Intel to ship Sandy Bridge in early 2011

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by hitekalex, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. hitekalex macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

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    #1
    Engadget reports from 2010 Intel Developer Forum today (http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/13/intel-sandy-bridge-cpus-will-ship-in-early-2011/):

    "…long-awaited and often leaked Sandy Bridge processors will "begin shipping in very high volume" early next year in both laptop and desktop PCs. Now called the "2nd Generation Intel Core processors," the new chips will feature Intel's new 32nm architecture for everything, including the integrated graphics processor and memory controller, which will hopefully reduce their power consumption"​

    I wonder if this means we are NOT going to see any MBA refreshes this year, as Apple might be waiting for these processors. I certainly won't be upgrading my MBA to another minor C2D update, and willing to wait until 2011 if it means a Sandy Bridge machine..
     
  2. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #2
    An arrandale MBA update may be forthcoming. They certainly have the ULVs for the air to use. The problem is probably them not wanting to regress on the graphics.
     
  3. analogkid macrumors regular

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    #3
    Sandy Bridge seems the most likely scenario to me, otherwise, why the long delay?
     
  4. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #4
    I don't believe Apple would use only Intel's IGP in any Mac. Therefore, I don't think SJ's would "stick" us with only Intel's IGP. In addition, SJ's has bashed the Intel IGP. Finally, Apple cannot write drivers worth a crap, so a more powerful GPU is really necessary for OS X. I don't know if it's a problem native to the unix/linux platform, or what the problem is, but OS X and Linux are horrific compared to Windows when it comes to OpenGL, simple HD playback, h.264, and other graphics...

    I say it just doesn't matter because the Arrandale GPU is already 32nm where it counts, the CPU itself. However, Apple could wait for Sandy Bridge, but I don't think it really means Apple will force us to use Intel's POS graphics.

    I don't want to hear how great Intel's IGP is, or how it has "proven" to do anything... on Windows, the Intel IGP is sufficient, but OS X is NOT Windows, and that's a bad thing when it comes to graphics and video playback performance. My x301 ThinkPad with its Intel IGP is fine on Windows 7, but I am pretty sure it would SUCK hard if OS X were on it.
     
  5. name99 macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Everything we know about the Sandy Bridge GPU so far is that, while it is adequate as a GPU, it still does not have the programmability features that make OpenCL interesting. If Apple has been holding off on an Arrandale update because they want OpenCL compatibility across the line (presumably because of something cool coming in 10.7), then it's not clear that Sandy Bridge changes the equation.
    And it seems more sensible to assume that Apple cares about OpenCL compatibility than about raw GPU performance as the issue --- after all I suspect the number of people who buy MacBook Airs to buy games is pretty damn low.

    One has to wonder if Apple is negotiating with Intel for a custom Sandy Bridge on a smaller mount and with no GPU (or at least the GPU pins not hooked up to save space) --- and telling Intel that if they cannot deliver, then, unfortunately Apple will be compelled to use an AMD part.
     
  6. name99 macrumors 6502

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    #6
    This is not a religious issue. Apple has used IGP in past Macs, and presumably will do so in future Macs --- if IGP offers the features Apple needs. The problem right now is not one of "IGP sucks" or "Apple can't write drivers" or "Steve Jobs hates Paul Otellini", it appears to be the purely technical problem that Apple wants all its future GPUs to be OpenCL enabled, and the Nehalem GPU is not (AND, likewise, as far as we know, the Sandy Bridge GPU is also not OpenCL enabled).

    If Ivy Bridge, for example, were to ship with an OpenCL enabled GPU, I suspect Apple would have no problems with using that in its low end line --- Air, MacBook, Mini.
     
  7. hitekalex thread starter macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

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    #7
    Are you sure? This CNET article is quoting Thomas Piazza (Intel director of graphics architecture) in saying that Sandy Bridge is in fact OpenCL enabled:

    "Currently, Sandy Bridge supports DirectX 10.1 and OpenCL 1.1--the latter used on Apple's Mac operating systems, according to Piazza."​
     
  8. name99 macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Interesting. This AnandTech article on Sandy Bridge says that it does not have OpenCL enabled.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/3876/intels-core-2011-mobile-roadmap-revealed-sandy-bridge-part-ii/2

    So I guess we have something of a he-says she-says right now. AnandTech is probably a lot more technically savvy than C-Net, on the other hand Intel high level muckety-mucks, stuck in the media world of the late 20th century, are probably more likely to talk to C-Net and to announce new PR to them.

    I think we (Apple users as a whole) are certainly better off if C-Net is correct --- one less complication going forward.
     
  9. L0s7man macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Yeah, like the Intel IGP in Air Rev A. That was crp. And then NNvidia came along with its awesome 9400 (at the time it was uber awesome solution). But then Intel said "bad Nvidia, bad" and screwed them and Apple along the way.

