News reports of the MacBook Air Refresh Model to receive Core-i7 ULV Processor?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Jobsian, May 14, 2010.

  1. Jobsian macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009
    Doing some Google News-ing and several news outlets are reporting that an Ultra-Low Voltage Core i7 is being lined up for the MacBook Air refresh. See link.

    I can’t find their source for this info but some of the websites are in foreign languages. Most are from end April/early May. Examples:

    MacBook Air to receive Core i7 680Um? – Italian article

    English article: “The fist known notebooks with the ULV Core CPUs are the new Lenovo IdeaPad U and Acer…Asus….as well as the rumoured Apple MacBook Air refresh models.”

    Chinese report of MacBook Air and Core-i ULV’s. Does anyone know if this pic from that website refers to any update?



    As I’ve mentioned earlier, the possibility of the Core i7 680 UM, excites me in quite the extreme fashion., ie in a way that causes physical flushing of the skin and spiritual failing of the kidneys.

    The only problem is going to be what GPU they use. I don’t want Intel’s offerings. I wonder if there is a discrete option which is sufficiently small (with a new MBA chassis) and sufficiently low-watted ? I haven’t done research on this myself so I’m not aware of such options from Nvidia or ATI but I was under the impression that these are available (I think it was an ATI card?).

    The CPU however on paper, the Core-i7 680UM is absolutely perfect for me. 18 Watts TDP so it won’t sear my thighs/duvet/sofa - I love to lap/bed/sofa surf – being able to at least watch videos on these surfaces is an enormous factor for me. Its 1.46GHz standard clock is perfectly sufficient for my everyday use, with the 2.56GHz Turbo reserved for those few times I personally do heavy lifting – eg video editing – whereupon I’ll put it on a hardtop table and let it roar.

    Nothing at all certain in any of these reports but if the Core-i7 680UM can be put into Rev D Air with an adequate resolution of the GPU issue I’d be very very satisfied :)
  2. iMacmatician macrumors 601

    Jul 20, 2008
    I wonder if this CPU model is what Apple has been waiting for for an MacBook Air update. The switch from LV to ULV is probably for increased battery life (lower heat too), and the 680UM probably has the clock speeds that Apple wants for the MBA.

    Since the 18 W includes the integrated GPU, I don't think the TDP with a low-power discrete GPU (underclocked 320M?) will be a problem. I don't know about space though.

    I think the strong Turbo modes on UM CPUs means that Apple can go from Penryn LV to Westmere ULV without a big performance drop, if at all.

    Core 2 Duo SL9600
    2.13 GHz

    Core i7-680UM
    1.47 GHz
    2.13 GHz (Turbo 2 cores)
    2.53 GHz (Turbo 1 core)
  3. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    The interesting part, which I had never considered, states that these chips will be overclocked to always run at the boost speeds? I didn't know this was possible? I don't believe it would be with the GMA IGPs enabled because they're supposed to clock up to 500 MHz when available otherwise stick much lower in the 133 MHz range. So, I don't know how that works and the CPU can be overclocked unless the GMA IGP is out of the picture?

    Let's say Apple strays from its MBA that works - you know the same as the configuration of the five Macs creating one set of drivers, OpenCL support, h.264 decoding, and the economies of scale of buying a whole bunch of them... What would Apple use for graphics with these CPUs? I mean SJ came out publicly and stated that we're much better off with C2D and Nvidia GPU/chipsets. Why would Apple be so foolish? Why would Apple want to completely write all of the drivers and tools necessary to put a different CPU/GPU in the MBA? Would it enable h.264, OpenCL, and write drivers to take advantage of these technologies if it's the only Mac that has that setup? We have seen Apple fail us before in those circumstances... a one system strategy really works best for all of us in the short and long run!

    I just see low voltage Core i7-6x0LM as the logical replacement when Apple needs to go to Ci7. I don't get going backwards with graphics, and I don't see Apple going dedicated in the MBA when it couldn't in the 13" MBPs.

