Intel Launches New Broadwell Chips Appropriate for MacBook Air and 13-Inch MacBook Pro

Intel today announced the launch of a full set of “Broadwell-U” processors, opening the door for updated versions of Apple’s MacBook Air and 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. The chip launch is essentially in line with a leaked timeline from last July that also pegs the release of more powerful Broadwell chips appropriate for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro as late as July or August of this year.

As outlined by AnandTech, the new Broadwell-U chips include a set of four 28-watt chips ranging from 2.5 GHz to 3.1 GHz in base frequency and featuring new Iris 6100 integrated graphics. The Core i5-5257U, Core i5-5287U, and Core i7-5557U chips appear to allow for direct upgrades from the Haswell-U chips currently used in the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. While the new chips include only a 100 MHz CPU speed increase over their Haswell counterparts, a number of other improvements, especially with regard to graphics, should make for significantly improved performance.

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Broadwell-U chips appropriate for 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (top) and MacBook Air (bottom)
(Source: AnandTech
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On the MacBook Air front, Intel is offering four different 15-watt Broadwell-U chips that would be appropriate for the lineup, with all of the new chips carrying improved HD 6000 graphics. Base clock speeds range from 1.6 GHz to 2.2 GHz compared to the 1.4 GHz and 1.7 GHz options available in the current MacBook Air, and associated upgrades in Broadwell should yield significant performance improvements for the new chips.

Looking at potential release dates for Apple’s Broadwell systems, Intel tells AnandTech that the new Broadwell-U chips are already shipping to vendors, with the first systems based on the new chips expected by the end of the month. Systems based on chips using Iris graphics may be more toward the end of the current quarter.