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Apple Considering Adopting AMD Processors for Upcoming Macs?

AppleInsider reports that Apple and AMD are in "advanced discussions" to bring the chipmaker's processors to upcoming Macs, potentially breaking the exclusive relationship Apple has held with Intel since moving away from PowerPC processors in 2006.

Representatives for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD have recently been seen on Apple's Commuter Coach buses, and executives for the chipmaker have been spotted on their way out of meetings with members of Apple's top brass, according to people familiar with the matter.

The meetings have reportedly included briefings by AMD that have since enabled Apple to begin working with AMD processors in its labs as part of an initiative to position the chips inside some of the company's forthcoming products.

According to the report, Apple is looking at using AMD's chips in its Mac lines, seeking to increase its flexibility for sourcing chips going forward. In particular, recent shortages of new notebook chips from Intel that reportedly led to a delay in the release of new MacBook Pros and licensing issues that have hindered graphics chipmaker NVIDIA's ability to work with Intel's processors have reportedly caused Apple to adopt a growing sense of dissatisfaction with Intel.

AMD's chip offerings are currently considered subpar when compared to those from Intel, but the report suggests that lower pricing and the ability to bundle AMD processors with ATI graphics chips (ATI is owned by AMD) as possible reasons for bringing a switch under consideration. In addition, Apple may have inside knowledge of forthcoming offerings from AMD that could make the chipmaker more competitive with Intel, or AMD might be more willing to offer custom solutions for Apple than Intel currently is. Finally, the report concedes that the talks could simply be a leveraging tool to assist Apple in its dealings with Intel.