, if you don't need a computer for at least 2 years, and you think there will not be som unexpected change in either technology or Apple's strategy in that time frame.
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    We have no details about Haswell so it is impossible to say how fast it and its IGP will be. It is probably going to continue the same 20-30% performance boost ideology that Intel has been pushing out for the last few years.
  4. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    At the rate Intel is going with its IGP, especially in Low and Ultra Low Voltage CPUs, I think it will be a few releases BEYOND Haswell before the IGP even compares with the old Nvidia 320m technology.

    What really is sad is that Intel didn't/doesn't just buy Nvidia so it could actually compete against AMD. With AMD making incredible APUs coming out in the next year, I suspect the vast majority of the notebook industry will switch to AMD, including Apple. I don't think Retina external ACDs or native displays are likely with Intel's worthless IGP. Even in the 13" MBP, Apple had to keep the low resolution as to show the Intel IGP as not being completely worthless. In addition, that doesn't mean it cannot run an ACD, but it does adversely affect performance and "marketing" numbers/graphics.

    I think EVERYONE who wants an MBA to use for several years is much better off buying an Nvidia-based MBA over "waiting" for an "upgrade" with Sandy Bridge IGP. I can only hope that Apple's long-term plans are already researching AMDs offerings for its low end Macs.

    I have realized on my own with a few family friends in the know, and from reading rumors, that information of Apple prototypes and inside sources are often working on products coming out a year to two years before the actual technology hits the market. I have come out with new ideas based on this, and last year's rumors. I had learned over a year before last October's MBAs a lot of what was accurate for that update. I had wrongly believed that information was accurate for the 2009 update but it actually came in 2010.

    I have read about Apple researching disabling the Intel IGP, and using the full capabilities of ULV CPUs in the MBAs with AMD discrete GPUs. I wouldn't put that possibility out of the picture. There were also reports of Apple meeting with AMD for CPUs for all of the low end Macs less than a year ago, so that is a big possibility. I would say that just because a Sandy Bridge update comes now with its grossly inferior IGP doesn't mean that we will be stuck with Intel's IGP in the next update beyond that. There are two very possible strategies that could pan out, and with Apple's Retina ambitions as well as its recent interest in gaming platforms like Steam, it has to determine a REAL solution which eliminates Intel's IGP from the picture... Intel needs to buy Nvidia and learn from acquisition as it certainly hasn't learned from its own R&D how to improve graphics.

    Buy now if you want an MBA, and use it until there is a new technology that at least meets the then several year old Nvidia technology.
  5. nebulos, Apr 30, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2011

    nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
  6. iRun26.2 macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2010
    If a MBA with SB and Intel GPU is released I certainly will consider it. I will not order one, however, without going the Apple store and trying it out. Maybe the built in GPU will be fine.

    My original MBA had an Intel was not impressive in terms of GPU.
  7. Edmoil12 macrumors member

    Jun 1, 2010
    Haswell? I'm holding out until Rockwell in 2014. I really need an 8 core ULV ultraportable.
  8. JusChexin macrumors member

    May 28, 2009
    Scottsdale, you seem to be super "in the know" about these sorts of things. Just because I completely have no idea, how come a company with such excellent technology, massive amounts of working capital and R+D, etc such as Intel can make excellent CPU's but produce junk integrated GPU's? Is it because superior technology in an integrated GPU would be infringing on NVIDIA's IP Patents or something? If so, why DON'T they buy NVIDIA? I just don't understand how a company like Intel can consistently produce CPU's with substantial gains in performance each generation all while having the GPU technology of a circa-1995 Gateway2000. (Okay, maybe that's a bit extreme, but you get the analogy).

    My mid-2007 white Macbook has been the best computer I've ever owned overall, but the integrated GMA950 has been it's achilles heel. I haven't even been able to play a Sims game for 4 years. I am dying to get a new Macbook Air and would really like the CPU performance of a new Sandy Bridge processor, but I'm not sure if I could stomach another Intel integrated-GPU, if they are still as horrible as you say.

    Why Intel, why?? :confused:
  9. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Because Intel makes IGPs considered extremely low-end to appeal to the broad audience. Then, the vast majority of high/mid-range notebooks require the use of a discrete GPU. Therefore, to keep costs low and force the use of their chipsets, Intel came up with this worthless non-solution to push Nvidia out. They simply couldn't handle losing the chipset business to Nvidia, so they played illegally. They paid Nvidia a few billion, and they get to sell Apple all the chipsets.

