Haswell preview suggests similar gains to Ivy Bridge over Sandy Bridge

A detailed performance test of a prototype Core i7 Haswell chip by tom’s Hardware suggests that it will offer a 7 percent to 13 percent performance gain over equivalent Ivy Bridge CPUs—a similar gain to that experienced with the move from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge.

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The integrated HD 4600 GPU experiences an impressive speed boost of almost 30 percent, but the website noted that this still won’t allow for comfortable gaming on HD monitors, so gamers will need discrete graphics chips.

While performance gains reached up to 75 percent in the case of some specific tasks, the gains for typical desktop applications are relatively modest.

Intel leak details chips that will likely go into 2013 Macs

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A report from VR-Zone (via Engadget) claimed to show Intel’s plans for its fourth-generation Haswell processors. These are expected to be released in the second quarter of next year and are the likely follow-up to Ivy Bridge for Apple’s next round of Mac refreshes (unless Apple switches to AMD, ARM, or something). Previous leaks showed Intel plans to release the Haswell processors between March and June 2013, and today’s leak, if accurate, gives us a look at all 14 new desktop CPUs expected in the Haswell launch.

The top of the lineup CPU in the Haswell lineup is a 3.5GHz Core i7, 3.9 with Turbo Boost, with a 8MB cache and a TDP of 84W. The low-voltage 35W end of the lineup goes down to a 2.9GHz Core i5. The roadmap also makes a reference to integrated graphics, listing Intel HD 4600 with built-in visuals for all CPU variations. Here is the full first wave of 14 standard and low-voltage CPUs, according to the leaked image:

Standard voltage 84W:Core i7-4770K, Core i7-4770, Core i5-4670K, Core i5-4670, Core i5-4570, and Core i5-4430.

Low-voltage: 35W Core i7-4765T, Core i5-4570T; 45W Core i7-4770T, Core i5-4670T; 65W Core i7-4770S, Core i5-4670S, Core i5-4570S, Core i5-4430S.

Fox: New iMacs launching before Christmas

Clayton Morris at Fox says that new iMacs will launch soon, perhaps as early as next week during the iPhone event or even after the rumored October event, but he seems to think they will be available for the holidays.

I’ve been hoping for an iMac update and it looks like my wish is about to come true! Multiple sources tell me that a new lineup of desktop machines from Apple is imminent.

It appears that Morris changed his story from “releasing next week” but there is no mention of that on the Fox News website.  Only this tweet:

There has been no shortage of new iMac rumors, and supplies have been dwindling in a number of retail channels. We are in agreement with some of Morris’s predictions like USB 3, updated CPU/GPU and SSD options, but we are not yet on board with the outward design overhaul and loss of optical drive.

A few things we can count on in the new iMacs are new Ivy Bridge processors, improved graphics chips, USB 3.0, and expanded SSD capacities. Also look for a new slimmer design with Apple finally removing the optical drive from the side.

It is possible that the iMac announcement could happen at the rumored October iPad mini announcement, but I’m not holding my breath for that. Apple has been known to update the desktops without much fanfare.

Analysts have expected a new iMac for some time now, with KGI Research’s latest estimates below: Read more

WWDC: Apple unveils the refreshed MacBook Air lineup, shipping today

Apple just unveiled a refreshed MacBook Air lineup while on stage at its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote. Much of the information matches what we previously revealed: the lineup of refreshed Airs will receive Ivy Bridge processors up to the 2.0GHz dual core i7, USB 3.0, up to 8GB of RAM, and “60 percent faster graphics” with the Intel HD Graphics 4000. The new MacBook Airs ship starting today.

The new 11-inch MacBook Air: There will be two variants of the 11-inch Airs. Both will sport a 1.7GHz dual-core i5 and 4GB of RAM. The $999 entry model will get you 64GB of storage, but an extra $100 will upgrade you to the 125GB option. Aside from this, the two models appear to be identical.

The new 13-inch MacBook Air: The new 13-inch MacBook Air will start at the same $1,199 price point and come with a 1.8GHz dual-core i5, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of onboard storage. The $1,499 price tag will get you the 265GB storage option.

Stay tuned to our live blog for the latest updates.

Decidedly un-exciting new 13-inch MacBook Pro spec sheet leaks?

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Weiphone forum member shows a purported new MacBook Pro spec sheet ripped right from a unit. The notables are Intel HD 4000 video, USB 3.0, and a faster 1600MHz DDR3 RAM.

Perhaps more notable is the same .95-inch thickness (in fact it has the exact same dimensions as the current 13-inch MacBook Pro), optical drive, and sad 1,280-by-800 display that is not even as dense as the 2010 13-inch MacBook Air’s display.

This base model (if this is indeed real) is not going to be on our shopping list. Do you know what is?

Update: If this is indeed true, this base model MBP would be running a Intel® Core™ i5-3210M Processor (3M Cache, up to 3.10 GHz),

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New MacBook Pros will get Samsung’s fast 830 series SSD too

In January, following a meeting with Samsung Storage solutions at CES 2012, we told you that Apple’s next-gen MacBook Air would likely make the switch to the speedier 830 series SSDs from Samsung alongside an update to Ivy Bridge. This was of course before we revealed some major changes coming to Apple’s new MacBook and iMac lineups. In addition to Retina displays for almost the entire new lineup, the new ultra-thin 15-inch MacBook Pro will be getting a complete redesign, losing the optical drive, and bringing it closer to to the thin design of current Airs. Like the new MacBook Airs, we have been told that at least some of Apple’s prototype MacBook Pros have used Samsung’s 830 series SSDs…
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Ivy Bridge processors and motherboards hit store shelves, Hackintosh compatible with patch

Last night, major retailers across the United States began offering Intel Ivy Bridge processors along with Ivy Bridge-optimized Intel Z77 motherboards (Sandy Bridge H61, H67 and z68 MoBos/Chipsets are still Ivy compatible). You can even find significant discounts ($50/off at Amazon above) already.

As TonyMacx86 notes, a kernel patch is necessary to build a Hackintosh with Ivy Bridge currently. That has not stopped some savvy Hackintoshers from getting MacOS up and running (and benchmarked). However, Apple has not shipped a native OS kernel compatible with Ivy Bridge, which makes the patched kernel less desirable than a vanilla kernel that supports Ivy Bridge.

It is not certain if Mac OS 10.7.4 is Ivy compatible (commenters—correct me, if I am wrong).

With Ivy Bridge processors now on store shelves, it would seem that there are not any external barriers to Apple releasing new Ivy Bridge-powered systems.

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Intel officially launches 22nm Ivy Bridge processors, will likely add improved A/V, USB 3.0, more to future Macs

After months of talking about its features, Intel officially launches its new Ivy Bridge processor today. As we previously reported, this processor is undoubtedly headed to the next line of Macs, and it will help provide some significant feature updates. The processor is a 22-nanometer 3D transistor chip that will be more efficient than the bigger Sandy Bridge processors it replaces. It is initially available in 13 quad-core models in both the i5 and i7 versions. According to Intel, lower-end i3 and i5 models will launch later this spring.

One big aspect to note is that the Ivy Bridge also features on-chip USB 3.0 – a technology Apple is long-rumored to adopt. While may Apple not choose to take that route, the likelihood of it using the now built-in USB 3.0 tech has grown exponentially.

Intel’s Vice President and General Manager of the PC Client Group Kirk Skaugen told the crowd at the Intel Developer Forum earlier this month that the Ivy Bridge Processor is built for Retina display computers, “if OEMs choose to use it.” This is especially interesting, because Apple is rumored to include a Retina-like display thanks to a slue of hints in the developer preview of Mountain Lion. Retina would be a game changer on the displays of Apple’s Pro/Air. Intel’s new 4000 chipset supports up to 4K resolutions natively, and it supports improved audio and security functions that Apple may or may not choose to take advantage of.

With the official launch of the Ivy Bridge processor, the launch of new Macs does not seem to be that far off. The new processor will most likely be found throughout the Mac line, including the MacBook Air, iMac, Mini, and MacBook Pro.

