Intel Arrandale Benchmarks Show Major Improvements for Future MacBook Pros
The embargo is up for news and reviews on Intel's new Arrandale mobile processors. Arrandale represents the 32-nm die shrink of the Nehalem processors and will represent the first Nehalem processors that are usable in a laptops such as the MacBook Pro. These new chips also offer improved integrated graphics on the same chip. While there was some unconfirmed talk that Apple may skip this generation of chips, they remain the best option to upgrade the MacBook Pro.
Anandtech provides an overview of the newly announced chips which run as fast as 2.66GHz (Dual Core) as a base speed with Turbo speeds as high as 3.33GHz. Direct comparisons of the 2.53GHz Arrandale and the 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo currently used in the MacBook Pro showed notable improvements at the same clock speed:
The performance advantage was even more impressive for Cinebench (38-43%) and x264 HD encoding (26-45%), along with notable improvements of the integrated graphics performance. Anandtech found battery life to be on-par with the current Core 2 Duos, but this is expected to improve with later generations of Arrandale. In conclusion:
From the balanced notebook perspective, Arrandale is awesome. Battery life doesn't improve, but performance goes up tremendously. The end result is better performance for hopefully the same power consumption. If you're stuck with an aging laptop it's worth the wait. If you can wait even longer we expect to see a second rev of Arrandale silicon towards the middle of the year with better power characteristics.
Apple is, of course, expected to use these processors in their next generation MacBook Pros, though the exact timeframe for the adoption remains unknown.