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Nvidia chips score big in Apple Mac lineup

Nvidia graphics chips are now used across the entire Apple Mac lineup.

Updated at 11:50 a.m. PST with additional information on Nvidia and ATI graphics in Mac Pro

Apple's rollout of new Macs Tuesday was a vote of confidence for Nvidia: its graphics chip have now become as ubiquitous as Intel's processors across the Mac line.

Apple's entire Mac lineup now features Nvidia GeForce GPUs. "If you go into a retail store, it's (Nvidia) top to bottom," said an Nvidia spokesperson today. "The message is that Apple is differentiating itself, investing in the GPU," he said.

The GPU, or graphics processing unit, is used to accelerate HD video, image editing, video transcoding, and games.

So, which GPUs are where?

  • New versions of the iMac and Mac mini use the GeForce 9400M GPU
  • 24-inch iMac available with GeForce 9400M, GeForce GT 120, or GeForce GT 130
  • New Mac Pro equipped with the Nvidia GeForce GT 120
  • MacBook Air, MacBook, and MacBook Pro already use GeForce 9400M and/or 9600

Note that the Mac Pro is offered with either the GeForce GT 120 with 512MB of GDDR3 memory or the ATI Radeon HD 4870 with 512MB of GDDR5 memory.