Samsung lappy heralds updated MacBook Air

The internals of Samsung's new ultrathin 9 series laptop hint at what Apple is expected to tap for its updated MacBook Air, due later this year.

The 0.64-inch-thick 9 Series sports a 1.4GHz Core i5-2537M processor, 4GB of memory, a 128GB solid-state drive, an extra-bright (400 nits) 13.3-inch 1366-by-768 edge-to-edge display, and USB 3.0 port. It starts at $1,649.
The 0.64-inch-thick Samsung 9 Series sports a 1.4GHz Core i5-2537M processor, 4GB of memory, a 128GB solid-state drive, an extra-bright (400 nits) 13.3-inch 1366-by-768 edge-to-edge display, and USB 3.0 port. It starts at $1,649. Samsung

Under the skin of Samsung's new ultrasvelte laptop beats new Intel silicon that will likely be adopted by Apple in the refresh of the MacBook Air.

One of the criticisms--admittedly of the geek variety--of the 2010 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs is the internals. At the risk of sounding like a broken record (as this has been asserted ad nauseam by many reviewers), both models use silicon that, in tech years, is long in the tooth--namely, the Core 2 Duo.

But Apple is expected to pull a leapfrog with the new MacBook Air. The upcoming Airs will jump from the grizzled Core 2 Duo to the newly birthed second-generation Core i processors, aka, Sandy Bridge.

Which brings us to the Samsung 9 Series 13.3-inch model. That 2.89-pound laptop uses one of the first Sandy Bridge low-power processors, the 1.4GHz Core i5-2537M.

That chip is similar to what Apple will likely squeeze into the updated Air. What makes it low power? The i5-2537M draws a mere 17 watts, about half the wattage of typical Intel mobile processors. That means less heat, while still offering the goodness of the Sandy Bridge processor.

Apple is expected to squeeze the newest Intel silicon into the ultrathin MacBook Air, just as Samsung has done with its 9 Series.
Apple is expected to squeeze the newest Intel silicon into the ultrathin MacBook Air, just as Samsung has done with its 9 Series. Apple

Goodness in the form of an improved built-in graphics processor and the option for automatic "overclocking"--if Apple decides to implement it--up to speeds of 2.3GHz.

One of the intriguing questions is whether Apple, working with Intel, will ratchet the processor's power down even lower or stick with the standard rating on the power-frugal Sandy Bridge Core i series chips.

We should know by this summer.

Updated at 9:10 p.m. PDT: adding Samsung Series 9 information.

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