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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Getting ready for the i5/i7 MBP

Getting ready for the i5/i7 MBP
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Dec 2, 2009, 04:56 AM
 
So more Arrandale specs are being leaked and we are starting to get a clear picture of what to expect from the new MBP in early 2010.

Jan 3 2010 release:
Core i5-430M: 2 cores (4 logical cores with HT), 2.26 GHz (2.53 GHz with TB), 3 MB of cache, IGP clocked at 500 MHz (clocks up to 766 MHz)
Core i5-520M: 2 cores (4 logical cores with HT), 2.4 GHz (2.93 GHz with TB), 3 MB of cache, IGP clocked at 500 MHz (clocks up to 766 MHz)
Core i5-540M: 2 cores (4 logical cores with HT), 2.53 GHz (3.06 GHz with TB), 3 MB of cache, IGP clocked at 500 MHz (clocks up to 766 MHz)
Core i7-620M: 2 cores (4 logical cores with HT), 2.66 GHz (3.33 GHz with TB), 4 MB of cache, IGP clocked at 500 MHz (clocks up to 766 MHz)
All share a 35W TDP. 1k prices range from $225 to $332.

Arrandale's IGP is crap. It's a souped up X4500HD. We can expect roughly half the performance of the already one year old 9400M.

What I'd like to see happen is that all MBPs get a dedicated GPU (and if the 13" can't then it should become a regular MB again) and I'd like to be able to switch the GPU on the fly without logging out (read reset the WM during a session). I'd also like to see an eSATA port take the place of the SD slot (that won't happen) and Apple add a USB3 controller even though the chipset doesn't include it yet (that won't happen either).

My department will be ordering a couple i7 15" models. I'll make sure I get the first one.
( Last edited by Simon; Dec 2, 2009 at 05:07 AM. )
     
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Dec 2, 2009, 05:03 AM
 
Simon:

Great topic. I have been hoping and praying that the MBPs would come out soon with the i5/i7 chipset. I am in the market for a 17" and am holding off until these are released. But the date of release. How do you know release dates? Can I expect to get one in January? Realizing this is all speculation...
     
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Dec 2, 2009, 05:09 AM
 
Those are CHIP release dates. Not computers'.
     
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Dec 2, 2009, 05:17 AM
 
The CPUs will be released on Jan 3. Apple last updated the 15" MBP in June. For a long time already they've been following a roughly 8 month update cycle. Hence I'm assuming we should have the new MBP by 1Q10.
     
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Dec 2, 2009, 09:49 AM
 
I'm guessing Jan. - Feb. myself.

Will the IGP support the new fangled features in Snow Leopard? If so, I suspect Apple may use it, even if the performance sucks. If not then probably not.
     
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Dec 2, 2009, 11:27 AM
 
Which new-fangled features - OpenCL? No, not today, but Intel has been involved in OpenCL and might have plans to add it. I don't think so - I think they're saving that for Larrabee - but they might.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Dec 2, 2009, 02:59 PM
 
The current MBP lineup uses platforms with 34.5-37.5W TDPs and $248-387 price tags.

These Arrandale platforms will be 38.5W TDP and $265-$372 price tags.

Smells like clockrates won't be changing from the current lineup.
     
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Dec 2, 2009, 10:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Arrandale's IGP is crap. It's a souped up X4500HD. We can expect roughly half the performance of the already one year old 9400M.

What I'd like to see happen is that all MBPs get a dedicated GPU
I had a feeling this would happen which is part of the reason why I decided to get this generation of MBP instead of waiting. Even if you got the dedicated GPU in the new machines you don't have the nice battery life and performance of the 9400. I like being able to switch to the 9400 for better battery life but can still do just about anything I do graphics-wise except for more graphics intense games. I do play games with the 9400 and like the battery life compared to the 9600.

I agree that it would be nice if Apple gave all MBPs dedicated GPUs. I personally think Apple did a good thing by using the 9400 on all MBPs but now they are forced to take it away when people have gotten used to them. I guess we will see what Apple will do from here on.
     
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Dec 3, 2009, 03:49 AM
 
Yeah, the combination of excellent battery life and decent performance was really a great asoect of the 9400M. This is something we won't get from Arrandale's IGP. Battery life will probably sill be ok, but performance levels will definitely be lower.

