This Year's MBA Refresh Nearly Incuded AMD's Llano Processor Instead of Intel
Rumors of AMD powered Apple products are nothing new, but SemiAccurate’s
claim the current iteration of Apple’s MacBook Air should have shipped with AMD’s Llano processor is more ambitious.
According to the report Apple’s refresh of the MBA during Spring on this year was Apple’s Plan B. Apple’s Plan A housed AMD’s Llano processor, but AMD “dropped the ball.” AMD wasn’t able to produce the volume of chips Apple needed and Apple ultimately stayed with Intel.
Apple recently switched to AMD GPUs in all their Mac products that offer discrete graphics options. Part of the issue Apple has with Intel is their onboard graphics solutions. Intel’s relationship with Nvidia has soured to the point where Intel is producing chipsets that aren’t compatible with other GPU options. As a result Apple is forced to rely on Intel’s integrated graphics solutions in certain instances instead of discrete graphics solutions from AMD or Nvidia.
Whatever the reasoning behind the article, take SemiAccurate's report—and their too literal name—with a grain of salt. Apple is constantly looking for better processing solutions that fit within their guidelines of performance and power consumption. This is the reason Apple went with a custom-made ARM CPU inside of the iPhone instead of the Intel Atom and other offerings. However, producing full-blown laptop and desktop CPUs and GPUs in the capacity Apple needs is another beast entirely and Intel possesses the best ability to produce large quantities of chips at the price Apple wants.
But that doesn’t mean we’ll have Intel based Macs forever.