How Apple A-series chips stack up against Intel Macs

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2020
Apple Macs are moving away from Intel and to Apple Silicon. To understand what that means for Mac performance, it's helpful to look back at past A-series chips and compare them to Intel CPUs.

Apple Macs have long used Intel chipsets, but that's due to change within the next few years.
Apple Macs have long used Intel chipsets, but that's due to change within the next few years.


Since the very first iPhone, Apple has been using ARM-based processors in its mobile devices. The company launched its first true A-series chip with the iPhone 4, which came equipped with the Apple A4 chip. Since then, Apple's proprietary chips have been breaking ground and stretching the limits of what is possible from ARM-derived processors in a mobile package.






Now that we know future Mac devices are going to sport Apple Silicon too, it's helpful to look back at how recent Apple A-series chips compare performance-wise to Macs with Intel processors in them. Here's how the A10 through the A12Z stacks up against similarly performing Intel chips.

A10 and A10X Fusion Chipset

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


The A10 Fusion chipset was first released on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in September 2016. Despite its age, the A10 Fusion can still keep up with many current tasks thanks to its power.

Per Geekbench 5, the 2.3GHz A10 Fusion clocks in with a single-core of 740 and a multi-core score of 1322.

With those scores, it means the A10 Fusion chipsets are roughly similar to the early 2016 12-inch MacBook, which Apple has since discontinued.

The 12-inch MacBook equipped with a 1.3GHz Intel Core m7 processor clocked in with a single-core score of 652 and a multi-core score of 1405. It retailed for $1,299 at the time of its release.

A10X Chipset

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


After the release of the A10 Fusion, Apple adapted the chip for its tablet lineup with the A10X Fusion chip. Throughout its life, it powered the 6th-generation and 10.2-inch iPad, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and the 2nd-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

The device benchmarks pretty similarly to the A10 Fusion, though it comes in slightly higher. On an iPad, it clocks in with a single-core score of 755 and a multi-core score of 1403. It's quite a bit faster on the aforementioned iPad Pros, with single-core scores of 831 and multi-core scores of 2265. The A10X Fusion could be had for as low as $649 on an iPad Pro.

With those scores, the A10X Fusion is in the same ballpark as a 13-inch MacBook Pro model from 2017. The specific variant we're comparing is the mid-range configuration with an Intel Core i5 processor, which retailed for $1,499.

The aforementioned 13-inch MacBook Pro clocks in with a single-core Geekbench 5 score of 850 and a multi-core score of 1972, meaning it's actually slightly slower in multi-core performance despite being more expensive than the iPad Pro.

A11 Bionic Chipset

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


The A11 Bionic chip was introduced on the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X in 2017. A dual-core processor, the A11 Bionic was also the first A-series chip to sport an Apple "Neural Engine" for A.I. and machine learning tasks.

On an iPhone X, the A11 Bionic came in with a 917 single-core and 2350 multi-core score in Geekbench 5 benchmark testing. While that device retailed for $999, the A11 Bionic could be found for cheaper in the iPhone 8 series.

The entry-level 2020 MacBook Air, equipped with an Intel Core i3-1000NG4, benchmarks similarly. It's a low-power 1.1GHz dual-core processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz.

The early 2020 MacBook Air (base model) equipped with the chipset has an average single-core score of 1076 and a multi-core score of 2842. The computer it comes in retails for $999.

A12 Bionic Chipset

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


The A12 Bionic, which first appeared on the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, was Apple's first to be made with a 7nm chip process. (It also ended up in a non-X form in the 2019 iPad Air 3 and iPad mini.) The A12 could be had for $750 in an iPhone, or $399 in an iPad.

In an iPhone XS, the 2.5GHz A12 Bionic scored a 1106 and a 2687 in multi-core Geekbench 5 benchmark testing. In the latest iPad Air, benchmarks came in slightly higher with a single-core score of 1112 and a multi-core score of 2869.

That puts the A12 Bionic on roughly the same footing at the 2017 21.5-inch iMac equipped with a 3GHz Intel Core i5-7400 processor. That device started at $1,099.

In an iMac with 8GB of RAM, the Intel Core i5 scored a 1005 in single-core Geekbench 5 testing and a 3208 in multi-core benchmarking.

