Editorial: Intel CPU constraints are sign on the road to ARM chips in the Mac

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  • Reply 21 of 79
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,055member
    LordZedd said:
    I've been through the 6502-68K, 68K-PPC and PPC-Intel switches. If there is a switch to ARM, I'm out. No bootcamp, no VM, no games at all, no professional apps, no drivers for anything.
    You must be one of those glass half empty types. 
    pscooter63williamlondon
  • Reply 22 of 79
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 372member
    Apple may buy AMD...
    It's been years since this option was discussed here, but I recall that AMD's x86 license contains a poison pill that cancels the license if AMD is acquired.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 23 of 79
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 372member

    davgreg said:
    The possibility also exists for Apple to develop its own x86 chips. They certainly have the people capable of doing the work.
    While that's technically possible, it's unlikely Intel would license x86 to Apple, and so that's legally a no-go. It also makes no financial sense to pour significant resources into another CPU architecture when the A-family is within striking distance of x86 already. There is just too much intellectual economy of scale enticing Apple to put all its wood behind the ARM arrow. Macs will go ARM or go away.
    edited May 2019
  • Reply 24 of 79
    seanjseanj Posts: 288member
    How about Apple buys Intel and fixes their production issues with 10nm. Then once Apple’s A series ARM chips are good enough it moves all Intel production to ARM chips and kills all x86 production 😆
  • Reply 25 of 79
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,896member
    If the Mac Pro will be modular, why not give the Mac Pro customer a choice between an Intel CPU module, an ARM module, an AMD module, or a combination of the above?
    williamlondonkodakmomentmattinoz
  • Reply 26 of 79
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,573member
    sirozha said:
    LordZedd said:
    I've been through the 6502-68K, 68K-PPC and PPC-Intel switches. If there is a switch to ARM, I'm out. No bootcamp, no VM, no games at all, no professional apps, no drivers for anything.
    The only way for Apple to ensure that there are plenty of apps for the ARM-based macOS is
    to make a hybrid iOS/macOS device. With the Marzipan framework, the same app can run in iOS and macOS with minimal effort. That’s the only way to leverage the plethora of existing iOS apps to run in the desktop (aka ARM-based macOS) mode. Otherwise, few developers will want to develop for the ARM-based macOS. 

    By the way, the ARM-based Macs will only happen with lower-end Macs, such as MacBook and perhaps MacBook Air. The MacBook Pros will continue to be intel-based for a foreseeable future. 
    "By the way, the ARM-based Macs will only happen with lower-end Macs, such as MacBook and perhaps MacBook Air. The MacBook Pros will continue to be intel-based for a foreseeable future. "

    That's an assumption.  When Apple transitioned from PPC to Intel, they transitioned the entire Mac line in 1.5 years.  I don't expect anything different if (or when) they transition the Mac line to ARM
  • Reply 27 of 79
    the monkthe monk Posts: 93member
    Steve Jobs explained (biography) why Intel lost over ARM For iOS hardware:

     “At the high-performance end, Intel is the best. They build the fastest chip, if you don’t care about power and cost. But they build just the processor on one chip, so it takes a lot of other parts. Our A4 has the processor and the graphics, mobile operating system, and memory control all in the chip. We tried to help Intel, but they don’t listen much. We’ve been telling them for years that their graphics suck. Every quarter we schedule a meeting with me and our top three guys and Paul Otellini. At the beginning, we were doing wonderful things together. They wanted this big joint project to do chips for future iPhones. There were two reasons we didn’t go with them. One was that they are just really slow. They’re like a steamship, not very flexible. We’re used to going pretty fast. Second is that we just didn’t want to teach them everything, which they could go and sell to our competitors.”

     The problem with Intel seems to go farther back, earlier than 5G.
    edited May 2019 n2itivguymacplusplusFred257roundaboutnowMisterKitmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 28 of 79
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 957member
    I'll bet a sandwich that we will never see an ARM Mac, and the real strategy is to keep enhancing the iPad until the Mac can be quietly put to pasture.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 29 of 79
    sumergosumergo Posts: 215member
    wood1208 said:
    If Intel executes 10nm chips schedule properly than it will be last Intel chips to go in Macbook/PRO. Intel in conference call said it will make 10nm ICE processors based on Lakefield packaging for one specific customer and my guess that could be Apple.
    We're coming up on two years since the first estimated delivery date has passed on this one, so I'm not holding my breath.
    But DEMINSD does have a point.  Apple's current wish for thin-at-all-costs and damn the functionality/usability/laws-of-physics causes problems for their suppliers - and thence the customer.

