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New MBA

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
Hello,

I apologize for the repeat topic of what/when and why new apple stuff will be updated. I have read previous threads but can't gain a clear enough idea of what's to come.

Anyways I would like to know peoples views on the next MBA refresh; will it jump to Sandy Bridge (again I don't know if intel may a low power processor low enough for the MBA in sandy bridge), and the other one is thunderbolt port(is the chipset small enough to get integrated into a MBA yet).

I am looking to replace my current set up of a MBP acting like my desktop and my iPad(and keyboard) for my mobile work and travels. This setup has worked great for me last year while I was at university, but now I really need a full OS with me at work. So my thinking was if the MBA doesn't look like it will get one of the two main things I said above in the next revision, then I will go ahead and buy one now to replace my iPad with.

Thank you in advance for any pointers or insight you can give me.
post #2 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

Anyways I would like to know peoples views on the next MBA refresh; will it jump to Sandy Bridge (again I don't know if intel may a low power processor low enough for the MBA in sandy bridge), and the other one is thunderbolt port(is the chipset small enough to get integrated into a MBA yet).

Intel does have a lower power processor to use - you have to remember that their TDP is the CPU + GPU. There are some ULV chips that can go in that are out already.

I suspect that to get Thunderbolt support, they will have to go with Intel's chipset. Maybe not but I think it's likely.

Right now, the white Macbook has not been updated to match the 13" MBP and it normally is. It would be a good move for Apple to drop the white model at the back to school season, switch the Air to an i5/i7 ULV.

What's interesting is that Intel have said Ivy Bridge will go quad-core and could be introduced in the second half of 2011 so that may be a possibility and they will most likely bump up the Flash sizes to have 128GB entry because Toshiba are jumping to 25nm.

From this point, the updates will probably go:

April - iMac/Mini, all Thunderbolt, Sandy Bridge and a Mac Pro minor refresh with TB
June - iPhone 5
August/September - Macbook Air update to either 2-core Sandy Bridge or 4-core Ivy Bridge with 128GB SSD entry and white Macbook dropped
November - Mac Pro updated to have 8-core chips so up to 16-cores
January 2012 - more Ivy Bridge chips. It may launch here which means MBA will get SB
post #3 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

It would be a good move for Apple to drop the white model at the back to school season, switch the Air to an i5/i7 ULV.

You mean after, right? Probably the easiest way to clear out old stock of iPods and white MacBooks.

Quote:
April - iMac/Mini, all Thunderbolt, Sandy Bridge and a Mac Pro minor refresh with TB

Apple has never updated their professional desktops without a CPU change, so I'd say no update until Q4 2011 when the chips exist.
post #4 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You mean after, right? Probably the easiest way to clear out old stock of iPods and white MacBooks.

Yeah they might do that instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Apple has never updated their professional desktops without a CPU change, so I'd say no update until Q4 2011 when the chips exist.

It won't really be an upgrade though - they just switch the GPU bundled with it and offer the GPU as upgrades for existing owners.
post #5 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

It won't really be an upgrade though - they just switch the GPU bundled with it and offer the GPU as upgrades for existing owners.

Oh! You mean put the Thunderbolt chip on the graphics card itself and call the Mini DisplayPort port on the card Thunderbolt? Great for users of older models (me), terrible for all models (me, too) for the rest of the lifespan of the Mac Pro.

Thunderbolt-chipped graphics cards would mean custom cards exclusive to Apple... not the road we want to go down again.
post #6 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Thunderbolt-chipped graphics cards would mean custom cards exclusive to Apple... not the road we want to go down again.

It wouldn't have any implications for custom cards, Thunderbolt is hardware independent so PC manufacturers can do the same thing. But Apple still use Mac-specific cards anyway.

It doesn't have to be a GPU though, they can make a TB PCI card. They have to update the Mac Pro line to ship with Thunderbolt support soon. There's no point in shipping Macbook Pros with 12x faster ports than your highest end machine.

Once people see the Thunderbolt stuff at NAB, there will be a lot of interest.
post #7 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

It wouldn't have any implications for custom cards, Thunderbolt is hardware independent so PC manufacturers can do the same thing. But Apple still use Mac-specific cards anyway.

It doesn't have to be a GPU though, they can make a TB PCI card. They have to update the Mac Pro line to ship with Thunderbolt support soon. There's no point in shipping Macbook Pros with 12x faster ports than your highest end machine.

Once people see the Thunderbolt stuff at NAB, there will be a lot of interest.

I agree with Apple using Mac-specific cards anyway.

2 problems however.
- Intel said that there would be no TB (data-only) PCIe cards. Which is understandable since TB specs include 1 or 2 channels of video.
- Most of what TB offers externally, a MP (or other high-end computer) can offer internally: either fast storage with RAID cards, or most of the audio/video TB devices that will be offered "soon" as those are based on PCIe connected devices anyway.

Sure, in the future, we may see TB devices that are very different from what is offered in PCIe format. But that's another story.

In any case, for the current MPs, Apple could offer a GPU/TB combo card, it doesn't have to be a very fast gpu, since it will probably connect thru 8x lanes (as with the MBPs dedicated gpus), while up to 8x lanes could be used for a couple of independant TB controllers/ports, everything on a 16x card. With up to 12 TB devices and 2 displays, that should be enough for all TB needs.

For the future MP models, Apple could offer on-board, but dedicated graphics, standard, with a couple of independant TB controllers/ports, that would be enough for applications like server and plenty more, without taking a physical PCIe slot (the MP only has 4 of them). If the user wants/needs a better gpu or a CUDA-capable gpu, they add one in the double-wide slot.

