updated 12:20 pm EST, Thu November 11, 2010
AMD presentation shows Macs and sparks talk
Rumors of AMD hardware in Macs gained fuel late Wednesday after a slide from the semiconductor firm's Financial Analysts' Day drew attention. The shot implied that Apple was a partner for Fusion chips and showed the iMac and Mac Pro. AMD Senior PR Manager Chris Hook was quick to tell Fudzilla that Apple was just a regular AMD partner for the Radeon graphics in both systems, but he would neither confirm nor deny that Apple would go for AMD's all-in-one CPU and graphics combinations in the future.
"Neither Apple nor AMD have made any announcements regarding Fusion in any future Apple product," he said.
Mention of AMD as an option surfaced early this year and may have been born out of limitations on what Apple could do in light of the fight between Intel and NVIDIA. Most of Apple's MacBook line, and the Mac mini, have been limited to older Core 2 Duo processors because of the increasing importance of graphics and OpenCL computing in the lineup. With NVIDIA banned from making integrated chips for Core i3, i5 and i7, Apple has chosen to give up a level of CPU performance for much faster performance. Until Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture arrives, and possibly beyond, Intel graphics will be both far slower than AMD's offerings and incapable of running OpenCL.
Fusion may not be necessary but could allow for 13-inch and smaller notebooks to have OpenCL-capable graphics without significant leaps in power consumption. AMD's Khrishna and Wichita could be used for dual- and quad-core notebooks. Outside of Fusion, Apple could also go to the high-end Sepang and Terramar processors to get 10- and 20-core chips for the Mac Pro and any other systems that might need highly parallel processing.