Apple Shifting to Intel Graphics for Future MacBooks and 13-Inch MacBook Pros?

101949 sandy bridge

Over the last few months, Apple has taken some heat for its decision to continue utilizing Intel's Core 2 Duo processors in its smaller notebook models, including the 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook and new MacBook Air, while the larger MacBook Pro models have incorporated more powerful Core i5 and i7 processors. Rather than it being a cost-saving move or an intentional crippling of the cheaper machines, however, the decision is related to a dispute between Intel and NVIDIA that has prevented NVIDIA from offering integrated graphics packages for Intel's Arrandale processors.

Given that design constraints inherent in the smaller notebook sizes prevented Apple from offering discrete graphics packages to pair with Intel's i-series processors, the company was left with deciding between using Intel's inferior "HD" integrated graphics with the latest i-series processors or sticking with the Core 2 Duo processors for which NVIDIA could provide its own integrated graphics solution. Apple ultimately decided that "killer graphics" would address the biggest performance bottleneck and thus opted to pair the Core 2 Duo with a custom-built GeForce 320M graphics package from NVIDIA in its smaller notebooks.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Intel and NVIDIA have settled their dispute, and while the details of the settlement have not been made public, many observers have hoped that it could allow Apple to use a package of Intel's latest processors with NVIDIA integrated graphics for better performance.

But a new report from CNET claims that Apple, impressed by Intel's forthcoming Sandy Bridge processors that will offer enhanced integrated graphics capabilities, has already decided to adopt the all-Intel solution for its smaller notebooks, squeezing out NVIDIA.

Intel's newest processor, to be formally announced January 5 at the Consumer Electronics Show, will find its way into new MacBooks that will supersede current models, according to industry sources familiar with Apple's plans. Current MacBooks use Nvidia graphics chips along with Intel Core i series and Core 2 Duo processors. But due to the enhanced graphics capabilities of Sandy Bridge, Apple--at least for now--has determined that it will not continue using Nvidia's graphics processing units (GPUs) in some models.

According to the report, Apple is even shifting at least partially away from NVIDIA in its larger MacBook Pros, opting to include graphics solutions from AMD in those models. It is unclear, however, whether NVIDIA options might still be available on those machines.

One question that has remained about Apple's potential adoption of Sandy Bridge is whether Intel will offer support for Apple's OpenCL specification that greatly enhances system performance in some cases by offloading tasks from the processor to the graphics hardware. While NVIDIA has supported OpenCL for some time, Intel is only just now stepping up with support for the framework on the CPU side, and CNET's sources indicate that the company is in fact also working on OpenCL for Sandy Bridge's graphics component. Should Intel be able to offer full OpenCL compatibility on Sandy Bridge, it appears that Apple stands to see significant benefits from full adoption of the platform in its notebooks.

Top Stories

apple california streaming event

Apple Event Announced: 'California Streaming' on September 14 With iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7 Expected

Tuesday September 7, 2021 9:03 am PDT by
Apple today announced that it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. The event will take place at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with WWDC and last year's fall events, this new event will be held digitally with no members of the media invited to attend in person. Apple will likely provide pre-taped segments for...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived in October 2020 in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
maroon5memories

Apple Collaborates With Maroon 5 to Add 'Memories' Song to Photos App

Wednesday September 25, 2019 12:02 pm PDT by
Apple has teamed up with Maroon 5 to add the group's new song "Memories" to the Memories feature in the Photos app, allowing it to be used for photo slide show creations, reports Billboard. "Memories" will be available as a soundtrack option for a limited time and it is available to iPhone and iPad users running the latest iOS 13 and iPadOS software. Memories in the Photos app are created ...
affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
Top Stories 75 Thumbnail

Top Stories: Last-Minute iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Announces App Store Changes, and More

Saturday September 4, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The finish line is in sight! Apple's annual iPhone event is likely just a week or so away and all eyes will be on the company as it unveils the next version of its most popular product line. With any luck, we'll also see the next-generation Apple Watch and perhaps even some new AirPods. Other news this week saw Apple making some more changes to its App Store policies in response to a...
Top Stories 74 Thumbnail

Top Stories: iPhone 13 Nears Launch, Larger Apple Watch?, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini Rumors

Saturday August 28, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
August is rapidly drawing to close, which means Apple's annual iPhone launch event is right around the corner. iPhone 13 and Apple Watch Series 7 rumors are continuing to circulate, and we're also hearing about Mac updates likely coming a bit later. Apple is also finishing up work on its upcoming software updates like iOS 15, with some late-addition features starting to go live in beta while ...
iPhone 13 Wi Fi 6E feature update

Wi-Fi 6E Explained: What It Could Mean for iPhone 13 and Beyond

Monday August 2, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 is widely expected to come with Wi-Fi 6E capabilities, and while it may seem rather nuanced to the average consumer, with only improved speeds and being "up to date" in the realm of Wi-Fi technology, it's actually a fairly significant improvement, laying the groundwork for much of what we know the future holds. To truly understand Wi-Fi 6E, MacRumors sat down for an exclusive...