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Future MacBook Pro-bound Intel chips due next spring

post #1 of 47
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The next time Apple will have the opportunity to boost the processor specifications of its MacBook Pro line will be next spring, when Intel pushes out a final update to its Montevina platform consisting of two high-performance mobile chips, according to reports.

Apple's current MacBook Pros employ a "P" series, medium voltage (25W) P8600 2.4GHz chip at the low end, and a "T" series, standard voltage (35W) T9400 2.53GHz chip at the high end.

The T series chip costs the company roughly $32 less than the P series, according to pricing estimates published on the web, but runs slightly hotter. Apple also offers a build-to-order option on the MacBook Pro that lets customers choose a "T" series, standard voltage (35W) T9600 2.8GHz chip for a $300 premium. The chip costs the company roughly $200 to $250 more than the 2.53GHz variants, according to estimates.

Citing sources at Taiwanese notebook makers, DigiTimes claims Intel will refresh these Montevina-based Core 2 Duo offerings in April by adding two new variants: a P8800 running at 2.66GHz and a T9900 clocking in at 3.06GHz.



VR-Zone earlier in the week provided corroborating evidence to this end via a series of leaked Intel roadmap presentation slides. The visuals list the two chips as arriving anytime from mid-to-late second quarter, which runs April through June.

At this juncture, Apple could presumably bump its 15-inch MacBook Pro configurations up to standard frequencies as high as 2.66GHz and 2.8GHz, with a 3.06GHz build-to-order option. Alternatively, it could inch standard configurations up to 2.53GHz and 2.66GHz, leaving the 2.8GHz and 3.06GHz chips as potential build-to-order choices. It should be noted, however, the 17-inch unibody MacBook Pro should be in the mix by this time, potentially adopting one of the remaining high-end chips, such as the 2.8GHz.

The current array of Intel Core 2 Duo mobile chips employed in Apple's unibody MacBook Pros.

The spring refresh is expected to be the last to hit Intel's Montevina platform before the chipmaker turns to its new and broad Nehalem architecture, which has since officially been dubbed the "Core i7." Calpella is the code-name for Intel's Core i7-based mobile platform, which will umbrella chips currently referenced by the "Clarksfield" code-name (the same way that Montevina umbrellas mobile chips from the Penryn family). [Dizzy yet?]

Spring 2009 Core 2 Duo mobile chip additions likely to be adopted by Apple's MacBook Pros.

With the launch of Calpella not scheduled until the third quarter of 2009 at the earliest, few if any hard specifications are known about its new mobile chips. More generally, however, it's been speculated that Calpella processors will be based on a 32-nanometer manufacturing process and possibly abandon the use of separate northbridge and southbridge chipsets for components that will be integrated into some of its processor families.

A bit earlier next year, Intel also plans to introduce its new GM47 integrated graphics chipset with a 1066MHz front-side bus and 640MHz graphics core frequency. Given Apple's emphatic endorsement of NVIDIA's new chipsets across its notebook lines, it's unlikely the company holds any plans to adopt the new Intel part.

Update: Charts and story text updated to reflect confirmation that the 2.53GHz Intel processor employed by the unibody MacBook Pro is the "T" series, standard voltage (35W) T9400, and that Apple is not using the "P" series, medium voltage (25W) P9500.
post #2 of 47
I feel like such a nerd because I actually understood that article. Ugh.
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post #3 of 47
What a colossal embarassment for Intel to have nVidia
come and eat their lunch like they have. I guess it's good
comeuppance for Intel to get their noses rubbed in it since
they haven't had to worry about AMD doing it in recent years.

Core i7 (just rolls off the tongue doesn't it?) mobile coming
late 09 isn't a bad thing. Montevina isn't a bad and Apple needs
to have Snow Leopard up to snuff once Nehalem hits server, desktop
notebooks.

I'm curious to know what nVidia does for an MCP79 encore. I don't
know how long they keep their chipsets in the market but I figure that
by mid 2010 they'll have a successor. Will it be enough to keep Apple on
their chipset? We'll see.
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post #4 of 47
Is it just me or are those images really distorted and unreadable? Also the main site logo is farked up...
post #5 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by tecknojoe View Post

I feel like such a nerd because I actually understood that article. Ugh.



