Possible hint to successor of the C2D in the MBA???

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Scottsdale, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #1
    Anyone else notice that with the new 21.5" iMacs Apple opted not to stick with C2D and Nvidia 320m? I wonder if this is a potential clue, as in the past five Macs (MacFive) used same basic configuration and setup including chipset.

    Until today, the 21.5" iMac had the same basic setup with C2D and Nvidia 9400m as the MBA, and prior Mm, MB, and 13" MBP. Now, Apple has used Core i3 and i5 in the 21.5" iMac. But even MORE INTERESTING is the ATI 4670 and 5670 being used with those new Core i-series CPUs.

    I certainly have always hoped that MacFive beyond C2D meant Core i-series with ATI discrete GPUs. Here Apple is even going as far as the 5670, which saves more energy too. I don't believe we would get an MBA with a 5670, but maybe this does mean a 5430 is possible along with a Core i7 LV CPU? That GPU is 7W. Use that with a 25W CPU with the IGP turned off...

    I certainly am hopeful now for an MBA that follows in strategy with the first of the MacFive to get beyond C2D and Nvidia GPU/chipset. Now, how long will we have to wait to find out?

    Also, I was glad Apple didn't reduce the price of the MBA. I have an extra one I am selling, and I didn't want Apple to ruin the value of it like they have done to MBA users in the past... but I would have been fine with a new MBA and a higher price tag. Enough to offset an ATI GPU and Core i7-6x0LM!
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    iMac has no troubles with space or heat but MBA is a whole different story. This is quite far-fetched IMO
     
  3. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #3
    Far fetched how? A 5430 uses 7w. The Core i7-6x0LM uses 25W WITH the IGP enabled. Disable the IGP, and we have an MBA that fits the exact same power requirements.

    In the past, Apple has used ONE strategy for the MacFive. The 13" MBP, MB, MBA, Mm, and 20/21.5" iMacs. Now, Apple could have used ANY GPU AND CPU combo it wanted in the 21.5" iMac, but it chose to use the EXACT setup across all five Macs in the MacFive. This is more than just economies of scale, it minimizes development costs for software drivers NOW and with EACH UPDATE TO OS X.x version.

    I was looking for the 13" MBP to be released with Core i3/i5 CPU and 5450 ATI GPU six months ago. I figured that would mean the other MacFive computers would follow suit. Apple chose to keep C2D and Nvidia 320m GPU/chipset one more go round with three of the MacFive that were all overdue for updates more so than the 21.5" iMac. Now the MBA has been left out, but I believe the picture tells us it's POSSIBLE NOT a guarantee but that it is POSSIBLE that Apple will use the Core i-series CPU along with ATI 5430/5450/5470 ALL USING THE EXACT SAME DRIVERS!

    I feel like you were a little too quick to discount this. Apple gained time and saved money with the MB, 13" MBP, and Mm by using C2D and Nvidia until it determined a solution. Now, the future BEYOND C2D and Nvidia GPU seems a lot clearer to me. We can look at the past to see how Apple has used all five of these Macs to save and get returns on a massive scale now and into the future. It is a lot less expensive to have one driver set for as many Macs as possible. I believed we would see 5430/5450/5470 six months ago, and now we see actual proof of it in the first of the MacFive beyond C2D. I am looking forward to the MBA update...
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    How can it be disabled? You forgot Southbridge, it's another ~3.5W or so. Mobility C2Ds will be EOLed in Q1 2011 so yes, we will see 13"s with iX in the future.

    Apple used ATI 2400 XT in iMacs for two generations but it was never used in MacBook or MacBook Pro.

    I didn't say it's impossible but I find it quite far-fetched when you're comparing desktop to an ultra-portable laptop.
     
  5. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #5
    Since then, Apple introduced the 9400m along with C2D in the lower end 20/21.5" iMacs. Since Apple implemented the 9400m in October 2008, it made its way into five Macs which I refer to as the MacFive. This is the first time since then that Apple has strayed away from C2D and Nvidia GPU/chipset in any of those five Macs. The strategy has worked wonders.

    Look at what happened to the MBA after it got the Nvidia GPU/chipset. The original was a joke. The October 2008 version has been amazing. This strategy has worked well. I really believe that this is Apple's new strategy beyond C2D and Nvidia 9400m/320m GPU/chipset model. It makes wonderful since in terms of economies of scale across many Macs... and the future consolidation of work creating updated drivers for one series of GPUs, versus a different GPU for every Mac, is an incredible advantage.

    We will see. I know an 11.6" MBA might throw a wrench into the plan.

    Oh, and btw, go lookup disabling the IGP on the Core i-series CPUs. It is possible... until now we hadn't seen Apple do it. Go look and see what Apple is doing with the 21.5" iMacs. No Intel IGP is being used to my knowledge, just as we have seen from several other companies with Core i-series CPUs and no usage for the WORTHLESS Intel "required" IGP included with every POS Core i-series Arrandale CPU. I would love to learn more about it too. Information has been scarce for facts.
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    Before 2400 XT iMac used Intel GMA 950 which was used in MacBooks as well. MacBook has always used IGP while iMac has used a dedicated in the time between but then switched back to IGP and now went back to discrete.

    Your strategy has holes in it. If iMac had never used discrete in low-end, I would be more convinced but as it has used discrete chip before while MacBook hasn't, it makes me think that this is just far-fetched speculation. I hope you're right though, I've been having my eyes on MBA for long time.

    This is a moot situation. I'm not sure will it be disabled when another GPU is added but no auto-switching is used or what has to be done. Anyway, it won't consume much power when it's idling and it would be doing that when the other GPU is in use so the IGP shouldn't be that huge issue. Sandy Bridge will bring a lot better IGP so there may not be need for discrete chip anymore

    So many iMac threads.. So little time... I will get back to this later on and read what you wrote more carefully so my points are not that great now.
     
  7. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #7
    Um nevermind. I will stop right here... another Intel devotee/fan. Not worth my time.
     
  8. illusionalsgcty macrumors newbie

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    #8
    Replacing nVidia GPU's with ATI's is a pretty smart move for Apple at this point. ATI is really the leader as far as graphics cards are concerned at this point but Apple's drivers are horrible. With Steam now on Mac, Apple had to make up for the gap in gaming performance with Windows. I wonder much better these ATI GPUs will perform for games.

    However, AMD/ATI processors are far less power efficient. I doubt we'll see AMD processors in Apple laptops until they can get more efficient than Intel.
     
  9. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #9
    Actually, the 5730 is a 7W GPU. Now, it's not the same as Intel's energy requirements, but it's also VASTLY SUPERIOR to Intel's best in terms of capabilities and performance. Even when considering Sandy Bridge, ATI has to be more than 4X faster. With Apple focusing on OpenCL and other advancements in taking advantage of all system resources, I see ATI as a much better alternative for what OS X represents moving forward.

    In addition, Apple likes to use one set of drivers, and use one line of components to reduce costs. I believe, just as I did before the C2D 13" MBP update, that the future of the MacFive computers has to be Core i-series CPUs along with ATI low voltage GPUs. It was smart for Apple to take advantage of Nvidia's setup as long as possible, but it's getting too late to introduce new computers using old technology in C2D. Marketing it to buyers is difficult, but for low-end computers it made sense.

    Now I don't see Apple introducing anymore C2D computers. I don't believe Apple will introduce a C2D and Nvidia 320m MBA. That is now gone as a possibility. Apple will definitely move forward with an MBA that tackles the advantages of moving beyond C2D. However, it will require ignoring Intel's IGP and always focusing beyond. Apple has bashed the Intel IGP, and I don't believe they will use it unless it performs equivalent to what the Nvidia 320m can do. Intel cannot match that and will not for probably at least two or three years.
     
  10. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #10
    I guess you meant 5430 as 5730 is 26W chip. That's worse than 320M

    MacFive has now been broken. There is no way 4670 or 5670 will find its way to MBA or 13" MBP. C2D is soon dead as mobile C2Ds will be EOLed in Q1 2011 so sooner than later we will find out what Apple does. Intel IGP would be the easiest move as drivers already exist and no additional chips are required but seeing how much Steve disliked it, it may not happen. However, we don't know how big improvement the Sandy Bridge IGP will be. Hopefully it will be good enough for Apple and us. There isn't a good reason to use discrete chip if it's only barely better than integrated.

    Apple wanted killer battery and GPU in 13" so that might be what they will do in the future as well. You can pick two of these but not three; CPU, GPU and/or battery. If you pick CPU and GPU, the battery will suffer. If you pick CPU and battery the graphics will suck. If you pick GPU and battery the CPU won't be as good. You can't have everything, you must make compromises.

    If I could choose, I would take CPU and battery because GPU isn't that important unless you game. Intel IGP can run Snow Leopard flawlessly. Of course it's just my opinion but this doesn't seem to be more than opinion based discussion because there aren't enough facts about future chips. I think if Apple released MBA now, it would be C2D + 320M so it would match 13" MBP but if Apple is waiting for more chips as it looks like they are, then we have to wait for further details. We don't know the TDPs of Sandy Bridge and Southern Islands, yet.
     
  11. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

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    #11
    I indeed apologize, I meant 7w 5430 in the MBA. I messed the numbers up... indeed can see how wrong it would be if I expected Apple to use a 26W GPU. I definitely intended the 7w GPU.

