• Apple to Shun Arrandale, Report Says

    According to a report from Bright Side of News, "sources close to the heart of the matter" say that Apple isn't interested in Intel's mobile Core i5 and Core i7 line, slated for release in January. It seemed ideal for Apple's MacBook, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini, but the report suggests that whatever chip these systems end up with won't use Intel's integrated graphics. The Bright Side of News report further floats the possibility that Apple will ask the chipmaker to roll out a special version of its chipset without a graphics processing unit.

    The Calpella platform - the sixth-gen Centrino that combines a 45nm integrated graphics processor with the 32nm Arrandale - is a system-on-a-chip that combines a memory controller, integrated graphics, DMI links and a PCI Express controller for external graphics. It's a natural fit for a netbook where space is at a premium, but less crucial for a relatively large computer like a MacBook or mini. Intel's integrated graphics chips have historically not met muster with Apple. The computer maker left out integrated Intel graphics in late 2008 and moved to NVIDIA's GeForce 9400M for their integrated systems, adding on NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT discrete GPU cards on some models.

    BSN asserts that they "only know that Apple rejected Arrandale," not what they will do for an alternative. However, they do present justification for their opinion that Apple is asking Intel to build an Apple-only Arrandale without the integrated GPU. The report recalls that Intel provided the downsized Intel Core 2 Duo "Merom" processor for the MacBook Air before any other manufacturer got it. However this was a special arrangement rather than a "built-to-suit" deal.

    At the same time, NVIDIA and Intel are involved in a legal dispute over NVIDIA's right to produce platform chipsets for upcoming Intel processors. Intel claims that NVIDIA's license, in force for four years at the time of the disagreement, didn't cover Intel's Nehalem and Core processors. NVIDIA disagreed, but said in October they were "postponing future chipset investments" until the legal battle is settled, which should happen at some point in the next year.

    Without the licensing issue clear, NVIDIA wouldn't have the rights to make integrated graphics for future Intel CPUs like Arrandale or any successors. And without that, if Apple continues to shun Intel graphics processors, the computer maker might have to leave integrated graphics off its entire line, leaving low-end systems like the popular MacBook without any GPU at all. Given that Apple has made GPU processing with OpenCL a key part of Snow Leopard's technology enhancement, this outcome seems unlikely.

    Neither Apple nor Intel would comment on the report.

    image via Cult of Mac
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