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Apple begins receiving shipments of A-series processors from TSMC - report

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
Following years of rumors, chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. has begun production of Apple's A-series processors and the chips are now making their way to assembly plants, according to a Thursday morning report from Hong Kong.

TSMC Fab
TSMC's 12-inch wafer fab


TSMC started production on its 20-nanometer fabrication lines in the first quarter of 2014, with shipments commencing in the second quarter, the Wall Street Journal said. Samsung will reportedly remain one of Apple's top suppliers for now, but will split orders with TSMC for the near future.

"Apple's order is a big deal to the company. TSMC has assigned a large team to support Apple as you know this client is very picky," a person familiar with the Apple deal told the publication.

Whispers that TSMC had begun manufacturing so-called "A8" chips for Apple's next-generation iPhones and iPads surfaced in March. Those processors are though to be quad-core models, doubling the dual-core setup of the current-generation A7.

TSMC has been linked to the manufacturing of Apple's A-series chips numerous times over the years, but the company has not yet seen its silicon sit at the heart of iOS devices. The company does manufacture other custom chips for Apple, however, including the Touch ID sensors introduced with the iPhone 5s.

In addition to the 20-nanometer production, Apple and TSMC are believed to have agreed on a research and development collaboration that will see Apple move to 16-nanometer production next year. It is unclear what the process shrink means for the long-term future of Apple's partnership with Samsung, on whom the iPhone maker has reduced reliance as the companies battle it out on retail shelves and in courtrooms around the world.
post #2 of 56
It's my understanding intel is already making chips in the 14 nanometer range. These TSMC chips are 20 nanometer?

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post #3 of 56
It was expected, not only samsung isn't a nice company but their process had fallen behind the shelude as we got 28 nm in 2012 from TSMC and in 2013 from samsung (exynos 5octa). Even when Apple was forced to go with samsung at 28 nm their process is somewhat less matured and more power hungry than TSMC's. Apple's push for 20 nm was obvious, it delivers at least 30% lower power consumption 2x higher transistor density, things that are needed for unified chips like A7, which are great for both iPhone and iPad because they combine low power consumption (like Apple A6) with no compromise performance (like Apple A6X)
There has been so many shortages for 20nm ( from the beginning of 2014) that AMD,Nvidia and all ARM manufactures are angry... Possibly because Apple is sucking out entire 20nm manufacturing capability as their are planing to churn out 68 millions six's before end of the year.

20nm is a huge win... Considering intels delay of 14nm to 2015, it will be the smallest node for some time... Like smaller node than in all computers ! At 20nm you can implement quand core, far beefier GPU have drastically lover idle AND busy power compustion and produce less heat (wasted power). Basically speaking A7 was so impressive from performance standpoint that traditional 2x performance gain is basically impossible without going to 20nm.
And ultra bassically speaking, game over, time to upgrade, even from my 5S.
post #4 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

It's my understanding intel is already making chips in the 14 nanometer range. These TSMC chips are 20 nanometer?

 

Intel's current Haswell processors use a 22 nm process, whereas the forthcoming Broadwell is 14 nm. However Intel has been experiencing product yield problems with their 14 nm process, resulting in Broadwell's delay from mid-2014 to an estimated 4Q-2014.

 

Which is more important, bragging rights to the smallest process size, or having a product to ship?

post #5 of 56

Looking forward to seeing how big of an impact this will have on real day to day battery life. Can't wait!

post #6 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

It's my understanding intel is already making chips in the 14 nanometer range. These TSMC chips are 20 nanometer?

Intel might be starting to make them, but mass production is now expected in 2H 2015.

 

In addition, one company's node size is not trivially comparable to another's...

post #7 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilM View Post

Intel's current Haswell processors use a 22 nm process, whereas the forthcoming Broadwell is 14 nm. However Intel has been experiencing product yield problems with their 14 nm process, resulting in Broadwell's delay from mid-2014 to an estimated 4Q-2014.