A13 Bionic

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


The A13 Bionic is currently Apple's latest iPhone chip, and it's installed in the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max and iPhone SE devices.

It's a 2.66 GHz, six-core processor. Per Geekbench 5 benchmarks, the A13 Bionic averages a single-core score of 1325 and a multi-core score of 3382. While the higher-tier iPhones pack it, you can get the A13 Bionic as cheap as $399 in Apple's 2020 iPhone SE.

If you want similar performance in a Mac, you'll probably want to take a look at the 13-inch MacBook Pro with an 8th-generation Intel Core i5-8257U processor. That MacBook processor is a 1.4GHz quad-core chip with Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz, per Apple's specifications.

On Geekbench 5, it comes in lower than the iPhone in single-core scores but slightly higher in multi-core with 1012 and 3676, respectively. You can get that chip in an entry-level MacBook Pro for $1,299.

A12X and A12Z Bionic

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


There are two generations of iPad-specific A12 chips that Apple has released in the past two years: the A12X, which was installed in the 2018 iPad Pro models, and the A12Z, which powers the 2020 iPad Pro models, as well as the Apple Developer Transition Kit.

Both chips benchmark similarly on Geekbench 5, mostly due to the fact that they are essentially the same piece of silicon with slight modifications (such as an extra GPU core).

The A12X and A12Z Bionic both benchmark around 1115 in single-core testing, but they clock in as the fastest iOS-based devices in multi-core benchmarks with a high score of 4626. On an Apple Developer Transition Kit running Geekbench 5 natively, the scores are roughly similar with single-core scores around 1005 and multi-core scores around 4555. The A12Z retails for $799 in an 11-inch iPad Pro.

If you want similar single- and multi-core performance in an Intel-based chip, the way to get it is the mid-range 16-inch MacBook Pro with Intel Core i7 processor. It retails for $2,399, with sales sometimes pushing the lower-end model below $2000.

The 9th-gen Intel Core i7 benchmarks around 1024 in single-core testing and 5385 in multi-core testing in a 16-inch MacBook Pro with 16GB of RAM. That's slightly lower than the A12Z in single-core, but clocks in higher in multi-core benchmarks.

What this means for the Mac

Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider
Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider


Keep in mind that benchmarks aren't always a reliable indicator of real-world performance. Whether or not they translate to speed and performance in your own setup is largely depends on how your workflow compares to the benchmark suite's calculations.

With that being said, these benchmarks do back up the fact that Apple's chip design and foundry have come a long way. The combination of design, whole-stack control, and foundry expertise have continuously pushed the industry toward faster and more efficient mobile processors. That trend isn't likely to stop at the Mac.

Past versions of Apple's A-series chips benchmarked at the lower end of what was available on the Mac. And although comparing the A12Z to the latest 16-inch MacBook Pro still illustrates an Intel performance advantage, it's clear that Apple Silicon is catching up, and who knows what Apple has in store for us.

The first of the Apple Silicon Macs are likely to make up the lower end of Apple's Mac lineup, as indicated by rumors that the first Mac to come with an A-series chip could be a 12-inch MacBook refresh. But Apple has already laid the groundwork for "Pro" Macs with Apple Silicon.

There are already high-performance ARM-based chips out there, mostly running in servers and delivering better performance-per-dollar and energy efficiency than Intel processors. While their market share is still paltry compared to Intel, the pace of performance upgrades and advancements in technology may just close that gap. With Apple moving its complete lineup of Macs to ARM-based Apple Silicon, it could further spur adoption by computer makers and server companies.

As indicated by the pace of Apple's A-series developments, a Pro Apple Silicon chip could very well run circles around a similar Intel chip -- especially when you consider how quickly the A-series has caught up to desktop performance. Also note that Apple Silicon Macs will have more robust cooling solutions than the iPads in the previous comparisons, meaning that thermal throttling could be less of an issue.

