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Intel's latest Processors and Apple - Page 2

post #41 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

Whether or not Apple does that depends on their willingness to invest the engineering time and money to add a GPU to the smallest Macbook Pro and plastic Macbook, which I don't think they will. That, however, is just my opinion.

With Apple's experience on portable design, such changes are trivial to implement if they decide to get rid of the optical drive. These days portable processing power is more important than a built-in optical drive.

Besides Apple sells an external one to fill the gap. I am wondering why they have not already ditched it... too busy with the iP* world I suppose.
post #42 of 60
Thread Starter 
This discussion makes me realise that what a lot of people want is a 13" MacBook Pro with the power of a 15" MacBook Pro. The reason for saying this is very simple: the 24" LED desktop screen that allows a MacBook to be so easily plugged in.

It means when you're in the office you have all the screen real estate you need, and, when you're travelling, you have a machine with a lighter and smaller form factor. I find that the 15" MacBook Pro's screen is too small to use in the office without an LED screen attached to it, while the form factor makes it very heavy and bulky to travel with.

There have been various discussions here about whether the time has now come to junk the DVD drive. With an 11.6" MacBook Air rumoured to be arriving, perhaps we will soon see a 13" MBP without a DVD drive but a fast Nehalem chip?
post #43 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

...a fast Nehalem chip?

You mean Westmere. Nehalem is years-old.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #44 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by PB View Post

With Apple's experience on portable design, such changes are trivial to implement if they decide to get rid of the optical drive. These days portable processing power is more important than a built-in optical drive.

That's true and the optical drive is probably living on borrowed time, so to speak.
post #45 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

This discussion makes me realise that what a lot of people want is a 13" MacBook Pro with the power of a 15" MacBook Pro. The reason for saying this is very simple: the 24" LED desktop screen that allows a MacBook to be so easily plugged in.

Another reason is that many people want all Mac portables to be without optical drives. This will obviously open new opportunities for more processing power with eventually a quad core in the 17" class in the not so distant future and probably new or improved features (for example another storage media or bigger battery). Optical drives are slow and noisy, why not leave just the USB and SD ports? Anyone needing a DVD drive can buy an external one as we did for many years with the floppy disk drives after Apple has abandoned them (one of the most daring moves in the recent computer industry).

I see Apple considering these factors before ditching the optical drive in all kinds of Macbook: (1) demand from users, (2) cost of USB and SD media, (3) Apple software distribution (MacOS X etc.), which is optical disk-bound for the moment. The Windows 7 installation procedure offers some interesting ideas on how inclusion of these disks in the package can be avoided.
post #46 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by PB View Post

Another reason is that many people want all Mac portables to be without optical drives.

They could offer their displays with the option of an optical drive built in.
post #47 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

It looks like Sandy Bridge chips will not be available until Q2 next year ...

the second generation Core i3, i5 and i7's are expected a bit sooner: Q1 2011
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3922/i...cture-exposed/
post #48 of 60
Thread Starter 
Wow, I didn't realise that Sandy Bridge would be available for notebooks so soon. However, the chips described in the Anandtech article all have very high TDPs, so would not be suitable for use in Apple machines. Any idea when 25 w and 35 w TDP Sandy Bridges will arrive? This release date gives the best indication of when Apple will bump the current MBP line-up.

Based on the Anandtech description of Sandy Bridge features, my guess is that Apple won't need discrete GPUs in low end chips any more.
post #49 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

Based on the Anandtech description of Sandy Bridge features, my guess is that Apple won't need discrete GPUs in low end chips any more.


Sandy Bridge is very capable of decode and encode of 1080p video streams along with standard activities (i.e., web browsing, email, Office tasks, et cetera). the Core i5 2520M (two cores, two threads per core, TurboBoost up to 3.2GHz) has a TDP of 35W and will be available in Q1 2011. ultra low voltage versions will be rolled out in Q2 and Q3 2011.

Ivy Bridge (22nm) will be die shrink of Sandy Bridge (32nm) and is expected in 2012.
post #50 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post


Based on the Anandtech description of Sandy Bridge features, my guess is that Apple won't need discrete GPUs in low end chips any more.

If any thing that is the direct opposite to the conclusion I would have arrived at. The performance numbers simply aren't that good and don't indicate an incremental increase in performance even over the currently shipping Macs. The last thing Apple needs to do is go backwards with respect to GPU performance.

The qualifier there would be a very low cost notebook. I actually see some of the coming chips making a $500 Apple laptop possible. It won't be something to write home about but serviceable.

