Intel previews nextgen Atom architecture Pine Trail

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Atom moves to a 2-chip setup







It should enable lower cost product and cooler running product but I'm of the belief that Apple will not use Atom in any products.



1. Their low end desktop will remain the Mini which will move to Arrandale processing next.

2. Their 278 million purchase of PA Semi will be dwarfed by the costs to design custom SoC chips

3. In order to amortize the costs of custom SoC Apple will use their own designs in iPhone/iPod, AE and Time Capsule and other mobile or networking devices

4. X86 compatibility isn't that necessary. Much of OS X is running on ARM now.



The loser in this battle is going to be Nvidia. They're going to get shut out of making IGP once G55 graphics are embedded into Clarkdale processors.

I look for Nvidia to be an acquisition of Apple in a couple of years and they will be purchased for a fantastic deal. There isn't much of a future for a GPU dominant

company moving forward. Either Nvidia will have to make X86 processors and deliver the whole widget or get acquired by someone who can help them get aboard.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 3
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,354member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Atom moves to a 2-chip setup



    Frankly on of Atoms greatest failures has been the lack of integration so the new members to the family ought to give the system further acceptance.

    Quote:





    It should enable lower cost product and cooler running product but I'm of the belief that Apple will not use Atom in any products.



    Any is awfully absolute if you ask me. I still see Apple TV switching to this platform. That is one example but I can also see the platform making up a nice entry level machine. If that is Intel can address their very poor GPUs. Of course intel has invested in Imagination so maybe the GPU core will be better than one would expect at first.

    Quote:



    1. Their low end desktop will remain the Mini which will move to Arrandale processing next.



    I don't really consider the Mini to be low end so you argument falls apart with me.

    Quote:

    2. Their 278 million purchase of PA Semi will be dwarfed by the costs to design custom SoC chips



    Not really. Remember ARM does the CPU core and Imagination does the GPU core. If anything ARM based SoC have demonstrated themselves to be very economical for the implementor.

    Quote:

    3. In order to amortize the costs of custom SoC Apple will use their own designs in iPhone/iPod, AE and Time Capsule and other mobile or networking devices



    I truely doubt that. I suspect that for each an every product Apple will study the field of products and go with best fits. Especially for things like Time Capsule or Airport Extreme where there are a number of commodity solutions.



    The problem is simple a precisely tailored SoC will not be a good fit for a networking product if it was first built for a handheld device. The extra interfaces would be a waste.

    Quote:

    4. X86 compatibility isn't that necessary. Much of OS X is running on ARM now.



    Actually it is a big thing for a machine that runs Mac OS/X. For iPhone OS ARM is needed. Frankly I can not see Apple ever doing anything to confuse the market in this regard. It is a good thing to as people need to be able to distinguish between platforms.

    Quote:



    The loser in this battle is going to be Nvidia. They're going to get shut out of making IGP once G55 graphics are embedded into Clarkdale processors.



    Intel has to be successful with their new platform first. Second the regulatory climate isn't in Intels favor any more.

    Quote:

    I look for Nvidia to be an acquisition of Apple in a couple of years and they will be purchased for a fantastic deal. There isn't much of a future for a GPU dominant

    company moving forward.



    I don't know about that. Nvidia certainly needs a wider array of products. On the other hand I could see them being successful in an anti trust action or actions against anti competitive practices. Intel is certainly in the sights of EU regulators and I could see the US taking an interest.



    That doesn't even take into account that intel needs to have this new platform adopted by a wide number of manufactures and that it needs to work well.

    Quote:

    Either Nvidia will have to make X86 processors and deliver the whole widget or get acquired by someone who can help them get aboard.



    Making a competitive and legal x86 processor isn't going to be easy. Especially at the performance levels that would make the project worthwhile. Even something to compete with Pine Trail will cost a lot of pennys. After you build it you still have the question of selling it.





    Dave
  • Reply 2 of 3
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    I agree on the integration. The Pine Trail Atom systems will become even more popular and thanks the integration we get rid of the largest offender of heat the north bridge. Smaller and cooler designs should become the norm.



    I don't see Apple using Atom because the only reason to use Atom is for binary compatibility but the Apple TV doesn't run that many apps. There's no reason to use an Atom for Apple especially given that Apple is in the expensive chip design business now. Atom gives them very little whilst a PA Semi designed SoC let's Apple "eat their own dogfood"



    Dave and argument cannot fail due to perception or point of view. If you fell the mini isn't low end then that's fine I can accept that but my argument is still intact as far as i'm concerned.



    My guess is that Apple designs 3-4 SoC chips that cover the gamut of their product offerings.



    1st SoC = iPod Touch/iPhone

    2nd SoC = Airport Extreme, Time Capsule, Unannounced Storage Device

    3rd SoC = Tablet and AppleTV



    Apple doesn't confuse the market.



    iPhone/iPod Touch runs OS X ...not Mac OS X

    Apple TV runs its own flavor of OS X



    Consumers don't care about the OS they want the apps.





    Who knows perhaps Nvidia joins AMD/ATI and they develop the powerful triumvirate. That would be a spectacle.
  • Reply 3 of 3
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,354member
    That is why I don't see the mini as passing as a low end device. Frankly I'm thinking well under $500. An interesting Mac ought to be had with this chip set if Apple wants to play there. With MS beating Apple up on price they very well might want to offer that ultra low cost device.



    For this system on chip to work for Apple it does need to have a profoundly better GPU than past intel hardware. Frankly I'm reluctant to believe it would be good enough.



    As to any coming tablets I have to agree software is very important. That is why I believe that Apple will derive from IPhone OS and run on ARM. The combo of ARM and iPhone OS is the only developed avenue Apple has for an extremely low power ( long battery run time ) platform. Pine Trail has potential here but Intel has been cloudy about just what the power profile is. My gut feeling is that they are far from catching up to equivalent performance per watt of an ARM device.



    There is one caveat here though, that woud be the importance that Apple would put on 64 bit capability. Some may think it is crazy to worry about it at all in a handheld device. I don't as tech is moving ahead very quickly.



    By 2010 Flash memory could be a thing of the past. Like wise putting in lots of memory into a handheld will be very easy in the future. The thing is this isn't far off at all. Of course Apple could have a 64 bit variant of ARM up it's sleeve, that would be interesting.





    Dave
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