After the MacBook Pro upgrade to Sandy Bridge, a lot of people are now waiting for the upgrade of the MacBook Air, one of the last few Macs still running on a Core 2 Duo CPU.
Of course, it is not an easy upgrade given the thinness of the MacBook Air. The Core 2 Duo running in the 11" models consumes only 10W, in addition to the power consumption of the 320M GPU.
Therefore, it would be impossible to fit a regular i3 or i5 CPU which consumes at least 25W.
Fortunately, Intel has low consumption processors, well for now, one processor, the Core i5 2537M. It is clocked at 1.4 GHz and features an impressive turbo mode reaching 2.3 GHz. It would be a huge gap with the power currently offered in the MacBook Air, even in the 13" model. Plus the bus is now 1333 MHZ, while it is only 800 MHz currently. Its TDP is 17W, which is more than the C2D CPU, but it also includes the graphics solution's consumption.
Since one CPU is not enough to make a complete line of laptops, Intel has announced that new low consumption Sandy Bridge processors will be launched by the end of this semester. The top of the line processor will be the Core i7 2657M. It will feature 2 cores (4 threads), clocked at 1.6 GHz with a turbo mode reaching 2.7 GHz, which would put the MacBook Air close to the 13" MacBook Pro. The TDP would remain unchanged with 17W.
Since these new models will have a Thunderbolt port, if Apple can develop a dock by the time it comes out, it will probably be another great success, if the price is reasonable.