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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 (Page 2)
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Dec 18, 2009, 10:11 PM
 
Any chance Apple might do both? For instance a 17" MBP with Arrandale plus a separate GPU, shifting to integrated graphics when temp or energy-saving needs demand less power draw.

-Allen Wicks
     
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Dec 18, 2009, 11:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Any chance Apple might do both? For instance a 17" MBP with Arrandale plus a separate GPU, shifting to integrated graphics when temp or energy-saving needs demand less power draw.

-Allen Wicks
You mean having dual GPUs? I believe that has always been the plan like they do now for the current 15" & 17" MBPs. The issue is that the Intel integrated graphics may not be the same performance as the current 9400M integrated Nvidia GPU so it would be a downgrade.

The other question is whether Apple will use dual GPUs on all of their MBPs and not just the 15 and 17 to makeup for the lack of performance from the Intel GPU on the 13" laptops. That's where the lower performance from the integrated GPU will be the most noticeable since they can't switch to a faster GPU.
     
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Dec 20, 2009, 02:56 PM
 
Seems the i3 will have Hyperthreading after all. I wish Intel would just upload the specs into ark and we could be done with that particular debate.

Of course it's possible ignore the integrated graphics completely and just use the discrete model - that's after all what the desktop Macs with 9400M and discrete graphics (like the current Core 2 iMac models with Radeon GPUs) do. What isn't possible is to add another chip to just add a better GPU of comparable to the 9400M. What makes integrated graphics so cheap is that they use the system RAM directly. That's no longer possible, beacuse system RAM is now managed from the CPU itself, and that is the main performance boost with these new CPUs.

What you might possibly do for a medium performance solution is to add something like the old TurboCache/HyperMemory GPUs. What this means is that you have a tiny bit of video RAM connected directly to the GPU with a bigger chunk of RAM from main memory used as required (over the PCIe x16 bus). This was common with the Geforce 6200 and whatever the equivalent ATi chip was called (X300?) but fell out of use as nVidia and ATi made their integrated GPUs more powerful. AMD trots out the idea as "sideport memory" to integrated graphics every now and then, and some current low-end graphics chip do support it, but it's not much used. Perhaps it's time to revisit that idea - something like 128 MB of video RAM plus a chip of about 9400/9500 performance should be small and cheap enough.
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 20, 2009, 05:18 PM
 
     
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Dec 20, 2009, 06:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Of course it's possible ignore the integrated graphics completely and just use the discrete model - that's after all what the desktop Macs with 9400M and discrete graphics (like the current Core 2 iMac models with Radeon GPUs) do. What isn't possible is to add another chip to just add a better GPU of comparable to the 9400M. What makes integrated graphics so cheap is that they use the system RAM directly. That's no longer possible, beacuse system RAM is now managed from the CPU itself, and that is the main performance boost with these new CPUs.
FYI with Arrandale (and Clarkdale) the memory controller resides on the 45nm GPU die, not the 32nm CPU die. I believe the DMI connection is on the CPU die.

I don't expect Apple to get crazy. Sony has some notebooks that switch GPUS between Intel and nVidia/ATi.
I expect GeForce GTS 260M (or GTS 360M) or mobile Radeon 4670 in 15/17" MBP, switchable with GMA HD although it won't be seamless. GMA HD will handle Finder, Safari, Mail, iChat, etc just fine.
13" MBP is a tough call. Maybe GeForce GT 240M or mobile Radeon 4530 switchable with GMA HD? Maybe GeForce G 210M on all the time?
     
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Dec 21, 2009, 02:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
FYI with Arrandale (and Clarkdale) the memory controller resides on the 45nm GPU die, not the 32nm CPU die. I believe the DMI connection is on the CPU die.
I know that the memory controller is on a die of its own - makes me wonder why they didn't do that back in the Pentium 4 days at least. The memory controller is basically the successor to the G45 Northbridge, so I think both DMI and the PCIe x16 connection come from that one.

Originally Posted by mduell View Post
I don't expect Apple to get crazy. Sony has some notebooks that switch GPUS between Intel and nVidia/ATi.
I expect GeForce GTS 260M (or GTS 360M) or mobile Radeon 4670 in 15/17" MBP, switchable with GMA HD although it won't be seamless. GMA HD will handle Finder, Safari, Mail, iChat, etc just fine.
13" MBP is a tough call. Maybe GeForce GT 240M or mobile Radeon 4530 switchable with GMA HD? Maybe GeForce G 210M on all the time?
Noone expected Apple to use the 9400M either. I hope you're right, but I suspect that it will just be the integrated graphics on the bottom model.

