Intel unveils new Broadwell chips bound for Apple’s MacBook Pros and that rumored Retina Air

Monday, chip giant Intel took the wraps off a range of “Broadwell-U” processors poised to find their way into a MacBook near you. The fifth-generation Intel Core processor family utilities Intel’s 14-nanometer manufacturing process to deliver more speed and lower power consumption.

The new chips could possibly pave the way to a rumored MacBook Air model with a Retina display measuring twelve inches diagonally (the current Air models come in 11.6 and 13.3-inch varieties).

Intel says that the battery life could improve across the board by 1.5 hours, while also enabling faster wake times and a boost to the overall graphics performance.

Interestingly enough, the new chips are also designed with voice-activation tools in mind, as well as built for “more immersive experiences.” The new chips come in a variety of titles, as usual, with the Intel Core i3, Core i5, Core i5 vPro, Core i7 and Core i7 vPro. Intel even launched a new series of Celeron and Pentium processors based on the 14nm process as well, with these chips falling under the Cherry Trail codename.

The lineup includes four 28-watt processors from Celeron to Core i7, ranging from 2.5 GHz to 3.1 GHz and using 12 to 48 ­execution units for the integrated graphics.
  • 28W with GT3, Iris 6100 Graphics (48 execution units)
  • 15W with GT3, HD 6000 Graphics (48 execution units)
  • 15W with GT2, HD 5500 Graphics (23 execution units for low i3, 24 for others)
  • 15W with GT1, HD (Broadwell) Graphics (12 execution units)
Apple’s Retina MacBooks use Iris graphics so the aforementioned processors are likely candidates for an early-2015 MacBook Pro refresh.

Clock frequencies of those chips range from 1.6 GHz to 2.2 GHz versus the 1.4 GHz and 1.7 GHz chips powering the current MacBook Air lineup. The new chips are now shipping to computer vendors which are expected to release their Broadwell-U enhanced notebooks before February 2015.


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