Macs may go even longer between revamps as Intel kills tick-tock

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  • Reply 21 of 105
    brs165 said:
    I think this all the more reason that Apple will at some point move away from intel x86 to Apple ARM Ax chips.
    Assuming they don't run into the exact same issues Intel is, which they may well likely do thus negating any real advantage in the switch. 
    dysamoria
  • Reply 22 of 105

    melgross said:
    bdkennedy said:
    Considering Apple underclocks all of their Ax chips, I'm willing to bet if Apple threw a couple of normal clocked A10X chips in a MacBook they would be good to go.
    Why does everybody oversimplify this?
    Because they've bought into all the advertising that brainwashed them into thinking Processor Speed = Computing Power. 

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: Apple's A series processors have to be not only be strong enough to run desktop-level apps specifically coded for them, but desktop level apps NOT specifically coded for them as well, just like Intel's chips had to do after the switch from IBM's PowerPC's. They accomplished this with a bit of software called Rosetta, which was baked into OSX for five years until 10.7 was released. On top of that, there is a lot of tech built Intel's chips including memory controllers etc that would have to be added to Apple's SoC's. Apple knows this, which is why there have been zero credible rumors of a switch. I'm sure they're experimenting behind heavily shielded doors, but it's fair to say any such move is a long, long way away from prime time. 
    edited March 2016 dysamoria
  • Reply 23 of 105
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,632member
    Re: "Mac owners could soon find more room for despair"

    When did AI staff up with drama queens?

    Frankly, adding an optimization phase to the cycle is a good thing for end customers. Being able to wring more performance and features from existing architectures preserves the value of customer's current investments.
  • Reply 24 of 105
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member
    brs165 said:
    I think this all the more reason that Apple will at some point move away from intel x86 to Apple ARM Ax chips.
    Because RISC > CISC.
  • Reply 25 of 105
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    Or Apple just waits for Zen to arrive with Polaris and offers BTO options for either Intel or AMD. Since AMD's AM4 boards now come with USB 3.1-C and Thunderbolt 2.0 nothing will keep Apple tethered to Intel exclusively.
    It will be a cold day in hell when AMD releases a CPU part that isn't 3 generations behind Intel's flagship product. I'm making a broad generalization, but this is the same reason why I've never bought a AMD CPU.

    And people still seem to think Apple is going to switch to their own parts they use for iOS. Nevermind the fact that one fab isn't enough to generate enough parts for the iOS devices, the ARM parts are not performance equivalent. It's like comparing a car going 100KPH that has a top speed of 300KPH (Intel) to a Scooter that 100KPH is the redline (ARM.) Just because you can get X performance out of it, doesn't mean X performance is where it's most efficient. 

    The A9 in the iPhone 6S ( Apple A9 1849 MHz ) has a Geekbench score of 2490, which is just shy of the score a Intel Core i5-2520M @ 2.50 GHz is at 2500. But put this on a much larger perspective, The i5-2520M has a Passmark score of 3,556, and isn't on the "high end CPU" list at all. Rather it has the same relative score as a Intel Atom C2750 @ 2.41GHz. If you look at the single-thread Passmark list, the scores look even worse, A 1,497 score. That puts the i5, and by extension the A9 at just slightly over half the performance of the top-end part ( Intel Core i7-4790K @ 4.00GHz : 2,530 ) 

    For reference, AMD's highest performing part on passmark is the AMD Athlon X4 845 (3.5Ghz) : 1,807

    When the Apple ARM part can hit a solid equivalent of 2,250 on Passmark (that's the performance of the highest performing i3 dual-core desktop part), Apple can justify putting those parts in the Desktop and Laptop, but I'm fairly certain Intel and Apple aren't making such leaps in performance given that Intel keeps selling trash CPU's with passmark scores of 600 into the same space that ARM parts have scores over 1500.