Originally Posted by Simon
Really? I think that link implies otherwise, the relevant bit being:

Karen Regis, director of consumer client marketing for Intel’s Consumer PC Group, said the new family of processors will come with a host of features, including Hyper Threading, while the i5 chips will offer Turbo Boost, which enables processing cores to run a little faster when the demand arises.
We'll know soon enough.
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 21, 2009, 03:13 AM
 
That quote was from where they were talking about the entire line i7, i5, and i3. They're not saying they all come that way. They're saying these are features found [somewhere] in that lineup.

For a while now all serious sources have pointed to Core i3 mobile being fairly dumbed down. Considering its anticipated price that makes sense too. Also, there's no way in the world every mobile Core CPU will sport four logical cores. There's no doubt Intel wants more separation between the different CPUs in this early stage of mobile Core. Expecting all Arrandales to come with HT is setting yourself up for disappointment on Jan 7.
     
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Dec 21, 2009, 07:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
That quote was from where they were talking about the entire line i7, i5, and i3. They're not saying they all come that way. They're saying these are features found [somewhere] in that lineup.
True, but the spokesperson specifically notes that TB is missing - the implication being that that is the distinguishing feature. Ah, whatever. No point in discussing this - let's just wait for ark to be updated.

More interesting perhaps is this. Auto-translated previews from the far east aren't exactly trustworthy, and he seems to have overclocked at least some things, but it's a far cry from a GMA X4500. Apparently all recent Intel graphics have one extended math unit - a unit that can perform the complicated math operations and is shared by multiple shaders. Arrandale has 3 of them, removing that bottleneck.
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 21, 2009, 07:31 AM
 
Clarkdale's IGP runs at higher clock rates than Arrandale's, with one exception: the Pentium G9650. It appears those guys did test the Pentium, however they overclocked it by almost 50%. So most likely their IGP was running at a higher clock than Arrandale's IGP will run in the MB(P).

But gee, navigating that site! Boy. Has anyone tried to introduce web design to chinese geeks lately?
( Last edited by Simon; Dec 21, 2009 at 07:45 AM. )
     
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Dec 21, 2009, 02:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
I know that the memory controller is on a die of its own - makes me wonder why they didn't do that back in the Pentium 4 days at least. The memory controller is basically the successor to the G45 Northbridge, so I think both DMI and the PCIe x16 connection come from that one.
Indeed, everything hangs off the GMCH. I suspect they didn't do this in the P4 days due to die size issues.



Dated 2007, but the most detailed I can find and not contradicted by anything more recent.
( Last edited by mduell; Dec 21, 2009 at 02:34 PM. )
     
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Dec 21, 2009, 05:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Indeed, everything hangs off the GMCH. I suspect they didn't do this in the P4 days due to die size issues.
That seems logical, but it's hardly larger than a complete second CPU die - right? I'm thinking of Intel in the Prescott days, when they were slaughtered over high memory latency (and high TDP, certainly) and basically gave away a second die in a Pentium D to sell anything. We know that the Xeon 7100 series didn't do so badly, and the only real difference is a massive cache. Say that Intel instead of the Pentium D had made a Pentium 4 with a second die consisting of the memory controller and maybe a nice L3 cache - should be cheaper than a second Pentium 4 die, and performance is likely to be similar. Even better, add a second Pentium 4 die and you had a Pentium D without the shared FSB gimp.

Maybe it wasn't so obvious back in the day, but I just get the feeling that if you could get most of the performance boost by moving the memory controller into the package but off die, why didn't we do it long ago?
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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Jan 4, 2010, 11:51 AM
 
Here's some news from AnandTech on Arrandale.
AnandTech: Intel Arrandale: 32nm for Notebooks, Core i5 540M Reviewed



At the same clock Arrandale is between 11% and 46% faster than Penryn depending on the task. Absolute power consumption is comparable however. The saw +129% with Arrandale's IGP compared to GMA X4500 HD which is a tad better than what was expected so far.