I'd consider getting a current-gen. MBP instead to get the 9400M, but when I see what Arrandale will do to compared to the current Penryn, I'll probably bite the bullet and get the Intel IGP. At least I'll be able to switch to a decent GPU when I need it. Now if only we could do that on the fly. I was hoping SL would make that possible, but still nothing.
     
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Dec 3, 2009, 04:13 AM
 
And maybe the new Radeon mobile GPUs will be just in time for the new MBP.

HardMac.com: New Mobile Radeon to be unveiled Early 2010

The 40 nm process should make for some power savings and hopefully better performance.
     
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Dec 3, 2009, 04:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
At least I'll be able to switch to a decent GPU when I need it. Now if only we could do that on the fly. I was hoping SL would make that possible, but still nothing.
You and many others, myself included, was hoping that we could switch GPUs on the fly. I think it's going to be a more important desired feature for the new MBPs since the performance of the two GPUs will be so different. Hopefully Apple can provide this feature for us.
     
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Dec 3, 2009, 06:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
And maybe the new Radeon mobile GPUs will be just in time for the new MBP.

HardMac.com: New Mobile Radeon to be unveiled Early 2010

The 40 nm process should make for some power savings and hopefully better performance.
ATi already makes 40 nm mobile GPUs: The Radeon 4830 and 4860 are 40nm (basically the 4700 series for the desktop in a smaller packages). The 4860 has a TDP of 44 W, which is better than the 45W-65W range for the 4850 and 4870, but the performance is also lower.

Even the 4670 currently in the iMac is a significant step up from the 9600M GT at an equivalent TDP, though.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Dec 5, 2009, 02:07 PM
 
Apologies if this has been covered. I have been away from this forum for a very long time...

Do we think the new i5/i7 MBPs will be announced at MacWorld, available Feb / March?
masugu - "Straight Ahead"
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Dec 5, 2009, 02:13 PM
 
Who should announce them at MacWorld?

Apple won't be there.
     
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Dec 5, 2009, 02:18 PM
 
Doh...you are right. Forgot about that. Got the notice in my inbox the other day....but Apple has begged off haven't they

Will be some special announcement.

Never mind
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Dec 7, 2009, 05:52 AM
 
According to rumors, it looks like Apple isn't too happy with Arrandale's IGP either.

Hardmac.com : Le "Macbidouille" in English - Tensions Between Apple and Intel?
Apple ditches 32nm Arrandale, won't use Intel graphics - Bright Side Of News*

On the bright side this could mean they'll be forced to put a dedicated GPU in the 13" MBP.
     
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Dec 7, 2009, 12:09 PM
 
     
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Dec 7, 2009, 12:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
All three of those articles are the same article.

On the bright side this could mean they'll be forced to put a dedicated GPU in the 13" MBP
I had been wondering about that. However, a few claims are that it may be as much as 50% faster than GMA X4500HD, and GMA X4500HD already supports Shader 4.0 and OpenGL 2.1. It also supports full VC-1 and H.264 hardware acceleration... and Arrandale's graphics is supposed to be an improvement. In fact, it's supposed to be fast enough to do two HD video streams, and thus can do picture-in-picture from HD sources.

So, my undereducated guess is that Apple does not absolutely need to resort to a discrete GPU for a low end Snow Leopard machine. It should be noted however that nVidia's GeForce 9400M supports OpenGL 3.2. (GMA X4500 HD is 2.1.) So, it makes me wonder if Arrandale will not be able to fully support OpenCL.
( Last edited by Eug; Dec 7, 2009 at 12:56 PM. )
     
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Dec 7, 2009, 01:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
All three of those articles are the same article.
Yup. Quite obviously, seeing as two of them link to the third. I find the different interpretations of the significance interesting though. And also some (few) of the reader comments.
     
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Dec 7, 2009, 03:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
So, my undereducated guess is that Apple does not absolutely need to resort to a discrete GPU for a low end Snow Leopard machine. It should be noted however that nVidia's GeForce 9400M supports OpenGL 3.2. (GMA X4500 HD is 2.1.) So, it makes me wonder if Arrandale will not be able to fully support OpenCL.
They can live with it in a Macbook, say, but not using it the way they use the 9400M today - as the low-end option in the MBP.

