Apple TV: Powered by NVIDIA?

Now we get to the interesting stuff, beneath one of the globs of thermal grease is an NVIDIA GPU:


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The chip itself is a GeForce Go 7300:

The Go 7300 has 4 pixel pipes and 3 vertex pipes and a 64-bit memory interface. On the bottom of the motherboard you'll see the two 32MB Samsung 700MHz GDDR3 devices for a total of 64MB of dedicated graphics memory. The Go 7300 does support Turbo Cache so it can get speedy access to main memory, but given that the Apple TV will be required to deal with fancy graphics and transitions at resolutions as great as 720p or 1080i it makes sense to have a good amount of local memory. As thoughtfully pointed out by AnandTech reader Eug, the Go 7300 may also be used to help accelerate H.264 video decode.

We were actually surprised by Apple's decision to go with a dedicated GPU in the Apple TV, especially considering that the Intel chipset included has its own graphics core.

Next to the NVIDIA GPU is a Silicon Image TMDS transmitter that handles the HDMI output:

Motherboard: Out and in Hand What Intel CPU did Apple go With?
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  • Lonyo - Thursday, March 22, 2007 - link

    Anandtech readers aren't most people :P Reply
  • shabby - Thursday, March 22, 2007 - link

    quote:

    The cable itself is fine, but it's not wrapped in some ridiculously elegant way

    Reply
  • Eug - Thursday, March 22, 2007 - link

    Perhaps Apple is using the GeForce Go 7300 to assist with H.264 decoding. Reply
  • saratoga - Thursday, March 22, 2007 - link

    That seems likely. 1GHz would be fairly iffy for 720p H.264. My guess is they included it for use as a DSP. Theres a lot of FMACs on even a low end GPU, which is really important for this sort of work.

    Still, the whole package looks a bit thrown together. Theres real embedded parts you can use, rather then expensive laptop gear. You don't need an x86 CPU if you don't have a PC, a MIPS or ARM part with a fast DSP chip will do the same thing for 1/10 the price . . . if you've got time to rewrite your x86 codecs for a highly specialized DSP system. I guess Apple didn't.

    Sort of reminds me of the Xbox 1. Lots of off the shelf PC parts, way more expensive to make then it should have been, but it did get MS's foot in floor and Sony isn't laughing so hard these days. Maybe Apple will pull if off.
    Reply
  • Renoir - Friday, March 23, 2007 - link

    1GHz does indeed seem to being cutting it a bit close for high def H.264 although given how efficient coreAVC is perhaps they've just really optimised the decoder. If they have it'd be nice to see it in quicktime as that one seems very inefficient IMHO. Reply
  • michael2k - Thursday, March 22, 2007 - link

    I wonder if you could make a TOTALLY sweet MythTV box out of this.

    Or... somehow hack a wireless keyboard with something like Synergy and get full OS X on this thing.
    Reply
  • Cygni - Friday, March 23, 2007 - link

    Man no kidding. This would be a great MythTV + Emulation station computer if we can get Linux running on it, and i cant see why it wouldnt. The whole thing is made of standard PC components. The 40 gig HD might be a little skimpy for a MythTV box, however. Reply

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