Rumor: Apple plans to move laptops from Intel to ARM processors

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  • Reply 41 of 156
    mrtotesmrtotes Posts: 759member
    If there's any truth in this it would be in add an A5 to the Intel processor in the Mac Books rather than replace. When you only need low-power mobile apps you can run iOS and when you need the power the i5 or whatever is ready to run full OS X.



    MBPs do this today with graphics cards so it's a logical step. Sure it's costly but it's a way of having the cake and eating it.
  • Reply 42 of 156
    d-ranged-range Posts: 396member
    What a load of BS. Apple would be incredibly stupid if they moved their laptop business to ARM, but keep their desktop business on x86. It would be a nightmare for users and developers who use both, because even with fat/universal binaries the performance difference between a high-end ARM chip and a high-end x86 chip are simply too large, and this is not going to change anytime. It will take at least a few more years before ARM designs even close the gap with a 4 year old Core 2 Duo chip. ARM chips aren't so power efficient because they're made from fairy dust, but because of the simple fact they don't have all the insanely complex logic that makes a high-end x86 chip so efficient. Moving MacBooks to ARM doesn't make any sense at all, it's a performance degradation, and as someone before me already noted, the benefits in battery life will not be worth it by a long shot. If Apple wanted to trade battery life for performance, a much better idea would be to aggressively underclock their x86 CPU's dynamically.



    What I would not rule out though (and I've actually been thinking about this for over a year already), is that Apple might *add* an ARM chip to their laptops, alongside the usual x86 chip, allowing the user to choose which of the two he wants to use at boot time. This way you could have full performance most of the time, but improved battery life for occasions you won't be near an outlet for a long time, doing light work, e.g. on a long flight. An added bonus would be the possibility of near-perfect iOS emulation. I can see this happening, not a MacBook that only has an ARM CPU, that's a downright crazy idea.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nicolbolas


    so...from what i understand atom (newer ones) is 2-3 times after than A5.



    A current Atom is most definitely not 2-3x faster than an A5. For most tasks the A5 will be comparable in performance, for some tasks it will be a little slower (floating-point calculations), and for some it will be faster. Remember that Atom's are really, REALLY slow, to the point it's almost an insult to the people buying these things. All of the Atom's Intel has made have more or less the same performance, the newer ones are hardly any faster than the older ones, and the performance you will get out of them are somewhere in the neighborhood of a Pentium-III at half the clock speed. The only good thing about Atom is the marketing that made so many people see it as great new product, while it is not much more than a rehash of 10-year old technology produced using modern process technology to make it relatively power-efficient.
  • Reply 43 of 156
    zunxzunx Posts: 620member
    Obviously, Apple did not learn from the PowerPC FIASCO. Too bad. Be prepared for a brave new world of 1984 closed Mac systems based on the horrible iOS. Apple is evolving. Hopefully, NOT!!! Or else millions will move to Windows. Apple decides.
  • Reply 44 of 156
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,073member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrtotes View Post


    If there's any truth in this it would be in add an A5 to the Intel processor in the Mac Books rather than replace. When you only need low-power mobile apps you can run iOS and when you need the power the i5 or whatever is ready to run full OS X.



    MBPs do this today with graphics cards so it's a logical step. Sure it's costly but it's a way of having the cake and eating it.



    And this is adding a lot of complexity to gain so little
  • Reply 45 of 156
    lokiloki Posts: 1member
    Long term (longer than 2 years) with llvm and OpenCL Apple is definitely working to be both processor independent and offload multitasking work onto the GPU. Such a transition would be much easier than their past one to x86 architecture. The question is not whether Apple will use ARM in the future, they will, but on which products.
  • Reply 46 of 156
    grubgrub Posts: 24member
    If they did, that kills any future Mac sales for me. I love OSX but need the VMs we run. It wouldn't be hard to move back to Linux boxes for that.
  • Reply 47 of 156
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by palegolas View Post


    With benchmark tests finding the iPad2 roughly to equal the performance of the Powerbook G4, it's already more than half way there. Future laptops... will probably be iPad Pro's.



    Also, Apple is famous for not looking back, but instead looking forward. I'm sure they have great insight in the ARM vs x86 roadmaps, and their in house expertise too, for years to come.



