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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Intel releases some more Broadwell chips, updates timeplan for the rest

Intel releases some more Broadwell chips, updates timeplan for the rest
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P
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Jan 5, 2015, 12:21 PM
 
CES is currently going on, and among the usual vaporware, Intel is apparently releasing some real hardware - the much delayed Broadwell chips.

We have already seen "Core-M", the extreme low power chips (codename Broadwell-Y), and launching now are the 15W and 28W dualcore mobile chips (Broadwell-U). Dualcores with the small GPU are available in products January 18, and the ones with the big GPU "later on in the first quarter".

Since that affects future Mac releases, this is what it means for future updates: Those later models - 15W and 28W dualcores with the big GPU - are the ones Apple uses in their Macbook Air and 13" MBP, so a refresh of those lines could conceivably happen in the March timeframe. The quadcores (Broadwell-M) used in the 15" models, as well as the desktop chips for the iMac, are only penciled in for Q2, so more like June. Apple could update those earlier as well, but only with yet another Haswell refresh and perhaps better discrete graphics.
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 6, 2015, 11:23 AM
 
One more point worth making: As was rumored, Intel has cut the number of PCIe lanes from the CPU die itself from x16 to x4. If it is still PCIe 3.0 - ark actually says 2.0 right now, but Intel says 3.0 when asked - that is going to be barely enough for a discrete GPU. Apple doesn't use discrete GPUs with these chips, but it is a worrying precedent, since it might mean that the quadcore chips will have the same configuration. If discrete graphics in an MBP is important to you, you might want to be prepared for a disappointment with the next refresh rolls around.

This is only the lanes from the CPU die itself, though. The slower 2.0 lanes from the PCH have increased to 12, usable in x4 + 4x2 or 6x2 configs, and can be used for storage, networking, Thunderbolt etc. They don't have backend bandwidth they need for full performance on all ports, but that is rarely needed in a consumer configuration.
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.
     
cgc
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Jan 11, 2015, 11:11 AM
 
I get the nVidia 750M Apple will put in the 2015 Macbook Pro will do just fine on that hobbled PCIE bus
"Like a midget at a urinal, I was going to have to stay on my toes." Frank Drebin, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
     
P  (op)
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Jan 11, 2015, 10:35 PM
 
If they stick with that, then probably, but I wonder if that will truly happen. As I see it, there are two possible reasons for picking the 750M last year:

* A shot across nVidia's bow to scare them into not dropping a lawsuit bomb over the iPhone graphics. According to that logic, the other shots were the iMac and MP going with AMD graphics.
* Preparation for dropping discrete graphics completely. Apple does this to avoid ever dropping specs - hold them back for a year to make sure that when the switch happens, it is at least a lateral move.

If it is the first and they are now friends again, then we might see a Maxwell-based option. That would be quick turnaround, however - and Apple can hold a grudge. Meanwhile, Broadwell appears to have done the graphics right, so it should at least beat the 750M now.
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.
     
cgc
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Jan 13, 2015, 09:41 AM
 
I hope Apple releases at least one option with a high-ish end discrete GPU in the 2015 MBP so folks who play a game or two don't have to compromise.
"Like a midget at a urinal, I was going to have to stay on my toes." Frank Drebin, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
     
P  (op)
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Jan 13, 2015, 11:15 AM
 
It will at least have the top Intel graphics. We don't know what performance the Iris Pro 6200 - top Broadwell integrated graphics, the successor to what is the base 15" MBP today - will have. We know that the design has 25% more shaders and 50% more scheduling hardware, the last as a reaction to performance issues with Haswell, so it will be somewhere between 25-50% faster than Iris Pro 5200.

Ditching discrete graphics completely will bring a massive space saving, which could go towards battery life. Battery life and thinner computers are two things Apple really likes. I'm not saying Apple does that now, but I think that it will happen down the line. Skylake (next generation after Broadwell) will bring DDR4 memory, further alleviating the bandwidth crunch, and Intel probably iterates on the GPU one more time. They have already shown demos of Skylake running pretty decent graphics at 4K, much higher than the 15" MBP resolution. At that point, discrete graphics is going to be very hard to defend.
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, 2015, 01:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
They have already shown demos of Skylake running pretty decent graphics at 4K, much higher than the 15" MBP resolution.
P, could you clarify this? As I understand it, the 15" retina MBP internally renders at significantly higher than 4K, then downscales to physical display.
     
P  (op)
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Jan 13, 2015, 02:23 PM
 
By default, it renders at the actual resolution of the display (that is, 2880*1800 pixels, 1440*900 logical points), but if you'd like to use a higher number of points - which means that everything gets smaller on the screen, so you can fit more - you can do so. If you then set it to 1920*1200 points, the highest number it can be set to, it renders at double that resolution - 3840*2400, one of the 4K resolutions but slightly higher than the 3840*2160 commonly quoted - and scales it down to the actual 2880*1800.

The only Mac that can render at more than 4K is the new Retina iMac. If set to 2560*1440 logical points - the default - it renders at 5120*2880, the actual resolution of the display. I don't think that the iMac can be set to anything denser than that, but it can be set to a lower number of logical points to make things bigger on the screen.
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.
     
cgc
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Jan 16, 2015, 09:32 AM
 
IIRC, this iteration of CPU will focus more on GPU and the next iteration will focus more on CPU then the cycle continues. The Iris Pro 5200 is solid, but those new mobile nVidia chipsets are amazing (fast and power efficient) so it'd be a shame not to have at least one option for a discrete GPU but we know Apple will underspec the machine somehow to give us what we don't want (e.g. thinner).
"Like a midget at a urinal, I was going to have to stay on my toes." Frank Drebin, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
     
   
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