Out with the new, in with the old?
Just a few years after it switched from Nvidia to AMD, Apple is once again rumored to be switching things up when it comes to graphics for its Mac line of computers. Semi Accurate cites sources that say Nvidia has won the next round of Macs, likely starting with the Ivy Bridge models set to arrive next Spring.
"About three years after the decision to boot Nvidia out of the company was made, and two years after the first ATI/AMD Macs in recent memory hit the shelves, you will see Nvidia Macs reappearing," Charlie Demerjian writes.
According to Demerjin, part of the reason for the switch was an earlier decision not to use AMD microprocessors in the Macbook Air. The story goes that Apple and AMD were working on an AMD Llano-based MacBook Air last spring but the machine was cancelled despite being 'really, really close to production' because of supply issues. The switch to Nvidia from AMD is seen as one of the 'repercussions' from that deal falling through.
The last Macs to pack Nvidia GPUs were the early-2010 MacBook Pros. However, as Semi Accurate points out, the market for GPUs at Apple is shrinking as integrated solutions from companies like Intel flourish and notebooks become smaller and thinner. Apple may still be using AMD for discrete graphics for its larger notebooks but it has switched its smaller laptops to Intel-only solutions.