I was about to say... this is all such "inside baseball" stuff. Consumers don't care one bit about it.

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post #6 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



I was about to say... this is all such "inside baseball" stuff. Consumers don't care one bit about it.

We're called Apple"inside"r =P

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post #7 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by tecknojoe View Post

I feel like such a nerd because I actually understood that article. Ugh .

.
post #8 of 47
HAHA, ok ok. back on track. So with everything being said about the macbook pros right now, does anyone think that macworld is going to show any new addition/upgrade to the 15" MBP(besides what just happened to them)? Or is it likely that they will not see any more attention until the new chips?
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post #9 of 47
Hopefully Apple will move to standardize on 25W TDP parts in the next refresh with 25W 2.53GHz and 2.66GHz processors on the 15". The 17" can use the 35W 2.8GHz model, while the 3.06GHz 35W part can be a BTO for both 15" and 17" MBP.

From what I've heard, Apple appears to be using 35W parts for there current 2.53GHz models which is disappointing. May well be why some are seeing Apple's 5hr battery life claims, namely the low-end 15" MBP, while others aren't seeing it, namely the high-end 15" MBP.

And in regards to Capella, it'd be interesting to see if it'll end up being based on 32nm Westmere rather than 45nm Nehalem. The first 32nm parts are supposed to show up in Q4 2009, so a 1 quarter delay to move Capella to 32nm may well be worthwhile. AMD is offering no competitive pressure in notebooks, especially now that nVidia IGPs have negated the AMD's Puma platform IGP advantage. And Nehalem's design features like integrated memory controllers have no real benefit for notebooks. Nehalem itself is design primarily to address Intel's weakness in the server market where having memory channels and memory bandwidth scaling with the number of processors is important. Being on the same 45nm process means Nehalem won't bring much power consumption improvement to notebooks and won't be able to enable mainstream mobile quad cores seeing current Penryn based mobile quad cores require an Extreme Edition 45W TDP rather than the standard 35W or 25W TDPs of mobile dual cores. Launching using a 32nm process for mobile chips makes sense to give strong power savings and reduce cost to allow mainstream mobile quad cores.
post #10 of 47
Intel has been talking about their "tic toc" method of chip delivery for a few years now. The "tic" is the die shrink delivery and "toc" is the core delivery.

The Penryn was the "tic" part of the current delivery schedule (existing core just a die shrink), and Nehalem will be the "toc" portion where the 45nm process is used on the new core microarchitecture.

Intel uses the "tic toc" process to help ensure reliable products. Intel had reliability problems many years ago (and more than once I might add) that occurred when they would deliver a new core on a new die shrink process. After a few painful, and public, issues Intel decided to change to the "tic toc" method to reduce changes for each cycle, this reducing the chance of delivering a bad product.

The first Nehalem architecture ships arrive next month for servers. Desktops arrive in mid-2009 and Laptops about one quarter later.

For more info on Nehalem go to: http://www.intel.com/technology/arch..._brand|kEB7D|s

The article specifically states that Nehalem will be delivered using the 45nm process.

The 32nm die shrink is scheduled to arrive sometime in the second half of 2009 and should start with the lower-volume products like servers or desktops (typical of Intel). The Nehalem architecture will of course be used in the 32nm process. And the cycle continues...............
post #11 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by lecube View Post

Desktops arrive in mid-2009 and Laptops about one quarter later.

Seriously??

I need a new Mac Pro ASAP, but having waited a year to replace the PowerMac was hoping they'd launch a new one before or after Xmas with the Nehalem architecture which I believe would necessitate a redesign case (hopefully a little smaller)
post #12 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by tecknojoe View Post

HAHA, ok ok. back on track. So with everything being said about the macbook pros right now, does anyone think that macworld is going to show any new addition/upgrade to the 15" MBP(besides what just happened to them)? Or is it likely that they will not see any more attention until the new chips?

