Intel Promo E-Mail Points to Core i5-Based MacBook Pro

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Date: Wednesday, January 13th, 2010, 06:05
Category: MacBook Pro, Processors

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If you’re currently hankering for a forthcoming MacBook Pro featuring Intel’s new Core i5 processor, it may be en route.

Per AppleInsider, an e-mail promotion sent from Intel to members of Intel’s Retail Edge promotional program highlight a forthcoming MacBook Pro from Apple sporting the Core processor.

The promotion was included in an e-mail sent out to U.S. members of the Intel Retail Edge Program. It reads: “January Prize Draw: Win a MacBook Pro. Pass this month’s trainings for 2 chances to win one of 2 MacBook Pro laptops with the accelerated response of an Intel Core i5 processor.”

Currently, the top MacBook Pro features an Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

The Intel Retail Edge Program allows retail employees who sell Intel products to access technical knowledge and sales tips, which allows them to earn “chips” which can be exchanged for products. The program also offers occasional contests and giveaways.

Last week at CES, Intel formally introduced its new line of processors, which included the new Core i3, i5 and i7 chips. The mobile Core i5 is considered to be a likely candidate for a coming MacBook Pro refresh.

Apple is expected to host an event Jan. 27 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco to introduce new products. While most speculation has centered around a tablet being unveiled at the event, Apple could also use it as an opportunity to refresh its MacBook Pro line.

Since a picture’s worth a thousand words, here you go:
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Intel Releases Core i3, i5 and i7 Processors at CES

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Date: Friday, January 8th, 2010, 07:21
Category: Processors

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Over at CES, Intel released its next generation of processors under the Core i3 brand for low end systems, the Core i5 brand for midrange systems and the Core i7 brand for the fastest systems. The new processors include dual-core laptop chips under the three brands running between 1.06GHz and 2.66GHz, and desktop chips running between 2.93GHz and 3.46GHz.

Per Macworld UK, the new chips are manufactured using the 32-nanometer process, which makes them smaller and more power-efficient than earlier chips. Based on the Westmere architecture, the transistors are a step away from chips manufactured using the 45-nanometer process.

Intel will announce quad-core chips and low-voltage processors based on the architecture later this year, said Sean Maloney, executive vice president at Intel, during a press conference.

Compared to previous generations of processors, the new processors speed up high-end tasks like intense graphics as well as mundane tasks like syncing a music player, Maloney said. Related tasks would run close to two times faster than previous chips.

Intel has also integrated graphics chips into the new processor package, which could make the chips capable of playing Blu-ray movies or high-definition games.

But the graphics processors have some limitations. “It doesn’t go into the high end… you always get a big fat graphics chip with a heat sink on it,” Maloney said.

Laptop responsiveness will also improve with the Turbo Boost mode, which can crank up the speed of cores to boost performance. The technology can also shut down cores when not needed to save power.

Intel launched three Core i3, eight Core i5, and five Core i7 processors for laptops and desktops. Maloney went on to state that there are presently 500 designs based on the new chips and that the chips are available immediately, and many desktops and laptops were on show on the CES show floor at Intel’s booth.

The laptop processors include five Core-i7 chips, including the 620M chip that runs at 2.66GHz and is priced at US$332 for 1,000 units. The slowest chip is the low-power 620UM chip, which runs at 1.06GHz and is priced at US$278. Two Core i3 chip were listed for laptops, including the i3-350M, which runs at 2.26GHz.

The chip’s price was not immediately available. Four Core i5 chips for laptops were also listed, including the Corei5-540M, which runs at up to 2.53GHz and is priced at US$257. A Core i5-520UM low-power chip runs at 1.06GHz and is priced at US$241.

The new desktop processors include two Core i5 and two Core i3 chips. The fastest Core i5 chip is the Core i5-670, which runs at 3.46GHz and is priced at US$284. The fastest Core i3 chips is the Core i3-540, which runs at 3.06GHz and is priced at US$133.

Westmere is based on the underpinnings of the Nehalem architecture, which itself included new features included an integrated memory controllers. Nehalem chips were manufactured using the 45-nm process and introduced late last year.

No official word has been released as to which processors will find their way into future Apple products.

Initial Intel Arrandale Processor Benchmarks Released, Chips En Route to MacBook Pro Near You

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Date: Monday, January 4th, 2010, 07:31
Category: News, Processors

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With Macworld Expo and CES only days away, Intel’s Arrandale dual-core processor line is also set to debut this month with some of the processors finding their way into Apple’s MacBook Pro notebooks.