    The problem is a financial one, and possibly an energy one for Apple. It has thin and lightweight Mac low-end notebooks and the low-end Mac mini that can get by with Nvidia until now. With Intel playing illegally, Apple is forced to use Intel's junk or add discrete GPUs. Discrete GPUs will add energy requirements adding heat and lowering battery life and add costs. So how does Apple battle this? I hope they make the switch to AMD.

    There is a chance that Intel will royally screw Nvidia by using its IP since it is allowed to do such with the payout of the anticompetition case it just agreed to. WE ALL LOSE, and Intel wins. Apple loses capabilities of having real graphics, we lose capabilities of real graphics, and we are forced to use Intel's junk or pray Apple moves to AMD to bring about competition.

    I personally don't understand why Intel is so good at CPUs but so terrible at graphics. I simply cannot fathom why they wouldn't want to own both ends of the market? It is simply incredible the junk they pawn off. What is really sad is that Apple still uses an antiquated optical disk technology in its 13" MBP, MB, and Mm but cannot find any space for a real GPU??? I know I already mentioned energy, but the greatest good for the greatest numbers is to have a capable GPU. Apple spent a fortune marketing Nvidia's GPU, integrating OpenCL into Snow Leopard, and making gaming platforms work on Macs, and now it plans to throw that all away to settle for Intel's IGP. I have to believe it is a short-term consequence, and in the long-term they have a real plan. Intel doesn't offer a real plan. We aren't just talking games either... most want to say that but don't understand graphics and how incredibly inferior Intel's non-offering is and how it's even worse in low and ultra low voltage CPUs used in the two MBAs.
  10. JusChexin macrumors member

    May 28, 2009
    Thanks so much for that information/perspective. It truly boggles the mind why Intel would have the ability to create increases in their CPU each generation while forcing out NVIDIA integrated GPU's or not having the ability/desire to innovate on their own integrated GPU skills. You can have a super fast laptop, you just won't be able to enjoy anything graphically intensive on it, lol. :mad:
  11. FX4568 macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2010
    I almost choked on my food when I saw the title.
    Man, come on.
    Thats in 2 years! You might be dead in 2 years.
    SB air is not even out and you are worrying about Haswell? why not just wait for skymont?
  12. iRun26.2 macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2010
    Where do you guys learn about these future processor code names in the first place (and is there any information/rumors available about what the specific improvements the new architectural improvements may be)? I love reading about what future technology may bring us (it is fascinating to me...from an engineering standpoint).
  13. TrollToddington thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2011
    I completely agree with you. I started this thread out of irony - there are so many threads discussing the unreleased SNB & IB MBA that I thought I wouldn't hurt if I extend the dreams even further. That's why I typed the ":)" after the topic title.

    But, it won't hurt if we discuss future technology. There are very knowledgeable people on these forums who may share their input. It's not that I will wait for 2 years in order to buy and MBA (and no one in their senses should). Who knows, by that time Apple might have discontinued the MBA.
  14. mag01 macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2011
    Haswell? No way, wait for at least Broadwell... :) Or better wait for SkyLake... or Skymont? Doesn't matter, just keep waiting forver, there's always something to come... :mad:
  15. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Sandy Bridge (32nm, NM) - 2011
    Ivy Bridge (22nm, DS) - 2012
    Haswell (22nm, NM) - 2013
    Broadwell (16nm, DS) - 2014
    Sky Lake (16nm, NM) - 2015
    Skymont (11mm, DS) - 2016

    NM = New micro-architecture
    DS = Die shrink

    There are some sites that have access to Intel's roadmaps and they post stuff like this. I think these code names are from SemiAccurate.
  16. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2004
    You think the majority of the Notebook industry will en mass switch to AMD in the next year? Do you have any information/hints/rumors/etc... about this at all?

    AMD has held on to it's 15% market share for the last few years (mostly due to it's lower-powered, but lower-priced alternatives to Intel's CPUs). Is there any actual proof or suggestions that that 15% market share is about to explode?

