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AMD fears MacBook Pro may hurt GPU perception

updated 02:55 pm EDT, Wed March 11, 2009

AMD on 17in MBP Heat

AMD today expressed concern that reports of 17-inch MacBook Pro graphics errors may hurt not only NVIDIA but also graphics makers in general. The company, which owns the ATI brand, told CNET that fears of overheating causing visual artifacts are overblown and implied that the issue may be specific to either Apple choosing the GeForce 9600M incorrectly for the notebook or else the heat generation inherent to NVIDIA's parts. AMD has been careful to avoid identifying a particular cause but remained worried that any poor choice reflected badly on itself.

"In the case of Apple's product, I don't know what happened with NVIDIA's GPU but we'd like to avoid having the negative aspects taint the entire industry," AMD's mobile graphics marketing director Stan Ossias said. "I don't think Apple does a bad job of this in general. They are extremely meticulous generally, [but] a product decision is made [where] maybe there is more emphasis put on performance characteristics than on another characteristic."

Apple already uses the 9600M in the 15-inch MacBook Pro without the same visual errors on the 17-inch model. However, NVIDIA is known to have been using a mix of contact material on its graphics chips that theoretically produces more overall heat than some other models. The 9400M doesn't use the same material and is also error-free on the 17-inch MacBook Pro, though it's also a lower-performance part and doesn't necessarily show a link between material choice and heat problems.

NVIDIA hasn't responded to AMD's comments but has previously said the 9600M shouldn't be vulnerable to heat-related issues. The GPU is designed for mid-range, thin notebooks like Apple's and has power characteristics similar to AMD's Mobility Radeon HD 4600 series chipsets.

by MacNN Staff



  1. tindrum

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not saying NVIDIA sucks

    ... but WE didn't s**** this up, and, look, there's a s**** up, and it's with an NVIDIA chip, not an ATI chip. Just Sayin'.

    -- Your concerned friends at ATI, the ones who didn't s**** up.

  1. InfraredAD

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Lol wut?

    You're kidding me, that's the most passive-aggressive statement from a company I've seen in a while. Feeling emotional lately AMD?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    and yet

    to MBP 17" owners, this is completely and utterly worthless. I'm sure they'd rather have a fix than worry about who AMD is blaming, or who NVidia isn't, or whatever.

  1. leonpro

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I guess the Cold War...

    is over as someone (not saying AMD, but it's not Nvidia and we know there are only two major GPU suppliers) just declared War. :X

  1. hansmickle

    Joined: Dec 1969


    NVIDIA & Apple

    This glitch plays into the hands of those who claim Apple's engineering quality has been trending downward the past couple of years. NVIDIA may feel innocent, but Apple has the ultimate responsibility to test products before they are included in a system and sold.

  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Nobody knows yet what the cause is, but it's undeniable that Nvidia's had a lot of problems lately - it could be why they went to a new numbering system for their newer GPUs. I'm just saying that if I were buying an iMac right now, I would spring for the (more expensive) ATI GPU - not for the possible extra performance, but because an Nvidia GPU in a small enclosure doesn't seem like a good idea.

    I'm probably going to wait on the iMac, however.

  1. keithmaniac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Pot, Kettle, Black

    Yeah, this is a bit rich coming from ATI, whose worthless X1900 I had to replace in my mac pro because of poor design and overheating problems. Of course, I ended up buying another ATI card, more fool me, but just like with politics, you just have to keep voting for the lesser of two evils. Apple is in the same boat, to a certain extent.

  1. bigjimid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    x1900 !!?

    Holy junk. How old is your computer?

  1. philomath777

    Joined: Dec 1969



    ...we feel your pain

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: x1900

    He said it was in a macpro, so it isn't that old.

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