New MBA rumours- my thoughts.

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by CountBrass, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. CountBrass, Jul 5, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011

    CountBrass macrumors regular

    Mar 17, 2009
    I've owned several MBAs- rev A, rev B and currently a 2010 11" Ultimate.

    For me the rev A to rev B upgrade was marginal, I saw no point in upgrading to a rev C and the only reason I upgraded to the 11" is because it's smaller (4GB memory was a bonus).

    So with the rumours of a new MBA being imminent I have to wonder if it will actually be much different. Assuming they stick with Intel cpus then perhaps we'll see an i3 and perhaps improved SSD.

    But will I actually notice the difference? No-one buys one of these *primarily* as a games/performance machine so is anyone going to care much if you get a 10% performance improvement: which, tests have shown, you can get today by buying the 1.6GHz processor. I did and I can't tell the difference.

    So is it likely the new MBA will be that much of an improvement? Probably not.

    What if they do switch to an A5, like the iPad- as many rumours predict. Well, for me, that would be a major down grade. Suddenly we're back to the PowerPC days: boot camp won't work and neither will VMWare or parallels. And there isn't any available Intel-to-Atom virtual machines available to us consumers- and given that the MBA will be the only Atom powered Mac it's a tiny niche so who would bother producing such a translator? Apple. perhaps- but wouldn't we have heard rumours of that.

    So- new MBA? Yeah possibly but should any of us really care? Best case probably not as we're likely not to even notice the difference and worse case it will be a big retrograde step.

    So, unlike some of the panicky posters on this forum, I won't be rushing to ebay my MBA.


    Unless it comes with a touch screen, a removable keyboard and an OS and apps that work well with both touch (like the iPad) and trackpad/mouse and keyboard (like a Mac).

    But I think that's the stuff of dreams.
  2. karlth macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2010
    With Sandybridge I'd expect at least 100% improvement in processing power.

    Not a big thing for word processing or browsing but an absolute necessity for development and media work.
  3. CountBrass thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 17, 2009
    That's the the sort of difference in performance between the current MBA and MBP. I think you're in Unicorn territory if you think we're going to see the same performance in a 2011 MBA as you get from the 2011 MBP.
  4. drewyboy macrumors 65816

    Jan 27, 2005
    I'm sorry but a switch to Atom is laughable. I highly doubt that will happen. I simply ask, why? When Apple has openly stated the MBA is the future, putting an Atom in there doesn't help people catch the vision ;)

    Edit: As for me, the computational difference of a C2D vs. SB, SB hands down. I personally don't care about gaming, that's what a $400-500 rig is for, or console if you fancy that.
  5. jlblodgett macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    I haven't seen any rumors that the MBA is going to receive anything other than the Sandy Bridge processor.

    New processor. Faster SSD. New GPU. Thunderbolt. That's likely all that will be updated in the MBA next week. It is an incremental update, not a complete remodel.

    Is that a big update over the 2010 MBA update? Not really. It is a much better processor, a worse GPU, better hard drive access speed, and a faster storage option.

    I could see where a person who bought the 2010 MBA update wouldn't be that excited about this particular upgrade. But it is a nice upgrade for someone who has never owned a MBA and has been waiting on the processor upgrade to do so.
  6. axu539 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2010
    I had a 2010 MBA, and I have a 2011 MBP. The MBP is more like 250%-300% faster than the MBA. I wouldn't doubt 100% performance increase with SB in the Airs.
  7. karlth macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2010
    The geekbench score for the midrange MBP is around 4x higher than the Air.

    So I'd expect a 2x jump in performance to be reasonable.
  8. tuna macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2010
    What are you talking about?

    The new MBA will have Sandy Bridge which is two Intel microarchitecture generations beyond the current Core 2 chips. On CPU intensive tasks, I have seen massive improvements with Sandy Bridge. On my old 2.13ghz iMac, which whould be a couple percent faster than the 2.13ghz Low Voltage chips in the current 13" MBA, I could do transcoding in handbrake of a certain type of video at around 70fps. That's about the same as a friend reports on his 2.4ghz Core 2 Duo MBP. I just ran the same video through handbrake on a new 2.7ghz i7 MBP and it was doing the transcoding at 260 to 270fps. Thats around 4x as fast. Even clocked at ~2ghz, the sandy bridge CPU should easily be twice as fast at computationally intensive tasks.
  9. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    The ignorance in the original post is upsetting and I hope that it does not spread. Atom CPUs? Which site did you read that on? This very site has posted rumours about which SB CPUs could be included and they were far from Atom CPUs. All of the main apple rumours sites have said the same thing and none of them have mentioned atom anywhere.
  10. Ridley macrumors regular

    Mar 28, 2011
    So first off, its all but confirmed that the next macbook air is using the new i5 and i7's Not an i3 or atom

    Secondly as someone also wrote here, the jump from Core 2 Duo to Sandybridge is a full 2 generations improved! That is 4 tick/tocks better!

