Sandy Bridge Stories March 20, 2013

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.

Sandy Bridge Stories December 12, 2012

haswell-2013-roadmap

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.

Sandy Bridge Stories November 15, 2012

New last-gen MacBook Air: $699

From 9to5Toys.com:

MacConnection offers the base model MacBook Air that was replaced this summer, new in box, for $699. This Air includes an Intel Core i5-2467M 1.6GHz Sandy Bridge dual-core processor, 11.6″ 1366×768 LED-backlit display, 2GB RAM, 64GB SSD, AirPort Extreme (802.11n wireless), Bluetooth 4.0, Facetime camera, Thunderbolt port, and Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. Ground shipping is free.

Sandy Bridge Stories September 7, 2012

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: expand full story

Sandy Bridge Stories September 3, 2012

Price Drop: MacBook Airs at the Apple Store now start at $679

From 9to5Toys.com:

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Apple quietly dropped the prices on refurbished MacBook Airs last night by up to $120. Notables above are 2010 releases of the 11.6″ MacBook Air model with options of 128GB SSD or 4GB of RAM. Apple refurbished items are virtually indistinguishable from new items and come with the same 1 year AppleCare warranty. All refurbished Macs purchased at Apple are also eligible for the OS X Mountain Lion Up-to-Date Program.

These typically run out of stock very quickly.

Update: All gone. You snooze, you lose.

Sandy Bridge Stories June 12, 2012

iFixit delves inside refreshed 13-inch MacBook Air [Photos]

iFixit is hardcore when it comes to breaking open our favorite electronics to see what’s inside, and the website did it again today with the refreshed MacBook Air that unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference yesterday.

The updated 13-inch MacBook Air, equipped with USB 3.0 and MagSafe 2, sports a few new sizes for those pentalobe screws on the back. It also houses the same battery found in the preceding MacBook Air. Moreover, at first sight, its 128 GB SSD looks strikingly similar to the mid-2011 module:

“But upon closer inspection, the connector for this model’s flash memory module is slightly different than last year!”

The adjusted SSD form factor also shifted to a fresh flash controller. The current unit is SandForce SATA-III controller chip-based, but displays Toshiba marks. The tweaked notebook further boasts Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 processor, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 128 GB flash memory, 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3L RAM, and Broadcom BCM 943224. iFixit said, again, that the wireless board is identical to the mid-2011 flavor, but this one carries rotated stickers (sarcasm intended).

Lastly, the RAM is still not upgradeable. Oh, and that MagSafe 2 connector is thinner and wider, and it is not compatible with Apple’s current Cinema displays unless paired with its $10 adapter.

Go to iFixit for the entire teardown.  

Sandy Bridge Stories June 11, 2012

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.

Sandy Bridge Stories June 5, 2012

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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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Sandy Bridge Stories June 1, 2012

Hackintosh Ivy Bridge vs. Sandy Bridge benchmarked, small speed gains but significant power efficiency detailed [Video]

With Apple’s upcoming Mac lineup to include the much-rumored Ivy Bridge upgrade, we get a look today at what the new CPUs might be cable of, courtesy of a comparison to Sandy Bridge, running on a Hackintosh. According to Insanely Great Mac:

How the new Ivy Bridge CPUs look to match up to Intel’s previous generation Sandy Bridge platform. Benchmarks include both stock and over clocked Core i7 3770K and Core i7 2600K. Plus a look at how the new chips may affect the next round of Mac upgrades.

Sandy Bridge Stories May 17, 2012

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… expand full story

Sandy Bridge Stories April 30, 2012

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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Sandy Bridge Stories April 23, 2012

Ivy Bridge tested, significantly faster and more power efficient

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Laptop Mag’s Michael A. Prospero put Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge through a battery of Benchmark tests and revealed the processor is certainly robust at a “mere” 22 nanometers:

It’s not a huge leap, but the performance gains we saw in our Ivy Bridge test system–with comparable battery life–makes this a strong follow-up to the previous generation of Intel Core processors. We’re really looking forward to testng slimmer and sleeker Ultrabooks with Intel’s powerful third-generation Core chip inside.

Check out the full breakdown here.  Other Ivy Bridge reviews AnandTechBit-TechTechSpotTech ReportHot Hardware

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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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Sandy Bridge Stories April 18, 2012

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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Sandy Bridge Stories April 2, 2012

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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Sandy Bridge Stories January 10, 2012

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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Sandy Bridge Stories December 11, 2011

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.) expand full story

Sandy Bridge Stories November 28, 2011

Asian trade publication DigiTimes reported this morning that Apple is readying a MacBook Air refresh and looking to expand its ultra-thin notebook family with a brand new machine. Sometime during the first quarter of next year, according to sources from the upstream supply chain, the company will update existing 11.6- and 13.3-inch models and put out a new 15-inch model we’ve been hearing about before:

The sources noted that related upstream players have already started pilot production of the MacBook Air models and will add a 15-inch model into the product line to expand its reach in the ultra-thin notebook market.

Another interesting bit of the DigiTimes story is that Apple is expected to lower prices of the current lineup ahead of the refresh. The update should include a new Ivy Bridge processors that consume less power while providing a speed boost in the CPU and GPU department (also expected in the next MacBook Pro refresh). expand full story

Sandy Bridge Stories November 27, 2011

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For those who missed out on the Black Friday specials, Amazon still offers the entry level Core i5 MacBook Air for $849.99 plus free shipping.  That’s a significant $150 off of retail and the lowest price available.  This latest MacBook Air includes an Intel Core i5 1.6GHz “Sandy Bridge” dual-core processor, 11.6″ 1366×768 LED-backlit display, 2GB RAM, 64GB SSD, AirPort Extreme (802.11n wireless), Bluetooth 4.0, Facetime camera, Thunderbolt port, and Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

Amazon also still has the lowest prices on the entry level MacBook Pro ($1049).  Other price lows (mostly from MacMall) can be found here. expand full story

Sandy Bridge Stories November 18, 2011

Popular Science Magazine is once again declaring their Best of What’s New Awards for 2011, and not so surprisingly this year’s top three spots in the computing category are all technologies that you will find in Apple’s latest lineup of Macs.

At number one we have OS X Lion which earned a spot for its ability to close the gap between desktop and mobile operating systems with the publication calling it “the first step toward a computing landscape in which one interface can serve all purposes”.

The number two spot goes to Intel Sandy Bridge chips and their ability to reduce “data’s travel time from component to component by replacing lengths of wire with nearly a billion close-knit microscopic transistors”. We know Apple just recently refreshed their MacBook Air and Mac Mini lineup with new Sandy Bridge processors, and future Macs will likely get the same treatment. The new Thunderbolt I/O has also been an emerging technology Apple has adopted for future Macs, and that brings us to number three…

Last but not least, we have Intel Thunderbolt at the number three spot, which we all know Apple teamed up with Intel to help develop and is now being implemented on future iterations of iMacs and MacBooks. Minor limitations aside, its contribution to the tech industry is pretty obvious, as Popular Science puts it, “Thunderbolt’s wires are the first to combine the languages that handle data and display in one channel, making it faster and more versatile than any other connection”.

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Sandy Bridge Stories November 10, 2011

From 9to5toys.com:

Getting the holiday shopping season started a little early this year, MacConnection is offering 9to5Mac readers the base model MacBook Air for the lowest price we’ve ever seen it: $899 (10% off) when bundled with a significantly discounted AppleCare which is just $199 (20% off).  The total $1099 price is $150 below the $1250 you’d pay at the Apple Store and over $60 less than we could find it anywhere else.