I call complete and utter BS on that story. If Apple managed to twist Intel's arms into including a different integrated GPU in the package, then they're about ready to tell MS to stop developing Windows completely. Just not going to happen. If they simply won't use the integrated GPU and just use the x16 PCIe connection to a discrete GPU, well - Arrandale can already do that with no modification. Removing the IGP from the memory controller makes zero sense even if you won't be using it - there is no gain in doing so.

Anyway: The performance gain in the Arrandale GPU is theoretically 20% from more hardware and some ~40% from clockspeed. Multiply them and you get about a 70% boost, but that ignores memory bandwidth which only goes up by 25% or so. I doubt that memory bandwidth is the limiter here - after all, the new IGP gets the same bandwidth the 9400M already had - so 50% speedup is not out of the question. The really interesting bit is if the GPU will be able to use it's low-latency connection to the CPU for some help when the going gets tough, so to speak. Shader performance is where Intel keeps falling down, and if Intel has managed to do something about that, Arrandale graphics might be just bad (as opposed to abyssmal).
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Dec 7, 2009, 07:09 PM
 
If only Apple could seamlessly transition between GPUs...
     
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Dec 7, 2009, 11:13 PM
 
I'm afraid Apple's concern is more about seamlessly transitioning your credit card to the next, latest and greatest laptop.
     
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Dec 8, 2009, 03:46 AM
 
I'm with P. Now way is Intel going to rip out the IGP (which is delicate in itself since it's intertwined with the on-die MC) for Apple.

But what is possible is that Apple simply doesn't use it. They add a dedicated GPU (like we have on the 15"/17" MBPs) and remove the switching capability. Simple as that. Personally, I'd prefer they keep switching in there. Even though you can't switch on the fly (which is a bummer) I'm sure many MBP users spend lot of time with web, mail, Office where the extra hour of battery life most often comes in much more handy than a beefy GPU. Even on a pro portable, I'm pretty certain most people don't spend the majority of their time relying on GPU performance. And GPGPU has just started with SL. We've by far not reached the point where GPU performance determines the general perceived performance.

The real problem Apple has is with the MB (let's hope not the 13" MBP) and Mac mini. Basically there are three options:
- stick with the 9400M which means not getting Arrandale and having to keep Penryn C2D
- go with Arrandale and its IGP
- go with Arrandale but add a dedicated GPU

The latter drives cost which is not what Apple will do on the low end. The former is not really likely either - you simply can't market it and it's not cost-efficient. So it will probably be the middle one. And from a performance POV that sucks compared to last year's 9400M.
     
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Dec 8, 2009, 03:51 AM
 
So Intel is thinking about GPGPU on Clarkdale's IGP. Let's hope that finds its way to Arrandale too.

Hardmac.com: Intel to Offer GPGPU Drivers to Boost Performance of its Future Integrated Graphical Chipsets
     
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Dec 8, 2009, 05:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Even though you can't switch on the fly (which is a bummer) I'm sure many MBP users spend lot of time with web, mail, Office where the extra hour of battery life most often comes in much more handy than a beefy GPU.
Also remember that watching DVDs - not entirely uncommon when traveling - is no problem with the 4500MHD.

As for what Apple does at the low end...This is why I want to see performance tests of the Arrandale IGP. Intel says that they have eliminated some bottlenecks in the design. Intel is still rather new at the design of modern GPUs, so there is quite simply a lot to improve there.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Dec 8, 2009, 06:24 AM
 
The benchmarks will show that Arrandale's IGP cannot compete with the 9400M. Not in terms of graphics performance, not in terms of power management. And then we recall that the former is brand new while the latter is over a year old.
     
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Dec 8, 2009, 02:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
The benchmarks will show that Arrandale's IGP cannot compete with the 9400M ... in terms of power management.
Source? I'd expect IGP to do better on power management than 9400M; 4500MHD consumes less power than even 9300M.
     
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Dec 8, 2009, 02:55 PM
 
But not at the same output. Arrandale's IGP would have to use no more than about half the power of the 9400M to be competitive. Nothing I have seen so far indicates that's the case.
     
