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Intel Ivy Bridge chip candidates for MacBook Pro, Air to arrive in May

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Intel's next-generation Ivy Bridge mobile processors, expected to appear in future MacBook Pro and MacBook Air updates from Apple, will hit the market in May of 2012, a leaked Intel product roadmap reveals.

Intel's Ivy Bridge CPU lineup and launch dates were revealed in the new roadmap obtained by VR-Zone. They show a tentative debut of May 2012 for the mobile platform.

The product lineup includes M-Series Processors that offer standard performance with nominal thermal design power of between 35 watts and 55 watts. The standard performance CPUs would be the most likely choice for Apple's next-generation MacBook Pro notebooks.

The roadmap reveals a number of chip options coming next year, including a 2.9GHz quad-core Core i7-3920XM featuring the new Intel HD Graphics 4000 architecture.

As for the thin-and-light MacBook Air, Intel is also gearing up to launch its U-Series Processors around the same time, under the product line name "Ultra." That low-power processor will have a TDP of just 17 watts.

The documentation reveals there will be two U-series CPUs at launch, with the Core i7-3667U clocked at 2GHz, and the Core i5-3427U running at 1.8GHz. Those chips will overclock to 3.2GHz and 2.8GHz in single-core mode, respectively, and both models feature a GPU clocked at 350MHz that can run as high as 1150MHz.



The new Ivy Bridge chips will also give Apple the opportunity to put OpenCL-capable CPUs into its hot-selling MacBook Air lineup. The addition of OpenCL support will offer performance improvements with financial applications, games and media applications by offloading non-graphics related tasks to the graphics processing unit.

On Apple's higher-end Macs, the Ivy Bridge platform could potentially also be used for a Retina Display branding, thanks to 4K display resolution support. That would give Apple the option to build a display that is 4,096 pixels across.



Another recent rumor has suggested Apple will switch back to Nvidia graphics with its new MacBook models set for release in 2012. The last MacBook Pro models to feature Nvidia graphics arrived in 2010 with a new proprietary graphics switching technology developed by Apple, but the new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros that debuted earlier this year with dedicated graphics completed the switch to AMD GPUs.

Rumors have pointed toward Apple redesigning its MacBook Pro lineup next year with an all-new chassis to replace the current form factor. There have also been suggestions that Apple is planning to expand its MacBook Air lineup by adding a new 15-inch model to join the existing 11.6- and 13.3-inch ultraportable notebooks.
post #2 of 35
Well good news in that we have a better idea of when the new machine will get here. The stuff about NVidia just sucks though. I'd much rather have an AMD GPU in my portable, actually I'd prefer them anywhere a discreet GPU is required.
post #3 of 35
All I ask is that the MacBook Air keep its stellar battery life, regardless of the specific parts.

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post #4 of 35
a 15" Macbook air would be awesome. I shall buy one.
post #5 of 35
So we have 17W CPUs which are used in the MBAs, but no 25W, just the 35W+ used in the MBPs?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

All I ask is that the MacBook Air keep its stellar battery life, regardless of the specific parts.

I wouldn't call the battery life steller. It's good for it's class but it notebooks in general, especially Mac notebooks are much higher.. I'd love to see some new technology applied to make the battery last longer. It's one of two reasons I didn't buy the Air.

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post #6 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

All I ask is that the MacBook Air keep its stellar battery life, regardless of the specific parts.

If the leaked specs are correct, battery life should be better. IIRC, Intel claimed that IB will offer up to 50% better cpu performance or 50% battery life over SB depending upon how the cpu is optimized (either battery life or raw cpu performance).

1.8 and 2.0 ghz cpu options in the U series suggests that those will be optimized for battery life as the clock speeds are just slightly higher than what is currently offered in the Airs.
post #7 of 35
As a late-2010 MBA owner, I'm happy with the news, and I wish to see a quadcore with air form factor in the not so distant future (call it whatever you wish, but do it with the air form factor)

I'm also happy with the NVIDIA rumour. I hope it's true. ATI never had the same level of responsibility with OpenGL as NVIDIA had, and as an OpenGL fan I always preferred NVIDIA.
post #8 of 35
Looks like all those rumors about an early 2012 update were garbage afterall. Glad I updated to the late 2011 MBP instead of waiting for that mythical new slimmer line.
post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

Looks like all those rumors about an early 2012 update were garbage afterall. Glad I updated to the late 2011 MBP instead of waiting for that mythical new slimmer line.

With all the different iPad types, TV sizes, and new iPod TOuch with different size displays is there really any room for anything else.

Oh, don't forget all the new routers running on A6 chips and iOS.

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post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

It's one of two reasons I didn't buy the Air.

OK, I'll bite. What's the other reason ? (Thinking of getting a MBA, and respect your opinion.)
post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

Looks like all those rumors about an early 2012 update were garbage afterall. Glad I updated to the late 2011 MBP instead of waiting for that mythical new slimmer line.