Which is more important, bragging rights to the smallest process size, or having a product to ship?

I wonder if Apple is also looking at alternatives to Intel for OS X too in their lower end Macs? It's not my area of expertise but I would imagine an optional BTO Intel chip could be added for those who requiring to run VMs or Bootcamp (does anyone bother with Bootcamp these days given the speed of VMs?).
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post #8 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

It's my understanding intel is already making chips in the 14 nanometer range. These TSMC chips are 20 nanometer?

 

They are trying to release 14nm chips, but have been delayed.

post #9 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

It's my understanding intel is already making chips in the 14 nanometer range.

Nope, as mentioned by NeilM, the 14nm transition has been very troublesome for Intel, which is why the Broadwell chips have been delayed.

 

This is likely the fundamental reason why we haven't seen any new Macs for a while (apart from some very minor speed bumps).

 

We will probably not see any new Macs until 4Q 2014. And it may be well into 2015 before we see Broadwell-equipped models for all Mac product lines since Apple doesn't release all new Mac product lines at the same time. Availability of new silicon is typically constrained by supply issues, and Apple typically handles this by staggering product line launches.


Edited by mpantone - 7/10/14 at 7:15am
post #10 of 56

I think we'll see two versions of the A8, dual-core (A8) and quad-core (A8X). Quad-core processors in an iPhone are just not necessary when iOS makes so much use of other processors, including the GPU and ISP. iOS7+A7 proves that a dual-core system is still an extremely viable option.

 

However, with Apple positioning the iPad in the enterprise, we will more than likely see a quad-core A8 that will run circles around anything competitors, including Intel, will be able to produce in terms of efficiency (performance per power consumption).

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 #11 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

It's my understanding intel is already making chips in the 14 nanometer range. These TSMC chips are 20 nanometer?

Intel is making a few smaller lower performance 14nm chips, just recently begun. But the majority of their 14nm production is well behind original estimates, by about two years! They've continually been delaying production. Quite frankly, 14nm is such a bear, that I was surprised that Intel announced, several years ago, that they would be continuing their two year tick tock cycle. It's at four years now, and running, as we won't know its second half of 2015 schedule which is now what they're are claiming, will be met until it's actually out.

But, 22nm was delayed by six months as well, so we are really behind schedule. With TSMC now at 20nm, that's better than the majority of Intel's product lines. If TSMC comes out with 16nm for Apple's next september's production in 2015, they will be less than half a node behind.

Intel is still claiming that 10nm will be on schedule, but I highly doubt that. Considering what we've seen in recent years, and with most microprocessor experts believing that 10nm is close to the end, I think that 10nm, which is still in the R&D stage, even though if Intel had been on schedule, it should be where they are now, I see many delays ahead for this too, Intel is now an entire node behind where they said they would be four years ago.

What surprised me is that Intel is claiming on their production model roadmap that not only will they have 10nm, but 7 and even 5! I find this hard to believe, as they are presenting it as fact, even though most experts have significant doubts about 7, and many are skeptical about 5nm being achievable. We have to understand that the average atom is about .5nm in diameter, particularly the ones needed here, such as copper, silicon, etc. this means that a line that is 14nm wide is just 28 atoms wide, 10nm is 20, 7 is 14, and 5 is just 10 atoms wide.

The problems that present themselves are lithography, which becomes exceeding more difficult. Some of the techniques used now are very clever, but won't carry down much below 14nm. Then we have the problem of the accuracy of the etching. If you look at a high magnification if a chip, you will see that structures are anything but smooth and even. They are bumpy and lumpy. This doesn't matter with larger structures, because those bumps and lumps are a small percentage of the thickness or width. But as line size becomes smaller, those discrepancies become a larger percentage of the feature, resulting in less predictable performance. This is a big problem.

