Apple wants to move Macs away from Intel chips - report

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  • Reply 141 of 221
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by godrifle View Post



    Wait. Apple needs to differentiate their computers from PC's running Windows, and changing the CPU is the way? Ludicrous.


     


    Apple can squeeze into the volume market for the Mac Mini with an APU and reduce the form factor while having a 7660 AMD OpenCL 1.2/OpenGL 4.x compliant GPGPU with 384 real stream cores allowing the value for the Mac Mini to go up significantly while the cost drops.

  • Reply 142 of 221
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post




    Just curious:  what about it feels less than "Pro"?


     


    Personally I think it's a very nice design, and while I'd probably drop a more modest CPU in it to keep it air-cooled and efficient, as Tallest Skil noted there's no reason it couldn't accommodate a Xeon.


     


    Is the new MacBook Pro any less "pro" than previous models just because it's slimmer?



     


    Let me know when 7000/600 series AMD/Nvidia half-height single slot GPGPUs with 1/2G/3GB of RAM on one, never mind more than one GPGPU that currently the Mac Pro accomodates with a 1500W Power Supply all manages to fit within a < 400W low profile aluminum chassis with room for multiple SSD drives and not just a Thunderbolt jack to an additional RAID ready 12 TB optional stack, all within that form factor.


     


    Oh that's right! They don't exist.

  • Reply 143 of 221
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by stevenoz View Post


    Wow. If Steve Jobs were here he'd say, "That idea is a pile of ....."


     


    We exist in a world of computers that use both Windows and Macs. One can't be all things to all people. (Very few games on Mac, and a lot of pro software is Windows only, eg)


     


    As a consultant, I use the fact that the Mac does both Windows and Mac to sell Apple computers. And I've sold a lot of them. Remember the world still uses Windows mostly.


     


    Gee, I wish Steve Jobs were here to bash the idiot who thought of nixing Intel. Stupid in today's world.



     


    Nixing Intel doesn't mean Nixing Intel. It means augmenting Intel with another Intel compliant CPU vendor, AMD. Personally, they should build out models for both CPU lines or target specifically the Mac Mini for the APU line from AMD and allow the big box [Mac Pro] to be BTO for either Intel or AMD. All of Apple's code is optimized either way and Apple doesn't make a dime advertising for Intel.

  • Reply 144 of 221
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post


    I also wonder why Apple could not put a version of the Ax processor into all their Macs for the GPU? I don't think anyone can argue the graphics performance of the A6 and perhaps the A7 will do dual work also using OpenCL.



     


    You really don't have a clue the differences between Embedded systems software and Workstation level software with a full OS X stack I see.

  • Reply 145 of 221
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by smalM View Post


    Next year Haswell will make the biggest step forward since Intel introduced Core 2.



     


    You think? Your comment prompted me to do a little reading about it and it seems like its only real trick is power management. Granted that's important, but it doesn't really strike me as particularly exciting.


     


    Oh, and to those saying that CPU speed increases are no longer as necessary as they once were, may I suggest you spend some time working with the latest Adobe apps? Installing those made my MacBook Pro instantly seem three years older than it is!

  • Reply 146 of 221
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    It still puzzles me when people buy mac pros to run Windows, especially when much of the Autodesk stuff runs on OSX these days. 3ds Max and XSI are Windows only. There are probably others, but they publish quite a lot of software that runs under OSX.



     


    Huh? Did you miss the part where I mentioned that adding Windows to a Mac was more convenient than setting up another machine to run the Windows side of things?


     


    The fact that SOME titles are available in OSX versions isn't particularly helpful if the one you're using isn't one of them.

  • Reply 147 of 221
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post


    Is the new MacBook Pro any less "pro" than previous models just because it's slimmer?



     


    Bad example because yes, it is.


     


    A "pro" machine would be serviceable by in-house IT personnel, adhere to generally accepted industry standards for replaceable components, and not make the most widely used software in the world look WORSE, not better.


     


    In this case two of those three issues are a direct result of the absurd drive to make an already-super-slim computer less than an 1/8" thinner, so it is less "pro" than previous models just because it's slimmer.