----

As far as the MBA is concerned, a TB port would be a nice addition, at least for the 13" model if space is an issue, but the TB chip is small (15x15mm) and should be inexpensive. Docking solutions (SATA, USB, FW, Enet, audio i/o, display) would probably be very popular. Core i5/i7 ULV/LV cpus are a given.
post #8 of 43
Thread Starter 
Wow thank you Marvin and tallest skill and also the last post forgot your name. Great posts and really helpful. I was doing my owning research on thunderbolt and I came to a realization that I would like you guys to confirm. Unlike FireWire I won't be able to create a network with TB will I?

The idea I had in my head was I would eventually get around to replacing my preunibody MBP with a new TB one. And then upgrade my other things like external hard drives with time. So the final set up would be a MBP linked to a external hard drive acting as a desktop. And then when I needed to sync up the MBA I could simply plug up into my thunderbolt setup and then view files on my external hard drive and MBP just like I was plugged into a network.

However after reading some articles I got the impression that multiply computers couldn't connect up like that. Which would mean I would just go for the MBA now as the file sizes I work with are easily transferable over wifi.

Last question I have is, when the MBA is updated to a ulv/lv core i5 or similar processor, as someone pointed out apple would probably have to ditch the nvidia graphics set. Does intel make a graphics chipset that is comparable to the nvidia one now? The real use the MBA will be getting is emails, letters, slideshows for work and maybe aperture for when I travel I have a place to back up my photos. Or I may just stick with iPhoto and then transfer them to my MBP. But I would be interested to know peoples views on if the current generation of MBA is a good set up for that kind of work requirement. (I was thinking 11 inch with 4th ram and 1.6 ghz rather than 13 inch)
post #9 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

Last question I have is, when the MBA is updated to a ulv/lv core i5 or similar processor, as someone pointed out apple would probably have to ditch the nvidia graphics set. Does intel make a graphics chipset that is comparable to the nvidia one now?

They are roughly comparable. The NVIDIA 320m is probably a little better especially if you intend to do a little light gaming on your machine.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

The real use the MBA will be getting is emails, letters, slideshows for work

This is the perfect use case for the MBA. It is designed to excel at this type of work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

and maybe aperture for when I travel I have a place to back up my photos. Or I may just stick with iPhoto and then transfer them to my MBP.

I don't own a current MBA but I think you're pushing its limits with Aperture. iPhoto probably will be no problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

But I would be interested to know peoples views on if the current generation of MBA is a good set up for that kind of work requirement. (I was thinking 11 inch with 4th ram and 1.6 ghz rather than 13 inch)

I like the current MBAs a lot and have seriously considered getting one to replace my aging MBP. I decided to wait for the SB MBAs, which I hope will arrive sooner than Marvin is predicting. I suspect that the SB MBAs will perform as well if not slightly better but will have improved battery life. That's my only gripe. The current MBAs don't have as much battery life as I would like. That's not to say that the current MBAs are poor, far from it IMO. But I would like a little longer battery life. With it being this close to new MBAs, I'm going to wait it out and see what the SB MBAs can offer from a battery life standpoint. If it is not an improvement over the current models, or not substantially better, I'll pick up one of the current models at the refurb store at a discount.

That's my take on the matter FWIW.
post #10 of 43
Seriously, no facts can be presented to deal with questions like these. So everything in this thread is pure speculation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

Hello,

I apologize for the repeat topic of what/when and why new apple stuff will be updated. I have read previous threads but can't gain a clear enough idea of what's to come.

You never will get a clear picture because there are no facts to be had. Zero zip nada! Even if a big rumor gets released you won't know until release time if any of the rumored info is indeed fact. It just boggles the mind that you would post questions like this and then act on any responses as fact.
Quote:
Anyways I would like to know peoples views on the next MBA refresh; will it jump to Sandy Bridge (again I don't know if intel may a low power processor low enough for the MBA in sandy bridge), and the other one is thunderbolt port(is the chipset small enough to get integrated into a MBA yet).

Again this is speculation. The AIR could jump to Sandy Bridge, AMDs Fusion Zacatecas platform or AMDs Fusion Llano. It would be most interesting if AMD could bump the cloak rate of Zacate up to around 2.4 to 2.6 GHz as that would likely increase performance while lowering power usage.

The big problem with Sandy Bridge is that such a machine would have to rely on the built in GPU unless Intel has a viable low power GPU less model coming. The problem is the integrated GPU is another Intel dog. I do believe the lack of OpenCL support would kill it in most Apple products.
Quote:

I am looking to replace my current set up of a MBP acting like my desktop and my iPad(and keyboard) for my mobile work and travels. This setup has worked great for me last year while I was at university, but now I really need a full OS with me at work. So my thinking was if the MBA doesn't look like it will get one of the two main things I said above in the next revision, then I will go ahead and buy one now to replace my iPad with.

Are you serious about using an AIR as your main computer in an office environment. I'd think long and hard about that. It certainly can work for some but if you use it constantly all day long it will be too small. Only you know your use cases here but I'd think long and hard about AIR as a primary office machine.
Quote:

Thank you in advance for any pointers or insight you can give me.

No problem I just don't think most of your questions are something that can be addressed in a reasonable manner. Mostly because of the limited ability to see into the future.
post #11 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

Wow thank you Marvin and tallest skill and also the last post forgot your name. Great posts and really helpful. I was doing my owning research on thunderbolt and I came to a realization that I would like you guys to confirm. Unlike FireWire I won't be able to create a network with TB will I?

