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Apple's next-gen Macs to have something special under the hood - Page 4

post #121 of 204
could this have something to do with that room temperature superconductor Apple filed a patent for about 6 months ago?

I mean apple has been doing alot of stuff with magnets recently
post #122 of 204
Oh my god, i am so late to this news, and yet no one in the discussion has mention it yet! I have mention in another post about the possibility of apple building its own chipset as well. I am so happy for a rumor to surface on similar ideas.
If it was really Graphics inside Intel chipset that makes apple unhappy then this should be it.
Everyone seems to think about the P.A Semi buy out. But no P.A Semi is not the expert in Video Processing field, Apple is using other technology that it has licensed, and that is

PowerVR!

Long time ago PowerVR issued a press release stating "someone" has acquired the sole right for using its SGX and VX technology in specific area.

Now i know this is vague and it seems in many instance and clues we know it was Apple. But we have yet to see product using it. Many thought iPhone chipset was it but it turns out they are using older MBX core from PowerVR.

So may be the deal was for apple to use SGX and VX on Desktop and Laptop Computers?

For those who dont know, SGX have some have decent performance for its size and power usage. And While SGX may not be the best GPU in its class, VX has score the lowest power usage for decoding 1080p H.264 Video. It is one of the best if not the best video decoder on the market.

Apple could use ARM core, SGX and VX Core inside its Mac Chipset.
This way we would have common platform top to bottom. And Quicktime X to support hardware acceleration of H.264 video on all apple products, Mac, iPod and iPhone.
post #123 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by davenjport View Post

Last of all, Apple is not developing anything. I'm pretty sure with all the talk lately about system-on-a-chip (SoC) from Intel and the press, that Apple is using a new chip from Intel that is a SoC. That means the CPU, GPU, southbridge, northbridge are all on one chip. This makes sense for laptop redesigns since you only need one main chip for the motherboard, therefore changing size and thermal considerations and simplifying the overall layout. This chip is probably very customizable to fit new notebook designs and only available for Apple from Intel.

An SoC from Intel makes the most sense to me.

You were doing well until the last paragraph. SoC chips are good for things like iPhone but not your average notebook/laptop. Atom 1.6Ghz anyone ?. Please... that is turning the clock back another 4 years or so.
SoC will not likely get MBP type power/performance anytime soon, if ever.

PA Semi doing a specialised SoC makes a lot of sense. The MIPS based Samsung chip in the iPhone would be a nice one to go. PA Semi also has experience and talent to do system Chipsets.
Look at what ServerWorks chipset did for Xeon...

I figured CUDA or OpenCL type technologies coming with Snow Leopard has a lot to do with chipset redesign. A great chipset will make the cores sing like what Serverworks did for X86 servers those years ago. Plausible ?. I think so.


PS: SoC from Intel still sucks in perf/watt.
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post #124 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by chadisawesome View Post

doesn't make sense.

they already have to write code in universal binary to be used on intel and powerpc chips... are they going to now need to write code in universal tertiary?

I'm sure the changes will just be upgraded motherboards of some sort, but after juse getting intel processor on board in the last few years, it makes absolutely zero sense to abandon them this quickly for a new type processor.

I think major overhaul is unlikely, more like Apple wants to have more control over design. I don't see OS compatibility being an issue Apple hasn't thought about, more likely the chips will deliver more features that you just don't find anywhere else & once you have them you will wonder how you lived without.

Might be nice to have some chips more properly designed to take advantage of all aspects of EFI. Such a thing would actually make VMWare & Parallels more happy as it might boost their performance.

Don't forget that EFI is the key in compatibility. Windows isn't compatible with EFI already, but EFI is able to emulate BIOS to Windows. EFI makes a lot more possible than people realize.
post #125 of 204
I think that if apple goes back to powerpc cpu's (thats what this pa semi company made)then they will alienate a lot of developers who had just finished the transition to intel cpu's. I think if they did that the developers would walk away from apple and say its just not worthit to have to learn everything again.

I think it would slow down apples gain in marketshare.
post #126 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nano2Gfteo View Post

You were doing well until the last paragraph. SoC chips are good for things like iPhone but not your average notebook/laptop. Atom 1.6Ghz anyone ?. Please... that is turning the clock back another 4 years or so.
SoC will not likely get MBP type power/performance anytime soon, if ever.

The guy you responded to did accurately describe what a SoC is. S0C do not imply any one performance point, in fact a SoC can often be had that is higher performance than the equivalent assemblage of discrete parts. One huge factor in SoC performance is the reduction in power usage due to the reduction in the number of off chip drivers used in an implementation.

With respect to mainstream computing only recently has the amount of die space exceed what is required to make the CPU itself. This means that it is possible to go the SoC route for high performance computing. Possible but this doesn't mean that Intel has publicly announced such a chip. In any event I do not believe that any of Intels announced or un-announced S0C have anything at all to do with this rumour.

If the new Macs are to have something special then by definition it can't be publicly available Intel stock.
Quote:

PA Semi doing a specialised SoC makes a lot of sense. The MIPS based Samsung chip in the iPhone would be a nice one to go. PA Semi also has experience and talent to do system Chipsets.
Look at what ServerWorks chipset did for Xeon...

Again MIPS has nothing to do with iPhone. That is ARM based technology.

As to PA Semi and its ability to do a chip set ala ServerWorks that is a possibility. The problem is there is no advantage for Apple in a straight up chip set implementation. PA Semi would have to be adding something to the mix that would not be expected in a system chip set. So we come back to just what is that something special given that it would need to be more than just a run of the mill chip set.
Quote:

I figured CUDA or OpenCL type technologies coming with Snow Leopard has a lot to do with chipset redesign. A great chipset will make the cores sing like what Serverworks did for X86 servers those years ago. Plausible ?. I think so.

Not unless this supposedly new chip set has the facility to actually accelerate the types of codes that OpenCL is thought to support. It still comes down to, will the chip set have some sort of built in acceleration and what exactly will that acceleration be. In could be general video decoding hardware to something like a new run at a vector engine.
Quote:

PS: SoC from Intel still sucks in perf/watt.

Are you sure you are up to speed on Intels latest offerings? It is pretty hard for a S0C not to lead in a performance per watt metric.

