While Apple is prepping upgraded Mac Book Pros, the MacBook Air and MacBook have been neglected by the news. Will the MacBook Air make the jump to Sandybridge and receive a new Core i3 processor from Intel or stay with the aging Core 2 Duo? Apple could go either way.
CNET reports the MacBook Air will receive a refresh this Summer and sport a Sandybridge style CPU from Intel. The Summer MacBook Air update would be separate from the upcoming Spring MacBook Pro refresh. A Sandybridge powered MacBook Air could deviate from a Nividia GPU towards Intel’s HD integrated graphics which beat out lower end video cards. This would put pressure on Apple and either ATI or Nvidia to come up with a faster, more power efficient GPU. The first generation MacBook Air was the only generation to use Intel’s integrated GPU the GMA X3100.
However, there is the likelihood Apple may stick with the Core 2 Duo for the MacBook Air. The current generation of MacBook Airs support OpenCL which allows a Mac running Snow Leopard to tap in to the power of its GPU for intense processing tasks. It’s not yet clear if Sandybridge’s integrated GPU supports OpenCL. Moving from an Nvidia GPU that supports OpenCL to a faster and more power efficient video card that doesn’t support OpenCL would kneecap the speed of more processor intensive tasks in OS X. If Sandybridge’s HD integrated graphics can’t support OpenCL, Apple may opt to wait until Ivybridge which arrives later this year.