With all that in mind, it isn't hard to foresee a high-performing ARM chip in a Mac Pro somewhere down the road. When -- not if -- Apple Silicon chips built off Apple's A-series chip legacy end up in a MacBook Pro, they will in all probability kick off a new era of performance, efficiency and integration with Apple's wider ecosystem for the Mac.
patchythepiratewatto_cobralolliver
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 52
    I truly hope Apple has a new family of MacOS processors that are at least the equal of an Intel i9 chip.  If Apple has as powerful a processor and that processor requires only half the wattage to produce the same amount of power, I'll be more than satisfied.  I would probably be asking for too much if Apple Silicon is actually a lot more powerful than an Intel i9.  I heard that Apple's A14 processor has as many as 15B transistors.  That's just crazy.

    I'm still rather puzzled as to what Apple is doing to do in terms of a GPU.  Will it be part of the main SoC or will Apple introduce some discrete GPU for the iMac.  I hope Apple has at least one fan inside the enclosure just to keep ambient temperature air moving near the SoC.  I'm really looking forward to owning an Apple Silicon Mac and I hope it lives up to the WWDC event hype.  I would love to see an Apple laptop with a fifteen-hour battery life under partial load while running videos and playing games or seven-hours under full load.  That would be mind-blowing.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 52
    I’m looking forward to a 16” MacBook Pro with Apple Silicone. My 2016 15” MBP still has plenty of life in it, but when the above comes out, I can hand it down to my kids for school work :smile: 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 52
    thttht Posts: 4,030member
    My biggest complaint with my work-issued 2018 MBP15 is that it runs hot when I have it connected to an external monitor and using the builtin keyboard. The top surface gets hot, heating up the keyboard! I really like the butterfly keyboard a lot more than the work-issue Macally one, and my work from home setup is bit too space constrained for an external keyboard anyways.

    Hopefully they can have a 25 W SoC that keeps the keyboard and top case cool while providing better performance than Intel systems. Actually, I think they can put the logic board behind the display by the hinge if it is long skinny like the iPad Pros. That'll remove the primary source of heat from the keyboard and keep it nice and cool at all times.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 52
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,527member
    I truly hope Apple has a new family of MacOS processors that are at least the equal of an Intel i9 chip.  If Apple has as powerful a processor and that processor requires only half the wattage to produce the same amount of power, I'll be more than satisfied.  I would probably be asking for too much if Apple Silicon is actually a lot more powerful than an Intel i9.  I heard that Apple's A14 processor has as many as 15B transistors.  That's just crazy.

    If A12Z is similar to i7 wouldn't Apple's A14 be similar to i9?
    commentzillaaderutterwatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 5 of 52
    Beats said:
    I truly hope Apple has a new family of MacOS processors that are at least the equal of an Intel i9 chip.  If Apple has as powerful a processor and that processor requires only half the wattage to produce the same amount of power, I'll be more than satisfied.  I would probably be asking for too much if Apple Silicon is actually a lot more powerful than an Intel i9.  I heard that Apple's A14 processor has as many as 15B transistors.  That's just crazy.

    If A12Z is similar to i7 wouldn't Apple's A14 be similar to i9?
    And that's two generations older than the A14. I'm 100% certain Apple is not going to release a chip slower than anything its replacing. 
    rcfamwhitewatto_cobralolliverjony0
  • Reply 6 of 52
    Fidonet127Fidonet127 Posts: 269member
    All much faster than any Mac I have. 
    edited July 2020 watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 7 of 52

    tht said:
    My biggest complaint with my work-issued 2018 MBP15 is that it runs hot when I have it connected to an external monitor and using the builtin keyboard. The top surface gets hot, heating up the keyboard! I really like the butterfly keyboard a lot more than the work-issue Macally one, and my work from home setup is bit too space constrained for an external keyboard anyways.

    Hopefully they can have a 25 W SoC that keeps the keyboard and top case cool while providing better performance than Intel systems. Actually, I think they can put the logic board behind the display by the hinge if it is long skinny like the iPad Pros. That'll remove the primary source of heat from the keyboard and keep it nice and cool at all times.
    Behind the display? I doubt the fan and the heatsink will fit.  :D

    The new chip will most likely run hotter than the current A series since they will want it to be more powerful and don't forget the GPU!  If there's a fan less version it will most likely be a 13" MBP.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 52
    rcfarcfa Posts: 1,076member
    The article fails to mention that Apple skipped an X-generation chip for the iPad Pro refresh.

