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Apple woos chip design guru away from Samsung

post #1 of 88
Thread Starter 
Former AMD chip designer Jim Mergard, a noted engineer of both desktop class and mobile processors, is said to have been hired Apple after working for a short time at Samsung.

Jim Mergard
Chip guru Jim Mergard.


According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple's new hire is quite the coup as Mergard, who designed and developed chips at Advanced Micro Devices for 16 years, serving as the company's vice president and chief engineer before leaving for Samsung, was thought to be one of the Korean company's top prospects.

Among the chip designer's more notable accomplshments is his work on a high-profile AMD processor dubbed "Brazos," which was tailored for use in low-end laptops.

Former AMD executive Patrick Moorhead said Mergard is an expert in both PC technology as well as systems on a chip, the latter being the architecture used by Apple in its A-series of mobile processors.

Moorhead contends that Mergard's expertise may possibly spill into Apple's PC sector, perhaps as a first step into desktop and laptop class processors, a proposition long-rumored to be in the cards for Apple.

?He would be very capable of pulling together internal and external resources to do a PC processor for Apple,? Moorhead said.

The Cupertino company has been dabbling with creating their own silicon for years, finally releasing its first consumer-ready chip with the A4, an ARM Cortex-A8 CPU first used in the original iPad.

Most recently, the new iPhone 5's A6 SoC features Apple's first custom-designed core, a major step away from the standard ARM architecture used by other manufacturers. Based on the ARMv7s instruction set, the core's design change allowed Apple to squeeze double the performance out the SoC without sacrificing efficiency.
post #2 of 88

Good news.
 

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post #3 of 88
Opening sentence... "hired BY Apple"
post #4 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The Cupertino company has been dabbling with creating their own silicon for years, finally releasing its first consumer-ready chip with the A4, an ARM Cortex-A8 CPU first used in the original iPad.
Most recently, the new iPhone 5's A6 SoC features Apple's first custom-designed core, a major step away from the standard ARM architecture used by other manufacturers. While still based on the ARMv7 instruction set, the core's design change allowed Apple to squeeze double the performance out the SoC without sacrificing efficiency.

 

If I'm not mistaken, the Mega II chip from the Apple IIGS would be an example of custom silicon from Apple. It was a CPU shy of being a bona-fide SoC.

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post #5 of 88

Cue the "Apple is moving away from Intel by making their own CPU" comments.

post #6 of 88

I think Apple's own chip running OS X will be crazy amazing. If they can pull it off that means no more Intel relationship. There's only few more years until iOS jumps to Macs.

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post #7 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

I think Apple's own chip running OS X will be crazy amazing. If they can pull it off that means no more Intel relationship. There's only few more years until iOS jumps to Macs.

 

Pretty much.  it's inevitable.

 

We're already on that road.

 

Matter of time.

 

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

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You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

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post #8 of 88
Steal trade dress and patented ideas: $1,049,343,540. Lose famous chip designer: Priceless.
post #9 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post

 

Pretty much.  it's inevitable.

 

We're already on that road.

 

Matter of time.

 

Lemon Bon Bon.

We will gain a lot in everything related to laptops, tablets and smartphones.. but what about desktops/workstations?

Will Apple really put the hammger down?

 

I will only believe it when i see xcode for iPad.

post #10 of 88

Do you want to make Kimchi for the rest of your life?

An Apple man since 1977
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post #11 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

While still based on the ARMv7 instruction set […]

 

That’s not true. A6 is based on a new, Apple-developed ARMv7s instruction set (note the ‘s’), which is backwards-compatible with ARMv7. The new Xcode builds ‘fat’ binaries that contain code for both.

post #12 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

I think Apple's own chip running OS X will be crazy amazing. If they can pull it off that means no more Intel relationship. There's only few more years until iOS jumps to Macs.

I'm less certain this is feasible for Apple. With building their own Apple A-chips they are still using ARM reference designs thus still paying ARM for their efforts in advancing their tech. With this they will have to make an x86 compatible chip that won't get blown out of the water by Intel (I think Intel holds back because they can) or go with an ARM-based system for their Macs which will kill any virtualization options for Windows (which I think is a big draw for Macs). I certainly wouldn't want to give up my Mac or my VMWare where I try out new Windows builds. MS has made the WinNT kernel run on ARM but I'm not sure how that will translate over to their desktop OSes. MS and Apple could both flip on Intel but at this point I see no proof of that happening.

