Apple does kick Nvidia to the curb

Door meet *ss, like we said

Nvidia world iconAS WE PREDICTED last summer, it looks like Apple has kicked Nvidia to the curb. The new line of iMacs is out, and they all have, wait for it, ATI graphics.

Yes, if you look here, you will see that Lars’ prediction was correct, and there is a new line of iMacs out. All four of them have Intel iSomethingmeaningless CPUs and ATI discrete graphics. This backs up what we were told months ago, Intel GPUs don’t have the horsepower for even mildly strenuous Apple apps. While they may not suck any more, they haven’t gotten close enough to the ‘adequate’ bar for Apple.

Mac Graphics

That is not an Nvidia logo, is it?

The problem was shown very clearly in the current MacBooks, we said the lines would be split months before they came out. The problem? Intel graphics. The bigger metal laptops had Intel’s new Westmere chips, but the GPU was dropped in favor of a discrete GPU. The smaller plastic laptops did not have the physical space for a discrete GPU, so they stuck with the older Intel Penryn chips and an Nvidia chipset because there was no other way to pull it off. From what we hear, Apple was not pleased by this situation.

A bit earlier however, we said that Nvidia was out at Apple. People laughed, and their laughter was testament to their lack of understanding of how product cycles work. Nvidia has utterly failed to deliver what they promised for two generations of chips now, has had multiple generations of GPUs die in the field, and utterly lacks a viable laptop part.

Apple noticed this, and kicked them to the curb. Violently. At this point, Nvidia has to prove that they can deliver, something that even Santa Clara insiders are unsure the company can do, before they will be considered once again. From there, it is 18 months to 2 years, minimum, before you will start seeing Nvidia back in Apple laptops.

Insiders at Apple tell us this process has not begun yet, mainly because Nvidia doesn’t have anything to show. The next part they will consider is the GF119, but Nvidia doesn’t have that on the roadmap yet, and the process it was on was canceled. If you are an Nvidia shareholder, don’t hold your breath. Either way, Nvidia is now in the “prove it first” dungeon at Apple.

In the end, what comes around goes around. Things like this, coupled with Nvidia’s inability to deliver a workable laptop GPU for two years or so meant ATI was the only game in town. From this point, Apple is theirs to lose, but even if the boys in red drop the ball, it will be two more years before we see it bounce. Game over for Nvidia, looks like the door hit them in the head, not the ass, on the way out of Apple.S|A


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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate