AMD Discrete Graphics to Power New High-End Apple MacBook Pros?

While Apple may be dumping NVIDIA’s integrated graphics solution on the low-end 13-inch MacBook Pro in favor of Intel’s integrated GPU option due to regulations that the chip-maker had imposed on hardware-makers hoping to utilize the second-generation Intel Core i Series Sandy Bridge CPU, Apple may also be eschewing NVIDIA’s solutions in its higher-end laptops where dedicated, or discrete, graphics are concerned.

Apple had utilized NVIDIA’s solutions exclusively in the current generation pre-refresh MacBook Pros for dedicated/discrete GPU as well as integrated GPU power, but the Mac-maker may be dumping NVIDIA in favor of rival GPU-maker AMD, which had acquired ATI’s graphics business.

CNET again reports that “AMD ‘discrete’ graphics silicon is now offered in the larger, more powerful MBPs. As in previous MacBook Pros, the discrete graphics chip is only fired up when heavy lifting is needed. When power savings is paramount or high-end graphics processing is not necessary, the system defaults to Intel’s graphics.” The AMD discrete GPU will be found on Apple’s 15- and 17-inch systems, while the lower-end 13-inch notebook will utilize Intel’s integrated GPU solely.

Chatter of the AMD transition was reported late last year by Kevin, but at the time it was believed to be a negotiation ploy by Apple. The news has recently been brought up again by CNET earlier along with the site’s speculations that Apple will standardize its MacBook Pro offerings on Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors.

While Intel is claiming better performance with its integrated GPU solution, there still exists a need for a more powerful professional Mac notebook with discrete graphics. This space, will soon be filled by AMD if CNET’s postulations prove to be correct. As Apple is speculated to be announcing its MacBook Pro refresh today, we’ll have a few more hours to wait and see what the company’s official plans are for the MacBook line as it transitions to Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors.

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