Sandy Bridge and backlit keyboard vs NVIDIA GeForce 320M?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Kendo, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. Kendo macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2011
    To those waiting for the next MacBook Air, if the refresh includes Sandy Bridge and a backlit keyboard however has Intel HD Graphics 3000 as the GPU, will you simply pick up this generation's unit at a discount or opt for the refresh?

    There are arguments that Sandy Bridge won't be noticeable in actual day to day activities like browsing the web and watching HD movies however it is argued that the graphics will take a big hit, especially when looking at the 13" MacBook Pros.
  2. hcho3 macrumors 68030

    May 13, 2010
    No. Intel graphic card is not acceptable for me by any means.

    I doubt backlit keyboard will come back on MBA. Apple is trying to differentiate the MBP and MBA. Backlit keyboard is one of their lists.

    Bottom line, intel HD 3000 is a step back. I won't step back to upgrade and pay money.

    I will wait for IVY Bridge Macbook air or liquid metal MBA in the future or Carbon Fiber.

    That's a long time wait, but I will wait.
  3. iTootyFrooty macrumors member

    Aug 18, 2009
    Essex, UK
    Why are people acting like the new Intel Graphics are the return of the plague or something. They're not even that much worse than the 320m's and definitely better than the 9400m's in the generation before. Sandy bridge processors would more than make up for the slight performance decrease in the Intel GPUs.
  4. Psilocybin macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    I'll second that, no intel 3000 will be entering my house
    And I doubt that there will be a backlit keyboard again. As I said in the last thread apple took it out for a reason not for fun
  5. Susurs macrumors 6502a


    Jun 18, 2010
    I third that...Intel integrated 'thing' will never be in a product I buy (If it's the only GPU in mac and nothing else is there like with MacBook Pro where you can switch between graphics 'device'). :)
  6. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2004
    And that reason was? Thinness? Cost? Do you have any evidence to back this up?

    I think it was simple economics - take out the BL keyboard to get the cost under $999 and keep the margins at 30%.

    However, as tech gets more mature, and the R&D Cost is recouped for the new design, I think they can re-add the BL Keyboard w/o sacrificing the $999 Price-point or the 30% margins.

    As you said, it wasn't just "for fun", but "for profit" and if they can maintain that profit, and return a marquee feature like the BL Keyboard, why not?
  7. Psilocybin macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8G4 Safari/6533.18.5)

    you could be right or you could be wrong. No I don't have evidence to back that up. I simply said they took it out for a reason and the profit percentage is a reason is it not? If you are correct the i5 processors are obviously going to be more expensive meaning they will have te same situation with the backlit keyboard
  8. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I have zero reason to downgrade to Sandy Bridge with its forced worthless IGP & chipset.

    I do believe the backlit keyboard will make it back IF Apple continues to sell a MacBook. If Apple eliminates the MB and puts the low end MBA in its place at $999, then I suspect the backlit keyboard stays a thing of the past. If however Apple keeps the MB, I think it will conclude that at least the 13" MBA needs the upgraded feature. It is extremely low cost. I would be shocked if it costs $0.50 per MBA unit, and it seems like a big advantage. I think Apple likes to "experiment" with features so it can then add them back and act like they learned their lesson when actually they just want added sales.

    I really don't believe there is any worry about a Sandy Bridge CPU making its way into the MBA. With Apple's update cycles, it could easily just wait for Ivy Bridge. Let's remember that the only Mac that uses low and ultra low voltage CPUs are the two MBAs. Apple can update the MB, Mac mini, and 21.5" iMac to Sandy Bridge standard core CPUs and not get the horrific loss in graphics performance that the MBA would receive with LV and ULV CPUs and their respective IGPs. I just think the vast majority of MBA buyers a, don't care, and b, would be better off with C2D and Nvidia 320m for another year.

    I will be shocked to see a Sandy Bridge MBA unless it includes a standard voltage CPU... Ivy Bridge just makes much more sense.
  9. pil0tflame macrumors member

    Apr 19, 2011
    London, Ontario
    I would personally benefit more from the increase in CPU power in Sandy Bridge than I would suffer from the weaker Intel IGP. I'm not purchasing a MBA to play 3d games or do 3d content creation. I have other electronics more specialized/suited to those tasks (console & desktop, respectively). What I would see a benefit in is audio/video encoding, file archive compression speeds, Photoshop editing, Illustrator content creation, CCS3/JavaScript animation and any other CPU reliant tasks. Of course any GPU accelerated tasks are a different matter entirely and would need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

    That said, I may pick up a current gen MBA based simply on the fact that it's a known entity with a generally positive and proven reputation. The hypothetical Sandy Bridge MBA could end up being a great product too, but then again it could be a flawed wreck. Only time will tell.

