Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro reviews underscore challenge for Apple with MacBook Air Retina.

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Republius, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. Republius macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2014
    Go here: http://www.extremetech.com/computin...ressing-mediocre-picture-for-intels-broadwell

    It should be noted, which the article above fails to mention, that Core M is an Intel Broadwell Y chip. Intel Broadwell U chips are coming early next year, and may be an improvement. And the following generation Intel Skylake chips are coming in second quarter of 2015.

    But, in any event, the article underscores the problem with finding a readily available microprocessor that can at the same time maintain current ultrabook task processing speeds, drive a retina screen, and create a super slim design through the elimination of a device cooling fan without significantly sacrificing battery life. Hence, the lack of a marketable MacBook Air Retina to-date other than in theory and in planning.

  2. Woochoo macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2014
    Lol, who really expected that a 4,5W chip could go on par with a 15W chip, not being the "Intel's Tok"? From Haswell to Broadwell they increase the performance about... what, 10%? And reduce power consumption about... 30% being optimistic? That would be comparing (believing these optimistic assumptions) a 10W chip with a 15W, not a 4,5W and even less the ridiculous 3,5W chip that uses the Lenovo Yoga 3. Not to mention that Broadwell-Y is not Broadwell-U.

    The funny thing is that they are having less usage hours with a 3,5W chip (and not really productive hours with a throttling CPU) than a 15W chip laptop (MBA, for example).

    That might be the reason why Apple skipped Core M.
  3. Republius thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2014
    Would your guess be that Broadwell U can deliver power that maintains current ultrabook processing task speed, drives a retina display, and eliminates need for an internal fan in order to create super slim design without too drastically compromising battery life? Or is Apple going to have to wait for the tock of Skylake to do all this? Thanks.
  4. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    I can't be bothered to remember all the code names and abbreviations like Broadwell Y vs. U, but ultimately it boils down to Broadwell using 30% less power than Haswell.

    That equates to either 1) having a fan, or 2) massively crippled performance.

    I don't see Apple choosing option (2) so it looks like MacBooks will have fans for the next couple/few years.

    I don't see this as a big negative. The fan in my 2014 MBA doesn't spin up unless I stress it for a while. At idle (1200 RPM) it is effectively silent. I have excellent hearing and I can't hear it from more than 2 inches away. I don't see why everybody has such a h***-*n about fanless MacBooks.
  5. Woochoo macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2014
    I don't think the "fanless" design will happen with Broadwell, if it does it will be with Skylake. Even some people start thinking that Apple will avoid Broadwell and wait 6 months more to do a massive jump to Skylake with huge performance improvement, much less power consumtion and Thunderbolt 3. But I wouldn't obsess about a fanless design because the actual fan is almost inaudible. I prefer a bit of noise when high workloads (yes, it's a MBA but still a quite powerful computer to work with) than a throttling CPU like this Lenovo
  6. Rollo220 macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2014
    Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro reviews underscore challenge for Apple with MacBook Air Ret...

    I think apple is smart enough not to use skylake when A8/X are clearly capable. I am really hoping the fanless MBA is A8X powered. I'm not sure why people are so enamored with Intel and its paltry 5% improvements in performance every year. They've done nothing interesting since sandy bridge, and even that pales in comparison to the improvement Apple makes on even its worst year.
  7. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012

    People are enamored with Intel because Intel's chips are still MASSIVELY faster than Apple's chips. I mean, Apple is doing a great job and they make great low-power chips that seem to perform about as well as Core 2 Duos per clock tick which is an incredible feat for a company that has a fraction of the resources of Intel.

    But don't kid yourself, Apple's chips aren't even close to the same level as Intel's chips. Of course Apple is getting huge improvements every generation--they started out slow and it's well-understood how to make slow/small/simple chips faster. Basically they are doing the same things as Intel did to make their chips faster a long time ago and are following the same performance curve, just many years later.

    Already you're seeing a slowdown with the iPhone 6 chips which even Apple is claiming are only 25% faster than the iPhone 5S chips, vs. the 100% increases that we've become accustomed to. Basically improvements have fallen off a cliff. If it's only 25% now, what do you think it will be next year?
  8. kwijbo macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2012
  9. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Uhh according to this page the A8X can't beat Intel's slowest Broadwell part (which might be experiencing thermal throttling) even though it has an extra core. Am I supposed to be impressed?