Dave
post #127 of 204
Am I the only person who has noticed that the Apple logo is positioned incorrectly, or at least differently, in the purported photo of the new Mackbook Pros?
post #128 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinney57 View Post

Custom Apple designed chipsets for product classes that do not exist yet. Come on people; use your brains.

I fully agree with your statement.

Indeed, the purchase of P.A. Semi seems to indicate potential products in areas Apple does not currently address.

For example, Microsoft seems to be making great strides in automotive media control/entertainment systems (e.g. Ford's 'InSync' and in other markets known as 'Blue and Me'). I see no reason why this type of application shouldn't be part of Apple's evolutionary development.

Based on what technology is already employed in their existing products (e.g. GPS in the iPhone 3G), the likes of Apple, P.A. Semi and a partner like Bose, should be able to bring to market sophisticated, yet elegant, and desirable "appliances" for automobiles, aircraft and trains in a very short amount of time.

And speaking of Apple appliances, I envision P.A. Semi has the potential to help Apple in the future differentiate the iPod, iPod Touch, iPhone and the much rumored tablet PDA class devices.

I agree with most others that Apple's desktop and laptop systems will continue to use Intel CPUs and chipsets for the near future, but may employ P.A. Semi or other third-party technologies to enhance differentiation from its competitors.

For example, Apple has applied for patents on multi-gesture controls. Then witness HP's "all-in-one" TouchSmart touch-enabled PC. Yawn...

Personally, fingerprints on screens is a "pet peeve" of mine, so I think Apple is going to go one better where you do gestures in front of a more sophisticated iSight camera and "touch" without physically touching the screen. Better yet, "type" without touching a physical keyboard. It would all be done by tracking the hands and eyes.

You may disagree with me on the above, but I truly believe it is not a matter of if, it's when. And as we all know, Apple is the kind of company to bring this type of technology to the market first and (mostly) succeed at it.

-YipYipYipee
post #129 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


Are you sure you are up to speed on Intels latest offerings? It is pretty hard for a S0C not to lead in a performance per watt metric.

Dave

Not quite. But this one ?.
http://www.dailytech.com/New+Intel+E...ticle12484.htm

They are pretty late in the game even for STBs.

My guess for Snow Leopard is not just the CUDO/OpenCL to leverage GPGPU codes, but to optimise multi-core and potentially heterogeneous multicore CPU systems in future. Many would like to see some form of advanced AltiVec which X86 tries to play catch up.
In portable systems, advanced power management on the chipset is going to be important and Intel is really behind on this tech.
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post #130 of 204
Wow, this thread is an incredible demonstration of how people can't read! And on top of that it displays the staggering levels of technical ignorance that make do in the place of actual knowledge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by majortom1981 View Post

I think that if apple goes back to powerpc cpu's (thats what this pa semi company made)then they will alienate a lot of developers who had just finished the transition to intel cpu's. I think if they did that the developers would walk away from apple and say its just not worthit to have to learn everything again.

Apple isn't going back to PPC and nobody is suggesting that they will. PA Semi licenses core designs they need, revises them to incorporate their advanced power saving design techniques, and then integrates them into a system-on-chip. Apple has likely directed them to work on ARM-based designs for iPod/iPhone, and (as speculated in this thread) may also be using them to design northbridge/southbridge chips for their Intel-processor-based Macs.

Since the 80s Apple was doing its own chipset and motherboard design which included memory controller, I/O interfaces, DSPs, and processor interconnects. The G5's chipset was quite an impressive piece of tech. In the last few years Apple has acquired Racer and now PA Semi, among others. They will leverage Intel's processors, but they are going back into the motherboard design business... which these days means the big northbridge/southbridge chip (or chips) since they are so heavily integrated. We'll have to wait and see whether this will include a GPU. I find it unlikely since laptop/desktop class GPUs are still pretty sophisticated and competing with ATI/nVidia will be challenging... but who knows what they've licensed for inclusion on their SoC. I still remember rumours from a couple years ago of vector processing cores (like DSPs, the Cell processor's SPEs, or the processing elements of modern GPUs) coming to Mac chipsets, but they never materialized. Still, something like Grand Central and OpenCL is precisely what Apple would need to put into place to allow 3rd party developers to leverage this kind of technology directly. This kind of tech would obviate the need for specialized sound cards or H.264 decoder chips, and it would be far more flexible.


If this is true, it is interesting timing. Intel's Penyrn chips (like all predecessors) have a northbridge that includes a memory controller. The next chips, coming starting this fall, will for the first time (for Intel) include a memory controller on the processor die and will switch to Intel's Quick Interconnect technology. This is a pretty major change in the northbridge and thus would mean a significant piece of work on Apple's part for their chipset which lasts only a single generation of machines. Perhaps they licensed the bus interface rather than designing it themselves, but this seems like unfortunate timing. Why not just wait until Nehalem has arrived and design around the new interconnect which is (hopefully) going to be standard going forward, much like HyperTransport on AMD. Speaking of which, Apple used HyperTransport and was on the design board... I guess they'll eschew that in favour of Intel's new equivalent tech.
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post #131 of 204
My previous post above has me thinking again about this issue. (yes I know it is early in the morning)

Think of it this way Apple develops a chip set with a Vector Engine facility that it owns out right. A vector engine that is effectively decoupled from what ever CPU they are running. Think of it as an Alt Vec (AV2)for the new century.

This would give Apple some serious advantages that we can highlight below.

1.
One the AV2 facility would be a programmable unit suitable for vector computations. Hopefully as such it would handle both long and short vectors and be fully 64 bit. This would give Apple a common platform for application acceleration no matter what platform, be it AMD, Intel, PPC, ARM or whatever. All Apple would need is its own Vector Engine with interchangeable front side buses.

2.
Lets face it Intels vector implementation sucks and really hasn't caught up with Alt Vec of old. Even if current implementations suck less there is still the issue of running vector code through your main CPU complex. Vector code just sucks up a lot of bandwidth and CPU resources leading to laggy systems. Further even with all of Intels latest improvements decoding all that Blue-Ray can offer up is not possible. So such hardware may very well mean the implementation of BlueRay on Apple hardware.