Relax dude. This stuff changes based on Intel's results. Things can get pushed back, and it's better seeing a late release than a defective product.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Well good news in that we have a better idea of when the new machine will get here. The stuff about NVidia just sucks though. I'd much rather have an AMD GPU in my portable, actually I'd prefer them anywhere a discreet GPU is required.

For Windows desktop and workstation machines NVidia often has better drivers. I'm not sure about laptops.
post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by azaza View Post

OK, I'll bite. What's the other reason ? (Thinking of getting a MBA, and respect your opinion.)

Not enough internal storage. I currently have a 1TB HDD for data plus an 80GB SSD for my boot drive and apps. Both are internal. Since another notebook would be a replacement for this one I would need a lot more storage. Hoping the new MBPs follow the MBA lead but leave room for the SSD card and a single or dual-platter HDD or SSD for additional storage.

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post #13 of 35
I can see the Airs and the MBP's eventually merging into one line.

Apple likes thin, they're going to make the MBP's thinner most likely. Apple is most likely going to dump the optical drive from the MBP's. I can see Apple offering SSD's as standard in the MBP's. And the Airs are only getting more powerful as new CPU's get released. It makes sense that the two will eventually meet and a bunch of different sized models will be offered.
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I can see the Airs and the MBP's eventually merging into one line.

Apple likes thin, they're going to make the MBP's thinner most likely. Apple is most likely going to dump the optical drive from the MBP's. I can see Apple offering SSD's as standard in the MBP's. And the Airs are only getting more powerful as new CPU's get released. It makes sense that the two will eventually meet and a bunch of different sized models will be offered.

Apple already stated their intent there. I don't know that they'll all share the current macbook air port setup or the wedge design, but I agree that they're going to get ....... THINNER.... (if anyone gets my reference it will please me immensely).

Currently the macbook airs go up to the most powerful cpus available in intel's ultra low voltage category. I think we'll see this when the more powerful cpus and possibly discrete graphics options get closer in tdp to where the Air is today. I still don't care for the wedge design, I'd rather have moderately thin and flat with more ports rather than rely on the options of wireless or carrying around some kind of docking solution, but I don't see myself upgrading my laptop anytime soon, as most of the time I don't use it.
post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

Looks like all those rumors about an early 2012 update were garbage afterall. Glad I updated to the late 2011 MBP instead of waiting for that mythical new slimmer line.

There was an article a little while ago saying they would be delayed until April/May and there was a leaked Intel roadmap.

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2011/09...unch-delayed/1

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX

So we have 17W CPUs which are used in the MBAs, but no 25W, just the 35W+ used in the MBPs?

And the same 45W TDP in the 15" MBP. These will be max TDPs though and will be determined by the thermal limits of the design they are placed in. Apple could restrict the chips to fit into a slimmer design. This could risk looking worse in terms of performance than competing PC laptops but it won't be significant.

The i7 quads can overclock all cores from 2.7GHz to 3.5GHz but if that uses an extra 15W of power, Apple can restrict it and have it fit in a 35W limit. You wouldn't even really notice the performance difference at all. They could probably do something similar with the GPU and removing the optical drive will give much more room for separating components out for cooling.

I thought Intel would do a blanket reduction of all the TDPs but as Wizard69 said in the past, this does restrict potential performance. They seem to have done it with the desktop chips though going from 95W to 77W.

Apparently, they've made a bigger jump with the HD 4000 GPU though going up 60% with OpenCL support. This will finally exceed the 320M.

I expected Intel's changes would create a whole line of Air-type machines. I'm not sure this will be the case now. Apple will probably prefer this as it maintains a separation between Air and Pro machines but I think it's messy having both a 13" Air and a 13" Pro, especially if they redesign the Pro model.
post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Not enough internal storage. I currently have a 1TB HDD for data plus an 80GB SSD for my boot drive and apps. Both are internal. Since another notebook would be a replacement for this one I would need a lot more storage. Hoping the new MBPs follow the MBA lead but leave room for the SSD card and a single or dual-platter HDD or SSD for additional storage.

i was guessing that would be the reason as i've done the same thing with my macbook pro…

and i just read the below article about 2TB SSD's… you should check it out.

http://arst.ch/rsf

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post #17 of 35
It was bad enough figuring we were waiting till March or April, now it looks like my wife and I will be waiting till May for our Mac laptops. *sigh* Hurry the heck up Intel
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by cutykamu View Post

i was guessing that would be the reason as i've done the same thing with my macbook pro

and i just read the below article about 2TB SSD's you should check it out.

http://arst.ch/rsf

To me, that's the most important thing that we need. Faster processors on an MBA? Meh. For the things most people do with an ultralight, faster processors aren't going to help that much. But more storage at a reasonable price? That would be fantastic. The only thing keeping me from an MBA is that I want 512 GB of storage - at a reasonable price.
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post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


I thought Intel would do a blanket reduction of all the TDPs but as Wizard69 said in the past, this does restrict potential performance. They seem to have done it with the desktop chips though going from 95W to 77W.