That is a good question but I will leave you with this thought, I don't think the entire TB strategy has been played out yet. For one I'm expecting either a docking hub or monitor for the laptops. These would likely support Ethernet.
Quote:
The idea I had in my head was I would eventually get around to replacing my preunibody MBP with a new TB one. And then upgrade my other things like external hard drives with time. So the final set up would be a MBP linked to a external hard drive acting as a desktop.

Speaking as somebody with a early 2008 MBP this is really stupid. Using a laptop as a desktop machine is foolish. You may not like to gear that but think about this, if you buy a desktop iMac right now you have your portable needs covered!!! You already have an iPad and a MBP to hold you over until a more suitable portable arrives.

This should be pretty obvious, fill out your desktop now and get by with your current portable for awhile.
Quote:
And then when I needed to sync up the MBA I could simply plug up into my thunderbolt setup and then view files on my external hard drive and MBP just like I was plugged into a network.

Or you could simply buy a hub.
Quote:

However after reading some articles I got the impression that multiply computers couldn't connect up like that. Which would mean I would just go for the MBA now as the file sizes I work with are easily transferable over wifi.

So why ask the question? In any event I think it will be awhile before we have a sound idea as to what Thunderbolt is capable of. I doubt that we will see the ability to connect straight from one machine to another but a hub emulating Ethernet or some other protocol might be possible.
Quote:
Last question I have is, when the MBA is updated to a ulv/lv core i5 or similar processor, as someone pointed out apple would probably have to ditch the nvidia graphics set. Does intel make a graphics chipset that is comparable to the nvidia one now?

No it doesn't, not even close. The hardware doesn't even support OpenCL.
Quote:
The real use the MBA will be getting is emails, letters, slideshows for work and maybe aperture for when I travel I have a place to back up my photos. Or I may just stick with iPhoto and then transfer them to my MBP.

You do realize your current MBP can do this now?

Beyond that you have to be very careful about performance of the new AIRs. Any app that is CPU bound will absolutely suck on the current AIRs. With future AIRs you need to be worried about a Sandy Bridge only solution due to the lackluster GPU.

Also realize that future software will likely be GPU accelerated. Webkit nightlies are and sooner or later the advance features of web kit will make it into Safari. The point here is that it is easy to buy to little GPU these days. The current AIR GPU isn't that bad but the one in Sandy Bridge would be a step in reverse.

In other words the next gen AIR might be a big step forward for the CPU and a step backward for the GPU. No one really knows until the new AIRs debut.
Quote:
But I would be interested to know peoples views on if the current generation of MBA is a good set up for that kind of work requirement. (I was thinking 11 inch with 4th ram and 1.6 ghz rather than 13 inch)

Well I can't say about Aperture but it is pretty obvious they handle E-Mail well. I would have a big concern about on board storage though, one photo shoot could plug the drive easy.

In any event there is to much missing in this conversation for any reasonable recommendation to be made.
post #12 of 43
Thread Starter 
Thank you wizard_69 and backtomac. Again great posts thank you.*

But wizard_69 I know that I might as well gaze into a smokey crystal ball and guess what might happen for all I know Steve jobs has made the next iPhone in all the colours of the rainbow, but I find some reassurance in asking other people who maybe just as lost as I am about what they think, it is the sheep herd mentality of mine I guess. Whereas you seem to be more of a wolf who takes things for what they are, and in this cause pure guess work.*

But you are right as you didn't have enough info from me, so you couldn't make a clear recommendation. I have a couple of hours to kill so I will give a quick run down, I have just finished university and now work with a property firm in London. I have an old MBP 17" and an iPad both of which are great. But with my new job I am traveling a lot, like right now I am in Laos and soon to be going to Thailand and then china. And my iPad works great doing emails and small presentations and keeping my notes together, HOWEVER when I meet people and they say the plans are on my USB I go o can you email them to me, which then involves tracking down an Internet cafe to email maybe two documents to myself. So I thought I would use a MBA as this would replace my iPad and solve the USB/zipped files issues. Also the reason I would stay with a MBP instead of a iMac is simply because I sometimes do take my laptop to work if I need to work on cad drawings or use the wacom tablet in the office so an iMac isn't practical for me.*

But thank you for all the help and information. I don't want to be a bore or burden, as I said I get a sense of comfort from hearing from other people even if they are just guessing, stupid I know. But I think today and these posts have settled it for me, I think I will get a MBA now as I just spent over two hours trying to find a Internet store so I could downsize a PDF so I could eventually upload it onto my server without it taking several decades from Laos.*

Once again thank you everyone that posted and if you have more views or guessed I would still love to hear them as I dont think I will be buying a MBA in Laos any time soon.*
post #13 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Beyond that you have to be very careful about performance of the new AIRs. Any app that is CPU bound will absolutely suck on the current AIRs. With future AIRs you need to be worried about a Sandy Bridge only solution due to the lackluster GPU.

Still, that's what Apple offers in the brand new 13" MBPs (Sandy Bridge no dedicated graphics). If Apple thinks that's an upgrade over 2.40/2.66 C2D + 320M, the same will probably be true for the MBA.