    What would really suck is if Apple did this to get the damned 7-hour battery. What the hell does someone need a 7-hour battery for anyways? I would rather go more mobile and more powerful with a 5-hour battery than stick us with an ultra low voltage Ci7 and sole use of Intel's most worthless GMA HD for graphics. We have been down that road with the original MBA and it was a P.O.S.! I refuse to be suckered by Apple again. I will not be buying such a Mac again when Apple fooled me once with the original MBA and its worthless Intel GMA! Fool me twice and it's shame on me, and I am not going to be SJ's money train again for another useless MBA that cannot even play a damned video.

    I certainly hope these rumors are completely wrong and my one strategy across five Macs theory plays out again for the MBA just as it did with the 13" MBP a few weeks ago.

    Of course, I will be glad to be wrong and see Apple use any Core series CPU that can stay above 2 GHz with a dedicated ATI graphics solution... otherwise the cons will seriously outweigh the pros in this deal.

    I think this is nothing more than baseless rumors. We have had plenty of information to indicate an MBA with a C2D at 30% performance boost, Nvidia 320m GPU at 50% boost, 4 GB RAM, 192/256 GB SSD, glass trackpad and possibly an IPS HD display. It's all guesswork based on Apple's history of using a strategic setup for five Macs including the MBA since October 2008! Since the v 2,1 MBA was introduced then, Apple has put the MBA back on track to being a truly capable Mac.
  4. iMacmatician macrumors 601

    Jul 20, 2008
    Possibly using the space saved for a larger battery, as Apple's recently been pushing the whole long battery life thing.
  5. pharmx macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2009
    Would the GPU performance loss by going with the Core-i7 ULV (and therefore committed to Intel's GMA) be offset by the improvements to architecture that Sandy Bridge is supposed to provide?

    "The GPU in Sandy Bridge is reported to have 2x the performance of the one in Clarkdale/Arrandale."

    That quote from the Intel roadmap posted here is what got me curious.
  6. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    I could actually see this working. And I'd like to believe that there is actually space in there for this. Right now, the Air has 2 chips, the C2D and the 9400m chipset. If Apple when with the ULV, they could still go with the 2-chip approach: the i7/IGP + nVidia 320m (with the chipset disabled or eliminated). We'd probably see significant performance increase with the i7 being able to ramp up to 2.13/2.53 and the fact that the 320m is a big jump from the 9400m. We'd also likely see a huge jump in battery life since both chips would be more efficient than the C2D & 9400m. So we could have our cake (performance) and eat it too (7+ hr battery life).
  7. ChemGolf macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2010
  8. Spacekatgal macrumors regular


    Jun 9, 2009
    It would be really nice, but you're dreaming. They didn't even got to an i5 in the 13 inch to save battery life. I'd bet anything that they wait a year and then go this route. I don't think the MBA will be updated this year.

  9. Scott6666 macrumors 65816


    Feb 2, 2008
    It's always risky to argue with Scottsdale, who I can safely say is the preeminent MBA scholar on these boards, and potentially the world :D but...

    1) I think the one system strategy has not worked for the Air. I think it has limitations in physical designs that are not properly wedded to an optimal chip design. I think that the Air could work better with board designed more for it's limitations such as size and heat dissipation.

    2) I think Apple is large enough to support multiple chipsets and could actually write the drivers and code to do so. In fact they do now by supporting both NVidia and ATI in the iMac.