    I’d say they intentionally held back such as not to tip their hand. If you extrapolate the performance gains from A12 to A13, you can imagine where an A13X would have been, now add another generation, less concern for power/heat, and focus on desktop performance, and I’d expect people to be as blown away by the performance as they were when Apple baffled everyone moving the iPhone to a 64Bit platform...
    chasmpatchythepirateaderutterwatto_cobralolliverfastasleepargonaut
  • Reply 9 of 52
    jdb8167jdb8167 Posts: 620member
    I truly hope Apple has a new family of MacOS processors that are at least the equal of an Intel i9 chip.  If Apple has as powerful a processor and that processor requires only half the wattage to produce the same amount of power, I'll be more than satisfied.  I would probably be asking for too much if Apple Silicon is actually a lot more powerful than an Intel i9.  I heard that Apple's A14 processor has as many as 15B transistors.  That's just crazy.
    The A12X from 2018 has 10 billion transistors so not crazy at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the upcoming Apple Silicon (ASi) SoCs come in even higher than 15 billion transistors. The A12X was designed for the thermally constrained iPad Pro. Notebook SoCs will have much more thermal headroom. That could be used for a higher clock or for more/denser transistors. 
    Metriacanthosauruswatto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 10 of 52
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,164member
    tht said:
    My biggest complaint with my work-issued 2018 MBP15 is that it runs hot when I have it connected to an external monitor and using the builtin keyboard. The top surface gets hot, heating up the keyboard! I really like the butterfly keyboard a lot more than the work-issue Macally one, and my work from home setup is bit too space constrained for an external keyboard anyways.

    I have the same experience with temperature as you in my MBP 13" 2017.  The keyboard gets hot when running some applications and doing video conference.  Looking forward how the new Apple notebooks improve this issue. 

    Hopefully they can have a 25 W SoC that keeps the keyboard and top case cool while providing better performance than Intel systems. Actually, I think they can put the logic board behind the display by the hinge if it is long skinny like the iPad Pros. That'll remove the primary source of heat from the keyboard and keep it nice and cool at all times.
    What you propose is was MS did with the Surface Book.  You'll have to sacrifice some inches in the screen, with the benefit that you mentioned.  I think it could be possible with the new, smaller SoC's.  
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 11 of 52
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,164member

    tht said:
    My biggest complaint with my work-issued 2018 MBP15 is that it runs hot when I have it connected to an external monitor and using the builtin keyboard. The top surface gets hot, heating up the keyboard! I really like the butterfly keyboard a lot more than the work-issue Macally one, and my work from home setup is bit too space constrained for an external keyboard anyways.

    Hopefully they can have a 25 W SoC that keeps the keyboard and top case cool while providing better performance than Intel systems. Actually, I think they can put the logic board behind the display by the hinge if it is long skinny like the iPad Pros. That'll remove the primary source of heat from the keyboard and keep it nice and cool at all times.
    Behind the display? I doubt the fan and the heatsink will fit.  :D

    The new chip will most likely run hotter than the current A series since they will want it to be more powerful and don't forget the GPU!  If there's a fan less version it will most likely be a 13" MBP.
    I think it could be possible.  MS already did it in the Surface Book.  Maybe Apple could do it with the new, smaller SoC's.
  • Reply 12 of 52
    We have yet to see an Apple chip that was built for the Mac...be it portable or desktop. Everything they've achieved to date is for pitiful little devices with no battery power to spare and no thermal management at all.

    Imagine what Apple can do just in a MacBook alone, let alone in a desktop like iMac.
    chasmpatchythepiratewatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 13 of 52
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,391member
    What Metriacanthosaurus said. While some new benchmarks on the 12Z chip running native apps suggests that even that chip has an impressive amount of barely-tapped potential, the real point here is that Apple has not yet released any member of the "family of SoCs" that are specifically designed for the Mac. Nor has it yet released any device that has all of its systems optimized for the (presumably redesigned) future Macs.

    Recent stories here and elsewhere are kind of focused on the chips themselves because that's where the (tiny amount of available) information is right now, but there's really four keys to future Macs: first, the specially-designed Mac-centric SoC; second, the optimized motherboard and other mechanical components (we've been enjoying some of this part for years now, which is why we're so far ahead of PC makers on things like TB3/USB-C/USB4); third, software compiled specifically to take advantage of this custom hardware (in particular, I foresee much greater expansion on multi-tasking for all but the most basic software); and four, new chassis designs again fully in harmony with the chip, graphics, thermals, and support systems.

