Apple and Nvidia really are at odds

Last week Apple was seen having a go at Nvidia at its iPad presentation, but it might be a sign of the beginnings of a real handbags at dawn war.

For a while now there has been loose talk that Jobs’ Mob might be including Nvidia GPUs in future low and mid-range MacBooks.

However, since last week the rumour mills are now turning the other way with the word on the street declaiming that Apple will not use a GPU on these machines and only a GT2 Ivy Bridge.

The rumour appears to be based on the fact that Apple upped their SKUs from parts bearing Intel GPUs to variants with more shaders.

Charlie  over at Semi Accurate has found that Ivy Bridge CPUs are going into laptops that have a GPU.  He reasons that upping the shader count from six to 16 would be a waste of time as they will never be turned on. If anyone did turn them on any discrete GPU in those machines is either going to be much higher specced, or not installed.

Apple is not really interested in Nvidia because it  can’t supply enough small GPUs so it will  plug for a GT2 Ivy Bridge for low and mid-range machines, he claimed.

Semi Accurate thinks that Apple could likely go with Nvidia in higher end Macs. Intel’s GPUs aren’t good enough in that arena.  Some of the higher end middle-range Macs might see some models with and some without.

In the long term though, Nvidia’s and AMD’s GPUs are unlikely to be seen in the mid-range either once Intel’s Haswell comes out.

The killer hardware choice for Apple is where it choses to deploy its Retina displays. These do much better if they are supported with GPU power. If Apple wants these at the lower or mid-range of its MacBook family a GPU would not be such a bad idea.

So far,  Semi Accurate’s rumours seem to have been taken up by the majority of the press,  even the tame Apple ones.  This seems to suggest that the idea has legs.

The slagging off that Apple gave Nvidia at the iPad keynote might indicate that it does not not think that any GPUs from that company are a starter. Jobs’ Mob seems to be burning its bridges with Nvidia so it must be looking elsewhere for its GPUs.