As a side note it is very difficult to say for sure is any one of these new chips is to hot for Apple hardware. What matters for run time is how much power the entire platform uses. In this respect the you have to take into account the removal of the GPU and the reduced functionality of the North-bridge. There is a concern with respect to the high density of the heat produced which may require a more aggressive heat removal approach.
post #51 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The performance numbers simply aren't that good and don't indicate an incremental increase in performance even over the currently shipping Macs ...

there is, in fact, a modest speed improvement and better thermal characteristics. another attractive quality of Sandy Bridge is its price point. these second generation Core CPUs are supposedly priced very aggressively.
post #52 of 60
Thread Starter 
Now that the new MacBook Air models have dropped, we can turn our attention back to the MacBook Pro. As good as the new Air models are, processor performance and hard disk capacity suggests that only very few people will be able to use them as their primary computer. So what will the next MBPs offer and when?

I wonder if Apple will transition its entire notebook line-up to SSD? Given that solid state drives are still very pricy versus standard HDDs, I'm not holding my breath. But I'd love to see a price drop for 500Gb drives that makes them a possibility for inclusion instead of $1,000 extra that means it remains beyond the reach of most. That said, as good as a 500Gb SSD would be, ITb drives are starting to become the next standard capacity. Proliferation will certainly help prices to soften so let's hope Apple encourages more of us to consider SSDs.

With the latest Westmere chips set to arrive in Q1 2011, it looks like January will be the most likely next MBP refresh date. The unanswered question is whether lower-end machines will get integral intel GPUs or 3rd party ones from AMD or whomever. (I note that Intel's new 600GB SSD will also go on sale at this time.)

The other technology that may also be ready for prime time is USB 3.0. Will it be ready for inclusion in the next MBPs?

Whatever new stuff comes along, it looks like the DVD will remain an integral part of the MBP line-up for the foreseeable future.

So to summarise next MBPs:

- January when Westmere arrives
- Faster performance, better graphics
- Possibly USB 3.0
- SSD drives still expensive but increase in capacities and decrease in price per GB
- Same form factor
- Same DVD drive
- Higher screen resolutions
- Longer battery life

All good, but will this be enough to persuade people with anything but very old machines (pre-unibody enclosure) to upgrade?

I think we'll see the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines merge into a single DVD drive-less machine with variable screen sizes by 2012. What will most drive this is the die-shrink from 32 nm Westmere to 22nm Ivy Bridge.

Comments please.
post #53 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by emacs72 View Post

there is, in fact, a modest speed improvement and better thermal characteristics. another attractive quality of Sandy Bridge is its price point. these second generation Core CPUs are supposedly priced very aggressively.

Actually Sandy Bridge is very interesting on the CPU side. That is not an issue, what is is Intels GPUs. These still won't exceed current MBP graphical performance thus a waste in a MBP. Plus we have yet to see Intel commit to OpenCL. These two issues make for a half assed solution much like the current Arandales.

Sandy Bridge (mobile edition) might not be to bad in a Mac Book without a supplemental GPU but I can't see Apple running Sandy Bridge usupported in any MBP. The issue is OpenCL more than anything, as I consider that a has to be there feature for any "Pro" machine. This is what I was getting at.

We can all hope that Intel is just keeping some details about Sandy Bridges GPU secret but OpenCL is a big detail.
post #54 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Actually Sandy Bridge is very interesting on the CPU side. That is not an issue, what is is Intels GPUs. These still won't exceed current MBP graphical performance thus a waste in a MBP. Plus we have yet to see Intel commit to OpenCL. These two issues make for a half assed solution much like the current Arandales.

Sandy Bridge (mobile edition) might not be to bad in a Mac Book without a supplemental GPU but I can't see Apple running Sandy Bridge usupported in any MBP. The issue is OpenCL more than anything, as I consider that a has to be there feature for any "Pro" machine. This is what I was getting at.

We can all hope that Intel is just keeping some details about Sandy Bridges GPU secret but OpenCL is a big detail.


With Steve's important notice on the MBA having no Optical Drive, the lack of Blu-Ray compatibility on the SuperDrive, the distribution of OS X on a USB Flash Drive for the MBAs, and the introduction of the MacStore for OS X (all of them signs that Steve isn't really a fan of physical storage), how likely do you think it is for Apple to remove the SuperDrive and put a dedicated GPU there, while running Sandy Bridge? I'd say it'd be a beastly combo, don't you agree?
post #55 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

Now that the new MacBook Air models have dropped, we can turn our attention back to the MacBook Pro. As good as the new Air models are, processor performance and hard disk capacity suggests that only very few people will be able to use them as their primary computer. So what will the next MBPs offer and when?