    And yes, I'm dismissing multi-core performance, because to date, the only software that takes advantage of multicore are processes best done on the GPU, and Intel's GPU parts are such a joke that any computer that doesn't include a dedicated GPU is a joke and a paperweight. I'm sure all the businesses that buy laptops assume their employees aren't playing games, but the entire 3D compositing and windowing engine introduced in Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10 and "WebGL" technology being pushed by web browsers is making even "new" devices appear obsolete. WebGL itself is a huge joke (OpenGL ES 2.0, with some missing features and controlled from javascript) being several layers of hardware and software abstraction away from the hardware, it is impossible to get reasonable performance even out of the highest end CPU+GPU parts.

    brs165radarthekat
  • Reply 26 of 105
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member

    kkerst said:
    jonyo said:
    I need significant CPU power for audio DSP. I get that fine these days with whatever the top end is for MacBook Pros, and haven't needed to go up to Mac Pro or higher GHz iMac. However, the current state of apple's A-series ARM CPUs don't come close to the power I need. For a super thin Macbook Air and the performance you expect from those, sure, they could probably do it right now with an A9x, but it'll be quite some time before they ever could power higher end pro machines with ARM CPUs.
    If the future is with ARM and to achieve the type of processing power needed, the solution will probably be distributed processing with numerous customer Apple ARMs used in one design. I can see a platform existing where an A10 is used with an Apple GPU (ARM based). If a DSP is needed, then I can see a custom sound DSP processor used either off chip or within the A10 (Ax or whatever). The only problem with all this is not the hardware, it's what it does to the install base. Essentially, backward compatibility would be a problem for software. That's never stopped Apple before.
    The obvious solution is the same one that Apple has used before: fat binaries with both RISC and CISC executables.
    Yes, the executable part of the "fat" app bundle will be roughly 2x the size of that of an Intel-only app.
    But we're living in the era of 3TB hard drives.  A few extra MB per app won't even be noticed.

    There would be a transition period of during which Apple will allow developers to ship fat binaries for backward compatibility.
    Then, eventually, as the older Intel systems become deprecated, Apple would plant the stake and require ARM CISC-only binaries.

    Apple has made two processor transitions already.  68K -> PowerPC and PowerPC -> Intel.
    And I have heard rumors on AI that there is an ARM port of OS X running right now.
    Just waiting for the right moment to be released on an ARM iMac or MacBook.
    (At least 3 or 4 more years I'm randomly guessing, judging by how fast Apple is developing their Ax chips.)
  • Reply 27 of 105
    So you can get a Skylake on the 27 inch retina iMac.  However, this is not a perfect computer for its day, as it is suboptimized in some trivial area, like not having the fastest Thunderbolt, or something equally trivial (I forget what) which has caused me not to buy it (aside from the $4grand pricetag heh heh). So I guess I am waiting for this wonder of wonders to shake down whatever newness it has for its 10-bit-color depth display, and maybe a slight upgrade.  It's not about the processor it's about the entire package.  Instead of a processor speedbump, we will have a package improvement, just as the iPad Pro (small) improves the display and the camera, while underclocking slightly for battery.
  • Reply 28 of 105
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,016member
    Just like the original alliance with IBM and the PowerPC CPU, Intel's slowly decaying track-record will be its downfall with Apple.

    Apple is doing an incredible job with its ARM division, to the dismay of Intel.  Intel couldn't get its act together and blew a huge, huge opportunity with Apple to supply a proper CPU for the iPhone.  Somewhere in the upper-echelons of Intel, the execs are still kicking each other in the a$$ for it too.

    My dream is for Apple to license the x86 architecture and develop its own chips and fab them.  Apple obviously has the chops, the capabilities, and the foundries-relationships  it happen.

    Using my Macs with Windows is (sadly) a necessity.  I love my 4-month-old 5K iMac and it will certainly last me for quite a few years.  I just hope that us power-users have x86 options (in whatever form) in desktops/notebooks a few years down the road.  
  • Reply 29 of 105
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,016member
    So you can get a Skylake on the 27 inch retina iMac.  However, this is not a perfect computer for its day, as it is suboptimized in some trivial area, like not having the fastest Thunderbolt, or something equally trivial (I forget what) which has caused me not to buy it (aside from the $4grand pricetag heh heh). So I guess I am waiting for this wonder of wonders to shake down whatever newness it has for its 10-bit-color depth display, and maybe a slight upgrade.  It's not about the processor it's about the entire package.  Instead of a processor speedbump, we will have a package improvement, just as the iPad Pro (small) improves the display and the camera, while underclocking slightly for battery.