With ULV versions at 1.40-1.60Ghz, LV versions at 2.10-2.30GHz, and integrated graphics of the same series (HD3000, at a lower clock of course, but that's probably also the case with the current 320M in the MBAs), the 11.6" model may not get a huge boost (still with hyperthreading and turbo-boost, you should be able to tell the difference), but the 13" (up to 2.30GHz + SSD) could be a real threat to the 13" MBP with HDD, in terms of "pure" snappiness!

FWIW, I think that the MBA is the perfect design for Thunderbolt provided appropriate "docking" devices are available. A TB display that could be an iMac without cpu/gpu/ram, would be perfect to compensate for the MBA "shortcomings": more USB ports, FW, Enet, additional storage?, and display/charging from a couple of wires...
post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

So I thought I would use a MBA as this would replace my iPad and solve the USB/zipped files issues. Also the reason I would stay with a MBP instead of a iMac is simply because I sometimes do take my laptop to work if I need to work on cad drawings or use the wacom tablet in the office so an iMac isn't practical for me.

The MBA 1.6GHz, 320M, 4GB RAM seems like it would be fine for what you want. The CPUs are a bit sluggish but the SSD will help loading files in.

It's actually quite interesting to see such a painful workflow just because Apple didn't put USB storage support on the iPad. All they need to do is make it work as a master device and have a filesystem. I'm sure it will come eventually after it's tested enough but it kinda seems like they don't want to do it.

The question would be whether to get the C2D with the better GPU or an i-series with Intel's IGP. If you do renders, the i-series chips will be significantly faster (at this stage usually i-series = 2x Core 2 Duo) but the NVidia card will have much better compatibility. Intel's chips are well-known for graphics glitches in software that uses the GPU and have been noted with the latest chips.

In your situation, I'd do exactly what you intended and get the 11", 1.6GHz MBA.
post #15 of 43
Thread Starter 
Ok, final thank you as I am leaving this city and who knows when internet will be available next. Thanks everyone for the info and guidance it has been really helpful
post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The MBA 1.6GHz, 320M, 4GB RAM seems like it would be fine for what you want. The CPUs are a bit sluggish but the SSD will help loading files in.

It's actually quite interesting to see such a painful workflow just because Apple didn't put USB storage support on the iPad. All they need to do is make it work as a master device and have a filesystem. I'm sure it will come eventually after it's tested enough but it kinda seems like they don't want to do it.

The question would be whether to get the C2D with the better GPU or an i-series with Intel's IGP. If you do renders, the i-series chips will be significantly faster (at this stage usually i-series = 2x Core 2 Duo) but the NVidia card will have much better compatibility. Intel's chips are well-known for graphics glitches in software that uses the GPU and have been noted with the latest chips.

In your situation, I'd do exactly what you intended and get the 11", 1.6GHz MBA.

Mr. G take a look at the Motorola XOOM. It is an Android tablet that can store files. It does a lot of "computer things" iOS on iPad does not. QuickOffice edits MS Office files. I'm loving Android as a Mac user so far. And Android will get tons of updating this summer. If you play with a XOOM let us know what you think. I haven't gotten to play with one yet.
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post #17 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post

Mr. G take a look at the Motorola XOOM. It is an Android tablet that can store files. It does a lot of "computer things" iOS on iPad does not. QuickOffice edits MS Office files. I'm loving Android as a Mac user so far. And Android will get tons of updating this summer. If you play with a XOOM let us know what you think. I haven't gotten to play with one yet.

That may be, but he wasn't talking about getting an iPad.
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post #18 of 43
Any chance we see the new MBAs with an AMD Fusion? Or is that rumor pretty much out the door after Apple decided to use Intel's Thunderbolt ports?
post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by akhosrof View Post

Any chance we see the new MBAs with an AMD Fusion?

Zero. There was never any chance of this ever. It was people manipulating stock.

Quote:
Or is that rumor pretty much out the door after Apple decided to use Intel's Thunderbolt ports?

It's not "Intel's", and there's nothing stopping it from being on AMD boards. Thunderbolt is the new USB. USB is dead.
post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

Still, that's what Apple offers in the brand new 13" MBPs (Sandy Bridge no dedicated graphics). If Apple thinks that's an upgrade over 2.40/2.66 C2D + 320M, the same will probably be true for the MBA.

Which is the whole point of my statement!! If Apple goes with a Sandy Bridge only implementation you have to consider carefully the performance considerations. Obviously for some no big deal as the better CPU performance would be a blessing. However if you need ompf of a good GPU or OpenCL support the move to SB only would be a step backwards.
Quote:
With ULV versions at 1.40-1.60Ghz, LV versions at 2.10-2.30GHz, and integrated graphics of the same series (HD3000, at a lower clock of course, but that's probably also the case with the current 320M in the MBAs), the 11.6" model may not get a huge boost (still with hyperthreading and turbo-boost, you should be able to tell the difference), but the 13" (up to 2.30GHz + SSD) could be a real threat to the 13" MBP with HDD, in terms of "pure" snappiness!

There is a lot more to usability than snappiness. I'm not trying to dismiss the importance of a responsive machine just that the GPU isn't all it is cracked up to be on Sandy Bridge. In some cases it would be a significant step backwards. People need to shop with intelligence and make sure the machine fits their needs.
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FWIW, I think that the MBA is the perfect design for Thunderbolt provided appropriate "docking" devices are available.

Oh yes I agree 100% here. I have to believe that smart docking was one of Apples goals when they came up with TB.
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A TB display that could be an iMac without cpu/gpu/ram, would be perfect to compensate for the MBA "shortcomings": more USB ports, FW, Enet, additional storage?, and display/charging from a couple of wires...

