NVIDIA Issues Leading Apple to Pursue Integrated Intel Graphics for Mid-Range Notebooks?

nvidia logoFollowing reports from late last year indicating that Apple would be switching back to NVIDIA for graphics chips in its next MacBook Pro update, SemiAccurate now reports that NVIDIA's issues with GPU production are apparently leading Apple to rely more heavily on Intel's integrated graphics.

Apple has reportedly been ordering beefed-up integrated graphics from Intel on its Ivy Bridge platform, a development the report claims would be pointless if the chipsets were to be paired with discrete graphics chips from NVIDIA.

Apple upped their SKUs from parts bearing awful Intel GPUs to variants with more of those awful shaders. Since those Ivy Bridge CPUs are going in to laptops that have a GPU, upping the shader count from 6 to 16 should be a waste, they will never be turned on.

If they are going to be turned on, that would mean that the discrete GPU in those machines is either going to be much higher spec’d, or it won’t be there.

With NVIDIA struggling to produce even lower-end Kepler graphics chips, the report suggests that the latter option is more likely and expects that Apple may be bumping integrated-only graphics into the mid-range of its notebook lines. Integrated-only graphics have typically been reserved for Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro form factor, which lacks the space necessary to also house a dedicated graphics chip.

Our analysis indicates that the lower end MacBooks will simply do without a GPU, the higher end parts will remain unchanged, and the middle ground will have some models with and some without a GPU instead of almost all with a discrete Nvidia GPU. Those without will make a much larger portion of the mix than they would have at this time last month, if there were any at all.

One other factor that may also be at play is rumors of a significant redesign of the MacBook Pro to yield a form factor more in line with that of the popular MacBook Air. A slimming down of the chassis may see Apple seeking to reduce size and power consumption in certain areas, requirements that may result in the company bringing lower-powered CPU and graphics options to its mid-range machines than might have otherwise been seen.

Top Rated Comments

NutsNGum Avatar
116 months ago


Edit: And I don't even want to hear the "I don't play games I am a media artist" pitch either because I work with heavy editing of extremely large photographs frequently in pixelmator


Wow, you're a real pro, bro.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NutsNGum Avatar
116 months ago
Bad news.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arkmannj Avatar
116 months ago

What's the big deal? Even the 3000 is excellent for a laptop part. Yes I know there are faster out there, and if you want that you can go buy an Alienware laptop. Right now I'm playing Path of Exile, Diablo 3, Dragon Age 1/2, DDO, and lots of low horsepower adventure games at wonderful smooth framerates @ 1440x900 on my MBA 2011 i5 1.6ghz with the 3000. Sorry but I just do not see why everyone complains about the new Intel GPUs as being awful because in fact they are not.

Edit: And I don't even want to hear the "I don't play games I am a media artist" pitch either because I work with heavy editing of extremely large photographs frequently in pixelmator


I pay a premium price for a Mac, I want it to be a premium product, even if Intel's graphics are "good enough" for now, they won't have the longevity in the future, and many of us don't want to have to replace our laptop every year (or even two years) becasue Apple didn't put in hardware that was adaquit for several years. We have incvreasingly put more off onto the GPU (with CLI, CUDA, etc...) so I think it's fair to expect every bit out of the GPU that we can get. Not to mention that many people are used to havign a laptop that switches between multiple GPU's depending on the work load needed, etc...

Now if Apple wants to drop the price of the laptops, and remove the "pro" from the name, I guess we can start talking about having just Intel integrated graphics.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Small White Car Avatar
116 months ago
All I know about graphics cards is that every mac graphic card, ever, has sucked according to everyone. Also, I've been happy with every Mac I've owned.

I assume this is just more of the same?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Peace Avatar
116 months ago
I think there is more politics at play here than graphics problems.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lukarak Avatar
116 months ago
This has been done before. MBP 15'' was available with the 9400m. It's not that much of a shock.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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