Macbook Dead, Macbook Air & Macbook Pro to Converge?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Dwalls90, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. Dwalls90 macrumors 601


    Feb 5, 2009
    Macbook is now dead, period. There are rumors of a Macbook Air 15" circulating, maybe even a 17". With chips becoming more efficient and producing less heat, isn't it feasible to say that within a year or so, we could see the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro lines converge altogether? So we would basically have an 11", 13", 15" and 17" Macbook Pro?

    "But Macbook Pro's need top of the line CPU's and Macbook Airs can't fit these CPU's TDP and heat in them!"

    - True, but looking at CPU/GPU roadmaps, chips are producing less heat and are becoming more efficient. Maybe not this year, but by 2012 or 2013. The Macbook Airs now haul some serious *** compared to their predecessors. Who knows what another refresh could do to them in a year or so.

    "What about the Optical Drive?"

    - Judging by the fact that Apple doesn't sell CD software in stores really anymore, or distribute their OS in this fashion, it's safe to say the Optical drive will be killed off at least in their notebook line by the next refresh. I think it's finally time. Plus, this would make a Macbook Pro able to be thinner as there is more real estate for heat dissipation or other components.

    "How is it a pro machine if I can't upgrade my RAM or HD?"

    I do think that as the Macbook Air line becomes more widespread, Apple will engineer them more in a less restricted sense. The technology for RAM and HDs in the Airs currently isn't revolutionary per say, but it's not common enough for many aftermarket alternatives. Maybe the 11" and even 13" will stay un-up-gradable, but surely with larger space the 15" and 17" will remain up-gradable. I also think we will see the 15" and 17" retain some sort of mechanical HD or non-blade SSD for the majority of their storage, and the same type of blade SSD as seen in the 11" and 13" for OS and core components, ect.

  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    perhaps eventually, but I don't see that happening for a while.
  3. Icy1007 macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone 4: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_5 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8L1 Safari/6533.18.5)

    RAM is soldered onto the logic board. Therefore, will never be upgradeable on the MacBook Air. The current MacBook Pro is pretty thin as it is. It doesn't need to be thinner. I think that Apple, at the most, might offer to replace the ODD with a second HDD or SSD, but they won't completely remove the ODD. The pro and air more than likely will not be combined.
  4. palpatine, Jul 31, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011

    palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    who knows? but, i hope not, because there are tradeoffs now for portability, and there likely will be some in the future as well.

    I expect there will likely continue to be heat issues in the forseeable future for top of the line processors, and there will be underpowered ones available for the ultraportable lines. I don't think you can run heavy processing without producing large amounts of heat, because that's how physics works. Computers have undeniably gotten thinner, but not any cooler. We always find ways to push the processors :)

    I don't care either way. I would like more battery life.

    I take the opposite view. Over the last couple of decades Apple has become far more restrictive, and even with the Pro, there are only a few things we can play with. We can't even change our own battery. The issue here is that many of us will want 16 or more GB or RAM, 4+ cores, lots of memory, etc. for our work. The closer Apple brings the Macbook Pro to the Air lines by sacrificing power for portability, the less likely we will be to purchase it.

    Frankly, I don't understand why people want the two lines to converge and take away our choices. We already lost the MacBook in a major blow to low-end consumers who neither care about extreme portability nor plan to spend more than 1200 dollars just for an entry level computer (13" mba).
  5. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
  6. jimmie32 macrumors member


    Feb 11, 2011
    Beijing, CN
    If they converge, there will be two situations.

    1. The Air gets Pro-like guts, means, 45W CPUs and (20?)W Discrete GPUs.
    The MBP is hot as is, and even with the 22nm Ivy Bridge die shrink (or even 14nm Rockwell/Haswell if we are dreaming) we won't see considerable TDP reductions on high-end parts. The i7-2820QM will not produce much more heat than the future "i7-3820QM". It's 45W, it can't go really lower than that without sacrificing performance.

    Hence, 2.
    The new Air gets more powerful guts than the current Air, but weaker than the then non-existent "Pro".
    We have really powerful MBPs right now. I am not willing to give up my 2820QM for something like a ULV 1.8GHz Dual-Core i7. Even if Apple increases the thermal envelope to something like 30W, remember that the Air would still have to power a GPU.

    Nobody would be able to get the performance level of a Quad-Core 2.3GHz i7 *and* a 6750M GPU in 30 Watts, at least within the proximity. And when that happens, then we'll see 4+GHz i7s and much more powerful GPUs on the top and our current standards would be so old that it wouldn't work.

    It's like, n years later, our current 2820QMs will be like ULV chips that we have today. Low TDP, Average performance.

    Even if a 15" Air comes out, I won't sell my Pro to get one. Not unless it has comparable performance to today's Pros. Comparable = 2GHz Quad with AES-NI (For Full Disk Encryption) + Discrete GPU comparable to HD 6750M. :p

    I don't care about the ODD though. If I need one, I'll just resort to my old PC and then send the .iso over. :p

    Oh, and yes, Apple, if you make a new Air, stop using your pentalobe screws and stop soldering things to the motherboard. Those proprietary screws are getting really stupid now.
  7. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    Agreed. But keep in mind how cramped and thin the MBA already is. I doubt a quad-core could manage to work without burning the user or itself up. Not to mention the discrete graphics.