3.
Owning your own Vector Engine means owing the instruction set and the implementation of those instructions. This means hardware acceleration of certain codes could be nothing more than a single instruction in the vector engine. Things like dot products, security codes and the like come to mind. While Apple might call the unit a vector engine in reality it is a location where anything not handled well by the main CPU can be accelerated. Since Apple owns the hardware if it wants to implement an MD5 instruction or some sort of convolution instruction it can. Of course there is always the issue of trade offs but this being a specialized computational unit Apple would be free to accelerate what they need accelerated.

4.
One can only imagine what an Alt Vec like engine could do on modern processes and with a whole different set of design parameters. They would have at their disposal much more chip real estate, far lower power usage, and on chip connectivity to supporting units. It would not be impossible to imagine an implementation that results in a multi threaded hardware platform. Lets say they are able to implement 4 or 8 Alt Vec equivalent cores in such an implementation would that excite people? How about 64? Since each would be its own computational unit the number of cores could be adjusted to suit the hardware. Thus an iPod might get one core while a Mac Pro might get 32.

5.
Having an optimised Alt Vec core available, that can do decent video acceleration, means that Apple can program to one acceleration framework across all devices. When Apple goes to a full SoC for the iPods (they will) it means that they control the video accel hardware (as a general purpose vector engine) thus reducing licensing costs and limiting the diversity of components. Since the unit is a vector engine that means not only do video apps have the potential for acceleration but so do any other apps that can map code onto vector instructions.

6.
While the acceleration of certain codes by moving the code to a GPU works and sometimes amazingly well it is not without problems. One issue being the constantly changing nature of GPU's. A generalized vector facility can make up for many of a GPU's short comings when working effectively with the CPU. Especially if that vector unit is now multi threaded and can more easily handle the things that GPU's do well. I realize that modern GPU have a lot of cores running in parallel but I see something as modest as an 8 core AV2 as offering up a huge number of advantages that would make such preferable for many developers. In a way this would be something like Sony's cell implementation. The main difference is that it would reside in Apple controlled hardware decoupled from whatever is the main CPU.



All in all I see this as a real potential. Such an approach would eliminate the weaknesses of a GPU only approach to acceleration and could ideally be maintainable across multiple generations of hardware and multiple ISA of hardware. In the case of cell each vecotr processor there is rather modest in its power usage though still unacceptable for an iPod. This is where PA Semi and having control of the hardware implementation come into their own. PA knows low power and combining that with an optimised instruction set could yield a very nicely performing Alt Vec like unit that sips power.

Well it is another idea to offer up. WE might all be getting excited about a rumour that has no basis in fact, but it is nice to imagine the evolution of Apple hardware.


Dave
post #132 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nano2Gfteo View Post

Many would like to see some form of advanced AltiVec which X86 tries to play catch up.

http://softwareprojects.intel.com/avx/

Intel has been pushing SSE forward since it came out, each CPU revision improving it. Still not as good as AltiVec, but getting closer. AVX will push it beyond, but won't arrive until 2010.

The alternative is adding separate vector processing cores and using the GPU's processing elements. This isn't the same thing as adding SIMD to the main processors -- different advantages and disadvantages. Really a system should have both.
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post #133 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nano2Gfteo View Post

Not quite. But this one ?.
http://www.dailytech.com/New+Intel+E...ticle12484.htm

That is a specific implementation to the general idea that SoC lower power usage for a given performance metric.
Quote:
They are pretty late in the game even for STBs.

My guess for Snow Leopard is not just the CUDO/OpenCL to leverage GPGPU codes, but to optimise multi-core and potentially heterogeneous multicore CPU systems in future. Many would like to see some form of advanced AltiVec which X86 tries to play catch up.

Interesting that you should bring up Alt Vec as that is exactly what i was thinking about after responding to you. See the post above.

I see an Alt Vec implementation, that Apple owns, as having huge potential. Especially if that Alt Vec can be implemented as multiple cores to compete effectively against the GPU accel crowd.
Quote:
In portable systems, advanced power management on the chipset is going to be important and Intel is really behind on this tech.

Behind relative to whom? Sure ARM has a huge advantage here but is Intel that far behind AMD?

Dave
post #134 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Well it is another idea to offer up. WE might all be getting excited about a rumour that has no basis in fact, but it is nice to imagine the evolution of Apple hardware.

Nice to see somebody else thinking along these lines. OpenCL seems like clear evidence that Apple is setting up for precisely this. Crazy powerful vector engines have become fairly common (GPUs, Cell, PhysX, etc.) and will become more common in the future. As you point out, they scale well. The biggest problem is how to program them, and Apple has told us they are working on that... OpenCL to write the programs, and GrandCentral to share the processors between tasks.

Seems like the obvious thing to depress margins across the board and give them technology that their competition can't touch. You'll note in the other thread this was my suggestion but it was summarily ignored (http://forums.appleinsider.com/showt...t=89272&page=5). I stand by my bet.
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post #135 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I see an Alt Vec implementation, that Apple owns, as having huge potential. Especially if that Alt Vec can be implemented as multiple cores to compete effectively against the GPU accel crowd.

Forget "AltiVec". It is a set of instructions and registers attached to the PowerPC. The PowerPC is in Apple's history. Going forward they are free to design vector processors however they want and label them "Velocity Engine", which is why they created their own brand for that in the first place. If you want to have a better guess as to what these kind of specialized processors might look like then the Cell's SPUs are more indicative. The SPUs are still relatively AltiVec-like though, and there are a lot of ways that Apple could choose to go with their vector processing hardware design. I'm looking forward to finding out what kind of cool stuff they've done.
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post #136 of 204
Great, just what we need: a more proprietary Apple.

Hooray, let's cheer for giving users LESS choice!

-Clive
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post #137 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

All in all I see this as a real potential. Such an approach would eliminate the weaknesses of a GPU only approach to acceleration and could ideally be maintainable across multiple generations of hardware and multiple ISA of hardware. In the case of cell each vector processor there is rather modest in its power usage though still unacceptable for an iPod. This is where PA Semi and having control of the hardware implementation come into their own. PA knows low power and combining that with an optimised instruction set could yield a very nicely performing Alt Vec like unit that sips power.

Interesting conjecture, Dave.

I mentioned in my thread "touchless" gesture control/typing and was wondering if an Alt Vec would be beneficial for this type of application? Indeed, based on your description (and ultimately my grasp of the technology you mentioned) it would.

-YipYipYipee
post #138 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

Great, just what we need: a more proprietary Apple.

Hooray, let's cheer for giving users LESS choice!



