Apple wants to move Macs away from Intel chips - report

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  • Reply 181 of 221
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


    I don't know a single consumer that really cared about Windows on their Mac. 


     



     


    I do.  I was surprised that anyone outside a pro setting would want it, but apparently some do.  My wife is one example.  She wants access to Windows because a lot of software aimed at her hobby is not available for Mac.  I think more people would install it if the cost of a stand-alone version of Windows wasn't so high.

  • Reply 182 of 221
    mikeb85mikeb85 Posts: 506member


    Everyone is moving onto ARM.  I don't know if you guys follow open-source news, but Dell and Ubuntu have already released ARM based Ubuntu servers, and alot of the sub 200 dollar computers already are running various forms of Linux on ARM processors.  Microsoft is also moving Windows 8 onto ARM (although they are still in Intel's camp also).  


     


    No surprise that Apple would be considering this.  The fact is, that ARM SoCs are finally powerful enough to run a real computer, and much more power efficient than x86.  Not to mention cheaper.  Unless Intel can bring their power consumption and price down in a huge way, they're SOL...  

  • Reply 183 of 221
    skatmanskatman Posts: 609member


    Hmm... Intel is too late.


    Apple already did a "Samsung" on Sharp Actius MM10/20 and Sony 505.


    Let's get this straight - Apple didn't invent thin and light category despite of what they trumpet.

  • Reply 184 of 221
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by skatman View Post

    Let's get this straight - Apple didn't invent thin and light category despite of what they trumpet.


     


    No, but they created the 'ultrabook' concept, despite what Intel is claiming.

  • Reply 185 of 221
    skatmanskatman Posts: 609member


    The thing is ARM is moving onto x86. Cortex 15 architecture is has an auto-of-order decoder - just like all of x86 chips besides Atom.


    Problem with current ARM architecture is multi-tasking... it's just not wide enough to multi-task fast and power efficiently simply because the underlying architecture is that of a DSP controller.


    It will have to significantly redesigned to compete with Intel in modern multitasking.

  • Reply 186 of 221
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    jragosta wrote: »
    Good point. When I said that there's no way Apple would replace Intel with an alternative, I was referring specifically to ARM which is the subject of this rumor. That's not going to happen - no way will they take the massive performance hit.
    It is, as you point out, possible that they could switch to AMD for some or all of their systems without the downside of switching to ARM. I'm not familiar enough with AMD's current offerings to know how plausible that is or what sacrifices might need to be made, but it's far more plausible than switching to ARM.

    What AMD can offer is significantly better graphics. Beyond that AMD does have issues with performance of its CPUs. What AMD imagines though is a future move to heterogeneous computing where a leadership position in GPUs can be leveraged to their advantage. It is a vision that jells well with Apples direction.

    The thermals on AMDs chips are interesting to say the least. In some cases their systems can actually beat Intels offerings in power usage if the GPU is applied to advantage. Overall they are bigger power users but that comes with GPU performance that is anywhere from 20% to 60% faster than Intels chips.

    Mind you this is all with a 64 bit architecture that is very similar to Intels. Intel in fact licensed the AMD 64 bit extensions.

    In any event I always saw AMDs best opportunity was in the Mini where chips like Llano and Trinity offer a surprisingly good fit.
  • Reply 187 of 221
    gary54gary54 Posts: 169member
    Where would Apple and PPC be today if they had not gone Intel? I venture to guess nowhere close to where Apple is now and IBM would still be struggling with development and production costs for fabbing what amounts an exclusive high performance chip for a tiny market share.

    Now that Apple has deep pockets as a result of marketing successes in part because moving to Intel, do they want to go back to *how it was*? Even if there is some performance gain of the moment in technical terms?

    The economics of scale factor heavily with computer chips. It's been proven time and again, buying and marketing is not always based on what performs best. Smart phones may be computers, but they aren't the same market. Whatever technical advantages *of the moment* ARM processors may have.