Apparently, they've made a bigger jump with the HD 4000 GPU though going up 60% with OpenCL support. This will finally exceed the 320M.

I expected Intel's changes would create a whole line of Air-type machines. I'm not sure this will be the case now. Apple will probably prefer this as it maintains a separation between Air and Pro machines but I think it's messy having both a 13" Air and a 13" Pro, especially if they redesign the Pro model.

I've mentioned for a while that only some of them were dipping 10W or so, imac cpus going from 95 to 77, etc. Articles have been out on that for a while. If they keep the 13" pro it should get a quad. It really should have discrete graphics too but that won't happen. I'll believe it on the HD 4000 when real tests come out. They've been all over the place up until now, but it may be an issue of optimal drivers.

You could have seen the data six months ago to show that you wouldn't see Airs in the top spots by next year. Apple currently employs basically all options in the ULV category in the Air already. What would be the point in underclocking other components? At 45W they run pretty close to their thermal limits at times.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

To me, that's the most important thing that we need. Faster processors on an MBA? Meh. For the things most people do with an ultralight, faster processors aren't going to help that much. But more storage at a reasonable price? That would be fantastic. The only thing keeping me from an MBA is that I want 512 GB of storage - at a reasonable price.

More ram would be nice too. Regarding cpus, you'd be surprised. Everyone seems to be trying to determine if the Air is fast enough for them. It's kind of the new thing. I may pick up one at some point as I don't really do any heavy work on a laptop, but I don't use a laptop enough to care about frequent upgrades.
post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

There was an article a little while ago saying they would be delayed until April/May and there was a leaked Intel roadmap.

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2011/09...unch-delayed/1



And the same 45W TDP in the 15" MBP. These will be max TDPs though and will be determined by the thermal limits of the design they are placed in. Apple could restrict the chips to fit into a slimmer design. This could risk looking worse in terms of performance than competing PC laptops but it won't be significant.

There is a noticeable difference in performance once one gets to a 45 watt class Chip. This combined with Pro user needs has me believing that the MBP won't go away anytime soon. As strong of a seller that the AIRs are I don't believe that they will completely replace the MBPs anytime soon. Rather the Pros will retain features that attract power users.

What are those features. 1. RAM expandability. 2. Secondary storage flexibility. 3. More I/O ports. Plus I can see the Pros getting retina like screens first.
Quote:
The i7 quads can overclock all cores from 2.7GHz to 3.5GHz but if that uses an extra 15W of power, Apple can restrict it and have it fit in a 35W limit. You wouldn't even really notice the performance difference at all. They could probably do something similar with the GPU and removing the optical drive will give much more room for separating components out for cooling.

I can't find it at the moment but some of Intels marketing materials do cover the new power management tech in Ivy Bridge. It looks like they could tailor power to the conditions the chip runs in. Obviously adjusting the clock will impact performance some.

Spreading the components out will help with machines supporting discrete GPUs, not so much with Ivy Bridge only machines. You still have that very hot point load so the cooling requirements remain the same. This is why I would not expect massive MBP changes.
Quote:
I thought Intel would do a blanket reduction of all the TDPs but as Wizard69 said in the past, this does restrict potential performance. They seem to have done it with the desktop chips though going from 95W to 77W.

There are two basic limitations that have to be dealt with. One is heat which is directly related to clock rate. The other is timing closure. I would think with the new process shrink that maximum clock rates would go up, which they apparently have with speed steeping. In fact the process is looking very good indeed. I suspect that Intel has other reasons to limit the chips to 77 watts. One thing is for sure it looks like a major technological leap for intel putting them well ahead of the rest of the industry.
Quote:
Apparently, they've made a bigger jump with the HD 4000 GPU though going up 60% with OpenCL support. This will finally exceed the 320M.

I've seen benchmarking that is showing some pretty huge speed ups. More than 2x in some uses. On the other hand it might not be much better than 20% for most users.

The problem is no real released hardware and software(drivers). The only thing that counts for Mac users is what you get running Mac OS with the drivers Apple ships. So things are up in the AIR.
Quote:
I expected Intel's changes would create a whole line of Air-type machines. I'm not sure this will be the case now. Apple will probably prefer this as it maintains a separation between Air and Pro machines but I think it's messy having both a 13" Air and a 13" Pro, especially if they redesign the Pro model.

What is the problem with two 13" or for that matter 15" machines? All Apple really needs to do is put a 35 watt processor in the 13" MBP, maintain RAM expand ability and storage flexibility and they will have a machine that appeals to many. There is nothing messy about choice.

In any event everyone assumes that this mythical redesigned MBP will be another under powered AIR. From my perspective this is silly, Apple isn't going to give up the market for full performance laptops. What they might do is take design cues from the AIRs, maybe even introduce a 15" AIR but I really so no reason to dump the functionality one gets in a MBP.

