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Intel says it will work hard to get the business back

Yesterday, Apple refreshed its MacBook line of notebook computers. As was widely rumored, Apple announced a new graphics provider to replace the Intel integrated graphics that was used on the previous MacBook.

NVIDIA replaced Intel as the graphics supplier with the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M sporting 256MB of RAM shared with main system memory. Steve Jobs himself says that the new NVIDIA GPUs deliver five times the graphics power that the notoriously underpowered Intel X3100 integrated graphics system in previous generation MacBooks could muster.

Despite Intel being replaced in the MacBook by NVIDIA graphics, Intel maintains that it's not out of the Apple fold altogether. CNET News quotes an Intel spokesperson saying, "Intel continues to have a strong relationship with Apple. Graphics is a competitive market and we compete for all new business. Intel's technology is integrated throughout Apple's product line but we didn't win this particular design."

Intel may have been replaced by NVIDIA for graphics, but Intel still provides the processors for MacBook systems. Apple has picked the 45nm SSF Penryn processor for the MacBook Air to replace the 65nm SFF Merom used previously. The new processors will boost performance in part by adding cache memory. The 45nm Penryn CPUs have 3MB or 6MB of cache.

Among the new systems introduced yesterday was a new aluminum clad MacBook. In addition to getting the new NVIDIA GPU, the notebook also received a storage bump to 120GB and a Mini DisplayPort connector. The old MacBook is still being offered at a price reduced to $999. Apple has also provided more details on its Brick manufacturing process.

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By psychobriggsy on 10/15/2008 1:56:07 PM , Rating: 2
Well it doesn't require a reboot, just a log-in/out, but it is a problem at the moment that Apple will have to spend some time fixing, as this method is way too clunky right now. I can't see people starting up, getting things ready, and then remembering they forgot to change to the decent GPU... hassle++

Where's the Hybrid SLI though? Surely that would be the better option here?

By Flunk on 10/15/2008 1:58:28 PM , Rating: 2
Hybrid SLI is taking advantage of Vista video driver features. It would take some work on the OS X side to implement it on their OS. Although it would be nice if they did.

By Magnus Dredd on 10/15/2008 2:34:09 PM , Rating: 2
I do know enough about the current driver model to know that CPU vs. Video Rendering is switchable on the fly...

OpenGL rendering is also switchable on the fly:

I'm pretty sure that the OpenGL renderer supports SMP on CPUs. I don't know that it supports SMP on Video cards (which is basically what SLI is) or scaling across multiple types of hardware at the same time and I'm pretty sure it doesn't. Mixing CPU and GPU rendering would be hard. Scaling across multiple GPUs when you've already basically figured the logic out with CPUs, not as hard.

I'd wonder if there are cases where Hybrid SLI is slower (easpecially in CPU intensive games/tasks) because of memory contention.

Also in a laptop you'd have to plan on dealing with the extra heat of both video cards (more airflow, larger case), as well as the battery life would go down quite a bit.

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