Intel Core M lets new MacBook go light and fanless, but with sacrifices

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  • Reply 21 of 202
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,232moderator
    For whatever reason, the Core M also fails to grant the MacBook any dramatic battery life advantage. Both it and the 11-inch Air are rated for nine hours of web browsing and 10 hours of iTunes movie playback. The 13-inch Air is even better, capable of 12 hours for each task.

    That may be attributable to the MacBook's signature feature, which is a 2304x1440, LED-backlit IPS Retina display. Although Apple hasn't shared many technical details, those kinds of specifications aren't easy on a computer's battery, as a rule.

    The 11" Air and 12" MB have the roughly the same size of battery - 38Wh and 39.7Wh respectively. For the 11" Air to reach 9 hours of use, it can only average 4.2W of power draw for everything including the display so even though it has a ~15W CPU, for web browsing, it's not operating anywhere near the peak power usage. The main advantage to the Core M is that even at its peak, it's still low enough power draw to operate with passive cooling. It should be able to maintain a lower average power draw but the display will definitely counter that - one reason they gave in the past is having to push up the brightness. They redesigned the electronics for each pixel so it shouldn't have as much of an impact but still some.

    The CPU difference is negligible vs the Air. It's about 20% less than the 2015 model but almost the same as the 2014 model.
    The GPU is quite a bit lower:

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-5300.125576.0.html
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-6000.125588.0.html

    but they both suck really. The 5300 is about 60% of the 6000 in the 2015 Air. The 2014 Macbook Pro from last year is double the 2015 Air and this year, if it goes to Skylake it would be another 80% faster, although the Air and Macbook will get bumped up to Skylake too.

    The Skylake version of the Macbook later on this year will improve the GPU performance. Not by 80% as it's already Broadwell but it'll make up some of the difference and the 13" Air can be removed from the lineup and just leave an 11" model at the low-end.

    With 8GB RAM and an SSD, the only sacrifice Macbook Air buyers who aren't heavy GPU users are likely to notice is the single USB port that is also the power port.
  • Reply 22 of 202
    nick29nick29 Posts: 111member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppeX View Post



    The new Apple MacBook with Intel Core M should have been a Mac tablet instead (much as the successful Microsoft Surface).



    Besides, it is a deal breaker with no Thunderbolt and Ethernet ports, and a single USB port. Because hubs and adapters are calling for trouble, besides being awkward and inconvenient.



    I rather get the MacBook Air. I would ALSO purchase a light and small Mac tablet. Not for heavy work, but great for Keynote and PowerPoint presentations. Must have separated Thunderbolt and Ethernet ports, and at least two USB ports for pendrive sharing while using remotes like the following:

    Keyspan by Tripp Lite Presentation Wireless Remote Control, Silver, 60-ft. Range

    Model Number: PR-US2

    http://www.tripplite.com/wireless-presentation-remote-control-laser-pointer-2-button-mouse~PRUS2



    A "Mac tablet" what are you even talking about? "successful Microsoft Surface"? You're either trolling or spamming or both, get out of here

  • Reply 23 of 202
    sleakajsleakaj Posts: 32member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post



    It's odd that there was a "megahertz war" in the early 2000s between Apple and Intel (which is why Apple always touted the other powerful aspects of the PowerPC over the Pentium) because I remember Intel reaching 1ghz first, and that was around 2002 or so. Yet we are still at 1ghz chips. I would think we would have 100 ghz by now,

     

    That's because "megahertz" is a limited way of comparing the performance between CPUs.

  • Reply 24 of 202
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,874member

    Survived two years with a 2012 MBA w/ 4GB RAM + Thunderbolt display. I performed web and print design, with print design being the more processor intensive of course. My current MBP 8GB feels faster at scrolling and previewing, but the bulk of the performance gains come from the lack of continuous caching, thanks to the extra RAM.

     

    The MacBook is obviously not a graphics professional's machine, but can easily handle web development and design.

  • Reply 25 of 202
    This laptop appears to be a proof of concept.

    Like the Apple Watch, this shows the new trend of Apple post-Jobs that is more willing to put its 'No' products in front of the public as well as its 'Yes' products. It's a similar strategy to Google, and certainly helps to keep the street talking, if not exactly buzzing, in the absence of the mega hits to which Apple has become accustomed. The danger, of course, is implosion Google Glass-style.

    It'll be interesting to see the reviews.
  • Reply 26 of 202
    ianridianrid Posts: 13member

    Another note for geeks: the phrase "a miniscule figure" should read "a minuscule figure". There is no word "miniscule".