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post #13 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Moorhead contends that Mergard's expertise may possibly spill into Apple's PC sector, perhaps as a first step into desktop and laptop class processors, a proposition long-rumored to be in the cards for Apple has long been rumored to be mulling.
 

Is a copy editor in the cards for AI? Please be mulling...

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post #14 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

... or go with an ARM-based system for their Macs which will kill any virtualization options for Windows ...

If the chip is powerful enough to emulate and VM was rewritten to execute ARM instructions wouldn't it be the same as running VM right now? Boot Camp I understand would be a problem but running in a virtual machine should still be possible.

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post #15 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


I'm less certain this is feasible for Apple. With building their own Apple A-chips they are still using ARM reference designs thus still paying ARM for their efforts in advancing their tech. With this they will have to make an x86 compatible chip that won't get blown out of the water by Intel (I think Intel holds back because they can) or go with an ARM-based system for their Macs which will kill any virtualization options for Windows (which I think is a big draw for Macs). I certainly wouldn't want to give up my Mac or my VMWare where I try out new Windows builds. MS has made the WinNT kernel run on ARM but I'm not sure how that will translate over to their desktop OSes. MS and Apple could both flip on Intel but at this point I see no proof of that happening.

 

I think people are reading this wrong. IOS devices will soon represent more than 90% of Apple's income. The Mac and non-IOS iPods are going to be fringe product lines. Apple is putting all their energy into IOS devices and this new hire will most certainly be part of that with future iPhones, iPods, iPads, TV products and whatever else their collected imaginations conjure up and dare to do. Huge investments dwarfed by mind boggling returns.

 

It may be that the iPad will expand to grab a bigger piece of the PC pie, but converting Macs to some kind of Arm based processor doesn't seem like it would be worth the effort. If Apple flips on Intel it will be to AMD.

post #16 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

If the chip is powerful enough and VM was rewritten to execute ARM instructions wouldn't it be the same as running VM right now? Boot Camp I understand would be a problem but running in a virtual machine should still be possible.

If you are executing x86 code it would then be emulated, not virtualized. This is much slower. Remember MS Virtual PC for PPC Macs? It wasn't good. The only solution would be for Windows to offer their desktop OSes with the ARM kernels. You then get the driver issues that we saw with Windows when they moved from 32 to 64-bit but it's do-able and MS certainly seems better poised to eschew Intel for ARM (read: add ARM instruction set as an option to x86 and x86_64) if they want to then they seemed ready to adopt 64-bit.

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post #17 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonshf View Post

I think people are reading this wrong. IOS devices will soon represent more than 90% of Apple's income. The Mac and non-IOS iPods are going to be fringe product lines. Apple is putting all their energy into IOS devices and this new hire will most certainly be part of that with future iPhones, iPods, iPads, TV products and whatever else their collected imaginations conjure up and dare to do. Huge investments dwarfed by mind boggling returns.

It may be that the iPad will expand to grab a bigger piece of the PC pie, but converting Macs to some kind of Arm based processor doesn't seem like it would be worth the effort. If Apple flips on Intel it will be to AMD.

Im with you on that. I think it would make more sense to work with AMD if they really wanted to go that route but just focusing more on the iOS-based processing seems like a much wider path for them to take.

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post #18 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


I'm less certain this is feasible for Apple. With building their own Apple A-chips they are still using ARM reference designs thus still paying ARM for their efforts in advancing their tech. With this they will have to make an x86 compatible chip that won't get blown out of the water by Intel (I think Intel holds back because they can) or go with an ARM-based system for their Macs which will kill any virtualization options for Windows (which I think is a big draw for Macs). I certainly wouldn't want to give up my Mac or my VMWare where I try out new Windows builds. MS has made the WinNT kernel run on ARM but I'm not sure how that will translate over to their desktop OSes. MS and Apple could both flip on Intel but at this point I see no proof of that happening.

 

Actually that's not quite true. With the A6 Apple did not use an ARM reference design, it is a custom micro-architecture design. They are however using ARM's ARMv7 ISA, which describes the instruction set.

 

Intel and AMD have very different micro-architecture designs in their CPUs, but they both adhere to the AMD64 ISA, which makes them code/binary compatible.

 

Remember Apple did buy up to 2 different design teams, one that worked on ARM (Intrinsity) and the other worked on Power (P.A. Semi designed their own cores from the ground up). It wouldn't be a stretch to imagine that they could very well design their own AMD64 cores as well.

Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #19 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

Actually that's not quite true. With the A6 Apple did not use an ARM reference design, it is a custom micro-architecture design. They are however using ARM's ARMv7 
ISA, which describes the instruction set.

Intel and AMD have very different micro-architecture designs in their CPUs, but they both adhere to the AMD64 ISA, which makes them code/binary compatible.

Remember Apple did buy up to 2 different design teams, one that worked on ARM (Intrinsity) and the other worked on Power (P.A. Semi designed their own cores from the ground up). It wouldn't be a stretch to imagine that they could very well design their own AMD64 cores as well.

So they aren't licensing any tech from ARM for their A6 chip?

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post #20 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I'm less certain this is feasible for Apple. With building their own Apple A-chips they are still using ARM reference designs thus still paying ARM for their efforts in advancing their tech. With this they will have to make an x86 compatible chip that won't get blown out of the water by Intel (I think Intel holds back because they can) or go with an ARM-based system for their Macs which will kill any virtualization options for Windows (which I think is a big draw for Macs). I certainly wouldn't want to give up my Mac or my VMWare where I try out new Windows builds. MS has made the WinNT kernel run on ARM but I'm not sure how that will translate over to their desktop OSes. MS and Apple could both flip on Intel but at this point I see no proof of that happening.

Is an Intel chip as a BTO addition (as in an extra CPU daughter card) for those that want VM capability not feasible in Macs if Apple did go their own way for the most part?
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post #21 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Do you want to make Kimchi for the rest of your life?

 

or work for a copycat for the rest of your life?

 

 

It seems like Apple's business strategy  is largely consisted of stealing Samsung's business partners (Intrinsity, Anobity) or stealing employees from Google Maps or Samsung's semi team.  Can Apple do anything original? 


Edited by tooltalk - 10/11/12 at 8:19pm
post #22 of 88
Originally Posted by tooltalk View Post
or work for a copycat for the rest of yourself? Can Apple do anything original? 

 

Now, we like to throw the word 'trolling' around a lot, and it's mostly valid, sometimes not.

 

Explain how the content of this post is not anything but pure, unacceptable lying. This is not a request.

post #23 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

... go with an ARM-based system for their Macs which will kill any virtualisation options for Windows (which I think is a big draw for Macs). ...

 

This is a really good point, but in my experience, the number of folks running parallels (or any kind of Windows virtualisation), on their Mac is dropping off quite a bit lately.  I only see one of these setups every three or four months lately whereas I used to have to deal with them all the time.  I think a lot of folks did the virtualisation thing only as a way of justifying the fact that they were leaving Windows behind, which they eventually did.  

post #24 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

This is a really good point, but in my experience, the number of folks running parallels (or any kind of Windows virtualisation), on their Mac is dropping off quite a bit lately.  I only see one of these setups every three or four months lately whereas I used to have to deal with them all the time.  I think a lot of folks did the virtualisation thing only as a way of justifying the fact that they were leaving Windows behind, which they eventually did.  

I use them quite extensively. Not for my personal use OS but for testing. Now I understand my usage is not the norm but I have a feeling that this is one of those things Apple might heavily consider even though it's not that common.

My usage might even be more atypical as I use it for testing Windows Server which I think I could do right now with Amazon EC2 for free.

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post #25 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


If you are executing x86 code it would then be emulated, not virtualized. This is much slower. Remember MS Virtual PC for PPC Macs? It wasn't good. The only solution would be for Windows to offer their desktop OSes with the ARM kernels. You then get the driver issues that we saw with Windows when they moved from 32 to 64-bit but it's do-able and MS certainly seems better poised to eschew Intel for ARM (read: add ARM instruction set as an option to x86 and x86_64) if they want to then they seemed ready to adopt 64-bit.

 

I have 4 os's running on my iMac currently, sad but true, Win 7 (64 bit) for a single app, Win XP (32 bit) for a single app, Linux and Apple's crowning glory :) I do not want to lose those 'single apps'.

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post #26 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by tooltalk View Post

or work for a copycat for the rest of yourself?

It seems like Apple's business is strategy largely consisted of stealing Samsung's business partners (Intrinsity, Anobity) or stealing employees from Google Maps or Samsung's semi team.  Can Apple do anything original? 

LOL.

Okay, for the sake of argument and educating us.

