Apple's next MacBooks will incorporate Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge Atom processors, according to a new online report.
Apple will use Intel's Sandy Bridge processors in its new
MacBooks, replacing the current models' Nvidia GPUs, according to one online
"MacBook models with screen sizes of 13 inches and below are
expected to switch to Sandy Bridge-only graphics," reads the Dec. 9
posting on CNET
, which cites unnamed industry sources apparently familiar
with Apple's roadmap, "while higher-end MacBook Pros are expected to use
graphics from Advanced Micro Devices." The presence of Nvidia in those
higher-end MacBooks is "unclear."
Sandy Bridge is Intel's attempt to integrate a number of
nominally separate processor features, including graphics and management, onto
a 32-nanometer chip. "Basically, we are very much putting together all that is
required on a single piece of silicon," David Perlmutter, executive vice
president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, explained
Intel's Turbo Boost technology, which increases power in
individual cores based on workload demand, will allow Sandy Bridge to increase
core power beyond thermal limits. And with its $7.68 billion acquisition of
security IT provider McAfee earlier this year, Intel will almost certainly
integrate increased security features into its upcoming offerings.
CEO Paul Otellini has spent the past several months trumpeting Sandy Bridge's
, even suggesting during an October earnings call that the
processor represents "the largest increase in computing performance in our
Intel is also prepping an "Oak Trail" Atom microprocessor
aimed at tablets and other form-factors. The general expectation is that, once
that chip is released in 2011, companies like Microsoft will use it to
aggressively push into the tablet space. "Oak Trail is designed to be lower
power," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told analysts during this summer's
Financial Analyst Meeting. "Lower power is good in a lot of ways. It leads to
longer battery life, no fan, lower kind of noise levels, a lot less weight-a
lot of things people like."
For its part, Apple
engages a number of processor options for its products
. The company's
bestselling iPad runs on the proprietary A4 microprocessor, which research firm
iSuppli once suggested allows "the design of a system with a minimal space and
cost dedicated to core electronics."
Intel competitor AMD is prepping Fusion APUs (Accelerated
Processing Units) under the code-names Llano and Ontario, due out in the
first half of 2011, which will also consolidate computing and graphics
technologies onto a single die.