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Apple nixing Nvidia from 'Nehalem' Macs?

Tough bargaining or faulty-GPU fallout suspected

Nvidia

Apple won't be using Nvidia chippery in future machines, it has been claimed.

That's according to website SemiAccurate - the clue's in the title - which says it heard the move was prompted by the problems Apple - and, it has to be said, others - had with failing Nvidia GPUs last year.

But there's more here than meets the eye. Nvidia and Intel are currently pursuing each other through the US legal system with a view to establishing whether Nvidia has the right to use Intel's latest processor interconnect technology in its chipsets. Intel says no, Nvidia disagrees.

If Apple, then, wants to offers Macs based on Intel's Core i3, i5 and/or i7 desktop processors and their mobile equivalents, it needs a chipset supplier who can support said CPUs. Depending on how the court cases go, Nvidia may not be able to say its chips can.

That said, no matter what the outcome of the legal battle, we're sure that if Nvidia writes a big enough cheque, Intel isn't going to turn it down, not as the dominant supplier of both x86 processors and supporting silicon.

As for Apple, it's well known to be a tough negotiator. Playing hard to get with Nvidia now is a trifle compared to facing down the music and movie industries, which it's done largely successfully. Nvidia needs Apple more than Apple needs Nvidia.

Apple has benefited from Nvidia's technology. The integrated GeForce 9400M chipset it uses in all of its laptops and consumer desktops has given those boxes a much needed graphical performance boost. If the company does say adios to Nvidia, it will need to be sure Intel can offer a rather better alternative. ®

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