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Claimed low-voltage Intel Core i5 delay could impact MacBook Air upgrade

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
New speculation Friday suggested Apple's MacBook Air, last upgraded in June, may not see a refresh until after its MacBook Pro counterparts, due to claims of a delay for Intel's Core i5 UM processors.

First reported by Fudzilla, the allegations of the ultra-thin 18W TDP processor arriving "a bit later" do not come with a source. But French Mac Web site Hardmac used the claims to speculate that an update to Apple's ultralight MacBook Air may come later than the hardware maker would like.

"Such processors are not fully ready/available and Apple will have to delay the update of the MacBook Air by couple of weeks," the report said, also not citing a source. "It is still possible that Intel ships first samples to Apple, in small quantities, at a premium price."

Contacted by AppleInsider, an Intel spokesman said the all of the company's chips introduced in January are now shipping. The company does not comment on rumors or speculation.

Even if the Core i5 UM delays are true, they may not impact Apple, because in the past, Intel has provided special early access to the Mac maker for its newest chips. The "UM" distinction represents the ultra-low-voltage version of the mobile processor, which is not used in the current model.

The Core i5-520UM has a maximum processor speed of 1.86GHz, and an integrated GPU with 500MHz of processing power. The 32nm dual-core chip also includes 3MB of L3 cache.

Apple has scheduled an event next Wednesday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco to introduce new products. While the company's long anticipated tablet device is expected to be the centerpiece, the Cupertino, Calif., company could also use the opportunity to upgrade other hardware.

Apple last updated the MacBook Air in June 2009, dropping its entry price to $1,499 for a 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo-based system. Apple's full line of MacBook Pros are also based on the Core 2 Duo processor.

Intel's new "Arrandale" architecture based dual-core processors were formally introduced earlier this month. The processors are set to improve upon the previous line of Core 2 Duo chips. Benchmarks of the Core i5 chip found it to have better performance without a negative impact on battery life.
post #2 of 29
As it has been said elsewhere, the current MacBook Air does not use 'UM' processors. Does not stop it from using them in the future as they become more powerful.
post #3 of 29
Does anyone know how well the MacBook Air's have sold? I've not seen many around, though I see MacBooks all over the place.
post #4 of 29
Personally, if Apple decides to update the MBAir, id rather them go to more of a scaled down system. Perhaps a smaller form factor, just to satisfy the couch-potato users like me that probably won't by the tablet due to the fact that i have an iPhone and i want something more portable than a lap-top but still with a phyical keyboard. Sure i could get a net book but i'd rather have a Mac. Which i know will be a very long wait from what i've read....one can hope.
post #5 of 29
The current MBA processors are…

• Core 2 Duo SL9400 (1.86GHz, 6 MB, 17W) $316
• Core 2 Duo SL9600 (2.13GHz,\t6 MB, 17W) $316

Yet AI thinks the next upgrade for the MBA is a single processor that is has the same clock speed as current low end?

• Core i5-520UM (1.86GHz, 3MB, 18W) $241

Not the more logical upgrade in clock speed and performance to the ULV Core-i7s?

• Core i7-620UM (2.13GHz, 4MB, 18W) $278
• Core i7-620UM (2.26GHz, 4MB, 18W) $305


Quote:
Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post

As it has been said elsewhere, the current MacBook Air does not use 'UM' processors. Does not stop it from using them in the future as they become more powerful.

Just to reiterate, Core 2 was 17W for low voltage and 10W for ultra-low voltage. The new Cores are 18W for ultra-low voltage and 25W for low-voltage. The MBA will have to be CULV.
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post #6 of 29
My Powerbook is wheezing on vapours and doing the CPU equivalent of a death rattle; I doubt I can squeeze another month of the poor thing; i don't want to buy old techrelease it already!
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The current MBA processors are

Core 2 Duo SL9400 (1.86GHz, 6 MB, 17W) $316
Core 2 Duo SL9600 (2.13GHz,\t6 MB, 17W) $316

Yet AI thinks the next upgrade for the MBA is a single processor that is has the same clock speed as current low end?

Core i5-520UM (1.86GHz, 3MB, 18W) $241

Not the more logical upgrade in clock speed and performance to the ULV Core-i7s?

Core i7-620UM (2.13GHz, 4MB, 18W) $278
Core i7-620UM (2.26GHz, 4MB, 18W) $305


I agree, it'll probably use the i7-600 series ULV processors. Why you (and AI) refer to their turbo boost frequencies as standard operating frequency is beyond me though. By all rights they are 1.06 GHz and 1.20 GHz chips respectively.