I expect Macworld will be the debut of the 17" unibody MacBook Pro and the introduction of the Nehalem platform in the Mac Pro and XServe. New software will round out the show.
post #13 of 47
So I guess spring is when we'll see the optional matte screen version then.
post #14 of 47
The tables say that the T9600 costs ~$200 more PER ONE THOUSAND CHIPS. That is far from a $200 increase per single chip.

Edit: Increased cost compared to P9500, T9400
post #15 of 47
According to CPU-Z in Windows on a new MBP, it is the 35W T9400.
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post #16 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by pja View Post

Seriously??

I need a new Mac Pro ASAP, but having waited a year to replace the PowerMac was hoping they'd launch a new one before or after Xmas with the Nehalem architecture which I believe would necessitate a redesign case (hopefully a little smaller)

No Core i7 should be launching this year with the mobile parts rumored to be delayed until late 09.

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/new..._rumor_week_46
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post #17 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by honkytonk View Post

The tables say that the T9600 costs ~$200 more PER ONE THOUSAND CHIPS. That is far from a $200 increase per single chip.

Edit: Increased cost compared to P9500, T9400

You've misunderstood.

You don't think people get 1000 T9600s for $530? That'd be only 53 cents each! What the datum is telling you is that if you buy 1000, they'll cost $530 each. If you buy fewer than 1000, each one will cost you more. If you buy a lot more than 1000 (e.g. 1,000,000), the price per processor comes down, possibly quite substantially (say $450 each as a wild guess, Intel only publish "per 1000" prices).
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post #18 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleinsider View Post

confirmation that the 2.53ghz intel processor employed by the unibody macbook pro is the "t" series

Lame!
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post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by lecube View Post

Intel has been talking about their "tic toc" method of chip delivery for a few years now. The "tic" is the die shrink delivery and "toc" is the core delivery.

The Penryn was the "tic" part of the current delivery schedule (existing core just a die shrink), and Nehalem will be the "toc" portion where the 45nm process is used on the new core microarchitecture.

Intel uses the "tic toc" process to help ensure reliable products. Intel had reliability problems many years ago (and more than once I might add) that occurred when they would deliver a new core on a new die shrink process. After a few painful, and public, issues Intel decided to change to the "tic toc" method to reduce changes for each cycle, this reducing the chance of delivering a bad product.

The first Nehalem architecture ships arrive next month for servers. Desktops arrive in mid-2009 and Laptops about one quarter later.

For more info on Nehalem go to: http://www.intel.com/technology/arch..._brand|kEB7D|s

The article specifically states that Nehalem will be delivered using the 45nm process.

The 32nm die shrink is scheduled to arrive sometime in the second half of 2009 and should start with the lower-volume products like servers or desktops (typical of Intel). The Nehalem architecture will of course be used in the 32nm process. And the cycle continues...............

In the tic-toc model does not necessitate that the new chip be introduced in server or high-end desktop. Intel has only started doing that because servers are where AMD is still competitive so Intel has decided to put pressure there first.

The tic-toc model actually began with on notebooks with Yonah (Core Duo in marketing speak) which launched Intel's 65nm process and was used in the the first Intel Macs. What I'm saying is that since mobile Nehalem is coming so close to the arrival of the 32nm shrink, it is worthwhile to just cancel the mobile Nehalem and launch 32nm Westmere in the mobile market as was done with Yonah. It may not be glamourous, but Penryn can easily last until Westmere seeing that there is no pressure from AMD, and mobile Nehalem itself isn't particularly beneficial to notebooks since it won't bring much power improvements or encourage the move to mobile quad cores since quad core Nehalem costs more than quad core Penryn since Nehalem is a single, big die, while quad core Penryns use 2 smaller dies. Westmere has doesn't have these disadvantages and coming so close to mobile Nehalem, makes mobile Nehalem all the more disappointing if we have to wait nearly a year until Q3 2009 for mobile Nehalem which will then be a generation behind when Westmere arrives a quarter later.
post #20 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by satchmo View Post

So I guess spring is when we'll see the optional matte screen version then.

