Apple's new MacBook Air powered by 7W Intel 'Amber Lake' CPU

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited October 2018
Apple is typically loath to reveal processor parts numbers in releasing new Mac hardware, and the company followed that trend when it unveiled the 2018 MacBook Air on Tuesday. Cross-referencing part specifications with Intel's ARK database, however, suggests the thin-and-light is powered by a just-announced Intel processor from the same family rumored to show up in the MacBook line.

MacBook Air
Apple VP of hardware engineering Laura Lagrove introduces MacBook Air.


On its tech specs webpage, Apple says the new MacBook Air is powered by a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz. The chip further boasts 4MB of L3 cache, supports up to 16GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory and includes Intel's UHD Graphics 617.

According to Intel's website, there is one chip that matches those chip specifications: the Core i5-8210Y. Released in the third quarter of 2018 a part of the Amber Lake family, the 8th generation Core i5 is an efficient 7 Watt chip built on Intel's 14-nanometer process.

Interestingly, Intel apparently posted information about the chip to ARK following Apple's media event in New York.

In its coverage of today's Apple announcements, AnandTech earlier today noted the single Intel Core i5 chip being offered with the new MacBook Air did not match any component in the chipmaker's ARK database. The publication opined that Apple integrated unannounced 5W Amber Lake silicon in its latest thin-and-light, a major shift from the 15W U-series chips used in previous MacBook Air models.

As noted by AnandTech, Apple is trading efficiency for performance potential by opting for Amber Lake. Still, the newly designed CPU and integrated GPU pairing is a step up from the Broadwell architecture currently used by the non-Retina display MacBook Air.

On its website, Apple claims the new MacBook Air with Retina display's 50.3-watt-hour battery pack is good for up to 12 hours while browsing the web over Wi-Fi, 13 hours while watching iTunes movies or 30 days on standby.

Earlier this year, details of Intel's Amber Lake chips leaked, revealing potential CPU candidates for Apple's MacBook lineup. The entry-level Macs rely on 5W Y-series chips, making Amber Lake a suitable replacement if and when the laptop line is refreshed.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    Jason Snell thinks this wasn’t the plan for the Mac laptop lineup and the reason we have a new Air is because people were still buying the old one. That doesn’t make sense to me. Most likely the reasons people were still buying it were price, keyboard, ports and MagSafe. Yet the new Air is more expensive, uses the new butterfly keyboard, doesn’t have USB-A, SD Card or Mag Safe. Outside of the retina display how is this satisfying those who were buying the Air over the rMB or rMBP?

    The only reason I might agree with his theory is this:

    Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith)
    The first two MacBook Air designs were breakthrough products. Size/weight, then power/performance/design/battery life. Today's MacBook Air pushes no envelope, and merely exists as a concession to the market. Apple's portable flagship in this era is the iPad, make no mistake

    edited October 2018 repressthisentropys
  • Reply 2 of 23
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,503member
    I tried to find benchmark(passmark) of Core i5-8210Y supposedly used in new Macbook Air. Just want to compare with 2018 13" Macbook Pro. Thought, this new Macbook Air will be close in performance to 2018 13" Macbook Pro because Apple didn't update the 2018 function keys Macbook Pro. I want better performance Macbook Pro but hate to pay that stupid useless touchbar

  • Reply 3 of 23
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,112member
    Thought so, afaik there's no U series 8th gen parts with two cores, so they had to have stepped down. 

    It keeps a fan though, so it should have much better sustained performance than the 12" Macbook...I wonder if the 12" is just going to die now, because the two are too close in price while this beats it on function now. 
    repressthis
  • Reply 4 of 23
    Since they have already updated the 12” MacBook color selection to match the new MacBook Air colors it looks like there is no immediate plan to discontinue it. The rose gold 12” might have been a selling point just on style alone for customers who liked the small size and could deal with the limitations.

    As it is, there is a confusing bit of overlap in the models. I don’t know what to make of it. I was ready to sell off a few MacBook Pros from 2009 and 2011 and go with something more up to date. I think I just be on the lookout for a nice deal on something maybe 2014-2015. Fact is the older ones are still doing me well.
  • Reply 5 of 23
    DuhSesameDuhSesame Posts: 1,073member
    Well that’s interesting because all of the ultrabooks today are using Core-U series.  Maybe they’re thinking if people want an U-series chip then go with the 13” MacBook Pro (which are bit faster than average ultrabook because they’re using 28W chips).  Core m are good enough for everyday tasks and much more power efficient.  Not a fan of this but fine.

