Apple’s MacBook Air Nearly Shipped With An AMD Processor In 2011 [Report]

Apple’s MacBook Air Nearly Shipped With An AMD Processor In 2011 [Report]

Apple updated its hugely popular MacBook Air last year to introduce Intel’s Core i5 and Core i7 processors. But the Cupertino company very nearly shipped the ultraportable with an AMD chip instead. An employee for AMD has confirmed that it was very close to striking a deal with Apple, but AMD’s poor production yields meant that Intel was a better option.

In an interview with Forbes, one AMD employee revealed that he was convinced a deal with Apple would be finalized if it wasn’t for the company’s yield issues. “We had it,” he says. “But the yields didn’t come in.”

At the time, AMD was working on a new business model while production new “fusion” processors that combined a CPU with a GPU on a single piece of silicon. One of the processors, named “Llano,” seemed very attractive to Apple for the MacBook Air.

But AMD’s engineers “were trying to do too much, too quickly” as they began the move to a new manufacturing process, Forbes reports. “AMD couldn’t even get early working samples of Llano to Apple on time, one former employee says.”

Needless to say this wasn’t acceptable for Apple, and it chose to use Intel processors instead.

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  • ??nD ??os??A

    Apple used AMD just like every other PC maker…for leverage against Intel. If it wasn’t for AMD the cost of an x86 would be much higher due to lack of competition. So all the PC makers give AMD just enough business to keep them afloat. Of course ARM is now a contender and something Intel must be thinking about. 

  • Michael Von Verrenkamp

    Its a shame that AMD didn’t get the deal because they need all the support they can get. Low yield was also apparently why the original Xbox dropped AMD for Intel so this isn’t a new issue at all.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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