    "Thin & quiet" is a Jony Ive industrial design / hardware view - it neglects the software/usability of devices - how they actually work - in favour of their "sexy looks".
    williamlondonpratikindiabeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 30 of 79
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,095member
    deminsd said:
    Everyone blaming Intel, yet it's Apple that insists on paper thin, fan-less laptop designs that defy physics on keeping them cool.  The rest of us (Windows users) enjoy the latest and greatest chips and hardware and increasing performance with 8th and 9th gen chips.  I'm fine with fans.  They come on when needed, and are silent otherwise.  I also like having the ability to remove a few screws and change / add more larger SSD's or memory. 
    Irrelevant. There is only one fanless model, the Retina MacBook. Fans are needed as long as there is a discrete GPU. Enjoy your 8th and 9th chips. Meanwhile
    https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/12/08/review-the-macbook-pro-with-vega-20-ups-the-ante-of-performance-and-price
    williamlondon
  • Reply 31 of 79
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,939member
    aplnub said:
    LordZedd said:
    I've been through the 6502-68K, 68K-PPC and PPC-Intel switches. If there is a switch to ARM, I'm out. No bootcamp, no VM, no games at all, no professional apps, no drivers for anything.
    Windows is driving in the same direction. They even have a version of Windows running on ARM. Don't jump off a bridge yet.
    Yes, but isn't the problem with ARM Windows is that it does not run x86 binaries?  
  • Reply 32 of 79
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,095member
    aplnub said:
    LordZedd said:
    I've been through the 6502-68K, 68K-PPC and PPC-Intel switches. If there is a switch to ARM, I'm out. No bootcamp, no VM, no games at all, no professional apps, no drivers for anything.
    Windows is driving in the same direction. They even have a version of Windows running on ARM. Don't jump off a bridge yet.
    Yes but what about drivers? People can’t even switch to Win 10 because of driver issue, yet switch to ARM?
  • Reply 33 of 79
    bugsnwbugsnw Posts: 717member
    If Tim Cook is bitching about Intel, you can bet Apple is moving accordingly. Intel has turned into a slow mover in a fast industry. I'm excited again for hardware, stoked by steep looking graphs of AMR performance increases since the original iPhone and iPad. This move will give Apple an unbelievable competitive advantage for their products. They just have to manage this transition carefully so they don't lose those who, like the poster above, have weathered the transitions when it was more painful in the past.
  • Reply 34 of 79
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,095member
    Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned that Apple took about a five percent hit on Mac revenues because of constraints on Intel processors, 

    But also
    “Cook isn't expecting processor constraints to have a significant impact on revenue in the third quarter”
    https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/04/30/notes-of-interest-from-apples-q2-2019-earnings-report-and-conference-call

    So...?
  • Reply 35 of 79
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,573member
    Eric_WVGG said:
    I'll bet a sandwich that we will never see an ARM Mac, and the real strategy is to keep enhancing the iPad until the Mac can be quietly put to pasture.
    By Mac, I'm assuming you mean Mac laptops.  I doubt you'll see the performance of a Pro-level desktop Mac inside of an iPad.
  • Reply 36 of 79
    maltzmaltz Posts: 323member
    deminsd said:
    Everyone blaming Intel, yet it's Apple that insists on paper thin, fan-less laptop designs that defy physics on keeping them cool.  The rest of us (Windows users) enjoy the latest and greatest chips and hardware and increasing performance with 8th and 9th gen chips.  I'm fine with fans.  They come on when needed, and are silent otherwise.  I also like having the ability to remove a few screws and change / add more larger SSD's or memory. 

    10nm will be nice when it arrives, but I don't see it being Intel's fault that Apple cannot move forward in performance.
    Apple doesn't design in a vacuum, and designs multi-year enclosures on promises from vendors. Like we said in the article, we know that Intel was asked about future thermal performance in 2015 and 2016. Intel was promising 10nm, and all the benefits, for early 2017, and we're also sure that some decisions were made regarding it vis a vis the enclosure in the design process.

    Max Speed. Thin. Quiet. Pick two. Apple has picked thin and quiet, and has done so for very nearly a decade. It's great that you like the ability to "remove a few screws" and etc. I do as well, but the much, much larger customer base does not, and prefers thin and quiet. And, I'm sure that you see this drive for thin in the Windows market as well. The shift has been obvious for the last five years.


    There's thin and there's Apple thin.  I have a Dell XPS laptop that's just as quiet, almost as thin, and almost as light as a MacBook Pro.  But it hit the market a full year before Apple's counterpart and cost $800 less.  I was chomping at the bit for a new MacBook Pro, too, but being very comfortable in both platforms, the 20% price hike in 2016 was a bridge too far.  The battery, wifi card, RAM and M.2 SSD are all user-replaceable.

    Speaking of, my iPhone is now so thin that I have to have a case on it, not for protection, but just so I'm able to easily pick it up off a flat surface.  lol  I'd love to add 2-3mm of thickness, add the headphone jack back, and use the extra space for battery.  I bet that's a trade a lot of people would make in a heartbeat.
    pratikindiamuthuk_vanalingambeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 37 of 79
    A few points people (and AI) have missed:

    1) Intel isn't the only foundry that's supply-constrained. TSMC has issues too, though not as bad as Intel's at the moment. Of course, 7mn uptake is growing, and possibly faster than TSMC can improve yield and otherwise add capacity, so thy may get more constrained as 2019 goes by. Long-term, Apple may have to pay for its own plant (even if it's owned/operated by TSMC). And TSMC will likely have the whip hand on any such negotiations. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

    2) Apple's ARM design is *already* able to compete with Intel's best consumer chip (the 8-core i9-9900k - I'm not talking about the ridiculous X-series Xeons-in-disguise). I wrote about this once before, but in short, the iPad Pro shows that Apple's uncore and interconnect capabilities are superior to Intel's, at least for up to 8 cores. So they could easily put eight of their high-performance cores into an "A12XX" and have something competitive with the i9. This wouldn't even be a major job. Now, there are still questions to be asked: How much headroom do they have for clocks at higher power? Pipeline length may be too short to enable 4GHz, or even 3.5, and there are other less obvious issues as well. Can the memory interface and caches grow organically without a major redesign? Could they scale to even more cores (probably not)? Etc. So, we don't know if Apple can beat the current i9 with their existing design, but we do know it's in the right ballpark.

