updated 02:45 pm EST, Tue February 14, 2012
Apple seen hopping back to NVIDIA for workstations
Apple's long-rumored Mac Pro update could signal a return to NVIDIA for graphics based on claims about production progress on Tuesday. The company had reportedly been soured based on is experience with drivers and hardware failures, MIC Gadget heard. Instead, it would use NVIDIA's Kepler hardware, although which exact parts weren't mentioned.
Apart from possibly better behavior, the graphics switch might also be to improve overall speed for creative pros. Adobe's Creative Suite still primarily depends on NVIDIA's CUDA general-purpose computing rather than OpenCL.
Kepler is expected to be about three times more efficient in performance than NVIDIA's existing technology and may help it leapfrog AMD's Radeon HD 7000 series.
The same tip had Apple just getting test samples of Ivy Bridge-based Xeon processors. The 22-nanometer chips have reportedly overcome overheating issues and are in high-enough production volumes. Apple would be using eight-core chips with 20MB cache, according to the tip, supporting its own early, inadvertent slip of 16-core Mac Pros that would use two processors.
The finished hardware, if accurate, might not ship until later into the summer, or about two years after the last update. Apple is known to have skipped a 2011 update after Intel's Xeon E5 missed the market for all but a handful of specially-picked customers.