    Apple is using ALL ATI processors in new iMacs. In addition, if Nvidia is indeed shut out of the GPU/chipset beyond C2D, Apple would benefit from sticking with one supplier. In addition, the 5XXX series GPUs offer a range of performance and more importantly a range of energy requirements. ATI is using 1/2 of the most energy efficient Nvidia discrete GPUs.

    I believe it makes sense for Apple to do one of two things with the next 13" Mac notebooks.

    1. Use one discrete series of GPU across all three of the 13" Mac notebooks (and Mac mini). 5430 in the MBA. 5450 in the MB. 5470 in the 13" MBP. This makes so much sense in terms of costs, immediate software integration with OpenCL/OpenGL and drivers, future integration and updates in OS X, timing/quick development of all MacFive models, and etc... it really goes on and on. It's not just cheaper to buy in bulk... it's a lot cheaper when considering development, support, and etc.

    2. Use a combination of AMD/ATI solution. This could make a lot of sense if Apple can accept migrating to AMD. The advantage is a MUCH BETTER performing system in terms of graphics and energy efficiency. The disadvantage is that it's not as marketable to sell AMD versus ATI. People want Intel CPUs. That might be a good thing for Apple... there's an upsell to the 15" MBP!

    In my mind, the 21.5" iMac switch eliminating the Nvidia GPU/chipset model tells us where Apple is going. It would make ZERO sense for Apple to do what it did if it's not going to use ATI in the other four of the MacFive products.

    In the end, WE WILL SEE. I am excited to wait this out now. I have a lot of hope for a real ATI discrete GPU in the next MBA. The 5430 will blow away the Nvidia GPU. Intel doesn't have an acceptable solution. SJ and Apple have said on at least two occasions I know of that it's not acceptable to stick its users with Intel's WORTHLESS, in my opinion, IGP.
     
  12. wywern209 macrumors 65832

    wywern209

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    do you rly want to know?
    #12
    currently, the macbook and the macbook pro are mirrored in terms of gpu so both would have the same gpu. the macbook air though, we don't know what apple is going to do with that. however, there is a little flaw in your logic when it comes to apple notebooks. Apple likes to use the same GPU for a bunch of revisions. we saw the 9600m GT in several revisions (3-4 i think). and before that, we had the 8600m gt for a couple of years. Point is, apple doesn't like to update the gpu every release. I like any other sane person would love for ATI 5xxx series gpus to be in the macbooks. maybe something like the 57xx series. Im pretty sure those are faster than the 330m GT in the MBP right now.
     
  13. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #13
    One thing that I see as not-so-good-thing is that Apple decided to go with NVIDIA in high-end MBPs. They could have chosen ATI if they wanted and AFAIK the auto-switching technology Apple uses would work with ATI as well. There will be Southern Islands (Radeon 6xxx) out later on this year so another speed bump for GPU (will concentrate on power efficiency)

    AMD Fusion looks VERY promising. It will integrate ATI 5xxx GPU so there may not be a need for discrete chip unless it was noticeably better than the IGP. Sandy Bridge will likely be faster in CPU performance than Fusion but in GPU performance, AMD (same as ATI nowadays) will run circles around Intel. Oh, and quad core at 30W! That already has good IGP in it so I really hope Apple goes with AMD for this one. Some possible details of Fusion if you're interested
     
  14. iMacmatician macrumors 601

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    #14
    It also focuses on efficiency in general and there are rumors of increased tesselation performance.

    I'm waiting to see how dual-core Sandy Bridge compares to quad-core Llano.

    Also:
    http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/di...ption_of_the_First_AMD_Fusion_Processors.html

    From that I'd say Ontario probably won't be used in the MacBook Air (unless Apple decides to change the MBA).
     
  15. Hellhammer Moderator

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    #15
    Low-end Llano should fit MBA pretty well (20-26W), especially if its IGP is good enough so there will be no need for discrete GPU
     
  16. jamesryanbell macrumors 68020

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    #16
    IGP will never be good enough. NEVER bank on that. There's GOT to be space made available for a GPU that's not integrated.
     
  17. iMacmatician macrumors 601

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    #17
    I'm not betting on this right now but I wouldn't be surprised if the entire Apple notebook line gets rid of discrete GPUs if they go Llano (or Ontario). 45 W for top-end mobile Llano is similar to 35 W Core i7 - ≈10? W Core i7 integrated GPU + 23 W GeForce GT 330M. Having said that there's the possibility of 15"/17" having discrete GPUs as always.
     
  18. jdechko macrumors 68040

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    #18
    What makes you say that? Just because it's IGP? I'd wager that the majority of computer users only really use the GPU for video acceleration anyway, so if IGP can do that, why should we shy away from it?

    I realize that Apple does a lot with the GPU, rendering Aqua (Quartz), Core Technologies (CoreImage, CoreAnimation, etc), and Open CL, but if we can at least get the performance of the current 9400m, then maybe it's an acceptable tradeoff for an Ultraportable like the Air.
     

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