    What I've read says "AMD does not currently have an equivalent offering on the market as Sandy Bridge-based systems from PC manufacturers, including Apple and Lenovo, begin to proliferate, closing the window on AMD's volume growth opportunity"

    Again, this is intense speculation. Do you have any info to back up your claim that Apple kept the 13" MBP Resolution lower specifically due to the Intel HD 3000? Especially since on the non-LV/ULV side, the HD 3000 has been shown to be almost as fast as the 320m?

    Also, in the realm of non-fiction -- I have a 15" Arrandale MBP with a HR screen. I force it to use the Intel HD IGP almost exclusively to save battery life, and it pushes 1680x1050, and I've had it hooked up to a 27" ACD And it's not struggled at all.

    And the SB IGP is better. So all this FUD about the SB IGP being unable to run the ACD or the 13" MBP needing a lower-rez due to the Intel HD 3000 is just that: complete FUD, and IMHO, nonsense.

    While I too would prefer an AMD or Nvidia solution, other than in gaming benchmarks, there's nothing that the SB IGP can't do that "average" users do: surfing, 1080p video, MS Word, etc...

    You've brought up this "1/2 switch to AMD" by Apple before, and I again maintain that this seems so far-fetched. I don't know where you're getting this "big possibility" from, but when Apple gets 1st dibs (by over a month) to Intel's new processors, (the SB MBP's from February) why would they ditch Intel? Intel has repeatedly given Apple preferential treatment, from the low-end and high end (Mac Pro processors).

    Yes, the Intel IGP is nowhere near an AMD (ne ATI) or Nvidia solution. I dunno if I want Intel to buy Nvidia, and create a ridiculous Duopoly in the CPU market. I'd rather have more choice/competition which benefits consumers.

    I'd say it's almost more likely that Apple would merge iOS and Mac OS under an ARM-based solution for the low-end. Wouldn't 4-core ARM chips in a mobile MBA-like device be just as fast as a low-end Llano chip? And with a PowerVR graphics chip like that in the iPad, gaming would be great, no?

    That being said, I don't think the ARM-based MBA is anywhere close, (as it would require another big micro-architecture switch like the PowerPC-->x86 headaches of 2006+). I really think Intel (for better or worse) is here to stay. Apple has no reason to ditch Intel - and I'd expect they'd have to switch whole-hog if they did -and that would mean a lot of loss of CPU power in the high-end, something Apple's not willing to sacrifice.
  17. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    And wait and wait, and in the end, you will have nothing!:cool:
  18. Ridley macrumors regular

    Mar 28, 2011
    Yes what you are referring to is the tick-tock cycle. This is a really clear explanation

    Basically for Intel a tick is a die shrink and a tock is a new micro-architecture. Personally I prefer to buy chips on the tock because i think they are better value and more exciting. I have a merom MBP and am waiting to buy an SB air for my girlfriend.

    Debates about Sandy Bridge vs Ivy Bridge are tock vs tick (respectively). Different people prefer to buy on different cycles. Sandy Bridge to Haswell is tock vs tock, so not really the same comparison. Its like debating if chips will be faster in the future.

    All that said, I think a Sandy Bridge Air would be a tremendous upgrade. You usually get a 20% boost in CPU performance with either a tock or tick. According to wikipedia SB is 17-20% faster than Nehalem clock-for-clock and Nehalem is 20% faster than Penryn (current MBA C2D) clock-for-clock. 20% faster of 20% faster is 44% faster clock-for-clock! Combine that almost double the clock rate on the new SB chips and that is going to be a very large upgrade!! Probably greater than 50% faster!
  19. cirus macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011


    The standard voltage sandy bridge integrated graphics are about the same as the 320m (within 10%). The ultra low voltage are about 30% less powerful. Looking at a 30% increase the Ivy bridge graphics would be about the same. Especially with that new tri-d technology. Just so you know, the sandy bridge graphics were twice as good as the arrandale graphics. standard voltage is on par with 310m.

    Why would they completely disable the integrated graphics? Makes no sense that they would not have integrated graphics running all the time except when dedicated graphics are needed. This would save battery life.

    The actual graphics are not that bad or poorly designed. Its just that the drivers suck. I don't ever see them managing to put dedicated graphics in an air, the thing is just too small and thin.

    Also, people who never game are not going to notice that 30% difference.
  20. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    WAit until these threads go away to get your next computer.

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