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Tuesday, March 13, 2012, 09:54 am PT (12:54 pm ET)

Rumor: Apple drops Nvidia's Kepler GPUs from 'large number' of next-gen MacBook Pros

Apple's next-generation low- and mid-range MacBook Pro models will not feature dedicated graphics cards, and will instead rely on Intel's integrated Ivy Bridge graphics due to production issues with Nvidia, according to a new report.

Apple has dropped Nvidia's next-generation Kepler graphics cards from a "large number" of its upcoming laptops, SemiAccurate reported on Tuesday. The change has allegedly prompted Apple to adopt Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs that have higher shader counts, in order to offset some of the lost graphics processing power.

The change was reportedly made because Nvidia "can't supply enough small GPUs" to Apple and other PC makers. That's left Apple in a position where its next-generation low- and mid-range MacBook models "are not going to have a GPU, only a GT2 Ivy Bridge," the report said.

"Nvidia can't supply, so Apple threw them out on their proverbial magical experience," it continued. "This doesn't mean Nvidia is completely out at Apple, the Intel GPUs are too awful to satisfy the higher end laptops, so there will need to be something in those. What that something is, we don't definitively know yet, but the possibilities are vanishingly small."

The rumored issues apparently stem from the fact that Nvidia has struggled with its 28-nanometer manufacturing process for its next-generation graphics processors, code-named "Kepler." As a result, some mid-range MacBooks will feature dedicated Nvidia GPUs, and some won't, Tuesday's report claimed.

AMD


The same site first reported last November that Apple would switch back to Nvidia GPUs for its 2012 MacBook models. Higher end 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros launched early last year relied solely on AMD graphics, while the entry-level 13-inch model features integrated Intel graphics.

Apple's next-generation MacBook Pros are expected to feature a radically redesigned exterior, borrowing features from the company's popular ultraportable MacBook Air. They are expected to be based on Intel's forthcoming Ivy Bridge chip architecture.