Now given all of this there is technology coming that will allow Apple to stuff even more performance into AIR like machines. To the best of my knowledge this won't be until 2013 or later. Even then heat is still an issue.
post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I've mentioned for a while that only some of them were dipping 10W or so, imac cpus going from 95 to 77, etc. Articles have been out on that for a while. If they keep the 13" pro it should get a quad. It really should have discrete graphics too but that won't happen. I'll believe it on the HD 4000 when real tests come out. They've been all over the place up until now, but it may be an issue of optimal drivers.

Apple could easily put a 35 watt chip (Ivy Bridge) into the 13" Pro and I don't think anybody would complain. Yeah a discreet GPU would be nice but such a machine would still have significant capability beyond what an AIR would have.

I constantly see this baloney about how the 13" AIR and Pro over lap. Honestly folks they aren't even in the same class.
Quote:
You could have seen the data six months ago to show that you wouldn't see Airs in the top spots by next year. Apple currently employs basically all options in the ULV category in the Air already. What would be the point in underclocking other components? At 45W they run pretty close to their thermal limits at times.

Laptops manage the clock now to control power. Ivy Bridge just gives designers more control in this regard. The reality is there is no reason for Intel to market a bunch of power grades if the chip can manage its power usage dynamically.
Quote:

More ram would be nice too. Regarding cpus, you'd be surprised. Everyone seems to be trying to determine if the Air is fast enough for them. It's kind of the new thing. I may pick up one at some point as I don't really do any heavy work on a laptop, but I don't use a laptop enough to care about frequent upgrades.

When it comes time to do my next upgrade I will certainly consider the AIRs, especially if they have a 15" class machine at the time. Right now two things bug me about the AIRs. One is max RAM sizes and the other is the max size of the SSD's. In my mind both of these are easily solvable in a 15" AIR if Apple wants to go that way.

Note that the two issues above are the significant ones, I don't worry about raw performance so much because I expect that to be taken care of by the time I buy my next machine. Not that raw performance is all that bad now, but they are a long way from MBP class machines.
post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

You could have seen the data six months ago to show that you wouldn't see Airs in the top spots by next year. Apple currently employs basically all options in the ULV category in the Air already. What would be the point in underclocking other components? At 45W they run pretty close to their thermal limits at times.

I figured Intel would have capped the mobile TDPs at 25-35W as part of their new strategy so a redesigned chassis wouldn't mean a compromise. They're only competing with AMD and if they still end up being faster, they may as well cut the power so that only their chips can fit into sleeker designs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69

What is the problem with two 13" or for that matter 15" machines? All Apple really needs to do is put a 35 watt processor in the 13" MBP, maintain RAM expand ability and storage flexibility and they will have a machine that appeals to many. There is nothing messy about choice.

If they ditch the optical, the designs for both the 13" Air and Pro could easily be very similar to the point that some would wonder why they'd bother keeping both models. USB 3 support is coming with Ivy Bridge so you don't really need FW800 any more, nor ethernet. The 13" model can have 4x USB 3 and a Thunderbolt port.
post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Apple could easily put a 35 watt chip (Ivy Bridge) into the 13" Pro and I don't think anybody would complain. Yeah a discreet GPU would be nice but such a machine would still have significant capability beyond what an AIR would have.

I constantly see this baloney about how the 13" AIR and Pro over lap. Honestly folks they aren't even in the same class.

The hype may have died down a bit at intel for the moment. The internet was full of articles, rumors, etc about how Intel wished to get their mainstream chips to the power level their ULV chips occupy today. I think they've been a bit on edge with concerns over ARM. In server technology the ARM thing was to go for core count sort of to the extreme rather than what Intel is doing where they're still using faster cores but many servers are run over hypervisors. They've been concerned about ARM so they obviously don't want to appear poor on battery life by comparison if software engineering goes the direction of scaling to an increasing number of cores. Currently with desktop applications a big problem is the performance hit of shuffling information around for minor tasks.

I agree the pro isn't going away, especially not yet. So many silly people have been expecting the 15" pro to be redesigned into an Air next year. If they think it runs hot now well .... anyway... I was telling a design student on macrumors yesterday not to buy an Air for 3d rendering, but I don't think the point made it through. Picking a machine designed to be light and compact for something like that is a massive compromise, but many people don't get it unless they experience the difference. Even the display on the pro is better. I couldn't imagine squinting at nurb curves on a 13" Air display .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I figured Intel would have capped the mobile TDPs at 25-35W as part of their new strategy so a redesigned chassis wouldn't mean a compromise. They're only competing with AMD and if they still end up being faster, they may as well cut the power so that only their chips can fit into sleeker designs.



If they ditch the optical, the designs for both the 13" Air and Pro could easily be very similar to the point that some would wonder why they'd bother keeping both models. USB 3 support is coming with Ivy Bridge so you don't really need FW800 any more, nor ethernet. The 13" model can have 4x USB 3 and a Thunderbolt port.

They talked about doing that months ago, but even then the biggest changes were supposedly scheduled for Haswell. I don't know if they were having trouble with that. Ditching the optical would allow for better heat spreading, but I don't see 25W macbook pro cpus coming next year.

