Nvidia notches big Apple MacBook Pro win

Nvidia notches big Apple MacBook Pro win

Summary: The Apple and Nvidia relationship is a bit complicated. Nvidia notched a MacBook Pro win, but the company's future rides with its Tegra 3 design wins aimed squarely at the iPad and iPhone.


Nvidia landed a big fish for its graphics processors as Apple rolled out new MacBook Pros.

Strategically, Apple's move to use Nvidia's GeForce GT 650M notebook GPU is critical on two fronts. First, Nvidia can fend off graphics challenger AMD. The graphics chip business probably doesn't represent Nvidia's growth, but it helps to defend dominant market share. Meanwhile, defending the graphics fort provides Nvidia more cover to grow its' Tegra chip business, which aims to power smartphones and tablets that challenge Apple.

See also: Apple CEO Cook: Ultrabooks are pretenders | Apple’s best asset: Developers and its app economy | WWDC 2012: By the numbers | WWDC: Siri gets smarter with iPad, Facebook, car integration

In a nutshell, Nvidia's GPU helps give the next-gen MacBook Pro the power to deliver the 5,184,000 pixels in Apple's high resolution display.

Analysts have been closely watching Nvidia's progress with Apple. After all, Apple called out Nvidia just a few months ago when it showed off its new iPhone.

Research firm Trefis estimates that 15 percent of Nvidia's stock price is tied to notebook GPUs.

The introduction of AMD’s Rodeon chips has threatened the existing dominance of Nvidia in the discrete GPU market, which contribute around 15% to the Trefis price estimate. A switch over to Nvidia’s graphics by Apple, could do well to retain its dominant market share.

Overall, the Apple and Nvidia relationship is a bit complicated. Nvidia notched a MacBook Pro win, but the company's future rides with its Tegra 3 design wins. Tegra 3 will power Android and Windows 8 devices, which incidentally are trying to unseat Apple.

CNET related stories:

Topic: Apple

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Huh?

    "The graphics chip business probably doesn???t represent Nvidia???s growth, . . ."


    Not sure what you mean by this, graphics chips [i]are[/i] nVidia's business.
    • I think he's trying to say

      that nVidia is hedging their bets with the mobile space. I'm not talking about laptops, but the space that the tegra inhabits.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • The new Tegra chip...

      coming out from NVIDIA is a combined system on a chip, including the ARM CPU. Chips with only graphics are not as useful for portable devices due to power consumption.
      Tony Burzio

    Another reason to get this new MacBook Pro is because of NVIDIA graphics card, goodbye crappy AMD
    • Wrong!

      @shellcodes_coder. Remember the nvidia notebook chip fiasco on 2008? A lot of GPUs dying because a faulty production design for many brands?

      AMD has very good GPUs as Nvidia. Trashing one brand is not the best way to defend your position!!!

      Without AMD, Nvidia will never have evolved and viceversa. Competition is important for innovation to occur.
    • No thanks

      Like the Nvidia Chip, but hate the product it comes in. I'm a PC till the day I die. Enjoy the dumbed down Apple Experience or what I like to call the AOL experience for modern computing.
      • Your point?

        You felt the urge to share this with the world? What were you trying to say?
  • Wrong! Graphics chips are just commodities

    What do you think about the CPU makers (Intel), DRAM makers, * component maker?. Computers are being made of commodity hardware since forever now. This is very different than the Tegra vs A5. Apple just picked the best price and TDP fit GPU to support it's new Macbook Pro line as they have been doing it for years between Nvidia and ATI (now AMD). Nothing new on this. Just a new and faster GPU for a new and faster laptop.

    I personally think that the 650M is a very good GPU, but not enough to drive the "retina display" on the new Macbook. It has only 1 GB of DRAM, and will not be enough for "retina-quality" (native resolution) gaming on the new Macbook. (Gaming center is a new feature on Mountain Lion, and on the app store there are a lot of games and new ones will came).
    • As always with Apple

      People look at the 'hardware spec' and think that because Apple did not put dual video controllers with liquid cooling, that they put in their gaming PC to drive an Full HD display, then Apple's usage of an lower TDP part to drive way higher display will not work?

      Not all things are created equal and you just can't compare those without accounting for all the components. That includes software.