Apple Interested in Nvidia’s Ion Platform, Intel Atom Processors – Media Report

Apple Plays with Nvidia’s Ion Platform, New Products May Be in the Works

by Anton Shilov
01/15/2009 | 11:01 PM

Apple, a maker of personal computers and a leading supplier of portable digital media players, is reportedly working on a device based on Intel Corp.’s Atom processor as well as Nvidia Corp.’s Ion platform. No details are available at this time, but it can be expected that Apple is preparing a new Apple TV, Apple Mac Mini or Apple Mac netbook.

 

A news-story by Tom’s Hardware web-site claims that a partner of Nvidia Corp. said that “Apple was the first to receive samples of Nvidia’s Ion platform”, which is designed to support Intel Atom processors, and that Apple got prototypes of Ion “long before” other partners of Nvidia. Considering that, the web-site makes natural conclusion that Apple is preparing a product powered by Atom and Nvidia’s GeForce 9400-series core-logic.

Nvidia GeForce 9400M is a single-chip core-logic with DirectX 10-compatible GeForce 9-class graphics processor inside that also supports dual-channel DDR3 memory, PCI Express 2.0 x16 and x4 links, Serial ATA, USB, Gigabit Ethernet and so on. As all modern Nvidia GeForce integrated graphics processors, the novelty features hardware-accelerated high-definition video decoding and post-processing as well as supports various outputs, such as dual-link DVI-I, D-Sub, DisplayPort or HDMI.

Theoretically, Nvidia’s GeForce 9400M and Ion platform may power either Apple TV, rumoured Apple netbook or even a new Mac Mini. Considering that currently Mac Mini utilizes dual-core Intel Core 2 Duo processor, it is hard to believe that Apple would install a much lower performance dual-core Intel Atom 330 chip into a new version. Meanwhile, Nvidia’s platform provides rather advanced capabilities for netbooks or Apple TV set-top-box. While on the netbook market the GeForce 9400M will hardly be the best option considering its high power consumption, the platform may be ideal for Apple TV or other add-on-console.

Apple or Nvidia did not comment on the news-story.