I know there has been much anguish and wringing of hands over this, but after extensive testing at the local Apple Store I found the reflection issues to be way overblown. Mind you, I did the same comparison when I bought my current 2.33 MBP 17 and at that time the difference WAS major.
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post #21 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Spring 2009 Core 2 Duo mobile chip additions likely to be adopted by Apple's MacBook Pros.

Based on your chart, AppleInsider seems like it's hoping for the 2.66GHz P8800 to be used in MacBook Pros. In truth though the 2.66GHz chip that we should be supporting is the 2.66GHz P9600 coming in Q1 2009. The 9xxx series all have 6MB of L2 cache while the 8xxx series all have 3MB L2 cache. Intel always does this where they introduce a fully equipped processor at a certain clock speed and come up with a cut down one a few months later at the same clock speed hoping no-one will notice. Just like the T9550 that is on the roadmap is also a 2.66GHz part, but most likely has VT support removed to justify the 9x50 designation. Most consumers don't since despite focus on multi-core and architectural improvements, clock speed still sells.

I really wish Apple went with 6MB L2 cache processors across the board on the MacBook Pro. If they wanted something to distinguish between the premium MacBook Pro line and the MacBook line, especially now that they are so closely equipped, L2 cache seems like a good way to do it. Granted Intel doesn't offer a 2.4GHz model with 6MB L2 cache, but really, if Apple wanted it they could get it. Afterall just look at the current iMacs. They are supposed to be a special run of Penryns, but they aren't simply Penryns on an overclocked FSB. If you look at their L2 cache, they are all 6MB versions. Even the 2.4GHz version on the iMac has a 6MB L2 cache, yet no Intel mobile Penryn at 2.4GHz offers 6MB L2 cache, only 3MB L2 cache. So Intel specifically made a 6MB L2 cache 2.4GHz processor for Apple.

Hopefully Apple's next notebook refresh uses 25W TDP, 6MB L2 cache processors standard in the 15" MBP, which would be the 2.53GHz P9500 and the 2.66GHz P9600. Not any 3MB 8xxx variants.
post #22 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bregalad View Post

I expect Macworld will be the debut of the 17" unibody MacBook Pro and the introduction of the Nehalem platform in the Mac Pro and XServe. New software will round out the show.

i would agree with this.....

i can only hope matte displays return as a option. my salesman at my friendly neighborhood apple store said his sales numbers were about 95% matte 5% glossy and none of the sales guys could believe apple dropped the matte display.
post #23 of 47
So what, is it really worth waiting for the Nehalem platform to roll out so the better chips are implemented?

Or is it like the usual - Oh, new Macbooks released. Next update next year, wait for that. Then when that update comes..
post #24 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by S15 Dash View Post

So what, is it really worth waiting for the Nehalem platform to roll out so the better chips are implemented?

Or is it like the usual - Oh, new Macbooks released. Next update next year, wait for that. Then when that update comes..

i have the same question because i thought the new nvidia chips replaced northbridge already, or have i got that completely wrong
post #25 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by spikeme View Post

i have the same question because i thought the new nvidia chips replaced northbridge already, or have i got that completely wrong

It's not exactly the same.
- the nvidia chipset in the MB/MBP is a single chip that integrates the "classic" northbridge and southbridge. The northbridge "used" to have the memory controller, PCIe lanes and the integrated gpu in some case. The southbridge integrates most of the traditional I/Os: USB, SATA and some PCIe lanes too...
- in Nehalem, Intel integrates most parts of the northbridge into the cpu (memory controller, and on some models, the gpu). The southbridge (or I/O hub under Nehalem) is almost unchanged.

So the nvidia chipset = north+south bridges on one chip and
nehalem = cpu (cores + northbridge) + i/o hub (southbridge).

Here's a image illustrating this. it's big, I'm sorry, but I don't have time to try and find a smaller one.

post #26 of 47
o that makes sense now, so frontside speed bus will disappear completely after northbridge is integrated into nehmalm

so is this worth waiting for cause i need to get a new laptop to replace my aging mac mini but i dont want to jump too early
post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by spikeme View Post

o that makes sense now, so frontside speed bus will disappear completely after northbridge is integrated into nehmalm

so is this worth waiting for cause i need to get a new laptop to replace my aging mac mini but i dont want to jump too early

The thing with computers is that for the foreseeable future, there will always be something better just around the corner. My usual advice is to wait as long as you can and not to buy a model that's long in the tooth.