    See if you can follow me here...
    Core 2 Duo is a Penyrn architecture
    Nehalem is 15-20% faster than Penryn clock for clock per core and 20-100% faster per thread
    SandyBridge is 17% faster than Nehalem clock for clock

    So all other things being the same, the new microarchitecture of the next MBA will easily be 30-40% faster clock for clock. Throw in an increase in clock of these new chips PLUS a turbo at twice the clock rate PLUS 4 threads AND two cores ... that is an unprecedented boost in CPU between generations!

    Especially if the latest rumors of the faster and more efficient SSDs pan out the new MBAs are going to be sublime little machines.

    Granted if all you are doing with your computer is running text edit you won't see the performance boost but most people will see at least some benefit. I really can't wait to see the benchmarks for the updated machine. It will be really interesting to see what they do with GPU and CPU related tasks. However I think you'll find that the board here have a skewed or biased view of how often they benefit from the current gen's GPU. The current GPU may very well be better than integrated graphics but the number of instances that performance benefits from CPU is far far greater, and i'd wager to a greater extent
  11. iPhysicist macrumors 65816


    Nov 9, 2009
    He means the A5 or its successor... and there were some (uncertain) rumors about A5 powered MBA prototypes in some hidden Cupertino lab. Btw everyone here should know Atom is Intel and not even the best Atom Processor is powerful enough to outperform the entry ULV C2D but you can (or could?) hackintosh Atom powered notebooks (without problems?).
  12. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    ARM <> Intel Atom

    ARM still has a long way to go before they can compete with Intel in this space.

    The only way to teach some people is with tough love. :cool:
  13. peterski macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2011
    Los Angeles
    for sure?

    for sure on memorial day, for sure on 5th of july, for sure next week... wow!

    so many "for sure", and "i have insider information"... everyone has turned this into a spectacle. it looks to me as if some website/blogger comes up with something just to direct traffic for their own gain... and we follow :)

    then again with so many dates, "predictions", "insider information", "leaked photos", etc. something is bound to be "correct"... hey it could happen tomorrow, or the next day. however it will be simply a guess as we know only a handful of these "i know for sure" claims will be "correct"

    yes I know this is a rumors website, but it seems that a lot of people are so gullible and seek out something "thrilling" that it is laughable... because no one really knows "for sure".
  14. nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
    wow, i can see you really researched this.

    except, i think you missed the part about EVERYTHING.

  15. RedReplicant macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2010
    Welcome to the average Apple follower.
  16. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    Switch to atom being like PowerPC?that's not accurate at all. Os x natively supported atom until they deliberately blocked it. Darwin still does. There would be no incompatibilities, it's not a whole different chip like risc/cisc

    It's all a pointless discussion as they would never do that.

    Are you sure you aren't thinking about arm, not atom?
  17. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    Lord, where are those figures coming from, think again!:cool:
  18. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    Solid, thank you!:cool:
  19. nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
    twice as fast = 100% faster

  20. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    What I want to know is, how much faster CAN it really get? I personally have a C2D MB right now (blackbook) and love the speed and flexibility I get (4gigs of RAM). Personally, I'm going to probably end up selling this and getting a used MBA for cheap.

    From the videos I have seen, the MBA is very, very fast right now and does a great job at playing games due to the graphics card.

    My question though: With the SSD (which accounts for most of its speed) and a SNB processor, how much faster will this get?

