When Apple unveiled the 2018 MacBook Air this week, the company announced it would be powered by a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor… but the company didn’t say which processor.

Now we know. The thin and light laptop is the first device to ship with the previously unannounced Intel Core i5-8210Y processor.

That’s a low-power processor that’s in the same “Amber Lake” family as some of the 5 watt chips Intel introduced this summer. But with a 7 watt TDP rather than 5 watts, it should offer somewhat better performance in some situations when compared with the similarly-priced Core i5-8200Y.

The Core i5-8210Y has a higher base frequency (1.6 GHz vs 1.3 GHz), but a lower max turbo frequency (3.6 GHz vs 3.9 GHz).

It’s unclear what that will mean in terms of real-world performance, but Apple is promising long battery life: the company says you should be able to use the new MacBook Air for up to 12 hours while web surfing, or up to 13 hours while playing iTunes movies. I’d normally take battery life estimates from a manufacturer with a grain of salt, but Apple actually has a pretty good track record for offering realistic estimates.

Apple’s previous-gen Macbook Air laptops featured 15 watt Intel U-series processors. But last year’s model used a nearly 4 year old Core i5-5350U Broadwell processor, so it’s likely that the new Amber Lake chip will offer better performance for at least some tasks, despite consuming less power.

That said, it’s still interesting to see Apple using a low-power Y-series chip for a notebook that sells for $1,199 and up. Or at least it wouldn’t be Apple’s MacBook with a 7th-gen Intel Core M3 processor didn’t have a starting price of $1,299.

At least the new MacBook Air has an 8th-gen Intel chip.

via AnandTech

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5 replies on “Apple’s new MacBook Air features a 7W Intel Core i5-8210Y Amber Lake chip”

  1. Not too conversant with CPUs but a dual-core at 7w in a $1,200 laptop sounds like a rip-off. Good for basics but have read that macOS itself is pretty demanding, if not bloated.

    1. Would you rather have a 95w quad-core for $1,200? I would look at the sustained performance numbers before calling something a rip-off. If this laptop is durable and the performance is competitive for 5-7 years, it might be good value.

        1. All the things you said might be true also, but I would have a hard time paying $X for this.

    2. I think that pretty much all Apple machines are overpriced. That said, in my experience Hackintoshing on a CPU (an Intel i5-3210M) that’s just slightly less powerful that that in the 2014 MacBook Air, OS X seems to be less demanding on the CPU than Windows 10, and a lot less so than Windows 7. I think it’s fairly demanding on a GPU, but the integrated graphics in the new machine will be closer to those in a higher end chip.

      There’s also a persistent rumor that Apple will be moving to its in-house ARM CPUs at some time in the nearish future. If it does so, there will be a bit of a step backwards in CPU power, which would mean that Apple would have to keep OS X light enough that it won’t discomfort these MacBook Airs. (The worry then would instead be about getting new software to run on an Intel Mac four or five years down the line.)

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