Will Broadwell M cut off the MBA's balls?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by cairene2011, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. cairene2011 Guest

    Dec 17, 2013
    TLDR: Could anyone tell me more about the Broadwell M in laymen's terms? Is it likely to turn the rMBA into a mere consumption device or will it still be able to deliver power for light 1080p video editing?

    I've been holding out for the rMBA refresh since 2013, because my little MBA 11" from 2011 has a failing battery (2 hours on a good day). Battery life has always been piss poor, because it doesn’t harmonize with the power-hungry i7 1.8 GHz. This meant manifold charges every day depending on the usage. Unsurprisingly the battery swelled up eventually and dislocated the keys and trackpad.

    These days, I'm still adoring its light weight and tiny footprint, which especially in cabin luggage does make a big difference, but I start finding the screen too small to do productive work. It’s quite the dilemma.
    It sounds like I'm the perfect user for the 12" rMBA. Bigger screen, same small footprint. Not so fast….
    This year, I also bought an iPad Mini Retina, which now accompanies me on train journeys, „coffee shop outings“ and the like and the MBA seldom leaves the house anymore except when we go on longer trips.

    I use the 11" MBA as my main machine and hook it to and external monitor, if needed. My MBA juggles the work of a grown-up computer, it processes long MS Word Documents (50 pages+), edits and renders 1080p videos, it plays Minecraft every once in a while (I know, there is a logical contradiction with "grown-up" there ;-)) and it manages vast Aperture libraries.
    I'm getting increasingly worried that the M processor won't allow proper video editing and will stutter in my Word documents (the i7 1.8 GHz in my 11" is already stuttering from time to time). But maybe the 8GB RAM in a new machine (as opposed to my current 4GB) will take care of that.
    I just really need it to be a machine for creating content as opposed to only consuming it and I’m not sure at all if the Broadwell M is designed for that.

    In the light of a possible „power cut“, I don’t even find the current pixelated screen that bad anymore and that’s saying something.
    I'm even wondering if I should go ahead and buy a maxed out 13“ MBA before it's phased out in favour of the 12" rMBA. Obviously, this doesn't make much sense to a sane person, before throwing money on a maxed out 13“ MBA, one should certainly opt for the base model of the 13" rMBP instead. I know, I've been there. I have a rather embarrassing reasoning against the rMBP, but no matter how stupid it is and no matter how brilliant the retina experience is, it prevails. I really passionately dislike the black bezel.

    I had a 2009 15“ MBP with the same black bezel and merely opening the computer would leave smudges on top of the screen. So often my mind drifted off the work I was doing and solely focused on the fingerprints and dust that had settled on the black bezel and before I knew it, I had whipped out the microfiber cloth and screen wipes and was busy trying to get the bezel clean instead of focusing on my work.
    Of course, that's my fault for having very poor concentration and isn't a design flaw by Apple at all - but still, I love the discrete, matte silver bezel on the MBA (even though it could be half as wide...) and wouldn't settle for a shiny computer screen ever again. It's a logical move, but still a shame that the matte screen option on the MBP ceased to exist with the introduction of retina.
    I also love how the tapered design of the MBA is easier on my wrists than the "higher" chassis of the MBP (even if it's not a huge difference, I personally notice it). So yes, I tried to like the 13“ rMBP, I had it in my online shopping basket many times, but I just don’t want to give up the undistracting workflow with the matte, silver bezel. As ridiculous as this is.
    Of course this bezel might not make it into a rMBA either… especially considering how unpopular it already is. Perhaps another reason to jump on a current MBA now.

    I was really excited about the rMBA at first, because the screen resolution was my only grudge with this - otherwise for me perfect - computer. The more rumors are coming, the more I get put off. I was also very excited about the new Mac Mini, until it came out neutered and I’m rather certain that Apple will do a similar thing to the rMBA to distinguish it further from the rMBP. Then there are also the rumors for a 12“ iPad Pro, which to me sounds like the

    exact. same. device.

    I’d bet money on the fact that the rMBA will be some sort of Surface-like hybrid with a touchscreen, which … as you now know … would be the death of my workflow, because I’d be cleaning that thing non-stop. I mean, come on: What does an iPad require in order to become „Pro“ and a serious work tool? Slightly more horsepower (like in form of a scaled down Intel Broadwell processor) to run OS X and… a keyboard.

    And how could you possibly make the MBA even thinner? Sure, you can shave off a negligible bit from the screen, but I think the real weight loss lies in moving the internals up behind the screen, removing the „bulk“ of the proper chiclet keyboard and integrating it in some sort of thin keyboard cover. I’d eat a broom if these 2 devices aren’t the same (German proverb, it sounds a bit odd in translation).

    Having read through this monologue, I understand that it’s pretty useless. It’s not even a real question, because I know the possible scenarios and my choices. (13“ MBA, 13“ rMBP, waiting for 12“ rMBA)
    Admittedly, I’m a little disappointed, because none of them seem to be appealing especially considering the recent rumors about the 12“ rMBA and how I had been faithfully holding out for it for 2 years and dragging along with my stuttering 11“ MBA and it’s poor battery.

    GAHHHH Apple, stop changing running systems (so drastically). :p

    I wish the forum had a "spoiler-tag" so that I could have hid my little heart-to-heart from those, who don't actively choose to take on that novel. And if the forum indeed has a "spoiler-tag", I wish it was a bit easier to find. :D
  2. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Broadwell is the code name for the next generation of Intel "Core" processors... most Apple products have Haswell chips and the ones before them were Ivy Bridge chips.

    Broadwell is essentially the same as Haswell except that it uses 30% less power.

    But, one difference that Intel is doing from a marketing/product planning standpoint is to release a new line of chips called "Core M" with a much lower advertised power consumption for fanless tablets and whatnot. These 4.5W chips have the same performance as the current 15W Haswell chips in MacBook Airs for short periods of time but there's no way they can sustain that performance for longer periods... 10-15 seconds at most, I would estimate.

    So you are conflating Broadwell and Core M when you talk about Broadwell M so it's somewhat ambiguous.

    I think there's little danger of Apple using these Core M chips in a laptop. There's not much of a reason to. They can't be fanless, as the first Core M laptops are proving, so a Core M-based MacBook can't even be meaningfully thinner. And the MBA screen takes up most of the battery power now, so even if Apple switched to Core M to save power and increase battery life, it wouldn't do so by a meaningful amount.

    So, I would expect Apple to switch from Haswell to similar Broadwell chips for a refresh of the MacBook Air. Might be a new size of Air with a new screen, or it might just be the same models as the current ones except with new Intel chips, the same way that 2012 MBAs used Ivy Bridge chips and Intel switched to Haswells.

    So, what to expect from a Broadwell refresh would be slightly improved performance and maybe an extra hour or two of battery life.

Share This Page