    Just for clarification, I don't do any processor intensive activities at all, hence my reasoning for purchasing a current gen MBA, just trying to find out why you guys are waiting out.
    The (hopefully negligible) decrease in the graphics card is really what bothers me. If they move down to the HD3000 I won't be too happy.
  21. nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
    this has been explained many times before, but ...

    the MBA has an SSD, which is fast, for things like booting, opening applications, opening files, etc. you probably saw videos of a MBA opening a bunch of photos in photoshop faster than a (2011) MBP (with a spinning HDD). ... an MBA beating a quad core MBP?!

    there are also benchmarks out there that have put the 2010 13 MBA on par with the 2010 13 MBP. why? because an 'average performance' benchmark is used, including 'disk-bound' tests, where the SSD kills. these tests have served to fool many into thinking that the MBA is a 'fast computer'.

    it's obvious from your post you don't do anything processor intensive, (and if you plan to game, then, yes, most probably your best off taking advantage of the prices on used/refurbished 2010 MBAs after the 2011s come out.) do anything processor intensive, and the MBA will show its weakness. the 2010 13 MBA is slower than your MB. how do i know that? it's slower than any MB, going back to 2006. the 11 is significantly slower than the 13. on the 11, people have problems playing flash games/videos.

    the quad core 2011 MBPs are something like 300-400% faster than the 2010 MBAs. the MBA has some room for improvement.
  22. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Thank you for the information; definitely planning to go with the older MBAs depending on the specs of the new one and the money I can save.

    However concerning videos and flash games, I've seen numerous videos of the MBA playing 1080p flawlessly; in a comparison video against an iMac, the MBA beat it in basically every application, played videos and games on the same level. However when rendering a video it obviously took longer.

    But yea, I guess I already know the answer to my own question. For what I do, I won't need anything really "better" than the current gen MBAs; I planned on getting a 13 inch one anyway and I'm sure that would last me for many years, at least until next year when they get another refresh -_-
  23. CountBrass thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 17, 2009
    Interesting but...

    Lots of willy-waving and 'certainty' about an unannounced Apple product but let's give them the benefit of the doubt for the moment.

    So let's say the new MBA really has a processor that is twice as fast as the current one and let's assume it will really have an i5 or i7 (ie the same is in the current MacBook Pros (ha!ha!).

    First- I'm not sure that an MBA with 30 minutes battery life will be that useful and secondly I very much doubt for *any* use that the MBA (or any current generation machine, desktop or laptop) is processor bound- the graphics processor, mass storage, memory, network, system bus are where the bottlenecks lie- not in the processor (yes, I know, changing architectures allows you to improve some -but not all- of those areas).

    So to return to my original point -which most of you have missed whilst quoting your fantasy performance figures- is that even if all the rumours are true (which they won't be) the new MBA (assuming there will be one this month) will be a relatively minor incremental improvement of the previous generation: exactly the same as all the other MBAs have been over the revision before them.

    In fact I'll take it farther than that. If, by some miracle, the new MBA has performance comparable to the current MBPs and maintains -through some magical improvement in battery technology we haven't seen in decades and hasn't even been rumoured- to maintain the same battery life with the vastly increased power drain- then you're looking at a radically new machine.

    And Apple's first attempts at anything: OSX, MBP, MP, MBA; always have serious design flaws or quality issues.

    So to re-iterate: the new MBA (if it even exists) will either be a minor incremental improvement of the current MBA or it will be a wholly new product which will inevitably be plagued with problems and quality control issues.

    So if you've sold your 2010 MBA in anticipation of the new MBA then, well, you've given me a good laugh (and the smart people a cheap MBA ;).
  24. karlth macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2010
    The current MBP is 4x faster then the current MPA. The Sandybridge in the MBA will probably be 2x faster then the current MPA. Battery consumption should be around the same.
  25. PraisiX-windows macrumors regular

    May 19, 2011
    Ehm, sure, that IS what we're assuming right now, and no, it's not what's in the macbook pro, they're not ULV.

    First, it should have increased battery life because of the SNB processor, not severely decreased, where do you get this stuff?
    The bottleneck is in the hdd, probably even the ssd, not in the memory speeds, nor the GPU unless you actually do do stuff that is bound by it, which chances says you're not unless you're gaming.
    Afaik the MBA is already more snappy than the MBP in the sense that it seems faster opening stuff due to the SSD, surely this snappyness goes away if one equips their MBP with an SSD as well. I'll say it again, the Sandy Bridge processor is not really going to be using more power than the current C2D, t might during load and stuff, however, when idle it will be faster at consuming less, which should make up for it.

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