Originally Posted by Anand
From the balanced notebook perspective, Arrandale is awesome. Battery life doesn't improve, but performance goes up tremendously. The end result is better performance for hopefully the same power consumption. If you're stuck with an aging laptop it's worth the wait. If you can wait even longer we expect to see a second rev of Arrandale silicon towards the middle of the year with better power characteristics. Let's look at some other mobile markets, though.

If what you're after is raw, unadulterated performance, there are still faster options. We compared Arrandale with a Core 2 Duo P8700, and performance went up. If you already have something with a Core i7-720QM (or other i7 part) or a Core 2 Quad, the performance figures aren't nearly so rosy. The catch is that battery life on quad-core CPUs, frankly, stinks. Most of the time, you're lucky to get over 90 minutes of battery life in light loads. For those looking at mobile performance, Clarksfield is still the winner (or grab a desktop Core i7 notebook).

We are also missing something to replace the ultra-long battery life offered by the Core 2 Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) parts. True, Intel has some low voltage 18W TDP parts running at 1.06GHz to 1.20GHz stock (Turbo up to 1.86GHz to 2.26GHz depending on the model), but the current results suggest that CULV + GS45 is still going to be far more compelling for those interested in battery life while maintaining some level of performance, or you can go with Pine Trail/Pineview (Atom N450) for extreme battery life at the cost of performance. It looks like Arrandale needs some further tweaking before we see an heir to the CULV throne.

Ultimately, we like Arrandale a lot as a balanced mobile offering. It's not going to be as fast as Clarksfield but that was never the point. Performance is 20% better in typical applications compared to mobile dual-core Penryn parts like the P8000 and P9000 series, and battery life at least didn't go down (in most cases). It's also nice to see integrated Intel graphics that don't suck… or at least, they only suck as bad as the current AMD and NVIDIA IGPs. We'll look at doing more testing with Arrandale's IGP in a future article when we have final shipping hardware, as the ability to limit the CPU performance in order to boost GPU speeds is intriguing.

If you're after a "typical" laptop, Arrandale solutions should be high on your list.
     
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Jan 4, 2010, 11:52 AM
 
And on a somewhat related note, here's the latest on Clarkdale (Arrandale's desktop counterpart).

PC Perspective - Intel Core i5-661 Clarkdale Processor Review - Westmere debuts

     
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Jan 4, 2010, 01:58 PM
 
Interesting. Two reflections on this:

* Clarkdale has a higher idle power draw than Lynnfield. There are more optimizations to be done on that process.
* Intel graphics have basically caught up with what AMD released 18 months ago. That seems to be decent performance for now - remains to be seen how long it will remain decent.
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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Jan 4, 2010, 02:39 PM
 
Anandtech also has a piece on Clarkdale, which should be read as a companion piece to the Arrandale one. It also shows just how badly memory latency suffers with the new memory controller setup. I thought that it would help performance, but it seems that it rather hurts it. Looks more like a hack to make Clarkdale/Arrandale fit into the same socket as Lynnfield/Clarksdale.
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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Jan 7, 2010, 04:01 PM
 
     
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Jan 7, 2010, 04:58 PM
 
So...what happens now?

Discrete graphics in all MacBooks Pro?
     
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Jan 7, 2010, 05:45 PM
 
Switchable graphics with Intel integrated and nVidia or ATi? Sony does it.

There's also some rumors about an nVidia discrete mobile GPU ("Optimus") with super low idle/low load power consumption.
     
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Jan 7, 2010, 06:18 PM
 
ATi also paperlaunched the 5000 series of mobile chips today, boasting improved switching between integrated and discrete graphics among other things. Performance isn't that impressive, but it beats nVidia's current line and I think it's a possible for the MBP unless Apple is playing supplier politics again.

Arrandale graphics also roughly correspond to the 9400M, so at least it's not a huge downgrade as we feared. Probably the MB will skip discrete graphics then, but given that the plausible Arrandale upgrades for that one don't even have a price yet, I think it'll be some time before that upgrade. The MBP is very much due though, and hopefully with Clarksfield in the top 15" and 17".
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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Jan 8, 2010, 04:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Arrandale graphics also roughly correspond to the 9400M, so at least it's not a huge downgrade as we feared.
I don't quite believe this.
     
