Apple may be switching back to NVIDIA for the upcoming Mac Pro’s primary GPU, according to an anonymous source speaking with MIC Gadget. The new Mac Pros will reportedly feature Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge chipset, which features 22 nanometer transistor technology and is more efficient than the previous Sandy Bridge processors. The site also suggests that the Cupertino-based company has been testing new processors with 8 cores and 20MB of cache. The overheating issues that have plagued previous models have been solved thanks to the 30% increase in heat dissipation efficiency afforded by Intel’s new chips. For graphics in the new Mac Pro, Apple has reportedly chosen NVIDIA’s “Kepler” platform, which is set to be released around the same time as Intel’s new CPUs. Apple is expected to launch its refreshed Mac Pro line in the third quarter this year, MIC Gadget stated. More →
Trial production of Apple’s next-generation A6 mobile processor has begun, Taiwan Economic News reports. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. has kicked off a test run of A6 chipsets — which could be 28-nanometer SoCs that feature dual or quad-cores and ARM-based architecture according to earlier reports — and Apple devices carrying the new chips are expected to be released in the second quarter next year at the earliest, according to multiple anonymous industry sources. Reports dating back to June suggested that Apple dumped Samsung following multiple patent disputes, and the company would instead utilize TSMC for production of its next-generation A6 processor. This new Taiwan Economic News report contradicts earlier rumors, however, which claimed that TSMC had begun its trial run of A6 chips last month. This could be a new test run, or earlier reports could have been misguided, of course. Taiwan-based TSMC is the world’s largest contract microchip manufacturer. More →
Apple’s next-generation iPhone may launch even later than September this year, as has previously been rumored on numerous occasions. Apple has stuck to a summer launch for each new iPhone model released thus far, but the February introduction of Verizon Wireless’ iPhone 4 and the imminent release of the white iPhone 4 do suggest Apple may deviate from its previous schedule. Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo cited supply chain checks in a note to investors on Monday, in which he suggests Apple’s iPhone 5 won’t enter mass production until September. This would make a September release highly unlikely, and would instead mean the new smartphone might launch in October or later. Ming-Chi also reiterates earlier rumors that the iPhone 5 will be an incremental update, and will feature Apple’s new A5 processor, an 8-megapixel camera and a Qualcomm radio like the one found in Verizon Wireless’ iPhone 4. Industry watcher DigiTimes recently issued a report calling any iPhone 5 manufacturing timelines to this point “baseless,” claiming Apple has not yet discussed the device or any production timing with its manufacturing partners.
Is it possible that the Apple iPhone might actually, finally be coming to the nation’s largest carrier? In a research note from Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Jeffrey Fidacara, he claims that his channel checks with Apple’s suppliers indicate that Cupertino’s finest is readying a production run of over 3 million CDMA-flavor iPhone devices in December. If you’re up on your rumors, this would coincide with reports that Apple has ordered CDMA chips from Qualcomm for December production. Lastly, it also links up with rumors that Apple is planning on launching the phone on Verizon Wireless in January, as early as CES’ keynote with Big Red CEO Ivan Seidenberg. Tired of the Verizon iPhone news? It’s only going to get worse once the darned thing is released, unfortunately… Poll below! More →
Whoops. While speaking about the future of its netbook platform, Samsung inadvertently detailed a handful of unannounced ARM mobile chipsets that it plans release over the next three. The chipsets start off with the Taurus (S5PV210), a single core Cortex-A8 CPU that clocks in at 1GHz, and culminate with the heavy hitting Aquila which boasts of a quad-core Cortex-A9 running at 1.2-GHz. According to the roadmap, the rest of the eight chipsets include the following:
- Taurus (S5PV210): Single core Cortex-A8 at 1GHz. Due out in Q3 2010.
- Mercury: Single core Cortex-A5 (Sparrow) at 600MHz. To debut late 2010.
- Orion: Dual Core Cortex-A9 Dual Core at 800MHz which offers software compatibility with the Taurus. Expected to enter into production in Q1 2011.
- Pegasus: Single core Cortex-A9 1GHZ. Set for Q4 2011.
- Hercules: Dual core Cortex-A9 at 1GHZ. Scheduled for Q1 2012.
- Venus: Another Cortex-A5 based endeavor which will double the fun of the Mercury by offering a 600-MHz dual-core processor. Expected to hit production in late 2012 or early 2013.
- Draco: A 1.2-GHz Cortex-A9 dual-core expected to enter mass production in late 2012 or early 2013.
