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Apple Migrating to NVIDIA Chipsets in new MacBooks

Appleinsider reports that they have "confirmed" that the new MacBooks will utilize NVIDIA's new MCP79 platform. While Intel will continue to supply the main processor for Apple's notebooks, the underlying support chips will be made by NVIDIA:

Kept uncharacteristically secret by NVIDIA for most of the year, the MCP79 platform is so far considered a substitute for Intel's Centrino 2 "Montevina" platform, offering support for the same 1066MHz front side bus, optional DDR3 memory and PCI Express 2.0 interfaces.

AppleInsider lists several design advantages over Intel's chipset, including:

- Smaller physical size using one chip rather than two
- DriveCache, which uses Flash storage to speed up boot times
- Hybrid SLI which switches from discrete to integrated graphics when battery is low

Apple may or may not choose to take advantage of these technologies, but the option exists. The biggest advantage in using the NVIDIA chipset, however, will be its enhanced graphics capabilities.

NVIDIA is believed to use a new set of GeForce 9300 and 9400 series integrated GPUs which "will theoretically blow past" the Intel integrated graphics chipsets that currently power Apple's MacBooks. Still, the integrated graphics chipsets will lag behind the dedicated ones that are used in Apple's higher-end notebooks. The use of NVIDIA chipsets will also be of importance when Apple releases Snow Leopard, which will be able to offload general processing onto GPUs.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air