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Leopard drivers hint at upcoming MacBooks

updated 06:15 pm EDT, Sun October 28, 2007

Drivers Hint at MacBooks

Apple may have tipped its hand and revealed a near-term update to its 13-inch MacBooks and potentially its Mac minis, based on files discovered inside Mac OS X Leopard's system folders. The company has included a full set of recent drivers for Intel's GMA X3100 integrated graphics chipset, which is only built into the semiconductor firm's mainboards for notebooks based on the Santa Rosa platform. Apple currently uses Santa Rosa for its most recent MacBook Pro line but equips these higher-end systems exclusively with dedicated graphics chipsets from non-Intel providers like NVIDIA, leaving the regular MacBooks with slower but lower-cost Intel offerings.

No other driver-related clues as to the MacBook and Mac mini upgrades have been found, though all the drivers are dated from October 11th -- suggesting that the company had finalized the current version of the drivers only days before Leopard was sent to manufacturing. The Mac producer historically refrains from including drivers for unreleased hardware in its major and minor operating system updates alike unless it expects the current version to be preloaded on to new systems.

The GMA X3100 chipset is said to provide a significant boost to 3D performance on systems where dedicated graphics would be too costly or space-consuming; unlike the GMA 950 graphics used in today's MacBooks and Mac minis, the new chipset adds more advanced pixel and vertex shaders (drawing instructions), hardware transform and lighting acceleration, and better video decoding. Many Windows-based notebook models have begun using the upgrade since it was introduced along with Santa Rosa in May.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. Constable Odo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007

    0

    Potential MacMini...?

    Well, I'm reallys surprised that the MacMini is still going to be part of the Mac lineup. I was certain it was done for sure. Maybe those drivers are for a new Apple TV. I'll bet it's just for the MacBook or maybe the not-so-secret ultra mobile Mac.

  1. petsounds

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2007

    0

    to the contrary

    constable, I believe the opposite. With the addition of Front Row to Leopard, I believe the AppleTV will be discontinued, in favor of Apple urging customers to use an updated Mac mini for media center tasks. Steve said at the beginning that the AppleTV was "his hobby", which suggests that it might have been more used to tinker with media center possibilities than be a full-fledged platform.

  1. hmurchison2001

    Senior User

    Joined: Jan 2001

    +1

    I'll buy an X3100 Macbook

    I'm not a big computer gamer and I plan on getting on Xbox for that anyways so with a laptop right now I'm looking at a good price and good support for Leopard. A Macbook with x3100 graphics would be just fine for me. Bonus points if they jettison the white that gets dirty for aluminum or another color. I doubt that the Mac mini is going away or the Apple TV. Both still serve a purpose (entry level Mac and support for iTunes downloads).

  1. dmsimmer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005

    0

    I agree

    I include 3 Mac Minis in my work setting. They're wonderful, small, machines.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: to the contrary

    constable, I believe the opposite. With the addition of Front Row to Leopard, I believe the AppleTV will be discontinued, in favor of Apple urging customers to use an updated Mac mini for media center tasks. Steve said at the beginning that the AppleTV was "his hobby", which suggests that it might have been more used to tinker with media center possibilities than be a full-fledged platform.

    First, Front Row was part of Tiger as well (just not the initial version). So its not like its something 'new' to change the product line-up.

    Second, Apple's had the chance to improve the mini and has done a wonderful job of not updating it.

    Third, Apple loves the AppleTV. Its cheap (half the price of the 'full-price' platform, works with more TVs then the mini with its component video, works with PCs or Macs, so you're not trying to force a 'switch' on people, and is less complicated to deal with then a full-fledged computer. Apple sees it (as can be seen from how they classify it) as an iPod/iTunes add-on. The mini is nowhere near that.

    And as an Apple stockholder, are we supposed to just accept Steve spending millions on a 'hobby' and then just tossing it?

    And these drivers mean nothing. It could be work they had done at some point for a potential product that was scrapped, or work for a product that may occur.

  1. bjojade

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007

    0

    Go Mac mini

    I LOVE the Mac Mini format. I have multiples of them used around my house for different functions. The best part about the mini is it can be hooked directly to a TV. The Apple TV would work, but it doesn't support standard televisions. If I had all wide screen TVs at home, it would work fine, but unfortunately, that's not the case.

    If you have a specific task that needs a computer, the mini is a great choice.

  1. michaelper22

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2007

    0

    Good Thing I'm Waiting

    I originally planned on purchasing a lower-end MacBook (lower-end within the category, for budget reasons) after the holidays, and now more than ever it's looking like a great idea to wait until then. Normally, I don't like being an early adopter, but I'm willing to cash in early on Apple products.

  1. krb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2000

    0

    mac mini rules

    I love my mini. I have one of the early G4 models. I can't imagine ever parting with it.

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