Intel Chipsets To Stay, Larrabee GPU In Apple's Future?

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Arstechnica is refuting recent claims that Apple may be considering dropping Intel chipsets for those made by competitors AMD or VIA or perhaps their own custom chipset.

    In a mix of speculation and rumor, Ars believes that Apple will stick with Intel chipsets due to upcoming Intel-unique technologies such as Nehalem and its upcoming QuickPath interconnect and Larrabee, a forthcoming multi-core GPU from Intel.

    Not much has been officially revealed about Larrabee, however various leaks documented on Wikipedia have suggested that the GPU would be a competitor to NVidia and AMD/ATI's general purpose GPU (GPGPU) offerings. The chip could see a Summer 2009 release in 24 and 32 core varieties with performance perhaps reaching up to 2 teraflops.

    Reminder: Chipsets are the chips that accompany a CPU. Apple could stop using Intel chipsets but still use Intel CPUs

    Article Link
  2. iCries macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2008
    Larrabee is one year away, so the the next models might still use nvidia chips or they might go with centrino 2 as earlier speculated.
  3. Rocketman macrumors 603


    The discrepency is obvious.

    Apple intends to use Intel CPUs and chipsets in desktops and laptops.

    Apple intends to use costom chipsets in embedded devices such as iPods, iPhones and set-top boxen.

    I want an iPhone NOT nano! I need 2-5x battery life and I can stand more size and thickness. I am an old, fat, blind, white guy. Okay color doesn't matter. :)

    I used to carry a BRICK called an analog cellular telephone! I could use less of a size downgrade!

  4. noodle654 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2005
    Never Ender
    I think Apple will continue the use of nVidia chips until this Larrabee GPU. There is no need to go to ATI for a revision.
  5. ZeelessOne macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2008
    There's been speculation that early Larabees will be strictly GPUs and GPGPUs, but that it will eventuall replace the CPU, giving you a CPU and a GPU on the same die.

    Apple seems interested in GPGPUs with OpenCL. Maybe Macs will be the perfect platform for Larrabee to take over the CPU.
  6. Glassman macrumors member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Too early for Larabee, however when ready one year from now (hopefuly), it'll make hell of a lot of sense and as a previous poster suggested, Macs are a perfect venue to roll out such a dramaticaly new model of computing. Both Intel and Apple knows full well they are going for it - when ready.

    nVidia chipset makes sense for the moment, replacing two-chip chipset with a single-chip solution of similar qualities but with far better integrated graphics (and hence GPGPU capabilities) not only saves space and allows for further shrinking of form factor, but is also a natural progression towards single chip chipsets as Intel will be rolling out new processor architecture with integrated memory and PCI-E controller (the bulk of north bridge's taks in a two chip chipsets) and I bet Intel itself is going single-chip with the debut of Nehalem.

    Generally I'm really looking forward for the upcoming refresh :apple:
  7. macduke macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
  8. mccoma macrumors regular

    Jul 15, 2002

    well, if you believe wikipedia (or its sources), it says Larrabee will be mounted in a 49.5mm×49.5mm package, will be available on a PCI Express 2.0 card, and will have a TDP greater than 150W or further down in the more recent information section Fudzilla has posted several short articles about Larrabee, claiming that Larrabee may have a TDP as large as 300W. :eek:

    This isn't exactly a chip to put in a portable in its current, rumored form.
  9. winterspan macrumors 65816

    Jun 12, 2007
    I think perhaps BOTH RUMORS are correct. Until just recently, Intel was the only one making motherboards/chipsets for their mobile CPUs. Then during the 1st quarter of this year, info was released that NVIDIA was planning on finally competing with the Centrino platform with their own mobile chipsets for Core 2, but they were being secretive and never really showed off a roadmap which was strange. So when I heard the Apple rumor, it totally clicked. I think this is going to turn out to be true.

    And how do you reconcile this new rumor saying Apple will continue to use Intel chipsets and eventually Larabee? Well, AFAIK, Larabee is going to be desktop only first since it will consume so much power. Perhaps Intel is going to continue using Intel Chipsets for the Mac Pro (and possibly the iMac if they start using desktop components) and other potential/future desktop models.

    Or perhaps this nVidia switch is going to be a temporary solution until Apple can test out Larabee and new Intel chipsets, and use it as a negotiating tactic in teh future with Intel.

    Either way, the advantages for going with NVIDIA mobile chipsets are pretty clear as Intel's mobile chipsets aren't exactly the most power efficient in the world and have long been known for poor integrated graphics. The latter is becoming more important with the future release of GPGPU-capable Snow leopard, not to mention increasing competition with other laptop manufacturers, and the fact that Apple's customer base is growing and diversifying. Another potential benefit to having NVIDIA integrated graphics would be their HybridPower technology, where a Macbook Pro could have BOTH a high performance discrete graphics card and power efficient integrated graphics, and switch between them as desired. So you can get great gaming/3D performance when you need it, and enjoy long battery life and cool operation when you don't!
  10. t0mat0 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2006
    I'm interested in the rumours going round that Nvidia has been awful quiet lately and that reeks of Apple involvement. If Intel can deliver, they'd certainly have potential with Larrabee.

    From a previous Snow Leopard angle on Larrabee here - using DailyTech source from here

    - marks an intention for Intel to get into the graphics market in 2009.
    - An integrated graphics platform that can natively execute CPU x86 code. i.e. when not rendering 3-D graphics, it can donate processing cores for general CPU work
    - not a GPU, but a multi-core die capable of any stream processing task.
    - 2006 schematics indicate 16 cores, with Larrabee apparently scalable to >1,000 cores, sharing much of the same research as Intel's Tera-scale project (which has so far developed the Teraflops Research Chip, an 80 core processor prototype).
    - Larrabee will support OpenGL, DirectX & ray-tracing instructions.
    - Larrabee samples will be ready Q4 2008, shipments in 2009, with initial launch apparently only for "discrete computing".