- Aquila: Doubles the Draco with its quad-core, 1.2-GHz, Cortex-A9 processor. The Aquila is also slated to enter mass production in late 2012 or early 2013.
Samsung didn’t not pair these mobile powerhouses with any GPUs or mobile operating systems, but we’re assuming we’ll see them alongside Android, Chrome and Ubuntu devices.
Those sleuthing Apple informants seem to have struck gold once again. After noticing a continuous stream of AMD bosses and representatives travelling to and from Apple’s Cupertino campus, they’re now reporting that Apple is seriously considering the #2 chipmaker as a replacement for its current Intel offerings. Apple is thought to be unhappy with Intel, whose prolonged chip development cycle has slowed the pace of Apple’s hardware refresh and whose incompatibility with Nvidia has forced Apple to use the less than optimal integrated Intel graphics chipset. In fact, Apple’s dissatisfaction with Intel’s GPU performance is what prompted the company to develop the novel automatic graphics switching utilized by its recently refreshed MacBook Pro line-up. The hardware work-around allows the notebook to switch from the integrated Intel chipset to the more powerful NVIDIA GT 320M and GT 330M cards when needed. AMD, with its strong ties to ATI, could seemingly offer Apple greater flexibility over its future products which might one day include a powerful graphics subsytem worthy of the Apple name. Before you get too excited and sell your new Core i5 and Core i7 MBPs on eBay, keep in mind that all of this is speculation based upon the rather ambiguous, yet highly referenced “people familiar with the matter”. Respond appropriately. More →
Folks hoping for an Atom-powered Android smartphone have reason to rejoice, as Intel’s GM of software and services announced that not only has the chipmaking giant modified the open-source platform to play nice with its x86-based processors, but it already has customers interested in using the unique OS-chipset combination. While no further details were divulged, the same executive also mentioned the company is hard at work getting “enabling all OSes for Atom phones.” When Google first designed the Android platform it did so with ARM-based processors in mind, but now that people have a taste for high-powered processors like the 1GHz Snapdragon from Qualcomm, companies such as Intel are scrambling to get their processors compatible with a multitude of operating systems. Can you imagine a phone like the HTC EVO will full Adobe Flash compatibility running a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450? Yes, our hearts would melt, too.
NVIDIA unveiled the next generation of its Tegra mobile processor at CES yesterday, promising to deliver tablets, smartbooks and smartphones with a blazing web browsing experience, HD video, Flash 10 support and multi-day battery life. Rather than go on and on, we will simply let the Tegra 250 specs speak for themselves:
- The world’s first dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU running up to 1GHz
- Eight independent processors to handle web browsing, HD video encode and decode and mobile 3D gaming
- 10x faster than the processors used in smartphones today, and up to 4x the performance of the previous generation Tegra processor
- Advanced TSMC 40nm process with active power management to provide amazing battery life (140 hours audio and over 16 hours of HD video playback) despite being always-on and always-connected
- Support for 3D touchscreen user interfaces
- Up to 1080p video encode/decode and support for HD Web streaming formats and complete HW accelerated HD multimedia engine for visually stunning movie playback
- Adobe Flash Player 10.1 acceleration for streaming video and 3D mobile games
- Resolutions ranging from four-to-eight times that of smartphones
- Form factors and screen sizes ranging from 5-15 inches
This second iteration of the Tegra mobile chipset is in the production stage with a development kit ready and waiting for eager programmers to build applications for this next generation in mobile computing. While you wait for those drool-worthy mobile devices to emerge, you can check out a 3D gaming demo showcasing the prowess of the Tegra 250 chipset. And oh yeah, remember that the video blow is from a mobile device, not an Xbox 360. More →
As of this week, it’s no longer business as usual for NVIDIA as the company has halted the production and development of its nForce line of chipsets until its legal issues with Intel are sorted out. Although the two companies have played well so far in Mac hardware, Intel brought a lawsuit against NVIDIA earlier this year to prevent it from making Intel-compatible chips. Not a very nice move from Intel, but NVIDIA has been making a pretty penny at Intel’s expense. We’re hoping this gets sorted soon because Apple’s use of Intel processors isn’t going to end any time soon, and it’s clear that the Mac line has done well with NVIDIA GPUs. Robert Sherbin of NVIDIA has this to say:
We firmly believe that this market has a long healthy life ahead. But because of Intel’s improper claims to customers and the market that we aren’t licensed to the new DMI bus and its unfair business tactics, it is effectively impossible for us to market chipsets for future CPUs. So, until we resolve this matter in court next year, we’ll postpone further chipset investments.
In the meantime, what’s a chipmaker who won’t be making chips supposed to do?