Second guess the MBA getting an ATI 5430 in its update??? Sandy Bridge w/IGP only?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Scottsdale, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I was an article about the new Sandy Bridge CPUs and its IGP outperforming the ATI 5450...

    This really leaves me wondering about the next MBA. I have always been extremely frustrated with Intel's IGP offering. I would have been devastated to learn that the next MBA goes with a Core i7-6x0LM and SOLE USE of the Intel IGP for graphics.

    I had convinced myself, after SJ's email about the C2D in updated 13" MBPs and reason being to keep Nvidia's GPU, that Apple was working on a new discrete GPU and different chipset for its next MBAs. The AMD/ATI rumors, of them talking about bringing CPUs/chipsets to the MBs, also seemed to be a viable rumor. However, I was pretty sure the ATI 54x0 series CPUs would make their way into the MacFive notebooks/Mm with their next update. It seemed to me a 5430 would be perfect for the MBA, 5450 for the MB, and 5470 for the 13" MBPs/Mm.

    This series of ATI GPUs gives Apple the best of all worlds. OpenCL, OpenGL, uniform driver series, and economies of scale acquisitions. Now and the future, it would be perfect for the Mac notebooks. The 7W 5430 is absolutely PERFECT for the MBA.

    However, now could we assume that Apple was just waiting for Sandy Bridge to make the transition to beyond C2D in its 13" Mac notebooks and Mac mini? I am actually "accepting" of the possibility if a few things equal true.

    If the IGP included with Sandy Bridge, in a Core i7-6x0LM series CPU, could actually do EVERYTHING like compete at least with the Nvidia 320m, take advantage of OpenCL, provide the 3D graphics needed from apps... and let's at least say video and HD video, then maybe Intel is finally on to something?

    I am at least curious to read more, and I would assume if Apple is willing to "stick" us with Intel's IGP along with Sandy Bridge in the MBA, that it has done its homework and will not lead us down the wrong path. With Snow Leopard focusing on taking advantage of resources, and Apple not willing to "stick" MBP 13" users with Arrandale IGP as sole graphics solution, I believe Apple will do the right thing and ensure our Hulu playback is at least acceptable in its next iteration of 13" Mac notebooks.

    Now, BRING ON THE NEW MBA!!! Probably NOT tomorrow, but maybe an October event that focuses on an entirely new MBA, 7" iPad, and iTV. I would say if tomorrow leaves us without an iTV update, we're much more likely to have an October event focusing on all three. October is the history for the Mac updates too... and let's not forget that the 13" MBP could also get the update too. If Apple goes with a new series of CPU/GPU in the MBA update, there is no reason to not expect an MBP update closely thereafter too.
  2. VespR macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2004
    If that link is correct we won't see MBA Sandy Bridge till 2011. Only the desktop stuff will be released this year.
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    The issue with Arrandale's IGP was never its power, the drivers were pure crap. It performs as well as 9400M in benchmarks.

    Remember that those Sandy Bridge IGP benchmarks were done with the desktop CPU. Surprisingly, the desktop version comes with 6 EUs (one IGP or core or whatever you want it to be called) while at least the normal voltage versions of mobile SBs come with 12 EUs (i.e. dual IGP). I don't know what the low voltage version will use and of course, the clock speeds will be lower, but still the IGP in SB looks very promising. The Turbo in IGP is also enormous, up to 2x increase in clock speed (650MHz -> 1300MHz).

    If the drivers are also well made, there is absolutely no need for discrete GPU in mainstream laptops. Even AnandTech said that SB's IGP is enough for other than gamers who like the best performance. Intel IGP doesn't support OpenCL though but to be honest, is there any use for that as of now? Even if there will be in the future, mobile GPUs aren't fast enough to really speed up the things.
  4. Snowcake macrumors regular

    May 18, 2010
    Sorry, but the Air will not be updated this year anymore.

    This is all i can tell right now.
  5. mbisson macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2006
    mmmm... and given that you provide no information to back up that assertion, why are we supposed to believe that?
  6. L0s7man macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2009
    I'd love to get MBA. Whatever the new specs would be... AMD/ATI sounds good. Core iWhatever would be good; just update the damn thing. C2D and no glass touchpad? Sigh.