Then we have the quantum effects of tunneling, which is a major cause of leakage, though there are others as well. When a line is thick and wide, the electrons near the edges can tunnel out through the insulator, but the percentage is very small. But as line width and thickness becomes smaller, tunneling becomes a major issue. At some point soon, it will become unmanageable, as no materials or process techniques will be adequate to cut down on it enough. That's where the end comes.

Will it be 10nm or 5nm? No one knows for sure. But once we're there, everyone will end up at the same node, giving no one a major advantage over another.
post #12 of 56

It does not matter what Intel is doing there chip designs are power hogs to begin with, they sited the reason for going to 14nm was to reduce power consumption by 30%, litho shrinks in the past were to get increase speed performance, well they hit the wall with that, it is now for size and power reductions. However, in Apple case they are shrinking to continue to increase performance as well as decrease power where possible.

 

Unless Intel fundamentally changes their architecture they will continue to be power hogs. Apple would have stayed with the PPC if it was not for the fact they Freescale was not making any investments in it. It use far less power than a similar Intel design, but Intel got so far ahead of the performance curve and it power was equal to PPC for greater performance so Apple had not choose but make the move. But they have their own design processor now and are way ahead of the game than anyone else, which make Intel irrelevant.

post #13 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilM View Post

Intel's current Haswell processors use a 22 nm process, whereas the forthcoming Broadwell is 14 nm. However Intel has been experiencing product yield problems with their 14 nm process, resulting in Broadwell's delay from mid-2014 to an estimated 4Q-2014.

Which is more important, bragging rights to the smallest process size, or having a product to ship?

That's an obsolete estimate, as it's been pushed back to second half of 2015.
post #14 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I wonder if Apple is also looking at alternatives to Intel for OS X too in their lower end Macs? It's not my area of expertise but I would imagine an optional BTO Intel chip could be added for those who requiring to run VMs or Bootcamp (does anyone bother with Bootcamp these days given the speed of VMs?).

If you need the full power of your graphics card, Bootcamp is still the only way to go. The same is true if you need all of your RAM.
post #15 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

That's an obsolete estimate, as it's been pushed back to second half of 2015.

Curiously, the Intel CEO recently promised 14nm Broadwell by the holidays (2014).

 

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2156741/intel-guarantees-delayed-next-gen-broadwell-chips-will-be-in-pcs-this-holiday-season.html

 

Is he lying? What would INTC shareholders say? (We realize that he was making a forward-looking statement.)

 

Please provide a reference where it says that 14nm Intel is slipping to the second half of 2015.

post #16 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


I wonder if Apple is also looking at alternatives to Intel for OS X too in their lower end Macs? It's not my area of expertise but I would imagine an optional BTO Intel chip could be added for those who requiring to run VMs or Bootcamp (does anyone bother with Bootcamp these days given the speed of VMs?).

 

We actually see Apple beginning to use lower-powered and much cheaper Intel CPUs for their low-end systems driving the cost and prices down. The CPUs used in these systems are more than adequate for casual computing use.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post
 

Unless Intel fundamentally changes their architecture they will continue to be power hogs. Apple would have stayed with the PPC if it was not for the fact they Freescale was not making any investments in it. It use far less power than a similar Intel design, but Intel got so far ahead of the performance curve and it power was equal to PPC for greater performance so Apple had not choose but make the move. But they have their own design processor now and are way ahead of the game than anyone else, which make Intel irrelevant.

 

I honestly don't think Apple would've stayed with PPC. I think Apple (Steve Jobs) realized that they needed an "in" to the enterprise and switching to Intel was the path with the least obstacles. Regardless of how they compare to ARM, Intel CPUs have come a long way in efficiency starting with the Core line. The battery life of Apple's latest MacBooks is astonishing.

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 #17 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

If you need the full power of your graphics card, Bootcamp is still the only way to go. The same is true if you need all of your RAM.