  • Reply 148 of 221
    macrulezmacrulez Posts: 2,455member


    deleted

  • Reply 149 of 221
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    We are seeing with the A6 chip that Apple is leveraging better chip design to produce faster hardware, and I think they will with the Macbook Air to start as no one is using Bootcamp on an Air. Possibly the Mac Mini also. 

    My question is; when will Apple start to FAB their own chips? Sure, it cost a few Billion to build a FAB and several hundred Million to re-tool, but they have the money and at some point the economics and supply chain advantage will outweigh the cost. How many Ax processors goes into iPods, iPhone, iPads, Airport, AppleTV, possibly the Mac Mini and Macbook Air. That's quite a few million chips. 

    That's ridiculous. Who told you that no one is using Boot Camp on the MBA? Or virtual machines?

    As it is, Windows compatibility is a very important feature. Apple's not going to give it up easily.

    More importantly, the A6 is probably 1/10 the performance of the slowest i5 in the MBA. Apple is not going to release a newer product with a 90% decrease in performance. It was bad enough when they had to switch from PPC to Intel - where the Intel chips were comparable (maybe a 10-20% decrease in performance AT MOST, and often much less).

    The entire premise of them REPLACING Intel chips with ARM is ridiculous.

    I could, however, see them selling a MBA-type machine which is essentially an iPad Pro. That is, an iPad with built in keyboard, larger battery, maybe higher clock speed, etc. It would do everything the iPad does (email, simple documents, light graphics, work, etc) with the benefit of an attached keyboard. But it would be in addition to existing products - it would not replace the MBA.
  • Reply 150 of 221
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    v5v wrote: »
    You think? Your comment prompted me to do a little reading about it and it seems like its only real trick is power management. Granted that's important, but it doesn't really strike me as particularly exciting.

    Oh, and to those saying that CPU speed increases are no longer as necessary as they once were, may I suggest you spend some time working with the latest Adobe apps? Installing those made my MacBook Pro instantly seem three years older than it is!

    I think it's worth making a distinction. I happen to be one of the people saying that CPU speed increases are not as important as they once were - HOWEVER, I specifically limit that to the average user. For the average user, incremental increases in CPU performance no longer matter much. I remember the days when even a brand new computer felt slow and you eagerly awaited any performance improvements. Today, I'm using a 6 year old MBP and it's perfectly fine for almost everything I do. As an average user, today's computers are fast enough that the computer is no longer the bottleneck.

    However, there will always be pro users (and, to a lesser extent, gamers) who need every bit of computing power available. But that's a relatively small percentage.
  • Reply 151 of 221
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    hmm wrote: »
    It still puzzles me when people buy mac pros to run Windows, especially when much of the Autodesk stuff runs on OSX these days. 3ds Max and XSI are Windows only. There are probably others, but they publish quite a lot of software that runs under OSX.

    First, not very many people buy Macs solely to run Windows. Many people prefer Macs and Mac OS X and buy Macs to run Mac OS but appreciate the ability to run Windows on occasion (for the one app that their IT group insists on which only runs on Windows.

    Also, some people prefer the quality and design of Macs. For example, no one offers anything like the rMBP. Until recently, nothing was close to the MBA.
  • Reply 152 of 221


    I don't think Apple would partner with AMD for quite a while.  While I believe AMD offers a good price/performance value, I don't think it would be good for the perception of Apples computers' premium branding.  It would be interesting to see how an Apple OS could take advantage of their present architecture, unlike Windows 7.  Supposedly the scheduler in Windows 8 will offer up better performance for the Bulldozer/Piledriver line, maybe Steamroller would be even better, but outside of running a Hackintosh or maybe a Linux flavor it would be tough to get an adequate comparison.  I am not even sure if you can run a Hackintosh on a current AMD chip, but I am sure someone will take up that challenge.  

  • Reply 153 of 221

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gustav View Post


    Well, for one, they subsidized the development of MacBook Air knock offs by offering a $100million ultrabook development fund so vendors could come close to matching Apple's pricing.



     


    In fairness to Intel (can't believe I just typed that!), they do have other customers to consider.  Judging by the PC to Mac marketshare, the PC world is where they make the majority of their profits, so I could see them trying to get manufacturers to develop those Ultrabooks.  However, some of the external designs of the Ultrabooks are blatant MBA rip-offs, but that's not Intel's fault as far as I know.  I wish AMD could better match the performance of the Intel chips, but with their limited resources, it is amazing they are doing as well as they are.