    There were some rumors about an update, but it probably ain't gonna happen. Maybe at least high res option for MBP? 13" 1440x900? Please... pretty please?

    1280x800 is R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S. 1440x900 would be nice.

    15" finally got a higher (its not that high); why is that Apple can never do the right thing and just roll out stuff as they should? 13" is still C2D, while every other laptop manufacturer crammed in i7 to a smaller laptop. Just put in i5 and be done with it!

    Or i3/glass trackpad and be done with MBA update for the time being.

    Could go Vaio Z with Linux as main and OS X on Virutal Box; this actually seems like a good option in the current landscape. Hehe, I actually like 16:9 screens. Say what you will, they're great for programming!
  7. YMark macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2008
    Thanks for the information Mr. Jobs. :rolleyes:
  8. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Agreed about the update, but even Apple's "bread and butter" 13" MBP has only Core 2 Duo CPUs. That isn't necessarily the issue. In my opinion, the absolute least worry ANY of us should have is whether the CPU is C2D or iCore Whatever. ALL C2D CPUs are MORE than powerful enough. Where Apple needs to provide progress is drives, drive controllers, first and foremost. Also, graphics, and continued graphics driver updates. Also, MORE RAM. Also, better software to take advantage of the CPUs and GPUs used in Macs. Right now it's Intel telling people they need a new CPU... the truth is our CPUs would be perfectly acceptable for another five to ten years... everything else is problematic.

    Our drives and drive controllers are the bottleneck in today's systems. The SSDs have been incredible in improving that bottleneck. Apple has done a great job of updating drivers and now the Toshiba SSD in the MBA. This is EXACTLY why the MBA feels faster than an MBP. I would like to see updates to the next SATA and beyond in drive controllers next. The Toshiba SSDs can almost saturate the bandwidth of SATA-II. In two years, we will be far beyond what the SATA-II drive controllers can provide... we need to be beyond that with the next MBA update, but I doubt we will be.

    GPUs are problematic too. It's NOT just the drivers with Intel's IGP. Intel is far behind the game, so I would be shocked to truly find a Sandy Bridge IGP that can compete with ATI's 54x0 series, BUT I have now read something stating that. THE BIGGEST PROBLEM with that is Windows is ultimately proving the stats there. Windows is incredibly superior to OS X in graphics mainly due to the drivers, that's true. With my new ThinkPad, I can be at 1.4 GHz, and have an Intel IGP and do things my 2.13 GHz MBA with Nvidia 9400m can only dream of... and that's because OS X has a problem, and Apple fails to provide drivers that match even 40% of what Microsoft and third-party drivers can do in terms of comparison. I believe Apple NEEDS to get the graphics suppliers in the game of writing their own drivers, boosting the main issue with graphics on OS X, Apple, Inc.

    Next, Apple brags about OpenCL, and OpenGL, and Grand Central Dispatch, but almost no software vendors are working on taking advantage of these technologies. Apple needs to work on this with them to ensure continued success of the OS X platform. Windows absolutely destroys OS X in applications and it all comes down to users and support. If Apple cannot further expand its market share, it will become irrelevant. 8% of 100 million computer users is better than 5% of 500 million computer users, sort of... the point is Apple is selling more Macs than ever, but they're still losing ground to Windows and other OS choices. In addition, I believe Google's Chrome will destroy Windows and OS X in the long run. Apple needs to adapt and learn now.

    Apple has used an excellent strategy in iPods, iPhones, and iPads with its iOS... it needs to "pretend" the computer OS market/ and computers are a "new" group just as its iOS products are "new" and it owns massive amounts of those market shares... the game is changing so fast that ten years from now we COULD all wonder what happened to Microsoft. That could mean that we're all on Google's OS OR OR OR it could mean Apple learns from its iOS strategy and focuses on a revamped OS offering for "iComputers." 50% of 1 billion users and complete domination of the market is the way to go, but Apple needs to "want" it like they want the smartphone share with their iPhone, want the mp3 market with their iPod, and want the iNetpad share with their iPad. If they want it and revolutionize it, it can be theirs.

    What I want with the new MBA...

    iCore i7-6x0LM in a Sandy Bridge or Arrandale variant. 25W TDP with the IGP turned off.