I think the macbook pros could use even more differentiation. Standard quad cores and discrete graphics like I mentioned would help appeal to a wider audience between the two lines. Some people may disagree with me here, but I think the macbook pro should stay mostly as it is. Having a potentially quieter machine that runs cooler even under heavy load with discrete graphics throughout the line would provide a real choice between power and form/aesthetics. Common complaints with the macbook pros on the Apple store comments and forums really are integrated graphics, glossy screens (they have matte options now thankfully), run extremely hot, fans are noisy during things like gaming (not that they're ideal for that). The point being they might have the opportunity to address some of the concerns of those that aren't swoon solely by compact and light.
post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I figured Intel would have capped the mobile TDPs at 25-35W as part of their new strategy so a redesigned chassis wouldn't mean a compromise. They're only competing with AMD and if they still end up being faster, they may as well cut the power so that only their chips can fit into sleeker designs.

It isnt that simple. The AMD chip is actually a better solution in some regards. We are talking about AMDs fusion chips here. Intel has to be very aggressive to keep up with AMDs GPU performance. For many users it is the GPU that makes for the good computing experience.

Now one wouldn't go AMD if they are looking for CPU performance, still most of us want to buy both CPU & GPU performance. Combine this with Intels poor GPU reputation and you can see why they would have leveraged the power savings to significantly improve the GPU.

In the end the power profiles suggest that Intel is taking customer demands seriously.
Quote:
If they ditch the optical, the designs for both the 13" Air and Pro could easily be very similar to the point that some would wonder why they'd bother keeping both models.

You keep trying to spin this as the platforms being identical, yet they aren't even close. The 13" MBP has a much faster processor and Ivy Bridge means the delta gets even bigger. The Pro is expandable RAM wise and you can configure secondary storage to fit your needs. Again a totally different class of hardware.
Quote:
USB 3 support is coming with Ivy Bridge so you don't really need FW800 any more, nor ethernet. The 13" model can have 4x USB 3 and a Thunderbolt port.

Obviously you don't understand Ethernet.

As to USB 3 and Thunderbolt, well I'm not sure what sort of mix I'd want to see. The Pros though could really use two TB ports. Beyond that though I do find two USB ports to be a significan constraint on my MBP. The problem with these ports is it can mess up your power profile on the machine.
post #25 of 35
By this I mean that the current MBPs don't even come close to being the type of machine that many users need. Thus the real need to keep moving laptop performance forward. I've stated else where but I don't see the AIRs and the MBP even playing on the same field. I'm not sure where the idea comes from that the platforms are the "same".

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

The hype may have died down a bit at intel for the moment. The internet was full of articles, rumors, etc about how Intel wished to get their mainstream chips to the power level their ULV chips occupy today.

I suspect that the goal is to get laptop chips to that point. It certainly would help the laptop market if they also move core count and clock rate forward.
Quote:
I think they've been a bit on edge with concerns over ARM. In server technology the ARM thing was to go for core count sort of to the extreme rather than what Intel is doing where they're still using faster cores but many servers are run over hypervisors. They've been concerned about ARM so they obviously don't want to appear poor on battery life by comparison if software engineering goes the direction of scaling to an increasing number of cores. Currently with desktop applications a big problem is the performance hit of shuffling information around for minor tasks.

Look up "SuVolta" if you want to get a taste for what is coming. I truly doubt that Intel will ever be able to compete with ARM on power. Plus Intel has lost it as far as System on Chips go. Until Intel comes to grips with SoC tech they will be exposed to attacks from underneath.

As to the core count issue, people are now putting hundreds of Atom chips into servers so it isn't impossible for Intel to play in the field. The problem is with ARM you can effectively put several entire servers on a chip.
Quote:
I agree the pro isn't going away, especially not yet. So many silly people have been expecting the 15" pro to be redesigned into an Air next year. If they think it runs hot now well .... anyway... I was telling a design student on macrumors yesterday not to buy an Air for 3d rendering, but I don't think the point made it through. Picking a machine designed to be light and compact for something like that is a massive compromise, but many people don't get it unless they experience the difference. Even the display on the pro is better. I couldn't imagine squinting at nurb curves on a 13" Air display .

Interesting because I was offering similar advice to an engineering student on Reddit. There is this idea in some quarters of the public that discreet GPUs are only for gaming. Sad!
Quote:

They talked about doing that months ago, but even then the biggest changes were supposedly scheduled for Haswell. I don't know if they were having trouble with that. Ditching the optical would allow for better heat spreading, but I don't see 25W macbook pro cpus coming next year.

