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Intel Promising Faster Integrated Graphics in Next Laptops, But Fast Enough?
As always, Intel codenames can be hard to follow. The Arrandale processors represent the mobile versions of Intel's Nehalem processors that were recently introduced into the Mac Pros. Intel then packages these mobile processors into "platforms" which combine a mobile chipset, mobile processor, and wireless network. The platform for Arrandale is called Calpella. Notably, Arrandale is the first mobile processor from Intel to come with integrated graphics processor built-in. As Arrandale represents the next generation mobile processor from Intel, Apple is expected to adopt it in its MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and iMacs in late 2009/early 2010.
According to Fudzilla, Intel has been "very quiet" about the performance of Arrandale's graphics core, but is telling partners that it "should end up faster" than the existing platforms. Exactly how fast that is remains up for debate. While they may be faster than Intel's previous offerings, Apple has since moved on to NVIDIA-based chipsets which offer much faster graphics performance. The news of Intel's plans, however, have taken on more importance, as it's unclear if NVIDIA will be able to offer its own chipset designs to support the Arrandale processors due to an ongoing licensing disagreement.
Apple, of course, is free to add-on discrete graphics cards to its designs, though this is typically reserved for its high-end models due to the additional cost. Meanwhile, Intel is prepping a separate project (Larrabee) that promises to boost graphics performance dramatically and is slated for launch in 2009. Apple is said to be planning on utilizing Larrabee in the future, but in exactly what combination of hardware remains unknown.
MacRumors readers "waiting for Arrandale" have been organizing in this thread.