    Sure, a hypothetical chip might be faster. Brilliant observation.
  10. Rollo220 macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2014

    Why are you so rude about it? Apple is clearly already faster than Intel in ultra book, what advantage does Apple have using Broadwell over even Intel old Haswell chips. What kind of halfway decent semiconductor company makes processors that are slower each year?

    I mean why would I buy a Broadwell MacBook when last years Haswell is faster? Even a $499 iPad with A8 can hold its own with a $1300 Intel powered tablet. How can you defend that?
  11. kwijbo macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2012
    Relax...its just the internet.
  12. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    I don't know what you mean about Apple being faster re: ultrabooks. "Ultrabook" is an Intel idea to make PCs that are basically copies of MacBook Airs... so the MBA is Apple's ultrabook... and it uses Intel, so how can Intel be faster than Intel?

    The reason I'm being rude is because the line of reasoning that Apple will quickly catch up to Intel and/or overtake them makes no sense at all.

    It's sort of like if somebody told you "hey, gas mileage is improving such that cars use about one gallon less per year to go the same distance, so in about 15 years they won't use any gas at all!"

    You might be inclined to be testy with them at that point for the glaring flaws in reasoning.

    The reason Apple has been able to improve processor performance so dramatically over the last few years is because it was fairly obvious how to do it because Intel (and other companies) have already done it before. Once Apple actually catches up to Intel (if they ever do) then there's no reason to think they're going to continue to improve at the same rate as the company whose processor design talent and resources are the envy of everybody in the industry.

    I can easily defend it. You're comparing a 4.5W Broadwell part to a 15W Haswell part. And you're surprised that the 4.5W part is slower? How about you wait until the 10-15W Broadwell parts are released?
  13. Rollo220 macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2014
    Is that a serious question? Intel (like every single other semiconductor manufacturer on earth) is EXPECTED to be faster withe each consecutive revision of processor. If they aren't, then they are clearly in the wrong business. The semiconductor industry, at least before Intel started running it, was world renowned for the exponential speed growth of its processors. Ever heard of Moore's law?

    Your question in turn makes me question your capacity to understand my explanations, but I will continue on the assumption you are being willfully ignorant ;)

    I am not comparing a 4.5W Broadwell part to a 15W part, A8X has a 2.5W TDP and beats Broadwell at lower frequency and with less power. You are misrepresenting the facts in order to forward a pro-Intel agenda.
  14. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    No, I'm just throughly confused because I replied to your statement about Haswell being faster than Broadwell and now you're upset and talking about the A8X; not sure how that got into the picture at all. Please read what you originally said.

    And the only way you could be comparing Haswell to Broadwell right now is by comparing 15W parts (which are the lowest-TDP Haswells that Intel sells to my knowledge) to 4.5W parts, which are the only Broadwells on sale right now, again to my knowledge.

    If you want to talk specific models and benchmark numbers I'm totally down with that but please bring up all the numbers in one post all together, since I can't follow your references to $1300 Intel ultrabooks or whatever (I assume you're referring to the Yoga but I don't have any idea, especially because it's not even made by Intel..).
  15. Republius thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2014
    Let us get back to the crux of the matter.

    Assuming that Jack G. March and others are correct in reporting from insiders that the next iteration of MacBook Air is being designed to incorporate retina display and fanless design for additional thinness, plus our own intuition that Apple does not want to compromise current MBA processing power and battery life, which microprocessors do we think are capable of such?

    It appears Intel Broadwell Y Core M chips cannot based on analysis of the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro.

    Is there any evidence Intel Broadwell U chips could?

    Is there any evidence Intel Skylake chips could?

    Is there any evidence Apple A8X chips could?

    Is there any evidence an Apple A9 iteration chip could?
  16. Woochoo macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2014
    Said by Intel, Skylake will be a HUGE step forward in PERFORMANCE and POWER consumption. They say that it will be the most radical change in the decade (related to CPU's), so might be worth it seeing what Skylake can offer, but I'm sure they won't offer only a ridiculous 5-10% performance increase over Broadwell.