And just how does this make them "more proprietary"? If running on a machine not blessed with wonderous new hardware it just doesn't run as fast. The whole point behind OpenCL (the little we know of it) is to provide an open standard way to program all these various kinds of processors (CPUs, CPUs w/ SIMD, GPUs, and stuff like we're speculating about). Developers write code, code takes advantage of whatever it is you happen to have bought.

With this kind of tech in place I could actually see that Apple might license the OS because now there really is a compelling reason to buy their hardware... its 10x faster!


PS: And do you really want Apple to stop innovating just to avoid being proprietary? I'd rather them push forward to the future, thank you very much.
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post #139 of 204
Programmer FTW.

IMO.
post #140 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Programmer View Post

http://softwareprojects.intel.com/avx/

Intel has been pushing SSE forward since it came out, each CPU revision improving it. Still not as good as AltiVec, but getting closer. AVX will push it beyond, but won't arrive until 2010.

I'd really like to see Apple offer up a complex of Alt Vec cores modelled somewhat along the lines of Cell. The differences would be in the approach to the coupling to the main CPU, access to memory and communications. Done right a successful implementation across all of Apples products is possible.
Quote:

The alternative is adding separate vector processing cores and using the GPU's processing elements. This isn't the same thing as adding SIMD to the main processors -- different advantages and disadvantages. Really a system should have both.

While I don't disagree that a system should have both once it does have a separate vector facility I can see the use of SIMD instructions on the main CPU dropping dramatically. After all if you can dramatically off load the CPU and its buses due to a vector unit handling the high bandwidth, high CPU usage code, why wouldn't you?

The trick of course is that the bandwidth has to go somewhere but this is where having the Alt Vec complex in the chip set might be an advantage. Especially if those Alt Vecs are intelligent enough to handle their own real world interfacing. For example handling the interface to a BlueRay disk player so that the Alt VEC units not only decode the media they handle as much of the bandwidth as possible out of the normal path ways that a system uses.

Of course we are all excited here in relation to this rumour sadly it might be nothing more than Apple adding a new real time clock to the chip set. Sorry for the negativity but there have been to many examples of things getting hyped out of proportion to what actually gets delivered. One has to admit though that Apple admittance that PS is there to design special chip sets (supposedly for Touch/iPhone) does make for a lot of speculation. Even at the iPod level I see a huge advantage for them if they can figure out a way to do video acceleration on a a general purpose vector processor.

Dave
post #141 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Programmer View Post

Forget "AltiVec". It is a set of instructions and registers attached to the PowerPC.

Well yeah in the implementation that was done on Power PC that is the case. But one could make the statement that Cells SPU's are very ALT-VEC like.
Quote:
The PowerPC is in Apple's history. Going forward they are free to design vector processors however they want and label them "Velocity Engine", which is why they created their own brand for that in the first place.

Very true indeed plus they have the huge advantage of hindsight right now. Thus the vector facility can be designed as multiple cores to support multiple threads or they can take the approach that Cell did. Personally I don't like many of the SPU's design trade offs in Cell so that does not excite me as much as more alternative approaches.
Quote:
If you want to have a better guess as to what these kind of specialized processors might look like then the Cell's SPUs are more indicative. The SPUs are still relatively AltiVec-like though, and there are a lot of ways that Apple could choose to go with their vector processing hardware design.

Certainly they could go with the approach taken with the SPU's but I'd hope that they would address some of the weaknesses there also. Especially with respect to memory accessible by the SPU's, the SPU's independence and access to system resources.
Quote:
I'm looking forward to finding out what kind of cool stuff they've done.

This should be very exciting if it isn't being blown out of proportion already. I'm especially interested in how much performance they can push down to hand held devices. If anybody can place a vector processor into an iPod SoC it would be PA Semi. It ought to result in a very compelling platform. I'm impressed with my 3G iPhone but it doesn't mean I wouldn't want more performance in a hand held. The key in this domain is arriving at a SoC that uses even less power so my battery last longer. I still wonder if a vector processor would hurt more than it helps here. On the desk top though it can't help but to open up the platform to new apps especially if the X in 'X number' of processors ends up being really large.


DAVE
post #142 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

Great, just what we need: a more proprietary Apple.

This would not be any more proprietary than the Alt Vec approach of old. There the ISA was completely open for the programmers to exploit as they saw fit. In any event if Apple does implement such a facility in a manner that lets it operate across all the processor architectures that it currently uses that will lead to a greater adoption of code executable on this common platform.
Quote:

Hooray, let's cheer for giving users LESS choice!

-Clive

Clive it is not less but more choice. The user would then have the ability to execute code on the processor supplied on the platform or on Apple supplied and designed vector processors. This is clearly an example of Apple giving the user more choice one of which is substantial performance.

Depending on just what is implemented it may give the user the choice of getting work done on a desktop that currently just can't be done. That certainly isn't less and is less proprietary than having to develop your code to run on some odd Beowolf cluster that may be a one off cluster implementation.

Of course I just compared an imaginary Apple to real world tools. It is a valid comparison though if the speculation in this thread is focused correctly. The trick in modern computing is finding ways to boost the performance of your computational platform without blowing your power budget. Currently there is a whole class of problems that simply can't be executed well on modern CPU's but have potential on vector processors especially if the number of threads goes up significantly.

DAVE
post #143 of 204
As always, I'm hoping they'll update (or at least continue) the mac mini line. And I'll hope against hope for a $1,000 Mac tower.
post #144 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Programmer View Post



And just how does this make them "more proprietary"? If running on a machine not blessed with wonderous new hardware it just doesn't run as fast. The whole point behind OpenCL (the little we know of it) is to provide an open standard way to program all these various kinds of processors (CPUs, CPUs w/ SIMD, GPUs, and stuff like we're speculating about). Developers write code, code takes advantage of whatever it is you happen to have bought.

With this kind of tech in place I could actually see that Apple might license the OS because now there really is a compelling reason to buy their hardware... its 10x faster!


PS: And do you really want Apple to stop innovating just to avoid being proprietary? I'd rather them push forward to the future, thank you very much.

1) I have a feeling that releasing an OS optimized for a different chipset would be the worst upsell ever. People will try OS X on their PC, watch it be slow and kernel panic a few times, blame Apple, and then boot back into Windows.