    Intel has been great for Apple, and often very accommodating to Apple's specific desires (especially given the size of the Mac market, which is still small). But Apple Silicon (please note: not silicone!) is made not only with an awareness of hardware requirements but also the specific ways Mac users work with software, neither of which Intel can really design for. Because of the potential this opens up, I think Apple will continue to work on bringing more components in-house (like wireless/5G) and forming partnerships with third-parties where they can get custom-designed parts for its particular and in some cases unique needs.

    Kudos to Mike P for the rundown, though this is really only the beginning of a tale mostly yet to be revealed. Specs and comparisons are fun, but at the end of the day the truly remarkable thing about all this is that Apple has been planning a brilliant revival of the Mac -- by far their least-popular "computer" product, let's not forget -- to keep it relevant and even exciting in the current age of mobile and wearable domination. I cannot wait to see what Apple Silicon running new Apple hardware can do, how much room for innovation they've opened up, and specifically (though I'm not the target for it) what high-end Apple Macs are going to be able to do. I'm with Jean-Louis Gassée in thinking that some major surprises are still ahead of us, including some that will benefit the entire industry, directly or indirectly.
    rundhvidmuthuk_vanalingamaderutterFidonet127Detnatorwatto_cobralolliverricmacargonaut
  • Reply 14 of 52
    prismaticsprismatics Posts: 162member
    It would have been more interesting to see a comparison between Ryzen 4000 Mobile and Apple A Processors.

    Bashing Intel is no news. Apple needs to beat AMD now, not Intel and this is much less likely given how perfect the recent AMD Notebooks have been considering the relevant metrics.
    edited July 2020
  • Reply 15 of 52
    It would have been more interesting to see a comparison between Ryzen 4000 Mobile and Apple A Processors.

    Bashing Intel is no news. Apple needs to beat AMD now, not Intel and this is much less likely given how perfect the recent AMD Notebooks have been considering the relevant metrics.
    Apple uses Intel processors not AMD. This article compares, not bashes current or relatively current Apple offerings to give an idea of how Apple Silicon is already doing an impressive work to keep up. 

    If Apple wanted to, they can take their Macs to 128bit or more. Imagine, for Mac Pros, multiple 256bit processors. Apple has now unleashed their potential.  Software developers now can do apps that cover all the Apple hardware. 
    Detnatorwatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 16 of 52
    thttht Posts: 4,030member
    danvm said:
    tht said:
    My biggest complaint with my work-issued 2018 MBP15 is that it runs hot when I have it connected to an external monitor and using the builtin keyboard. The top surface gets hot, heating up the keyboard! I really like the butterfly keyboard a lot more than the work-issue Macally one, and my work from home setup is bit too space constrained for an external keyboard anyways.

    I have the same experience with temperature as you in my MBP 13" 2017.  The keyboard gets hot when running some applications and doing video conference.  Looking forward how the new Apple notebooks improve this issue. 

    Hopefully they can have a 25 W SoC that keeps the keyboard and top case cool while providing better performance than Intel systems. Actually, I think they can put the logic board behind the display by the hinge if it is long skinny like the iPad Pros. That'll remove the primary source of heat from the keyboard and keep it nice and cool at all times.
    What you propose is was MS did with the Surface Book.  You'll have to sacrifice some inches in the screen, with the benefit that you mentioned.  I think it could be possible with the new, smaller SoC's.  
    I think it is possible to put in an active cooling system for a 6 mm thick device like an iPad, so 15W to 30W SoCs are possible. The display should be wedged shaped where is tapers to the thinness of Apple's current laptop displays. I'm also all in on have the front cams stick out like they do on phones. The logic board also needs to be as close to the hinge as possible so the laptop can stay balanced.

    Not that I think they would do it. It's just the transition to Apple Silicon represents a big opportunity to redesign a laptop inside and outside, and I hope Apple takes it. Apple Silicon logic boards will be smaller than Intel boards by quite a bit, and with lower power, the batteries can get smaller too. This provides some opportunities for design. They can do some pretty wild things.
    watto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 17 of 52
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    The problem with this article is that presupposes that Apple Silicon in the new Macs will look like the SoC in Apples cell phones.    I really doubt that this will be the case except for possibly in a Mac Book replacement and new innovative solutions.   Instead I'm expecting Apple to deliver laptop and desktop optimized chips that likely will be a significant departure from the cell phone solutions.