Quote:
Just to reiterate, Core 2 was 17W for low voltage and 10W for ultra-low voltage. The new Cores are 18W for ultra-low voltage and 25W for low-voltage. The MBA will have to be CULV.

While that is true, the TDP for the Arrandale CPUs include the on-die MCH and graphics. If it's not going to have any external graphics, it's got a few extra watts headroom. While the Nvidia 9400 has a power draw of 12 W, it is under-clocked in the Air, and should consume less. Considering the Air still needs an ICH, there should be maybe 4-6 more watts to play with. Considering throttling problems in the current version, perhaps the 18 W chips are the better choice after all.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

Does anyone know how well the MacBook Air's have sold? I've not seen many around, though I see MacBooks all over the place.


Neither have I and I so happen to see a lot of Mac's, and your right, the MacBooks are very popular, especially with the ladies. I see quite a few of the older all aluminum MacBook Pro's too, the all silver look and perhaps because they can be used outside with less trouble.



I personally don't like the MacBook Air, and to spare a rant, lets just say it doesn't offer decent enough features for me.
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post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcsegenmd View Post

My Powerbook is wheezing on vapours and doing the CPU equivalent of a death rattle; I doubt I can squeeze another month of the poor thing; i don't want to buy old techrelease it already!

I was in the same boat as you when I purchased my MBA in July '08. My Vaio laptop literally started smoking (fried logic board) and since it was my mobile work machine, I had no choice but to purchase another machine that same day. I bought the MBA knowing that in two months they updated the machine with NVidia and larger SSD's. I had to have a machine for the next day. I was bummed. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my MBA. Fantastic piece of engineering. Critics on this forum will complain about the high-price but for extremely mobile professionals like myself, this is the best mobile machine going and the advantages it has versus other machines justifies the higher price in my opinion.

If your machine is wheezing... babysit it... wait until that thing give's you it's last breath...
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zandros View Post

I agree, it'll probably use the i7-600 series ULV processors. Why you (and AI) refer to their turbo boost frequencies as standard operating frequency is beyond me though. By all rights they are 1.06 GHz and 1.20 GHz chips respectively.

I use the turbo because its the next generation replacement and its easier for most people to understand the stepping that way. . On this forum if you say that the C2D
running at 1.86GHz and 2.13GHz will be replaced by Core-7s running 1.06Ghz and 1.20GHz, respectively, youll get a lot of bellyaching about how Apple is screwing the customer yet again. On AnandTech I wouldnt refer to them as such.

Quote:
While that is true, the TDP for the Arrandale CPUs include the on-die MCH and graphics. If it's not going to have any external graphics, it's got a few extra watts headroom. While the Nvidia 9400 has a power draw of 12 W, it is under-clocked in the Air, and should consume less. Considering the Air still needs an ICH, there should be maybe 4-6 more watts to play with. Considering throttling problems in the current version, perhaps the 18 W chips are the better choice after all.

That integrated Northbridge should allow for less overall power consumption. Im not sure what theyre going to do about the graphics. Can the the Intel IGP push a 30+ ACD? Hopefully theyll have a proper GPU that can seamlessly orchestrate when to use each or both graphics processors without the users intervention.

The biggest failing with the MBA is the lack of battery life, not the performance. Hopefully this will be addressed.
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post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post

Personally, if Apple decides to update the MBAir, id rather them go to more of a scaled down system. Perhaps a smaller form factor, just to satisfy the couch-potato users like me that probably won't by the tablet due to the fact that i have an iPhone and i want something more portable than a lap-top but still with a phyical keyboard. Sure i could get a net book but i'd rather have a Mac. Which i know will be a very long wait from what i've read....one can hope.

How small could this be and still have a full sized keyboard ? Job's sausage fingers will settle for nothing less.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcsegenmd View Post

My Powerbook is wheezing on vapours and doing the CPU equivalent of a death rattle; I doubt I can squeeze another month of the poor thing; i don't want to buy old techrelease it already!

the last update was June and rarely do they do more than one a year. so don't expect anything other than perhaps a price drop until then.

that said, we should know in a few days
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I use the turbo because its the next generation replacement and its easier for most people to understand the stepping that way. . On this forum if you say that the C2D
running at 1.86GHz and 2.13GHz will be replaced by Core-7s running 1.06Ghz and 1.20GHz, respectively, youll get a lot of bellyaching about how Apple is screwing the customer yet again. On AnandTech I wouldnt refer to them as such.