Right ... but a gamer would prefer a PC anyway surely, leaving most Mac users needing Windows as non gamers I would have thought ... thus my thought that VMware would suffice for the vast majority of Mac users needing Windows ... if you see what I mean. My new Mac Pro's Windows performance scores were pretty mind blowing. We've come a long way from the old emulation systems on OS 9 for sure! 1biggrin.gif
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post #18 of 56

Apple begins receiving shipments of A-series processors from TSMC

 

These have to be perfect.


Perfect.

 

No BS like with nVidia where the card cuts out early in its life. Nothing.

 

The iDevice lineup has to work.

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post #19 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

We actually see Apple beginning to use lower-powered and much cheaper Intel CPUs for their low-end systems driving the cost and prices down. The CPUs used in these systems are more than adequate for casual computing use.

Exactly and wouldn't their own chips, something akin to an A8 do the same job and help Apple make more profits? As I said, I realize that would be the end of running Windows ... not a great loss these days.
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post #20 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


Right ... but a gamer would prefer a PC anyway surely, leaving most Mac users needing Windows as non gamers I would have thought ... thus my thought that VMware would suffice for the vast majority of Mac users needing Windows ... if you see what I mean.

 

There are a fair number of apps other than games these days which take advantage of the GPU (most modern web browsers, for example).  Using the GPU under emulation is still pretty quirky.

 
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post #21 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post
 

 

We actually see Apple beginning to use lower-powered and much cheaper Intel CPUs for their low-end systems driving the cost and prices down. The CPUs used in these systems are more than adequate for casual computing use.

 

 

 

 

I honestly don't think Apple would've stayed with PPC. I think Apple (Steve Jobs) realized that they needed an "in" to the enterprise and switching to Intel was the path with the least obstacles. Regardless of how they compare to ARM, Intel CPUs have come a long way in efficiency starting with the Core line. The battery life of Apple's latest MacBooks is astonishing.

 

 

That is because apple does power management far better than anyone else. Their very first laptop had better power management than some of the generic laptop on the market today. Power Management has been Apple shining star which no one notice. It is a the perfect example of when technology works so well you do not even notice it. Even today the same Intel process in competitor products do not get the same power performance as Apple and this has more to do with Apple than anything that Intel is doing to make things better.

post #22 of 56

1. I dont get how part of the story about Samsung getting orders for A8 as well. Because they simply isn't. Unless Apple decide to make 20nm A8 and 28nm A8 as well. Samsung's 20nm isn't ready, ( that was three months ago ) and they have been concentrating on 14nm.

 

2. Intel 14nm isn't coming in 2015. It is the end of this year or have product shipping for Holiday season.  If you include the ULP series then Intel is at most delaying 14nm by a quarter or two. Not a year or more as some of you have stated.

 

3. I personally believe Intel is milking the market rather then 14nm having yield problem. All new nodes have yield problem when they first ramp up, but this time intel isn't putting the same resources into solving it simply because they dont need to with no competition in Desktop, Laptop or even Server market. More and more R&D are being shifted over to the SoC version of 14nm node. Which is scheduled for 2015. My guess is that SoC node isn't doing too well.

 

4. Rumours goes that Samsung already have Apple on broad with their 14nm. I am still slightly sceptic of that. Especially when TSMC is working on a new 16nm+ and collaborating with a major partner on 10nm development. um.....

 

5. Pls, Intel and x86 Atom isn't power hog. It may be when they started. But that is no longer the case.

 

6. Quad Core? Or has Apple secretly masted the big.Little technique? 

post #23 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


I wonder if Apple is also looking at alternatives to Intel for OS X too in their lower end Macs? It's not my area of expertise but I would imagine an optional BTO Intel chip could be added for those who requiring to run VMs or Bootcamp (does anyone bother with Bootcamp these days given the speed of VMs?).

