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Intel says competitors to Apple can use the CPU found in the MacBook Air; 45nm CPU refresh coming this Fall

When Apple unveiled the MacBook Air most every technophile stifled a lustful moan.  However, the paltry specifications included in the Air leave something to be desired -- even to the most ardent of Steve Jobs protégés.

PC manufacturers expect to fill the gap. InformationWeek reports that two PC makers will release similarly size Windows systems using the miniaturized Core 2 Duo processor found in the svelte MacBook Air. 

The low-voltage Core 2 Duo processor found in the MacBook Air is not present in any other computer to date.  Some would claim Intel designed the processor specifically for Apple, though Intel roadmaps designate the ultra-low voltage processor as "publicly available" to any system integrator. 

The low-voltage Core 2 Duo played a big part in the ability for Apple to make the Air so thin. The processor is built on the older Intel Merom processor family, though the "mini" version is 60% smaller that other Merom processors.

The 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo certainly won't set any speed records.   In fact, the 65nm processor first got its debut at 1.8 GHz in 2006.  Similar performing 65nm Yonah processors at 1.8 GHz debuted almost a year before that. 

Intel announced its 45nm processor line last month, just a week before the MacBook Air announcement.  However, those interested in sacrificing performance for slim footprints won't have to wait long: Intel's corporate roadmap claims 45nm versions of Penryn, the current processor generation, will be available this fall.

Even if PC manufacturers incorporate the mini Merom processor in upcoming notebooks before this Fall,  Apple will certainly opt for the 45nm processor in the next-generation MacBook Air. 

Intel has not released the names of the PC manufacturers anticipating to release slim PCs based on the "mini" Merom processors.

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My 2 cents
By psychmike on 2/4/2008 12:18:05 PM , Rating: 2
I understand that what doesn't work for me may well work for someone else but there are many things I don't get about the MacBook Air. I have played with it in my local Apple Store.

If it's meant to be a laptop that you take everywhere without a second thought, the footprint seems a little too big to haul out casually on a cafe table or an airline tray. Even if they stuck with the 13.3" screen (which is gorgeous by the way) there's some room around the bezel and the keyboard. I think this was a design choice so that they could taper the edges and keep the screen super thin. I think a laptop that was .8" all around but an inch less in width and length would be more portable but then there would less to promote from a marketing perspective.

Ars has also tested the battery life and has said it's about half of Apple's published specs even with the screen dimmed. Again, I would have accepted a laptop that was a little thicker but had a battery that could hold a decent charge.

When I was at the Apple Store, I started chatting with 3 other customers. Together, we were 2 Mac users and 2 PC users contemplating a switch to Macs. We all agreed that the MBA was pretty and incorporated some great design elements (LED screen, backlit keyboard, aluminum case) but seemed more like a work in progress (with it's slow 1.8" HDD, poor battery life, 1 USB port) than a computer that would appeal to a wide audience. I hope they incorporate some of the MBA's design cues in the next generation of MacBooks.


"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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