    Why do I say this, simple performance still matters!   To get there Apple will likely implement fast caches, wider memory systems, larger GPU's, more cores and other enhancements that they don't have the power budget for in a cell phone.   I still expect Apple to target a 15 to 25 watt chip in the Mac Book Air replacements and 45+ watts in the Mac Book pro segment.    The difference is these will likely be honest power numbers instead of the phoney TDP power numbers you have to work with from Intel.   That is Apple will design around the max power output of the SoC and design a cooling system around that so that throttling doesn't happen often.    With the tech they are expected to use, Apple should be able to easily get the same performance as seen with Intel at half the power usage.

    So without any major changes keeping the same power level on 5nm should allow for about a 20% increase in performance.    Now combine that with an increased power budget and we can easily see 50% faster Apple silicon over current shipping examples.  It is a question of adding up all the potential improvements; you have increased IPC, a process shrink, a much higher TDP due to better cooling, wider RAM access, increased caches and most likely more or improved special function blocks.   While 50% might be a bit wild, I'm pretty sure people will be surprised at how fast the optimized chips will be relative to current A series.

    So here is my guess as to what will b delivered.   First the Mac Book will come out of hiding with an A14(X) with few if any changes.   We already know that A series runs Mac OS perfectly fine and that Apple will likely want to keep this design passively cooled.   Next up will be actively cooled Mac Book Airs, for this discussion we can call them the C series.   C series will likely require some optimizations to bump performance even more that what would be allowed by active cooling.   This would likely mean larger caches, and wider paths to RAM and likely more I/O or better I/O.   For the rest of the Macs lets call the processor going into these the Z series.   Z series of course needs to compete on performance which is different than what is focused on in the Air and MacBooks.    So obviously Z gets a lot more cores, how many depends upon Apple and the likely hood that they implement SMT.   But the minimal Apple will need 12 core processors if no SMT is offered.   Otherwise they have zero potential of competing with AMD and its 8 core monolithic chips.   Note that this assumes that the A and C series have core counts of 8 and below covered.   At the extreme end, say a 16" Mac Book Pro they will likely need 16 -24 non SMT cores.    There is a lot of variability here, for example Apple could dedicate a lot of die space to a truly powerful vector unit attached to each core.   If that vector processors is 2000 bits wide it will take up space on the die that would otherwise go to more conventional cores.   Even how Neural Engine is implemented can be a factor in the final core count.   In any event to be competitive they will need cores and it might surprise people how many actually get implemented.   As for the GPU on the Z processors I'm not expecting huge advancements here as I can not see Apple getting away from external GPU's for high performance.   Yes the integrated GPU's will be "better" but there will be support for external solutions, the real question is this:  is AMD still in the game.   Speaking of AMD, Apple could take a move from AMD's playbook and go the chiplet route, this could allow for a much better in package GPU or it could mean nice core count increments like we see in AMD's products.

    There are even more wild possibilities here.   Imagine a SoC with on package HBM memory for example.   Apple is not afraid of HBM like the low cost producers so HBM supporting processors could give them another huge edge.   Another possibility would be teaming up with AMD and using infinity fabric as a channel to a high performance computer engine like CDNA or an Apple designed solution.   These sorts of ideas sometimes challenges conventional wisdom but Apples Macs are already compute challenged.   Without significant aggression on Apples part they will eventually loose market share to HEDT and similar performance solutions.    If AMD can move some of heir up coming super computer technology to the high performance desktop market in the 2022 time frame Apple will have a big embarrassment on its face even worse that the Mac Pro.    So if Apple isn't thinking real hard about how they will compete with the likes of Thread Ripper in the 2022 time frame they are going to have problems.   So if people are not expecting very high core count solutions from Apple they are going to be surprise.   This is so critical I would NOT be surprised if they have a working relationship with AMD right now to do some form of a chiplet for the high end machines.

    samrod
  • Reply 18 of 52
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    tht said:
    danvm said:
    tht said:
    My biggest complaint with my work-issued 2018 MBP15 is that it runs hot when I have it connected to an external monitor and using the builtin keyboard. The top surface gets hot, heating up the keyboard! I really like the butterfly keyboard a lot more than the work-issue Macally one, and my work from home setup is bit too space constrained for an external keyboard anyways.

