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

1356

Comments

  • Reply 41 of 105
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    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?
    Apple fans are just excited. They see this as a perfect opportunity for Apple to come in and gain more control and propel th Mac even further into the future faster.

    This is like a wide open door of opportunity with Apple's name on it. Maybe they can develop a new A series chip designed for desktop. Yes there will be problems at first but in the end anyone with a Mac will have a machine years ahead of anyone else.


  • Reply 42 of 105
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    pmz said:
    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.
    YES!

    With Apple updating their chips every year this would be awesome.
  • Reply 43 of 105
    volcan said:

    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.


     
    Those boxes use Freescale ARM SoCs.

    I suspect that Apple Ax chips could be used at a fraction of the cost.  And Apple would have secure 1st-party servers, gain economies of manufacturing scale, ability to tailor software and hardware for specific needs.


  • Reply 44 of 105
    The diameter of a silicon atom is 0.234 nano meters I'll let you genius figure out when miniaturization of transistor starts to reach the limits of the 1) fabrication 2) physics of electron punch thru 

    i guess these are the real reasons for the slowdown
    glynh
  • Reply 45 of 105
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    Those boxes use Freescale ARM SoCs.

    I suspect that Apple Ax chips could be used at a fraction of the cost.  And Apple would have secure 1st-party servers, gain economies of manufacturing scale, ability to tailor software and hardware for specific needs.

    Yeah I know, just joking how inexpensive hardware can be load balanced together, but to be really fast a server farm would need fiber optics, so those little boxes wouldn't be ideal anyway.
  • Reply 46 of 105
    As two others have pointed out, the current top of the line iMacs have Skylake processors. The top of the line model with an i7-6700k. The article falsely states that no Mac models are running on Skylake. 
    baconstang
  • Reply 47 of 105
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,959member
    foggyhill said:
    melgross said:

    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.
    "IT's obvious by how they've changed their developing environment that something is brewing."

    Curious, what have they changed?
  • Reply 48 of 105
    foggyhill said:
    sflocal said:

    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.
    It's only a problem because the standard software in that industry is not one's own personal preference.
    mainyehc
  • Reply 49 of 105
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,832member

    melgross said:
    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. 
    I have certainly bought into the premise that x86 is legacy as is OS X.

    That doesn't mean people will stop using these or stop developing these, but the breadth of mobile users suggests that developers will seek other opportunities, and there are a heck of a lot of users of mobile os's. A couple of generations of A Series, a few API's, and iOS is going to be primed for said "desktop" level apps, though certainly not all of them, and Apple is surely aware of the Intel "tax" that is paid for x86, and I'm not speaking just in processor cost.
  • Reply 50 of 105
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,255member
    Re: the discussion about switching CPU... Yeah... Like we need another transition period to lose tons of apps and drivers. It's hard enough to deal with support between OS X  versions, let alone the architecture changeovers. Companies like when users are forced to re-buy stuff (which is why drivers stop being written for hardware that still works, screw you M-Audio/Avid), but developers hate change and resist it as much as possible. Apple's computer dominance isn't yet assured (especially on content creating workstations) and being able to port between Mac and Windows would be much more difficult for developers with a different CPU architecture put back into the mix. It would also kill the Mac-runs-Windows angle.

    as for the primary topic of the article: the only way this Intel revelation should matter is if things like thunderbolt and usb chipsets (and whatever else) were hindered by the tick-uhhhh-tock three-step (like we are already waiting for Intel to make viable chipsets for thunderbolt 3 / display port with external Retina display capability).
  • Reply 51 of 105
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    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.
    I'm really hoping ZEN puts AMD back on track. I'm also surprised to hear about AMD supporting Thunderbolt 2, do you have a reference for that info.
  • Reply 52 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.

    I wouldn't expect to even hear an announcement about this for a decade, it would undermine everything they've done with OSX so far and render everything incompatible. However, I also don't doubt Apple would eventually move towards this.

    Maybe when they do MacOS 11?


    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?

     I'm guessing people people don't understand the complexities of switching CPU architecture.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 53 of 105
    dysamoria said:
    Re: the discussion about switching CPU... Yeah... Like we need another transition period to lose tons of apps and drivers. It's hard enough to deal with support between OS X  versions, let alone the architecture changeovers. Companies like when users are forced to re-buy stuff (which is why drivers stop being written for hardware that still works, screw you M-Audio/Avid), but developers hate change and resist it as much as possible. Apple's computer dominance isn't yet assured (especially on content creating workstations) and being able to port between Mac and Windows would be much more difficult for developers with a different CPU architecture put back into the mix. It would also kill the Mac-runs-Windows angle.