    3) Going backwards with the graphics to reduce heat may be OK if it's done in a way that support the Air market segment. You really can't game much on an Air now anyway so why bother to even try to support gaming graphics. If they support watching decent video and iPad level gaming that should be enough for 80% of the users. This part of my argument is controversial. It means that the Air could not be one's only machine if they were a gamer. But for general business use, surfing most web pages, email, you don't need great graphics. Gaming and video graphics to the level of an iPad (NOT arguing at all to go to iPhone OS for the air) could be enough and that requires no fans at all.
  10. Airforcekid macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2008
    United States of America
    I3 wont work well at least and would kill the battery. A low voltage i7 is the best we can get.
  11. ChemGolf macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2010
    The Russian article also states a batt life of 8-9 hours
  12. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    No. The Intel GMA HD will run HD videos acceptably in Windows but Windows is far superior in the graphics game. I believe we will be right back to the same old problems as the original MBA if Apple uses Intel's GMA as the MBA's sole graphics solution. When Sandy Bridge comes, the graphics are supposed to be double the capability and performance. At that time, the GMA HD will support full Display Port up to a 30" ACD or up to four displays.

    Right now I, and most of you, will be devastated for an MBA with only Intel's GMA HD. The problem is people compare what it's capable of in Windows. I can use my MBA as a nice comparison. My current MBA uses 400% more CPU in OS X than it does in Windows 7 to run HD content/videos, Flash, and etc. This shows just how bad the performance is in OS X. My MBA can easily do super graphics intensive stuff in Windows because OpenGL is so much better, the Nvidia drivers are so much better, and the system is worried about performance to the max where Apple doesn't take a grand graphics system approach to computing. We're going to have problems with Intel's GMA HD for sole graphics on the MBA... OpenGL, OpenCL, and h.264 capabilities would drop in OS X. And that's if Apple even worries about writing a completely different driver set.

    The 320m cannot be used with a Core i7. Do you not remember the big licensing dispute with Nvidia and Intel? Nvidia cannot provide GPU/chipsets for Nehalem CPUs and beyond (including Arrandale). Intel switched part of the chipset to the CPU beyond C2D, so it says that voids Nvidia's license to provide chipsets. It's bogus, but it worked and Nvidia is out of the chipset game for post C2D Macs. So an Nvidia 320m might sound nice but it cannot legally happen.

    What Apple could do is use an Nvidia 310m dedicated GPU along with the Intel chipset and Core i7 CPU. If it did this, and overclocked the CPUs, it would have to turn off the Intel GMA and run the Nvidia 310m full-time. This would be acceptable, but it's not in Apple's recent history to provide a dedicated CPU for a 13" Mac notebook. The thing is SJ came out and said we're all better off with C2D and Nvidia GPU/chipset for now to gain huge graphics boosts and moderate CPU boosts... rather than take a big CPU boost of Core i7 and a GIGANTIC drop in graphics performance from Nvidia to an Intel chipset and GMA HD for graphics.

    I am all for what's best for the end user to get an MBA that is just as or more capable than the current MBA in terms of CPU and GPU. But the MBA has to have other improvements from there. Any drop in performance to the MBA doesn't make sense FOR ME. It might for some others to get their mythical 7-hour MBA, but they're going to suffer for it when it comes to entertainment or graphics on their beloved MBAs.
  13. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    eloquently put Scotters, and I'm in agreement with you.
    battery life is not that big a deal for me (neither is a glass trackpad), but performance boost is - esp in the areas you mention.

    that said I'm still happy with my 2.13/9400M/SSD Air, even though I did have a little play with a new MBPro at the local Reseller the other day.
    Made me realise how much and why I love my Air.

    what do you reckon are the chances are for a 15" Air - would that provide the space needed to ring in the changes that are being discussed?
  14. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    You know, I don't get why there's no 15" MBA yet. There were definitely rumors for it over a year ago. Here's the thing, the MBA shows us that there are people that don't need/want an optical drive and we want to focus on thin and lightweight. Apple could make a 15" MBA and 15"/17" MBs too. I don't understand why one needs to be a "Pro" to get a 15" or 17" Mac notebook. It was just like before the 13" MBPs... and they're really just al. MBs anyways without dedicated graphics. Many "Pros" want a 13" MBP that has the capabilities of the 15" model including a dedicated graphics card, Core i5/i7 CPUs, and etc.