    It raises the same issues with compatibility, marketing and productions costs as they faced with PPC. The "fallback" to Windows option is a like a security blanket for cautious or conservative buyers. And AMD, like IBM with PPC, has had moments where they were ahead of Intel on the performance curve. Those moments never lasted long.
  • Reply 188 of 221
    gary54gary54 Posts: 169member
    Not to mention what it puts their customers through. Myself, starting with System 6, I have gone through the transitions from Motorola 68k to PPC to Intel and from Classic to OSX. Every single one of them was a royal pain in the kazoo. I have files which are important to me that I cannot open and programs I cannot run without jumping through tons of hoops. If it can be done at all.

    Making the transition to ARM will do it all over again. There has to be a major technical advantage involved to justify all the pain and aggravation for the customers.
  • Reply 189 of 221
    smalmsmalm Posts: 671member


    Why do people always want to buy a cow when they only want milk?

  • Reply 190 of 221
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,559moderator
    blastdoor wrote:
    If apple were to put their own custom-designed ARM chips in Macs, here is how it would happen:

    1. Apple would design a 64 bit ARM processor.
    2. That processor would first be used in Apple's data centers -- we wouldn't hear about it for years
    3. Once Apple was satisfied with the processor, it would introduce it to outside customers at the high end. Perhaps Apple would make a "render farm in a box" and sell it to people who need a lot of CPU power for very specific software packages. 
    4. If step 3 works out, then Apple could slowly migrate the processor into consumer Macs. 

    It needs to be a 64-bit chip but it wouldn't have to be in a server. It could go in an 11" Air. The CPU in the entry 11" Air costs $225. If they made their own chip, they could probably cut the cost by up to $200 factoring in the GPU and motherboard and hit $799. It should be easy enough to get all Mac App Store apps compatible with it.

    Some people assume that ARM would be slow but obviously the chips in iOS devices are slow because they are fanless devices. They'd crank up the clock speed in machines with better cooling:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57427681-92/heads-up-intel-tsmc-cranks-up-arm-chip-to-3ghz/

    They can have dual-core in phones/tablets, quad-core in Airs, 8/16-cores in MBP/Mini/iMac and 50-core in MP.

    It's always about performance per watt. Every machine has a set power profile. If the performance per watt is better than Intel, ARM will outperform them in the same power limit.
    mstone wrote:
    The people who want to boot directly into Windows are the ones who will face incompatibilities. The VM people will just have to wait for an update to the software.

    Not quite. The software would have to be entirely different. It changes from virtualisation to emulation. When we were on PPC, we had that great company Connectix who made software that emulated chip architectures. They even emulated a PSOne nearly perfectly with the Virtual Game Station.

    The XBox has to use emulation to run original XBox games because it used an Intel CPU and the 360 uses PPC. Microsoft actually bought Connectix so they might be using some of the software for the XBox.

    Apple could probably do the whole Rosetta binary translation for x86 Mac apps but Windows would have to be emulated. Both come with a significant performance hit but if we are talking about 5-10 years down the line, processors will be 6-30x or more faster so even an order of magnitude hit would still run up to 3x faster than what we have natively now.

    Windows 8 RT can be dismissed just now but how many pro apps and games will be ported to it in a few years? What I see a lot of these days is people not liking monopolistic dependency. It's not good for Apple to be dependent on just Intel for the long term.

    Imagine if they depended on Intel for iPhones. They couldn't be in control of yields, architecture design, heat output, power draw, delivery times, price. Plus, in the end, Intel gives them the same chips everyone else gets.
    v5v wrote:
    Using an "alternative" to Thunderbolt still means giving up on Thunderbolt.

    It does but purely optical connections are the way to go and they should be easy to convert. If you are just sending a light signal, you can translate it. Think of a connector like the following:

    1000

    It has power with a mag-safe style interface. It is the size of a headphone jack and the wire would be tiny. It can easily have an adaptor box to switch an optical Thunderbolt signal.

