Rumor: Apple ditching Nvidia for Intel and AMD

By on December 10, 2010, 6:06 PM
Apple has outfitted its notebooks with Nvidia's graphics chips for years, including the existing MacBook line, but that may not be the case in future systems. According to sources cited by CNET, Apple plans to drop Nvidia's mobile graphics chips for the integrated solution in Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge processors.

Intel's IGPs are generally associated with lackluster performance, but early benchmarks suggest that Sandy Bridge's integrated graphics core is on par with basic discrete cards such as the Radeon HD 5450. If true, that's a substantial leap forward and would at the very least be sufficient for entry-level MacBooks.

"Historically, if you look at those low-end devices, the 13-inch class products, there's not a lot of room for a discrete GPU. So, going forward, if [Apple was] going to use Sandy Bridge in a low-end product, I think they would have to rely exclusively on the Sandy Bridge integrated graphics," said an Insight64 analyst.


Using the graphics core built into Intel's processors would presumably reduce system costs, and assuming Apple passes that on to the consumer, we could see more mainstream pricing for lower-tier MacBooks. By cutting Nvidia's discrete parts, there's also potential for increased battery life and slimmer machines.

We imagine Cupertino will continue to ship premium notebooks with discrete graphics chips, but not necessarily Nvidia's. CNET's sources say that Apple will rely on AMD to supply it with graphics processors for future MacBook Pros, with the possibility of AMD's upcoming Fusion chips appearing in low-end MacBooks.




User Comments: 18

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codefeenix codefeenix said:

Every year I hear rumors about APPL switching to AMD, I don't see any reason whythey will do any thing different this year.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Aww, poor Nvidia...They'll always make the best cards in my eyes...Even if their cards arn't always the best.

princeton princeton said:

Reduce system costs. That's a laugh. Apple customers wont be able to tell the difference. So apple wont drop the prices. If apple users actually checked their specs they'd shoot themselves for how much cash they've wasted over time.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

SB probably offers more than enough graphics ability for a very large percentage of notebook users- factor in that Apple users aren't as a general rule "gamer" orientated then that percentage is likely higher still.

Reduce system costs. That's a laugh..

It will most certainly lower the system cost....Apple just won't be passing on the saving to the consumer...excuse me, Favoured Apple Purchaser. I believe these people wouldn't have it any other way...a "cheaper" Apple might mean making it accessible to the hoi-polloi, and that just wouldn't do!

tacobfm said:

Intel HD to Radeon 5450 isn't that much of a jump... infact its barely a jump at all.

fpsgamerJR62 said:

Well, at least Mac users will get to experience crappy Intel HD graphics like the rest of us . Seriously, for the price that Apple charges for its Macs, they should at least use discrete graphics.

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

So now mac users will be getting even less bang for there buck...lol! But i guess how much graphics do you really need for what macs users really do, write documents, go online, and watch videos.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Reduce system costs. That's a laugh. Apple customers wont be able to tell the difference. So apple wont drop the prices. If apple users actually checked their specs they'd shoot themselves for how much cash they've wasted over time.

If Apple users were only concerned about specs you'd be right. But Apple users "cherish" more about their "experience" than just getting things done at fast framerates.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Although it is a 'rumor' at the moment, but it does make a lot of sense, as I've commented few times in other such news threads, market for the entry level discrete GPUs should disappear; and that will surely result in allowing Intel and AMD to take market away from nVidia.

I agree with DBZ and emphasize that 'most' (business) users aren't really concerned about having a discrete GPU in their notebooks, beside an entry level discrete GPU won't deliver anything significant with the emergence of new CPU architectures incorporating much better IGPs.

lchu12 lchu12 said:

"assuming Apple passes that on to the consumer, we could see more mainstream pricing for lower-tier MacBooks."

Yeah, when hell freezes over...

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

dividebyzero said:

a "cheaper" Apple might mean making it accessible to the hoi-polloi, and that just wouldn't do!

+1

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

SB probably offers more than enough graphics ability for a very large percentage of notebook users- factor in that Apple users aren't as a general rule "gamer" orientated then that percentage is likely higher still.
I don't know about the mobile versions, but "Core i's" desktop graphics are plenty good if you're not into heavy gaming. So, I'm speculating that the current crop of mobile "Core i" graphics, already meet the needs of many laptop users.

Guest said:

This would be another drop for all those graphic designers that still swear by apple. AMD does not offer GPU acceleration for programs like Photoshop like NVIDIA does. Although everytime I hear "I use apple products because I need to do graphic design" I want to slap that smug look of their face and tell em I do the same for half the money.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

This would be another drop for all those graphic designers that still swear by apple. AMD does not offer GPU acceleration for programs like Photoshop like NVIDIA does. Although everytime I hear "I use apple products because I need to do graphic design" I want to slap that smug look of their face and tell em I do the same for half the money.
The reason the Apple is so prevalent in the photo / graphic arts trades, is that Apple's color management, ("Color Sync" once upon a time, was better than Windows. Adobe RGB 1998 works just fine, and Photoshop has as many options for color space in Windows as it does in a Mac.

Just for the sake of discussion, Apple is now playing catchup with Adobe "Lightroom", by virtue of their "Apple Aperture" offering.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yup, I am not sure (so correct me if I'm wrong) ....... but have Apple copied Jump Lists as well?

Guest said:

Actually the reason apple is so prevalent is at one time Photoshop and other programs only worked on apple products and many users started there and never moved on. I have been doing graphic design for the better part of 20years so I was there in the beginning. But being a true geek I never felt that dollar for dollar apple offered anything that remotely equaled what I could do on a PC so I was always in the minority among my peers but doing the same work faster and cheaper hardware wise. And since most, if not all, professional graphic use and have used hardware calibration apples color sync is a non issue or bonus.

I do have a lot of associates that rely heavily on Cuda acceleration for their work to be done in minutes and not hours and this new will weigh heavily on their buying decisions. I personally think Apple is painting itself into a wall and will eventually just make phones, pads, and shiny useless laptops soon.

Aperture/lightroom is a whole different issue and in a few ways aperture is better than lightroom but not good enough for me to switch to using macs and since I am still a huge photoshop user lightroom still, for obvious reasons, integrates better with photoshop and the rest of the adobe suite. I also think that Jobs hates adobe and with certain remarks made by him during aperture release leads me to believe that apple is turning their back on the product/company, adobe photoshop, that kept them alive all these years.

Guest said:

if nvidia wants to survive in the market for PC (mobile and desktop) then they need a purchase or merger of/with "VIA Tech, and do what Intel and AMD are doing: a self x86/x64 processor with integrated graphics (best if include full northbridge and southbrige like its Tegra proccesor).

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

This would be another drop for all those graphic designers that still swear by apple. AMD does not offer GPU acceleration for programs like Photoshop like NVIDIA does. Although everytime I hear "I use apple products because I need to do graphic design" I want to slap that smug look of their face and tell em I do the same for half the money.

I don't think they are dropping nvidia/intel for their Mac Pros. I don't think most serious graphic designers do their work on notebooks, they use a 'workstation'. Now sure some work may get done on a Macbook Pro from time to time, but the serious work is probably done on a Mac Pro.

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