    I have the same experience with temperature as you in my MBP 13" 2017.  The keyboard gets hot when running some applications and doing video conference.  Looking forward how the new Apple notebooks improve this issue. 

    Hopefully they can have a 25 W SoC that keeps the keyboard and top case cool while providing better performance than Intel systems. Actually, I think they can put the logic board behind the display by the hinge if it is long skinny like the iPad Pros. That'll remove the primary source of heat from the keyboard and keep it nice and cool at all times.
    What you propose is was MS did with the Surface Book.  You'll have to sacrifice some inches in the screen, with the benefit that you mentioned.  I think it could be possible with the new, smaller SoC's.  
    I think it is possible to put in an active cooling system for a 6 mm thick device like an iPad, so 15W to 30W SoCs are possible. The display should be wedged shaped where is tapers to the thinness of Apple's current laptop displays. I'm also all in on have the front cams stick out like they do on phones. The logic board also needs to be as close to the hinge as possible so the laptop can stay balanced.

    Not that I think they would do it. It's just the transition to Apple Silicon represents a big opportunity to redesign a laptop inside and outside, and I hope Apple takes it. Apple Silicon logic boards will be smaller than Intel boards by quite a bit, and with lower power, the batteries can get smaller too. This provides some opportunities for design. They can do some pretty wild things.

    These low power chips enable all sorts of possibilities in both the laptops and the iPads to get a bit more performance with passive systems.   For example they could simply machine the case into a more performant heat sink and mount the SoC directly to the optimized shell.   The shell already impacts thermal performance but this would be a more direct usage of the shell as a traditional heat sink.   The trick is to design in the fins so that they look acceptable.   We might be only talking a few whats more capability for passive cooling but that could have a big impact.   Other possibilities include carbon fiber heat sinks to spread the heat even faster.   I don't ever see 15 to 30 watts. sustained, in an iPad though, it is just foo much no matter how good your heat sinking is.   The real trick in these very compact or thin devices, like an iPad or Mac Book, is getting good sustained performance to avoid the machine crapping out from continuous use.   You don't want frequency scalling to impact the feel of the machine like it did on the old Mac Books.

    In any event yeah these ARM chips should make for some interesting new products from Apple.   The question is will this be the first round of machines or will the real innovation come in round two.    I'm actually holding off on buying an AMD laptop as I'm really interested in seeing ARM done right in the PC space.   Unless Apple goes nuts with pricing or screws up Mac OS i could see getting back into the Mac laptops as secondary machines.   If Mac OS gets locked down even more I can see myself rejecting based on that issue  alone.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 19 of 52
    prismaticsprismatics Posts: 162member
    It would have been more interesting to see a comparison between Ryzen 4000 Mobile and Apple A Processors.

    Bashing Intel is no news. Apple needs to beat AMD now, not Intel and this is much less likely given how perfect the recent AMD Notebooks have been considering the relevant metrics.
    Apple uses Intel processors not AMD. This article compares, not bashes current or relatively current Apple offerings to give an idea of how Apple Silicon is already doing an impressive work to keep up. 

    If Apple wanted to, they can take their Macs to 128bit or more. Imagine, for Mac Pros, multiple 256bit processors. Apple has now unleashed their potential.  Software developers now can do apps that cover all the Apple hardware. 
    While you seem to be randomly throwing bit count around without having the necessary technical understanding to do so, I would like to point out that Apple will not be competing against Intel based machines but AMD based ones. So it is well in the interest of the average reader to see how Apple can keep up with AMD.
    edited July 2020 watto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 20 of 52
    thttht Posts: 4,030member
    wizard69 said:
    tht said:
    danvm said:
    tht said:
    My biggest complaint with my work-issued 2018 MBP15 is that it runs hot when I have it connected to an external monitor and using the builtin keyboard. The top surface gets hot, heating up the keyboard! I really like the butterfly keyboard a lot more than the work-issue Macally one, and my work from home setup is bit too space constrained for an external keyboard anyways.

