By: Matt (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 8, 2015 4:20 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
I hope David Kanter's predictions are correct but Intel's last shrink from 22nm to 14nm does not give any reason for optimism. You can see how much of an improvement Intel's 14nm Broadwell is compared to the 22nm Haswell by comparing equivalent MacBook Airs with these different processors. The current 13.3" MacBook Air with Broadwell runs at 1.6 GHz vs 1.4 GHz for last year's model with Haswell (a 14% difference). CPU performance as measured by Geekbench 3, Cinebench 11.5 and Cinebench 15 improved by 4% to 13%. Graphics performance as measured by Unigine Heaven, Batman: Arkham City and Tomb Raider 2013 is within 3% of Haswell. Battery life while decoding MPEG-4 played over Wi-Fi improved by 1.5%. Apparently, most of the power is consumed by the display so whatever power reductions were made in the processor don't change the overall battery life much. The only significant improvement is the number of PCIe channels to the SSD was increased from 2 to 4 so the sequential read speed from SSD increased from 750 MBytes/sec to 1500 MBytes/sec. Other than this change in the number of PCIe channels to SSD, there is no significant difference between the 14nm Broadwell and the 22nm Haswell versions of this notebook. The bottom line is that Moore's law doesn't seem to help for notebooks anymore. Unless Intel pulls a rabbit out of their hat and actually delivers the kind of breakthroughs discussed in this article, I predict Apple will switch their entire product line over to ARM within 5 years.