    Seeing as IDF is coming up, Apple may well give some more info out on Snow Leopard by MWSF to get developers ready for coding prior to Snow Leopard launch, so programs will be Grand Central enabled at launch ~WWDC 2009.
  11. Digitalclips macrumors 65816

    Mar 16, 2006
    Sarasota, Florida
    You make some good points. This just out on AppleInsider may also give a clue:
    "As expected, Apple on Thursday afternoon provided developers with the first pre-release builds of Mac OS X 10.5.5, but warned developers not to use the software with Macs that contain integrated graphics chips." :Appleinsider.
  12. Jenius macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2007
    Hong Kong
  13. iMacmatician macrumors 601

    Jul 20, 2008
    Apple could use NVIDIA chipsets in the upcoming notebook revision and jump to Nehalem the following year.

    Mobile Nehalem doesn't use Quick Path.

    I've been wanting that for quite a while.

    2010 Consumer Macs: Westmere / Sandy Bridge (2~4 cores, 50~100 GFLOPS DP).
    2010 Mac Pro: 2x Larrabee (32 cores, ~2 TFLOPS DP). I'm assuming pro apps are much more parallelizable than consumer tasks.
    2010 MacBook Pro: Special cut-down low-GHz version of Larrabee? 16 cores would halve the TDP, and a 1 GHz clock speed (from 2.5 GHz) would really cut down the TDP while still delivering up to 256 DP GFLOPS.

    So these Macs will be released before 10.5.5? And, will the Mac mini FINALLY be updated? :eek::rolleyes: Probably means that the integrated graphics drivers are being updated/rewritten.

  14. hbt15 macrumors member

    Dec 6, 2007

    I think my MBP and my iMac are going to work just as well and be just as powerful (or by then even more so) regardless of what is in them so i don't really give a toss.

    It's a non-issue as far as i'm concerned.
  15. GotPro macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2007
    From Wikipedia:

    Larrabee will probably be available in a server-oriented version which will sit directly in motherboard sockets using Intel's QuickPath interconnect, competitor to AMD's HyperTransport; this may open the possibility of creating a Larrabee-only computer without a companion traditional x86 processor such as the Core 2 Duo.[12]
  16. iMacmatician macrumors 601

    Jul 20, 2008
    And I would assume that a Larrabee-as-CPU computer would not need separate GPUs. So one chip would be able to work 99% CPU and 1% GPU in CPU-intensive tasks, and 1% CPU and 99% GPU in GPU-intensive tasks. So unlike current Macs, where the GPUs mainly stay idle in pro apps, Larrabee Macs could use all their silicon for the task at hand.
  17. SimonTheSoundMa macrumors 6502a

    Aug 6, 2006
    Birmingham, UK
    *sigh*. Wikipedia as a credible source? Please don't, Mac Rumours.
  18. iMacmatician macrumors 601

    Jul 20, 2008
    Learn to check sources

    And Beyond3D isn't?

    Wikipedia's source for that quote.
  19. ZeelessOne macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2008
    The whole thing where Apple is warning people not to put 10.5.5 on the IGP Macs tells me it's not priority right now. I don't know how Apple's development cycle goes (does anyone), but I'd assume their under-development Macs would be running under-development versions of OS X. If 10.5.5 doesn't work on Intel graphics yet, I'm guessing the upcoming Macs won't use Intel graphics. I know 10.5.5 will have to eventually have Intel graphics support, but since it doesn't have it yet...

    My logic could totally be backwards though.
  20. iMacmatician macrumors 601

    Jul 20, 2008
    I was thinking that they don't have IGP support because they are working on X4500 drivers. I'm not totally sure on that either.
  21. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2007

    Anandtech preview of Larrabee

    But it looks like its still at least a year away, and will be desktop only at first, so it looks like Larrabee for mobile is at least a year away. So the rumor that they might adopt Nvidia first then go elsewhere / incorporate Larrabee is certainly possible

    With OpenCL and the DX11 GPGPU API, it looks like GPGPU programming may soon begin to replace CPU work. Larrabee seems to suggest that Intel acknowledges that in-order highly specialized calculatins are best done on GPGPU's, but take it one step further by incorproating x86 processes in there.

    Certainly AMD-ATI won't be in trouble as they have x86 license and lots of GPU know how, what will be interesting to see is how Nvidia copes
  22. twoodcc macrumors P6


    Feb 3, 2005
    Right side of wrong
    so they are changing their mind about apple dropping intel for this? wow. i do think Apple will use this new technology though
  23. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Since the mobile Nehalems do not use QuickPath, if nVidia lacks a QuickPath license (and there is some confusion as to whether or not they do, as neither Intel nor nVidia have formally confirmed it) they could still build a DMI-based systemboard for the mobile Nehalems (as well as Lynnfield desktop CPU).

    So it is possible for Apple to transition all models but the Mac Pro to nVidia to support both Penryn and mobile Nehalem, leaving the Intel chipset to support Nehalem on the Mac Pro.
  24. Duujo macrumors newbie

    Apr 20, 2005
    We did a skit at flop ya mac out that re-enacts how the heart breaking conversation between the Macs and the old chipsets might have gone down, here... (NSFW!) Enjoy. :)

Share This Page