Well I'm not too sure how much of that will get wrapped into a display but you have the right idea! However this is not just a Mac Book AIR feature, all Apple laptops could benefit from such a dock. It would be great for Laptop users of all interests.

The only problem I see is that the laptop market could dry up as more and more people become adept at replacing their Laptop needs with iPads. I still see a resurgence in true desktop machines. This leads me to the conclusion that iPad and similar devices need the Thunderbolt ports as much as they need other features.
post #21 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Zero. There was never any chance of this ever. It was people manipulating stock.

Never is a very long time! The biggest problem with Zacate Fusion is the slightly lower core performance and low clock rate. AMD could easily boost the clock rate with a process shrink and have a processor that is an interesting solution for the AIR.


Quote:
It's not "Intel's", and there's nothing stopping it from being on AMD boards. Thunderbolt is the new USB. USB is dead.

This USB is dead matra is non-sense. The two interfaces are so different that you will likely never see USB replaced by Thunderbolt. The two interfaces don't even play on the same field.
post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Zero. There was never any chance of this ever. It was people manipulating stock.



It's not "Intel's", and there's nothing stopping it from being on AMD boards. Thunderbolt is the new USB. USB is dead.

Thanks for the clarification. After the recent Intel/Nvidia settlement, do you think there is any chance, maybe even down the road, we see Nvidia chips integrated on the SB board?
post #23 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

It's not "Intel's", and there's nothing stopping it from being on AMD boards. Thunderbolt is the new USB. USB is dead.

"Intel Corporation today announced the availability of Thunderbolt technology...
Developed by Intel (under the code name Light Peak), and brought to market with technical collaboration from Apple. Thunderbolt technology is..."

So, if people want to integrated Thunderbolt on their boards, who they should talk to?

Thunderbolt is the new FW. And a better FW, much more high-end. If fact, it bridges the gap between USB/FW and PCIe devices. FW will be dead in a couple of years for computers. USB3/eSATA devices may be threaten depending on the adoption of TBolt on Windows PCs, but anything low-speed (keyboard, mouse, printers, low-end audio/midi devices,...) will stay under USB(2) which is perfect for what it does. Even if we set apart the need for 4x PCIe lanes for each TBolt port, that will limit the number of ports on any computer, the daisy-chaining nature of TBolt does not allow quick connect/disconnect as USB does.

Thunderbolt is not a consumer technology even if consumers could benefit from it. Apart from some LaCie drives (still $300 and up for a 1TB HDD w/TBolt), all other planned TBolt devices for this year are expensive devices ($1000 and up, really up), those are basically pro audio/video PCIe-based devices refitted as external devices via Thunderbolt.
post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Never is a very long time! The biggest problem with Zacate Fusion is the slightly lower core performance and low clock rate. AMD could easily boost the clock rate with a process shrink and have a processor that is an interesting solution for the AIR.




This USB is dead matra is non-sense. The two interfaces are so different that you will likely never see USB replaced by Thunderbolt. The two interfaces don't even play on the same field.

Yes yes!!! The Apple Duo: 2011 Edition. I'll buy. The promise of MBA/TB alone is worth waiting for. I hope it makes it. One TB, one USB 2. And power. That's it. Sounds good. Of course it would be cool to see TB on the 11" but I suppose that won't happen for a few years. But eventually I imagine it will, just a matter of time and economies of scale making it cheap enough. Or do you think that is possible?
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post #25 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post

Yes yes!!! The Apple Duo: 2011 Edition. I'll buy. The promise of MBA/TB alone is worth waiting for. I hope it makes it. One TB, one USB 2.

Let's not sell USB short! I won't buy a machine with one USB port only, it is too big of a limitation. Simply put USB supports far to many interfaces that will never see implementation as a TB device.
Quote:
And power. That's it. Sounds good. Of course it would be cool to see TB on the 11" but I suppose that won't happen for a few years.

You never know. With Sandy Bridge and Fusion devices we are on the verg of entirely new generations of devices. There would likely be room on the motherboard for TB today. However imagine for a moment that Intel came out with a new I/O chip for Sandy Bridge with Thunderbolt built in. TB will come to the AIRs, the only question is when. In any event the AIRs cry out for a docking solution so I would hope it is with the next rev.
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But eventually I imagine it will, just a matter of time and economies of scale making it cheap enough. Or do you think that is possible?

Eventually yes! Nailing down when is a different issue. I could see Intel building an I/O support chip for Sandy Bridge tailored for Apples needs. Ultimately integration lowers cost and Apple sells a lot of laptops.
post #26 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post

Yes yes!!! The Apple Duo: 2011 Edition. I'll buy. The promise of MBA/TB alone is worth waiting for. I hope it makes it. One TB, one USB 2. And power. That's it. Sounds good. Of course it would be cool to see TB on the 11" but I suppose that won't happen for a few years. But eventually I imagine it will, just a matter of time and economies of scale making it cheap enough. Or do you think that is possible?

That would be two USB2 ports: Power/USB on one side, TBolt/USB on the other, sounds good anyway. And it would probably look better on your desk too:


FWIW, I think that what could prevent Apple to offer a TBolt port on the 11" MBA is room for the chip/complexity of traces between the cpu/TBolt/miniDP. But in any case, the motherboard needs to be redesigned for SB cpus. It seems that the chip in itself is inexpensive (it's the cooper version, so no optical converters here), it's 15x15mm (small for what it does, but still...).

