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Could Apple get in bed with AMD? – Yahoo! News

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The headline seems almost unfathomable: Apple is said to be in advanced talks with AMD to integrate its CPUs into its products.

On the surface, it seems crazy. Why would Apple, which has seen amazing success with Intel’s CPU line, give that up for AMD? That would not only mean renegotiating supply contracts with a notoriously erratic company but redesigning the company’s entire computer lineup, too — and probably a ground-up rewrite of the MacOS, to boot.

For a company like Apple that prides itself on fine-grained control over every aspect of its hardware and a reputation for stability and reliability, it sounds like a downright disastrous idea.

But there’s one big reason why this news could be legit: Money. In a nutshell, Intel chips are expensive, and AMDs are cheap. Intel justifies its markup because, for now, its chips are faster. But many vendors are finding that the latest generation of AMD chips are about as good as Intel’s — maybe not Prime beef for dinner, but at least Choice. For a company coming under increasing pressure over its $2,000-plus laptops from users who can get similar specs in a PC for hundreds less, that alone is a compelling argument.

Apple’s been down this road before. While it’s kind of hard to believe, it was a pretty recent decision for Apple to go the Intel way in the first place: Before 2005, the company used PowerPC chips made as part of a joint venture with IBM.

But the reasons for the switch from PowerPC to Intel Inside was pretty purely about performance. IBM’s CPU line wasn’t keeping up, Macs were getting a reputation for being slow, and Apple got tired of waiting. Once it switched to Intel, Macs suddenly became some of the fastest computers on the market — beating many Windows PC manufacturers’ computers at PC-based benchmarks if you installed Windows on your Mac.

Thanks to some insider knowledge, Apple got in on Intel just as the breakthrough Core line of chips came out (the CPUs that knocked AMD out of the running for the performance crown instantly), and now speculation is running wild that Apple knows something we don’t about what AMD is up to. AppleInsider posits that the focus is on graphics performance, that a new AMD chip could offer high-end graphics with low power consumption and at a considerably lower cost than what Intel is doing.

Could it be true? We’ll probably know within the next nine months or so, when Apple refreshes its computer lineup again.

Christopher Null is a technology writer for Yahoo! News. 

This sound like the kind of move Dell used to do all the time. I think Apple just wants cheaper prices and they are using AMD as leverage.

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Written by wesley83

April 20, 2010 at 3:29 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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