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Dec 8, 2009, 03:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
But not at the same output. Arrandale's IGP would have to use no more than about half the power of the 9400M to be competitive. Nothing I have seen so far indicates that's the case.
We're not talking performance per Watt. We're talking total Watts used. The former is an important metric, but so is the latter, especially since most laptop usage really doesn't tax the GPU much.

Anyways, from your post, it does sound like we may be accurate to infer that Arrandale's IGP is lower power than 9400M.

We already knew Arrandale's IGP would be slow. The question though is how slow. If it's only slow but adequate for Snow Leopard, Apple could very well use it, especially since it's probably lower power than 9400M. If it's too slow or too old tech however, then Apple could skip it.

So far I'm not convinced either way.
     
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Dec 8, 2009, 03:16 PM
 
Actually, I *am* talking performance per W. That's all I really care about with the IGP. Reducing power requirements by lowering performance is always an option. IMHO real success is getting good performance from a low-power IGP. And from all I've seen so far that doesn't appear to be the case with Arrandale's IGP.

That said, absolute power figures (not performance-normalized) should be fairly low indeed. IIRC Penryn was 25/35W plus the 9400M's ~12W. With Arrandale it's 35W plus PM55 at 3.5W.
     
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Dec 8, 2009, 06:48 PM
 
Do you have any solid indications that the Arrandale IGP - it's officially called "GMA HD", btw - really is that terrible, beyond architechtural similarities with previous Intel graphics? I agree that it must be the default assumption give their history, but you sound so certain.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Dec 9, 2009, 12:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Do you have any solid indications that the Arrandale IGP - it's officially called "GMA HD", btw - really is that terrible, beyond architechtural similarities with previous Intel graphics? I agree that it must be the default assumption give their history, but you sound so certain.
The specs are known (20% more execution units, 25-45% higher clockrates) so there's no real mystery here. With a 60% overall performance improvement you're at 50% (Cinebench GPU) to 80% (3DMark 06) of the performance of 9400M. Maybe the new memory controller setup can bring GMA HD up to parity with 9400M? I doubt it.
( Last edited by mduell; Dec 9, 2009 at 12:16 AM. )
     
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Dec 9, 2009, 12:11 AM
 
Hmmm... That would be better than I expected actually. If that pans out, maybe Apple will use Intel's integrated graphics after all.

What about OpenCL?
     
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Originally Posted by P View Post
Do you have any solid indications that the Arrandale IGP - it's officially called "GMA HD", btw - really is that terrible, beyond architechtural similarities with previous Intel graphics? I agree that it must be the default assumption give their history, but you sound so certain.
Sure, because I've already seen the same figures mduell posted. They're all over the web. Just google for it.

What really sucks with the Arrandale IGP is that it delivers that kind of performance more than a year after the 9400M was brought to the Mac. When was the last time you enjoyed buying a brand new component that delivered only half the performance of its predecessor?

Again, it's not an issue for pro Macs. But the Mac mini and the MB aren't going to do well with just this in lieu of the previous 9400M. Especially not in light of what we expect to happen with GPGPU (read SL, GCD, OpenCL, etc.).
     
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Dec 9, 2009, 04:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
What about OpenCL?
So far Intel hasn't released or announced they would release OpenCL drivers for Arrandale's IGP. I would imagine Apple has been putting a lot of pressure on Intel to do so however. It's quite possible what we're seeing now is part of that effort.

They have talked about GPGPU support for Clarkdale as I already mentioned above.

What would be really nice is if Intel would release OpenCL drivers for both Arrandale and its IGP the way AMD/ATI do for their processor and GPU combos.
( Last edited by Simon; Dec 9, 2009 at 08:25 AM. )
     
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Dec 9, 2009, 07:03 AM
 
Actually Intel recently made an announcement , and even if they don't mention OpenCL, it's certainly a step in that direction.

