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Friday, February 11, 2011, 08:05 am PT (11:05 am ET)

Apple rumored to update MacBook Air with Intel's Sandy Bridge CPU in June

Apple plans to update its recently redesigned MacBook Air line of thin-and-light notebooks with Intel's latest-generation Sandy Bridge processor in June, according to a new report.

Citing an anonymous source, CNet reported on Friday that Apple plans to replace the Core 2 Duo chip found in the current MacBook Air, a processor that is two generations behind Intel's recently released Sandy Bridge processors. The MacBook Air was updated with a new, thinner design, flash memory drive, and an 11.6-inch model was added to the mix in an update released last fall.

In December, the same publication claimed that future MacBooks from Apple with Sandy Bridge processor would not use Nvidia graphics processors in at least some models 13 inches and under. It is rumored that the smaller models will switch to Sandy Bridge-only integrated graphics, while Apple's larger, higher-end MacBooks with screen sizes of 15 and 17 inches will allegedly rely on GPUs from AMD.

Intel began its roll-out of the Sandy Bridge next-generation processors in January, but the company quickly discovered an error in the chipset that accompanies the processor. That forced Intel to halt production of Sandy Bridge processors while it works on a fix for the 6 Series chipset code-named Cougar Point.

The error affected both desktop and mobile chips, leading to concerns that the issue could have an impact on Apple's anticipated MacBook Pro refresh. Apple last updated its MacBook Pro notebooks in April 2010, meaning an update for those products is likely to precede the alleged June refresh for the MacBook Air.

Intel announced this week that it has resumed shipment of chipsets for systems not affected by the Cougar Point design issue, which can lead to poor performance of devices connected to certain serial-ATA ports. The chipmaker also said that it will meet its deadline to begin shipping dual-core Sandy Bridge hips on their previously announced launch date of Feb. 20.