Intel appears to be working hard to improve the performance of its integrated graphics for future mobile processors, as reported by Fudzilla. The rumor suggests that the company is promoting its future generation of notebook CPUs (codenamed Arrandale) to its partners as much more advanced in this regard, despite not making comments in public.
To establish a fair comparison, the Arrandale line would be for notebooks what Nehalem for desktops, but with a difference: it is a SoC solution (System on a Chip), which combines the processor with the GPU and Wi-Fi connectivity. While the CPU performance of similar architecture found on Macs Pro, there was only speculation about the graphics of the new platform.
Perhaps Intel is doing this behind the curtains just to play green and speed up the migration to Arrandale from the current Montevina used by Apple on almost all of its Macs, except its professional desktop and Xserve. But if it is really faster, how much the “faster” expression is worth in computational terms can put it as a direct competitor of NVIDIA for integrated graphics solutions.
Considering the difference in graphical performance of the current solutions of the two companies, what I am talking about is tremendous madness: the cheapest graphics chipset from NVIDIA is up to five times faster than the Intel solution used in white MacBooks until the beginning of this year. However, Apple's processor vendor never had the chance to employ a SoC solution with the range of the Arrandale line, which is expected to hit the market between late 2009 and early 2010.
The legal fight between Intel and NVIDIA could prevent Apple from using the GeForce 9400M in the future, which could discard the integrated graphics of its line of computers, or make it migrate back to Intel's design. If this matches NVIDIA's solutions, I believe it could be a good change; on the contrary, it is good that the next Macs are already being designed with alternatives in this sense.