If Apple dumps Intel chipsets they will likely go to NVIDIA

Sources from within Intel have allegedly reported that Apple is going to use a chipset from a different brand in upcoming Macbooks. The chipset is the chip that controls the motherboard and the inputs/outputs. Sometimes, there is also an integrated graphics processor. Apple might do this to improve the quality of its products, reduce costs or just to keep Intel on their toes. There aren’t a whole lot of (good) options out there: it could basically be an NVIDIA chipset or a Via chipset. It’s hard to picture why Apple would move over to Via for Macbooks computers, so if Apple were to change, they might go with NVIDIA to have access to a better integrated graphics that has hardware Blu-Ray decoding and decent entry-level 3D capabilities.

The most potent reason, in my opinion, is the inclusion of OpenCL in the next Mac OS. OpenCL is an open, industry-wide effort to support GPU computing (using GPU for non-graphics applications, such as physics, mp3 encoding and so on…). This is something that has far-reaching ramifications for the industry because GPU processing can be dozens or hundreds of times faster than a CPU for some tasks. NVIDIA is the only option to support both OpenCL and an Intel CPU

For those who think that it might simply be an Apple chipset: I don’t think that Apple can develop its own chipset today and even if they did, they could not manufacture it in Asia in total secrecy, so we would have learned about it by now (unless they went to IBM…). If Apple chooses to switch CPU and chipset, they could turn to AMD, but that’s unlikely, given AMD’s architectural disadvantage. In the end, I doubt that a different chipset will “revolutionize” Apple’s laptops. It will take a bit of hardware and a lot of software to do so.

Disclosure: I worked for NVIDIA until August of last year. This post is not based on any insider information. It is just my personal opinion, as I react to the breaking news.

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