In any case, it would be better for Apple to offer TBolt in all Macs in order to make it a standard quickly, and for 3rd parties to see more opportunities to make devices with TBolt connectivity. The versatility of TBolt is such that it can offer a wide range of devices aimed at different kinds of computers, just don't expect cheap things. A 27" TBolt display-hub would be priced between $999 (Apple LED Cinema Display) and $1699 (low-end 27" iMac), depending on what it offers, let's say $1299. And a 21.5" version could be as expensive as $999. Still, in their time, Apple's "docks" cost between $390 and $900 without display...

I've just check the 11" MBA teardown, and the motherboard doesn't seem that crowded, so even room may not be a problem. It's just that the current breed of TBolt devices announced are not really aimed at MBAs. If other kinds of devices are announced (like docking-hub solutions)... who knows!

----

Dave, I'm not so sure about Intel making chipsets integrating TBolt yet, not for Sandy bridge and probably not for Ivy Bridge (those designs are practically done already), but if TBolt's adoption is good, why not? The other thing is that chipsets already handle a lot of things (USB, SATA, Enet, Wifi, BT, FW...) and they have a limited link to the cpu, that's why it would be better to connect the TBolt chip directly to the cpu, like Apple did for the MBP, even if that cuts some PCIe lanes for the dedicated gpu. In the case of systems with integrated graphics only, those 16x PCIe lanes on the cpu are unused, great for TBolt. And when Intel will move to PCIe 3.0 on mainstream cpus, it would be even easier (8x PCIe 3.0 = 16x PCIe 2.0 for a dedicated gpu, and up to 8x PCIe 3.0 for (up to 4) TBolt controllers). Some mainstream cpus with PCIe 3.0 starting in 2012, everywhere in 2013 (when Intel may launch TBolt 2.0, 20Gb/s copper/optical).
post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

TBolt 2.0, 20Gb/s copper/optical).

Optical Thunderbolt is 100Gbps and has been since inception.
post #28 of 43
I am soooooooo ready to get an MacBook air. I have absolutely ZERO need for an optical drive, and frankly can't wait until Apple phases them out of their laptop lines COMPLETELY like they did with the floppy drives back in the day. I believe this will happen at the next big MacBook pro redesign...maybe in January 2012.

But for now it's only the MacBook airs. I got a first gen iPad thinking I could edit movies and photos transferred from my canon dslr while on the road using the apple usb/sd card cam kit....but HD videos don't transfer this way. When the iPad two was announced, I thought maybe that had changed...it didn't. It's still a closed system. In fact, the new iMovie app for the iPad will ONLY edit video shot from Mac ios devices like the ipad2, iPhone and iPod touch....even if the video is transferred via iTunes from your Mac at home, it won't work.

So...that ruled out the iPad 2.

I'd love to get a MacBook air...but want to wait until they get updated from a core 2 duo to the sandy bridge. Thunderbolt would be nice too. I also hope 4 gigs of ram become standard! Come on Apple. 2 gigs? You're milking it. Lol.

I know flash HDs are expensive still. If the MacBook airs come with the above, I could accept a 128 gig on an 11" MacBook air or a 256 on a 13" MacBook air. I could always get a small portable hard drive to store extra video footage and photos while traveling.

I know I could nab the 13" MacBook pro right now and get what I need...but if the MacBook airs just get those upgrades next, i'd chose one of em over the MacBook pro anyday.

So I wait....
post #29 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Optical Thunderbolt is 100Gbps and has been since inception.

You're completly wrong. This will happen around 2020. That's Intel's long-term plan: 100Gb/s within 10 years. Don't be confused. Intel's original plan was to release 10Gb/s LightPeak (optical) from the beginning, but they didn't. Tech issues? Cost issues? Lack of partners? Who knows? The fact is Thunderbolt is half of LightPeak, the other half was the optical converter. That's the reason why the "copper" version (Thunderbolt) was brought to the market so quickly since the first time it was revealed (4 months ago?).

Think about this: if TBolt needs 4x PCIe 2.0 lanes to offer 10Gb/s, for 100Gb/s you would need about 40x PCIe 2.0 lanes , or about 20x PCie 3.0 lanes, or 10x PCIe 4.0, or 5x PCIe 5.0. When do you think that will happen?
post #30 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

everywhere in 2013 (when Intel may launch TBolt 2.0, 20Gb/s copper/optical).

Thunderbolt is already 20Gbps - it has two-channel 10Gbps:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2380890,00.asp

The reason not to go optical was:

"Thunderbolt was shifted back to copper for reasons of cost, according to Jason Ziller, director of Thunderbolt planning and marketing. That would have placed the onus of designing, buying and integrating the optical transceiver on the OEMs, a burden they were unwilling to bear, Ziller said."

Ultimately, to go optical, everyone's going to have to play along and good things are in store if they do:

http://www.semiconductor-today.com/n...TEL_050810.htm

For now, Thunderbolt will be limited to 10Gbps per channel and since it's a 2 wire pair cable, to get more bandwidth will likely mean more wires, new ports etc just like USB 3.0.

The best they could do is have thunderbolt-only ports that support 20Gbps by connecting more PCI lanes to each port. So x8 PCIe 2.0 per port or x4 PCIe 3.0.

You could have 4 ports with 20Gbps bandwidth each and the end one with 10Gbps for video from one x16 PCIe 3.0 slot.

Not that anyone really needs to do that though. USB 3.0 will be enough for the majority of peripherals including storage and Thunderbolt for external PCI devices. I mainly see Thunderbolt killing off ExpressCard and FW800. USB3 and wifi kills off ethernet.