The disk capacity is a big issue for me. Performance wise the machines aren't to bad. Apparently they can sustain that performance which is something the old AIRs had problems with. Given all of that, the other big negative for me is scteen size; I'm just getting a little old for that size screen. However I still have to say the new AIRs are very impressive. Give them a bigger SSD and I might consider one as sort of a better iPad.

Yes that would imply as a secondary computer. However I expect that that is where many AIR sales go anyway. Many but not all, sales to customers with modest needs can be significant and AIR can serve as a primary computer for these customers.
Quote:
I wonder if Apple will transition its entire notebook line-up to SSD?

Steveo as much as said so. However I suspect the MBP will be hybrid machines at first.
Quote:
Given that solid state drives are still very pricy versus standard HDDs, I'm not holding my breath. But I'd love to see a price drop for 500Gb drives that makes them a possibility for inclusion instead of $1,000 extra that means it remains beyond the reach of most.

I suspect pricing is a big factor in Apple going to the new card format. Part of the problem here though is the early state of the tech. Once R&D is recovered prices will drop some but not a huge amount. The problem is flash is hitting a physical density wall so within a couple of years we will need a new technology for SSD.
Quote:
That said, as good as a 500Gb SSD would be, ITb drives are starting to become the next standard capacity. Proliferation will certainly help prices to soften so let's hope Apple encourages more of us to consider SSDs.

Drive capacity is an interesting thing. When I first got my 2008 MBP i actually thought that 200GB was a lot of storage. In fact it isn't, just installing XCode and the documentation burns a lot of disk space (17GB). NeoOffice (OpenOffice) is half a GB, iWork 0.7, TeX takes a lot of space and then you have all the little programs at 50 to 100MB at a time. Frankly the first 80GB went really fast and that was before much in the way of documents where installed.

So what I'm saying is that the encouragement is there for bigger SSDs. However I might be a different case than average but these days I'd have to reccomend 200GB as minimal storage.
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With the latest Westmere chips set to arrive in Q1 2011, it looks like January will be the most likely next MBP refresh date.

I don't know about that. They where in a pattern of bumps in early summer to grab the back to school crowd. Besides next year should be real interesting when it comes to processors. Expect surprises.
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The unanswered question is whether lower-end machines will get integral intel GPUs or 3rd party ones from AMD or whomever. (I note that Intel's new 600GB SSD will also go on sale at this time.)

The Pros will likely remained configured as they are, processor / GPU wise. What will become of the White Mac Book is an interesting question as in many ways this is now a high priced machine. Apple will likely try to lower the cost to put it below the new AIRs. One possibility is to use Zacate if it can be had in a fast enough clock by then. I could see the White dropping to under $700.
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The other technology that may also be ready for prime time is USB 3.0. Will it be ready for inclusion in the next MBPs?

Sadly it looks like AMD will beat Intel to market with USB3. I have mixed feelings with respect to USB 3. The problem is it is very much end of the road for USB and really offers very little beyound speed.
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Whatever new stuff comes along, it looks like the DVD will remain an integral part of the MBP line-up for the foreseeable future.

It depends upon the pro. The 15" is likely to retain and I'm pretty sure the 17" will keep the drive. The 13" i'm not to sure about. I'd rather see the 13" MBP support a descrete GPU and a bigger battery myself. Those CD drives take up a lot of space that could be better used making the 13" MBP more "PRO" like.
Quote:
So to summarise next MBPs:

- January when Westmere arrives
- Faster performance, better graphics
- Possibly USB 3.0
- SSD drives still expensive but increase in capacities and decrease in price per GB
- Same form factor
- Same DVD drive
- Higher screen resolutions
- Longer battery life

All good, but will this be enough to persuade people with anything but very old machines (pre-unibody enclosure) to upgrade?

Most MBP users care about performance. Give the machine a bump in this regard and they will sell. Further I think you underestimate the attraction of SSDs and the responsiveness they add to the machines. This is why I expect hybrid machines where a magnetic drive is used for user accounts and data. SSDs are to expensive to cover pro storage needs but they can greatly enhance a machine when apps and system files are stored on them.
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I think we'll see the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines merge into a single DVD drive-less machine with variable screen sizes by 2012. What will most drive this is the die-shrink from 32 nm Westmere to 22nm Ivy Bridge.

Nope! The MBP will just get faster with more computing resources than can be put into an AIR. MBPs catter to power users, that is people that can actually leverage the computational power in these machines. It is an entirely different market than the one served by AIR users. Now the MBP may end up looking a bit more AIR like but that does not mean they have the same guts.
Quote:
Comments please.