Your intentions are reasonable, but since Apple doesn't advertise it's processors by the turbo speed, it doesn't make that much sense. Additionally, the maximum turbo speed is usually reserved for single-core use, so it's not a very relatable figure. It is an interesting marketing problem though.

Quote:
That integrated Northbridge should allow for less overall power consumption. Im not sure what theyre going to do about the graphics. Can the the Intel IGP push a 30+ ACD? Hopefully theyll have a proper GPU that can seamlessly orchestrate when to use each or both graphics processors without the users intervention.

I think it can. The bigger problem is the lack of OpenCL capability.

Quote:
The biggest failing with the MBA is the lack of battery life, not the performance. Hopefully this will be addressed.

I agree, it would be a much nicer computer if it could compete with the MBPs in battery life. At the moment, the tradeoff between weight and battery life compared to the 13" MBP is a hard one for me.
post #14 of 29
My next MacBook will be an Air. Most important issue is battery life. I'll be buying a Mac mini (maybe even server), so my laptop doesn't need oomph, just life.
Let's see how it turns out to be.

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post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zandros View Post

Your intentions are reasonable, but since Apple doesn't advertise it's processors by the turbo speed, it doesn't make that much sense. Additionally, the maximum turbo speed is usually reserved for single-core use, so it's not a very relatable figure. It is an interesting marketing problem though.

I surely understand your point but had to decide on whatbi think is the lesser of two evils, so to speak. I've always hated Intel's code names and marketing terms. Mark my words, once Apple releases these dual-core 32nm Core-i's people will come out of the woodwork to sign up for this forum to say how Apple sucks because other vendors had quad-core Core-i7 back in September 2009.

Quote:
I agree, it would be a much nicer computer if it could compete with the MBPs in battery life. At the moment, the tradeoff between weight and battery life compared to the 13" MBP is a hard one for me.

the extra battery and 500GB are enough to keep me with a MBP but that is my main system. I do several people with desktops that love their MBA for what it is.
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post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by panamajack View Post

How small could this be and still have a full sized keyboard ? Job's sausage fingers will settle for nothing less.

there's still a bit left to squeeze down. There's at least an inch on either side. 12" screen wuold due, and about $899, would be perfect.
post #17 of 29
MacAir is now called the "ablet".

There is only so much overlap that even Apple can have, without killing another product. I think you'll find the MacAir didn't see well enough, and Apple has decide to up-grade it to a tablet oops "ablet".
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncee View Post

MacAir is now called the "ablet".

There is only so much overlap that even Apple can have, without killing another product. I think you'll find the MacAir didn't see well enough, and Apple has decide to up-grade it to a tablet oops "ablet".

if you're right, then i have no use for this tablet. Must have phyical keyboard to maximize my laziness on the couch. now all i need is a robot to get my drinks out of the fridge.

I think the Air didn't do well for two huge reasons.

1. it started out at $1799, a full $700 more than the MacBook (white). It's now $1499, which isn't much better
2. it's essentially the power and capability as the Mac Mini or the Standard MacBook, and smaller hard drive
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I use the turbo because its the next generation replacement and its easier for most people to understand the stepping that way. . On this forum if you say that the C2D
running at 1.86GHz and 2.13GHz will be replaced by Core-7s running 1.06Ghz and 1.20GHz, respectively, youll get a lot of bellyaching about how Apple is screwing the customer yet again. On AnandTech I wouldnt refer to them as such.


That integrated Northbridge should allow for less overall power consumption. Im not sure what theyre going to do about the graphics. Can the the Intel IGP push a 30+ ACD? Hopefully theyll have a proper GPU that can seamlessly orchestrate when to use each or both graphics processors without the users intervention.

The biggest failing with the MBA is the lack of battery life, not the performance. Hopefully this will be addressed.

Actually AIR sucks with respect to performance. That is to be expected on such a thin machine using Intel hardware. However a possibly bigger failing is the lack of I/O. Especially USB and Ethernet.

It will be very interesting to see what Apple does with AIR because right now I suspect Apple TV outsells it significantly. It is not that AIR is a bad machine it is just that it is so limited that it does not appeal widely. It is the ultimate example of form winning over function.




Dave
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

Does anyone know how well the MacBook Air's have sold? I've not seen many around, though I see MacBooks all over the place.

Apple no longer releases sales figures of individual products. As a matter of fact, they won't even break out the numbers of things like consumer-grade desktops (iMacs, Mac minis) versus professional-grade desktops (Mac Pro).