I really don't think that is possible, unless they attempt to clone intel's processors (and what would be the point of that) simply because all of the OS X software is intel binary. They could (possibly) run iOS software on such a chimera (a series in a macbook) but iOS is -strongly- tablet based, and at that point haven't we really crippled and removed the point of getting a Mac (i.e. -running OS X software-) over an iPad Air and a keyboard.

post #24 of 56

Intel's process advantage is significant, but unfortunately there's no way right now they'd allow their cutting edge node to be used to produce competing ARM-based chips.

 

Since foundaries name their own process, it's easy for TSMC to call their current, brand new process 20nm, but it's still generally an inferior process to Intel's 22nm node with finfet that's been in volume production for 2 years.

 

Intel's first 14nm chips are supposed to be available for the holiday buying season, though probably in relatively low numbers.

 

So basically TSMC's 20nm process without finfets are ramping up with the A8 being the first chip at the same time as Intel's 14nm process. TSMC's  future 14nm process is their 20nm process finally with finfet and based on their prior history, that's a good deals way out.

 

So an A9 using Intels' cutting edge node would be killer, but unfortunately won't happen for a long time.

post #25 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

I think we'll see two versions of the A8, dual-core (A8) and quad-core (A8X). Quad-core processors in an iPhone are just not necessary when iOS makes so much use of other processors, including the GPU and ISP. iOS7+A7 proves that a dual-core system is still an extremely viable option.

However, with Apple positioning the iPad in the enterprise, we will more than likely see a quad-core A8 that will run circles around anything competitors, including Intel, will be able to produce in terms of efficiency (performance per power consumption).

I would rather see Apple do something else entirely. If they instead increased per core performance significantly again, as they have been doing, and added inter chip communication the way Intel has done with the Xeon, then Apple would have a lot of opportunities. The chip could still be used in the phone, where I disagree with your contention that it's powerful enough. But in an ipad, Apple Apple could use two of these two core SoC's. They could then get perhaps four times the performance of today's iPad, which would be particularly true if they do come out with the 12" model sometime next year. This would also allow twice the graphics performance.

I have some other ideas for the SoC that I think would work, but I'll hold off on that for now, though I mentioned it in an earlier discussion.
post #26 of 56

I was hoping this to be all TSMC with no participating from Samsung! :no: 

post #27 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilM View Post

Intel's current Haswell processors use a 22 nm process, whereas the forthcoming Broadwell is 14 nm. However Intel has been experiencing product yield problems with their 14 nm process, resulting in Broadwell's delay from mid-2014 to an estimated 4Q-2014.

Which is more important, bragging rights to the smallest process size, or having a product to ship?

That's an obsolete estimate, as it's been pushed back to second half of 2015.

So what does that mean for iMac refresh? I need at least two. I don't want to buy at the end of the model refresh cycle so I've been waiting.

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post #28 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

Curiously, the Intel CEO recently promised 14nm Broadwell by the holidays (2014).

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2156741/intel-guarantees-delayed-next-gen-broadwell-chips-will-be-in-pcs-this-holiday-season.html

Is he lying? What would INTC shareholders say? (We realize that he was making a forward-looking statement.)

Please provide a reference where it says that 14nm Intel is slipping to the second half of 2015.

These are the ultra low power Broadwell chips. I said that the low power, low end chips will be seen by the end of the year. But the bigger, higher power chips will be delayed further. Notice that you won't find anything about them.

I first forgot to include this link:

http://www.macrumors.com/2014/07/09/broadwell-early-to-mid-2015/
post #29 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Exactly and wouldn't their own chips, something akin to an A8 do the same job and help Apple make more profits? As I said, I realize that would be the end of running Windows ... not a great loss these days.

Well, if they are coming out with a four core A8, I don't think they can do it. If they do come out with a new two core chip with inter chip links, they may be able to. But talking about a Mac of some kind with this still presents problems, because now you're talking about emulation again, and we all know how well that worked out for them in the past. Estimates are that a chip that needs to emulate another processor family needs to be about five times as powerful to run an OS and software in emulation with the same speed as on the native processor. That kills emulation in any real practical way.