    The MBA is as beefy as it can get right now, except maybe for graphics. But that's what you get with super-thin ultraportables: proprietary parts and minimal upgrades!
  8. jimmie32 macrumors member


    Feb 11, 2011
    Beijing, CN
    The MBP 15" burns my lap and its 2" larger. And that's with basic web browsing. I don't like flash, so not with that.

    We could get Quad-Core in Airs without burning ourselves up. Just run every core at 800MHz-1GHz. At incredibly low clock speeds, the power consumption of a chip and its TDP will go down pretty fast. It's not proportional, and the TDP only goes up when you push the chip to its upper limits.

    It's voltage who's playing this game. If we run our chips at a lower voltage at the expense of performance, we'll be able to put them in as long as there's enough space.

    Oh wait... Isn't what we are doing with the Airs already? Haha.
    I wonder which one is faster. A 800MHz/2GHz Turbo Quad Core or a 1.8GHz/2.9GHz Turbo Dual Core. :p

    Discrete GPU, at long as its not a low-end part. I'd rather get HD 3000 than something like 60xx/62xx/63xx "GPUs".
    I have a low-end desktop for my parents that is powered by a HD 4350. Even with a +75% overclock, low end parts are low end parts. Marginally better than first-gen i7 HD IGPs, but no more than that.
    And no way we're bringing up the 320M vs. HD 3000 again. :p

    I wonder if Ivy Bridge will offer IGP performance on-par with a medium-end GPU. If that, with more Execution Units, I'll probably live with it. :p

    Though, GPUs...
    We can't expect to run Crysis at maximum settings on a ultraportable.
    Not even the current MBP can. :p
  9. Dwalls90 thread starter macrumors 601


    Feb 5, 2009
    I could be wrong, but isn't there an 'extreme' CPU one step above the current highest offering? I have the 2.3 CPU in my new MBP and it can run hot under full load, but I have defintely witnessed worse. I think cooler CPU's could allow for this to be feasible in an air.

    I agree with that statement, but would you settle for a chassis redesign to an air type design with no or little performance boost? It may be feasible with future Intel CPUs.

    Years ago, the MBP was pretty weak when there were Core 2 Quad CPU's and we were stuck with Core 2 Duo's ... not anymore, and the chassis is thinner and better. Progress can be made, it just may take another year or so.

    I agree ... kill the ODD! And I do dislike their weird standards for screws. I do think it will take a year or so but we'll see very fast and efficient CPU/GPU combos that would allow the MBP to mesh with the MBA.

    I agree that CPU's are less likely to be the culprit as much as the GPU will be.
  10. dusk007, Aug 1, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011

    dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    I also think that they won't converge.
    Yes Intel intends to bring down TDPs but only slightly and still there is other stuff that needs to go into a decent notebook.

    I think there are two types of Usage models.

    a.) mostly text, Media consumption, pictures storage nothing too demanding.
    Air is perfect. It is as thin as it gets offers for many people enough storage. Has with two cores enough power for all the stuff.

    b.) Desktop replacements. All-round machines. Need enough storage (SSDs alone won't surf for all-round pro level machines for a while I think). Needs CPU speed for pro work, needs decent GPUs for gamers.

    The current MBP do well enough in B while still being very thin. Some intermediate a/b would always have to sacrifice a lot without being either the thinnest possible nor some decent machine (always compared to Windows Notebooks of the time).
    Neither a nor b would be really happy. CPU TDP isn't everything. A half decent GPU will not go below 25W TDP in the foreseeable future. Neither is there some magical super cooling system available unless they manage to make the Display cover a heat sink and get the heat there somehow reliably. Also while CPUs get more efficient in low usage every year under full load they only deliver more performance per watt but the peak power draw hasn't really changed. A powerful machine still needs a powerful battery and the MBP could use more powerful ones. If you actually do something it drains very quickly.
  11. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Won't completely remove the ODD? Tell that to the Mac Mini. That's basically a desktop in itself and they took the drive out of that. Now; it is easy to assume that they'd keep it but personally, I was one who stated they would never get rid of the MB and look what happened.

    Apple has a clear goal here: Make money, stay on TOP of the curve, and force people to do the same. It's obvious they're moving away from CDs and toward the cloud. Of course, there are going to be some people who want to use CDs but for the most part, Apple can just shove out the external superdrive and be done with it.

    This. I think that this is the reason why they won't converge until the chips get so powerful that we won't need more than x amount; of course, that will never happen because programs will continue to become more advanced as time goes on.

    you're ultimately restricted by physical space, there's no doubt about it. On one side, it's great; you can cram a TON of power in the machines, as evident by the MBA. I'm all for that. On the other hand though, no matter how powerful/efficient these chips become, there is STILL a setback because if you just make the machine 0.5 inches thicker, you can add so much more.

    When flash drives go down I'll bet we'll see a trend in which all of the laptops get flash storage... they also might offer a higher resolution MBP screen and an option to have two drives in it; maybe a flash for the OS and a HD for media.

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