The only place a 20-25 watt Chip might work out well would be in a 15" AIR like device. I say AIR like because I expect a little more from such a device.
Quote:
I think the macbook pros could use even more differentiation. Standard quad cores and discrete graphics like I mentioned would help appeal to a wider audience between the two lines. Some people may disagree with me here, but I think the macbook pro should stay mostly as it is. Having a potentially quieter machine that runs cooler even under heavy load with discrete graphics throughout the line would provide a real choice between power and form/aesthetics. Common complaints with the macbook pros on the Apple store comments and forums really are integrated graphics, glossy screens (they have matte options now thankfully), run extremely hot, fans are noisy during things like gaming (not that they're ideal for that). The point being they might have the opportunity to address some of the concerns of those that aren't swoon solely by compact and light.

Complaints will happen no matter what Apple does! The thing is let's say the Pros go retina. So now the GPU has to drive all of those pixels, fine , process shrinks give us more performance but since there are more pixels to drive, power isn't really cut all that much.

What happens is that each time significant power savings happen, the savings go to support new features and technology. I just don't see these cycles stopping anytime soon.
post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


Interesting because I was offering similar advice to an engineering student on Reddit. There is this idea in some quarters of the public that discreet GPUs are only for gaming. Sad!

Well workstation grade gpus have even better features, especially for displaying antialiased spline curves, and there's a lot more to it. Students always buy the wrong thing in an effort to save money. It happens. To me a macbook pro would already be a compromise for that kind of thing, so why take it a step further?
post #27 of 35
Look at this way these are students, students involved in technical pursuits where graphics come into play, sometimes 3D graphics. So they have to buy a laptop* to get themselves through 4 or 5 years of school, with all the varied needs that laptop will have to serve. The question you seem to be asking is laptop 3D acceleration (via a disctete GPU) worth it - I'd have to say yes.

Why? Well even in a laptop the difference in performance can be vast compared to the current crop of Intel GPUs. Is it a workstation class GPU, nope but then again it doesn't have to be. All they really need is the capability to handle student level tasks and any part time work they may take on. Over the 4 years of a college students career that GPU will pay off handsomely.

Now maybe the middle of next year that advice might become more debatable with the advent of Ivy Bridge, if IB lives up to expectations. Go outside of the Apple / Intel world and look at some of those new AMD powered laptops and I suspect that the industry is already at the tipping point where integrated GPUs have respectable performance for this lower end need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Well workstation grade gpus have even better features, especially for displaying antialiased spline curves, and there's a lot more to it. Students always buy the wrong thing in an effort to save money. It happens. To me a macbook pro would already be a compromise for that kind of thing, so why take it a step further?


* as a side note, for a long time I actually wondered about the wisdom of buying laptops for students in these more demanding programs. The advent of low power high performance chips though have changed my mind. It is very possible to buy a laptop to get a student through a 4 year engineering program these days. That is a machine that is responsive enough that it doesn't end up embedded In a wall some place.

You have to understand context here, back in the day I spent a lot of time in front of a state of the art Mac Plus trying to do whatever for college. Talk about no joy. Don't even ask me about floating point processing times. Restraining the temptation to punt the machine was difficult at times. To this day I'm quick to frustration if I find myself waiting on a machine to do something.
post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

* as a side note, for a long time I actually wondered about the wisdom of buying laptops for students in these more demanding programs. The advent of low power high performance chips though have changed my mind. It is very possible to buy a laptop to get a student through a 4 year engineering program these days. That is a machine that is responsive enough that it doesn't end up embedded In a wall some place.

You have to understand context here, back in the day I spent a lot of time in front of a state of the art Mac Plus trying to do whatever for college. Talk about no joy. Don't even ask me about floating point processing times. Restraining the temptation to punt the machine was difficult at times. To this day I'm quick to frustration if I find myself waiting on a machine to do something.

I do understand your points here. Regarding laptops, I was only suggesting that many people are drawn to the Air because they think it's cool. On a budget it's possible to get superior performance in that price range.
post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I do understand your points here. Regarding laptops, I was only suggesting that many people are drawn to the Air because they think it's cool. On a budget it's possible to get superior performance in that price range.

I don't know about the cool factor, I've never been cool. What I do know is that the AIR would be very good for students that don't involve themselves in demanding graphics. At times the machines are slow but like the iPads they have other qualities that make up for that. For me the big concern about AIRs would be battery lifetimes for student use.

As to superior performance that is what I see in the 13" MBP. You get better battery lifetimes and a significantly faster processor. You don't get discrete grahics but the Ivy Bridge based model ought to be able to address this. Ivy Bridge itself has a vastly improved GPU and if they drop the optical a discrete GPU might be possible. Maybe the 13" MBP isn't cool, but for many users it is a better buy.

One other thing to address. When Steve alluded to the idea that AIRs where the shape of things to come I don't think he meant that in a very literal sense. Instead I see Pro level machines adopting concepts from the AIRs. Things like extended sleep, SSD & SSDs on printed circuit boards, dropping the optical and other concepts. Even after adopting all of these features there is still good reason to keep the MBPs a little more substantial and suitable for power users. So thinner might be possible, but not so thin that they have to give up performance.
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

One other thing to address. When Steve alluded to the idea that AIRs where the shape of things to come I don't think he meant that in a very literal sense. Instead I see Pro level machines adopting concepts from the AIRs. Things like extended sleep, SSD & SSDs on printed circuit boards, dropping the optical and other concepts. Even after adopting all of these features there is still good reason to keep the MBPs a little more substantial and suitable for power users. So thinner might be possible, but not so thin that they have to give up performance.