2) I disagree that the only way to innovate is to move into all proprietary formats. In fact, I feel unification and interoperability are some of the best ways to innovate.

Besides, I wouldn't exactly call achieving a speed boost (even a large one) an "innovation" ... but perhaps an iteration.

-Clive
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post #145 of 204
giving this rumor a spin, you need to check into Intels Northbridge and Southbridge used in Apples iMacs as well as Apples Notebooks. There is a lot of overhead and legacy in these two chips that Apple is not using at all, but it costs a lot in power consumption and pincount/space.

My guess:
Apple is going for a custom single chip North+Southbridge. This chip is the memory hub and includes PCIe, SATA, LAN, USB etc. The graphics is not integrated, but can be selected from various vendors (like ATI, nVidia etc.) and is connected via 16x PCIe. This solution makes system design very flexible and offroad from Intels roadmap.

Think about it and you will see the benefits!
post #146 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleyou View Post

giving this rumor a spin, you need to check into Intels Northbridge and Southbridge used in Apples iMacs as well as Apples Notebooks. There is a lot of overhead and legacy in these two chips that Apple is not using at all, but it costs a lot in power consumption and pincount/space.

My guess:
Apple is going for a custom single chip North+Southbridge. This chip is the memory hub and includes PCIe, SATA, LAN, USB etc. The graphics is not integrated, but can be selected from various vendors (like ATI, nVidia etc.) and is connected via 16x PCIe. This solution makes system design very flexible and offroad from Intels roadmap.

Think about it and you will see the benefits!

I really doubt Apple is going to replace Intel's northbridge and southbridge. If they try, they'll always be a generation behind technologically, and they'll never be able to beat Intel's volume price.
post #147 of 204
Null.
Þ & þ are called "Thorn" & þey represent þe sound you've associated "th" wiþ since þe 13þ or 14þ century. I'm bringing it back.
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Þ & þ are called "Thorn" & þey represent þe sound you've associated "th" wiþ since þe 13þ or 14þ century. I'm bringing it back.
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post #148 of 204
I'm sorry if this has been covered, I can't get through all the posts. The stupid, it burns!!
I shouldn't say that, there are a lot of questions from people who just don't know a lot about computer hardware.

Since a lot of people didn't use the Google..

Chipset:
A set of chips. "Chipset" is generally used to describe the chip(s), other than the CPU, that control the computer. In Intel's case, chipset generally refers to the Northbridge and Southbridge.
"Chipset" can also be used to refer to the whole package. The "Centrino" chipset is the CPU and the other chips on the motherboard. Centrino is often confused with the CPU alone.
When this article refers to a chipset, it appears they mean moving from something like the Intel PM45 to VIA PT880. [that's a bad comparison btw.. intel laptop to VIA Desktop set but you get the idea]
A CPU is not a chipset. A chipset is usually everything but the CPU (but it can mean everything together)

Code:
The CPU architecture is i386. Current i386 code [OS X Intel code] will run on any i386 system regardless of the chipset or processor [give the appropriate OS support of course]. If it didn't, the machine wouldn't be real i386.
The only difference in changing chipsets would be the software drivers used to control the new hardware (the new chipset).

Heat/Power:
The Intel chipsets do use a lot of power [relative] but that has a lot to do with the CPU architecture. Unlike an AMD chip, the Intel chip doesn't have a memory controller on the CPU. This means it needs a more traditional northbridge/southbridge chipset. The northbridge in the AMD chipset is mostly on the CPU so that functionality [transistors] isn't needed in the AMD chipsets.
The Catch is.. AMD CPUs run hotter even though their CHIPSETS don't run as hot.
Overall, Intel and AMD systems often are fairly similar in overall power usage (I believe Intel still has the advantage everywhere but the Server space where Intel uses power-hungry FB-DIMM memory)

Why Apple won't leave Intel:
Preface.. this is the dumbest rumor I've heard in ages.

Apple won't leave Intel because Intel delivers a whole package. This lowers R&D.
Intel has also been very amenable to Apple, giving them tweaked solutions and access to parts before other vendors.
Why would you part out your machines when you can do one-stop shopping with a vendor who is willing to give you exclusive early access to parts (like the 3 MHz Xeon duals, or the new CPU package for the MacBook Air).
Further, to the hobbyist, a Nvidia or VIA chipset might be superior because the platform is open to tweaking [overclocking] but ask anyone who actually works in IT and they'll most likely tell you that all-Intel systems are more stable and more reliable. Intel is 'yesterday's-Apple' when it comes to i386. The design everything to work together.
Apple has zero interest in releasing a product that is more flexible for end users. Apple defines the product parameters and then designs that product. Allowing fan-boys to futz with their Mac firmware settings is a guarantee of more support costs and more hurt-feelings when Johnny burns up his CPU (I've seen AMD cpus burn completely off the substrate of the cpu package).

Finally, there are two ways to read this rumor:
1) Apple moves to another vendor for system controllers (chipset). In this scenero, Apple trades one common part for another common part. How, exactly, does this differentiate Apple from their competition who use the same commodity parts?
2) Apple designs or modifies the design of an existing Chipset design. Why? Apple isn't going to significantly re-engineer a system to any advantage vs. what's already available or on the horizon. Faster memory? .. coming. Other protocols, like newer I/O specs? .. put an ancillary chip on the board. If Apple did take this step, with little or no pay-off, the R&D costs would be enormous.

Realistically, the only change I could see Apple doing would be some modification to TPM in order to lock OS X to Apple hardware. Of course, that would eventually get broken. You can't give out the black box and expect that no one will figure out how to get it open.
However, TPM isn't a chipset.

Mr. Scamp
post #149 of 204
I'm clueless in the area of chips and chip pricing, but would a chip designed by the P.A. Semi people actually decrease gross margins from 34% to 31% over the next 18 months?
just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
Reply
just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
Reply
post #150 of 204
I don't think Apple is going more proprietary, just radically forward. Like when Dell/HP decided to drop legacy ports (whoa, that's like 2000 thinking!).

AMD's Fusion chip is ready and rolls out in August. It's a 4 core design that has 2 CPU's, a dedicated GPU and a 4th chip just for north/south bridge controls all operating in an async mode. Not sure what the final specs are but 2.66/3.06 were the target figures rolling on a 1333 bus. Video was an ATI HD model with scalable memory. Pretty neat if I understood it correctly. Also had hardware based protected memory environment and MOST importantly the like Intel's Speedstep this cpu can scale back by 3's and shut off one cpu entirely when not needed.