    I have the same experience with temperature as you in my MBP 13" 2017.  The keyboard gets hot when running some applications and doing video conference.  Looking forward how the new Apple notebooks improve this issue. 

    Hopefully they can have a 25 W SoC that keeps the keyboard and top case cool while providing better performance than Intel systems. Actually, I think they can put the logic board behind the display by the hinge if it is long skinny like the iPad Pros. That'll remove the primary source of heat from the keyboard and keep it nice and cool at all times.
    What you propose is was MS did with the Surface Book.  You'll have to sacrifice some inches in the screen, with the benefit that you mentioned.  I think it could be possible with the new, smaller SoC's.  
    I think it is possible to put in an active cooling system for a 6 mm thick device like an iPad, so 15W to 30W SoCs are possible. The display should be wedged shaped where is tapers to the thinness of Apple's current laptop displays. I'm also all in on have the front cams stick out like they do on phones. The logic board also needs to be as close to the hinge as possible so the laptop can stay balanced.

    Not that I think they would do it. It's just the transition to Apple Silicon represents a big opportunity to redesign a laptop inside and outside, and I hope Apple takes it. Apple Silicon logic boards will be smaller than Intel boards by quite a bit, and with lower power, the batteries can get smaller too. This provides some opportunities for design. They can do some pretty wild things.

    These low power chips enable all sorts of possibilities in both the laptops and the iPads to get a bit more performance with passive systems.   For example they could simply machine the case into a more performant heat sink and mount the SoC directly to the optimized shell.   The shell already impacts thermal performance but this would be a more direct usage of the shell as a traditional heat sink.   The trick is to design in the fins so that they look acceptable.   We might be only talking a few whats more capability for passive cooling but that could have a big impact.   Other possibilities include carbon fiber heat sinks to spread the heat even faster.   I don't ever see 15 to 30 watts. sustained, in an iPad though, it is just foo much no matter how good your heat sinking is.   The real trick in these very compact or thin devices, like an iPad or Mac Book, is getting good sustained performance to avoid the machine crapping out from continuous use.   You don't want frequency scalling to impact the feel of the machine like it did on the old Mac Books.

    In any event yeah these ARM chips should make for some interesting new products from Apple.   The question is will this be the first round of machines or will the real innovation come in round two.    I'm actually holding off on buying an AMD laptop as I'm really interested in seeing ARM done right in the PC space.   Unless Apple goes nuts with pricing or screws up Mac OS i could see getting back into the Mac laptops as secondary machines.   If Mac OS gets locked down even more I can see myself rejecting based on that issue  alone.
    Probably a mix and match of keeping the existing form factors to debuting a new form factor. It's just going to depend on where the particular product is in the design cycle.

    Yes, for an iPad, no more than 7 to 8 W. It's a handheld device and that should automatically limit it to passive cooling from the case without it being uncomfortable to touch. But on a laptop that only has about say 3 mm of height for a fan and heatsink, I think 15 W is definitely possible. Apple achieves 15 W with about 8 mm of height an one fan for the 2 port. A bigger fan, a bigger heat sink, more airflow could probably achieve double that. But Apple simply isn't going to do that or really doesn't want to so it. They want to get away from having to design around hot components in their machines. So, if they have a thin and light laptop, it is likely going to use a lower Watt SoC that outperforms Intel and AMD thin and light laptops, that use hotter components.

    The decreased logic board area and decreased battery capacities does offer some interesting things though. If the board gets small enough, there may be enough room for a keyboard with 3 to 4 mm of travel. A nice clickity-clackity 4 mm travel laptop keyboard would be very very interesting. The dual display clamshell or folding display clamshell can be 6 mm thick unfolded, 12 mm closed. There are going to be a few Lakefield laptops like this, but Apple should be able to crush them in terms of performances and the number of touchscreen apps too.

    Hopefully, one of their big priorities is to have none of their Apple silicon laptops be uncomfortable to the touch. No more than 85 °F or something like that. They'd rather use a 10 W SoC than a 20 W SoC in a MBP13, or a 25 W SoC than a 50 W SoC in a MPB16, if they can help it.
    watto_cobramuthuk_vanalingamfastasleep
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