Although the MacBook Air certainly received an impressive refresh in October, many are wondering when they’ll see the wonderful enhancements of Sandy Bridge come to everyone’s favorite “commuter computer.” The answer? Perhaps quite soon.
Currently, the MacBook Air is the only current model of Mac still running Intel’s last-gen Core 2 Duo CPU, which to some makes it seem less appealing when stacked up against other models. Even though it’s integrated SSD makes it a speed demon, many long for the future.
While heat and power usage are always a challenge on a computer like the MacBook Air (due to it’s necessarily small battery and a form factors that only allows for limited cooling), it seems that Intel has some lower-consumption Sandy Bridge processors in the work (the Core i5 2537M seems a likely candidate), set to be launched sometime near the end of Q2. Combining these with some low-power integrated graphics just might be the key for the MacBook Air.
The chip in question runs at 1.4ghz (with turbo boost to 2.3ghz), but would offer a significant performance increase, due to the new architecture. It’s also increase the bus speed from 800mhz up to 1333mhz, and add an integrated GPU. Another possible chipset (the Core i7 2657M) would feature a clock speed of 1.6ghz, with turbo boost up to 2.7ghz, bring the processor performance roughly on par with a 13″ MacBook Pro.
Further, it may see the inclusion of Thunderbolt ports in the MacBook Air, which would of course be an exciting feature. In short, if you’re considering buying an Air right now, wait if you can: within a few months, Apple is likely to do a Sandy Bridge refresh.