It's TDW was just over 22w if I remember. There's more info floating around but AMD has been very quiet about it until recently.

PA Semi's PowerPC can run x86 code if I remember correctly but I think Apple bought them primarily for their R&D/Brains/License rights. Still I wouldn't count out a PPC base return as Apple stated at the developers convention years ago, UNIVERSAL is what we want you to write and Xcode is what we want you to use. So Xcode would basically make it universal if compiled correctly.

The margin reduction is due partly to higher cost to produce the new products and partly because of a price reduction coming forth with the revision to stay competitive. More than 65% of the PC craptop market is below $700 right now.

One last thing, the top and bottom of that AL case are not the same size so I'm presuming the battery/HD bay are making up the bulk of the missing piece?

To keep on the x86/x64 thinking route AMD would be the viable choice in the matter as the OS would and DOES run on AMD based CPU's... Fusion also has SSE5 built in too.
post #151 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

I really doubt Apple is going to replace Intel's northbridge and southbridge. If they try, they'll always be a generation behind technologically, and they'll never be able to beat Intel's volume price.

With Intels Quick Path on its way for Nehalem and Tukwila there is no technology you gain from choosing Intels chipsets. Just use the "standard" FSB with a memory hub for today.

Apple can get volume by using the same chip in its notebooks and iMacs, so price is getting competitive. Especialy if you take out all the legacy and overhead in Intels chipsets and make it a single chip. Also think power here. For example the chipset in netbooks powered by Intels Atom CPU uses more power than the CPU. So choosing a diffrent chipset reduces power consumption and increase battery life. Following Intels chipset roadmap doesnt give you anything. And this is the same with chipsets from other vendors if you follow the north and southbridge architecture; especialy if you have to put in all the flexibility the PC manufacturers want to differentiate.

But the big advantage is in the graphics. All PC manufacturers have the same low cost Intel integrated graphics, while Apple can offer better and more flexible graphics from ATI or nVidia even in the MacBooks or entry level iMacs. No need to wait for another version of Intel chipsets here.
post #152 of 204
If true, Apple would still be using the Intel processor. Apple would only be tinkering with the chip set, which most likely will improve on Intel's designs. That makes sense to me as Apple has quite a bit of processor design experience. I doubt Apple's design would be slower then the competition, or there wouldn't be any reason to go that route.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

Is anyone else rolling their eyes and saying "here we go again?" Apple tried going their own way for years, and mostly what they got out of it was being slower than the competition and having serious supply constraints. If this article is true, I wouldn't want to be long on Apple.
post #153 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleyou View Post

With Intels Quick Path on its way for Nehalem and Tukwila there is no technology you gain from choosing Intels chipsets. Just use the "standard" FSB with a memory hub for today.

Apple can get volume by using the same chip in its notebooks and iMacs, so price is getting competitive. Especialy if you take out all the legacy and overhead in Intels chipsets and make it a single chip. Also think power here. For example the chipset in netbooks powered by Intels Atom CPU uses more power than the CPU. So choosing a diffrent chipset reduces power consumption and increase battery life. Following Intels chipset roadmap doesnt give you anything. And this is the same with chipsets from other vendors if you follow the north and southbridge architecture; especialy if you have to put in all the flexibility the PC manufacturers want to differentiate.

But the big advantage is in the graphics. All PC manufacturers have the same low cost Intel integrated graphics, while Apple can offer better and more flexible graphics from ATI or nVidia even in the MacBooks or entry level iMacs. No need to wait for another version of Intel chipsets here.

Nail+Hammer=Squish. Agreed. They have used the same notebook class CPU in the iMac/Macbook/Mini line to get volume pricing.

Nehalam is a whole nutter beast! QuickPath has the capabilites to change the landscape quick and the fact we'll get 8 Cores PER CPU by 2009.... What do you call the Mac Pro at that point? Hence Snow Leopard to take advantage of this multi core processing. PLUS Intels Mobil gets 4 cores by Q4 2008.

My money is on a slimmed down chipset OR AMD Fusion. And I'm only putting it on Fusion for the cost factor alone. Fusions integrated graphics and controller for both Memory and I/O using 2/3rds the power of JUST the Intel CPU really has it's advantages in a laptop form factor. Lower heat, better graphics, faster refresh cycles of hardware (1 logic board design can be used longer with an SoC) and high clock speeds. Intel's SoC is lagging behind AMD. But AMD saw the future and they created their own market. 2 years in the making, it better be good. From a power standpoint it should use 1/2 the total power required alowing the MacBook Air to match the others with 5+ hours of up time while enhancing graphics capabilities and wireless monitor extension (oops).

Now I forgot to second that $999 MacPro Mini that was mentioned before. So I'm gonna do it now. Gimmie the same kit, but swap out the 2.5" for a 3.5" and up the integrated graphics... Or just gimme a 3.5" with an AMD Fusion chip.

It's gonna be an interesting 2 months...
post #154 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by xwiredtva View Post

I don't think Apple is going more proprietary, just radically forward. Like when Dell/HP decided to drop legacy ports (whoa, that's like 2000 thinking!).

AMD's Fusion chip is ready and rolls out in August. It's a 4 core design that has 2 CPU's, a dedicated GPU and a 4th chip just for north/south bridge controls all operating in an async mode. Not sure what the final specs are but 2.66/3.06 were the target figures rolling on a 1333 bus. Video was an ATI HD model with scalable memory. Pretty neat if I understood it correctly. Also had hardware based protected memory environment and MOST importantly the like Intel's Speedstep this cpu can scale back by 3's and shut off one cpu entirely when not needed.

It's TDW was just over 22w if I remember. There's more info floating around but AMD has been very quiet about it until recently.

PA Semi's PowerPC can run x86 code if I remember correctly but I think Apple bought them primarily for their R&D/Brains/License rights. Still I wouldn't count out a PPC base return as Apple stated at the developers convention years ago, UNIVERSAL is what we want you to write and Xcode is what we want you to use. So Xcode would basically make it universal if compiled correctly.

The margin reduction is due partly to higher cost to produce the new products and partly because of a price reduction coming forth with the revision to stay competitive. More than 65% of the PC craptop market is below $700 right now.

