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Apple shafts Nvidia using ex-AMD employees

A love triangle
Fri Apr 16 2010, 15:46

FLOGGER OF SHINY TOYS Apple has managed to shaft Nvidia, implementing its own graphics core switching technology by hiring former AMD employees.

The INQUIRER reported last year that Jobs' Mob welcomed Bob Drebin and Raja Koduri, who were senior figures at AMD. Sure enough, a year later Apple managed to produce a system very similar to Nvidia's Optimus.

The Green Goblin's clever system allows dynamic changing between integrated graphics and more a powerful discrete GPU depending on application profiles. Its critical feature was to do this seamlessly, without requiring the user to log out or flick a switch. At first it was widely thought that Apple had incorporated this technology in its latest Macbook Pro line.

The Macbook Pro has had switchable graphics since the late 2008 models, however those units required the user to log out and login again to their user account to make the change. The system incorporated in the latest Macbook Pro launched earlier this week, "toggles seamlessly" between Intel's integrated graphics and Nvidia's 320M/330M GPU chips, much like Nvidia's Optimus.

Nvidia has confirmed to us that the technology in the Macbook Pros isn't Optimus and that the switching technology incorporated in Apple's latest high-end laptops was all its own work, presumably with help from the firm's new employees.

For Apple, creating its own technology might help the company gain a bit more leverage against GPU designers allowing it, as with the Macbook Pro, to use multiple vendors' graphics hardware. Apple was caught out more than once with Nvidia's chips and while the cappuccino firm hasn't dumped the Green Goblin yet, it is clear that Jobs' Mob is reducing its reliance on any single vendor.

AMD on the other hand, having lost two of its engineers, must be happy that its alumni still manage to stick it to Nvidia when given a chance. µ


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