This latest MacBook Air includes an Intel Core i5 1.6GHz Sandy Bridge dual-core processor, 11.6″ 1366×768 LED-backlit display, 2GB RAM, 64GB SSD, AirPort Extreme (802.11n wireless), Bluetooth 4.0, Facetime camera, Thunderbolt port, and Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.  AppleCare provides Apple’s three year warranty.

Use code 9-5AIRCARE at checkout to get the deal.   Limit 2 per customer, and this will run out soon.

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Sandy Bridge Stories September 13, 2011

AI reports that the MacBook Pro line will receive minor processor updates before the holiday shopping season.  In fact, they say the updates should come before the end of the month.

According to people with proven insight into Apple’s future product plans, the late-2011 MacBook Pro refresh will deliver marginal speed bumps to the notebooks’ Core i-Series of Sandy Bridge processors but will otherwise introduce no material changes over the existing models.

While precise timing for the update may change, those same people say the Mac maker currently anticipates an introduction of the refreshed line before the end of the month,

The report seems to stem from the recent release of Intel Core i7 2700 series processors fit for use in MacBook Pros (right).

This seems to fly counter to earlier reports from MacRumors that the next update to the MacBook Pro line would be a big redesign.

MacRumors has heard reliable confirmation that the next revision of Apple’s MacBook Pro line will utilize a new case design for the first time in several years.

For what it is worth, we’re seeing no hiccups in the supply chain on current models.  Silent updates aren’t unheard of however.

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Today at the Intel’s Developer Forum, Intel unveiled a new processor that will be able to power a x86 computer for 24 hours/10 days of stand-by time off a single charge. Intel’s new Haswell chip uses a 22-nanometer 3D-transistor architecture that uses 20 times less power than current Sandy Bridge models which are featured in the newest line of Macs. The new chip was demonstrated using solar-power to grab light from a source as small as a light bulb to power the system.  Oh, and the Haswell chips will be faster than current processors.

The new chips will land in 2013, after Intel’s Ivy Bridge in 2012. Recently, Intel revealed that Apple wasn’t entirely pleased with upcoming Intel Chips power usage and were currently investigating other alternatives.  Clearly, Apple’s own ARM AX line which already can provide 24 hour battery life (with PC-sized batteries) is being considered. (via Gizmodo)

It is interesting to note how much the image reminds us of the image below: expand full story

Sandy Bridge Stories July 20, 2011

From 9to5toys.com

Along with the new MacBook Air and Mini updates today, Apple dropped the previous Apple-Certified refurbished versions to all time lows offering $250 off yesterday’s prices.  Remember, Apple’s stock of the older models didn’t just disappear.  Many moved to “Refurb”.  Apple also includes the same 1-year warranty.

MacBook Air MC505LL/A Core 2 Duo 1.4GHz 11.6″ 64GB SSD for $749 ($80 drop) MacBook Air MC506LL/A Core 2 Duo 1.4GHz 11.6″ 128GB SSD for $949 ($50 drop) MacBook Air MC503LL/A Core 2 Duo 1.86GHz 13.3″ 128GB SSD for $999 ($80 drop) MacBook Air MC504LL/A Core 2 Duo 1.86GHz 13.3″ 256GB SSD for $1,249 ($80 drop)

Compare those to the new MacBook Airs: 2.4-lb. MacBook Air 11.6″ Core i5 1.6GHz 64GB SSD for $999 2.4-lb. MacBook Air 11.6″ Core i5 1.6GHz 128GB SSD for $1,199 3-lb. MacBook Air 13.3″ Core i5 1.7GHz 128GB SSD for $1,299 3-lb. MacBook Air 13.3″ Core i5 1.7GHz 256GB SSD for $1,599

Apple Certified Minis Also saw drops (Remember, the $469, $549 models have a Superdrive and probably make better media centers  ;):

Apple Mac mini MC270LL/A Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz Desktop for $469 ($130 drop) Apple Mac mini MC438LL/A Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz Desktop for $549 ($170 drop) Apple Mac mini MC438LL/A Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz w/ Snow Leopard Server for $749 ($100 drop) expand full story

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