    In the other hand, Apple A8X performs on par as an i5 4200. Apple A8X has 3 cores (really, don't know why 3 and not 2 or 4) but if they made it 4 cores or more, it would clearly outperform the actual i5 used on MBA. Yeah, A8 is 25% faster than A7, but A8X is much more, so making that comparisons is not worth it. And it's pointless saying that it's worth it using a supposed A9X chip if we don't know its specs, and Skylake hasn't being released.
  17. philosopherdog macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2008
    Is this a processor issue or just poorly designed hardware, drivers and a garbage os? The retina air makes little sense IMO. They will come out with a 12 inch retina, and leave everything else alone. This provides an entry level machine for education much like the mini ipad 1st gen at 11 and 13 inch and pro machines at 12, 13 and 15. The air will remain without retina for the foreseeable future. This has nothing to do with processors.
  18. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Intel makes great chips but is often full of s***. Look at the mess they've made by claiming that Broadwell would enable fanless tablets and ultrabooks and so forth, and we end up with the Yoga which has a fan and STILL has horrible performance due to thermal throttling. Are you really sure you want to take their claims at face value anymore?

    I won't even start on how flawed it is to only consider one benchmark when evaluating performance. But it's critical to understand that most of what we do with computers is limited by single-core performance. So, no, Apple can't just keep adding cores to their chips to equal the performance of Intel chips.

    Notice that the single-core Geekbench score of the A8X is 1812 and the same score for the slowest current MBA is 2744, i.e., the slowest MBA will be 50% faster than the A8X at most things.

    Here are the advantages of Apple switching to A8X for some laptops: marginally thinner, marginally quieter, marginally better battery life, reduced bill-of-materials.

    Disadvantages: big hit to performance, Apple would have make its own laptop chipset to support all the stuff that iPads don't have, like USB ports and Thunderbolt, the laptops would be incompatible with all existing Mac software and would only run software that's specifically updated for ARM, which would be a HUGE pain for developers and users alike, and Apple would end up having to support two different processor architectures in their product line simultaneously (which they've avoided as much as possible in the past).

    So basically you think it's a great idea to get worse performance and HUGE inconvenience for what reason again?
  19. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    No Broadwell can be used since even the lowest-power Core M chips can't deliver acceptable performance even with active cooling.

    All I could find about Skylake is some Intel guy saying we should expect a "significant increase" in performance and power consumption, whatever that means. I expect not very much.

    Apple wouldn't dare switch to A-whatever chips for Macs since it would put them in a world of hurt for a bunch of reasons.

    So, playing Sherlock Holmes, that eliminates all the possibilities of Apple making a fanless laptop. The logical conclusion is the only one that remains, namely, the rumors are BS.
  20. duervo, Oct 28, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014

    duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    The most likely reason why it's 3 cores is to have 1 core available/reserved/pinned for core system processes, leaving the other 2 for apps. If true, this would explain the double increase in performance over the earlier dual-core A# processors, as really in those there would have only been a single core for system processes, and single core for apps.

    This is purely theory and conjecture on my part, so take it with a grain of salt, but having 1 core reserved for system-level tasks also would contribute positively to the silky smooth response that iOS devices have typically had in their lifetime (at least since I've been using them since one of the early iPod Touch).

    But this is slightly off-topic now, so yeah ... Yoga 3 and Apple Macbook Air and Retina and stuff ...
  21. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    We are accustomed to computer things coming in even numbers but there's no rule that they have to.

    Apple almost certainly went with 3 cores vs. 4 because it was beneficial in terms of price (die size) vs. performance vs. power consumption.

    This is not unheard of. The XBox 360 also had 3 cores, and I'm pretty sure AMD sells x86 chips with 3 cores. Since you could be running any number of random processes or threads on your computer, it isn't somehow better or worse to have an even number of cores vs. an odd number.
  22. Republius thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2014
    Here is yet another reference to the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro that extrapolates as to the implications for the next iteration of MacBook Air: http://www.fool.com/investing/high-...pple-incs-next-macbook-air-wont-use-inte.aspx.

    If Apple is going to insist on a thinner profile for a MacBook Air Retina then I fear we will not see it for a bit. Intel Broadwell U chips will be available in February of 2015 and Intel Skylake chips will be available second quarter of 2015, as seemingly the best bets for use in such a new device.

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