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Apple on board as AMD Fusion partner?

by Pete Mason on 10 November 2010, 17:20

Tags: AMD (NYSE:AMD), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qa2zl

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When Apple decided to drop NVIDIA from its line-up of Mac desktops a few months ago, there was a certain amount of murmuring that the company could soon ditch Intel in favour of AMD's Fusion platform. While we won't know for sure until we hear it from the mouth of Steve Jobs, a brief slide slipped into an Analyst Day presentation has suddenly ignited this particular rumour all over again.

AMD CFO Emilio Ghilardi took to the stage and gave attendees a brief look at the range of products that partners would be bringing to the market. Tucked in among the likes of Sony and Lenovo was a slide proudly displaying a pair of iMacs alongside a Mac Pro desktop. Ghilardi didn't take the time to give any details, but did preface the presentation by saying that we should expect "products that you have never seen before from AMD".

Of course, the current generation Apple desktops are already using AMD video-cards, and it's entirely possible that the slides were referring to that.

On the other hand, the focus of the entire day was the upcoming Fusion platform, and the pairing would seem to make sense for the Mac-maker. The company has repeatedly decried Intel's underwhelming integrated GPUs and refuses to ship a system without some sort of discrete graphics chip.

But the fact that NVIDIA doesn't have a QPI license has been a minor headache for Apple, forcing it to use discrete GPUs instead of more efficient chipests with integrated graphics. It's believed that this is why the smaller MacBooks and the MacBook Airs still use the older Core 2 CPUs paired with an NVIDIA chipset. However, the new APUs would give the graphics performance that Jobs demands while still keeping power usage and battery-life in check.

It's obviously impossible to tell if AMD and Apple have any surprises in store just yet, but at this point we wouldn't be surprised to hear of a growing relationship between the two companies in the future.



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