That said, I doubt if MacBook Airs are big sellers. I mostly see them in airports which seems logical, as the premium for the light weight comes at an expense of price-performance value. The MacBook Air is intended as a secondary mobile computer for someone with a primary desktop computer.

For typical users (students, Joe Consumer), if you need mobility, a MacBook or MacBook Pro functions well enough as a desktop replacement at a lower price point.

The MBA makes too many compromises (CPU and graphics performance, memory, storage space, battery life, peripheral ports, etc.) for the average user to find much value for it as their only computer.
post #21 of 29
I don't think the average user with light video viewing editing, iwork, ilife, browsing etc. has anything to lose by going the macbook air way, it's a fantastic machine and if you are on the road boy does it make a difference. Esp. as long as the macbook pro has the shit glassy screen. I can't believe apple equip the macbook with a better screen than the pro (and I am not talking lcd specs merely).

I still don't see what the big deal is for the average user to have a desktop replacement. To me imacs (well except for that damn matte option or the museum glass - come on apple...) are as thin and practical on a desk as a big screen, no laptop no matter how big is going to give you the ultimate comfort of an imac. So an imac and a medium good macbook or pro is the ideal combi to me. Of course if you can afford it, but nowadays you can get such good prices on imacs, you can get one dirt cheap, and a macbook and you are as well off as a macbook pro 15" almost. Again for the average user I mean, however vague the term is.

I am still on my powerbook g4 12" though as a lappie to lag around occasionally not that I do that I do this often, lol, I am so attached to it. At work and home I got a couple of 24" white macs c2d the last ones before the aluminum ones, another classic imho. You can get these beauties nowadays for around $550 or so. Why would I need to use autocad say on my laptop?

I wish there would be a 15" version of the air though, but I think I might pull the trigger with the new air, and put my 12" g4 (the greatest laptop ever made) to rest.

Intel has been disappointing in these upgrades anyway.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by panamajack View Post

How small could this be and still have a full sized keyboard ? Job's sausage fingers will settle for nothing less.

It depends on what your definition of "full size" is. I consider the keyboard on my 12" PB G4 full size, and I sorely miss that form factor \

I was thrilled with the announcement of the MBA until they described the footprint. Sigh....
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

It depends on what your definition of "full size" is. I consider the keyboard on my 12" PB G4 full size, and I sorely miss that form factor \

I was thrilled with the announcement of the MBA until they described the footprint. Sigh....

The 12” Powerbook was nice having the keyboard go nearly to the edge but it also had a 4:3 ratio display. All Mac notebooks use a 16:10 display ratio which limits the width of the footprint. Even though being 1” longer on the diagonal and having more display area, the 13” Macs have a shorter display height than the 12” PBs.

Some stats: The physical footprint dimensions of the 12” PB are 10.9” (w) x 8.6” (d), while the 13” MBP is 12.78” (w) x 9.74” (d). The display dimensions of the 12” PB are 9.67” (w) x 7.27” (d), while the 13” MBP is 11.28” (w) x 7.05“ (d). As you can see, the width of the display itself is wider than the width of the entire footprint of the 12” PB. Assuming the display frame border is the same as the 12” PB, in order to make a new Mac notebook footprint width end at the side edge of the keyboard the display size could be not be smaller than 11.4” wide, which seems fine, until you see the height would only be 6.04”.

Personally, I do so much reading on my machine that I wish 4:3 ratio would make a comeback, especially when trying to put a laptop on a setback tray sitting in coach. I have plenty of vertical space but no extra horizontal space. However, I’ll settle for Mac notebooks not going the even wider 16:9 ratio of the new iMacs and other notebook vendors.

Remember these?

http://myoldmac.net/Sellpicts/ApplePortrait-Screen.jpg (image)
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post #24 of 29
I think apple should start thinking of their iMac problems from a two week delay to a month delay, I have order my iMac 27 inch i7 on Dec 31 and it has been push to Jan 29, so funny also that they even change the status of my order to prepared for shipment, and its been like that for a little less than 7 days but as tomorrow it would be a week that it change from not yet shipped to prepared for shipment.
I think apple is going to ship my computer either the same day of the presentation or the day before but I doubt it would leave today on a weekend.
Thanks apple a 2500 dollar computer is taking you guys a month to deliver just be straight forward and put that its going to take a month to deliver, because we are having issues in the design and electronic components. But don´t put your loyal clients as to lab rats for your product testing that should be made by your own not by clients.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The current MBA processors are…

• Core 2 Duo SL9400 (1.86GHz, 6 MB, 17W) $316
• Core 2 Duo SL9600 (2.13GHz,\t6 MB, 17W) $316

Yet AI thinks the next upgrade for the MBA is a single processor that is has the same clock speed as current low end?

