Intel reveals plans for forthcoming notebook chips

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Intel Corp. has just released plans for its mobile computing platform through the second quarter of 2007, which will include a new notebook processor with an 800MHz front-side bus.



According to a report by the microchip hounds at DailyTech, the world's largest chipmaker will introduce its next-generation of its "Merom" notebook processor -- the successor to the Yonah chip found in Apple Computer's current line of Intel Macs -- in two waves or "refreshes."



The first is expected to appear in August as part of Intel's existing "Napa" Centrino platform. It will be based on the company's 65-nanometer process and run on a 667MHz front-side bus. Intel previously announced that it will market these chips under the "Core 2 Duo" brand.



A second refresh of the Core 2 Duo Merom chip will reportedly show up in the second quarter of 2007 as part of Santa Rosa Centrino, the successor to Intel's Napa Centrino platform. This chip is said to sport an 800MHz front-side bus and add a new socket design called "Socket P."



Merom will initially be made available in five different variants ranging from 1.66GHz dual-core to 2.33GHz dual-core. The low-end model will cost approximately $209 while the high-end 2.33GHz chip will initially fetch $637. A mid-range 2GHz model will come in just shy of $300.



The first wave of Merom chips are expected to begin making their way into Apple's high-end MacBook Pro notebooks this fall as part of a seasonal refresh just prior to the holiday shopping season.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    Now this is what I've long been waiting for, a true 64-bit processor to go with the existing OS it was designed for.
  • Reply 2 of 37
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    "Intel partners have confirmed to us that the Merom processors will require a BIOS update for the notebook when upgrading from a Core Duo Yonah system."



    So maybe iMac and Mac Mini owners won't be able to just drop them in after all?
  • Reply 3 of 37
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member
    What does this mean for the MacBook? When does everyone think the MacBook will have these new chips? (Core 2 Duo)



    Knowing Apple they will artificially separate the MacBook Pro and MacBook, and make the MacBook wait half a year. Or perhaps not. Seems like they are updating quicker now, keeping in line with Intel. That would be awesome if they finally catch up with the rest of the industry and update more frequently, and keep up with Intel. New MacBooks in the Fall? Hmm to wait or not to wait...
  • Reply 4 of 37
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,227member
    I think only the MBP will have merom in the initial launch. After the next refresh I see low end merom chips coming down into the MB.



    Basically Apple has to keep the same clock speed or consumers get confused. Apple marketing is likely loathe to explain why a 1.66Ghz Merom is faster than a 1.83 Yonah based book. Thus they'll wait until they can get a 2Ghz or better merom at the right price and use it.



    I hope the Macs don't require an update. I'd love to upgrade my mini to merom when the price is right.



    I'm not overly concerned about the FSB increase either. That'll of course help memory performance but what's exciting is moving for a 3 issue core to 4 issue and doubling the L2 cache. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.
  • Reply 5 of 37
    austereaustere Posts: 4member
    Is the lack of mention of iMac chip updates a bad sign?
  • Reply 6 of 37
    boogabooga Posts: 1,077member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Tux Kapono

    Now this is what I've long been waiting for, a true 64-bit processor to go with the existing OS it was designed for.



    You must misunderstand the situation. MacOS X has been designed for 32 bit systems. 10.4 had some 64-bit stuff grafted on for UNIX processes, but no GUI app could be a 64-bit app. Perhaps you're talking about Leopard (10.5)?



    In addition, there is no benefit to 64-bit for most uses in a laptop, which is what Merom is targeting, since no Mac laptop yet can hold more than 4GB of RAM. Although, unlike with the PowerPC, there is some performance benefits to the 64-bit extensions.
  • Reply 7 of 37
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,227member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by austere

    Is the lack of mention of iMac chip updates a bad sign?



    Probably not. Merom would be a natural for the next iMac. It's 64-bit (markitechture) and has a Thermal Design Power of 35 watts so cooling wouldn't be too difficult. I'm thinking Merom and the iMac will definitely hook up.
  • Reply 8 of 37
    websnapwebsnap Posts: 224member
    Why would the MacBooks get the Merom Chips? They are a Consumer notebook. The 32 bit chip is plenty considering they keep up with the current G5s even in FInal Cut pro. This seems like "the grass is always greener" infused with a little "what have you done for me lately" mac user complex. There is no "artificial" line between the MacBook and the Pro. It is and looks like there will and should be a big distinction between the two since they are made for different users, not just for different wallets. I would love to get everything you get in a Pro in the cost and package of a MacBook, but then why have a Pro line? I would love to have a Quad in the price and the package of a mini, but then why have a Powermac line? There needs to be a distinction because they are made for two different markets. They should Keep the Yonahs for the Consumer line and the Merom/Woodcrest for the pro not for some artificial profit margin, but to keep the consumer products more affordable and so the product lines don't cannibalize each other. If you want more power pay for it. We don't want what happened to the powerbooks when the iBooks had virtually the same chip then powerbooks were considered slow and a waste of money.
  • Reply 9 of 37
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,227member
    Yonah really is going to top out at 2.4Ghz or so and that'll come by next year so the majority of laptops will eventually migrate over to Merom. Eventually you'll see pricing parity between the two and it'll make sense to use Merom for all but the lowest end laptops.



    In the meantime Merom will indeed provide that differentiation between consumer and pro for 6-9 months in the Apple arena.
  • Reply 10 of 37
    austereaustere Posts: 4member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    Probably not. Merom would be a natural for the next iMac. It's 64-bit (markitechture) and has a Thermal Design Power of 35 watts so cooling wouldn't be too difficult. I'm thinking Merom and the iMac will definitely hook up.