If you're really starting to struggle with your current machine and want a laptop, now is a good time to purchase because Apple have only just updated their MacBooks so at least whatever you buy won't be superseded anytime soon.
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post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by spikeme View Post

o that makes sense now, so frontside speed bus will disappear completely after northbridge is integrated into nehmalm

so is this worth waiting for cause i need to get a new laptop to replace my aging mac mini but i dont want to jump too early

You would have a while to wait. Mobile Nehalem processors won't appear until Q3 or maybe even Q4 2009.

If you need a new laptop, buy a new laptop. It won't be any slower in a year than it is now.
post #29 of 47
is Nehalem going to offer significant improvement?
post #30 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelsalt View Post

is Nehalem going to offer significant improvement?

It'll probably be the first quad-core processor Apple uses in machines like the MBP and iMac. Significant... yes, but it really depends on what you use it for.

If you need a new laptop, now is a good time to buy.
post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

It'll probably be the first quad-core processor Apple uses in machines like the MBP and iMac. Significant... yes, but it really depends on what you use it for.

If you need a new laptop, now is a good time to buy.

ok i sort now understand the advantages of nehalam but could someone please layout in simple terms the new updates and what advantages they offer (eg better battery life, fast clockspeed, shrunk die, graphics bump etc) please cause im sort of lost on what comes next the "tic" or "toc" nehalem or core i7
post #32 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by spikeme View Post

ok i sort now understand the advantages of nehalam but could someone please layout in simple terms the new updates and what advantages they offer (eg better battery life, fast clockspeed, shrunk die, graphics bump etc) please cause im sort of lost on what comes next the "tic" or "toc" nehalem or core i7

http://www.intel.com/technology/arch..._micro+nehalem

Nehalem is the core i7 architecture--it's marketing.

http://www.intel.com/pressroom/archi...htm?iid=SEARCH
post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by spikeme View Post

ok i sort now understand the advantages of nehalam but could someone please layout in simple terms the new updates and what advantages they offer (eg better battery life, fast clockspeed, shrunk die, graphics bump etc) please cause im sort of lost on what comes next the "tic" or "toc" nehalem or core i7

Core i7 is the first Nehalem processor- the high-end desktop CPU that Intel is releasing before the end of this year. All of the different versions of Nehalem to follow- mid- and low- range desktop versions, versions with integrated graphics, mobile versions- will have different names (presumably the server version will still be called Xeon).

It's hard to talk about advantages because, apart from the i7 processors coming soon (which probably won't be used in any Macs), we don't know how they will do on things like battery life. For their first year, Nehalem processors will be manufactured on the same 45-nanometer process as the current Core 2 Duo, so clock speeds will go up, but not very much. In late 2009, they will get a die shrink.

I think Intel is waiting for that 32nm die shrink to introduce mobile Nehalems, because from what I've read, the desktop i7 processors run pretty hot. They run hot for a reason- they integrate a lot of the chipset functions into the CPU- but that means laptops will be using older Core 2 CPUs for a while yet.
post #34 of 47
ok now that core i7 has been realized for desktops, can we make a better guess at what the mobile nehmalem will bring..... and if it will offer and major advantages or even disadvantages... and when this is likely to be used ....
post #35 of 47
The P8700 (2.53 GHz, 25W, 3MB L2 cache) seems the most likely candidate to replace the 2.4 GHz processor in the high-end MacBook and low-end MacBook Pro.


Here are my predictions...


13" MacBook

low-end:

Core 2 Duo P7350 @ 2.00 GHz w 3MB cache (current)
Core 2 Duo P8400 @ 2.26 GHz w 3MB cache (predicted)

high-end:

Core 2 Duo P8600 @ 2.40 GHz w 3MB cache (current)
Core 2 Duo P8700 @ 2.53 GHz w 3MB cache (predicted)

There is also a Core 2 Duo P8800 at 2.66 GHz that could be used on the high-end 13" MacBook (and low-end 15" MacBook Pro) that will be available sometime in the second quarter but the others will be available sooner.