    This. Apple said it when they released the air, they feel that it's the future of computing. If they can put a ton of low power, multiple-core chips in an air-esque form factor and have it be even close to as powerful as the bulkier version, why wouldn't apple do that? Not just for mbp, but paper thin iMacs and apple tv sized minis. And if anyone would know if/when this is possible, it'd probably be the people making the iPad 2, no?
  • Reply 48 of 156
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zunx View Post


    Obviously, Apple did not learn from the PowerPC FIASCO. Too bad. Be prepared for a brave new world of 1984 closed Mac systems based on the horrible iOS. Apple is evolving. Hopefully, NOT!!! Or else millions will move to Windows. Apple decides.



    That is bonkers on so many levels that I can’t even begin to break down every absurd layer without cutting into my weekend.
  • Reply 49 of 156
    jameskatt2jameskatt2 Posts: 720member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by palegolas View Post


    With benchmark tests finding the iPad2 roughly to equal the performance of the Powerbook G4, it's already more than half way there. Future laptops... will probably be iPad Pro's.



    Also, Apple is famous for not looking back, but instead looking forward. I'm sure they have great insight in the ARM vs x86 roadmaps, and their in house expertise too, for years to come.



    A PowerPC Powerbook G4 is more than 10 times slower than the latest Intel MacBook Pros.



    This puts ARM at a serious disadvantage compared to Intel Processors.



    Intel is not sitting on its fanny either.



    Intel just came out with 3D Transistors - which no one else will have. These will double the processing speed of existing processors. And, they will simultaneously lower Intel processor power requirements to the point they are equivalent to ARM's.



    Intel is very very aggressive since processors are their life-blood.



    I can see, however, Apple going to Intel to fabricate Apple's A5+ ARM chips. After all, with 3D processor and 22mm process technologies, Intel can make Apple's A5 and future ARM chips much much more powerful than non-Intel ARM chips. This will give Apple a huge lead on its competitors.
  • Reply 50 of 156
    ksecksec Posts: 1,566member
    We are not talking about current ARM processors. Those who keep saying ARM is slow at the moment.

    We have ARM Cortex A9, but they are tuned for Mobile uses, using 40nmLP, and lower clock speed due to power constraint.

    Next Gen is A15, which will bring another huge leap in performance. Then there is 64bit version of ARM.



    That is a lot of performance enhancement could be in the next 2 years. And we are talking about a 64bit version here. Dual Core version of such thing should definitely be able to fit our daily needs today.



    So the performance shouldn't be a problem. The question is whether Apple really want this.
  • Reply 51 of 156
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,073member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ksec View Post


    We are not talking about current ARM processors. Those who keep saying ARM is slow at the moment.

    We have ARM Cortex A9, but they are tuned for Mobile uses, using 40nmLP, and lower clock speed due to power constraint.

    Next Gen is A15, which will bring another huge leap in performance. Then there is 64bit version of ARM.



    That is a lot of performance enhancement could be in the next 2 years. And we are talking about a 64bit version here. Dual Core version of such thing should definitely be able to fit our daily needs today.



    So the performance shouldn't be a problem. The question is whether Apple really want this.



    And meanwhile, competition doesn't improve their processors
  • Reply 52 of 156
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    This story is crazy. Maybe there is a remote chance that OS X will be able to run on ARM just like Microsoft says Windows 8 will be able to run on ARM, but Apple isn't giving up Intel until ARM can come up with something like Xeon and power a 12 core Mac Pro at 3+ GHz
  • Reply 53 of 156
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ksec View Post


    We are not talking about current ARM processors. Those who keep saying ARM is slow at the moment.

    We have ARM Cortex A9, but they are tuned for Mobile uses, using 40nmLP, and lower clock speed due to power constraint.

    Next Gen is A15, which will bring another huge leap in performance. Then there is 64bit version of ARM.



    That is a lot of performance enhancement could be in the next 2 years. And we are talking about a 64bit version here. Dual Core version of such thing should definitely be able to fit our daily needs today.



    So the performance shouldn't be a problem. The question is whether Apple really want this.



    That?s all fine and dandy, but as noted Intel isn?t sitting still. The question remains: What makes the ARM roadmaps a better candidate for notebooks and desktops over the Core roadmaps? This rumour doesn?t address that so I can?t help but rule in its entirety.
  • Reply 54 of 156
    cy_starkmancy_starkman Posts: 489member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrtotes View Post


    If there's any truth in this it would be in add an A5 to the Intel processor in the Mac Books rather than replace. When you only need low-power mobile apps you can run iOS and when you need the power the i5 or whatever is ready to run full OS X.



