NVIDIA may have proclaimed its love of Apple, but Cupertino is rumored to be preparing to dump it.  (Source: Engadget)

Apple is rumored to be reuniting with Intel for its latest graphics hook up.  (Source: Engadget)
And to think that just a few months ago NVIDIA's CEO said he loved Apple computers...

The relationship between Apple's notebooks division and Intel's graphics division is looking more and more like a bad soap opera.  Many following the story will recall that Apple in 2008 its decision to dump Intel's integrated graphics processors for the more attractive NVIDIA graphics.  Now the tables have turned, with sources indicating that Apple notebooks and NVIDIA are “on a break”.  

Reportedly, Apple will be saddling back up with Intel iGPUs for the next generation of MacBooks, and it will also be getting some action on the side from AMD for its pricier MacBook Pros.  That must be pretty painful for NVIDIA, considering its CEO recently proclaimed his love of Apple.

The new MacBook models will reportedly feature Intel's Sandy Bridge, the company's first notebook-aimed system-on-a-chip, which features an iGPU clocked at between 650 MHz to 850 MHz, with higher clock speeds available via turbo-boost.  The MacBook Pros will reported get one of the Radeon 63xx/65xx HD discrete GPUs that were launched late last month.

One key reason why Apple may be kicking NVIDIA to the curb is Intel's promise to change.  More precisely, Intel has pledged to push OpenCL -- a GPU computing language -- out for Sandy Bridge in the near future.  Apple's Snow Leopard's performance is boosted by OpenCL, so many had thought NVIDIA -- long the only producer of OpenCL products -- was a lock for future Mac notebooks.

Another reason may be economics.  
AnandTech chief Anand Shimpi is quoted in CNET as stating, "I'd say...we can expect (about) 2x the performance of [Sandy Bridge's] graphics. At that level of performance, I don't see a need for discrete [standalone Nvidia or Advanced Micro Devices] graphics at the very low end."

NVIDIA presumably will still have a place in Apple's desktops, though.

If true, the transition would mark the latest chapter in Intel's long and volatile history with Apple in which rival suitors oft played a part.  While Apple long tried to resist Intel's CPUs, it found itself irresistibly attracted to the company's superior performance and the pair hooked up for the first time back in 2005.  Now with Intel reportedly preparing to give Apple love on both the CPU and graphics front, the pair look to be more committed than ever before.

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