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Everybody has heard about the working conditions in Apple’s factories overseas, mainly with regard to Foxconn. Every so often the media will catch wind of people living and working in horrible conditions or killing themselves because of their job. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook is once again defending...

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Could the Release of the Xeon E5 Chip Series Pave the Way for a New MacBook Pro Update?

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 02-03-2012

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Intel Xeon processorMany reports believe that the Sandy Bridge E server chips, better known as the Xeon E5 series, from Intel are set to debut this week. There are lots of rumors that the chips have been in the distribution channel for a couple weeks now which means that manufacturers using the chips will be able to launch seamlessly with the actual release of the chips. One such company is Apple.

Nobody who “has the chips” has been permitted to release benchmark tests yet as that honor is being restricted to next week. However, the Xeon E5 series will definitely be a much improved version over the ones currently found in Apple’s highly popular MacBook Pro, a device that hasn’t seen an update since the middle of 2010.

Aside from Apple, other companies, like Dell, have already started announcing new products that are based on the new Xeon E5 series which means that Apple could very well be ready with an all new MacBook Pro update in the very near future.

In addition to that, Apple is likely to take advantage of the E5-2600 series 6-core and 8-core chips. These chips would most likely be used in the company’s dual-processor MacBook Pro devices with the E5-1600 series quad-core and 6-core chips focused on Apple’s low-end, single-processor models.

The new processors aren’t the only things coming out that are vital for a brand new MacBook Pro upgrade. However, there have definitely been far fewer specific MacBook Pro rumors over the past couple of months. A recent report did claim that the company is planning to switch to Nvidia graphics in the next update, moving away from Apple’s current AMD partner.

The main thing that will determine if we see a new MacBook Pro update is, of course, whether or not Apple thinks the line is worth keeping in production. Apple was reportedly questioning last year whether to discontinue the model or not, examining if the MacBook Pro should continue offering the professional-level workstation since sales have been down thanks to a shift towards notebooks.

What do you think? Would you want a new MacBook Pro with the Xeon E5 series chip or do you think it’s time for Apple to retire the trusted device in lieu of something a little more fresh?

Source: MacRumors – Mac Pro Update Now Possible with New Xeon E5 Chips Next Week


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Apple Continues to Use Old NVIDIA Chipsets Despite NVIDIA Leaving the Market

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 21-12-2010

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An Xbitlabs report that surfaced back in November provided quotes from Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of NVIDIA, about the company’s permanent exit from the chipset business. The quotes are as follows:

“We are not building any more chipsets; we are building SoCs now. We are building Tegra SoCs, and so we are going to take integration to a new level. The chipset business has not grown largely this year because we have not really been expanding the sales of it.”

The fact that NVIDIA had exited the chipset business due to ongoing litigation with Intel over licensing is not news. However, there had been rumors that the issue would be settled. The above quote came before reports of a possible settlement between Intel and NVIDIA in December. That particular settlement discussion led to speculation that NVIDIA’s comeback to the market of chipsets could help boost processor speeds in future MacBook Air devices as well as MacBooks in general.

Huang, on the other hand, had this in particular to say about Apple’s business, “The second thing is the MCP89, the latest generation of Intel chipset that we built was just a really wonderful piece of engineering and the work that we did with Apple was great, and they are going to continue to use that for some time.”

The chip mentioned above, the MCP89, is the chipset that has been used in older MacBooks as well as the all new MacBook Air. Apple’s use of this particular chip from NVIDIA limits their choice of processors to the last generation Core 2 Duo.

This tradeoff gives Apple the ability to incorporate the faster integrated graphics cards from NVIDIA in their low-end devices. According to Huan, Apple plans on continuing to use these older chipsets for quite some time.

High-end MacBooks are essentially unaffected due to the fact that they have the privilege of incorporating not only the latest Intel processors but also the discrete graphics cards from third party manufacturers. This tradeoff in particular is only going to affect Apple’s low-end devices.

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