Well you got comments. As you know what Apple has up its sleeves is anybodies guess. I just see a major update coming. Of course I've already been wrong this year when it came to the Mac Pro so what do I know? The writing is on the wall or at least in the AIRs.



Dave
post #56 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blues003 View Post

With Steve's important notice on the MBA having no Optical Drive, the lack of Blu-Ray compatibility on the SuperDrive, the distribution of OS X on a USB Flash Drive for the MBAs, and the introduction of the MacStore for OS X (all of them signs that Steve isn't really a fan of physical storage), how likely do you think it is for Apple to remove the SuperDrive and put a dedicated GPU there, while running Sandy Bridge? I'd say it'd be a beastly combo, don't you agree?

Well if we are talking about the 13" MBP I'd say there is a good chance. However contrary to popular belief Apple isn't going to rush to piss off its pro customers. So they will start slowly with the 13" machine, especially because it can benefit the most from a deleted optical.

Beastly I don't know about as the 13" will always be slower than the mainstream MBP. However they should be able to pack in the equivalent of todays larger MBPs.

As to the 15 & 17" MBP I doubt these will delete the optical drives. At least not for a couple of more years as Apple realizes pros need the drive built in. Which brings up the issue of Steve hating optical drives, i don't think this was or is the case. Steve just has the good sense to realize when a technology has run its course. The 3.5" floppy is a good example, PCs still come with them but who uses them anymore? Optical drives will hang around for a very long time because people still use the drives. I seldom do anymore so needing an external drive from time to time isn't an issue.
post #57 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Well if we are talking about the 13" MBP I'd say there is a good chance. However contrary to popular belief Apple isn't going to rush to piss off its pro customers. So they will start slowly with the 13" machine, especially because it can benefit the most from a deleted optical.

Beastly I don't know about as the 13" will always be slower than the mainstream MBP. However they should be able to pack in the equivalent of todays larger MBPs.

As to the 15 & 17" MBP I doubt these will delete the optical drives. At least not for a couple of more years as Apple realizes pros need the drive built in. Which brings up the issue of Steve hating optical drives, i don't think this was or is the case. Steve just has the good sense to realize when a technology has run its course. The 3.5" floppy is a good example, PCs still come with them but who uses them anymore? Optical drives will hang around for a very long time because people still use the drives. I seldom do anymore so needing an external drive from time to time isn't an issue.


Yes, we were talking about the 13''. I do find that combo quite beastly. Sandy Bridge allows USB 3.0, a nice CPU for a very attractive price, and an IGP that can do most mundane tasks with relative ease (it was superior to the ATI 5450 in Anandtech.com, even with beta drivers). When extra power is needed, the dedicated card would be activated (most likely a NVIDIA one, I find ATI not too likely for now). All that on a 13'' laptop with OS X for 1200 seems like a terrific deal for me. Not to mention the exceresis of the Optical Drive also means a reduction in weight, and overall improved portability.
post #58 of 60
By that I mean Apple seems to equate size with performance, that is the 13" is low end performance wise and the 15" is in the middle. I really don't know why they do this as for most laptop users the size of the machine is a big consideration and generally people want as much performance as they can get out of the machine they choose.

I suspect that unless Apple has a change of heart the 13" MBP will always be relatively low powered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blues003 View Post

Yes, we were talking about the 13''. I do find that combo quite beastly.

Well it could be! Knowing Apple though, even if they put in a discrete GPU they will likely resort to something of much lower performance compared to the 15 & 17 inch machines. I don't agree with it but that seems to be Apples way. We can only hope that that changes in the future, but I'm not holding my breath.

Unless Intel has in fact embraced OpenCL I suspect Apple will need to install some sort of auxiliary GPU simply to support this key technology.
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Sandy Bridge allows USB 3.0, a nice CPU for a very attractive price, and an IGP that can do most mundane tasks with relative ease (it was superior to the ATI 5450 in Anandtech.com, even with beta drivers).

It may or may not beat the 5450, I really don't know, but I have absolutely no faith in Anandtech.
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When extra power is needed, the dedicated card would be activated (most likely a NVIDIA one, I find ATI not too likely for now).

I was so hoping the new AIRS would have AMD Zacate chips in them. Intels lock on mobile is having a rather negative impact on the industry.
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All that on a 13'' laptop with OS X for 1200 seems like a terrific deal for me. Not to mention the exceresis of the Optical Drive also means a reduction in weight, and overall improved portability.

Sounds like a good deal as long as we get a real boost in performance across the board. Unfortunately Apple treats the 13" MBP as if it is a Mac Book wear business cloths. This guy needs to stand apart from the Mac Book. Right now the 13" MBP is a Mac book warmed over.
post #59 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Unless Intel has in fact embraced OpenCL I suspect Apple will need to install some sort of auxiliary GPU simply to support this key technology.