    I do hope when they’re switching to ARM, they’re using AX processors for it.  12” MacBook will be A-series if it still exists in 2020.
    edited October 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 23
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,511member
    Jason Snell thinks this wasn’t the plan for the Mac laptop lineup and the reason we have a new Air is because people were still buying the old one. That doesn’t make sense to me. Most likely the reasons people were still buying it were price, keyboard, ports and MagSafe. Yet the new Air is more expensive, uses the new butterfly keyboard, doesn’t have USB-A, SD Card or Mag Safe. Outside of the retina display how is this satisfying those who were buying the Air over the rMB or rMBP?



    I traded in my old MBA for the 2017 MBP.  Gave up all those ports you talked about to.  You know what, I don’t miss them one bit.  Why?  Because it’s a LAPTOP and I rarely ever use those ports that’s why.  I’ve embraced USBc.  My external devices also use USBc, and I have ONE USB dongle that I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used it in one year.

    I adapted.  Maybe you should too.  It’s a great laptop.  I’d probably get one of those again after my current one gets old.

    Stop making it an issue.  You’re probably still irked that Apple got rid of the CDRom drive right?
    d_2racerhomie3mwhitemacplusplusuniscapewatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 23
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,423member
    Jason Snell thinks this wasn’t the plan for the Mac laptop lineup and the reason we have a new Air is because people were still buying the old one. That doesn’t make sense to me. Most likely the reasons people were still buying it were price, keyboard, ports and MagSafe. Yet the new Air is more expensive, uses the new butterfly keyboard, doesn’t have USB-A, SD Card or Mag Safe. Outside of the retina display how is this satisfying those who were buying the Air over the rMB or rMBP?

    The only reason I might agree with his theory is this:

    Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith)
    The first two MacBook Air designs were breakthrough products. Size/weight, then power/performance/design/battery life. Today's MacBook Air pushes no envelope, and merely exists as a concession to the market. Apple's portable flagship in this era is the iPad, make no mistake

    I agree with Troughton-Smith.  The iPad Pro represents Apple's vision as the future of the laptop.  What was telling was when Apple showed a slide during the keynote that the iPad was the most popular "computer" sold in 2018.  I wouldn't be surprised if Apple's laptop line consists of only iPad Pro and MBP.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    sflocal said:
    Jason Snell thinks this wasn’t the plan for the Mac laptop lineup and the reason we have a new Air is because people were still buying the old one. That doesn’t make sense to me. Most likely the reasons people were still buying it were price, keyboard, ports and MagSafe. Yet the new Air is more expensive, uses the new butterfly keyboard, doesn’t have USB-A, SD Card or Mag Safe. Outside of the retina display how is this satisfying those who were buying the Air over the rMB or rMBP?



    I traded in my old MBA for the 2017 MBP.  Gave up all those ports you talked about to.  You know what, I don’t miss them one bit.  Why?  Because it’s a LAPTOP and I rarely ever use those ports that’s why.  I’ve embraced USBc.  My external devices also use USBc, and I have ONE USB dongle that I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used it in one year.

    I adapted.  Maybe you should too.  It’s a great laptop.  I’d probably get one of those again after my current one gets old.

    Stop making it an issue.  You’re probably still irked that Apple got rid of the CDRom drive right?
    I don’t use a laptop other than my work machine which is Windows. You don’t have to use something to have an opinion on it or an opinion on the strategy. Jason Snell and Myke Hurley spent a good amount of time on their podcast pondering why Apple kept the Air and what might happen to the rMB and non-TB rMBP. If the rMB was on it’s way out I think Apple would have killed it today. My theory is it’s the laptop Apple will use for an ARM Mac. Entry level Macs would probably be the first to go ARM. Notice Intel wasn’t mentioned once on stage today. That had to be intentional. 
  • Reply 9 of 23
    DuhSesameDuhSesame Posts: 1,073member
    sflocal said:
    Jason Snell thinks this wasn’t the plan for the Mac laptop lineup and the reason we have a new Air is because people were still buying the old one. That doesn’t make sense to me. Most likely the reasons people were still buying it were price, keyboard, ports and MagSafe. Yet the new Air is more expensive, uses the new butterfly keyboard, doesn’t have USB-A, SD Card or Mag Safe. Outside of the retina display how is this satisfying those who were buying the Air over the rMB or rMBP?



    I traded in my old MBA for the 2017 MBP.  Gave up all those ports you talked about to.  You know what, I don’t miss them one bit.  Why?  Because it’s a LAPTOP and I rarely ever use those ports that’s why.  I’ve embraced USBc.  My external devices also use USBc, and I have ONE USB dongle that I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used it in one year.