    Those are pretty convincing reasons it's coming, but I guess the worry, as always, is when.



    When Apple introduces a new chip generation in one product line do they generally update a few others at the same time or within a month thereafter?
  • Reply 11 of 37
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    Yonah really is going to top out at 2.4Ghz or so and that'll come by next year so the majority of laptops will eventually migrate over to Merom. Eventually you'll see pricing parity between the two and it'll make sense to use Merom for all but the lowest end laptops.



    In the meantime Merom will indeed provide that differentiation between consumer and pro for 6-9 months in the Apple arena.






    Very well stated.







    "Think Alike... BE Different!"
  • Reply 12 of 37
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,227member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by NVRsayNVR

    Very well stated.







    "Think Alike... BE Different!"




    Hey! Gig Harbor in the house! I love that area man. Boy it's gotten spendy though
  • Reply 13 of 37
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    Basically Apple has to keep the same clock speed or consumers get confused. Apple marketing is likely loathe to explain why a 1.66Ghz Merom is faster than a 1.83 Yonah based book.



    Soooo..........



    Skip the "why" and offer up a rough multiplier: Given the same clock (say 2.0 Ghz), how much faster is Merom than Yonah?



    Followup: how application/task specific is this speed increase?



    To my mind, if the speed difference between equally clocked Yonah & Merom machines is fairly easily noticed by an experienced user in an Apple Store playing around for a while, the problem will take care of itself to a certain degree.



    gc
  • Reply 14 of 37
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,227member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by GordonComstock

    Soooo..........



    Skip the "why" and offer up a rough multiplier: Given the same clock (say 2.0 Ghz), how much faster is Merom than Yonah?



    Followup: how application/task specific is this speed increase?



    To my mind, if the speed difference between equally clocked Yonah & Merom machines is fairly easily noticed by an experienced user in an Apple Store playing around for a while, the problem will take care of itself to a certain degree.



    gc




    At the same clock you should see a %20 increase in performance with Merom over Yonah. Twice the L2 cache is going to help but really it's the extra issue in the core. Netburst and even the AMD chips are all 3-Issue cores. It's like tossing a few more buckets on a Watermill the rotation speed doesn't change(Mhz) but what you can carry during that rotation does.



    I've heard that it takes about a %10 increase in CPU power to notice a change. Sounds plausible and if so Merom will indeed be noticably faster.
  • Reply 15 of 37
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Booga

    In addition, there is no benefit to 64-bit for most uses in a laptop, ...



    Other than the fact that twice as much data is processed in one instruction? Or that a single instruction can access a larger scope of registers?
  • Reply 16 of 37
    websnapwebsnap Posts: 224member
    I think he means most common consumer uses. iChat and itunes won't necessarily be revolutionized on the MacBook by this, but Final cut studio might. In that situation who would be benefiting?
  • Reply 17 of 37
    boogabooga Posts: 1,077member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Splinemodel

    Other than the fact that twice as much data is processed in one instruction? Or that a single instruction can access a larger scope of registers?



    The second point is valid in x86 (but not in PowerPC) 64-bit, which I mentioned. The first point, however, doesn't make much difference. "Twice as much data" when you're talking about integers or fixed-point usually *really* means more precise or more range of data. Most image processing goes through the SIMD or floating point units, or even the GPU, these days anyway. What's left going through the integer unit is usually your basic computations.



    What does that leave you? It means that you can represent and operate on integers greater than 4294967296 in a single instruction. On the other hand, it means you often have to load twice as much data which are often just zeros. Thus, it tends to often be a little slower because it's rare to need numbers more than 4 billion.



    All this stuff is pretty basic computer science and has been gone over in the forums extensively. But basically, in general, 64-bits means "slower" for any task that doesn't need the extra range. x86-64 recovers and exceeds (slightly) the performance because of the extra registers, but don't expect much.
  • Reply 18 of 37
    Any advice for a college student needing a new laptop...I mean...notebook? At first glance it seems like waiting for the new chip might not be worth it. The upgrade doesn't seem to be huge, especially for everyday tasks, and by the time its in the macbook pros it might be too late (after mid-august).
  • Reply 19 of 37
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Homestar06

    Any advice for a college student needing a new laptop...I mean...notebook? At first glance it seems like waiting for the new chip might not be worth it. The upgrade doesn't seem to be huge, especially for everyday tasks, and by the time its in the macbook pros it might be too late (after mid-august).



    I will tell you what the common advice is. If you need a computer now, get what meets your needs. If you sit and say, "Oh, I'll wait for the next revision," you will be constantly waiting for the Next Great Thing?.



    If you need a notebook, here is the buying guide that I have helped people with:



    1) What is the physical size you are wanting?



    2) How much expandability do you need/want?



    3) How fast do you need/want it?



    If you need something small and compact, the MacBook is the way to go. Expandability: MacBook Pro. If neither of those are all that important, go test one of each of the model out at your local Apple Store, and get the one that best "fits" you.



    I hope this helps!!
  • Reply 20 of 37
    Helps a ton, thanks a lot. My needs are not very specific except I want the best I can buy now that will last me 4+ years through college (if thats possible). I definitely want the macbook pro, just not sure if waiting for the next chip upgrade will be within the time period where I can get it or will be worth it anyways. Thanks again.
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