    Since the dawn of time, Intel graphics sucked. Its a real shame that you can't have 9400M successors...
     
  10. outcast.ebrium macrumors newbie

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    #10
    I hope you all do realize that the mobile Sandy bridge parts Intel is supposed to deliver in Q1/2011 are 35-55W parts. They will most likely end up in the Macbook Pros a few months later, but there is NOTHING on the current roadmap of Intel for Sandy Bridge that would fit any Macbook Air, except some Q2/2011 hints at LV/ULV parts with a potentially suitable TDP.

    If there is a non-C2D SL9x00 processor in a potential new Macbook Air released within the next 12 months, it's either some Arrandale Core iX or something AMD. No Sandy Bridge.
     
  11. analogkid macrumors regular

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    #11
    35 watts is about the same as the current C2D/9400 combo, is it not? That may not be a problem.
     
  12. thinkdesign macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 8.12; MSIEMobile6.0) Sprint T7380)

    I think all this discussion is hoping a new chip arrives by 1-1-2011, even though evidence doesn't support that. But the discussion also assumes Apple must have another chip then, as if stockpiling the current chip were impossible. It's not. IMHO Rev. D could be this or next month, just increasing available RAM and maybe SSD size, just to get the cobwebs off the product..... until the major Rev. E happening whenever in 2011 they can pull together a bigger bundle of changes.
     
  13. outcast.ebrium macrumors newbie

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    #13
    By spec the current Core2Duo SL9600 (with 2.13GHz) has a TDP of 17W, the 9400m of 12W, which is 29W combined (and already exceeding the available cooling power sometimes as evinced by forced throttling).

    A 35W TDP Sandy Bridge part would also need a chipset, e.g. the successor of the current HM55, which has a TDP of 3.5W, adding up to a total of about 38-39W when assuming a similar TDP for the new chipset. This will simply not fit into the current MBA chassis.

    If 35-40W TDP would fit the MBA chassis we'd have had an MBA with the Core i7 620M (2.66GHz with Turbo up to 3.33GHz) from the 15" MBP already months ago. Of course this would also have the defect of no OpenCL support, but then, so far Sandy Bridge doesn't seem to support OpenCL either.



    What's more realistic for the next 6 to 12 months (if we receive any update at all) is an LV or ULV Arrandale processor combined with the HM55 (or variants), which would be 25W + 3.5W = 28.5W total for the LV variants (like the Core i7 640LM with 2.13GHz with Turbo up to 2.93GHz). Or for ULV it would be 18W + 3.5W = 21.5W total (for example the Core i7 660UM with 1.33GHz with Turbo up to 2.4GHz).

    The ULV Arrandale variant would even leave TDP-room for some low-power discrete graphics chip like the 7W ATI 5430 to re-enable OpenCL. However, real estate on the motherboard is another issue, as there's not a lot of free space in the MBA motherboard, at all.


    The most realistic MBA update is still a C2D SL9600 at 2.13GHz, a Nvidia 320m with 4GB of RAM and upgraded SSD. However in that case it begs the question why the update didn't happen months ago already...
     
  14. thinkdesign macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 8.12; MSIEMobile6.0) Sprint T7380)

    Maybe a modest Rev. D was delayed, because they had hopes that sources for a bigger SSD and/or another chip would become available soon enough that maybe Rev. D could be the big revision? The AMD meeting was when, June? IIRC, after the mbPros were revised.

    I guess my little hypothesis requires a certain timetable across 2010, of the realisation dawning on them that -- a big change-apalooza type revision has to wait until well into 2011, so let's squeeze in one more small revision, before that.

    Whatever happened to predictions of a twice as big SSD that would fit in the Air? Wasn't that supposed to be a component becoming available, this month or next? Could that be what a modest Rev. D has been waiting on?
     
  15. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #15
    It is far more likely that the GPU/chipset is the problem OR no CPU that will "fit" is the problem than 256 GB 1.8 5mm form factor SSDs... they have been available since the beginning of 2010 in both Toshiba and Samsung... the deal is nobody's using them yet because they're incredibly expensive. Apple could get a huge price break if it bought 1m of them in a long-term packaged deal. I am sure this is how Apple cut the price back in June 2009 with the v 2,1 "rev C" as we call it. Who knows whether the MBA is even selling?

    We all know there are plenty of upgrade options. The deal is, can Apple make something work. It seems they could with an Arrandale LV CPU at 25W and a 7W AMD GPU. That is an extra few W, but Apple wouldn't be using the chip's IGP. There is a weird rumor, or was, that Apple was going to disable the IGP on the Arrandale ULV CPUs and overclock the CPUs to around 2 GHz... strange. I read that indeed the Intel IGP can be "disabled" but I never read what that does to the TDP requirements? Anyone know? If so Apple doesn't need to fight over getting a custom chip.