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Jan 8, 2010, 05:07 AM
 
Even if Arrandale's IGP turns out to perform on par with 9400M under OS X, that is a huge downgrade. Because essentially we'd be accepting that after 18 months there has been zero IGP performance improvement. IMHO that's entirely unacceptable.

I hope all MBPs will now get dedicated graphics. Not even the 13" should have to rely solely on Arrandale's IGP.
( Last edited by Simon; Jan 8, 2010 at 05:13 AM. )
     
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Jan 8, 2010, 10:53 AM
 
It's probably an improvement in battery time - the 9400M + Penryn has a TDP roughly 10W higher than Arrandale + its mobile PCH. If there will be any improvement in the real world depends on the actual idle power (which is where Arrandale is a bit of a disappointment so far), but the same performance for less power must be considered a good thing. Besides, Arrandale is an improvement on CPU power (if not as large as I'd have liked), and every single revision doesn't have to improve performance on every single aspect - the top iMac CPU performance didn't improve in about 18 months before the release of the latest model, but there were other improvements.
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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Jan 8, 2010, 12:28 PM
 
Huh?

That's all entirely beside the point. We already know Arrandale overall power consumption is roughly on par with previous Penryn systems. We also already know CPU performance is better - as everybody expected. But graphics performance, which is what Arrendale's IGP is all about, is lackluster. Accepting basically zero graphics improvement after 18 months of developmment time or trying to spin this as 'no big deal' is IMHO quite frankly fanboism.
     
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Jan 8, 2010, 12:54 PM
 
I just heard Apple is coming out with a Quad G4 Macbook Pro and ditching the Intel architecture for their new notebooks.
2002 Mac Mini i5 8GB 256GB SSD
2013 Macbook Air 4GB/128GB
iPad Mini A7 32GB
     
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Jan 9, 2010, 12:30 AM
 
What's the demand for better IGP performance in systems with dual graphics? 9400M/GMA HD (or even GMA 4500MHD) have no problem with windowing, HD video decode acceleration, etc. For games or 3D apps or video encoding you're going to want the discrete chip anyway. I'd rather see their efforts go into making the IGP/GPU transition instant and seamless than improving the IGP.
     
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Jan 9, 2010, 02:57 AM
 
Those are two different issues.

Systems with dual graphics need seamless switching, no doubt. However, systems like the 13" MBP that have only shared graphics require a decent IGP. That's basically what I've been arguing all along. If the 13" MBP should get a dedicated GPU it doesn't matter if Arrendale's IGP is lousy. However, if Apple decides to stick with what they've been doing for years (dedicated graphics only on 15"/17") Arrendale's IGP performance is a big issue on the 13" MBP. And thanks to stuff like SL, OpenCL, and GCD it's become not less, but actually more important.
( Last edited by Simon; Jan 9, 2010 at 03:13 AM. )
     
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Jan 9, 2010, 10:55 AM
 
I'm not sure I understand you - what am I a fanboy of, exactly? Also, your reasoning must mean that there are no integrated graphics anywhere that are good enough at the moment - it's not like there is a better nVidia integrated graphcis package either. So because integrated graphics hasn't advanced in the last 18 months, they must be discarded completely?
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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Jan 13, 2010, 10:36 AM
 
     
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Intel officially corrected their offer. Apparently their marketing department was supposed to offer a Core i5 HP but got it mixed up with a MBP.

With that kind of retraction, you wonder if Intel didn't just actually confirm it.

Intel denies Corei5 MacBook prize claims | 9 to 5 Mac
     
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Jan 14, 2010, 08:45 AM
 
Here's a suggestion for Apple's next MBP.

12 hour battery life in a high-end laptop? Asus says yes

• Core i7 620M with fast dynamic speed-switching switching -> up to 12h battery life
• Arrandale IGP + GeForce 310 + seamless switching

There's more beefy mobile GPUs than the 310, but it's not bad. But it definitely looks like Asus got quite far by working closely with NVIDIA. Exactly the kind of close hardware collaboration Apple and their partners usually excel at.
( Last edited by Simon; Jan 14, 2010 at 08:52 AM. )
     
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Jan 14, 2010, 12:13 PM
 
If Apple builds a laptop like that, I hope they get a massive discount on the CPU price. The 620M is possibly the worst deal Intel has at the moment. For $30 more you get the cheapest quad (720QM) with the IMC, bigger cache and 90% of the clockspeed in dualcore mode. In the other direction, you can save $75 by dropping 133 MHz off the clock and 1 MB L3 cache (540M).
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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Jan 14, 2010, 12:18 PM
 
Yep. I've said it before and I'll say it again. It's not at all certain we'll see i7 on the MBP. Arrandale i5 is much more economical. OTOH we can safely assume Apple will not be paying 1k prices, but rather whatever they negotiate with Intel.
     