    3) For the guy worried about driver support - a good emulator will make that irrelevant. There are virtually no devices out there for which emulation overhead is a problem. I can imagine a latency issue for sound devices but it's highly unlikely. Of course time will tell. Note that Apple did this successfully twice already.

    4) I used to think the notion of ARM replacing Intel in Macs was ridiculous. But Apple's execution over the last few years - and especially the ridiculous multicore performance and efficiency they pulled off in the A12X - has shown that that's inevitable. As long as their team keeps executing, that'll be a good thing.

    There's actually an interesting historical parallel here. In the old days, "server" CPUs (actually mini/mainframe, servers were just big PCs and not relevant) defined the state of the art and provided the most performance (all the once-great RISC families: Sparc, MIPS, Alpha, etc., and various mainframe/supercomputers). But as volume in the PC business grew, Intel kept pushing its CPUs forward, and then applying those lessons learned to its server chips. Even though server ship development lagged consumer processors by 1-2 years, those advances eventually pulled Intel Xeons ahead of all the other architectures (excepting POWER, because IBM is stubborn and has lots of talent).

    And now, we're seeing the same thing: Mobile chip development has the advantage in volume, and so the lessons being learned there will have repercussions on the desktop processor market. Only now the volume winner (at least in high-performance mobile) is Apple (and to some extent TSMC), and the loser is likely to be Intel.

    The big question is, will Apple's designs ever migrate up to the server level? I don't see a natural path for that right now, but they may be leaving a LOT of money on the table. Well, a lot for any company that's not Apple. For Apple, it may be more distraction than money. But it's at least plausible that at some point, if their big-core designs continue to dominate the field (and they *really* dominate right now), some server-play ARM vendor (like Cavium/Marvell, Ampere, etc.) might license the core design (if nothing else) to build 64+ core chips.

    dewmeroundaboutnowtmayJWSC
  • Reply 38 of 79
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,095member
    Eric_WVGG said:
    I'll bet a sandwich that we will never see an ARM Mac, and the real strategy is to keep enhancing the iPad until the Mac can be quietly put to pasture.
    Exactly. Otherwise why would Apple develop the iPad Pro and the Pencil 2? This is the iPad that grows, as the recent Q2 2019 earnings report revealed. They already have a Mac ARM chip, they make an iPad Pro of it...
  • Reply 39 of 79
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,996member
    deminsd said:
    Everyone blaming Intel, yet it's Apple that insists on paper thin, fan-less laptop designs that defy physics on keeping them cool.  The rest of us (Windows users) enjoy the latest and greatest chips and hardware and increasing performance with 8th and 9th gen chips.  I'm fine with fans.  They come on when needed, and are silent otherwise.  I also like having the ability to remove a few screws and change / add more larger SSD's or memory. 

    10nm will be nice when it arrives, but I don't see it being Intel's fault that Apple cannot move forward in performance.
    Ignorance. MBPs do have fans. 

    Also, my Dell machines are horrible — bloated, heavy, and run fans constantly, like hairdryers. Awful. 
  • Reply 40 of 79
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,143member
    sumergo said:
    wood1208 said:
    If Intel executes 10nm chips schedule properly than it will be last Intel chips to go in Macbook/PRO. Intel in conference call said it will make 10nm ICE processors based on Lakefield packaging for one specific customer and my guess that could be Apple.
    We're coming up on two years since the first estimated delivery date has passed on this one, so I'm not holding my breath.
    But DEMINSD does have a point.  Apple's current wish for thin-at-all-costs and damn the functionality/usability/laws-of-physics causes problems for their suppliers - and thence the customer.

    "Thin & quiet" is a Jony Ive industrial design / hardware view - it neglects the software/usability of devices - how they actually work - in favour of their "sexy looks".

    That is such a bogus narrative that it hardly deserves a response.  But I’ll bite.

    The overwhelming majority of users do not care about and do not need bleeding edge performance.  They want mobility, portability, and a processor that doesn’t suck up battery life.

    You and a few others keep going at Jony Ive like he’s some crazy nutter who understands nothing about those who use Apple products.  And that’s just flat out wrong.  Jony and his team are usability experts.  They know shit you haven’t even dreamed of.  What do you know about usability?

    Intel missed the mobility boat, which is one reason they are in such trouble today.  Wishing Apple down that same path is bonkers!

    edited May 2019 bestkeptsecrettmaymuthuk_vanalingamfastasleep
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