    Every port would share a 1Tbit+ connection and connect to the motherboard with a single wire, sending display data along with it.

    Think way down the line, say 10 years. CPUs will be 30x faster, maybe more if they switch to optical transistors or qubits or just use graphene instead of silicon. With that power, you can do pretty much anything you want. You can emulate Windows and every app that has existed before. If we get ReRAM, computers can have 60GB+ RAM as standard and over 1TB of SSD. No matter how it is running, you won't be hitting a bottleneck even with an emulator.

    Apple has shown what it can do with the A6 - outperform everyone else and ship 5 million in a weekend. If the benefits outweigh any negatives over the next decade, there's no reason this couldn't happen. As we've seen from the last decade, a whole lot of things can happen we don't expect.
  • Reply 191 of 221
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    charlituna wrote: »
    I don't know a single consumer that really cared about Windows on their Mac. 

    Now geeks, developers etc (who are maybe 10% of Mac users) sure. 

    And I'm not so sure about your market share numbers. I think it all depends on how you define a computer and its uses. Depending on that defination, the ipad could qualify and that puts a big dent in Microsoft's market share. Add Android tablets into that and Microsoft is the vast minority. 

    I think it was helpful to ease the concerns of the uninitiated into the platform. If you buy a Mac and don't like the Apple platform, at least you have a nice computer that can run Windows.
  • Reply 192 of 221
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,221member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    POWER is just the successor to PowerPC. They're not moving back to IBM.



    POWER is a RISC-based chipset. The original PowerPC was a single-chip implementation of POWER. Apparently latter versions of PowerPC and POWER cross-pollinated each other. POWER3 was based on PowerPC 620. POWER3 was originally intended to be the PowerPC 630. The last PowerPC family, the PowerPC 970 aka PPC G5, was based on the POWER4 chipset. The current POWER chip set is the POWER7.

  • Reply 193 of 221
    mikeb85mikeb85 Posts: 506member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post





    I think it was helpful to ease the concerns of the uninitiated into the platform. If you buy a Mac and don't like the Apple platform, at least you have a nice computer that can run Windows.


    Or if you need Windows for a specific bit of software...  While OSX support is great, there is some obscure software (whose value is questionable, but never the less...) that is Windows only...  Oh, and lots of games are still Windows only (don't know why, OSX or Linux and OpenGL is much quicker than Windows and DirectX).   

  • Reply 194 of 221
    Since someone mentioned POWER chips earlier I have a question:

    Has Apple compiled OS X to run on POWER chips and if so how did it perform?

    Gene King

    MacOS X v10.4 runs very well on POWER5 boxes
  • Reply 195 of 221
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    rlowe wrote: »
    Seems like we're going to have the UltraMac: superthin, 13", 15" & 17" multitouch retina screen, A10 perhaps hahaha.
    A10 Thunderbolt perhaps.
  • Reply 196 of 221
    skatmanskatman Posts: 609member


    No, that was done my Sharp, Sony, Fujitsu... maybe others LONG before apple.

     

  • Reply 197 of 221

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mikeb85 View Post


    Or if you need Windows for a specific bit of software...  While OSX support is great, there is some obscure software (whose value is questionable, but never the less...) that is Windows only...  Oh, and lots of games are still Windows only (don't know why, OSX or Linux and OpenGL is much quicker than Windows and DirectX).   


     


     



     


    Mac has 50 installed base and climbing rapidly with 5 million sales per quarter.


     


    The kind of sales any Window straggling software vendors will find hard to ignore in time.  Games...CAD...whatever the apps.


     


    It's madness to see 50 million in potential sales sitting on the shelf.  It's not the kind of money you walk away from.  Apple's making money out of it... :)


     


    Open GL has always been great in my view.  I remember Unreal Tourney back in the day.  And I felt GL always looked richer than Direct X.


