Apple hires influential ATI graphics chip designer

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,289member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 24
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 24
    morkymorky Posts: 180member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 24
    walshbjwalshbj Posts: 864member
    Son of Lt. Frank Drebin.





    (I can post stuff like that now since I decided not to apply for the AppleInsider job )
  • Reply 5 of 24
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 24
    dimmokdimmok Posts: 359member
    wow....the nintendo game cube. Sounds like a real winner.....
  • Reply 7 of 24
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 24
    Let's hope he doesn't end up in a limbo similar to the IBM guy that Apple hired a few months ago.....
  • Reply 9 of 24
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,763member
    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



  • Reply 10 of 24
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,486member
    Mac GamePad (for the top secret win!)
  • Reply 11 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Mac GamePad (for the top secret win!)



    Nintendo Game Cube + AppleTV = Apple Super Happy Fun iCube
  • Reply 12 of 24
    bigmikebigmike Posts: 254member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 24
    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!
  • Reply 14 of 24
    greglogreglo Posts: 63member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    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.....



  • Reply 17 of 24
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 24
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 24
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,317member
    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/
  • Reply 20 of 24
    "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
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