    I beg to differ.  My brand-new Skylake 5K iMac is a workhorse, especially when coupled with my 12TB Promise R6 Thunderbolt disk array.  It was time to upgrade as my 2009 iMac was getting a bit long in teeth performance / storage wise.

    I was bummed though that my new iMac didn't come with the new(er) USBc and TB3 setup as it would have been nice... I suppose... however when I'm using my Promise disk array over TB, it is just so ridiculously fast that honestly, unless I have gobs of money to burn on super high-end equipment, I couldn't saturate the TB2 bandwidth even if I tried.

    I don't think my iMac is sub optimized in any way.  If anything, I wish Apple would spend more time cleaning-up OS X and trimming the fat as I think that is where the issues are beginning to show.
    The_Martini_Catcalibaconstangroundaboutnow
  • Reply 30 of 105
    mytdavemytdave Posts: 447member
    There is so much more to a laptop than the damn CPU.  If Apple would stop being stubborn and pull its collective head out of its ass, then they would put an end to their obsession with thinness, and start putting discrete GPUs in all (most) of their laptops.  Maybe consider bigger batteries - longer battery life is certainly a feature I'd be interested in.  Maybe also consider improvement to I/O ports (put the friggin ethernet port back in).  There is so much that can be done that has nothing to do with Intel.  THINK DIFFERENT.
  • Reply 31 of 105
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    volcan said:
    brs165 said:
    I think this all the more reason that Apple will at some point move away from intel x86 to Apple ARM Ax chips.
    Fine with me as long as it runs Adobe CC just as fast or faster than Intel chips.
    Most of Adobe's software is close to retro garbage, don't even know how they could become or stay a "standard".

    Most of what they do can be done in other software, it is pure inertia (same as the one using Words or whatever software that everyone uses and no one knows quite why) keeping this sloth behemoth in place.
    mainyehc
  • Reply 32 of 105
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    kkerst said:
    jonyo said:
    I need significant CPU power for audio DSP. I get that fine these days with whatever the top end is for MacBook Pros, and haven't needed to go up to Mac Pro or higher GHz iMac. However, the current state of apple's A-series ARM CPUs don't come close to the power I need. For a super thin Macbook Air and the performance you expect from those, sure, they could probably do it right now with an A9x, but it'll be quite some time before they ever could power higher end pro machines with ARM CPUs.
    If the future is with ARM and to achieve the type of processing power needed, the solution will probably be distributed processing with numerous customer Apple ARMs used in one design. I can see a platform existing where an A10 is used with an Apple GPU (ARM based). If a DSP is needed, then I can see a custom sound DSP processor used either off chip or within the A10 (Ax or whatever). The only problem with all this is not the hardware, it's what it does to the install base. Essentially, backward compatibility would be a problem for software. That's never stopped Apple before.
    Very soon, 95% of the laptop market will be served by what the A10X or A11X with 4 cores with a high clock and a fast process can do.
    Your solution would only be needed by the top end of the market.

    Most jobs that require a very high level of performance can be parallelized and sent to a DSP, or even a second GPU just used for compute tasks.
    Since chips are cheaper for them, they could just have a GPU chip dedicated to computer tasks (with no CPU on it).
    ai46
  • Reply 33 of 105
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    melgross said:
    brs165 said:
    I think this all the more reason that Apple will at some point move away from intel x86 to Apple ARM Ax chips.

    Ah, that's a who,e different matter. Apple's ARM chips would need to become several times faster.

    Not to cover the mainstream of the market (those not buying mac pros). To get to those people, they only need to continue their current strategy for 2 iterations and with Intel having slowed down a hell of a lot I think they'll be there by the A11.  Those are not people running VM's usually. IT's obvious by how they've changed their developing environment that something is brewing.
    edited March 2016 calitmay
  • Reply 34 of 105
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member
    foggyhill said:

    Most of Adobe's software is close to retro garbage, don't even know how they could become or stay a "standard".