Responding to this, the cool cats at PC Magazine have posted benchmark tests pitting Intel’s new 2.53GHz Intel Core i5-540M from ASUS against a 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P9500, as well as a 2GHz Intel Core i7-920XM.

“We’ve seen incremental bumps in speeds (percentages in the teens) when Intel launches new processors for the same platform, but when you swap out an entire motherboard and everything that goes with it, the change can be quite significant,” they said. “Cinebench R10 is a multi-threaded benchmark test that took full advantage of the Core i5-540M’s HyperThreading technology, beating the T400s’s similarly clocked Core 2 Duo P9500 CPU by a 62% margin.”

The Arrandale mobile processors were released alongside their Clarksdale counterparts and the two chips share the same architecture, which features a 32nm Westmere core paired with a 45nm chipset. The new 32nm chips offer improved speed, better graphics performance and lower power consumption. They will also allow motherboards to become smaller.

An article over at Tom’s Hardware found that the new processors strike a good balance between speed found on desktop machines, with power consumption low enough to support a mobile device. These gains, in early tests, come without the inclusion of a discrete graphics card.

In a test of ripping CDs to the AAC format within iTunes, the new Arrandale mobile processor performed the task 10 seconds better than its Penryn predecessor, clocking in at 1:36 on the task.

The review found that the 35W Core i5-540M uses more power under load, but uses quite a bit less power than the Core 2 Duo P8700 processor during downtime. Average power consumption was said to be 32.9W for the Arrandale and 31.7W for Penryn.

The new processors are set to improve upon the previous line of Intel’s Core 2 Duo chips, which have been utilized in versions of Apple’s new MacBook, MacBook Pro, and iMac. Apple uses the mobile variants of Intel’s desktop chips for those systems, meaning machines with chips based on the Arrandale architecture could arrive soon.

Unlike the Core 2 Duo CPUs, the Arrandale processors will have the major northbridge chipset memory controller components built in. Currently, Apple uses Nvidia chipsets with its Mac lineup. The architectural changes found in the Arrandale line, along with an ongoing lawsuit that has forced Nvidia to halt the development of future chipsets, would likely make it difficult for Apple to continue with Nvidia.

Apple last updated its MacBook Pro line in June at the Worldwide Developers Conference. Those systems included Core 2 Duo processors and Nvidia graphics, along with cheaper prices, better displays and built-in batteries. Intel intends to release 17 new CPUs in early 2010, which will be highlighted at this week’s CES event.

Intel Atom Processor Support Missing From Mac OS X 10.6.2 Update

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Date: Tuesday, November 10th, 2009, 05:55
Category: News, Processors

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As much as the Hackintosh community may love Mac OS X, Apple doesn’t always love them back.

Per OSXDaily, support for Intel’s Atom processor is confirmed to be missing in the final release of 10.6.2.

Apple’s latest update for Snow Leopard has broken support for Intel’s Atom processor line. Mac OS X 10.6.2 was released Monday afternoon, and was Apple’s second major update for Snow Leopard.

OSXDaily reported that various netbook and “hackintosh” forums are “blowing up with problems of 10.6.2 instant rebooting their Atom-based notebooks.” Systems using the Atom processor will go into a startup-loop if the 10.6.2 update is installed.

Support for Atom fluctuated over the course of 10.6.2 development, and Apple was mum about the subject.

It is recommended that anyone using OS X on Atom-based systems should not install the update. Many believe that a community-generated fix will be developed soon. Prominent hackintosh blogger StellaRola commented, “Just an FYI, this is OSx86 after all and none of the scenes hackers really let down on support. The latest kernel may not be “officially” supported but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a modded kernel around the corner.”

Intel’s Atom processor is a low-cost, low-power chip intended for notebooks, netbooks and ultra-mobile PCs. Although current Apple products do not sport the Atom chips, a dedicated community has formed around the practice of installing Snow Leopard on Atom netbooks.

Samsung Releases 1GHz Hummingbird Processor for Future Smartphones

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Date: Monday, July 27th, 2009, 07:41
Category: Processors

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Electronics giant Samsung unveiled a new ARM processor intended for future smartphones. Per MacNN, the processor, nicknamed “Hummingbird”, uses the same Cortex-A8 architecture as the chip in the iPhone 3GS but clocks at 1GHz, significantly higher than the 833MHz of its previous best. The feat is accomplished both by a smaller, more energy-efficient 45 nanometer process as well as partly customized circuits designed to handle the load.