    I adapted.  Maybe you should too.  It’s a great laptop.  I’d probably get one of those again after my current one gets old.

    Stop making it an issue.  You’re probably still irked that Apple got rid of the CDRom drive right?
    I don’t use a laptop other than my work machine which is Windows. You don’t have to use something to have an opinion on it or an opinion on the strategy. Jason Snell and Myke Hurley spent a good amount of time on their podcast pondering why Apple kept the Air and what might happen to the rMB and non-TB rMBP. If the rMB was on it’s way out I think Apple would have killed it today. My theory is it’s the laptop Apple will use for an ARM Mac. Entry level Macs would probably be the first to go ARM. Notice Intel wasn’t mentioned once on stage today. That had to be intentional. 
    If Intel can’t hold its crap together, then the transition will be way faster than what average people would thought.

    edited October 2018
  • Reply 10 of 23
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,423member
    sflocal said:
    Jason Snell thinks this wasn’t the plan for the Mac laptop lineup and the reason we have a new Air is because people were still buying the old one. That doesn’t make sense to me. Most likely the reasons people were still buying it were price, keyboard, ports and MagSafe. Yet the new Air is more expensive, uses the new butterfly keyboard, doesn’t have USB-A, SD Card or Mag Safe. Outside of the retina display how is this satisfying those who were buying the Air over the rMB or rMBP?



    I traded in my old MBA for the 2017 MBP.  Gave up all those ports you talked about to.  You know what, I don’t miss them one bit.  Why?  Because it’s a LAPTOP and I rarely ever use those ports that’s why.  I’ve embraced USBc.  My external devices also use USBc, and I have ONE USB dongle that I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used it in one year.

    I adapted.  Maybe you should too.  It’s a great laptop.  I’d probably get one of those again after my current one gets old.

    Stop making it an issue.  You’re probably still irked that Apple got rid of the CDRom drive right?
    I don’t use a laptop other than my work machine which is Windows. You don’t have to use something to have an opinion on it or an opinion on the strategy. Jason Snell and Myke Hurley spent a good amount of time on their podcast pondering why Apple kept the Air and what might happen to the rMB and non-TB rMBP. If the rMB was on it’s way out I think Apple would have killed it today. My theory is it’s the laptop Apple will use for an ARM Mac. Entry level Macs would probably be the first to go ARM. Notice Intel wasn’t mentioned once on stage today. That had to be intentional. 
    Mark Gurman of Bloomberg put out a report earlier this year that Apple's timeline for ARM Macs was 2020 at the earliest.  If true, my guess is, is that Marzipan plays a key role in that.  But one thing to note is that when Apple transitioned from PowerPC to Intel, they did it inside a year and a half.  If Apple is transitioning to ARM, I wouldn't be surprised if the transition is equally quick.
    edited October 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 23
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,689member
    sflocal said:
    Jason Snell thinks this wasn’t the plan for the Mac laptop lineup and the reason we have a new Air is because people were still buying the old one. That doesn’t make sense to me. Most likely the reasons people were still buying it were price, keyboard, ports and MagSafe. Yet the new Air is more expensive, uses the new butterfly keyboard, doesn’t have USB-A, SD Card or Mag Safe. Outside of the retina display how is this satisfying those who were buying the Air over the rMB or rMBP?



    I traded in my old MBA for the 2017 MBP.  Gave up all those ports you talked about to.  You know what, I don’t miss them one bit.  Why?  Because it’s a LAPTOP and I rarely ever use those ports that’s why.  I’ve embraced USBc.  My external devices also use USBc, and I have ONE USB dongle that I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used it in one year.

    I adapted.  Maybe you should too.  It’s a great laptop.  I’d probably get one of those again after my current one gets old.

    Stop making it an issue.  You’re probably still irked that Apple got rid of the CDRom drive right?
    I don’t use a laptop other than my work machine which is Windows. You don’t have to use something to have an opinion on it or an opinion on the strategy.
    Yes, you can have an opinion on anything, but if you don’t use the kit, and don’t understand Apple’s customer base (or technology in general for that matter), then your opinion isn’t really worth the bandwidth it took to write it. 
    macpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 23
    Rayz2016 said:
    sflocal said:
    Jason Snell thinks this wasn’t the plan for the Mac laptop lineup and the reason we have a new Air is because people were still buying the old one. That doesn’t make sense to me. Most likely the reasons people were still buying it were price, keyboard, ports and MagSafe. Yet the new Air is more expensive, uses the new butterfly keyboard, doesn’t have USB-A, SD Card or Mag Safe. Outside of the retina display how is this satisfying those who were buying the Air over the rMB or rMBP?



