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New Macs to get custom platform?

updated 04:25 pm EDT, Mon July 28, 2008

MacBook Custom Platform

Apple is dropping Intel's reference platform in favor of custom circuitry, according to a new rumor floated by AppleInsider. Although every Intel-based Mac has to date used Intel's stock chipsets but with a custom layout, Apple is now purportedly using little to none of Intel's own components in favor of outside parts. Whether this involves licensing components from an outside firm or even custom-designed chips is unknown, though Apple would keep using Intel's processors.

The Mac creator is notably part of the Hypertransport Consortium along with computer firms such as AMD and would have access to the technology to create a much faster connection between the main processor and other components of the system, including memory and peripherals. Intel's hardware is currently bottlenecked by its dependence on two separate chipsets for controlling memory and devices but should be replaced by the QuickPath interface that will accompany its Nehalem architecture in late 2008 and early 2009.

Apple's move would allegedly be made to let it get an edge over competitors using stock Intel designs. What this would entail is unclear, though it could include performance reasons as well as size-related concerns. The MacBook Air is often cited as an example of Apple's early efforts in this area and uses Intel chipsets but a heavily modified layout that allows Apple to reduce the size to below that of rival systems from Lenovo and Voodoo PC.

Neither Apple nor Intel has discussed the specifics of any future platform, though the former has mentioned a "product transition" that would cut its gross profit margins due to higher costs relative to the technology.

This engineering is claimed to be pushing back the launch of the affected MacBooks by "6 to 8 weeks" from today and would leave Apple as one of the last to update its systems since the Centrino 2 announcement in mid-July. However, it would also place the launch at the same time as ultraportable processors due to launch in September and which would be ready for the MacBook Air.

by MacNN Staff



  1. afaby

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Stomp out mac clones

    My guess is this is an attempt to lock out the new crop of "Mac clone" makers that are popping up all over the place.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Now we don't have to worry about Apple putting out new Macs the second Intel updates their product line, as they'll have to spend time getting those custom mobos working!

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969



    To echo sentiments posted to a different thread, there will be a lot of disappointed educational buyers if Apple unveils a radically redesigned (improved?) platform in October. Of course this is familiar territory to anyone who has been buying Apple products for more than a few years. PCI-X anyone?

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple joined the HT Consortium back in the G5 days. Old news

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    don't hold your breath

    Consider the source. It's AppleInsider, for christ's sake. Those guys couldn't predict yesterday's weather if they tried. Their track record consists mostly of "blah".

  1. psilocybenine

    Joined: Dec 1969


    bad news for dual-booters

    considering the poor functionality i've had with my macbook under vista/xp I can only dream about the amount of resources they'll have to dip into to write new drivers for xp/vista/7 with unique architecture for every new system... my trackpad does/has not scrolled properly in any windows boot since day one! remember the sound output issues!?... what bugs will a proprietary system bring???

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Grackle, grackle?

    I'm not sure I'm happy about this, given the fun I've had with past Apple bus controllers. Like afbaby, I suspect that this is at least partly targeted at hackintoshes.

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Upscaled pricing...?

    ...I am hoping to see offerings that will compete better with the 17" HP laptops that now tempt me at $799, rather than raising the ante...

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