Nvidia chipsets could power next-gen MacBooks


— 11:53 AM on July 30, 2008

The latest rumor among the Mac crowd is that Apple won't use Intel chipsets in its next-gen MacBooks. If true, that means Apple will need to either pick a suitable third-party alternative to Centrino 2 or design one itself.

Ryan Shrout over at PC Perspective has written a speculative piece on the subject, and he thinks Apple will likely adopt Nvidia's upcoming MCP79 chipset. Why? First, he believes Apple doesn't have the time or resources to build a mobile chipset with quality integrated graphics on its own. Apple could get a capable IGP solution from AMD, but that would entail using AMD processors—and Intel has a very clear advantage in the mobile CPU market.

That pretty much leaves Nvidia as the only likely contender. Shrout thinks Apple has every reason to choose the MCP79, too. The chipset should have a capable DirectX 10-class graphics processor, and its rumored support for HybridPower and GeForce Boost technologies could make it an excellent complement to the discrete Nvidia GPUs Apple already uses. The rumor mill also suggests the MCP79 will feature a space-saving single-chip design, support for 1066MHz front-side bus speeds, and compatibility with DDR3 RAM.

We may find out for sure by the end of September. That's when Apple plans to unveil its latest round of MacBooks, insiders claim.

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