OpenCL is pretty useless unless you're a power user. Only handful of apps support it plus mobile GPUs are anyway low power so no matter is it Intel or NVidia IGP, it wouldn't help much with OpenCL. Besides, the average Joes that buy 13" MBPs have no idea what OpenCL even is.

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It may or may not beat the 5450, I really don't know, but I have absolutely no faith in Anandtech.

AnandTech is the best site when it comes to reviews and stuff. The only reason to be doubtful is because it's uncertain what IGP was it (6 or 12 EUs; Turbo or no Turbo). All standard voltage SBs will have 12 EUs and very aggressive Turbo so it's possible that mobile SBs will be much faster than the IGP in AnandTech's tests.

At least the IGP is looking promising. Hopefully the drivers will be fixed too, currently they are horrible and that's why Intel IGP feels slower than 9400M even though benchmarks show that they are nearly equal.
post #60 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellhammer View Post

OpenCL is pretty useless unless you're a power user.

I see this thought expressed a lot, which puzzles me. OpenCL isn't really a feature that the user needs to be aware of, it is rather a feature for developers. Since Apple was careful to design OpenCL with fall back methods you might never know if an app can benefit from an OpenCL supporting GPU.
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Only handful of apps support it plus mobile GPUs are anyway low power so no matter is it Intel or NVidia IGP, it wouldn't help much with OpenCL.

I'm not sure what you mean by a handful but OpenCL is new so I wouldn't expect a lot of support in apps right now. However those that do use it are often the apps that need it the most.

As to mobile GPU's we are talking future devices here. Even given our current mobile parts some code will run a lot faster on the GPU. It is all about doing things in parallel. Beyound that mobile devices come with weaker main CPU components so even a slower GPU still effectively helps out.
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Besides, the average Joes that buy 13" MBPs have no idea what OpenCL even is.

Well you are right about that. But again we are talking about Mac Book Pros here where the market is a little higher end than the other Macs. Enough of the MBP market knows what OpenCL is so they will have to support it even on the 13" machine for it to get any respect in the marketplace.

Beyound the average Joe you have developers that Apple is trying to convince to go OpenCL. Not having the support in a Pro machine would send a difficult to digest message to the developer community. If Apple really wants developers to adopt OpenCL they need to be consistant in its deployment. It is no surprise that the new AIRs have OpenCL capable hardware in them.

Beyond the external developers there is Apple itself that is implementing OpenCL capable code. From one release to the next of OS/X they seldom detail what code is using the GPU. Some stuff like Quartz is known to use the GPU, but what about the rest?
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AnandTech is the best site when it comes to reviews and stuff.

That is one way to look at it. Another way is to say the site is part of Intels marketing department. I've become less and less impressed with the site overtime.
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The only reason to be doubtful is because it's uncertain what IGP was it (6 or 12 EUs; Turbo or no Turbo).

See what I mean! The site is spoon feed by Intel, you can't trust their objectivity.
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All standard voltage SBs will have 12 EUs and very aggressive Turbo so it's possible that mobile SBs will be much faster than the IGP in AnandTech's tests.

Well we can hope. However if the hardware doesn't run OpenCL code I will say it simply doesn't matter.
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At least the IGP is looking promising. Hopefully the drivers will be fixed too, currently they are horrible and that's why Intel IGP feels slower than 9400M even though benchmarks show that they are nearly equal.

Well yeah the drivers are terrible and have been for years. Then we findout the underlying hardware is at fault and Intel has strung us along. The GPUs may be all new in SB but that means nothing with Intels track record. One should wait and see.

It is Intels track record here that bothers me the most. Other sources have indicated that the GPUs are only a major improvement relative to Intels old hardware. That is not saying much. In any event it will be a good six months before we see actual hardware using the chips with stable drivers.

On a side note I see much hand wringing here with respect to SB wattage. People have to remember that those parts integrate a lot of functionality that would be seen else where on the motherboard. So the SB parts may still offer good battery run times. The problem then becomes cooling a hot point of heat load. It is a little more thermal engineering work but it is not something that will keep the parts out of a MBP. For viability you need to look at how the total power foot print of the mother board is impacted. 35 watts might actually be a low point once you consider that the GPU and the memory controller are in those figures.

In fact that 35 watt CPU might effectively power the 13" MBP once the optical drive is pulled along with the Firewire chip. It is only a question of what the total power profile of the motherboard is, if the new technology allows them to lower that below the current boards profile then why not use SB.
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