• Core i5-520UM (1.86GHz, 3MB, 18W) $241

Not the more logical upgrade in clock speed and performance to the ULV Core-i7s?

• Core i7-620UM (2.13GHz, 4MB, 18W) $278
• Core i7-620UM (2.26GHz, 4MB, 18W) $305




Just to reiterate, Core 2 was 17W for low voltage and 10W for ultra-low voltage. The new Cores are 18W for ultra-low voltage and 25W for low-voltage. The MBA will have to be CULV.

Clock are speeds way over rated !
battery life is the new chip god
i wonder when PA SEMI will enter into the MBA arena
and the us army/marines really need a rugged MBA type device ..AND PA SEMI HAS ALREADY worked with the CIA and the PENTAGON

my 2cts


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post #26 of 29
Macs with the Core iX chips suck in my opinion. Core 2 duo was a golden age.
post #27 of 29
wow that is bad news...............
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post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I use the turbo because its the next generation replacement and its easier for most people to understand the stepping that way. . On this forum if you say that the C2D
running at 1.86GHz and 2.13GHz will be replaced by Core-7s running 1.06Ghz and 1.20GHz, respectively, youll get a lot of bellyaching about how Apple is screwing the customer yet again. On AnandTech I wouldnt refer to them as such.

But isn't the bellyaching justified? Let's examine the situation with the low voltage and ultra low voltage processors more carefully, this time using standard frequencies rather than turbo frequencies.

These are the low voltage Penryns used in the current MBA:
  • Core 2 Duo SL9400: 1.86GHz, 6 MB, 17W (29W with MCH)
  • Core 2 Duo SL9600: 2.13GHz,\t 6 MB, 17W (29W with MCH)

And these are two of the ultra low voltage Penryns which are not used in the current MBA:
  • Core 2 Duo SU9400: 1.4GHz, 3 MB, 10W (22W with MCH)
  • Core 2 Duo SU9600: 1.6GHz, 3 MB, 10W (22W with MCH)

Now let's compare them to the Arrandales.
These are the low voltage Arrandale i7s:
  • Core i7 620LM: 2GHz, 4 MB, 24W
  • Core i7 640LM: 2.13GHz, 4 MB, 24W

And the ultra low voltage Arrandale i7s:
  • Core i7-620UM: 1.06GHz, 4MB, 18W
  • Core i7-640UM: 1.2GHz, 4MB, 18W

As you can see, if the stepping is from the LV Core 2 Duos to the LV Core i7s (or hypothetically from the ULV Core 2 Duos to the ULV Core i7s) then there's no real concern for people not understanding. The clock speeds are more or less in line with each other and you do get a moderate decrease in the combined TDP of CPU + MCH.

The potential problem with understanding only comes from the scenario where the stepping is from the LV Core 2 Duos to the ULV Core i7s. But any complaints about this are totally justified. It is very possible that the ULV Core i7s perform worse than the LV Core 2 Duos when both cores are being utilized and turboboost frequencies cannot be fully realized. In this case there is a sacrifice of performance for a larger decrease in the combined TDP compared to the LV->LV case. Consumers should be aware of this tradeoff. By using the turboboost frequencies however you are completely hiding this tradeoff, and make it seem as if the decrease in combined TDP comes at no cost in performance.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I surely understand your point but had to decide on whatbi think is the lesser of two evils, so to speak. I've always hated Intel's code names and marketing terms. Mark my words, once Apple releases these dual-core 32nm Core-i's people will come out of the woodwork to sign up for this forum to say how Apple sucks because other vendors had quad-core Core-i7 back in September 2009.


the extra battery and 500GB are enough to keep me with a MBP but that is my main system. I do several people with desktops that love their MBA for what it is.

Those mobile quad-core i7's are at 1.6 GHz, and are advertised as such, but usually have it's Turbo Boost speed in parentheses. I used to think those i7's where lame, until I read up on Turbo Boost, and also realized they supported HT. That, and GHz are overrated. I have a Core i5-750 in my new PC, and it spends most of its time at 1.2 GHz, unless it really needs to do something, and when it does, it runs everything fast.

I think Intel only makes it confusing to flood the market segment, for example, I'm confused why most of the desktop Core i3/i5 models exist, but are only differentiated by slight speed bumps, and the i3 that has integrated graphics.

As for the MBA, it all sounds fine, except the GMA HD graphics. Eww.
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