Apple, Companies, Graphics, Hardware

New MacBooks With Sandy Bridge Chips Possibly Due on March 11


According to a pair of purported Best Buy inventory system screenshots, Apple could refresh its MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks on Friday, March 11, 9to5Mac reports. At least that’s when Best Buy is expecting to put them on store shelves, meaning you should probably expect a formal announcement from Apple a few days earlier. The updated computers are expected to run the latest Sandy Bridge chips, the publication asserted:

According to the Best Buy inventory system, the new MacBook Pro line will feature an $1199 model, which is the base price for the current 13 inch MacBook Pro. This indicates that the up coming refresh will probably lack a price change.

Additionally, If CNET’s report from December is any indication, 2011 MacBooks may sport a new processor graphics from Intel, breaking the Cupertino’s reliance on graphics chips from Nvidia.

Apple last updated its MacBook and MacBook Pro families 195 and 208 days ago, adding faster processors, 4GB RAM, a ten-hour battery and the Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics processor as the baseline specification. Additionally, the 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro received a new build-to-order option last October, adding a 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 processor as a custom upgrade option.

Unfortunately, Apple – like the entire industry – was shocked when Intel announced its $1 billion recall of faulty Sandy Bridge chipsets. Apparently, Intel’s B2 stepping 6 Series Express chipsets suffer from a "design flaw" that in some cases degrades the Serial-ATA port performance over time, potentially leading to data loss and reducing the performance or functionality of SATA-linked devices such as hard disk drives and DVD units. 

Intel unveiled the latest Core 2011 processors with great fanfare at last month’s CES 2011 in Las Vegas. They now estimated the design flaw will cost them a whopping $1 billion in lost revenue and replacement costs due to a production delay. 

The recall is a huge setback for vendors like Apple, forcing them to pull Intel Core 2011-powered notebooks and desktops and wait for a silicon fix that Intel said won’t be available in greater quantities to the entire industry before April. First samples of the new chipset should be available in late February, Intel added, most likely to high-profile customers like Apple. The Cupertino firm has received a preferential treatment from Intel in the past and was first to incorporate Intel’s then unreleased ultra low-voltage processor inside a notebook, the original MacBook Air.