2013 MacBook Pro getting exclusive Intel Haswell CPU?

July 28, 2013

Apple IGZO displays could improve MacBook, iOS battery lifeApple is rumored to refresh the MacBook Pro later this year, and a new report says that the company may get access to some exclusive Intel Haswell processors to power the 2013 MacBook Pro versions.

A previous report indicated that the new MacBook Pro models could be launched at some point in October, with a variety of indirect evidence also pointing to the imminent product refresh, including recent price drops for 2012 MacBook Pro models as well as certain estimates from analysts.

Meanwhile, SemiAccurate has published a new report according to which Intel is going to provide Apple some unique “ultra-high performance” Haswell chips to be used in the new MacBook Pro models.

Apparently the new machines will get special on-board graphics, with Intel’s GT3e (Iris Pro 5200) said to be included in the new chips.

The company has reportedly asked for “a special top bin cream-of-the-crop GT3e selection from Intel, with ‘as much GPU power as possible,’” according to MacRumors, and Intel is said to provide such exclusive parts to the company.

This wouldn’t be the first time Apple and Intel team up for exclusive products, or when Apple is said to be the first to have access to new Intel chips.

Needless to say, the report can’t be confirmed just yet, as the 2013 MacBook Pro refresh is yet to become official. However, if the report is accurate, then it may be safe to assume that other Intel clients will not get access to these special Haswell chips just yet.

MacRumors reveals that next-gen MacBook Pro models may have already shown up in benchmark test in June in July for the 13-inch and 15-inch upcoming versions of the laptop, respectively. According to those results, the new MacBook Pro models offer a performance similar to current models with the added benefit of improving power efficiency and therefore offering better battery life – just as the 2013 MacBook Airs.

Interestingly, the benchmark test for the 15-inch MacBook Pro seems to indicate there is no dedicated graphics card on board. It is believed that the new 15-inch MacBook Pro may rely solely on Intel’s integrated graphics power and not include a standalone graphics card, as previous models do.

For example, the 15-inch 2012 MacBook Pro models pack an Intel HD Graphics 4000 integrated graphics card, but also a NVIDIA GeForce 650M with 512MB or 1GB of GDDR5 memory depending on models. The 13-inch models only have an Intel HD Graphics 4000 graphics card. The same thing applies to 2012 Retina MacBook Pro models.

The new Iris Pro 5200 integrated graphics are apparently ready to offer extra performance, with Intel saying in its promotional materials that the Iris Pro 5200 paired with a Core i7-4950HQ chip (the same chip the 15-inch 2013 MacBook Pro model used in the benchmark test mentioned above) will offer 2-2.5 times the performance of an Intel i7-3840QM and Intel HD Graphics 4000 combo.

It is not yet clear whether the Retina MacBook Pro models will be refreshed alongside the regular MacBook Pro models, but it’s worth pointing out that Best Buy offered $200 off the 13-inch and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro models during its Hot July Black Friday sale, a discount which could suggest the retailer may be interested in dumping existing stock before a product refresh.

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