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Apple CPUs to Replace Intel in Macs?


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#141 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 06:01 AM

I would still maintain that neither input nor design are major problems. Apple already sells keyboards along with Logitech and others I imagine for iOS devices. Controllers for iOS gaming are available too. Iím not disagreeing with you entirely about some transitional changes being needed in some cases. I can easily imagine that being the case but it is not a major problem that would hinder movement in this direction.

Again, comparisons to Microsoftís missteps donít really apply here. Those guys were trying to water down windows basically and the results sucked. Apple wonít be doing that as referenced by Tim Cookís remarks which I believe to be deliberately vague. What he has said can remain completely true while still side loading change into the equation.

Microsoftís big mistake was to try to create one operating system to run on everything or at least the same user interface. They should have left Windows alone and created something new for mobile, like Apple did and will almost certainly continue to do indefinitely as of this point in time.

I donít think Macs are watered down by new products even if lower end Macs are cannibalized by them. People needing a powerful Mac running macOS will still have that option. It isnít like some Mac Pro on ARM is up for discussion here, you know? And when you need a powerful notebook Mac, do you shop the new slim underpowered MacBook line or perhaps an Air? No, you get a MacBook Pro. If you are doing serious video production or whatever on the desktop, is the low end iMac with an Intel GPU going to cut it? No. Itís these low end systems that could go ARM with iOS and it would not represent any loss to the market needing real power at all. Itís just providing new options to users at the lower end of the scale who stand to benefit from them in various ways or Apple wouldnít be doing it.
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#142 Spike

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 01:16 PM

View PostDirtyHarry50, on 15 May 2018 - 06:01 AM, said:

I would still maintain that neither input nor design are major problems.

It is exactly this - interfaces and input - that Tim Cook is talking about that there would be unwanted compromises in this support. There is no way Apple would do this, fortunately.

#143 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 10:54 AM

New devices, not changed devices means the above issue does not exist.
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#144 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 04:34 AM

https://www.cultofma...impression=true

Long delayed Intel processors. Well, who knew?

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#145 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 04:47 AM

Now, where is AMD in all of this? Surely they could provide Apple with chips that are almost as good, at a much cheaper price.
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#146 Cougar

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 12:20 PM

View PostThain Esh Kelch, on 31 July 2018 - 04:47 AM, said:

Now, where is AMD in all of this? Surely they could provide Apple with chips that are almost as good, at a much cheaper price.

Because they're all-in on Thunderbolt, Apple would only be able to use it for the MacBook. But TB3 is going royalty-free so maybe that will change.

#147 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 06:05 PM

Intel's 10nm Cannon Lake process has been an absolute disaster for them. They were originally planning to release their 10nm chips in 2016. Now they are saying "Holiday 2019" for the new chips, which likely means Q1 2020 in reality. Because of this massive delay their huge performance lead on AMD has essentially vanished.

AMD is actually matching Intel in performance per watt with their new Ryzen 2000 chips and AMD has their 7nm chips (made by TSMC) planned for both CPUs and GPUs in 2019. TSMC's 7nm process is already operational by all reports (newest iPhone chip will be using it this fall most likely) and if that is the case Intel will have to release their 10nm architecture or AMD will gain a significant advantage in performance per watt.
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#148 Frost

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:08 PM

I still think the "Kalamata" has something to do with Apple and AMD.

Apple can't rotate into its own chips unless they go ARM or back to Power. That's going to create another legacy computing disaster and make everyone's Mac App Store purchases invalidated. They also can't make any x86 chips. The only company other than Intel who can do that without Intel's lawyers eating them for lunch is AMD.

Add to this that AMD has a program for putting ARM and x86 together on a single chip that they're actively hiring for in Texas...

Well it might be nothing but I can't think of anything that fits better. AMD has also been talking up a major design win for a long time that has yet to be revealed, and they're waiting for the partner to speak first. They're also ordering almost 3x the normal number of chips going into next year from fabs versus the usual. Their demand is increasing, but 3x? And yet this isn't going onto their 2H revenue... in fact AMD's guidance for the rest of the year was pretty flat and disappointing. So it sounds like someone wants something based on their 7nm Zen 2 chips next year, and LOTS of them.

Hmm.

I can see Apple doing a sort of big.little CPU configuration with some really low power ARM cores to do menial tasks and sip electricity, and even let iOS apps run on Macs, but with x86 big guns ready to go for serious computing.
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#149 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 09:48 PM

Someone had told me sometime earlier, either in this thread or elsewhere that Intel was not Apple's problem with refreshes ever. I thought it was in the discussion about potential ARM MacBooks, etc. I might be wrong as it's been a while. In any event, recent news highlighting it is the problem I referred to earlier caused me to link to it here for whoever that was.

