Apple Switching Back to NVIDIA Graphics for Upcoming Mac Pro Update?

mac pro 2010 side top halfM.I.C gadget reports that it has received information from sources indicating that Apple is "close to finally updating" its aging Mac Pro line. As we detailed in a report last month, the window for a potential Mac Pro update is approaching as Intel prepares to launch its Sandy Bridge E Xeon processors and AMD is pushing out its new "Tahiti" family of graphics cards.

But M.I.C gadget reports that Apple may be planning to switch back to NVIDIA for its stock graphics options in the next Mac Pro instead of sticking AMD as on the current models. The move, which would line up with a rumored similar shift for the MacBook Pro, could open the door to improved performance on a number of applications such as those from Adobe that embrace NVIDIA's CUDA architecture.

Nvidia has their “Kepler” platform due out around the same time as Intel is making their changes, and our sources within the company indicate that they have chosen to have Nvidia lead the charge so to speak on the graphics front. This is good for all our compatriots who want to use the special graphics engine in Adobe products, as it supports Nvidia only, or for those who wish to do CUDA based programs as well, again only supported by Nvidia.

The report cites "rumblings" that Apple may be targeting a Mac Pro update "near the end of quarter three", although that timeframe may be subject to change. The report's definition of "end of quarter three" is a bit unclear, as that would equate to September as measured by calendar quarters or June as measured by Apple's fiscal calendar. But with Intel pushing out Sandy Bridge E chips in "spring" and NVIDIA reportedly launching Kepler in April, Apple would likely be able to follow fairly closely on the heels of those releases with a Mac Pro update if it elects to do so.

But curiously, the report also claims that Apple will be looking to jump directly to Ivy Bridge, Intel's successor processor family to Sandy Bridge, for the revised Mac Pro. Intel's Sandy Bridge E processors have seen significant delays but are now close to shipping, and it is unclear how Apple's Mac Pro plans would line up with any Ivy Bridge server chip plans from Intel.

Unfortunately, M.I.C gadget does not have a terribly accurate record on hardware rumors, particularly on the Mac Pro front where last year the site was one of those sources claiming that Apple would issue a mid-year Mac Pro update using a custom processor from Intel. So while a switch to NVIDIA for graphics cards in the next Mac Pro may make sense given the timeline for availability on NVIDIA's Kepler lineup, we hesitate to place too much faith in this report's claims for the time being.

Related Roundup: Mac Pro
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Neutral)
Related Forum: Mac Pro

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Top Rated Comments

jayhawk11 Avatar
160 months ago
Why did this article even get attention? It should have immediately been thrown in the trash can when M.I.C. said the the Mac Pro is getting an Ivy Bridge processor :rolleyes:
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
toddybody Avatar
160 months ago
Mac Pro with Dual GTX 680's.


Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bear Avatar
160 months ago
AMD is starting to get their compute deficiency in order with Tahiti. CUDA is more mature, but it would be an odd time to switch.
Or Apple could offer the option of 1 or 2 video cards from each manufacturer. They have done that in the past.

Sorting truth from rumor is much more difficult than sorting wheat from chaff a lot of the time.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
laurim Avatar
160 months ago
I don't think consumers need Mac Pros anymore. The Mac Mini Server is more than adequate for consumers of high-end products in the Apple echosystem. And the Mac Mini Server I don't think it needs as much space as a Mac Pro.
When you've tried to create a complex 1920x1080 motion graphic with several particle emitters on a mini, let me know how I don't need a Mac Pro. I have a 2008 octo core and I can barely start building a good animation before I lose the ability to view it realtime as I work. Don't get me started on the rendering time I have to wait in order to see what I've done. And yes, I've done what I can to create the rendering settings that spread the work across all the cores and I have the latest best graphics card and 24 gigs of ram. Can I do all those upgrades on a mini?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Clive At Five Avatar
160 months ago
The reason that gap between the mini and the Mac Pro exists.

"gap?" GAP?? The space between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro is so wide, you could park a small moon in it
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr-Stabby Avatar
160 months ago
I don't think consumers need Mac Pros anymore. The Mac Mini Server is more than adequate for consumers of high-end products in the Apple echosystem. And the Mac Mini Server I don't think it needs as much space as a Mac Pro.
I read this comment as i was just starting an export of an edit i've just done in Final Cut on my Mac Pro. I look at my 12 cores working away at 100% and getting the compression done really quickly, and think 'Why would Apple get rid of this model Mac, and only sell macs with a maximum of 4 cores and lower powered processors?' It would be a massive backward step for them, and for us. If they could make an iMac or a Mac Mini that had 12 cores, and allowed some kind of expandability, then great! With companies bringing out high end Thunderbolt devices which happily replace their PCIe counterparts, a proper 12 core iMac or Mac Mini would probably be a good replacement. But at the moment the Mac Pro is indispensable for me, and others where time literally is money.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)