updated 04:10 pm EDT, Sat October 11, 2008
NVIDIA chipset in MacBooks
The speculation that Apple will be moving away from Intel chipsets and transitioning to NVIDIA components appears to have gained more solidity, according to Ryan Shrout of PC Perspective. His previous theory that Intel's Montevina technology would be "stale and unexciting" by the fall release, and subsequently not considered for the new products, has been reinforced by NVIDIA's announcement of new mobile chipsets and GPUs, which may be perfectly timed to create buzz right before Apple's October 14th notebook refresh.
The likely new platform for the notebooks is NVIDIA's MCP79MX (GeForce 9300/9400) for the MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pro -- offering HDMI and an integrated DX10 graphics core -- while the Pro would also have a version featuring a GeForce 9600 graphics processor. The new MacBook Air is anticipated to feature a low-power consumption MCP79U chipset, trading off reduced graphics performance for longer battery life.
NVIDIA will be releasing the GeForce 9300/9400 chipsets a day after Apple's announcement, potentially indicating that they have been hushed until their major contract has had a chance to unveil the products first.
All of NVIDIA's IGP chipsets support OpenCL acceleration, which could make the line an attractive option for users that need the devices for graphics-intensive tasks, such as Adobe Photoshop and Premiere. Shrout claims he is certain of a move to MC79 chipsets in all of the new MacBooks that will be announced next week.
This could be a step in mending a relationship between Apple and the chip manufacturer may have been strained by the recent problems involving graphics hardware failures on the MacBook Pro. In response to inquiries, Apple blamed the problems on defects in certain GeForce 8600M GT cards, claiming that while NVIDIA admitted problems with hardware failures earlier in the summer, it had reported to Apple that the Macs were not involved.