  • Reply 154 of 221

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by maccherry View Post



    what a lot of people don't know is that AMD uses licensed Intel tech known as x86 architecture. And Intel has told AMD that they can't compete with them on the high end.

    So if Apple tries going with AMD Intel would make sure the best stuff won't get into their machines. So Apple's only move is to use their own swag.


     


    Didn't Intel use AMD tech/IP as well once their 64 bit CPUs came out?  Not sure, but I remember reading something about that years ago.  I thought it was AMD's limited R&D budget that prevented them from competing with the high-end Intel chips, not licensing deals.

  • Reply 155 of 221

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    That's ridiculous. Who told you that no one is using Boot Camp on the MBA? Or virtual machines?

    As it is, Windows compatibility is a very important feature. Apple's not going to give it up easily.

    More importantly, the A6 is probably 1/10 the performance of the slowest i5 in the MBA. Apple is not going to release a newer product with a 90% decrease in performance. It was bad enough when they had to switch from PPC to Intel - where the Intel chips were comparable (maybe a 10-20% decrease in performance AT MOST, and often much less).

    The entire premise of them REPLACING Intel chips with ARM is ridiculous.

    I could, however, see them selling a MBA-type machine which is essentially an iPad Pro. That is, an iPad with built in keyboard, larger battery, maybe higher clock speed, etc. It would do everything the iPad does (email, simple documents, light graphics, work, etc) with the benefit of an attached keyboard. But it would be in addition to existing products - it would not replace the MBA.


     


    As you can already get keyboards for iPads in various flavors, I don't see that happening.  However, I didn't see a smaller iPad coming either.

  • Reply 156 of 221

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post




    All kidding about nettops aside, it's not only a nice concept model but very well rendered.  What software did you do that in?



     


    Oops, I guess I should be checking back more frequently. Thanks for the compliments! I used modo for that. Also, LOL at the arguments springing up from this...thing I literally just tossed out in a few hours without a single thought about how components would physically fit inside. image I was riffing on the idea from Mrgan's list of nonsense Apple product names, that's all. Take a Mac Pro, make it thin.

  • Reply 157 of 221
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,740member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by iSteelers View Post


    Didn't Intel use AMD tech/IP as well once their 64 bit CPUs came out?  Not sure, but I remember reading something about that years ago.  I thought it was AMD's limited R&D budget that prevented them from competing with the high-end Intel chips, not licensing deals.



     


    AMD went with x64, which was backwardly-compatible with x86, at the time when Intel was trying to sell everyone on the Itanium processor.


     


    IIRC, AMD still pays Intel licensing fees for the x86 instruction set that x64 was built on.

  • Reply 158 of 221


    Yeah - ARM in any Mac computer? No. Arm has only just managed to beat a Single Core Atom - a modified Atom at that to run in a smart phone, no less. To my knowledge they were Single Core Atoms as well - can I see comparisons with the Dual Core Atoms used in net books? ARM as a co-processor, however, I like the idea of that. Use the ARM cores to eliviate stress from the graphics processor or something - or use it to run non demanding background services like managing network connections and bluetooth transfers - or even (in the most old-school of moves) using it as a maths co-processor for floating point calculations.


     


    AMD? Possibly - processors like the AMD A8-5500 and A10-5700 are actually not bad - in fact they're actually very good! The A10 in particular can go toe-toe with a desktop Ivy Bridge Core i5 and have far better graphics on chip as well - my friend has an AMD A8 based HP Laptop and it can run many games at playable frame rates and modest detail settings. If a Mac Mini or one of the low end iMacs came out with an A8 and an A10 (respectively) I'd be fine with that. Low thermal output, nippy performance, good power per watt. AMD are also very good at making cheap but efficient ultra-mobile processors as well - things like the Vision E-400 are AMD's answer to the Atom and completely obliterate it in terms of performance (even at lower clock speeds) - a beefed up Vision or a scaled down Ax series would be a winner in a MacBook Air.