     


    Lemon Bon Bon.

  • Reply 198 of 221

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post





    It needs to be a 64-bit chip but it wouldn't have to be in a server. It could go in an 11" Air. The CPU in the entry 11" Air costs $225. If they made their own chip, they could probably cut the cost by up to $200 factoring in the GPU and motherboard and hit $799. It should be easy enough to get all Mac App Store apps compatible with it.

    Some people assume that ARM would be slow but obviously the chips in iOS devices are slow because they are fanless devices. They'd crank up the clock speed in machines with better cooling:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57427681-92/heads-up-intel-tsmc-cranks-up-arm-chip-to-3ghz/

    They can have dual-core in phones/tablets, quad-core in Airs, 8/16-cores in MBP/Mini/iMac and 50-core in MP.

    It's always about performance per watt. Every machine has a set power profile. If the performance per watt is better than Intel, ARM will outperform them in the same power limit.

    Not quite. The software would have to be entirely different. It changes from virtualisation to emulation. When we were on PPC, we had that great company Connectix who made software that emulated chip architectures. They even emulated a PSOne nearly perfectly with the Virtual Game Station.

    The XBox has to use emulation to run original XBox games because it used an Intel CPU and the 360 uses PPC. Microsoft actually bought Connectix so they might be using some of the software for the XBox.

    Apple could probably do the whole Rosetta binary translation for x86 Mac apps but Windows would have to be emulated. Both come with a significant performance hit but if we are talking about 5-10 years down the line, processors will be 6-30x or more faster so even an order of magnitude hit would still run up to 3x faster than what we have natively now.

    Windows 8 RT can be dismissed just now but how many pro apps and games will be ported to it in a few years? What I see a lot of these days is people not liking monopolistic dependency. It's not good for Apple to be dependent on just Intel for the long term.

    Imagine if they depended on Intel for iPhones. They couldn't be in control of yields, architecture design, heat output, power draw, delivery times, price. Plus, in the end, Intel gives them the same chips everyone else gets.

    It does but purely optical connections are the way to go and they should be easy to convert. If you are just sending a light signal, you can translate it. Think of a connector like the following:

     


     


    Great post, Marv'.  At the end of the day.  If Apple can put a 64 bit ARM chip in an Air, they well.  When?  That's for Apple to decide.  Maybe they'll head in that direction at some point.


     


    You have ARM chips doing amazing things pushing amazing amount of pixels in an iPad 3 and the a6 chip with improved GPU ...will make a great iPad 4.


     


    As we move to SoC, Apple are in complete control with ipods, iphones and iPads.  How long before you can dock a bigger iPad on a stand and call it 'iMac' of sorts?


     


    Not in the next year or so.


     


    But I feel we're in the process of moving to ARM.  50 million Apple 'A' class Arm chips vs 5 million Intel Mac chips.  Look at the profits and level of control Apple has.  Intel is in the Mac driving seat for now...  It maybe won't change in the forseeable future.


     


    But Mac OS X is iOS.  It's basically the same thing.  iOS runs on ARM?  'X' is portable.  It's compact.


     


    Apple can run it on what chips it wants.


     


    Lemon Bon Bon.

  • Reply 199 of 221


    ...Apple like to control their own destiny.  It's not a crazy idea that they want to move away from Intel.


     


    As soon as ARM has something that is 'good enough'...how long that will be..?


     


    Lemon Bon Bon.

  • Reply 200 of 221

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by skatman View Post


    The thing is ARM is moving onto x86. Cortex 15 architecture is has an auto-of-order decoder - just like all of x86 chips besides Atom.


    Problem with current ARM architecture is multi-tasking... it's just not wide enough to multi-task fast and power efficiently simply because the underlying architecture is that of a DSP controller.


    It will have to significantly redesigned to compete with Intel in modern multitasking.



    please can you elaborate this?

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