  • Reply 27 of 202
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,158member

    I can't wait for the new 15" MacBook Pros. Any guesses on the dedicated GPU Apple might use for the upcoming 15" MBP updates?

  • Reply 28 of 202
    v900v900 Posts: 101member
    bugsnw wrote: »
    If a lot of people buy the MacBook, making the sacrifice of speed for portability, then that will give Apple confidence that they are but one or two generations away from using their A-series chips in these 'air' style laptops.

    This is the first break to test the waters. For what it's worth, I think there is ample room for such a beast in Apple's product matrix. Might be a year or two down the road, but the convergence is titillating.

    There'd be new sacrifices that we don't know right now but also new features and bonuses such as being able to run iOS Apps.

    Depends on WHO the customers are... Is anybody using it as their only computer, or are the customers people who already have an iMac and MacBook Pro at home?
    And there still is a performance delta here, where Intel has the advantage.
    simply258 wrote: »
    They will sell millions of them. Average person isn't a graphic designer or gamer. And millions will gladly pay the price just for the size and look.

    Sure, but sales-numbers alone seem a poor way of determining whether a computer is successful. And using that measure exclusively Apple is merely a mediocre computer company in an industry ruled by giants like Acer and Asus.

    One doesn't need to be a graphics designer or gamer to very quickly run into the apparent limitations of the new MacBook/CoreM. Though there's no doubt that if you only use it for the stuff you'd usually do on an iPad, it's perfectly adequate, though two to three times as expensive.

    pentae wrote: »
    I believe Apple have made a very big mistake not putting that retina into the Macbook Air lineup and put a %u2018standard%u2019 display into this new Macbook to improve its performance and battery life.

    I have a fully specced out 13%u201D mid-2013 Macbook and they have not given me enough of a reason to move to the new Macbook Air.

    The new Macbook is too underpowered, and I won%u2019t ever get a Macbook Pro as it runs too hot for my lap.

    You're overestimating how much of an impact a 1440*900 (for example) screen would have on the performance. And you'd be left with a slightly lower res screen than the existing MacBook Air, having close to the same weight and a battery life that may be two-three hours longer. I doubt many existing MacBook Air owners would find that a tempting alternative.

    Bottom line is: there's no way of putting a retina screen in the MacBook Air without sacrifices somewhere. You'll either have to make it thicker/bigger/heavier, or sacrifice some of the batterylife and/or some of the performance. That might change come Skylake, but it's by no means a certainty.

    The biggest problem that everyone seems to ignore when it comes to power usage and performance is HOW LONG the CoreM in the new MacBook is able to run at full throttle.

    It is able to run at speeds close to the performance of of the CPU in the 14/15 MacBook Air, but not for very long at a time. After a few minutes at full speed, the fanless CPU gets too hot, and needs to throttle down either the CPU or the GPU or most likely: Both. That leads to constant slowdowns for the user, and a computer that is never able to perform at full speed for any extended period of time, even when the battery isn't a problem and it's hooked up to an outlet. For anybody who intends to multitask on their computer, or intends to use it for anything more than basic web surfing, a MacBook Air is a much better choice if you can/want to have only one computer.

    Heck, if you use a MacBook Air as your only computer, even your existing 2012/2013 MacBook Air is a better choice than the MacBook. Or get the 2015 MacBook Air AND an iPad or iPad Mini. It'll cost you the same, and deliver a much better experience in every measure except for design/look.

    The MacBook Air CPU has three times the headroom. 15w vs. 5w. That's a huuuge difference. And unlike the passively cooled new MacBook, the fan in the MacBook air means that if you plug into an outlet, it's able to run at full speed on both cores: 1.6 Ghz (and occasional burst of more than 2ghz) all day long if it has to.

    The new MacBook however? It'll run at a 1.2 ghz top speed for a few minutes, before the lack of cooling and low headroom means that it needs to shut down a core, throttle down graphics, and/or throttle both cores down to 8-900 MHz in order to stay within its 5 W power budget. And that's where it'll stay the rest of the day, aside from occasional 1.2 ghz bursts of speed by one of the cores, regardless of its plugged in or not.
  • Reply 29 of 202
    Perhaps I am shallow, but even though the speed will suffice for most of what I do and the size/weight/display are ideal, the absence of the glowing Apple logo is a deal breaker for me. I'd have been willing to sacrifice a bit of battery life for it.

