Intel’s new 10nm processors are obviously the reason why the 12″ MacBook is dead
For those who haven’t been paying attention, we now have Intel ARK pages for the first of Intel’s 10nm Y-series and U-series CPUs.
The Y-series CPUs are the lowest TDP Intel develops, and has been 4.5W or 5W in previous releases. These processors were used on the 12″ MacBook, and are used in a custom higher-TDP configuration in the new MacBook Air, which the latter can handle because it has a fan, whereas the 12″ MacBook didn’t.
Now, in the move to quad-core on the Y-series, Intel has jumped from their previous 5W TDP to a much higher 9W TDP, with the ability to downclock to 8W on the [i3](https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/197123/intel-core-i3-1000g4-processor-4m-cache-up-to-3-20-ghz.html) and no options for downclocking on the [i5](https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/197121/intel-core-i5-1030g4-processor-6m-cache-up-to-3-50-ghz.html) or [i7](https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/197120/intel-core-i7-1060g7-processor-8m-cache-up-to-3-80-ghz.html).
It is unlikely that the 12″ MacBook, which was probably already pushing it thermally, would be able to handle what is effectively a 100% increase from the 4.5W TDP of the Broadwell processor it was designed against. The new MacBook Air has a fan, presumably because Intel had already communicated this change to manufacturers ahead of time when Apple designed the new MacBook Air. This effectively means that the processors that the 12″ MacBook would need are no longer being developed by Intel (or AMD, for that matter), which means that the product is doomed, as least as long as Macs stay on x86.
On a slightly unrelated side-note, these new processors are really sweet for the Air though. The quad-core design will give a serious boost in multithreaded workloads, the jump to the new 10nm iGPUs and the jump from Intel’s UHD GPU line to the superior Iris line will probably get around a 100% graphics improvement year-over-year, and the jump from 2133MHz LPDDR3 RAM to 3733MHz LPDDR4X RAM, as well as support for 32GB RAM configurations, will also offer significant real-world improvements across the board.