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Report: Apple Looking to AMD for Future Chips

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 70 comments

Could Apple be switching to AMD for the next-generation of Macs?

Before Apple went Intel, Macs were a PowerPC affair. Going Intel gave Macs a new level of performance, though Apple did relinquish a level of control (and it gave enthusiasts the ability to make a Hackintosh from PC parts).

Right now, Apple is still using Intel CPUs for all of its notebook and desktop computing hardware, but that could soon change. According to a report from AppleInsider, workers from AMD have been seen on Apple's Commuter Coach buses, and AMD execs have been seen on their way out from those inside Apple's top levels.

Such meetings between the two companies have reportedly enabled Apple to start experimenting with AMD processors – believed to be of both workstation and notebook class – in its future products.

Apple could be looking at AMD's offerings since Intel is not allowing Nvidia to create the chipsets for Nehalem-based processors. This has forced Apple to use an Intel chipset in its latest refresh of 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros, while tying them into functioning with discrete Nvidia graphics. The current 13-inch MacBook Pro, as well as all the previous unibody models, used both Nvidia chipset and graphics – leaving Intel just with CPU duties.

AMD would be able to supply Apple with the full CPU, GPU and chipset for its products, which could give Apple greater control over its hardware – something the company constantly strives to have.

Of course, all this could be a rouse by Apple to keep Intel on its toes. After all, Apple claims that a lack of Core i5 and Core i7 parts were to blame for the long delay in the MacBook Pro refresh.

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Top Comments
  • 29 Hide
    gekko668 , April 16, 2010 11:29 PM
    Looks like Apple is having an affair with AMD. I dont think Intel will like that very much.
  • 27 Hide
    buckinbottoms , April 16, 2010 11:40 PM
    crazy to imagine the boost in media attention this will bring, not so much for Apple, but AMD. AMD's biggest problem has always been public recognition and advertising. Just by making this move the shear amount of free press Apple commands and the public image and recognition AMD would receive could be bigger than any product triumph or settlement AMD could ever garnish from Intel.
  • 24 Hide
    tipoo , April 16, 2010 11:24 PM
    razercultmember1Intel should just merge with nvidia to pwn sum amd nubs


    No.

    That is all.
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  • 20 Hide
    tipoo , April 16, 2010 11:15 PM
    Just keep in mind that as a huge personal computer maker (yes, PC), Apple has access to CPU roadmaps and engineering samples that we do not. Maybe AMD has some kick ass CPU/GPU fusion combo down the line.

    Besides that, The new 13" MBP may be a leading indicator that Apple is showing that they are willing to use a slower C2D cpu in order to get a better integrated graphics solution than is possible from Intel. This is obviously a market segment that AMD should be able to address -- combine a mediocre x86 cpu with a very capable ATI integrated gpu.

    Oh, and Mac Mini. Nuff said.


    Anyways, I look forward to AMD vanilla kernals :-P
  • 24 Hide
    tipoo , April 16, 2010 11:24 PM
    razercultmember1Intel should just merge with nvidia to pwn sum amd nubs


    No.

    That is all.
  • 29 Hide
    gekko668 , April 16, 2010 11:29 PM
    Looks like Apple is having an affair with AMD. I dont think Intel will like that very much.
  • 27 Hide
    buckinbottoms , April 16, 2010 11:40 PM
    crazy to imagine the boost in media attention this will bring, not so much for Apple, but AMD. AMD's biggest problem has always been public recognition and advertising. Just by making this move the shear amount of free press Apple commands and the public image and recognition AMD would receive could be bigger than any product triumph or settlement AMD could ever garnish from Intel.
  • 23 Hide
    shin0bi272 , April 16, 2010 11:52 PM
    so apparently apple is tired of paying 200-300 bucks per cpu... and since no one is buying their macbooks anymore except the diehard mac fans maybe a cheaper cpu will allow apple to drop their prices to below 1100 bucks.
  • -6 Hide
    ta152h , April 17, 2010 12:12 AM
    Why would anyone want to use NVIDIA chipsets anyway? They're notoriously bad and buggy. Apple would want to use one, why?

    This doesn't make sense. Intel makes much better processors, especially for notebooks. Maybe Apple is looking for ATI graphics cards. That makes a lot more sense than using AMD processors. Their GPUs are very well received and generally considered superior, their processors are not. Apple isn't a low-end brand. They'll stick with Intel processors until AMD has something more competitive.
  • 14 Hide
    shadow187 , April 17, 2010 12:21 AM
    Wow, this is great for AMD. They'll need all the help they can get for the CPU section, even though the GPU section is pulling them through.
  • 9 Hide
    Marco925 , April 17, 2010 12:30 AM
    It surely would do well for shareholders if AMD gets a contract with Apple
  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , April 17, 2010 12:36 AM
    Last time Apple looked to Intel when AMD had the lead, and everybody asked "why?". I bet Apple knows something we don't, like the possibility that AMD Fusion CPUs will be a complete game-changer. Since the stream-processors are connected directly to the cores, instead of through hypertransport, it's possible that the cores can schedule work on them without any intervention from the programmer(like L3 cache that actually does work). This could mean that AMD would have a vast performance lead.

    Report that AMD has already sent Fusion CPUs to partners(possibly Apple):

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/display/20100415232058_AMD_Ships_Llano_Samples_Shipping_to_Customers_Plans_to_Initiate_Production_in_Late_2010.html
  • 9 Hide
    spentshells , April 17, 2010 12:43 AM
    tipooNo. That is all.


    agreed
  • 6 Hide
    victomofreality , April 17, 2010 12:54 AM
    cheaper cpu's means more profit for apple... not surprised.
  • 11 Hide
    vigilantzhu , April 17, 2010 12:58 AM
    I'm not a fan of apple min you but go AMD
  • 5 Hide
    majorgeek , April 17, 2010 1:02 AM
    I think they would be wise to make the switch to AMD, after all they offer the complete solution CPU/GPU. I say let Intel and Nvidia fight it out in court over the chipset crap, Apple has computers to sell, and just wait until Bulldozer arrives!!!!! Apple/AMD looks good to me

    "The Future is Fusion"
  • 5 Hide
    gpace , April 17, 2010 1:08 AM
    So, Apple is going to buy cheaper CPUs? I'm sure it's not to increase the profit margin.

    But, it will be good for AMD, presuming Apple actually actually acknowledges the switch.
  • 0 Hide
    False_Dmitry_II , April 17, 2010 1:20 AM
    They were really after nvidia integrated graphics. The fastest kind of integrated graphics that were available with intel stuff. They just had to get nvidia chipsets with it. AMD chipsets and integrated graphics are excellent and that could easily be what they're really after.

    Especially after that macbook relaunch where the smallest one was a C2D simply because that way they didn't have to have a discrete graphics card in it.
  • 11 Hide
    4ILY45 , April 17, 2010 1:59 AM
    Hackintosh on a PC with an AMD CPU?? YES PLEASE!! :D 
  • -5 Hide
    zybch , April 17, 2010 2:02 AM
    razercultmember1Intel should just merge with nvidia to pwn sum amd nubs


    They can't. Nvidia is NOT an American company, intel simply would not be allowed to buy them due to the many licensing issues that would crop up.
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