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Apple hires influential ATI graphics chip designer

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Apple has scooped up a chip designer who spent years mapping out key graphics chip architectures at ATI and who also played an integral role in the development of the graphics processor found at the heart of Nintendo's Game Cube console.

The LinkedIn profile of Bob Drebin indicates the former AMD graphics chief recently accepted a Senior Director position at Apple following a one-year void in his professional career. Although his precise role at the electronics maker is unknown, Drebin is likely to deliver knowledge and experience central to the company's Mac and iPhone strategy.

Prior to joining Apple, Drebin was chief technology officer of the Graphics Products Group within AMD , where he oversaw the technical strategy and direction for the chipmaker's graphics-related businesses. He assumed the role in 2006, following AMD's acquisition of ATI, where he was also a director of chip design and strategy.

Earlier in his career, Drebin managed the architecture and design unit of ArtX, which was instrumental in development of the graphics component for the Nintendo Game Cube. He also spent nine years developing high-performance graphics systems for Silicon Graphic.

The LinkedIn professional network site has been an increasing source of Apple hires and departures in recent months. Last fall, an update to the profile of P.A. Semi's senior principle architect Wei-han Lien revealed he had assumed the role of "Senior Manager Chip CPU Architect at Apple" following the company's acquisition of P.A. Semi.

More significant, however, was Lien's further disclosure on his profile page that he was in charge of a team developing an ARM processor that would power the next-generation iPhone, all but confirming the company was moving quickly on plans to distance itself from rival handset makers by developing its own embedded chip solutions.

Earlier this month, LinkedIn was also the source of reports that Research in Motion had hired one-time Apple interface designer Don Lindsay to head up a new a new team of designers tasked with improving the user experience of the company's BlackBerry handsets.
post #2 of 25
Fantastic news.

More ammunition for Apple's new mandate. The right to keep and bear ARMs.

I wonder if 2010 will the launch of the custom Apple ARM chips.
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post #3 of 25
I could see Apple wanting it's own chip architecture that will only run a version of OS X and nothing else... similarly that version of OS X won't run on a different mobile phone or netbook. This would be for the iPhone/Touch and possibly tablet/netbook.
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post #4 of 25
Other than fabbing chips, it looks like Apple is betting on its ability to make the whole widget. The risk doesn't seem that great. If they can just keep up with commodity offerings (or even almost keep up) like the Tegra, they pocket the extra profit. If they fall too far behind, they simply move to the commodity hardware. As long as it is uses the ARM instruction set and the graphics support OpenGL, there wouldn't be a problem. I don't see them pulling out far ahead in chip technology. No one ever does. I think it's really just a matter of complete control over hardware and software integration, as well as increasing profit margins.
post #5 of 25
Son of Lt. Frank Drebin.


(I can post stuff like that now since I decided not to apply for the AppleInsider job )
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The LinkedIn professional network site has been an increasing source of Apple hires and departures in recent months.

Are you saying "source" as in you actually know that Apple is hiring people through LinkedIn? I'm guessing you actually mean that LinkedIn is the source of news sites finding out that Apple is hiring people after the fact rather than Apple sourcing it's employees from LinkedIn.
post #7 of 25
wow....the nintendo game cube. Sounds like a real winner.....

One thought he was invincible... the other thought he could fly.

They were both wrong.

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One thought he was invincible... the other thought he could fly.

They were both wrong.

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post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

Are you saying "source" as in you actually know that Apple is hiring people through LinkedIn? I'm guessing you actually mean that LinkedIn is the source of news sites finding out that Apple is hiring people after the fact rather than Apple sourcing it's employees from LinkedIn.

I think what he means is there are folks that watch the associated changes in LinkedIn member profiles. It's not that hard and LinkedIn happens to be pretty popular amongst the incestual Silicon Valley crowd.
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post #9 of 25
Let's hope he doesn't end up in a limbo similar to the IBM guy that Apple hired a few months ago.....
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Let's hope he doesn't end up in a limbo similar to the IBM guy that Apple hired a few months ago.....

I'm guessing they already have that one covered...

Quote:
following a one-year void in his professional career
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--e.e.c.
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Progress is a comfortable disease
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post #11 of 25
Mac GamePad (for the top secret win!)

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Mac GamePad (for the top secret win!)

Nintendo Game Cube + AppleTV = Apple Super Happy Fun iCube
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

Nintendo Game Cube + AppleTV = Apple Super Happy Fun iCube

Nice! Or something like "iPlay" or "iGame"...

Actually it'd be nice to cut the iCrap out.
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DimMok View Post

wow....the nintendo game cube. Sounds like a real winner.....