     


    The higher end iMacs, MacBook Pros and MacPro, however, would need to stick with Intel. Intels Xeon and Core i7 CPUs destroy AMD in every sense of the word. AMDs workstation chip, the Opteron, is just no where near as fast as the Xeon and the Ivy Bridge i7 (hell, even some first generation i7 chips from 2009/2010!) leave AMD in the dust. Macs are premium machines and the top end models are excruciatingly fast that more often than not warrant the premium: even the two year old MacPro with a single Hex Core Intel Xeon W3680 has the same benchmark performance as the recent Xeon E5-2640.


     


     


    But shifting focus away from CPUs, you have thunderbolt. Its currently on all recently released Macs and tied to the Intel chipset. Unless Apple can pull some fairy dust out of their backsides and wish upon a couple of stars, Thunderbolt on an AMD platform is likely not going to happen soon.

  • Reply 159 of 221
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    Well that sucks if it comes to fruition.  I like using Fusion.



    I don't think you have to worry about it, at least for a long time.  Apple knows if they did make the change, it would have to be seamless.  What would happen if they make the system faster than the fastest PC and still run Windows?  I mean, they were able to run Windows on a Mac before they switched to Intel chips. 




    Since none of us readers making comments don't know what is in Apple's research labs, all we can do is speculate on possibilities and see who the closest.

  • Reply 160 of 221
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    drblank wrote: »
    Since none of us readers making comments don't know what is in Apple's research labs, all we can do is speculate on possibilities and see who the closest.

    Speculation is fun though!

    Here's what I think, realistically, Apple would or could do:

    1. Buy S3/VIA/Cyrix, jettison the trash and low-build quality they're known for. May as well not, other than for any x86-64 patent/licences.
    2. Buy nVidia, er probably not, nVidia seems to want to do it's own thing.
    3. Buy AMD/ATI. AMD doesn't make horrible parts, and they do hold 22-30% of the market, roughly the same amount Apple has for Desktops (not all systems.) The problem here is that this would actually remove the only competition for x86-64 parts, forcing the likes of Dell and HP to only have Intel to buy from.

    However there is nothing saying that Apple couldn't licence what AMD/ATI has and improve on it. It doesn't seem far fetched, but moving to ARM seems silly as the ARM parts don't yet compete on performance, only power. The ARM parts are only therefor good in low-power applications (Mobile phones, tablets, and embedded systems.) They are moving into servers, but they're not replacing Xeon's, rather they're replacing on-demand cloud systems (that just run web servers.) eg instead of buying 2 top of the line Xeon E5's for 20,000$, you instead buy 80 ARM cores and instead spread the load among multiple chips. Linux, FreeBSD, and all the open source software like Apache HTTPD and MySQL can run on it. So unless the next Mac Pro has 80 ARM cores in it, I don't see this going anywhere. Likewise the iMac's would probably need like 20-40 of them.

    You also can't emulate x86-64 on anything. So it's unlikely that Apple would again change the CPU on a whim, as this would kill sales and spell the end of the Mac. You will more likely see both ARM and x86-64 CPU's in a future Mac, and the OS will switch to the ARM parts when high performance isn't needed, eventually developers will make their code run on both. But something tells me that customers aren't willing to switch from x86-64, as developers will just go back to Windows.

    AMD's problem has been that Intel is too far ahead. AMD produces chips that consume more power than Intel's, so you don't get the same performance out of the top end desktop AMD chip that you do from the top end desktop Intel one. However Intel is also failing, as processors released this year Intel Core i7-3770 @ 3.40GHz (10359) is the same performance as processors two years ago: Intel Core i7 995X @ 3.60GHz (10374). AMD's fastest desktop part is still 20% slower: AMD FX-8150 Eight-Core (8172) which is comparable to Intel Core i5-3570K @ 3.40GHz (7726)@ http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php

    But also, AMD's FX-8150 is 125W @ 32nm while Intel's 3rd generation i5 and i7 are 77watts @ 22nm vs intel's first generation i7 995X at 130watts @ 32nm.

    So in a sense AMD is 2 years behind Intel. Apple couldn't use AMD's parts since it would offer less than what is currently being offered. Large data centers and Enterprise will pick parts that are most power efficient, and AMD is losing here.
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