I'm very well aware of the theoretical numbers - I posted the same numbers myself earlier in this thread - but Intel claims to have made significant improvements to the IGP beyond what those numbers say. Compare the Radeon 3000 series with the 4000 series and the 5000 series. The 3800 series has 320 unified shaders at the top. The 4800 series has 800, and the 5800 peaks at 1600. This in itself means a massive performance improvement, but that is not the only way to improve performance. You can also improve performance in each unified shader, which is what I hope Intel has taken the chance to do. I don't think that those improvements will be more than 5% or so, but I might be wrong, and I'd like to see some benchmarks so I know where we are.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Originally Posted by P View Post
Actually Intel recently made an announcement , and even if they don't mention OpenCL, it's certainly a step in that direction.
Yeah, I linked to that story above. However, what Intel was talking about there was Clarkdale. Although it's entirely possible this could eventually trickle down to Arrandale, there are no guarantees. Especially since Arrandale is after all a mobile CPU.
     
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Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Sure, because I've already seen the same figures mduell posted. They're all over the web. Just google for it.

What really sucks with the Arrandale IGP is that it delivers that kind of performance more than a year after the 9400M was brought to the Mac. When was the last time you enjoyed buying a brand new component that delivered only half the performance of its predecessor?

Again, it's not an issue for pro Macs. But the Mac mini and the MB aren't going to do well with just this in lieu of the previous 9400M. Especially not in light of what we expect to happen with GPGPU (read SL, GCD, OpenCL, etc.).
For a Mac mini, I'd be more interested in the ability to run dual 1080p streams simultaneously than more fps in a game.
     
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Dec 9, 2009, 06:02 PM
 
Apple is pissed about losing nVidia as an integrated graphics provider. Having to sell MacBooks with Intel-quality graphics again is a non-starter. Apple will stick with Core2+9400M and tell Intel to shove it.

And to stir the pot some more: I, Cringely Blog Archive Intel Will Buy nVIDIA - Cringely on technology
     
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Dec 9, 2009, 06:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
For a Mac mini, I'd be more interested in the ability to run dual 1080p streams simultaneously than more fps in a game.
What the heck for? Are you watching 2 movies at the same time?
     
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Dec 10, 2009, 04:19 AM
 
PIP for a home theater setup, possibly.Other than that, it's for the commentary feature on Bluray.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Dec 10, 2009, 04:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
Cringely isn't exactly in the habit of being right - he seems to think that you can make traditional integrated graphics for Lynnfield, or that Larrabee would start as integrated graphics for Lynnfield. The Intel-nVidia rumor has been floating around since the AMD-ATi thing, but it wasn't serious then and it isn't now. Intel simply doesn't have the cash for a straight buyout, and they're wary of taking on debt like AMD did. Companies like these need to borrow large amounts of money to invest in new plants, and having extra debt from an ill-advised acquisition hurts them terribly

No, if Intel needs better integrated graphics, they could buy someone like PowerVR/Imagination to beef up their own team, but I think they simply don't care about graphcis that much.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Dec 14, 2009, 03:55 AM
 
     
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Dec 14, 2009, 06:32 AM
 
"Guess" being the operative word: It would be consistent with past behavior.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Dec 14, 2009, 02:48 PM
 
     
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Dec 14, 2009, 02:54 PM
 
My guess is they'll switch to ATi, thanks to their resurgent performance.
     
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Dec 14, 2009, 03:05 PM
 
I guess we'll have a clearer picture on Jan 7 when ATI unveils their new mobile Radeons.
     
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Dec 14, 2009, 03:27 PM
 
It doesn't matter to me whether they use Ati or Nvidia as long as they have good performance and more importantly they are reliable. Failing GPUs on laptops are more of a hassle to replace because it's not as quick and easy to just put in a new one like you do with tower desktops.
     
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Dec 15, 2009, 06:07 AM
 
HardMac speculates about Intel's preview on Thursday. Possibly some changes to the mobile CPU roadmap at 32nm?

Next Thursday: All You Ever Wanted to Know About Intel Mobile CPUs | HardMac
     
Simon  (op)
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Dec 18, 2009, 04:35 AM
 
Intel yesterday announced i5/i3 Arrandale (mobile) and Clarksfield (desktop) CPUs. Official launch at CES (Jan 7). These processors are already shipping to manufacturers. Mobile i5 will have both Turbo Boost and Hyperthreading for four logical cores at up to 2.93/3.06 GHz.



Intel to Release Core i3, i5, i7 PC Chips at CES - IT Infrastructure from eWeek
Intel ships mobile Core i5, i3 to PC builders | Electronista
     
 
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