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Jan 19, 2010, 11:41 AM
 
Now Sony has dynamic graphics switching with the more powerful nVidia GT 330M... Apple's going to have to get their hardware and OS X up to snuff if they want to remain competitive.
     
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Jan 19, 2010, 12:04 PM
 
Why? Does the Sony run OS X?
     
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Jan 22, 2010, 04:07 AM
 
Some speculation on the Arrandale MacBook Air.

Considering TDP, the LM/UM models of Arrandale are intended as successors for the low-voltage C2D CPUs used in the previous MBAs. However, they're expensive and they're behind schedule ramping up production. Maybe the Arandale MBA will start shipping a bit later than the MBP.

i7-640LM: 2.13 GHz (2.93 GHz with TurboBoost), 4 MB cache, $332
i7-620LM: 2.00 GHz (2.80 GHz with TurboBoost), 4 MB cache, $300
i7-640UM: 1.20 GHz (2.26 GHz with TurboBoost), 4 MB cache, $305
i7-620UM: 1.06 GHz (2.13 GHz with TurboBoost), 4 MB cache, $278
i5-520UM, 1.06 GHz (1.86 GHz with TurboBoost), 3 MB cache, $241
All support HyperThreading.
     
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Feb 6, 2010, 02:29 AM
 
     
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Feb 6, 2010, 11:01 AM
 
For comparison, I get 8243 total with Integer 6751, Float 13551, Memory 3855 and Memory bandwidth 3673 on an iMac Core i7-860. Note that the memory tests don't inlcude any random reads/writes, which should be Arrandale's weak spot. 4MB L2 cache should be able hide that nicely, 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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Feb 6, 2010, 11:35 AM
 
2.66 GHz C2D MBP: 3700-4000
2.66 GHz i7 MBP: 5260

Nuff said.
     
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Feb 6, 2010, 05:43 PM
 
Is there any indication as to when these will be actually available? I wanted to get a MBP, however it would be silly to get one now if they are going to be updated in a couple weeks. If it's closer to a couple months that we can actually get them though, it might be worth it to buy one now and then sell it against the new ones later...
     
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Feb 6, 2010, 06:02 PM
 
Six months is about a product Generation.
     
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Feb 7, 2010, 01:31 AM
 
The 15" MBP has been updated on an eight month schedule ever since it started shipping in Feb 2006.

The last update was in June 2009. We're eight months away from that now. Intel's mobile Core i7/i5 CPUs are ready. It's safe to assume it should happen within the next few weeks.
     
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Feb 7, 2010, 08:09 AM
 
Likely to happen quite soon, so it's done and over with by the time that the iPad is released. Logistic systems can only take so much, and there is no real reason to strain them further if the MBP is obviously ready to go.
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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Feb 9, 2010, 03:45 AM
 
     
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Feb 9, 2010, 04:02 AM
 
Cue "Apple Store is down!" in 5, 4, 3...

And then it'll be a new Macbook with a slightly faster Core 2 Duo and some new colors of iPod socks.
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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Feb 9, 2010, 04:15 AM
 
As long as that new C2D MB doesn't come with all the screen issues the latest iMac has...
     
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Feb 9, 2010, 09:53 AM
 
Store's back up. No new hardware today.
     
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Feb 9, 2010, 11:56 AM
 
nVidia Optimus looks fantastic (no performance hit for gaming, huge battery life with GPU idle) and I expect Apple to go for it since they're using the previous generation of nVidia switchable graphics.
     
Simon  (op)
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Join Date: Nov 2000
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Feb 9, 2010, 04:28 PM
 
     
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: BFE
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Feb 9, 2010, 08:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Cue "Apple Store is down!" in 5, 4, 3...

And then it'll be a new Macbook with a slightly faster Core 2 Duo and some new colors of iPod socks.
Tease! It was Aperture 3. meh.

I'm a bird. I am the 1% (of pets).
     
 
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