    Perhaps Apple could have thrown it in as a choice in System Prefs. Especially considering that the 2nd gen will probably have it....
  • Reply 30 of 202
    The fact that it doesn't compare unfavorable with an Air that is still sold is very impressive, considering the size, power requirements and no fan.
    Very little software will require hardware that is stronger than the lowest spec that is still in stores anyway.
    The Retina display is almost solely up to the graphics chip, so that has little to do with the CPU other than in a few special apps such as Photoshop. Even PS has support for GPU rendering now though.
  • Reply 31 of 202
    v900v900 Posts: 101member
    nasserae wrote: »
    I can't wait for the new 15" MacBook Pros. Any guesses on the dedicated GPU Apple might use for the upcoming 15" MBP updates?

    I am a tiny bit worried if there'll be any, or that they might go for an AMD solution like in the retina Imac. Hopefully that was an exception though.

    We will probably see something based on Nvidia's new Maxwell generation, as it offers an amazing power and performance boost. In terms of performance and power usage it's almost unprecedented, that a new GPU not only easily beats it's predecessor AND significantly reduces the power usage. We usually see a big boost for either performance or power usage and a small tweaking of the other. Not big gains on both fronts at the same time!
  • Reply 32 of 202
    tailpipetailpipe Posts: 345member
    The bottom line is that the form factor of the new 12" MacBook is stunning. For anyone who needs a highly portable laptop for email, office applications, surfing the web, watching movies, and for the limited editing of photos and home videos, this machine is a no brainer. No one, including Apple, would pretend that this is anything other than an entry-level machine. The clue is in the name: MacBook not MacBook Pro or anything else.

    That said, I note three very apt observations made above:

    (1) When compared to previous high end MacBooks that in the their day were thought to be fast, the new MacBook's performance specs are not that disastrous.

    (2) The new MacBook is the blueprint for future Apple laptops. I fully expect to see larger machines of the same design with all the bells and whistles demanded by Pro users.

    (3) When Skylake comes, and that'll be before Christmas, the bump in performance will render all criticism obsolete.

    My only criticism is that Apple seems to have learned nothing from criticisms of the first MacBook Air: not enough ports. By all means adopt USB-C before anyone else, but please give us two ports so we have the flexibility to do what we please.
  • Reply 33 of 202
    iaeeniaeen Posts: 588member
    tyler82 wrote: »
    It's odd that there was a "megahertz war" in the early 2000s between Apple and Intel (which is why Apple always touted the other powerful aspects of the PowerPC over the Pentium) because I remember Intel reaching 1ghz first, and that was around 2002 or so. Yet we are still at 1ghz chips. I would think we would have 100 ghz by now,

    You can't escape the laws of physics. Higher clock rates lead to more power consumption and more heat generation. Towards the end of the MHz wars Intel realized that if they continued to scale up their processors the same way they had been, they would end up burning hotter than the sun within a couple of years. This was the primary motivation for moving to multi core architectures.
  • Reply 34 of 202
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post

     



    Processor architecture began to achieve better performance when scaled horizontally instead of vertically. Increasing the clock speed is a vertical approach. Adding more processors, or what we now called "cores", is the horizontal approach. Computing tasks can be split up and processed by multiple processor cores at once, and the results are combined together much faster than passing that same task through a single processor.


     

    While that's what their purport to be selling; a conscious volountary change, in practice, the limits of the process and tech itself dictated that approach, and improvement in single core speed has really slowed down a lot.

     

    The increasing important of the subsystems outside the CPU in overall performance has also made CPU improvement less crucial than in the past. Most user tasks are not CPU bound. Efficient how performance storage, communication (GPS,LTE,Bluetooth,WIFI), memory and the GPU have as much importance that the CPU in the overall scheme of thing. The multiplication of specialized processing centers, especially in the mobile space, also reduced the importance the general use CPU.

     

    Not all tasks can be easily made parallel. The reason Intel won against AMD is not more cores, its more processing per core... That's still were they are ahead.

     

    Were parallel processing has exploded is in the GPU space.

     

    Lately, there's been much work in better using a multicore setups, especially by the SO,, and eventually that may provide the boost that process improvements alone can't provide. But, I don't think we are there yet.

  • Reply 35 of 202
    v900v900 Posts: 101member
    The fact that it doesn't compare unfavorable with an Air that is still sold is very impressive, considering the size, power requirements and no fan.
    Very little software will require hardware that is stronger than the lowest spec that is still in stores anyway.
    The Retina display is almost solely up to the graphics chip, so that has little to do with the CPU other than in a few special apps such as Photoshop. Even PS has support for GPU rendering now though.

