Report: Apple Looking to AMD for Future Chips

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.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • tipoo
    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
  • razercultmember1
    Intel should just merge with nvidia to pwn sum amd nubs
  • tipoo
    razercultmember1Intel should just merge with nvidia to pwn sum amd nubs

    That is all.
  • gekko668
    Looks like Apple is having an affair with AMD. I dont think Intel will like that very much.
  • nforce4max
    .......... Hey there is a worm in my apple, chunks it into the circular filing cabinet and gets a tastier one......

    Crunch..... hmmm nothing like a fresh one.
  • buckinbottoms
    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.
  • shin0bi272
    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.
  • nicodemus_mm
    What better way to have sub-par performance while gouging customers for more money. With AMD they can have processors that performs worse than Core 2 or Nahalem and have a lower build cost while they keep the price the same. As a business tactic it makes sense. The majority of their target won't notice the difference as long as it looks pretty.

    I like AMD for certain tasks, but if I'm spending that kind of cash I want Intel... or Power 7. :)
  • ta152h
    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.
  • shadow187
    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.