Could you rattle off the list of successful, original products that Samsung and Google have pumped out in the last decade or more?
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post #27 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


...Remember MS Virtual PC for PPC Macs? It wasn't good...

 

...But the emulated software was more reliable on my 12" Powerbook than on a PC notebook, even running an RS232 dongle to hardware!

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post #28 of 88
Originally Posted by GTR View Post
Could you rattle off the list of successful, original products that Samsung and Google have pumped out in the last decade or more?

 

Google:

Self-driving cars (and maybe not; don't know the particulars).

The… way (and maybe not) they monetize our personal information.

AdSense, maybe?

 

Samsung:

I dunno, they do construction equipment. Maybe some of that isn't stolen from Caterpillar. Their home appliances sure look like knockoffs. 

I was looking up Samsung Petrochemical, but there's no Wikipedia page on that, and I'm not about to learn Korean just to see what they make.

post #29 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Google:
Self-driving cars (and maybe not; don't know the particulars).
The… way (and maybe not) they monetize our personal information.
AdSense, maybe?

Samsung:
I dunno, they do construction equipment. Maybe some of that isn't stolen from Caterpillar. Their home appliances sure look like knockoffs. 
I was looking up Samsung Petrochemical, but there's no Wikipedia page on that, and I'm not about to learn Korean just to see what they make.

I did include the word 'successful' in that query... ;-)
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post #30 of 88
Originally Posted by GTR View Post
I did include the word 'successful' in that query... ;-)


Provided they're original, Google's cars will be extraordinarily successful. Not that they'll be making cars, they'll perfect the tech and then license it to every car manufacturer. That is, if they're not complete idiots. As it stands, we'll likely see one company in each country that manufactures cars getting exclusivity for some disgusting reason.

post #31 of 88
Windows RT...yuck
post #32 of 88

I wonder what kind of coin this guy will be pulling in.

post #33 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

LOL.
Okay, for the sake of argument and educating us.
Could you rattle off the list of successful, original products that Samsung and Google have pumped out in the last decade or more?

Like Apple, Samsung are evolving products that existing previously.
post #34 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


Provided they're original, Google's cars will be extraordinarily successful. Not that they'll be making cars, they'll perfect the tech and then license it to every car manufacturer. That is, if they're not complete idiots. As it stands, we'll likely see one company in each country that manufactures cars getting exclusivity for some disgusting reason.

I'm asking for proven, current-day, successful (makes a profit, not a loss), original products or services. I suspect Samsung and Google have had a lot less of these than we suspect, but I'm genuinely interested in being corrected if I'm wrong.

Apple have had a ton of these: the iMac, OS X, the iPod, iTunes music store, the Apple retail stores, the iPhone, MacBook Air, iPad, not to mention the various hardware/software formats they've been responsible for either making popular or killing off as appropriate.

I'd really like to hear if there is another single company that had the same influence.
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post #35 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfanning View Post

Like Apple, Samsung are evolving products that existing previously.

Can you give some examples?
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post #36 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

I'm asking for proven, current-day, successful (makes a profit, not a loss), original products or services. I suspect Samsung and Google have had a lot less of these than we suspect, but I'm genuinely interested in being corrected if I'm wrong.
Apple have had a ton of these: the iMac, OS X, the iPod, iTunes music store, the Apple retail stores, the iPhone, MacBook Air, iPad, not to mention the various hardware/software formats they've been responsible for either making popular or killing off as appropriate.
I'd really like to hear if there is another single company that had the same influence.

Not one of Apple products etc are original, they are evolution of an existing product or service. Don't confuse a successful item with an original item
post #37 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

Can you give some examples?

Are you going to sit there and say you don't know a single Samsung device that exists? Like Apple, they are just improving previously existing products
post #38 of 88
Originally Posted by jfanning View Post
Not one of Apple products etc are original, they are evolution of an existing product or service. Don't confuse a successful item with an original item

 

You're hilarious. 

 

By your definition, the concept of originality doesn't exist.

post #39 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You're hilarious. 

By your definition, the concept of originality doesn't exist.

Yes it does, but to claim that Apple is creating "original" items, and Samsung isn't is purely naive.
post #40 of 88
Originally Posted by jfanning View Post
Yes it does, but to claim that Apple is creating "original" items, and Samsung isn't is purely naive.

 

And claiming something paid for is the same as something stolen is very IAU of you.

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