    I traded in my old MBA for the 2017 MBP.  Gave up all those ports you talked about to.  You know what, I don’t miss them one bit.  Why?  Because it’s a LAPTOP and I rarely ever use those ports that’s why.  I’ve embraced USBc.  My external devices also use USBc, and I have ONE USB dongle that I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used it in one year.

    I adapted.  Maybe you should too.  It’s a great laptop.  I’d probably get one of those again after my current one gets old.

    Stop making it an issue.  You’re probably still irked that Apple got rid of the CDRom drive right?
    I don’t use a laptop other than my work machine which is Windows. You don’t have to use something to have an opinion on it or an opinion on the strategy.
    Yes, you can have an opinion on anything, but if you don’t use the kit, and don’t understand Apple’s customer base (or technology in general for that matter), then your opinion isn’t really worth the bandwidth it took to write it. 

    Amen! But she's persistent, is Rogifan.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 23
    Honestly these are fantastic updates. I'm glad they came out with a few more intel machines before they fully switch over to ARM. I found it funny how they pointed out that the A12X is roughly as powerful as an Xbox One S. That's kind of insane when you think about it. I sort of Wish Apple would buy Nintendo at this point and turn them and all their studios into first party Apple game studios. (Though obviously they'd stay mostly independent. Imagine only having to buy a controller that connected to your phone and being able to play games like Breath of the Wild or Mario Odyssey? Even if they just worked out some sort of partnership to bring Nintendos games that are already optimized for an ARM processor, to Apple's devices. (It's not going to happen, but a guy can dream, I just hope Nvidea keeps working on the Tegra so Nintendo doesn't get screwed over.)

    The new iPad Pro looks FANTASTIC, and I almost wish there was something wrong with my 9.7 inch Pro that I needed to upgrade it. The upgrade to the mini looks great (though I wish there were silver ones available). I kind of wish I would have held off on upgrading to one of the MBPs from this summer. I could have literally gotten an i7 6 Core mini PLUS an Air for out on the go and have had roughly the same price. (Or I could have gone with an iPad Pro for my mobile work ... dang I want one.)

    It's weird having almost all the devices that Apple geeks care about upgraded at the same time. The only thing I can think of that I'd put as a don't buy right now would be AirPods though those probably won't get upgraded for another year. Almost everything else that could be upgraded has. (I guess the Apple TV 4K could get upgraded ... but to what?)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 23
    Honestly these are fantastic updates. I'm glad they came out with a few more intel machines before they fully switch over to ARM. I found it funny how they pointed out that the A12X is roughly as powerful as an Xbox One S. That's kind of insane when you think about it. I sort of Wish Apple would buy Nintendo at this point and turn them and all their studios into first party Apple game studios. (Though obviously they'd stay mostly independent. Imagine only having to buy a controller that connected to your phone and being able to play games like Breath of the Wild or Mario Odyssey? Even if they just worked out some sort of partnership to bring Nintendos games that are already optimized for an ARM processor, to Apple's devices. (It's not going to happen, but a guy can dream, I just hope Nvidea keeps working on the Tegra so Nintendo doesn't get screwed over.)

    The new iPad Pro looks FANTASTIC, and I almost wish there was something wrong with my 9.7 inch Pro that I needed to upgrade it. The upgrade to the mini looks great (though I wish there were silver ones available). I kind of wish I would have held off on upgrading to one of the MBPs from this summer. I could have literally gotten an i7 6 Core mini PLUS an Air for out on the go and have had roughly the same price. (Or I could have gone with an iPad Pro for my mobile work ... dang I want one.)

    It's weird having almost all the devices that Apple geeks care about upgraded at the same time. The only thing I can think of that I'd put as a don't buy right now would be AirPods though those probably won't get upgraded for another year. Almost everything else that could be upgraded has. (I guess the Apple TV 4K could get upgraded ... but to what?)
    iMac still needs an update I think. Using last gen processors with old school large bezels. 

    Whilst the the new air is good for battery , I think the performance will suck (unless it’s just being used for browsing and lother light stuff)

    Dual core kills it for me. I have to use virtual machines for dev stuff and my old dual core MBP really struggles. This would be worse. The new MBP’s would be fine ... but are priced like a nasa mission to Mars so arguably unaffordable these days. 
  • Reply 15 of 23
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,689member
    If Apple kit is so unaffordable, who is buying it?

