The new Megahertz myth

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
We aren't told the processor speed of an iPhone, iPod or AppleTV because it's the user experience that counts not the number on the page. Whilst as a engineer for me this doesn't sit very happily, I recognize that for the majority of consumers this makes a lot of sense.



This then leads me on to question the speed of processors used in the Mac line up. If we compare the MBA to the typical netbook (if such a thing exists) 1.6GHz Atom seems common* and yet Apple use a 1.86/2.13GHz ULV C2D-equivalent. Now we see from recent reports that this isn't performing all much above the 1.6GHz ULV C2D. The dual-core 1.6GH Atom is $43, the 2.1GHz ULV C2D is $316 and the 1.6 ULV C2D is $284. Is the performance of an Atom unusable, especially if some of the work can be passed off to the GPU via OpenCL?



Looking at Intel's Jun 09 prices. The high end iMac uses a $530 processor presumably so they can say their top iMac is 3GHz. The 2.8GHz is $348. The equivalent desktop processor is only $133/163. This seems a high price to pay for a few MHz. I wonder if the new slimmer Snow Leopard possibly combined with the use of a small amount solid state storage will allow Apple to hold their MHz values for some time (12-18mths) and pass the savings onto the consumer in these lean times, or whether keeping the form-factor similar they can produce the same line up but with sufficient heat dissipation to allow desktop class processors to be used in the iMacs.



Wil future 'consumer' Macs will lose the processor spec or is the number is so entrenched in the minds of consumers that Apple willingly pays more for the processors to keep buyers happy.



cheers



mrtotes









* I googled 'Samsung Netbook', 'Dell netbook' 'Lenovo Netbook', 'Acer netbook' and 'Toshiba netbook' and the top hits were all 1.6GHz Atom

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Netbooks use single-core Intel Atoms. The dual-core model is for "nettops". One of the things it lacks is VT, so virtualization (such as with VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop) would be rather slow. Also, the MacBook Air does not use ULV processors, but LV ones.
  • Reply 2 of 5
    mrtotesmrtotes Posts: 759member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker View Post


    Netbooks use single-core Intel Atoms. The dual-core model is for "nettops". One of the things it lacks is VT, so virtualization (such as with VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop) would be rather slow. Also, the MacBook Air does not use ULV processors, but LV ones.



    Thanks for the corrections! :-)



    What's you opinion on whether Apple will continue to use high end processors in all models regardless of cost?
  • Reply 3 of 5
    randianrandian Posts: 76member
    The Atom also has a tiny cache and doesn't do out-of-order execution.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    aiolosaiolos Posts: 228member
    We've all heard that Apple is planning to do price-cuts on their iMac line like they did with the notebook lines, so they'll be cheaper in the future. However, if they could get the heat-dissipation to be good enough for desktop-class processors, they could simultaneously lower prices and still keep their margins up. I'm sure this is an option they are considering, we'll have to see what happens I guess.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,296member
    I don't care about the "speeds and feeds" of a mobile device or entertainment piece. I should be able to gauge performance "hands on"



    I would like more powerful consumer desktops however. Apple no longer has to utilize economies of scale by making the iMac a laptop on a stick.
Sign In or Register to comment.