One last thing, the top and bottom of that AL case are not the same size so I'm presuming the battery/HD bay are making up the bulk of the missing piece?

To keep on the x86/x64 thinking route AMD would be the viable choice in the matter as the OS would and DOES run on AMD based CPU's... Fusion also has SSE5 built in too.

You mean after Apple had done so prior.
post #155 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

Wow, please tell us how you did this. Parallels and VMWare always stated they're for Intel Macs only.

Duh, he ran a Windows MacOSX emulator in VirtualPC and in the Windows MacOSX emulator he ran Parallels, which ran WindowsXP.

People are sooo stooopid.

And just like the old rumors about "PC emulators that run 5x faster than a PC on a PPC", he was able to run the emulator of the emulator and nest them such that his PPC ended up emulating a PC which emulated an intel Mac which emulated a PC which increased over all performance by 3^3, or 27x faster !!!
post #156 of 204
When the comments come so fast and furiously and the opionions are so extreme I'm always a bit distraught until I have summarized the situation. Usually I just do this for myself, but I have some time this afternoon, so I'll post.

1. Many posts have raised unnecessary fears about switching from Intel processors. Apple is not abandoning Intel. Moreover, Apple is fully aware that the option to run Windows has been an important selling point for many switchers; they're not going to do anything to undermine this.
\t
2. The concept of a chip set is not very clearly defined. In terms of its broadest meaning it's just the complete set of chips inside the computer. AI's post leaves it wide open about exactly what's being suggested. Apple is not going to use the standard Montevina chip set - that in itself shouldn't be very surprising because Apple has already made use of slightly customized versions of many Intel products. Of course, the gist of the rumor is that something more significant is going on, but as stated the rumor does not claim that Apple is rejecting all elements of Montevina. It's consistent with the rumor that Apple is merely adding some unique element(s).

3. Contrary to some suggestions, Apple has a long history of chip design. The idea that Intel (or AMD or anyone else) has a level of expertise about chip design that Apple can't match is a mistake. Intel definitely has fabrication expertise that Apple can't match, and they have CPU expertise that Apple probably shouldn't compete with, but designing speciality chips is an art form in which it is still possible for small teams of talented individuals to surpass the behemoths of the industry.

4. Given Apple's unique position as a maker of both hardware and software it makes excellent sense for them to distance themselves from the competition with unique chips. This is exactly what Dell, HP, and others cannot do alone. It would be disappointing if Apple did not take advantage of this avenue for progress. The switch to Intel is over, and it's been an overwhelming success, so it's time to push ahead.
\t
5. It seems early for the purchase of PA Semi to bear fruit, but Apple and PA Semi have had a relationship since before the Intel switch. PA Semi was a candidate to produce the Power Book processors that IBM could not. (See this link:http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/05/19/pasemi_apple/) Presumably Apple would not want to adopt those processors at this date, but it's not impossible that PA Semi was already working on other technologies when Apple bought them. Of course, PA Semi may not have anything to do with this rumor.

6. With the iPod and the iPhone Apple has shown tremendous competence in assembling specialty chips from different vendors to create outstanding products (with high margins!). If there are features that Apple wants that Intel isn't providing Apple knows where to buy them, and how to assemble them.

7. This is an exciting rumor because it invites us to speculate about the new features that Apple would/could build into the Mac lineup. Some of the features may be particular to the portable lines, but others may be universal, or reserved for the Pro lines. At any rate, here's the good stuff, a list of the various roles for a new chip set. For the most part these are not mutually exclusive. My money is on points d and i.

\ta. Power/heat reduction. To my mind this is actually one of the least likely motivations for a change. Unless you were to replace the Intel CPU itself, it seems unlikely that you could significantly reduce the overall power consumption of the chip set. Furthermore, Intel is not doing so poorly on these fronts that the portable lines are suffering in any particular way. Lastly, it's unclear that even getting 20% greater battery life (an unlikely prospect at best) would be a huge selling point. That said, it may be that marginal power savings are one added bonus of various changes.

\tb. A new GPU for laptops, iMac and Mini. Intel's integrated graphics processing has been underwhelming so it's not impossible that Apple would look to replace this with something better. If there's something out there they can buy for a reasonable price, they might well do this, especially if it's one element of a broader change. However, technology in this area changes rapidly and it seems unlikely that Apple would want to take responsibility for this element of their machines. So a proprietary GPU seems unlikely. But see points d and i below.

\tc. Some form of media coprocessor. Especially something that will do H.264 encoding/decoding. Since this is supposed to be a part of Montevina already, this would be an odd addition, unless Apple has something truly outstanding to show off, which isn't impossible. But see the next point.

\td. A proprietary vector processing unit like Altivec. This is probably the most exciting and the most plausible of all the suggestions. Such a unit could contribute to graphics performance and media processing but would be available to accelerate a host of other operations as well. This would appear to make excellent sense given what is known about Snow Leopard, and it might be just the ticket for ennabling Apple's "Core" technologies to shine. All kinds of developers, especially in the sciences, would be enthusiastic to use this processor - as I recall PPC had advantages over x86 for certain scientific applications, and I think Altivec was the main reason. It's not unreasonable to imagine that this could give the Xserve a significant boost in value in certain markets. Finally, assuming Apple's own developers take advantage of this processor, this could also be an enormous advantage for all of the pro apps. Who knows, it might even give Apple the impetus to introduce a Photoshop killer.

\te. Some kind of built in solid state memory. Storing some portion of the operating system in this way might increase start times, and offer other small advantages. Perhaps I don't understand this well, but I don't see what's supposed to be so exciting about this option. Yes, solid state drives in some laptops make sense and are inevitable, but it's not a very sexy change.

\tf. Built in 3G access and/or GPS. Apple now has expertise with these features. Why not add them to Macbook Pros? In fact, though I can see the advantages, I don't think this is very likely. 3G access would require a contract with a phone company and there hasn't been any rumors of Apple discussing such deals. Moreover, most 3G networks are probably not ready to invite the sort of traffic laptops generate. Which is the same reason that I don't think we'll see anything like an iphone port that allows you to use 3G on the iphone as a modem. GPS strikes me as more likely item than 3G, but I imagine that few people who travel with a laptop don't also have a phone, and GPS really makes most sense on the phone.