15" MacBook Pro

low-end:

Core 2 Duo P8600 @ 2.40 GHz w 3MB cache (current)
Core 2 Duo P8700 @ 2.53 GHz w 3MB cache (predicted)

high-end:

Core 2 Duo T9400 @ 2.53 GHz w 6MB cache (current)
Core 2 Duo T9550 @ 2.66 GHz w 6MB cache (predicted)

configure-to-order:

Core 2 Duo T9600 @ 2.80 GHz w 6MB cache (current)
Core 2 Duo T9800 @ 2.93 GHz w 6MB cache (predicted)



17" MacBook Pro

This one is hard to predict as it was not updated last month along with the other MacBook models.

Core 2 Duo T9550 @ 2.66 GHz w 6MB cache (predicted) low-end
Core 2 Duo T9600 @ 2.80 GHz w 6MB cache (predicted) high-end
Core 2 Duo T9800 @ 2.93 GHz w 6MB cache (predicted) configure-to-order

There is also the Core 2 Duo T9900 at 3.06 GHz that could be used on the configure-to-order MacBook Pros but it won't be available until sometime around June (just in time for WWDC) and I don't think they are going to wait that long to update the 17" model. Maybe a revision?



Introduction of the Unibody 17" MacBook Pro at Macworld or possibly later in January. Updates to the 13" MacBook and 15" MacBook Pro in February. Update to the configure-to-order options (3.06 GHz T9900 and 256GB SSD) on the 17" MacBook Pro in June.

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post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by spikeme View Post

ok i sort now understand the advantages of nehalam but could someone please layout in simple terms the new updates and what advantages they offer (eg better battery life, fast clockspeed, shrunk die, graphics bump etc) please cause im sort of lost on what comes next the "tic" or "toc" nehalem or core i7

Core i7 will be about 5% to 15% faster per clock than a Core 2 Duo. Ie, a 2.8 GHz Core i7 is about equivalent to a 3.2 GHz Core 2 Duo. They ship at 2.66 to 3.2 GHz. They also support 2-way SMT and can appear as 8 virtual cores. If they appear in Macs, it'll only be in Mac Pros in the near future. Maybe the iMac is Apple does a bit of redesign to account for 130 W TDP. A 2.53 GHz mobile quad-core iMac might be possible too, but the performance tradeoff with a 3.06 dual-core isn't that great except for some specific usages.

We probably won't see Core i7 in laptops until Q1 2010, and you'll see equivalent battery life as Apple simply targets 4-5 hours and uses a battery that can support that.

Apple is actually kind of stuck since their laptops are stuck at 25/35 W TDP and the iMac appears limited to 55 W TDP. They need to design for 45 W TDP laptops and 90 W TDP iMac to see some great perf/$ increases.
post #37 of 47
[Edit resulted in post showing up twice. - Please delete this one.]
post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by THT View Post

[Apple] need to design for 45 W TDP laptops and 90 W TDP iMac to see some great perf/$ increases.

Do you think this is why the 17" MacBook Pro didn't get the unibody update yet?
They tried to house a 45W TDP chip and that failed - so it went back to the drawing board.

But perhaps that's just wishful thinking.
At least I hope the new 17" model, when it finally shows up, has not the same specs as the high-end 15" model plus a bigger screen...
post #39 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

Do you think this is why the 17" MacBook Pro didn't get the unibody update yet?

The 17" MBP has a history of being behind the 15" MBP. Since it isn't nearly as popular as the 15" MBP making it 2nd burner is good business. But their may be other complications with this new milling process.
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post #40 of 47
Certainly makes business sense to not update all MBPs in one go - in case there are problems with the new design you have at least some working models you can sell.

But that is not how Steve Jobs justified the lack of a 17" unibody MBP.
I'd have to re-watch the video to get the exact words, but he said 'there were design issues'.
Yet who knows what really happened... Apple never tells anything. We might find out in 10 or so years. If ever.
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