    ATI/AMD 5430 running all the time with no dependence on the Intel IGP.

    8 GB RAM OPTION. 4 GB standard.

    256 GB SSD with a faster drive controller to improve the bandwidth and increase the life expectancy of our MBAs.

    BlueTooth 3 - This is important.

    USB 3 - This is critical.

    LightPeak - This will open up the future.

    13.3" high resolution IPS display. Needs to be at least 1440 x 900. This is the obvious way Apple will try to differentiate its Macs from competing computers in the future. Its "retina" displays need to find their way to Macs.

    New liquid metal cases... another simple but ingenious way for Apple to alter its Macs.

    4G/LTE/3G backwards... in this day-and-age people want access everywhere... if we're all stupid enough to not buy MiFi, then Apple should make some money off of us, and with non-exclusivity agreements from partner networks.

    Better battery technology BUT NOT heavier batteries.

    Liquid cooling if necessary for the MBA.

    Expandability options for alternative "cards" like Express Card but focusing on future tech using LightPeak.

    Liquid Metal OR glass keyboard that uses material like the iPhone 4 to give the keyboard a better non-plastic feel.

    Glass trackpad. But not just a glass trackpad but a retina display that's also a trackpad. This is the absolute must of what is needed right now. Touch capability but not make us touch our display. Give us instant gratification of being able to touch and make it do what we want, but keep it where it should be not on the display.

    Wireless tethering via BlueTooth or Wireless N to our iPad, iPod Touches (with 4G), and iPhones.

    And there's more... a new OS focusing on the future, as I mentioned earlier. Learn from iOS, learn from OS X, and learn from Google's options like Android and Chrome OS. In the future, we need to be able to have instant Internet compatibility with our iOS products, and EVERYTHING needs to be available everywhere. Whether we're on our iPad, iPhone, or Mac, it all needs to be instant and on-demand connectivity to everything we own whether it's on our iTV and we're on an airplane and we want to play it on our Mac or vise-versa.

    So Apple needs to learn from its iOS but not copy it and make us use a flat panel as our keyboard either. I look forward to the future of AAPL and Apple, Inc. just so long as it uses its iOS strategy in furthering the Mac brand and development, but as long as they don't transfer iOS to the Macs and get rid of OS X.

    I guess more than anything we're all wanting an MBA that destroys their competitors just as the v 2,1 MBA destroyed its competitors back in October 2008. I want a 2011 MBA that destroys its competitors and gives us a real reason to buy an MBA again.
  9. PsyD4Me macrumors 6502a


    Mar 11, 2009
    under your bed
    i actually agree with this....
  10. Pixellated macrumors 65816

    Apr 1, 2008
    The computer that you outlined in this post is amazing - my dream computer. I just cant help but think that this would never happen though. When Apple update an exisiting Mac, they change the case, sometimes change the CPU, and sometimes the GPU, but the amount of your changes looks like almost 5 refreshes worth of improvements.
  11. cleric macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    Isn't it usually pretty unlikely for them to update laptops in the fall?

    I still don't believe USB 3 is "critical" how much i/o do you really need to push through your MBA.
  12. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    And MBA being the first Mac to get it would be ridiculous... Same for LP
  13. mbisson macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2006
    Apple have updated plenty of Laptops in the Autumn:

    Oct 2009: MacBook
    Oct 2008: MacBook
    Oct 2008: MacBook Pro
    Oct 2008: MacBook Air
    Nov 2007: MacBook
    Nov 2006: Mac Book
    Oct 2006: MacBook Pro
    Oct 2005: MacBook Pro

    So I wouldn't say that it unlikely that Apple may introduce laptop updates this Autumn. I won't even begin to introduce other Mac Hardware updated in the fall but I'd say that it is certain that there will be some updates introduced in time to be brought as presents during the holiday season.

    As the MacBook Air is the product that by far is most in need of an update it wouldn't be absurd that it would therefore be updated. It is approx 15 months since the Macbook Air last saw an update. This is only the second longest an Intel Mac has gone without an update. The longest was the 19 months for the Mac Mini between Aug 07 and Mar 09.

