Over the last few days, we have received recon about the future of the Mac Book (the consumer version) and we felt it hot enough to warrant its own article. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the future, with all the glory that “Santa Rosa” will bring to Apple’s consumer platform.
First, the code name, for those that aren’t familiar, Santa Rosa is the code name of Intel’s newest mobile platform…it has several interesting new features for potential Mac Book buyers:
- Integrated 802.11n (yeah, we know, we already have that, but this is built into the platform, like 802.11b/g was built into Centrino)
- MUCH faster graphics (using Intel’s GMA X3000)
- 800 MHz frontside bus (faster memory, more data, blablabla)
- Support for Flash Memory (huge power savings, faster boot times, etc.)
- Dual HD support (we don’t anticipate seeing this in the Mac Book any time soon, but perhaps in a 17″ Mac Book Pro in the not too distant future…can you say hardware RAID in a laptop??)
Second, as you’ve come to expect from Apple Recon, not just the boring tech specs, but the analysis of what this all means. We’ll start with the 802.11n being built in…that alone is pretty huge, considering power savings and reducing components that Apple needs to purchase…802.11n fits well into the new Airport Express devices that Apple announced at Macworld, too. The new 800 MHz bus should give a nice improvement in overall system performance (roughly a 20% increase in raw memory speed, along with faster processors, should give the new Mac Book a 15-20% edge right out of the gate compared with the current generation).
Couple those things with flash memory built right in to the platform (not into proprietary hard drives like Samsung and some of the others are doing), and you get some great performance. A quick aside on the flash memory in the hard drive thing…many sites were down on the idea that Apple had turned down the Samsung drives…we are not one of them…what kind of dumb move is it integrating the flash into the hard drive? You’ve already got cache in the drive itself (most ship with 8 or 16 MB now), and the last thing we need is to build a couple gigs of flash into the damned thing, that we then throw out if/when we upgrade to a bigger drive! Apple has definitely taken the right path there going the path to integrate it right into the system, rather than using glorified hard drive cache.
Finally, however, a word about the graphics card. The X3000 is no slouch (mind you it isn’t a $400-500 card either) and it is plenty fast. The great thing about it is that it supports all the stuff that the GMA950 didn’t (which currently powers the Mac Book), including hardware T&L, OpenGL 2.0, a hardware vertex shader, and more than a 50% increase in core clock rate (667MHz vs. 400MHz). Oh, and it also supports 384MB of video memory as opposed to the paltry 128 with the 950. Finally, the graphics support of the Mac Book will be solid (not spectacular, but a lot better than today’s offering).
More as it becomes available, we are still expecting a Mac Book update here in the spring, and keep an eye out for when Intel starts shipping Santa Rosa, as this is the future of the Mac Book. As always, send us your dirt at firstname.lastname@example.org, sound off in the comments, and never forget to give your new favorite rumor site a little Digg: