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Summary:

AMD recently spilled the beans on an upcoming partnership with Apple during an AMD Financial Analyst Day presentation. Senior VP and Chief Sales Officer Emilio Ghilardi gave a presentation to analysts in attendance which confirmed Apple will be a hardware partner for its Fusion processing platform.

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AMD recently spilled the beans on an upcoming partnership with Apple during an AMD Financial Analyst Day presentation. Senior VP and Chief Sales Officer Emilio Ghilardi gave a presentation to analysts in attendance which confirmed Apple will be a hardware partner for its Fusion processing platform.

The presentation, as reported by Fudzilla, was about AMD’s upcoming Fusion platform. Fusion is AMD’s new Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), which combines both CPU and GPU capabilities on a single-die processor. The platform is expected to debut in early 2011, and should make it easier for software developers to leverage the computing power of both types of processor.

During Ghilardi’s presentation, he showed one slide featuring Apple’s iMac and Mac Pro computers, with official Apple branding and even a “Courtesy of Apple” attribution at the bottom, during a segment about hardware partner. The AMD executive didn’t comment, saying only “I’ll flash through them very quickly.”

AMD announced yesterday that some Fusion shipments have already started making their way into manufacturer’s hands, so it’s entirely possible that Apple is already playing with the the APUs in pre-production test units. Which could mean we’ll see AMD-equipped Macs as soon as first or second quarter next year.

The introduction of the Fusion platform would mean that Apple will be parting ways with Intel for the first time since it originally partnered with the chipmaker in January of 2006 for a Core Duo-powered iMac. Since then, Apple Intel has provided the processor for the entire Mac line of computers, including the most recently announced MacBook Air.

Fusion is said to provide advantages in terms of visuals, power and design simplicity, and ease of software development. All of these are things that would appeal to Apple, a company focused on providing visually stunning displays and ever simpler system internals. And if Fusion really does make it easier for developers to leverage processing power, it should be a perfect fit with the upcoming Mac App Store.

UPDATE: A spokesman for AMD said that the slide in question was included simply to indicate that Apple is a current AMD hardware partner, not to indicate that it will or won’t be a Fusion platform user in the future. The representative couldn’t comment about Apple’s possible adoption of Fusion processors in upcoming models.

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  1. “Since then, Apple has provided the processor for the entire Mac line of computers, including the most recently announced MacBook Air.”

    I think you mean “Since then, Intel has provided…”

    James

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  2. This is where I really start to doubt TAB’s writing, other than the fact I always feel like I’m reading the “Fox News” of Apple at times (mind you I am an Apple fanboy, but I like a little bit more neutral reading). What makes you so sure that Apple is indeed abandoning Intel processors for AMD’s Fusion line? I don’t doubt the validity of the source, but what I do doubt is the extrapolation that you guys have made that Apple is “parting ways” with Intel. Why can’t they possibly accompany both companies’ products? Many other companies have. And anyway, for a company that’s so focused on power consumption, I HIGHLY doubt they’ll turn to AMD (at the very least they won’t turn to them in the notebook space).

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    1. Andrew MacDonald Wednesday, November 10, 2010

      You said EXACTLY what I was thinking.

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    2. The writer of the article shouldn’t be blamed for your lack of interpretation. We need a bit of history here, it’s a well known fact how the dictatorship of intel in the past (and still) is threatening it’s exclusive commercial partners in a way that they aren’t able to use amd’s products at all or else, you won’t be supplied with our processors (intel’s) like before. Apple and intel have both an agreement the kind of those intel used to make with ancient PC manufacturers such as compaq and dell, if apple thinks of turning to amd, even if only for it’s iMac product line, this means making intel angry therefore apple might not be able to get enough chips from intel to cover the demand in anything other than the iMacs. It’s not that apple is scared of the Fusion or anything more than it’s scared of intel to death. AMD holds the brightest patents in most of the technologies intel is making money of today, we need a bit of history to verify this too… so why would apple hesitate? well, apple is growing way beyond intel nowadays finances-wise, lets hope that makes them more able to take the decision without those unjust rules of intel.

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  3. Fusion isn’t coming to Apple. The only model which it would make sense for Apple is the Air which just got an Intel upgrade. The slides are for Apple’s use of AMD/ATI GPUs in iMacs and Mac Pros
    http://www.9to5mac.com/34881/amd-fusion-coming-to-the-mac-platform

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  4. [...] the article here: AMD Fusion Processors Coming to Future Apple Computers? [Updated] This entry was written by admin, posted on November 10, 2010 at 2:12 pm, filed under Shrenik's [...]

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  5. If macs use AMD, then i will try to buy the intel inside ones. The core duo parents had always been the more power efficient one. Remember back then the last generation Pentium III is actually more efficient than Athlon. Go AMD = Bye Bye Apple.

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    1. On the other hand, if the future OS X will run on ARM and only turn on the AMD if people are using Windows VM/Bootcamp then I won’t mind. As ARM seems to be more efficient than the ULV core duo.

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    2. Never seen a comment that contained so many idiotic wrongs on a technical article before. The Core Duo “had always been” more efficient? did you just enjoy using these words together or do you mean the Core Duo was really efficient compared to the AMD rivals at the time?

      http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/dual-core-intel-processors-low,1247-26.html

      Core Duos weren’t even real dual core processors, they were a bad imitation of amd’s dual real dual cores which had emerged the two cores in a single bus with one controller and worked in harmony, intel glued two cores together (to make things simpler for you to understand) and then sold them as counterparts to amd. This made all the Pentium D’s and Core Duos at the time a technical failure in terms of heat, efficiency, power consumption and I wouldn’t add performance because some of the Core Duos did outperform Turions at the time.

      Pentium III is “actually!!” more efficient? best joke on earth, pentium III was no rival for Athlons at the time, at all.

      http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/performance,124-6.html

      Please do recheck your info the next time before you make such claims.

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  6. I really hate Apple, I have not even gotten an Intel Apple yet, but if I do, it will be outdated already. Which means no support of future OS. The chip may save space, but I really hope at least there will be a separate GPU and CPU that one chip, because having the CPU do everything bogs down the computer. The only reason I go with an Apple because M$ piss me off even more.

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  7. [...] Ever since Apple finally abandoned the PowerPC platform in favor of the x86 architecture, Macs have been exclusively powered by CPUs from Intel. Throughout that time, however, there has been speculation that Intel could dual source and use some of AMD’s chips as well; that may have just been posturing in order to get a better pricing deal from Intel, though. So far, AMD’s only inroad at Apple has been through its ATI graphics division, which has supplied Radeon GPUs for an array of Macs over the years. The AMD speculation has flared up again in recent days following an analyst meeting to discuss the company’s new Fusion chips. Fusion is a platform that AMD has been working on ever since it bought ATI several years ago. The Fusion chips combine the CPU and a GPU onto a single die, and one of the slides in the AMD presentation featured a lineup of iMacs and a Mac Pro. The slide apparently went by without discussion, and neither Apple nor AMD has made any announcement about Fusion chips appearing in future Macs. AMD has begun providing Fusion samples to hardware partners for testing, with full production due to start in early 2011. It would be a shock if Apple doesn’t at least test AMD chips, but seeing them in production will likely require a very positive combination of performance, power consumption, and pricing. We’ll just have to wait and see.Could AMD Fusion chips be coming to Macs? originally appeared on TUAW on Fri, 12 Nov 2010 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Source [...]

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