updated 09:00 pm EDT, Tue April 5, 2011
Intel near shipping low-voltage 2011 Core CPUs
New clues have suggested Intel is finally close to shipping its low-voltage Sandy Bridge-era Core processors. While Intel has already had details on its website for some time, Fudzilla claimed on Tuesday that the chip designer will lead off with the Core i7 2657M. The chip is known to clock at just 1.6GHz as a baseline but will ramp up to a much higher 2.7GHz in Turbo Boost mode.
It should have the expected 1.33GHz memory and faster Intel graphics in tow and will support Hyperthreading to behave like a quad-core processor under certain conditions. The new Core i7 may be reserved for high-end ultraportables as it should cost $317 in batches of 1,000, comparing against faster full-power processors.
Intel's only other chip known so far is the 1.4GHz Core i5 2537M, which should clock somewhat lower in Turbo Boost and have a smaller 3MB cache instead of the Core i7's 4MB.
Both are due to ship sometime in the spring and may get their public showing at the Computex show in Taipei on May 31.
Both the low-voltage Core i5 and Core i7 could be instrumental not just to PC makers as a whole but to Apple. When it launched the new MacBook Air in October, it was one of the few still depending on Intel's old Core 2 Duo to power its ultraportables. At the time, it chose the processors to avoid Intel's then very slow graphics, but Sandy Bridge has given the Core line enough visual performance for Apple to be comfortable with using Intel-only video in the new 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Apple is rumored to be introducing Sandy Bridge-powered MacBook Airs in June and would most likely have to use at least one of the new processors to power the notebooks. Both the i5 and i7 consume 17W of total peak power, higher than the 10W for the Core 2 Duo in the 11-inch Air, but the new ratings factor in the integrated graphics not mentioned before and could make it efficient enough to work in any size of MacBook Air.