Similarly, here's another link basically going over the same thing in that thanks to Intel Apple had to think differently about the MacBook for now.

https://www.pcmag.co...acbook-redesign
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#150 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 09:58 PM

I doubt Apple will have interest in hybrid Intel anything upcoming personally. They are already using ARM for coprocessing themselves although obviously not in a hybrid CPU. If they choose to move to AMD for CPUs, the hybrid design you refer to Frost might make some sense but I wouldn't know as I don't follow chip design in any detail at all. So, I don't know what the benefit of incorporating ARM on an x86 CPU as a hybrid design means in terms of benefits for say, an Apple system currently designed with both things separate on the motherboard. Presently, nothing Apple is doing with ARM in a Mac is performance intensive as far as I know. I think they use it for the strip of questionable utility on some MacBook Pros if I recall correctly. I can't remember if it's used in any other models but I am thinking maybe not presently. Of course, who knows what a future Mac design and model might entail, utilize, etc. for sure. I still think they want inhouse 100% long term to the greatest extent that makes sense for them and who they target for customers.
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#151 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 11:15 PM

I find it hard to imagine a bastardized Mac running both OS X apps and iOS apps. I don't know what the point of that would be. There must be a version of Candy Crush x Saga for OS X and everything else of import so why bother? I thought iOS on a real computer was pointless. What would it bring to the table that OS X cannot already do at least as well? The ecosystem is already connected via iCloud so what for?

On the other hand, given the above I can see an iOS MacBook easily which doesn't need an x86 CPU for most users aside of MacBook Pro users and they have an option they can spend over 6 grand on now to meet their requirements. The vast majority don't need that though. The lower tier iMacs certainly don't either. For the Pros there's the iMac Pro and I guess an upcoming Mac Pro? So, two product lines that are designed to easily work well together or separately seems like a good roadmap to me with a lot of benefit to the vast majority of Apple's customers and Apple itself certainly.

I don't buy the argument that software is an issue either. For their respective audiences, both lines would offer plenty of options to do what the device was designed for.

I know it sucks given a history of gaming on the Mac platform that goes back many years but it just makes no sense to spend on Pro hardware just to play games. I don't think it's going to make sense to even support OS X gaming in time because of who Apple targets and how. Consider how the options are already pretty poor with no improvement in sight. The iMac Pro means doom for iMacs capable of gaming that are even close to being reasonable in cost. I would expect upper tier iMacs to be phased out in time and the lineup to be similar to MacBooks today with the standard models not cutting it for gaming and the Pro models being far too expensive to justify, just to add gaming capability vs a standard model for everything else. The tiny niche group who need a Pro Mac, desktop or notebook, and play AAA video games just is not enough to support ongoing development down the road. How far down the road? I don't know naturally but I think when you see ARM MacBooks and iMacs appear it'll be game over right then and there.

If my saying that offends you or you think I am an idiot, I am sorry but I think a reaction like that is probably just the first stage of grief, namely denial and I don't blame you either. I sometimes miss the way some things used to be too but it doesn't matter. Time marches on and things change. There is no getting away from it.

I can see the Pro line and the consumer line split easily and the hardware split to go with it myself. I know some of you guys disagree and that's fine. We'll all find out soon enough but I think everyone should at least consider the possibility that what was could very possibly be going away and perhaps sooner than you think. I only glanced briefly at the last article I linked but if it is true that Apple spent money designing computers only to have to scrap those designs and create new ones because Intel failed to deliver the goods, it becomes very difficult to believe that they are not highly motivated to put a permanent end to that waste of resources and constraint. They certainly have the money to pursue other options vigorously. I just cannot imagine that they haven't already been for some time.

Back to ARM making its way in Macs now, macdude22 could better address this than I but I would think the introduction of ARM into existing Macs even before other possible changes relates to security and how Apple implements it already in iOS but maybe I am off here since I don't know how it differs technically between present Mac implementation and iOS device implementation or precisely how ARM figures into that in terms of software, hardware or both.
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#152 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 01:02 AM

View PostDirtyHarry50, on 19 August 2018 - 09:58 PM, said:

Presently, nothing Apple is doing with ARM in a Mac is performance intensive as far as I know. I think they use it for the strip of questionable utility on some MacBook Pros if I recall correctly. I can't remember if it's used in any other models but I am thinking maybe not presently.

