New photos from China have shown what the new casing would look like (seems slick!) and today the word on the street is that Apple has selected NVIDIA as the provider for the chipset (the chip that controls the motherboard) of the new Macbook. Why NVIDIA and not Intel? There are a few reasons, but the most important is:
High Performance Computing (HPC): Apple users are often heavy multimedia users. Meaning that they compress music (iTunes does) and video. NVIDIA’s motherboard GPU can be many times faster than a multi-core desktop CPU at this, but yet, its additional cost is negligible when compared to the benefits. I’m convinced that Apple will announce something that has to do with OpenCL (Open Compute Language) as NVIDIA has the most advanced tech right now.
Other less important reasons might include:
Fast graphics in general, but for stuff like Photoshop CS4 in particular: it’s not new, a bunch of Apple users are in the design community and when they’ll get their hands on the GPU-accelerated Photoshop CS4 and the larger, multi-touch touchpad, they will need fast graphics.
Great 1080p decoding: Others can do it too, but we’ve determined that Apple “needed” NVIDIA above, so this is “just” a nice side-effect. The display won’t be 1080p (or this would be a pleasant surprise), but With apple heading towards HD “rentals”, 1080p and may be Blu-Ray, will become crucial to any Apple computer.
Hybrid-SLI: Macbook might be content with the motherboard GPU (integrated), but future models might need a faster discrete GPU as well. Hybrid-SLI switches automatically to the most efficient mode: fast or low-power. No compromise.
I rate this rumor as 99.99% true and I expect this to be part of the Apple announcement next week (come back here on October 14th). Apple has always been about graphics and having fast graphics + high performance computing can really propel the user experience, if done right.
For NVIDIA, this is huge (if confirmed) – Apple laptops have a ton of volume and this pretty much guarantees that Windows will also include some form of GPU computing, making the GPU an ever more important part of a system.