    Let's face it, Apple isn't going to get an Intel chip less the IGP. Intel's whole plan of battle is to force the IGP on everyone and force out Nvidia at the same time from the GPU/chipset business. With that strategy, giving Apple a CPU less the IGP would be stupid... UNLESS, Apple seriously threatens to go to AMD for EVERYTHING. Intel did this to ensure it sells its chipsets, and it loses the CPU, chipset, and worthless IGP all in one if Apple does more than just bluff. Apple does want to have a non-Intel GPU/chipset, because it means a much better overall system for us and better marketing material of 5X graphics and etc.
     
  16. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #16
    There is no news about the schedule of LV and ULV chips though. In fact, there is no info about the LV and ULV chips at all, no specs or TDPs etc. They may be coming later than SV parts which are scheduled for Q1 2011
     
  17. hitekalex thread starter macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

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    #17
    So what would be the AMD equivalent of Core i7 640LM? As far as I know - AMD mobile CPUs are nowhere near where the Intel is at. They may have an edge on the GPU side (since their ATI acquisition) , but they lag on the processor side.
     
  18. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #18
    25W: 1.6GHz quad core (Phenom II P920), 1.8GHz triple core (Phenom II P820) or 2.3GHz dual core (Turion II P520)

    15W: 1.7GHz dual core (Turion II Neo K665)

    It's hard to compare them since i7-640LM is 25" but has IGP which adds TDP but on the other hand, it abolishes the need for a 3rd party GPU. AMD's current mobile CPU lineup ain't that strong but that should change when Fusion hits the shelfs. We need to wait for more information about Sandy Bridge and Fusion as we have no idea about the low TDP versions or their performance. Although it looks like AMD will have better IGP but Intel will provide better CPU performance
     
  19. n2arkitektur macrumors member

    n2arkitektur

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    #19
    Spec Bump

    If all they were going to do is bump the specs (more RAM, bigger SSD) as you suggest, wouldn't they have done that by now? Is there anything that's changed in the last several months that suggests that in June they could not have bumped it to 4GB RAM and/or a 256GB SSD, but now, they can and will?

    It seems to me obvious that the only reason they've waited this long for an update is because they are waiting for a major component for a major update. Maybe it's the 11.6" screen. Maybe its Sandy Bridge. Maybe it's a custom AMD made special just for the new Air. I doubt it's a liquid metal chassis, and I hope it isn't an 11.6" screen, because I would have waited for almost a year for nothing. But, if it was just going to be a spec bump, and they planned a major update in mid 2011, why no spec bump in mid 2010? Why wait till October/November?

    If they were going to do a spec bump, they would have done it by now, and if there was going to be a major update in the near future, I think there would have been more rumors/leaks by now. The 11.6" screen rumor was months ago. All of the major product releases thus far have been preceded by a slew of rumors, but on the Air there has been silence (since the screen rumor, which seems less and less likely with each passing Tuesday). It's looking less and less likely there will be an update before first quarter 2011.
     
  20. L0s7man macrumors 6502

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    #20
    AMD CEO said they're not interested in ultraportable market at the moment. This is rather stupid. When Intel decided to screw Nvidia it created a vacuum. Intel's rubbish GPU is no-go and Nvidia's superior stuff can't be used because of silly licences.

    Enter AMD with ATI-based CPU/GPU combo? How on earth can you rationally decide not to do it. Thre was nothing available for many months now. NOTHING. If they moved in, they could have seized the market...

    Oh, there's nothing available even now; but at least there's a prospect of promised performance. For months there wan't even that..
     
  21. iMacmatician macrumors 601

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    #21
    They will most likely have a very large GPU advantage when Fusion APUs arrive.
     
  22. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #22
    Taking you for your word on the quote. Ultraportables are a very small market compared to netbooks and traditional laptops.
     
  23. Adidas Addict macrumors 65816

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    #23
    I think you'll begin to see a large migration of people that have had netbooks for a couple of years moving to something slightly larger but still with the low power/long battery combo. Things like the dell Z series, Asus UL series, Acer Timeline, Thinkpad Edge all sell really well, growing market IMO now that netbooks are dying off.

    (of course lots of these consumers are also switching to iPad or waiting for 2.2 droid tablets)
     
  24. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #24
    While that may be the case, it doesn't suit AMD's target market. Ultraportables tend to command a little bit a of a premium for their aggressive form factor/performance ratio. Low cost notebooks and netbooks are suited well by low cost chips, which AMD is the king of. I don't totally disagree that they shouldn't be ignoring the ultraportable market, I'm simply saying it makes sense that it might no be their current target.
     
  25. thinkdesign macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 8.12; MSIEMobile6.0) Sprint T7380)

    They should upgrade what they can, without further delay. Letting the value proposition sink for 20-22-24 months, damages the brand.

    What could be easier than adding BTO options for more RAM? It takes a few taps on a few Apple employees's keyboards.

    It's hard for me to beleive they'll stall even on that, to the end of the year.
     

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