Mac to the future: How CPUs and GPUs will change Apple’s venerable Mac

Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac “For the past few years, predicting the CPUs that Apple would put inside its Macs has been relatively easy. Ever since Apple made the move to Intel’s x86 processors, the Mac road map mirrored Intel’s road map: Intel would release a new CPU, and a few months later Apple would release a new Mac,” AnandTech’s Anand Lal Shimpi writes for Macworld. “It was like clockwork, and it removed some of the surprise from Apple’s otherwise difficult-to-predict product-release cadence.”

Lal Shimpi writes, “But over the past year, Apple effectively smashed that clock. It all started with the MacBook Pros released in April 2010… The 13-inch MacBook Pro (), however, stuck with the older Core 2 Duo CPU. The simple decision to stick with the Core 2 Duo indicated two things: first, that the Apple–Intel relationship might not be as cozy as it once was; and, second, that Apple really likes graphics processing units (GPUs). Those two points will drive much of Apple’s hardware decision-making over the next two years.”

Read more in the full article here.

11 Comments

  1. Apple will continue with Intel for the foreseeable future. Intel offers the best and that’s what Apple always goes with.

    @Practicalist,

    Speak for yourself. The new generation of integrated graphics is where it’s at. You simply can’t get the performance and efficiency combination unless you integrate and Sandy Bridge will offer far more performance than most people need (and what would balance out a Mac). Ivy Bridge offers a nice roadmap beyond that.

    But it gets better…combine the integrated graphics with a dedicated graphics chip and you have both maximum horsepower and efficiency, especially when hot-swapping is an option.

    The alternative to integrated graphics is having an always on dedicated graphics processor sucking your power down full time.

  2. “The new generation of integrated graphics is where it’s at.”

    Intel plus integrated equals “suck” and I’m not talking power usage. Nvidia’s motherboard and chipset with Intel’s CPU was the apex of design. A capable integrated chip which could deliver graphics performance PLUS OpenCL compatibility.

    You can bet that Apple is plotting a move away from Intel if ONLY to be able to offer a small form factor with only one GPU that’s actually useful.

  3. For mobile applications (devices) integrated graphics is probably the way to go – for desktop applications, like a Mac Pro or iMac, heat and power are less of a concern, and far easier to manage – and dedicated graphics makes sense.

    As usual… Apple is leading the charge ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  4. @Practicalist

    Ditto on that. If intel doesnt stop trying to hold back progress just so they can maintain their processor monopoly, everyone is going to move to a better platform and start using more powerful GPU’s. I know there are advantages to integrated GPU’s but the benefits of more powerful dedicated graphics far outweigh that… and Apple’s solution (instantaneous switching) takes the best of both worlds, but it would be nice if intel just played nice.

  5. Intel’s GPU tech is far behind everyone else, even including the iPhone Imagination Technologies chips. Often the difference is an order of magnitude or more.

    MW: perform…. how appropriate

  6. “The simple decision to stick with the Core 2 Duo indicated two things: first, that the Apple–Intel relationship might not be as cozy as it once was…”

    Actually, it was an indicator of the lawsuit between Intel and Nvidia. I don’t know why tech publications don’t know or mention this.

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