I could see them going that thin if tdp allowed for it. I really do hate the wedge design overall though. It feels kind of limiting just to shave a few mm off in the front. For power users, laptops can be very useful during periods of travel. I'd like the macbook pros to have exceptional stability and possibly lowered heat. Everyone always says that if they get too hot they'll shut down, but if the machine is doing a lot of number crunching that would suck (as it would have to potentially start over) and a lot of issues generated or accompanied by high heat do not necessarily cause a shut down before damage occurs. Just as an example a common symptom of an overheating gpu is screen artifacts. If you're seeing them often, that thing is on its way out.

Anyway the macbook airs do look cool to a lot of people. Apple in general has used coolness factor heavily in their marketing at times. Lately it's been all about multitouch but the original ipod ads come to mind. I can personally live with an ugly computer if it functions better (not referencing anything specific). You may be correct on the macbook pro. It wouldn't surprise me greatly if it gets a minor design tweak without going to an ultra thin factor, but there have been a lot of posts from people who just don't get it, such as the ones suggesting the optical drive is the only thing in the way of building the pro into an air form factor. I commented before that you'd lose at least half a pound with the ssd type you mentioned there + ODD removal. From there something like a 15" pro would most likely be less than a pound heavier than a 15" air.
post #31 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I could see them going that thin if tdp allowed for it.

Sure they could but should they? For me the whole point in buying my MBP 3 years ago was to get really good performance, relative to the state of the art. Right now and it looks like for next year that state of the art performance will still be coming from 35 watt class processors or better. So while they certainly could do something AIR like with a lower wattage processor they would be shooting themselves in the foot. People don't buy MBP to get slightly better performance than run of the mill machines.
Quote:
I really do hate the wedge design overall though. It feels kind of limiting just to shave a few mm off in the front.

Sure it is a compromise but I do believe it improves usability a bit. This is one reason why I expect that the IB MBP will be approximately the same thickness, that simply to maximize the battery. More so I'd be very happy to see Apple supporting a mix of Storage devices in the coming pros. That is a conventional storage bay along with two or three SSD slots. The world isn't ready to completely leave the magnetic drive behind and a MBP needs to continue to support such drives for at least a few more years.
Quote:
For power users, laptops can be very useful during periods of travel. I'd like the macbook pros to have exceptional stability and possibly lowered heat. Everyone always says that if they get too hot they'll shut down, but if the machine is doing a lot of number crunching that would suck (as it would have to potentially start over) and a lot of issues generated or accompanied by high heat do not necessarily cause a shut down before damage occurs. Just as an example a common symptom of an overheating gpu is screen artifacts. If you're seeing them often, that thing is on its way out.

Heat is destructive but just how hot is it? I ask this because I run into the problem all the time supporting automation equipment. People assume that if it is hot to the touch it is running to hot (note that it doesn't matter what we are talking about here). Often that is not the case.

A common example here is stepper motors which can have very hot cases. Sometimes these motors even come with stickers that say HOT Do Not Touch. Even then we will get pulled in and "told" this motor is running to hot (coffee break time) when in reality it is running normally or maybe even cooler than similar motors. Could it be too hot, certainly but that is easy to verify with a temp probe or a look at power into the motor. Five years later someone new comes along and says this motor is running too hot, it isn't of course in fact it is the very same motor checked a five years ago.

In any event I drift away here. The point is if the processors where running too hot there would be significant field failures which I've seen no sign of. On top of that processors are now capable of dynamically managing their power / temperature so I not too sure your fears are even valid anymore.
Quote:
Anyway the macbook airs do look cool to a lot of people.

They do look nice, don't get me wrong here. The problem I have is that I look at my HD in my MBP and the external drive that tags along all the time and wonder how I would manage with the current batch of AIRs. Probably not all that well, especially considering that I want to get rid of the tag along. In a nut shel the problem with the AIRs is that the technology just isn't there yet for what I need or want. IB brings us a little closer as do other coming technologies. I just don't think these will be ready by even 2013.
Quote:
Apple in general has used coolness factor heavily in their marketing at times. Lately it's been all about multitouch but the original ipod ads come to mind. I can personally live with an ugly computer if it functions better (not referencing anything specific). You may be correct on the macbook pro. It wouldn't surprise me greatly if it gets a minor design tweak without going to an ultra thin factor, but there have been a lot of posts from people who just don't get it, such as the ones suggesting the optical drive is the only thing in the way of building the pro into an air form factor.