    But it does compare unfavorably with the Air in everything but esthetics and screen resolution. At least if you're using it for more than a few minutes at a time.

    "display is almost solely up to the graphics chip, so that has little to do with the CPU other"

    Ehm, the GPU is located on the CPU. And that is the big problem here... They both share the same tiny 5W power envelope, and the same heat envelope. any time the GPU needs a little extra power, it can only come from the CPU. And any time the CPU needs extra power, it can only come from the GPU or from shutting off one of the cores.

    The MacBook Air CPU has a 15 W TDP. And if both GPU and CPU needs extra power at the same time, that's not a problem. Power to both of them gets cranked up, and the MacBook Air can always compensate for the extra heat by turning the fan on for a few minutes. Or running it as long as necessary.

    The new MacBook is passively cooled. So the only way to regulate how much heat is generated, is to shut down a core or throttle down both CPU and GPU.
  • Reply 36 of 202
    blazarblazar Posts: 270member
    another couple years and we will get all the slimness and the speed and graphics in one package....
  • Reply 37 of 202
    v900v900 Posts: 101member
    tailpipe wrote: »

    (1) When compared to previous high end MacBooks that in the their day were thought to be fast, the new MacBook's performance specs are not that disastrous.
    Well you're comparing apples and oranges here. Actually more like fresh apples with three year old oranges.
    (2) The new MacBook is the blueprint for future Apple laptops. I fully expect to see larger machines of the same design with all the bells and whistles demanded by Pro users.
    It's an ultraportable. And Apple has the Air and Pro alongside it, which is the only reason they launched a machine with so many compromises.
    (3) When Skylake comes, and that'll be before Christmas, the bump in performance will render all criticism obsolete.
    The performance is just one of several ways in which this machine is compromised. Skylake is expected to bring a 5% performance increase, and that isnt nearly enough to give the MacBook an acceptable performance at below 5 watt.
  • Reply 38 of 202
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    I can remember when the 'thin is cool' fad began with Motorola's Razr phone in 2004. It was silly then. It's even sillier to see that fad linger on over a decade later. Year after year, the mantra continues: "Thin is the new thin, thin is the new thin...."

    Thin in mobile and portable devices is as pointless as those tail fins on early 1960s cars. Once a device is too big for a shirt or coat pocket, we need to carry it around in a bag. And when that's true, being 0.5" thick or 1.5" matters not. What matters is what it can do.

    All this hype over thinness distracts from what really matters in a laptop. But then maybe that's the point. Unable or (more likely) unwilling to improve their products in substantial ways, Apple must toot its horn about the new model being 0.05" thiner than the previous one, as if that matters.

    Why not include a cellular data option like iPads? Why not add GPS? Why not offer an Extended Life model with a larger battery? Why not include more ports%u2014particularly USB%u2014so we don't have to carry about additional clutter?

    And most glaring of all, why not replace that chunky white brick power supply with something far lighter, with something like the tiny and light-weight Dart:

    http://finsix.com/dart/

    Apple seems to think its typical customer is a vain little peacock obsessed with thin or color and not with functionality. You see that when you look at Apple's line of laptops. Apple used to ship products with more features than their competitors. Now it ships them with less. Even getting more that an inadequate 4 GB of memory has become an extra-cost option.
  • Reply 39 of 202
    carthusiacarthusia Posts: 561member

    This MacBook's thinness is not just "for looks", nor should the weight reduction be seen as trivial. I currently have 2011 13" MBA that is still humming along, especially after I upgraded the SSD to a 256 Transcend Jet Drive, however my bag is heavy. I'm schlepping a briefcase full of documents and a notebook computer around on subways, crowded streets and in and out of taxis six days a week.

     

    The dramatic difference in thinness and shaving about a pound of weight is extremely compelling, especially as I would be getting ForceTouch and Retina, along with double the RAM and storage while only sacrificing an inch diagonal in screen real estate. This is my dream machine-not everyone's, so I'm pretty psyched.

     

    This is a very compelling machine, especially for professionals like myself that are working primarily with documents, not pixels. Think college students, lawyers, accountants, journalists, professors, executives, doctors of all sorts, real estate agents, etc. 

  • Reply 40 of 202
    I can't help but wonder if the Core M in the new MacBook is just testing the waters for Apple's A Series SoC's viability in the future, along with a 'magical' OS X rewrite with Apple's trademark "Go from THIS to THIS [the same UI]"...
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