    The Apple system of only a Pro could want a 15" or 17" Mac notebook is ridiculous. With any other computer company a lowly "consumer" can buy a 15" or 17" laptop. With Apple such grandness is only available for the "Pro" user. I would like to see Apple change its strategy to provide consumers with a range of Mac notebooks that might fit their needs. I believe a large market exists for light and thin notebooks like the MBA... and why wouldn't these consumers want 15" and 17" options?

    Apple definitely doesn't get "assortments" or individuality. Apple wants to make as few of products as possible so it can maximize the economies of scale for buying and developing Macs that it can make gigantic margins on. At the end of the day, we're the ones allowing Apple to dictate what we want from a computer. Apple is holding its OS X hostage and the biggest problem is the advantages of OS X are now nearly nonexistent. The last part of the model is the beautiful industrial design of the Macs... which is why the rest of us are here. I would love to see an assortment of sizes for all Mac notebooks.

    To your last bit on still being happy with the MBA - I am too. At the end of the day, it's still my favorite computer ever. Even at 19-months-old, the MBA is completely capable of running all of my Mac OS X applications really well. And the 2 GB of RAM would be acceptable if I didn't really want to run Windows 7 in a VM. The biggest problem I have with the MBA is Apple isn't updating it to better compete in a tech world. When the MBA was introduced in October 2008, it beat every ultraportable on the market in every component or spec capability... from RAM, to CPU, to GPU, to SSD, to thinness, to weight, to OS X, to design, to capabilities... and etc. I want the MBA to beat the hell out of the competition again, and I want Apple to give us a reward for being willing to spend thousands of dollars to line the pocketbooks of AAPL shareholders.

    While this minimal update would make many of us happy, of course I would prefer a new Arrandale Core i7, dedicated ATI graphics, 8 GB RAM, thinner MBA, with a 512 GB SSD, that weighs 2 lb., and that makes competing ultraportables wish they had never been born (okay a little too dramatic but you get the point).
  15. pharmx macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2009
    Well, Apple must have something up their sleeves, that's the only thing that makes sense to me.

    Given these two facts:
    1. Intel is not playing nice with nVidia
    2. Production of c2d's will stop by the end of the year

    To continue selling MBA's (2011 and afterwards), Apple will have to either:
    1. Convince Intel to play nice
    2. Convince Intel to step up their game
    3. Look to AMD for options
    4. Surprise everyone with a multicore hybrid ARM solution that can run x86/x64 instruction sets virtually at an acceptable speed
    5. Do a complete redesign that somehow allows for a dedicated GPU
    6. Ignore the GPU performance loss and go with Core i series
    7. Say screw it and EOL the MBA in favor of having a 13" MBP without the optical drive
  16. gri macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2004
    New York City, aka Big Apple
    There you go:
    The ALL NEW MacBook Pro-Air (MBP-A)...:rolleyes:

    BTW - the more I think about it would make sense. The "Air" would indicate the "loss" of the optical drive. The books get thinner and lighter without much loss of functionality (more or less) - and there could also be a couple months later a 15' and a 17' MBP-A... The Air users are happy (the updated MBA, which in reality is something else), "Pro" sounds way cooler (oh we wish, pun indented) - and the old MBA is silently EOL'd with the end of C2D.
  17. PsyD4Me macrumors 6502a


    Mar 11, 2009
    under your bed
    A 7 hour battery from apple would result in 5 real hours of use, and so I think the they will be going toward this goal
  18. gwsat macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    I don't know which I find more intriguing, the prospect of Apple putting an i7 processor in the new MBA, or how in hell Apple would deal with the graphics performance hit the MBA would take if the i7 were to be adopted. What a conundrum!
  19. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Actually, read my post in the poll thread.