    as for the primary topic of the article: the only way this Intel revelation should matter is if things like thunderbolt and usb chipsets (and whatever else) were hindered by the tick-uhhhh-tock three-step (like we are already waiting for Intel to make viable chipsets for thunderbolt 3 / display port with external Retina display capability).
    I agree, When Apple switched to Intel from PPC it was out of necessity. It became a net positive in many ways but they were pretty much at the end of the road with IBM and the PowerPC. Had they stayed on PPC there likely would be no mac today. Intel as of right now is at the top of the game in performance when it comes to CPUs. If they aren't advancing, nobody is advancing. Arm is advancing but it's in (for now) in an entirely different race and a mac architecture switch at this point would be settling for less and an unnecessary burden on the entire mac ecosystem with no gain. It is possible for Apple to make an Arm based MacBook, but judging by the problems Microsoft suffered with the arm based Surface RT in the market place, I don't see why Apple would want to do that to themselves. It wouldn't be iOS and would require arm based versions of software written for a special arm based MacOS X. Not exactly attractive to anyone. 
    Blaster
  • Reply 54 of 105
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    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.
    For DSP work Apple would need to reoptimize the A series chips. They would need higher bandwidth to memory and larger internal caches. If the DSP code runs on a vector unit or SIMD unit that absolute power of the CPU ALU isn't a big deal. Rather it is all about how far they neck optimization of the math units. As it is I don't think Apples goal with the A series processor is heavy optimization for IPC. I'm actually expecting four CPU cores in the next rev. Interestingly I can see Intel taking the same route and moving to four cores in far more products, mainly because this becomes so easy with the next process shrink. It will be interesting to see if Intel attempts to simplify the cores to make it even easier to implement more per chip. I could see a chip the implements or maybe better doesn't implement a bunch of i86 legacy features. Eventually they need to trim the cores to fit more and keep them running fast with a minimal of hardware. Honestly I can see Apple doing this too in the future, That is a future A series chip will drop all support for ARM 32 bit architecture support. The less strange stuff to support, the fewer difficulties in supporting advanced architectures features to keep IPC up. Already the CPU cores on Apples A series chips take up little space so increasing the number of cores should be easy with the next process shrink.
  • Reply 55 of 105
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    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.
    Several times faster? Why? Even Intel can't deliver ships several times faster than old ones. What Apple needs is an A series chip fast enough to run compact note books and other new platforms. A9 is already close enough to be viable in the Mac Book, even more so if the memory and I/O system is overhauled. Right now it isn't the CPU's in the A series that would keep the chip out of the laptops but rather its limited I/O. For example a laptop really needs to be able to drive an external monitor. Ideally it will support multiple I/O ports, at this time USB-C is the only rational support point for USB. In any event a laptop optimized A series chip would be easy to do as adding new USB support or faster RAM interfacing involves the CPU's only marginally.
  • Reply 56 of 105
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    melgross said:
    bdkennedy said:
    ceek74 said:
    Now would be the perfect time for Apple to leverage their custom ARM processor expertise to build a completely new line of computers.
    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?
    Why is this oversimplified? Seriously, I'm pretty sure Apple designs the A series chip right now for maximum yields off the manufacturing lines. part of that means having realistic expectations for clock rate. Considering that and some of the clock rates for other processors coming of the same sort of production lines it is pretty clear that there is head room in the A series chips. I personally don't like the word "underclocked" here as it is misleading. The chips rather are manufactured in volume and the clock rate chosen for max yields. I have no doubt in my mind that Apple could take the same route many chip manufactures do and test and sort according to performance potential. In any event the A10X suitability for a laptop really depends upon hardware external to the CPU complex in my mind.
  • Reply 57 of 105
    The Economist magazine just had an article on the death of Moore's Law, and mentioned exactly this change by Intel as one of their points. Not sure if ARM chips are going to be able to escape the fundamental issues of physics and technological hurdles that need to be met to keep on making processors ever better at the same pace.
  • Reply 58 of 105
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    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. 
    Everybody is running into the same problems Intel has, there is no escaping this.   The fact is several foundries have caught up with Intel prices technology wise, we might even see one or two foundries move ahead of Intel.   The advantage to Apple is that their ARM cores take up far less space on die which means they have more options moving forward to use the space new die shrinks give them.   
  • Reply 59 of 105
    tele1234 said:

     I'm guessing people people don't understand the complexities of switching CPU architecture.
    But all you need to do is check the box in Xcode, right?
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 60 of 105
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member

    pmz said:
    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.
    There is another option custom silicon in cooperation with Intel.    Intel has been doing a lot of custom CPU's, mostly XEON's of late, but there is nothing to keep them from doing custom Apple hardware.   

    I can see Apple doing custom I/O, GPU's and camera processors, all siting on a die managed by Intel technology.
Sign In or Register to comment.