Samsung has stated the processor can handle up to 2 billion instructions per second but will consume only 640mW of power and doesn’t need more than 1V of voltage. As a Cortex-A8 chip, Hummingbird is a dual-issue (two instructions at a time) processor with special media extensions, known as Neon, that can speed up common audio or video tasks.

Specific customers haven’t been named for the processor, although Samsung makes it clear it sees Hummingbird reaching “advanced mobile devices” once it’s turned into standard system-on-chip processors. Apple has been one of Samsung’s larger customers for ARM processors, although it has typically underclocked the processor for the iPhone to accommodate the heat concerns in the tight enclosure.

Intel May Release Updated Nehalem Processors Next Month

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Date: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009, 05:45
Category: News, Processors

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Processor giant Intel looks ready to deliver a new line of server, notebook and desktop processors based on its new Nehalem microarchitecture next month. According to DigiTimes, the new chips will cut down on bottlenecks that plague its current chips as well as be able to execute more tasks while drawing less power.

An industry source with knowledge of Intel’s plans said the company will deliver new Xeon server processors belonging to the 5500 and 3500 chip families starting early August. Chip specifics weren’t immediately available. The Mac Pro lineup introduced by Apple in March runs on Xeon 5500 ad 3500 chips.

Additional reports have stated that Intel will bring its latest chip microarchitecture to high-end mainstream desktops and laptops starting in September. The company will launch quad-core desktop chips code-named Lynnfield in early September, followed by quad-core laptop chips code-named Clarksfield later in the month, according to the report, which cited industry sources.

Intel officials declined comment, saying the company doesn’t talk about rumors. “But I can say that Lynnfield and Clarksfield are on track for second-half 2009 production,” an Intel spokesman said in an e-mail.

The Lynnfield and Clarksfield chips will be manufactured using the 45-nanometer process, according to Intel’s road map, and should be shipped before its shift to the more efficient 32-nm manufacturing process later this year.

The company is also slated to launch chips for new ultrathin laptops (the Celeron SU2300 and Celeron 743 processors) in September per the Digitimes report.

The Nehalem architecture integrates a memory controller into a CPU and provides a faster pipe for the processor to communicate with system components like a graphics card and other chips. It also allows execution of two software threads simultaneously, so a system with four processor cores could run eight threads simultaneously for quicker application performance. The chips will be manufactured using the 45-nanometer process.

While the new Nehalem chips may be limited to desktops and laptops on the higher price band, affordably priced systems could see new chips when Intel switches to the 32-nm process. The 32-nm chips will integrate a graphics processor and CPU in one chip, which could boost graphics performance while drawing less power than existing processors.

Intel Readying Ultra-Low-Voltage Processors for Ultraportable Notebooks

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Date: Monday, March 23rd, 2009, 08:33
Category: Processors

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Processor giant Intel reaffirmed on Friday that the company is readying a new series of new ultra-low-voltage chips, due in the second quarter, for inexpensive ultraportable notebooks.
According to Macworld UK, the company will ship the ULV chips as part of its Montevina Plus mobile laptop platform, an updated version of the existing Montevina platform, a fact confirmed by company spokeswoman Connie Brown.
The processors could be used in small, thin notebooks and provide the same level of functionality as notebooks priced above US$1,500.
Notebooks currently based on Intel’s ULV chips could be as thin as Apple’s MacBook Air or Dell’s recently launched Adamo, with prices ranging between US$599 and US$1,299.
Intel’s new series could fit into smaller spaces and use less power than the existing Core 2 Duo ULV line, which uses about 10 watts of power and is generally found in ultraportable notebooks such as Apple’s MacBook Air.
Intel’s Montevina Plus platform also will offer new chips running as fast as 3.06GHz, for mainstream notebooks priced between $399 and $1,499.
The company’s Montevina Plus is likely to be Intel’s most important update to its laptop platforms before the company starts shipping its new Arrandale chips for laptops later this year. The Arrandale chips will be manufactured using a 32-nanometer process and integrate a graphics processor and CPU in one chip, which could boost graphics performance while drawing less power than existing Core 2 processors. The Arrandale chips are also expected to be more energy-efficient, which could improve notebook battery life.
Expected clock speeds on Arrandale processors should be similar to processors used in existing laptops while offering better performance by running applications through more threads while drawing less power.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what’s on your mind in the comments or forums.

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