    What they are doing is turning off the GMA so the full performance of the CPU can run at an overclocked "boost" speed all the time. The current ULV Core CPU has 18W of power for both GMA and clock speed of the CPU itself. Turn off the GMA and the CPU uses less TDP, or run the CPU full out and it's only using 18W. That leaves 11W to the 29W the MBA uses... for a dedicated graphics card. Seeing that Apple is overclocking the CPU, it CANNOT run the GMA so the horrific graphics of Intel are gone. There are plenty of ATI solutions that use less than 11W.

    What this tells us is, IF TRUE, Apple didn't stop innovating and it's implementing its "Core" strategies for its Omni-Mac system (one setup for five Macs - MB, 13" MBP, MBA, Mm, and 21.5" iMac). It released the last C2D MBP and it's planning its replacement and will implement it first in the MBA... as Apple has done in the past. So we can expect that IF ALL OF THIS IS TRUE that the 13" MBP will eventually get a Core i5, with GMA off, and a dedicated GPU. As would the MB, Mm, and 21.5" iMac. There lies another PROBLEM. We have rumors of a C2D and Nvidia 320m finding there way into the Mac mini update. So would Apple go ahead and update the MB, Mm, and 21.5" iMac to the C2D and Nvidia 320m now... while it sends the MBA down the alternate path first with a Core i7 and dedicated GPU?

    I am excited at these possibilities, but this is all new. It would definitely redeem Apple from taking a year to update the MBA. It doesn't seem likely to me still as it's a lot cheaper and more efficient to use one platform strategy across five Macs. However, technology requires progress, and this could be true progress for the luxury MBA.

    What we would DEFINITELY expect is this MBA being updated at WWDC, and not one of the next Tuesdays. Apple would want to show this off. In addition, it's entirely possible that Apple wouldn't have such an MBA ready for WWDC. It could be a "one more thing" for an update to the iPods or it could even be a focus of a media event beyond that. I just don't know that it's possible to expect such an update now??? But I love this prospect more than C2D with Nvidia 320m!
  20. pharmx macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2009

    So let me see if I understand this correctly....there is a slight chance that we could see a ULV Core i7 with a dedicated ATI GPU? Which cards would be an ideal match for the i7 MBA in this scenario?

    And just to reiterate...this is made possible because the MBA uses 29W and the ULV i7 has 18W to split between GMA and CPU, but by OC'ing the CPU, the full 18W is allocated, effectively taking the GMA out of the equation...this in turn leaves 11W which can be used towards a dedicated GPU, of which ATI has a few to choose from.

    That would be a best of both worlds situation right? The benefits of the Intel CPU but without the drawbacks of the Intel GMA? Where would that leave nVidia in future lineups?

    So would the ATI card be something like this?
  21. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Well, I am speculating ATI GPU because ATI's dedicated graphics use a super low TDP. When we know there's 11W (included w/18W CPU) to be the exact same as C2D and Nvidia 9400m, it makes a dedicated GPU a possibility ONLY with ATI at the current total 29W TDP (assuming 29W Max). However, it doesn't mean that Nvidia doesn't have something that meets those specs using a lower or equal TDP in the works or that could be introduced in the MBA.

    Take ATI's 5430 for example. It has a 7W TDP and would destroy the 310m dedicated card Apple might use from Nvidia that requires DOUBLE the TDP.

    Probably not a 5450 as you suggested, but it's possible. We have to assume Apple wants to get the TDP down to allow maximum capabilities when powered by the battery.

    The thing about ATI's graphics are they have a lower TDP. Everyone expected Apple to use ATI in the MBPs because they have a lower TDP than anything Nvidia has to offer.

    For example, Nvidia's 310m is a less capable GPU and uses 14W TDP. And the 330m GT used in the MBPs use 23W. Whereas ATI has GPUs that are far more capable that have a lower TDP.

    You're correct, this would be by far the best possibility... as long as we get a dedicated GPU with at least 256MB of VRAM in an MBA with 4 GB of system RAM.