But Apple could work around this if they want to. They can, without getting a license from Intel, implement processes in their chip that duplicates some functions in x86 that cause the biggest emulation problems. These relatively few functions cause most of the slowdown. The OS could call for these alternative functions if the OS or software required them instead of emulating them.

The A7 already is as powerful as the midline Atom Bay Trail series. Actually more powerful than the midline chip. And that runs Windows, though not as well as their faster chips. No reason why two two core A8’s with these functions couldn't run OS X well. If the result was four times as fast as the current A7, it would be well within the range of the i3, actually, closer to the high end of the range. That would run a MacBook, at least the entry level model. It could also run iOS.
post #30 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

So what does that mean for iMac refresh? I need at least two. I don't want to buy at the end of the model refresh cycle so I've been waiting.

That's why we've been reading that it will be a problem. I don't know what Apple can do other than to make minor CPU refreshes. The entire industry is dependent on this.
post #31 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Exactly and wouldn't their own chips, something akin to an A8 do the same job and help Apple make more profits? As I said, I realize that would be the end of running Windows ... not a great loss these days.

Well, if they are coming out with a four core A8, I don't think they can do it. If they do come out with a new two core chip with inter chip links, they may be able to. But talking about a Mac of some kind with this still presents problems, because now you're talking about emulation again, and we all know how well that worked out for them in the past. Estimates are that a chip that needs to emulate another processor family needs to be about five times as powerful to run an OS and software in emulation with the same speed as on the native processor. That kills emulation in any real practical way.

But Apple could work around this if they want to. They can, without getting a license from Intel, implement processes in their chip that duplicates some functions in x86 that cause the biggest emulation problems. These relatively few functions cause most of the slowdown. The OS could call for these alternative functions if the OS or software required them instead of emulating them.

The A7 already is as powerful as the midline Atom Bay Trail series. Actually more powerful than the midline chip. And that runs Windows, though not as well as their faster chips. No reason why two two core A8’s with these functions couldn't run OS X well. If the result was four times as fast as the current A7, it would be well within the range of the i3, actually, closer to the high end of the range. That would run a MacBook, at least the entry level model. It could also run iOS.

Windows 8 runs on ARM doesn't it?

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post #32 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Windows 8 runs on ARM doesn't it?

Not really. That's a special edition of "Windows" called RT. That's an ARM edition of Windows that doesn't run Windows software. It runs the Modern UI. It doesn't run on x86. It's Microsoft's answer to iOS, it hasn't done well.
post #33 of 56
Originally Posted by melgross View Post
Not really.

 

Beat me to it. :lol:

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post #34 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

These are the ultra low power Broadwell chips. I said that the low power, low end chips will be seen by the end of the year. But the bigger, higher power chips will be delayed further. Notice that you won't find anything about them.

I don't know where you said it, but I don't see it in this thread.

 

Anyhow, that sounds about right. Low-end chips suitable for MacBooks, maybe the Mac mini would come out first, with the high-performance chips sometime next year. I wouldn't be surprised if the Mac Pro-suitable chips are a year away.

post #35 of 56
Seems to me a speed bumped version of the A7, in an enclosure with wall power and increased cooling, and a use case that demands all the performance you can throw at it, while also being a low volume product, would be ideal for ramping production of these chips.
And, well, a gaming focused Apple TV with app store sounds exactly like that, now doesn't it?
post #36 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

There are a fair number of apps other than games these days which take advantage of the GPU (most modern web browsers, for example).  Using the GPU under emulation is still pretty quirky.

My OP has become reversed in its intent lol ... I was asking if people did not want to use Windows wouldn't a low end Mac be able to run OS X with some new Apple Chip in the not too distant future? VMs came up as I was suggesting low end Mac users don't need Windows anymore and if they did, Apple could offer either a BTO Intel chip or obviously retain Macs with Intel for the higher end.
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post #37 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

I don't know where you said it, but I don't see it in this thread.

