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What's Inside the Next MacBook Airs (Probably)

Illustration for article titled Whats Inside the Next MacBook Airs (Probably)

Welcome to this special MacBook Air edition of "Don't Buy an Apple Product." You should not buy a MacBook Air right now.

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The current MacBook Airs, wonderful as they are, use crazy old Core 2 Duo processors from Intel. All their speed comes from the integrated SSD. Which made them great for just about everything, except for anything that was particularly processor-beating. Like editing photos and video.

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But there's a newer, badasser generation of chips from Intel. Sandy Bridge, which is already in the recently refreshed MacBook Pros and iMacs. It's like, fast. And it's expected there'll be new Sandy Bridge hotness for the MacBook Air this coming month. If they're using extant chips, they'll be using low-voltage chips like the 17W max TDP Core i5 chips listed here or Core i7 chips listed here. (The 11-inch Air currently uses a 10W max TDP chip, which doesn't have anything immediately comparable listed, so it's perhaps going to use an as-of-yet unannounced chip.) Downside of the switch: It'll mean crummier integrated graphics from Intel than the current Nvidia GeForce stuff.

Like the now-current Pros and iMacs, it's a given they'll swap out the current DisplayPort for a Thunderbolt port too. (Can we just call it Thunderport? That's what I'm going to call it.) Other changes? Probably none. Maybe fatter storage options. Maybe. But like the recent MacBook Pro and iMac refresh, don't expect much more than that. Still, the new guts are worth holding out for, I think. Since supplies are dwindling now, you probably won't have to hold out very long. [DigiTimes]

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DISCUSSION

"It'll mean crummier integrated graphics from Intel than the current Nvidia GeForce stuff."

Under OSX the HD3000 often outperforms the 320M, its flipped under Windows for some reason whether its poor optimization of the Nvidia chip on OSX or extensive optimization of the HD3000. If your staying with OSX for these machines, the Intel one won't give you a crummier experience, and even under Windows you can rarely tell the difference (well, the Nvidia pulls away once you turn settings like AA up, but on low end machines you probably won't).