Merom MacBooks for the holidays

Merom MacBooks for the holidays

Summary: It's pretty easy to deduce that Merom, Intel's successor to the Yonah (a.k.a. Core Duo) chip, will find its way into a speed-bumped MacBook Pro. The question is when.

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TOPICS: Processors
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intel-core-2-duo.jpgIt's pretty easy to deduce that Merom, Intel's successor to the Yonah (a.k.a. Core Duo) chip, will find its way into a speed-bumped MacBook Pro. The question is when.

Intel will be announcing the Core 2 Duo chips at a press event tomorrow (Thursday) at company headquarters in Santa Clara, CA according to a spokesman. Although the event will focus on the desktop Core 2 Duo chip (Conroe) the notebook version (Merom) is expected to debut as well, with the caveat that it won't be available until August.

Although I originally reported that Merom may appear in the MacBook Pro as early as August, sources close to the project have their doubts.

MacBook Pro's are selling like hot cakes and Apple has been so busy fixing the problems with the original printed circuit board (PCB) that I doubt that they will be ready to insert a new chip that soon.

A source familiar with the company's plans told me that Merom will require PCB change in the MacBook Pro. Although Merom is believed to be pin-compatible with the Yonah chip, it may require that a new socket be installed on the logic board. The new socket requires a realignment of certain parts because the socket takes up a few more microns of space.

So it's not just a matter of simply soldering Merom onto the MacBook Pro's logic board, the whole board has to be redesigned. We're more likely to see the Merom MacBook Pro chip change around the holiday season than we are in August.

Topic: Processors

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7 comments
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  • Question about your MBP Mr. O'Grady

    Did you experience any problems with your first gen MBP?
    I never experienced the infamous "moo" or "whine" but had heat
    problems - which seem to have been resolved since the firmware
    update.
    Just curious - I have a W860904xxx build.
    Benton Rich
    • Whine, Moo, Heat, have them all

      Benton -

      I have a week 7 MBP (2.0GHz), serial W8607 and I've had all of the MacBook Pro issues. A repair of the display inverter solved the inverter whine problem. The moo is manageable (I don't mind it) but the heat is out of control.

      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
    • Intel in driver's seat

      You can be sure that the major PC OEMs will be announcing Merom-equipped notebooks shortly after Intel's announcement this week.

      Can Apple afford to wait?
      tweather
      • Apple's 30-day announce/ship ratio

        While I agree that other OEMs will be announcing Merom equipped notebooks at launch (Intel mentioned 3 at the IDF, including Sony), shipping them is another story.

        With all the well-documented problems that Apple's had with the initial MacBook Pros, I think that they will hesitate to rush out the Merom announcement, because:

        1. It will freeze sales of existing MBPs
        2. Jobs issued an edict that they won't announce anything that they can't ship within 30 days
        3. The PCB needs a redesign to accommodate.

        From what I've heard, Apple has had Merom chips in house for about a month now so it's not inconceivable that they could come out of the gates with a Merom MBP.

        I just think that they'll take a little more time this go around.

        - Jason
        Jason D. O'Grady
        • Agree ...

          but I wonder how warmly Jobs will resonate to having Apple's product announcements dictated by Intel's product release cycle.
          tweather
  • Falling Behind

    I take your point, and ultimately Apple may be constrained by these physical limitations.

    Having said, other laptop manufacturers face similar difficulties, and they seem to be getting Merom-laptops out in the near future. Apple's position is precarious, and it can't afford to fall behind so obviously (and [b]certainly[/b] not by 4-5 months!). MacBook Pro sales have been very good, but I wonder how that would changed if they were perceived to be 'behind the times' technology-wise?

    It's much easier to make direct comparisons than in the days of PPCs. This is uncharted territory for Apple...
    jamespvg
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