Anyhow, that sounds about right. Low-end chips suitable for MacBooks, maybe the Mac mini would come out first, with the high-performance chips sometime next year. I wouldn't be surprised if the Mac Pro-suitable chips are a year away.

At the beginning of the thread, in my response to SpamSandwich, the first sentence:

"Intel is making a few smaller lower performance 14nm chips, just recently begun. But the majority of their 14nm production is well behind original estimates, by about two years!"
post #38 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

My OP has become reversed in its intent lol ...

 

Right.  But the secondary discussion about Bootcamp vs VMs came about because of this question you posed in post #7:

 

Quote:
does anyone bother with Bootcamp these days given the speed of VMs?

 

melgross mentioned getting the full power of the graphics card in Bootcamp as being one reason (post #14).  You thought that was only necessary for gamers (post #17), and I was pointing out why people other than gamers might require Bootcamp too.

 

Anyways, Apple has never really held back on new hardware simply for compatibility reasons.  So I can't imagine Bootcamp being the holdup for putting A series processors in Macs.  My guess is that full-blown OS X requires a lot more from the hardware than iOS does, and the A series architecture isn't quite advanced enough yet to support it (since it's been designed from the start for much simpler mobile devices).

 
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post #39 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


Well, if they are coming out with a four core A8, I don't think they can do it. If they do come out with a new two core chip with inter chip links, they may be able to. But talking about a Mac of some kind with this still presents problems, because now you're talking about emulation again, and we all know how well that worked out for them in the past. Estimates are that a chip that needs to emulate another processor family needs to be about five times as powerful to run an OS and software in emulation with the same speed as on the native processor. That kills emulation in any real practical way.

But Apple could work around this if they want to. They can, without getting a license from Intel, implement processes in their chip that duplicates some functions in x86 that cause the biggest emulation problems. These relatively few functions cause most of the slowdown. The OS could call for these alternative functions if the OS or software required them instead of emulating them.

The A7 already is as powerful as the midline Atom Bay Trail series. Actually more powerful than the midline chip. And that runs Windows, though not as well as their faster chips. No reason why two two core A8’s with these functions couldn't run OS X well. If the result was four times as fast as the current A7, it would be well within the range of the i3, actually, closer to the high end of the range. That would run a MacBook, at least the entry level model. It could also run iOS.

You point on emulation is on the mark. Apple was able to do it before (rosetta) because of the -HUGE- speed difference that had accumulated between the neglected PPC architecture and Intel's new core. Because they had a 2 to 4 fold speed increase and some added array operators to the core series (to speed the PPC/altivec code execution) Apple -was- able to pull off the PPC—>Intel transition (but certanly not without dipping into "a big bag of hurt" for a few years)

 

Here however, (A series in a macbook) we don't have that. Any A-series emulating (RTI) an intel core i series would almost asuridly be horribly, unacceptably, slow. Porting OS X would not be the problem (as a matter of fact I'm fairly sure that already exists in One of Sir Jon's development labs somewhere in Cupertino) The big problem (with an A-series mac) IMHO is not the processor or the OS it is third party software, they simply can't ask developers to again port their software and offer it in twin binary format meanwhile offering a poor performing emulator to bridge the gap. That just isn't going to fly (perhaps not much better than MS's horrid little baby surface did)

And.. if you think the press is going to give Apple a "pass" on a total failure (like they did for MS's surface fiasco) you would be -very- wrong. They would crucify Apple and it would damage the Apple brand profoundly.


Edited by IndyFX - 7/10/14 at 11:58am
post #40 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

At the beginning of the thread, in my response to SpamSandwich, the first sentence:

"Intel is making a few smaller lower performance 14nm chips, just recently begun. But the majority of their 14nm production is well behind original estimates, by about two years!"

Ah, I see it now, thanks!

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