    The possibility of an update not arriving until next year is of course possible but then the MacBook Air runs the danger of becoming the most neglected Intel Mac that Apple has produced. I'd argue that this is far more of an issue than it was for the Mac Mini as the Mac Book Air is supposed to be a halo product.
  14. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    An update of some Macs seems obvious this October, but what Mac will it be? The only Mac we're all waiting on is the MBA update... however, maybe the chips will not be ready until January? And, how about the smaller iPad?
  15. mbisson macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2006
    Very true it may be next year, hope not though.

    As for a smaller iPad, isn't that just wild speculation at the moment? Hadn't thought I'd actually seen any rumours reported on MacRumors, AppleInsider, etc.
  16. mbisson macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2006
    Now how about some different flames for the fire :)

    Obviously very much a rumour with little in the way of detail or any idea about when such a product might be available BUT would this be an alternative solution for a future MacBook Air?
  17. bloodycape macrumors 65816

    Jun 18, 2005
    How do you think that is going to be different from the 6-bit(or is it 8-bit) matte-ish 1600x900, and optional 1920x1080 display on the Sony Vaio Z, or the highly rated optional IPS screen in the HP Elitebook line?
  18. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2004
    I don't wanna burst your bubble, but there's literally 0% chance in any of those specs coming to the MBA - unless it's a late-2011 or early 2012 model and even then some of it will just be impossible.

    LightPeak? Hasn't even made a retail appearance yet. Not gonna happen.

    Intel i7 processor use intel boards on MacBooks so far - and Intel has said no USB 3.0 support on their boards till later in 2011. So that's not gonna happen.

    8 GB of RAM? Doubtful - it'll be soldered on the board, and there's probably no room for more chips.

    Bluetooth 3.0 - again not gonna happen - it *just* appeared in prototype devices at Computex with a vague assertion that it would ship on those devices to retail "later this year". That could easily become early-mid-2011.

    Re: the Radeon - I would *love* a discrete graphics chip - but I seriously doubt for power/cost/space reasons that Apple would include one when the SB IGP is apparently at least the same level as many of the discrete chips we're seeing now.

    Liquid Metal just got licensed by Apple - not gonna be on products anytime soon (if ever). And Glass Trackpad? Glass is heavy - why would they put glass into a laptop that's supposed to be lightweight? And it wouldn't work unless they redesign the whole laptop physically - the Glass Trackpad doesn't fit into the current physical design.

    The biggest problem I have with all of these "what I want in a new MBA" posts is that we're all setting ourselves up for failure. We're creating these mythical super-products that can/will never exist. And all it does it serve to disappoint everyone if/when a new MBA arrives on the scene and we all go "No BT3.0? No LightPeak? No High-Rez Screen? GARBAGE!!! Apple has dropped the ball again!!!" When really they're probably going to release an update that works for many people and works for them business/cost-wise.

    The MBA has always been a "compromise" machine. It's been a machine that gives you *most* of what you can get in a laptop (with reduced connectivity and expandability) for a fraction of the weight/size. I expect if/when a new MBA comes out, (like that rumoured 11.6" version? Where's that?) It'll be more of the same - bumped processor/RAM/Graphics hopefully - but not much more.
  19. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    IF, that's a big IF, Apple wanted the same dominance with the MBA as it had when it was introduced as v 2,1 in October 2008, I think those specs are the only way to dominate the ultraportable market as the v 2,1 did back in October 2008.

    I AGREE THAT IT'S FAR FETCHED, BUT the v 2,1 WAS INCREDIBLY FAR FETCHED in October 2008. 128 GB SSD standard? 3 lb? 13.3" LED ACD? Nvidia 9400m GPU? SATA-II rather than PATA? DDR3-1067 MHz? Those were all far fetched ideas when the MBA was introduced... and it absolutely DESTROYED every ultraportable for at least a year.

    For Apple to bring out an MBA that dominates now, as the v 2,1 did back in October 2008, I believe those are the specs necessary. Otherwise, it will be a boring MBA update... without either USB 3.0 or LightPeak, it will be missing a critical element moving forward for the next three years even.