The 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro have the T1 chip. Quote from Wikipedia: "The Apple T1 chip is an ARMv7 SoC from Apple driving the System Management Controller (SMC) and Touch ID sensor of the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.[90] In addition to the traditional tasks of the SMC, this chip operates as a secure enclave for the processing and encryption of fingerprints as well as acting as a gatekeeper to the microphone and FaceTime HD camera protecting these possible targets from potential hacking attempts."

The 2018 MacBook Pro, as well as the iMac Pro, have the T2 chip which handles more tasks: "It serves as a secure enclave for encrypted keys, gives users the ability to lock down the computer's boot process, handles system functions like the camera and audio control, and handles on-the-fly encryption and decryption for the solid-state drive.[93][94][95] T2 also delivers "enhanced imaging processing" for the iMac Pro's FaceTime HD camera.".

#153 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 01:33 AM

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#154 Matt Diamond

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 09:42 AM

View PostDirtyHarry50, on 19 August 2018 - 11:15 PM, said:

I find it hard to imagine a bastardized Mac running both OS X apps and iOS apps.
Agreed. Aside from what they've already announced, which is bring UIKit to Mac.

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The tiny niche group who need a Pro Mac, desktop or notebook, and play AAA video games just is not enough to support ongoing development down the road. How far down the road? I don't know naturally but I think when you see ARM MacBooks and iMacs appear it'll be game over right then and there.

It's a small group when you compare it to, say, the number of mobile users. On the other hand, not so small that they didn't bother coming out with the iMac Pro. Also not so small that they haven't come out with a new "behind the Mac" ad campaign targeting those users.

So my personal opinion is that the Mac Pro line won't be going away any time soon. In its current form it's not gamer-friendly, and like you I don't see signs that Apple will change that. Sigh. Eventually the world may decide that the idea of a PC isn't necessary anymore, but I don't think we're close to that yet. Ask me again in 5 years..

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#155 Frost

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 03:39 PM

View PostDirtyHarry50, on 19 August 2018 - 09:58 PM, said:

I doubt Apple will have interest in hybrid Intel anything upcoming personally. They are already using ARM for coprocessing themselves although obviously not in a hybrid CPU. If they choose to move to AMD for CPUs, the hybrid design you refer to Frost might make some sense but I wouldn't know as I don't follow chip design in any detail at all. So, I don't know what the benefit of incorporating ARM on an x86 CPU as a hybrid design means in terms of benefits for say, an Apple system currently designed with both things separate on the motherboard. Presently, nothing Apple is doing with ARM in a Mac is performance intensive as far as I know. I think they use it for the strip of questionable utility on some MacBook Pros if I recall correctly. I can't remember if it's used in any other models but I am thinking maybe not presently. Of course, who knows what a future Mac design and model might entail, utilize, etc. for sure. I still think they want inhouse 100% long term to the greatest extent that makes sense for them and who they target for customers.

Basically you get dramatically lower power usage for low-end tasks and thus dramatically higher battery life as whenever you're not doing something requiring a lot of CPU power, the ARM cores can take over. Think of it kind of like a CPU version of automatic graphics switching. You use the sucktastic Intel iGPU 95% of the time throughout your day, but whenever you are going to run a game or a pro app that needs GPU power, on comes your NVIDIA or AMD whathaveyou discrete GPU.

Problem with the CPU is that requires all kinds of design frakkery to make work right to go switching back and forth between two separate CPUs. Sony makes it work on the PS4 where they have the AMD Jaguar running the show when it's turned on, but a low power ARM CPU that encodes video for the background record feature and handles background tasks, as well as taking over fully when it's in rest mode. But again this requires all kinds of design frakkery that is much easier to work around on a videogame console and the enormous inefficiencies of the design don't get in the way when all you're doing is things a game console does. That's not really the case with a general use computer though.

Putting the ARM cores on the same chip gives access to the same cache, same pathways, same lanes, etc. as the main x86 cores without having to do programming and motherboard design whackery. It would let, say a MacBook, run the MacOS and any ARM-compatible apps on the very low power ARM cores, but without running into the PITA that would be loading up one of your professional programs and seeing "this app does not work on your Mac, buy a more expensive one." The Mac would just fire up the x86 cores to run the older or more high power software, and without the myriad issues introduced by having two separate CPUs on the motherboard.