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Poll: Are you waiting for the new Ivy Bridge models to get a Mac?

Like some of you, I am limping by on my 2010 MacBook Air, but I have been anxiously waiting for this Ivy Bridge lineup of MacBooks to get released before buying a new Mac. As Walt Mossberg said, it is a good idea to wait until the new Apple products come out to upgrade, but it is starting to feel like forever (I know—it has only been a few months).

Are you waiting for Ivy Bridge before buying a new Mac?

(Image via Reddit)

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Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge Quad-Core i7-3770K benchmarked on Mac OS 10.7.3

With Apple’s next round of Macs likely to include Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors recently confirmed for an April launch, there is still some speculation about which processors from the lineup will land in certain Macs. Rumors today point toward a refreshed iMac. Moreover, new Benchmark tests (via tonymacx86) submitted to Geekbench show Apple’s desktop operating system performing with the 3.5GHz Quad-Core i7-3770K, which is one of Intel’s most powerful Ivy Bridge chips suitable for desktops.

Note: The “Mac Pro” in the above screen capture is the profile used by the Hackintosh user, not the hardware. Also, note that the user had to modify the kernel to employ these new chips, which will also see further optimizations by Apple.

Geekbench user “hiwa” obviously had to use a Hackintosh to boot with the new chip. A Z77 motherboard was used in this case. Some benchmarks listed by the user demonstrate scores higher than any current Apple hardware. It is unclear what machine the benchmarks performed on, but it is clear Ivy Bridge is posting some impressive results compared with current Mac hardware.

While the benchmarks above show the Core i7-3770K desktop chip, Intel Product Manager Anand Kajshmanan claimed Apple’s MacBooks (likely to include Ivy Bridge CPUs in the near future) would face strong competition from Intel-powered Ultrabooks. In an interview with PC World, Anand was asked why a person would choose an Ultrabook over a MacBook Air or even an iPad:

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CES 2012: Intel fakes ‘live’ Ultrabook demo, mulls massive advertising campaign to push MacBook Air-killers [UPDATE 2x]

UPDATE 1: As several commenters pointed out, it’s probably meant as a gag as Intel executive at one point joked about driving one handed and then without hands at all. The distinction remains unclear though due to audio not being clear enough. Nevertheless, the question remains: Why run the thing through backstage and not give a real-life demo?

UPDATE 2: Acknowledging “the confusion”, the publication followed-up with hands-on video showing F1 2011 running in real-time on the exact same system that Mooley Eden had been using to run the pre-recorded VLC video demo. Find it included at the article bottom, below the fold.

It looks like chip giant Intel has gone too far by attempting to have prospective buyers sold on Ultrabooks. Bright Side of News* editor Anshel Sag caught Intel’s Mooley Eden cheating during yesterday’s press conference at the CES show in Las Vegas. Mooley can be seen in the below video fake-driving a commonplace racing game by Codemasters called F1 2011.

In reality —and you can see it briefly at the beginning of the clip— he simply played back a video file using VLC media player and proceeded to fool the audience into believing they were witnessing a live demonstration of the graphical capabilities of the Ivy Bridge platform that powers forthcoming Ultrabook notebooks.

This prompted the author to dub the unbelievable move a display as “a gross distrust of their own demo.”  Intel promised a massive advertising campaign to help push MacBook Air-like notebooks that have been struggling to steal the limelight of Apple’s machine.


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New base iMac: $1050, iPod touch $160, more

From 9to5Toys.com:

Today only, Buy.com via eBay Daily Deals has the 21.5″ iMac Core i5 base configuration for $1049.99 with free shipping. That matches Best Buy’s Black Friday price (but with Tax in fewer locations) and the lowest we’ve seen.

Buy.com also offers the base model 13″ MacBook Pro for $1049.99 with free shipping (Update:OVER).  MacConnection offers almost the same machine for $999.

MacMall offers a number of Closeouts on new, one generation old MacBook Airs and Pros (w/$50 rebate), below:

(Bonus: Best Buy has iPod Touch 8GB in white or black for $189 with a $30 Gift card.  Amazon ‘matches’ this with music giftcard.) Read more