    MBPs do this today with graphics cards so it's a logical step. Sure it's costly but it's a way of having the cake and eating it.



    I can see this, for portables not desktops so much (or maybe just for green cred). It links to something I've thought a lot about, modular computing. The idea of having an iPod module in a MacBook essentially, consider the playback time with the comparably giant battery and with a SSD blade like the Air you don't even need to waste on spinning up the platters. If you join that to the sectional screen patents from Apple where parts or layers are e-ink or can be turned off then you could have an Air that switches to iPod mode, deactivated most of the screen and runs for days.



    Not that you really want to run it for days playing music, rather if that is the sole use for the next 2hrs why waste a 1/5 of your battery driving a whole computer.
  • Reply 55 of 156
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    i wish to understand the differences between the arm and x86 archetecture as to processing and capability perhaps someone can provide a link that explains the differences and adress the roadmaps as was mentioned in an earlier post.

    can an arm processor encode video, do an iMac ivideo editing? need a separate or new operating system



    i can understand the want of apple to put the world of the iphone apps on laptops, desktops and grow that ecosystem



    but isn't arm processors big plus is the power usage?



    intel just announced their "3d" processors, faster, and lower power and can be used in smartphones and laptops etc.



    i know atom is underpowered and uses more energy

    with this huge shift to "mobile platforms" does my macbook pro, and imac utilitze iphone apps as is? does it need a separate operating system, or in addition to the intel chip need an arm chip??



    we hear rumors of apple wanting to get the iphone, ipad apps to the "mac" well how



    and doesn't SJ want to get away from samsung?

    thanks for your patience
  • Reply 56 of 156
    stuffestuffe Posts: 391member
    More likely they will start throwing in one or more A5s (or whatever they will be called at the time) into the Mac range in addition to the Intel chip, to be used either as OS specific API hardware accelerators leaving the whole Intel chip free for App use, or something similar.



    With the right OpenCL bits in there a couple of ARM chips will be cheap, small, low power, and a great way to a) differentiate a MAC from a PC (won't be "just a pc" any more), and b) give more cores to split tasks up and multithread using Grand Central.



    Imagine a custom fabbed A6 with OS APIs hardware accelerated and the powerVR chips etc available to developers via OpenCL/GCD like the SPs in the PS3. Could be very powerful and very flexible. With a way to turn off your Intel CPU and dedicated GPU you could have a laptop that get's ridiculous battery life by running powersaving OS on the ARMs for bog standard stuff like iTune and web etc.
  • Reply 57 of 156
    Could Intel apply it's new 22nm TriGate process to ARM chips? That would be sweet.
  • Reply 58 of 156
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stuffe View Post


    More likely they will start throwing in one or more A5s (or whatever they will be called at the time) into the Mac range in addition to the Intel chip, to be used either as OS specific API hardware accelerators leaving the whole Intel chip free for App use, or something similar.



    With the right OpenCL bits in there a couple of ARM chips will be cheap, small, low power, and a great way to a) differentiate a MAC from a PC (won't be "just a pc" any more), and b) give more cores to split tasks up and multithread using Grand Central.



    Imagine a custom fabbed A6 with OS APIs hardware accelerated and the powerVR chips etc available to developers via OpenCL/GCD like the SPs in the PS3. Could be very powerful and very flexible. With a way to turn off your Intel CPU and dedicated GPU you could have a laptop that get's ridiculous battery life by running powersaving OS on the ARMs for bog standard stuff like iTune and web etc.



    I have my doubts about that when Apple seems to be unable to get GPU switching right.
  • Reply 59 of 156
    mynameisjoemynameisjoe Posts: 170member
    I could see arm processors in the MacBook Air. The 10 inch Air is mostly battery doesn't have that powerful of a processor, and still only gets five hours of battery life. Arm chips are advancing pretty fast in a couple of years they may be more powerful than what the 10 inch currently has and they probably could cut down the battery size and still get 10 hours of battery life. They could also get rid of the fan (although they might decide to keep it to run the processor at faster speeds). They will save quite a bit of money and could probably drop the cost by $100. If they are able to increase the speed enough, it makes an auwful lot of sense.
  • Reply 60 of 156
    chabigchabig Posts: 624member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by grub View Post


    If they did, that kills any future Mac sales for me. I love OSX but need the VMs we run. It wouldn't be hard to move back to Linux boxes for that.



    I guess you could switch to Windows. Oh wait, they're moving to ARM too.
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