Hardly any PCI cards come close to saturating the ports except for GPUs in Cross-Fire or SLI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix

That would be two USB2 ports: Power/USB on one side, TBolt/USB on the other, sounds good anyway.

I think they'd use the Mini-DP port i.e 2 x USB 2.0 + MDP/TB on the MBA. I expect they will add TB support in the interests of boosting the format but also killing off the MB, which has FW800. Because it supplies 10W of power, they can have a bus-powered FW800 adaptor.

Plus, there are a lot of big companies on board with Thunderbolt so likely quite a few high-speed peripherals coming out.
post #31 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

You're completly wrong.

You're completely wrong. Did you even read my post? Copper Thunderbolt is 20Gbps. The plan for optical Thunderbolt has always been 100Gbps.

Quote:
Intel's original plan was to release 10Gb/s LightPeak (optical) from the beginning, but they didn't.

See? You even agreed with me in your post about me being wrong.

Quote:
When do you think that will happen?

Q4 2011 when the first PCIe 3 devices come out.
post #32 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Intel does have a lower power processor to use - you have to remember that their TDP is the CPU + GPU. There are some ULV chips that can go in that are out already.

I suspect that to get Thunderbolt support, they will have to go with Intel's chipset. Maybe not but I think it's likely.

Right now, the white Macbook has not been updated to match the 13" MBP and it normally is. It would be a good move for Apple to drop the white model at the back to school season, switch the Air to an i5/i7 ULV.

What's interesting is that Intel have said Ivy Bridge will go quad-core and could be introduced in the second half of 2011 so that may be a possibility and they will most likely bump up the Flash sizes to have 128GB entry because Toshiba are jumping to 25nm.

From this point, the updates will probably go:

April - iMac/Mini, all Thunderbolt, Sandy Bridge and a Mac Pro minor refresh with TB
June - iPhone 5
August/September - Macbook Air update to either 2-core Sandy Bridge or 4-core Ivy Bridge with 128GB SSD entry and white Macbook dropped
November - Mac Pro updated to have 8-core chips so up to 16-cores
January 2012 - more Ivy Bridge chips. It may launch here which means MBA will get SB

What about all the new MBP any news on them as yet?
post #33 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by marvfox View Post

What about all the new MBP any news on them as yet?

We just had MacBook Pro updates. There won't be another one for nearly a year.
post #34 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Thunderbolt is already 20Gbps - it has two-channel 10Gbps:

And a 2.0GHz quad-core cpu is already 8GHz.
USB3 is already 10Gb/s via 2 ports.
The MP is already 160Gb/s via its PCIe slots.

Quote:
Thunderbolt was shifted back to copper for reasons of cost,

Cost issues?

Quote:
That would have placed the onus of designing, buying and integrating the optical transceiver on the OEMs, a burden they were unwilling to bear.

Technical issues?

Quote:
Ultimately, to go optical, everyone's going to have to play along

Lack of partners?

I've mentionned all those reasons in my previous post.

Quote:
The best they could do is have thunderbolt-only ports that support 20Gbps by connecting more PCI lanes to each port. So x8 PCIe 2.0 per port or x4 PCIe 3.0.

So what is it? Current TBolt at 20Gb/s or future TBolt at 20Gb/s?
One of the other reasons why Intel has to move faster is to support DisplayPort 1.2. I don't think they will release TBolt as data-only anytime soon.
So now you understand that to get faster, TBolt needs more PCIe lanes... good for you.

Quote:
Hardly any PCI cards come close to saturating the ports except for GPUs in Cross-Fire or SLI.

Every gpu that can run at 4x speed will saturate TBolt, every RAID card that can run at 4x speed will saturate TBolt, some DSP cards will saturate TBolt, and if you add a display to the chain... Consumers will probably never saturate TBolt because of the few/types of devices they will use, but pro users will easily saturate the one port that is currently offered on MBPs.

Quote:
I think they'd use the Mini-DP port i.e 2 x USB 2.0 + MDP/TB on the MBA. I expect they will add TB support in the interests of boosting the format but also killing off the MB, which has FW800. Because it supplies 10W of power, they can have a bus-powered FW800 adaptor.

Plus, there are a lot of big companies on board with Thunderbolt so likely quite a few high-speed peripherals coming out.

What does this have to do with the fact that the MBA already has 2 USB ports, not one?

Anyway, I don't think will see "adaptors" of any kind, those would need a TBolt receiver and the controller for the protocol choosen (in this case FW). We will probably see hubs for multiple USB3/eSATA/FW800 ports or multi-protocol hubs (docking stations).
There are a dozen of big companies on board, most of the devices will be for pro audio/video users except a couple of products from LaCie.
post #35 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You're completely wrong. Did you even read my post? Copper Thunderbolt is 20Gbps. The plan for optical Thunderbolt has always been 100Gbps.

See? You even agreed with me in your post about me being wrong.

Q4 2011 when the first PCIe 3 devices come out.

Now that you have established that you master "copy and paste", what else...

Oh, time wrapping! Good one. Now you can cram 10 years of R&D in 3 quarters. Intel will be happy. I can't wait to play with TBolt at 100Gb/s next Christmas.
post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

Now you can cram 10 years of R&D in 3 quarters. Intel will be happy. I can't wait to play with TBolt at 100Gb/s next Christmas.

Never said anything about 100Gbps Thunderbolt. I only said the bandwidth would be there when PCIe 3 comes out.
post #37 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Never said anything about 100Gbps Thunderbolt. I only said the bandwidth would be there when PCIe 3 comes out.