    I want Apple to take steps forward. In all honesty, the new Mac Pro without even USB 3.0 is a complete disappointment looking toward the future. It is NOT TOO MUCH to expect Apple to spend $10 for a USB 3.0 card. If LightPeak is ready, and that's the direction Apple is planning to go, then the MBA needs it with its next update OR it will be lacking behind for the next three years while it's stuck with USB 2.0. I just hope Apple sees more benefit than that.

    Sure, it seems far fetched at first glance, but the v 2,1, especially after the incredibly lackluster components of the original MBA, was way ahead of its time... and what made the MBA the hit it was for all of us who love it today.

    I have hope for a lot of those components, otherwise the MBA will not dominate the category but lag behind...
  20. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2004
    Some good points raised... but in all honesty, the October 2008 update had the 9400m and unibody added to the whole MacBook/Pro line. So while it was a nice update to the Air, the whole line benefitted from it. And the MBA had SSD (albiet a crummy one) from the RevA. The 128GB SSD was just the next natural progression.

    I honestly believe that IF we get a MBA update, it'll either be a huge redesign to 11.6" and then all bets are off (but still no USB 3 or Lightpeak, IMHO), or Apple will do a small spec-bump this fall before Sandy Bridge in the spring/summer next year.

    Small spec-bump I honestly don't see coming 'cause they would/could have done it in the summer with the other MBPs, as others have said in this thread.
  21. Scottsdale thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I completely disagree.

    The v 2,1 was a COMPLETELY NEW MBA everywhere except in appearance.

    The new one brought a completely revised product that actually worked!

    SATA-II drive controller and SATA SSD! Rather than PATA!

    SATA SSD was 128 GB and its bandwidth more than saturated the PATA drive controller on the original! DOUBLE the capacity and QUADRUPLE the performance!

    Nvidia 9400m GPU that is still today getting updates, h.264 connectivity advancements, OpenGL improvements, and drivers with each OS X update release! The Intel 3100 was a joke that couldn't play two minutes of analog video!

    DDR3 1066 MHz RAM... original had 667 MHz RAM... smallest deal here, and it's still huge.

    REAL Intel Core 2 Duo PENRYN CPU! That runs as a low voltage CPU that DOESN'T OVERHEAT, EXPERIENCE CORE SHUTDOWN, nor does it allow the MBA user to fry eggs on their MBA as a hotplate as the original could have been used as! That Merom CPU was/IS problematic.

    How about the worthless micro DVI that didn't even provide native support on a 23" ACD without major problems... that was the original! The v 2,1 has Mini Display Port which drives UP TO a 30" ACD. In addition, a brand new 27" LED ACD can be driven natively in full resolution by the v 2,1 MBA. This is a huge difference. I have been using the 24" LED ACD, and it makes the v 2,1 MBA into an INSTANT DESKTOP. Now, it's even better, and the v 2,1 MBA is 10x more capable now than it was when introduced due to driver enhancements and improvements!

    The v 2,1 MBA is by far the biggest internal transformation I have seen on any Mac computer that otherwise looked identical externally...

    The original MBA still has f'd over the MBA brand, while users of the v 2,1 MBAs are amazed by their capabilities!

    I just don't think it's fair to call the v 2,1 a "natural" or whatever you called it upgrade. It was REVOLUTIONARY. It took a USELESS worthless Mac and made it into something incredible!
  22. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    If you think about it, you realize that it just followed the other Macs.

    Other Macs had had SATA for ages and if Apple wanted to offer real SSD, their only option was SATA. It's not revolutionary to put in something that has been a standard for years.

    Other Macs got 9400M too, before that they used the GMA X3100.

    Merom to Penryn was expected and other Macs got it as well. Penryn is 45nm so it was supposed to be cooler and it is. There was no Penryn when original MBA came

    MiniDP was nice addition but again, other Macs got it too. 24" ACD only support MiniDP so Apple had to put it in MBA in so it could drive that monitor.

    MBA 2,1 did get a lot improvements over the original MBA but so did other Macs. They also got 9400M, Penryn CPUs and MiniDP PLUS a redesign. I wouldn't say 2,1 was more revolutionary than other updates that happened in late 2008. They all got pretty much the same treatment. Most components were not available when original MBA came. You can call it revolutionary, that's your opinion. I'm not.

    What you are wanting in the next gen would make it better than any other laptop from Apple

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