    As I see it, the non-gamer would generally benefit from a Sandy Bridge MBA over a C2D one. Gamers on the other hand are typically limited by the GPU, not CPU, so would be better to stick with a nVidia 320M based Air.
  10. Oli3000 macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2009
    Intel HD 3000 + Backlit Keyboard = two wastes of money.

    Doesn't bother me. I am always a bit bemused by the obsession with the backlit keyboard - I know plenty of people that turn it off! As long as I can find one key in the dark, I can find every other - and the space bar is hard to miss!
  11. christophermdia macrumors 6502a


    Sep 28, 2008
    This is what I just did, was waiting to decide whether to give my wife my MBA Ultimate and get a new Sandy Bridge version when its released or just go ahead and buy her another Ultimate. I opted to get her the Ultimate, The way this thing performs it could last me 2-3 years easy, unless some crazy CPU/MEM intensive programs get released that I feel I really need to have...Everything opens in one bounce and handles Parallels with Win 7, Photoshop, Xcode, etc...without a hitch...Only thing I would want is Thunderbolt, provided there was a drive released to take advantage of the technology...
  12. radiohead14 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2008
    aren't the Sandy Bridge CPUs better with battery life? isn't the MBA supposed to be an ultra portable, thus making battery life the most important aspect of the notebook? at least this is what's most important for me when considering the MBA, so the boost in CPU performance and battery life will cancel out the downgrade in GPU for me.
  13. AbyssImpact macrumors 6502a

    Aug 6, 2010
    Why do you guys assume Nvidia cannot make graphic cards for Sandy Bridge? Have you seen Dell's Alienware laptop line? They have the new processors and also are using Nvidia graphics card.
  14. radiohead14 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2008
    but those are dedicated GPUs not integrated
  15. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    NVidia can make graphics cards but they cannot make chipsets. The 320M is the chipset as well. There are only two chips in the logic board, the CPU and 320M. With a discrete GPU, there would have to be three chips; CPU, PCH and GPU. Since space is very limited in MBA, there is simple no space for all three chips.
  16. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    I agree on the Sandy Bridge SD, I too believe they will wait until Ivy Bridge, it simply makes NO sense to screw up a perfectly spectacular machine, as well as sales and profits, just to move on from the C2D. IB will be another matter:cool:
  17. fs454 macrumors 68000

    Dec 7, 2007
    Los Angeles / Boston
    Just having beat Portal 2 on my 11" MBA with a 1.6ghz core 2 duo and the 320m, playing it on max settings, native resolution at ~40fps was GREAT.

    This isn't possible on the Intel graphics, it'd tip just below smoothly playable at these settings. The CPU is barely a bottleneck, seriously. What other 11" device can run a modern game maxed out?! Thank god for the Source engine, and for Apple's 320M+C2D choice.
  18. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    great comment

  19. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    My MBA Ultimate is perfect for me right now as my sole working machine. This is simply a super balanced laptop for those seeking mobility and reasonable performance. No need for me to fix what's not broken right now.

    I won't be jumping in on a SB+HD3000 upgrade, so I will pass on the next update until Ivy comes out (as long as it's paired with a decent GPU and not with a lame HD3000-like).
  20. smugDrew macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2011
    in a dwelling
    As soon as Sandybridge based MBA's arrive, I'm buying.

    Don't want an outdated C2D and Nv's video chipset, I've seen the HD3000 in action and it's very good. Does everything I want and much more.
  21. Beanoir macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2010
    51 degrees North
    There won't be a backlit keyboard on the MBA's current body design.
  22. GekkePrutser macrumors 6502a


    Aug 18, 2005
    In regards to the original question: I'm buying one as soon as it gets Sandy Bridge (as long as the 11" gets at least the 2537M and not the Celeron ULV that intel also makes).

    Backlit keyboard would also be super but it's not a dealbreaker for me. I'll only use it for programming, communication and business apps so I don't care what GPU it has, but I could use the extra CPU power for VMWare. I also want it more futureproofed than the current model, I tend to hang on to my stuff for a long time (check my sig ;) )

    Built-in 3G would also be an option that I would pay a lot of money for if it were offered.
  23. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2008
    M11x ;) Still love my R2.

    Air is better in many other ways though.
  24. Blues003 macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    From what I read, the Intel HD 3000 is actually better-performing on OS X than the Nvidia 320m. People are paranoying this Intel 3000 issue like it's the plague, while in reality they are basically the same in terms of performance.

    I don't have the money, but if I was to buy a MBA, I'd surely buy it once the Sandy Bridge version came out.
  25. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Aug 13, 2008
    Kitchener, Ontario
    You guys are forgetting that the LV and ULV version of the HD3000 is underclocked compared to the normal voltage version. So while the normal ones are the same as the 320M, the underclocked LV and ULV ones are definitely not going to match up to the 320M.

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