    I mean, we've been hearing this for years, but judging by Apple's last set of financials I'd say there is at least one person out there who can afford their stuff. Who is he/she? Is it Warren Buffet? Lewis Hamilton? Bill Gates? Oprah Winfrey? Elizabeth Holmes … er … okay, maybe not her …

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 23
    Jason Snell thinks this wasn’t the plan for the Mac laptop lineup and the reason we have a new Air is because people were still buying the old one. That doesn’t make sense to me. Most likely the reasons people were still buying it were price, keyboard, ports and MagSafe. Yet the new Air is more expensive, uses the new butterfly keyboard, doesn’t have USB-A, SD Card or Mag Safe. Outside of the retina display how is this satisfying those who were buying the Air over the rMB or rMBP?

    The only reason I might agree with his theory is this:

    Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith)
    The first two MacBook Air designs were breakthrough products. Size/weight, then power/performance/design/battery life. Today's MacBook Air pushes no envelope, and merely exists as a concession to the market. Apple's portable flagship in this era is the iPad, make no mistake

    I agree with Troughton-Smith.  The iPad Pro represents Apple's vision as the future of the laptop.  What was telling was when Apple showed a slide during the keynote that the iPad was the most popular "computer" sold in 2018.  I wouldn't be surprised if Apple's laptop line consists of only iPad Pro and MBP.
    The new iPad Pro is a great achievement but that doesn't make the new MBA "a concession to the market". Silly comment. Face ID is a breakthrough but  breakthroughs are not that cheap to come every year. Let's remember how many years it took to get rid of that single Home button, a permanent source of failure. Next year if Apple doesn't come with a breakthrough he will define the iPad Pro too "a concession to the market".
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 23
    I could make touch bar screansaver with color showing procesor heat :-) Or it could be animation from calm water to fire....
    sflocal said:
    Jason Snell thinks this wasn’t the plan for the Mac laptop lineup and the reason we have a new Air is because people were still buying the old one. That doesn’t make sense to me. Most likely the reasons people were still buying it were price, keyboard, ports and MagSafe. Yet the new Air is more expensive, uses the new butterfly keyboard, doesn’t have USB-A, SD Card or Mag Safe. Outside of the retina display how is this satisfying those who were buying the Air over the rMB or rMBP?



    I traded in my old MBA for the 2017 MBP.  Gave up all those ports you talked about to.  You know what, I don’t miss them one bit.  Why?  Because it’s a LAPTOP and I rarely ever use those ports that’s why.  I’ve embraced USBc.  My external devices also use USBc, and I have ONE USB dongle that I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used it in one year.

    I adapted.  Maybe you should too.  It’s a great laptop.  I’d probably get one of those again after my current one gets old.

    Stop making it an issue.  You’re probably still irked that Apple got rid of the CDRom drive right?
    I can say mostly the same but it is too short sighted to think that it fits to all and all environments/use cases. We can guess that Apple knows how users use their product and side with majority. I found out recently that I am much happier with upgraded 10 years old MBP patched for Mojave than newer MBA.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    I have a question for all the experts here. I am an elementary principal teacher and I’ve been using a mid 2012 MacBook Pro which is now running quite slow. MagSafe is emmensely important with kids ages 7-12 walking around and MagSafe has saved my MacBook Pro quite a few times. I figure I’ll get used to the keyboard as I’m not typing long essays all day long. I’ll need a dock to stay in class. My question is: are there docks that incorporate a MagSafe style magnetic connector? I have seen adapters that allow for a magnetic connection, but if is incorporated into a dock that would be a big plus. Thanks ahead for any input.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    Doesn't it have a few screws on case to resolve this mystery?
  • Reply 20 of 23
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,249member
    AllenA said:
    I have a question for all the experts here. I am an elementary principal teacher and I’ve been using a mid 2012 MacBook Pro which is now running quite slow. MagSafe is emmensely important with kids ages 7-12 walking around and MagSafe has saved my MacBook Pro quite a few times. I figure I’ll get used to the keyboard as I’m not typing long essays all day long. I’ll need a dock to stay in class. My question is: are there docks that incorporate a MagSafe style magnetic connector? I have seen adapters that allow for a magnetic connection, but if is incorporated into a dock that would be a big plus. Thanks ahead for any input.
    https://smile.amazon.com/Chilison-Mag-Safe-Adapter-Mag-safe2-Compatible/dp/B07JG2KMYG/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1541090453&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=USB-C+to+Mag-safe&psc=1

    Meanwhile:  Good try but could try harder.   4/10 for writing skills and spelling. ;)


    edited November 2018 AllenA
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