    I am speculating here, but I wonder if Nvidia has an alternative to the 320m that uses the same driver, OpenCL, h.264 and etc instructions so to speak? I mean if Apple could use the same driver set as the 320m integrated GPU for a dedicated version of a similar graphics card less the integration. The problem is, it doesn't work that way. An integrated GPU cannot just be "separated" and made into a dedicated GPU, as the integrated GPU is part of the chipset itself. It's like they're using all of the same parts just broken up into different components.

    And this is all a big speculation that Apple can make a dedicated GPU fit in an MBA. Does this lead us to a new MBA, meaning a new case? I don't know? I don't know if Apple can work this deal. It seems like a lot of stretching and innovation. I would suspect they could make them physically fit inside the MBA, but Apple seems to like Nvidia and their current graphics use a higher TDP totaling more than the current 29W TDP used by the MBA, and that's with a throttled CPU and GPU. I just hope Apple has been working on this for a long time and they get it really right!

    One thing is for sure. The MBA was originally designed with the thickness and weight designed in a time where three to four hours on battery was acceptable. I don't agree with those wanting the MBA to have a 10-hour battery, because they have to know the true difference between the MBA and 13" MBP is just the weight of the battery and space required by battery and optical drive. Meaning, if people want a 10-hour MBA, they can have it in its capable form as a 13" MBP. Part of the 5-hour MBA battery is that it has to fit within the limitations of the MBA's current form factor.

    A new design could be used as is used in the iPhone. Rather than tapering the thickness of the MBA, Apple could use a non-tapered design and keep it at maybe .6" thick all across, yet have a lot more space for components and a larger battery. As big of a feature as the tapered case is for the MBA, it is wasting space and not nearly as important as the weight. Perhaps we could get a .6" MBA that has a 7-hour battery, and has plenty of space to fit and cool a dedicated GPU??? But this is ALL SPECULATION and possibilities not probability. I still believe we're going to get an MBA with a C2D and Nvidia 320m integrated GPU/chipset. I believe that because Apple is all about the margin and how much money can be made. I welcome an MBA with a dedicated graphics card, but I had discounted it as improbable since the 13" MBP was taken in a different direction - if any of the 13" Mac notebooks were going to have a dedicated GPU one would figure it to be the 13" MBP.
  22. hohohong macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007
    Scottdale… What is your profession?

    Scottdale, seem like you check this forum very often! Lol,… sometimes, i think you work for Apple?

    Either way, I’m hoping of Air that can at least play 720p movie without lag. My Rev B SSD is laggy playing MKV.
  23. Jobsian thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009
    Great info Scottsdale et al, this (plausible) speculation of IGP-less Core-i is really exciting, I'm hoping for no revision next week and looking forward to June 7!

    Pharmx, the poll Scotts was referring to is:

    Looking forward to seeing more of you vote, still notably absent is gwsat :)
  24. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    No, I don't currently nor have I ever work for Apple. Do to health and medical reasons, I am not currently working. Therefore I have a lot of time for reading and writing. I type pretty fast, but I do spend too much time here. Ha ha.
  25. thinkdesign macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 7.11) Sprint PPC6850SP)

    Does this affect the "WHEN?" question? I needed to buy in aproximately* January, but MacRumors's Buying Guide and then the many blogs' rumors of a Jan./Feb./March/April debut persuaded me to wait. But the wait for Godot has now stretched so long, it seems that probably I should've bought a new or refurbed SSD-120 model in January. I need it yesterday. /// So, could someone please just boil this ULV-7 rumor down to -- How does this affect the date-forecast on when 'Air' likely gets refreshed? /// Have ALL the parts for this ULV-7 version been available for enough weeks, that there COULD be a warehouse full of these Rev. D Airs already built, just waiting to drop at or before WWDC ? Thanks. /////// (* I know "aproximately" sounds odd, but I won't bore everyone with the details of one person's career-changing calendar.)

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