What bandwidth? In any case, you have to learn to answer to the whole question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix

Think about this: if TBolt needs 4x PCIe 2.0 lanes to offer 10Gb/s, for 100Gb/s you would need about 40x PCIe 2.0 lanes , or about 20x PCie 3.0 lanes, or 10x PCIe 4.0, or 5x PCIe 5.0. When do you think that will happen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil

Q4 2011 when the first PCIe 3 devices come out.

If/when Intel dedices to double Tbolt speed (at 20Gb/s per bidirectional channel), it will not be when PCIe 3.0 is launched, but when it's mainstream, on all kinds of cpus not just Xeons, so probably not before late 2012, early 2013.
post #38 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

Still, that's what Apple offers in the brand new 13" MBPs (Sandy Bridge no dedicated graphics). If Apple thinks that's an upgrade over 2.40/2.66 C2D + 320M, the same will probably be true for the MBA.

With ULV versions at 1.40-1.60Ghz, LV versions at 2.10-2.30GHz, and integrated graphics of the same series (HD3000, at a lower clock of course, but that's probably also the case with the current 320M in the MBAs), the 11.6" model may not get a huge boost (still with hyperthreading and turbo-boost, you should be able to tell the difference), but the 13" (up to 2.30GHz + SSD) could be a real threat to the 13" MBP with HDD, in terms of "pure" snappiness!

FWIW, I think that the MBA is the perfect design for Thunderbolt provided appropriate "docking" devices are available. A TB display that could be an iMac without cpu/gpu/ram, would be perfect to compensate for the MBA "shortcomings": more USB ports, FW, Enet, additional storage?, and display/charging from a couple of wires...

i think your comments are spot on. If a 13" MBA appears in June with the right SB processor and GPU combination, then it should be close to the redesigned 13" MBP that everyone was hoping for but didn't arrive.

I have certainly looking forward to seeing what the next Air revision brings. A month ago, I said that I thought any PC without a 500 Gb hard drive was pointless. I have an MBP with 256 GBs and because i have no space left I've been saving stuff on an additional hard drive. I checked that drive's capacity today and discovered that I'd used 300 GB in 6 months. So I'm already screwed with a 500 Gb drive. So i reckon that 1 TB is the new standard. So give me a MacBook Air with a 1TB drive please.
post #39 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

i think your comments are spot on. If a 13" MBA appears in June with the right SB processor and GPU combination, then it should be close to the redesigned 13" MBP that everyone was hoping for but didn't arrive.

I have certainly looking forward to seeing what the next Air revision brings. A month ago, I said that I thought any PC without a 500 Gb hard drive was pointless. I have an MBP with 256 GBs and because i have no space left I've been saving stuff on an additional hard drive. I checked that drive's capacity today and discovered that I'd used 300 GB in 6 months. So I'm already screwed with a 500 Gb drive. So i reckon that 1 TB is the new standard. So give me a MacBook Air with a 1TB drive please.

At least you're funny. The only gpu combination with SB cpus in a MBA is Intel's HD 3000 (but IMO it's good enough), and unfortunatly, I think you're really screwed on the storage issue: the best you can hope for is a 512GB SSD blade, and that's not a sure thing. AFAIK, the biggest 2.5" SSD to date is Intel's 600GB, at a "reasonable" price... maybe next year, Spring/Summer 2012, with Ivy Bridge cpus...
post #40 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

USB3 is already 10Gb/s via 2 ports.
The MP is already 160Gb/s via its PCIe slots.

Thunderbolt is 20Gbps via 1 port - despite half being for display output. You're not getting 160Gbps out the Mac Pro either as the double-wide x16 slot is used by the GPU so you get 96Gbps left.

Now of course one 10Gbps data port doesn't immediately match 96Gbps but there are ways round it and they will develop over time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

Cost issues? Technical issues? Lack of partners? I've mentionned all those reasons in my previous post.

You asked which it was and Intel said it was cost. There are enough partners but they don't want to be out of pocket.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

So now you understand that to get faster, TBolt needs more PCIe lanes...

I don't see the point you're trying to make here. Wouldn't 16 PCI 3.0 lanes be fast enough (128Gbps)? They're coming with Ivy Bridge:

http://semiaccurate.com/2011/03/28/l...or-ivy-bridge/

Why couldn't Apple ditch FW800 and ethernet and put on two or three extra TB ports, which are smaller?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

Every gpu that can run at 4x speed will saturate TBolt, every RAID card that can run at 4x speed will saturate TBolt, some DSP cards will saturate TBolt, and if you add a display to the chain...

If you add a display to the chain, it doesn't matter because it's on a separate 10Gbps channel and as I said, you're not going to run all these completely different expansion devices at once nor will they all saturate the port.

Apogee have a 32-channel ExpressCard device:

http://www.gak.co.uk/en/apogee-symph...book-pro/22482

32 channels over a 2.5Gbps port. It may be possible to saturate an audio card on a 10Gbps port but probably not that likely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

pro users will easily saturate the one port that is currently offered on MBPs.

'easily' would suggest common usage scenarios. I don't think there are too many common scenarios that will saturate even a single TB port.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

Anyway, I don't think will see "adaptors" of any kind, those would need a TBolt receiver and the controller for the protocol choosen (in this case FW).

Like this type of thing you mean?

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/fw...esscard34.html

TB is essentially the next ExpressCard but 4x the speed and much more compact.
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