While the GameCube wasn't succesful, it certainly didn't fail because of it's graphics. Compare the GC and PS2 versions of Resident Evil 4 for an example. It'd be funny if the AppleTV turned out to be a stealth game console with the Touch for a controller!
post #15 of 25
The GameCube may not have been as successful as many hoped, or even as it deserved, but it certainly wasn't a total failure. Some of the highest rated games of all time appeared on that system. Sometimes success means a little more than profits or sales.
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Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
- Indian Proverb.
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post #16 of 25
I hope this guy knows something about designing drivers for AMD/ATI graphics cards for the desktop line of Macs. It would be nice if they could get this card working in Mac Pros.
http://www.electronista.com/articles...770.gpu.w.ddr/

I don't see why Apple has to continually take a back seat to the PC world when it comes to up-to-date graphics cards. Apple charges more for year old graphics cards than the PC world gets for current graphics cards. What is the hold-up to spend some of that cash hoard for some programmers to write code for Mac OSX and the latest graphics cards. It couldn't cost more than a few million dollars, right.
post #17 of 25
As any long time Apple macintosh user can tell you, sales doesn't always equate to quality of product.



Quote:
Originally Posted by DimMok View Post

wow....the nintendo game cube. Sounds like a real winner.....
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

Nintendo Game Cube + AppleTV = Apple Super Happy Fun iCube

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmike View Post

Nice! Or something like "iPlay" or "iGame"...

Actually it'd be nice to cut the iCrap out.

Not gonna happen.

Those that interpret this news as "Apple is building a game console" are missing the point almost entirely. Dedicated gaming devices are over. Just like dedicated phones are over, dedicated cameras are over, etc. etc. It's jsut a matter of time, and how many revisions of the iPhone it takes to replace those markets.
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #19 of 25
I have a feeling that Apple is going to enter the custom chipset business. They will make a controller chip that connects to Intel processors with internal graphics that will exceed what Intel and Nvidia have brought out performance-wise, and come in at a lower power usage. These chipsets will be used for their iMacs, minis, and portable computers. Perhaps even the Mac Pro, minus the integrated graphics.
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

I have a feeling that Apple is going to enter the custom chipset business. They will make a controller chip that connects to Intel processors with internal graphics that will exceed what Intel and Nvidia have brought out performance-wise, and come in at a lower power usage. These chipsets will be used for their iMacs, minis, and portable computers. Perhaps even the Mac Pro, minus the integrated graphics.

I'm thinking his expertise will make sure their APIs are optimized for Nvidia, AMD/ATi with the various fields they want to leverage immediately within Snow Leopard.

I'd bet they've already made a most use case list to which they want to best target their implementation followed up later with future additions for more specialized markets.

This forum has some useful information: http://gpgpu.org/
post #21 of 25
"Although his precise role at the electronics maker is unknown, Drebin is likely to deliver knowledge and experience central to the company's Mac and iPhone strategy. "

That has to be the most obivous statement ever
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

I have a feeling that Apple is going to enter the custom chipset business. They will make a controller chip that connects to Intel processors with internal graphics that will exceed what Intel and Nvidia have brought out performance-wise, and come in at a lower power usage. These chipsets will be used for their iMacs, minis, and portable computers. Perhaps even the Mac Pro, minus the integrated graphics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morky View Post

Other than fabbing chips, it looks like Apple is betting on its ability to make the whole widget. The risk doesn't seem that great. If they can just keep up with commodity offerings (or even almost keep up) like the Tegra, they pocket the extra profit. If they fall too far behind, they simply move to the commodity hardware. As long as it is uses the ARM instruction set and the graphics support OpenGL, there wouldn't be a problem. I don't see them pulling out far ahead in chip technology. No one ever does. I think it's really just a matter of complete control over hardware and software integration, as well as increasing profit margins.

It seems the whole PA Semi strong point is in custom chips in regard to first, power usage, and second, speedy design. I'm skipping the custom design as a reason, because that is now a given, as Apple did buy them.

I'm sure one of the real standards is if they can do whatever they do with greater cost efficiency. However, I also believe Apple wants to create higher standard products that will differentiate them, so mere cost savings is not enough.

But, I would draw the line (at least for a while) at the custom chips being designed first for iPhone/iPod, then later the mobile computing line. A tablet might be a tough first project for them. For desktop systems, the Mini would make sense. Perhaps iMacs?

The new Apple ATI chip guy seems to be full of quirky possibilities!

btw, it seems rather interesting that this is such a potentially substantive piece of news with strategic and significant impact for Apple, but all the commenting is happening on "news" of less factual nature...news of Verizon/Apple talks. Kudos to all who post here! (minus me, of course...that would be too conceited...plus I know i posted on the first rumors of Ver./Apple)
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Not gonna happen.

Those that interpret this news as "Apple is building a game console" are missing the point almost entirely. Dedicated gaming devices are over. Just like dedicated phones are over, dedicated cameras are over, etc. etc. It's jsut a matter of time, and how many revisions of the iPhone it takes to replace those markets.

Woooosh.

Mac = General Purpose Computing Device
AppleTV = Dedicated Entertainment Device

iPod Touch/iPhone = Mobile General Purpose Computing Device
iPod Classic = Mobile Dedicated Entertainment Device

The iPhone is not going to replace set-top boxes any time soon.
They serve a specific function which the iPhone does not.
The iPhone will complement the AppleTV and enhance its use.
post #24 of 25
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

Another AMD/ATI defector?

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/...a-koduri-apple

At this rate Apple may as well just buy AMD and take it ALL
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- SolipsismX
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