Apple chooses Nvidia for new MacBook Pro

The move will help Nvidia maintain its dominant market share in discrete desktop GPUs.

By Trefis Jun 13, 2012 6:08PM
TrefisApple's (AAPL) confirmed a new MacBook Pro featuring Nvidia's (NVDA) GPU when it unveiled a new lineup of MacBook notebooks at its Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this week.

Apple updated its notebooks line with Intel's (INTC) third-generation Ivy Bridge processors and, for its MacBook Pro, switched from AMD's (AMD) Rodeon graphics chips to Nvidia's GeForce GT 650M graphics.

The move could be a huge win for Nvidia, whose discrete graphics division has been facing increasing threats since the introduction of integrated graphic solutions by AMD and Intel last year. (Read: Nvidia graphics chips in the new MacBook Pro would be a huge win.) Though a switch to Nvidia's graphics by Apple might not lead to significant growth in Nvidia's discrete desktop business, it will certainly help the company defend its dominant market share.

The graphics division contributes close to 15% to our current price estimate of $21 for Nvidia, and fending off growing competition from AMD will help the company's overall valuation.

Nvidia Stock Break-Up

The next generation MacBook Pro boasts higher energy-efficient performance with a 15-inch retina display, the highest resolution ever for a notebook, and enhanced battery life. It is powered by Nvidia's GeForce GT 650M notebook GPU based on the Kepler graphics architecture, which offers unparallelled performance and maximized power efficiency.

Positive outlook

Nvidia launched its new Kepler GPU architecture in mid-March. The first Kepler product was the GeForce GTX 680, which is faster, smaller and more power efficient than its direct competitor. It is also the first architecture to include virtualization technology built right into the GPU. Nvidia claims that Kepler is the most efficient GPU architecture ever created by it and intends to roll out Kepler into each of its businesses, starting with desktops and notebooks.

The company refreshed its notebook GPUs top to bottom with the launch of GeForce 600M series, and consequently witnessed growth in this division last quarter. We have a positive outlook on the product cycle for Kepler architecture and believe that the strong revenue growth will continue in the current year as well, driven by Kepler design wins on the Ivy Bridge platform.

The 650M used in the MacBook Pro is a powerful chip, but Nvidia has other higher-end notebook graphics cards for Windows-based laptops in the market, such as Samsung Series 7, that supports the GTX 675M graphic card, and Origin EON15-S that includes the GTX 680M card.

We believe Nvidia has a strong portfolio of discrete notebook graphic processors which will help it retain its foothold in the market. At the same time, we think that the cut-throat competition with AMD might make market share gains for either player unsustainable in the long run. Hence we estimate Nvidia's share in discrete notebook graphics will remain at the current level for the period under review.

Nvidia Discrete Notebook Graphics Market Share

We have a price estimate of $21 for Nvidia, a premium of around 70% to the current market price.

More Trefis stories

Jun 14, 2012 10:41AM
It's Radeon, not Rodeon. And I'm glad that Apple and Intel are sticking together. Maybe they should start using Windows and go for the trifecta Monopoly domination. Intel is going to get its butt kicked by AMD and ARM collaboration, and Nvidia is a great company for taking things like 3DFX and PhysX, and turning them into crap. (For those who don't know what 3dfx is, that is my point.)
If you want a good laugh, look up Nvidia driver issues.
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