\tg. A special chip for interpreting multi touch gestures. Obviously there's got to be some kind of controller for the touch pad, but that's true even for the current generation, so it's unclear that a controller chip for multitouch would merit much notice. Still, Apple could surprise with something really astonishing. It's interesting to wonder how much use Apple will make of multitouch. Moreover, rumors are suggesting that the touch pad is glass, is it possible there's going to be a small touch screen monitor under the glass? What would one display on such a monitor? Would it be useful, or distracting?

\th. A voice input chip. One poster suggested that Apple might add this. It might be cool, but it seems to me that emphasis on voice input is not in the immediate future.

\ti. Support for high resolution monitors to take advantage of Resolution Independence (RI). No one else in the thread has mentioned this, but it's got to be considered among the chief possibilities. Apple has been working on RI for a couple years and encouraging developers to be prepared. RI is a technology that should put the Mac in front of the competition for a couple of years. And it will be a powerful selling point because high resolution monitors create an immediate visible difference in the computing experience. Imagine a monitor with the crisp readability of an iphone. People don't talk much about RI, but it's coming, and it's going to be awesome. Of course, high resolution monitors won't come cheap, so this is likely to be a technology that will distinguish the Macbook Pro from the Macbook. It will also be technology that will usher in the Xmac because it will be too expensive to put into an iMac, and too nice to hook up to a Mini. I'm uncertain exactly what kind of chip(s) will be required, but it's my understanding that to take advantage of high resolution monitors at least some elements of the GPU have to be tweaked along with a new display interconnect/port.

\tj. Some form of hardware authentication. It's not clear that this is either necessary or useful. Hackers would eventually find a way around it, and it would be an expense and an effort of little obvious value. However, if Apple actually adds specialty hardware, they immediately put the clone makers out of buisness.

8. Some people seem convinced that new Macbooks are going to drop in price and account for the decrease in margin that Apple is projecting. I think this is wrong. It's much more likely that the product transition they're talking about involves the iPod Touch. I would expect the new laptops to come in at nearly identical prices to the current lineup.

So this is my summary. To repeat, I think an Altivec-style coprocessor and/or the resources for Resolution Independence would be both the most likely and the coolest features. Feel free to suggest additions or corrections.
post #157 of 204
If Apple wanted a different chipset then they could work with Intel to provide that. Intel would be happy to make any custom chips and integrate them into Intel boards. This has been signaled over and over. So the access to early parts is not just the end of the collaboration road, Intel could and would make special chips of Apple design and help integrate them into Intel boards that would be Apple only.

WAG What if there were a way to design a Velocity engine that had several different specialized cores in it. One for H264, another for gaming physics, another for HDTV bluray, another for DNA sequencing stuff. In sort a few cores that are very fast at what they do and add great value to Apple machines. Also let's say that in the near future Intel adds a special core to the CPU to do everything h264, Apple could then keep their solution and just shut off the usage of the Apple special core in the software. So the solution would add something now and not necessarily mean that Apple is locked into using only their hardware solutions in the future. The NeXT machines had a special A/D||D/A chip in them.

-Edited in- There maybe should be special cores in that some things can be processed in parallel and MMX (and the like) can help there. The problem is with the problems that don't lend themselves to parallel processing. So if you have to do one thing to completion before you can do the next thing, like most of DNA sequencing, the only real solution is to be able to do the whole calculation very fast. This is where special hardware comes into play, where the sequence is hardwired with little or no need for algorithms, just stream in the data and processed data is written out.

I believe that others could add to this and clarify as needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by commander_scampers View Post

-SNIP-
Why Apple won't leave Intel:
Preface.. this is the dumbest rumor I've heard in ages.

Apple won't leave Intel because Intel delivers a whole package. This lowers R&D.
Intel has also been very amenable to Apple, giving them tweaked solutions and access to parts before other vendors.
Why would you part out your machines when you can do one-stop shopping with a vendor who is willing to give you exclusive early access to parts (like the 3 MHz Xeon duals, or the new CPU package for the MacBook Air).
-SNIP-
Finally, there are two ways to read this rumor:
1) Apple moves to another vendor for system controllers (chipset). In this scenero, Apple trades one common part for another common part. How, exactly, does this differentiate Apple from their competition who use the same commodity parts?
2) Apple designs or modifies the design of an existing Chipset design. Why? Apple isn't going to significantly re-engineer a system to any advantage vs. what's already available or on the horizon. Faster memory? .. coming. Other protocols, like newer I/O specs? .. put an ancillary chip on the board. If Apple did take this step, with little or no pay-off, the R&D costs would be enormous.

Realistically, the only change I could see Apple doing would be some modification to TPM in order to lock OS X to Apple hardware. Of course, that would eventually get broken. You can't give out the black box and expect that no one will figure out how to get it open.
However, TPM isn't a chipset.

Mr. Scamp
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post #158 of 204
What a dumb article. The article said absolutely nothing but bogus speculation, and then posted fake pictures of a fake laptop.

And of course 150+ comments of continued speculation of something that doesn't even exist, with no substantial evidence to support any comment. Lemmings anyone?
post #159 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by hillstones View Post

What a dumb article. The article said absolutely nothing but bogus speculation, and then posted fake pictures of a fake laptop.

And of course 150+ comments of continued speculation of something that doesn't even exist, with no substantial evidence to support any comment. Lemmings anyone?

Yeah, crazy that people would go to an Apple website that reports rumors and discuss rumors.

Do you need the the link to MacWorld?
post #160 of 204
Like Many said. If Apple were to make a special chipset then it would properly be a single chipset.
There would be no Floppy port, no parallel port, no IDE Port, no Serial Port, or PCI lane.
Simply just PCI- Express , SATA, USB, Firewire, FSB.
It would be legacy free, but it wouldn't save much cost. Since the die area used by those are pretty small.
It would use less pin, i guess they could have less PCI Express lane then industry standard. So they save cost with less pin again and therefore less layer for Motherbroad.

Using PowerVR for their Graphics means that have very low power consumption. While enough power for all the OSX needs. And Hardware video acceleration engine.

Even though it is using only 1 chipset instead of 2 from Intel, with the volume of Macbook and iMac it will still be quite expensive to produce. It definitely wouldn't be cheaper then Intel.

But with special hardware apple could lock down its platform again.
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