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Intel Confirms Sandy Bridge ULV Processors, Likely For New MacBook Airs

As noted by Cnet, Intel has updated its official processor price list to include new Sandy Bridge-based Corei5 and Corei7 processors with ultra-low voltage power specifications that will make them suitable for future ultra-thin laptops like the upcoming MacBook Air refresh, set for a June or July release. The new processors, as included in the list:

  • i5-2557M (3M cache, 2 Cores, 4 Threads, 1.70 GHz 32nm) - $250
  • i7-2677M (4M cache, 2 Cores, 4 Threads, 1.80 Ghz, 32nm) - $317
  • i7-2637M (4M cache, 2 Cores, 4 Threads, 1.70 Ghz, 32nm) - $289

As reported back in May, these new power-frugal processors make for a great option when it comes to powering thin machines like Apple’s MacBook Airs or other devices called “ultrabooks” by Intel. By increasing clock speed from 1.4 GHz and 1.6 GHz to 1.7 GHz and 1.8 GHz from the previous-gen Arrandale CPUs, and with turbo boost frequencies set at 2.8 GHz and 2.9 GHz, Intel’s new ULV chips seem to fall in line with Apple’s requirements for low power consumption and speed. More importantly, the new Sandy Bridge processors dissipate only 17 watts, unlike standard laptop-oriented processors from Intel that with 35-watt dissipation would be too much for the MacBook Air’s thin and slim design.

The new MacBook Airs were initially rumored to be receiving an update in June, though recent speculation claims Apple will refresh the line in July – also holding out for new Mac releases until Lion comes out, so the new OS will come pre-installed on new Mac models. Many have indicated the MacBook Air as Apple’s new “crown jewel”, the most popular new MacBook model that will be perfectly capable of running OS X Lion thanks to its fast SSD, instant-on feature, high portability and multitouch trackpad.

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