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It's not a question of chips

The key news of yesterday, as happens in this pre-MacWorld period, was an indiscretion. To be precise, the rumor, picked up almost everywhere and by anyone, according to which Apple would launch the first machine equipped with the Nvidia chip at the Expo. It would be the Powerbook 2001 series inside which instead of the current Rage 128 there would be a GeForce2Go.The news, passed off by Go2Mac as coming from some credible deep Cupertino gorge. Those who carefully read our site know, on the other hand, that this hypothesis has been put forward by our site since last July. The considerations and deductions that are read online on the subject, therefore, do not surprise us; on the contrary, for the writer, it would be a surprise to see an ATI card appear in the new PB. Nvidia has announced on several occasions the support of the Mac world with the GeForce2Go card that specifically designed for the world of laptops, the Nvidia site, typing http://www.nvidia.com/apple refers to the sector of the site (password protected ) of the OEMs, finally the CEO of Nvidia, Jen-Hsun Huang, said clearly that "you will hear the next news on Nvidia and Apple directly from Apple". Of course it does not take the support of some mole in Cupertino to suppose that sooner or later, sooner than later and to be precise in San Francisco, news will come. And since in San Francisco one of the main protagonists, probably the only radically new machine, the PowerBook will not even need much imagination to think that the "news" mentioned, Jen-Hsun Huang are precisely the release of a laptop with an Nvidia card.The fact that in all likelihood, the indiscretions of these days are nothing more than honest deductions based on concrete data and within reach of all passed off with a bit of prosopope for scoop, does not in any case detract from when this happens will deeply touch the evolution of the Mac hardware and therefore the news of the relevant ones and raises questions both from a strategic and technological point of view.For example, if indeed the new PowerBook will have an Nvidia card it will mean that Apple will be forced to release a player Newly developed DVD that unlinks video playback from a strict dependence on ATI chips. To date, anyone who decides to use an acceleration card other than the ATI must also give up the DVD because Apple Video Player does not work without the Ati card.The support of the Nvidia chipset leads one to wonder even if this could mean the possibility of using GeForce cards 2 also on desktops. Once you have developed drivers for GeForce2Go it should not be really difficult to create support software for cards equipped with GeForce2 Ultra or GeForce2 GTS. This option, evaluated superficially, for it seems rather unlikely. Our readers know that Nvidia does not produce cards on its own, but only chips and chipsets for 3D and just a chip, and not a card, will be sold to Apple for the PowerBook. For the support of high-end 3D cards it would therefore be necessary an agreement with the manufacturers of the same and in any case a modification, we do not know how simple, of the drivers since GeForce2Go differs from its "big brother" for the native support to MacOs. Thirdly, the adoption of GeForce2Go also means a more subtle but no less important turning point, a sort of repositioning of the PowerBook market target. Nvidia cards are much more powerful than ATI in 3D (a GeForce2Go chip 30 to 50% faster than a Rage 128) but they cannot leave Canadian processors behind in 2D. The choice to adopt GeForce could therefore be understood as Apple's willingness to offer the new laptop more and more as an interactive portable entertainment machine, games and DVDs in particular, than as a professional tool in the strict sense. Less PhotoShop, so to speak, and more Quake. To be honest and complete information it must also be said that in reality the choice of Apple more than a turning point accelerates an inevitable trend. Even with ATI, in fact, Apple should resign itself to seeing 2D acceleration more and more relegated to the background in favor of 3D acceleration. In fact, for example, ATI's Radeon is no faster than the Rage 128 in 2D. Finally, the adoption of an Nvidia card also marks a new strategy that will assign two different market segments to two suppliers, to ATI the desktop sector. to Nvidia that of consumer devices and laptops. In fact, it seems almost certain that after the PowerBooks, the iBooks and the iMacs (the latter with the GeForce MX) will also have Nvidia cards while the high-end desktops will continue to use the ATI. This does not seem illogical if we consider that Nvidia has many admirers in the consumer market and that its adoption on machines of this type certainly represents an incentive to sell. In short, the voice of adoption of Nvidia cards responds to a series of considerations that are framed perfectly in a wide-ranging logic and in a precise long-term strategy. We will see in a few days if Jobs also carried out our same considerations …