The optical bay thing is funny, some love it some hate it. For me the reason to get rid of it is to have a standard solution to the desire to have a magnetic drive in the machine supporting the SSD solution they implement. I'd actually like to be able to put a 2TB drive in a future MBP sitting along side a SSD of greater than 350GB capacity.
Quote:
I commented before that you'd lose at least half a pound with the ssd type you mentioned there + ODD removal. From there something like a 15" pro would most likely be less than a pound heavier than a 15" air.

Well we can focus on weight but that isn't a problem for me. Rather capacity, performance and serviceability are big factors in a machines selection. Actually the thickness of the machine means little weight wise from the stand point of the case. It is what goes into the machine that adds weight. Frankly if the added weight comes form a bigger battery i'm not about to complain. Well no lead acid batteries but you get the idea.
post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Sure it is a compromise but I do believe it improves usability a bit. This is one reason why I expect that the IB MBP will be approximately the same thickness, that simply to maximize the battery. More so I'd be very happy to see Apple supporting a mix of Storage devices in the coming pros. That is a conventional storage bay along with two or three SSD slots. The world isn't ready to completely leave the magnetic drive behind and a MBP needs to continue to support such drives for at least a few more years.

There are quite a few varied opinions on that. Part of it comes from a lack of understanding. People feel it speeds "everything" up because they're running too low on ram, and now that problem is less noticeable. It's remarkable how many people factor an issue like ram by what sounds like a lot. Even going simply by what applications they run isn't completely effective given that so many modern applications can load with 2GB of ram yet consume many times that when working on large files. Then of course there's the fact that most people have more than one thing open.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Heat is destructive but just how hot is it? I ask this because I run into the problem all the time supporting automation equipment. People assume that if it is hot to the touch it is running to hot (note that it doesn't matter what we are talking about here). Often that is not the case.

There's a lot of bad information out there on this at times. One thing is sample variation. Components that aren't perfectly manufactured are more likely to fail under high temperatures. It's quite easy to develop an association there. Regarding things like cpus, many people report temperatures on their laptops that are at the thermal limits specified by Intel. It would be nice to see them designed to run with a little more breathing room at least when new. Heat can also affect performance depending on the component. I remember my old G5 had far more hiccups in performance during summer months. If I ran the AC, performance improved even though the cpus only got up to around 170F or so at most (and the fans hadn't even kicked into high gear). Thinking about it now, it may not have been the cpus, but some part of it didn't take the heat well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

They do look nice, don't get me wrong here. The problem I have is that I look at my HD in my MBP and the external drive that tags along all the time and wonder how I would manage with the current batch of AIRs. Probably not all that well, especially considering that I want to get rid of the tag along. In a nut shel the problem with the AIRs is that the technology just isn't there yet for what I need or want. IB brings us a little closer as do other coming technologies. I just don't think these will be ready by even 2013.

HDD shortages have probably encouraged SSD development. I agree they're not entirely ready, and they still have plenty of issues just like HDDs. I did suggest an SSD as a scratch drive the other day for someone who needed to do heavy amounts of photoshop /lightroom work on a mini or macbook pro, but photoshop especially has always been IO intensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The optical bay thing is funny, some love it some hate it. For me the reason to get rid of it is to have a standard solution to the desire to have a magnetic drive in the machine supporting the SSD solution they implement. I'd actually like to be able to put a 2TB drive in a future MBP sitting along side a SSD of greater than 350GB capacity.

I just don't care whether it stays or goes, but people do still ship disks. If they're only sending information, ftp, email, etc. works. When they're fedexing something physical along with large data files, a dvd is still the most common method.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Well we can focus on weight but that isn't a problem for me. Rather capacity, performance and serviceability are big factors in a machines selection. Actually the thickness of the machine means little weight wise from the stand point of the case. It is what goes into the machine that adds weight. Frankly if the added weight comes form a bigger battery i'm not about to complain. Well no lead acid batteries but you get the idea.

I know. I think it's that people look at the Air and it's thin and light. Drawing a connection there is silly, but people do it anyway. If you compare the 13" Air to the 13" Pro it's 4.5 pounds compared to 2.96 pounds. I looked up some generic references for optical disks and a few of the hard drives Apple has used in the pro, which gave me roughly half a pound between those two items, so you've got a little over a pound of weight without those two items factored. Comparing the 13" Air to the 15" Pro is just a bit silly.
post #33 of 35
So the Mac Pro will probably be updated before anything else. May is so late, I bet they will have minor speed bumps in January for the iMac and mini like they did recently for the MBP.
post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple In Cider View Post

So the Mac Pro will probably be updated before anything else.

Eh, I see the laptops getting an update before the Mac Pro, even.
post #35 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Eh, I see the laptops getting an update before the Mac Pro, even.

It kind of depends on what they choose for it. If we're talking Sandy Bridge E, then most likely early next year. I don't see them holding out for Ivy Bridge equivalents. If they are waiting for them it would likely be a chipset thing. Part of the reason for irritation is Intel. Part of it is that the hexacore setup is still $3700 with 3GB of ram . It shouldn't surprise anyone that sales are slow.
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