    Most of what they do can be done in other software, it is pure inertia (same as the one using Words or whatever software that everyone uses and no one knows quite why) keeping this sloth behemoth in place.
    Couldn't disagree more. Adobe is making major changes on almost a monthly basis to its major titles. So much so, it is sometimes difficult to keep up. They are a standard because everyone in the graphics industry uses them. That way we can collaborate and everyone is on the same page.  I get it, Steve hated Flash, but I can pretty much guarantee you that every piece of commercial artwork that comes out of Apple is done using Adobe products.
    edited March 2016 Blaster
  • Reply 35 of 105
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,016member
    foggyhill said:
    volcan said:
    Fine with me as long as it runs Adobe CC just as fast or faster than Intel chips.
    Most of Adobe's software is close to retro garbage, don't even know how they could become or stay a "standard".

    Most of what they do can be done in other software, it is pure inertia (same as the one using Words or whatever software that everyone uses and no one knows quite why) keeping this sloth behemoth in place.

    I'm a heavy user of Adobe CC.  It has a lot of faults but even with that, there is simply no 100% replacement for apps like Photoshop and Lightroom.  Period.  I'm a huge fan of  Pixelmator  - a photoshop competitor - and in many ways it blows Photoshop out of the water but I revert right back to Photoshop because it has better features, is more scalable, and has a gazillion plugins along with a tried-and-true support structure.  It is a standard whether you like it or not.

    Name one other package you feel is a worthy 100% replacement for Photoshop.  Just know, if you say "Gimp", then you lose all credibility and this conversation will be over with.
    The_Martini_CatBlasterdysamoria
  • Reply 36 of 105

    I think where Apple will first replace Intel with ARM is in Apple's Server Farms ...

    Maybe not all the Intel servers ...  First those servers with processing requirements that can be easily handled by a cluster of, say, 3 ARM chips.  Later, more and more Intel servers will be replaced with ARM servers custom-configured to handle the job at hand.

    As I understand it, Apple already has most (if not all) the hardware/software expertise to do this -- already in place.

    There is much to be gained by this approach.




    edited March 2016 roundaboutnow
  • Reply 37 of 105
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    sflocal said:
    foggyhill said:
    Most of Adobe's software is close to retro garbage, don't even know how they could become or stay a "standard".

    Most of what they do can be done in other software, it is pure inertia (same as the one using Words or whatever software that everyone uses and no one knows quite why) keeping this sloth behemoth in place.

    I'm a heavy user of Adobe CC.  It has a lot of faults but even with that, there is simply no 100% replacement for apps like Photoshop and Lightroom.  Period.  I'm a huge fan of  Pixelmator  - a photoshop competitor - and in many ways it blows Photoshop out of the water but I revert right back to Photoshop because it has better features, is more scalable, and has a gazillion plugins along with a tried-and-true support structure.  It is a standard whether you like it or not.

    Name one other package you feel is a worthy 100% replacement for Photoshop.  Just know, if you say "Gimp", then you lose all credibility and this conversation will be over with.
    As I said inertia, work flow, blah blah blah. I understand the whole spiel.
     That's why it's there, just like Word or similar program in many industries.
    I'm not ragging only on CC; every industry were one software has become standard, it usually feels like a prison where you can only glimpse outside.
    It's basically a quasi monopoly because it's ingrained in how people work, not for some programmatic reason.
    I find the interface horrible and always have, and I've used it since I think 1994.


    edited March 2016 ai46mainyehc
  • Reply 38 of 105
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member

    I think where Apple will first replace Intel with ARM is in Apple's Server Farms ...
    Or they could use these...CuBox-i 4×4 by SolidRun, the tiniest computer ever.

    $169 each

    Runs Linux and has Gig Ethernet. Load balance a couple hundred of these together with a NAS disk array for one bad ass cloud server.


     
  • Reply 39 of 105
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    I hope Apple does go to ARM and custom designed silicon for Macs. We'd get better Mac products in the end. Apple controlling the Mac's destiny, rather than waiting on Intel.
    cali
  • Reply 40 of 105
    BlasterBlaster Posts: 97member
    sflocal said:
    foggyhill said:
    Most of Adobe's software is close to retro garbage, don't even know how they could become or stay a "standard".

    Most of what they do can be done in other software, it is pure inertia (same as the one using Words or whatever software that everyone uses and no one knows quite why) keeping this sloth behemoth in place.

    I'm a heavy user of Adobe CC.  It has a lot of faults but even with that, there is simply no 100% replacement for apps like Photoshop and Lightroom.  Period. 
    But Apple Aperture... oh wait.
    edited March 2016
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