NVIDIA did something like this to great effect on their Tegra X series mobile chips, for example. Those are 100% ARM, but they have four low-power 32-bit ARM cores to do menial tasks that sip battery power, and four high-power 64-bit ARM cores to do high-end tasks. Lets you have all-day battery life and low heat output if all you're doing is e-mail, web browsing, and tweeting, using something with about the computing power of a 2005 PowerMac G5. But if you switch over to a mobile game or some kind of mobile pro app, on come the 64-bit cores and you've got about four times that computing power.

IMO that would make huge sense for Apple to approach the issue that way. They can lower battery consumption and heat output by quite a bit and slim down apps and the OS, but without breaking compatibility. Just due to the legal nature of x86 however, the only way to do that is through Intel or AMD. If they're doing that and they plan to move away from Intel, that leaves only AMD, who coincidentally has a semi-custom program for exactly that kind of chip going right now with no known customers. It's a safe bet the customer is a large one as they only do semi-custom designs if the order size is going to be pretty huge. Best guess is it's either Apple, or Sony liked the results of the PS4 but didn't want the complexity, so wants a unified CPU in the PS5. Or both.
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Eric5h5:
When there's a multiplayer version, I'm going to be on Frost's team. Well, except he doesn't seem to actually need a team...I mean, what's the point? "Hey look, it's Frost and His Merry Gang of Useless Hangers-On!" Or something.

#156 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 07:10 PM

View PostMatt Diamond, on 20 August 2018 - 09:42 AM, said:

Agreed. Aside from what they've already announced, which is bring UIKit to Mac.

It's a small group when you compare it to, say, the number of mobile users. On the other hand, not so small that they didn't bother coming out with the iMac Pro. Also not so small that they haven't come out with a new "behind the Mac" ad campaign targeting those users.

So my personal opinion is that the Mac Pro line won't be going away any time soon. In its current form it's not gamer-friendly, and like you I don't see signs that Apple will change that. Sigh. Eventually the world may decide that the idea of a PC isn't necessary anymore, but I don't think we're close to that yet. Ask me again in 5 years..

Since it doesn't, then you don't have to be sorry, right?

No, in your case I don't. Glad to hear it.

I didn't mean I think the Mac Pro is going away. I think the Pro line isn't going anywhere for the foreseeable future including the Mac Pro. When I said game over, I meant for lack of a large enough target audience remaining for AAA gaming on Macs, that is going away. Not enough people will spend the money for a Pro Mac of any kind, Mini Pro, iMac Pro or Mac Pro just to add AAA gaming capability. On the other hand, the consumer line of Macs won't be even run it. I probably wasn't clear enough in how I stated that.
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#157 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 07:16 PM

Frost, while what you suggest isn't impossible I guess it seems far more plausible to me that Apple will simply form the Pro and consumer lines for the Macs, going all in on their own ARM designs for the consumer systems. What they do with the Pro systems I wouldn't speculate on myself besides those continuing to be based on x86 CPUs. The rest there I wouldn't attempt to divine at this point.
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#158 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 07:36 PM

As for hardware being present in a hybrid to support both native OS X apps and iOS apps, the hardware is only part of the complete equation there. Unlike with switching GPUs, where the app runs regardless of which GPU is operating on the host operating system, an iOS app will need iOS in some form.

I don't see Apple doing that. It strikes me as a solution in search of a problem given the way the ecosystem already works.
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#159 Frost

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Posted 25 August 2018 - 09:59 PM

View PostDirtyHarry50, on 22 August 2018 - 07:16 PM, said:

Frost, while what you suggest isn't impossible I guess it seems far more plausible to me that Apple will simply form the Pro and consumer lines for the Macs, going all in on their own ARM designs for the consumer systems. What they do with the Pro systems I wouldn't speculate on myself besides those continuing to be based on x86 CPUs. The rest there I wouldn't attempt to divine at this point.

The question is, do they care about third party support for the Mac at all? I don't think Adobe is jumping at the possibility of rewriting their software for ARM for no extra revenue, for example. Microsoft fought that battle for years and failed already with Windows RT, and they have a lot more software clout and far larger installed base than Apple. I personally don't think Apple is going to step on that landmine, and that's why I'm thinking they might do a hybrid solution. That plus AMD is no longer facing potential bankruptcy with garbage CPUs and is actually turning a profit and competitive again, so they're finally a viable alternative to Intel, and Apple already has a good relationship with them on the GPU front.

We'll see though.
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Eric5h5:
When there's a multiplayer version, I'm going to be on Frost's team. Well, except he doesn't seem to actually need a team...I mean, what's the point? "Hey look, it's Frost and His Merry Gang of Useless Hangers-On!" Or something.