Why the Mac's migration to Apple Silicon is bigger than ARM

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  • Reply 41 of 123
    I submit that we are probably not living at the end of time and technological progress is seldom "settled."

     @narwhal: It may look that way but ALOT more programs are X86/64 The rest of the world decided to settle on x86. 


    fastasleepdesignrtenthousandthingswatto_cobraDetnator
  • Reply 42 of 123
    rain22 said:
    rain22 said:
    “ but it suggests that new Apple Silicon Macs will not be struggling to keep up with the graphics on Intel Macs.”

    That would be nice - but seems extremely dependent on programs being optimized. The anemic library of titles will probably shrink even further - at least until there is market saturation. 

    Mac users will be stuck using dumbed down iOS software for a long time I feel. 
    After all - This is the motivation isn’t it? Eventually have just 1 OS that can be modded to facilitate the device. 
    iOS and macOS share the same core and were designed to be processor independent. This is why existing apps can be modified and recompiled for ARM in days. I suspect the performance will be far better than you think. That Tome Raider demo spoke volumes. A brand new 2020 13" 10th Gen i7 Quad-Core can't even do that with native code.

    I hope you are right. We got burned on a bunch of G5’s during the last switch. Rosetta didn’t work half the time, crashes, software wasn’t supported, and Apple dropped support on its own suit almost overnight. Peripherals became junk as no drivers were updated and Apple put the whole onus on developers and manufacturers. We ended up tossing the G5’s for a big loss and getting the new Mac Pro’s. At least then we could upgrade our own video cards.
    A lot of difference between then and now. Apple has been running iOS (macOS) on ARM for a decade now and operating has been designed to create a layer of abstraction from the hardware. This is why many apps will only need to be recompiled or can run in translation. That Tome Raider demo was a x86 mac app running without modification in translation via Rosetta 2. The old Rosetta couldn't do anything like that since apps were much closer to the hardware in those days and Metal didn't exist yet.

    As for INTEL updates, I assume any app written natively for ARM can be recompiled for INTEL which means developers will easily be able to support both platforms. That's the beauty of the abstraction layer. The only question then becomes how long will Apple support new versions of macOS on INTEL since that occurs at the hardware level. I suspect it depends on the install base and their traditional obsolete/vintage status for hardware; 5 years of full support and 2 additional years minimum for security updates.

    5-7 years is just about what I expect to get out of a device. Come this Fall my 7+ year old 2013 15" MBP will no longer be supported by the current operating system, which means it's down to security update status. I got my money's worth and the resale value of these machines is likely to remain high since Bootcamp is gone forever.
    Any OS ever meant for mainstream use over more than the last 20 years has had sufficient hardware/software abstractions built-in that it’s trivial to move the OS over to a new CPU and hardware configuration: anything else is a hobby or specialized embedded system.

    MacOS from before it was going to be used for the basis of MacOS from 2000 on, in all its variations, has been abstracted from hardware dependencies: it’s a variation of Unix, which has a history of that from early on.

    Windows NT and later (first released 1993, the core of Windows 10 today with evolution as any OS has over time) was also hardware-abstracted by design from the start, with Windows 95, Windows 98 and 98se and Windows ME being short-term backwards-compatible OSes that were very much x86-dependent by design: lots of assembly language in them to make them fit in hardware constraints, and also old compatibility from Win16. These OSes were an intentional stopgap for most home users to be able to transition without losing too much backwards compatibility as a main focus (also applied in business as well).
    patchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 43 of 123
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,566member
    crowley said:
    I wonder if the higher end Macs will have A chips with integrated GPUs, or if there will be non-GPU variants where Apple have a dedicated separate GPU, presumably from AMD.
    I'm guessing we may have seen the last of AMD / NIVIDA in any future Mac. The ARM GPU cores are no less as impressive or scalable than the CPU cores. That's another significant cost savings for Apple. It also insures that the GPU is optimized for Metal. This was the point of Metal from the beginning and why OpenGL was sent to the dustbin. Apple has been planning this move for almost a decade and I think it runs much deeper and faster than most people suspect; no INTEL/AMD, no AMD/NIVIDA and soon no Qualcomm.

    The end of dependence on competitors or a single source for parts. Complete design and manufacturing freedom.

    I suspect we'll also see the price drop as times goes on since they will be able to maintain margins and expand their base at the same time; maybe -$100 on the low end and $100s of dollars up the chain to the higher spec'd hardware.

    These new Macs will still support discrete GPUs. There’s no reason to think they won’t.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 44 of 123
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,824member
    mjtomlin said:
    crowley said:
    I wonder if the higher end Macs will have A chips with integrated GPUs, or if there will be non-GPU variants where Apple have a dedicated separate GPU, presumably from AMD.
    I'm guessing we may have seen the last of AMD / NIVIDA in any future Mac. The ARM GPU cores are no less as impressive or scalable than the CPU cores. That's another significant cost savings for Apple. It also insures that the GPU is optimized for Metal. This was the point of Metal from the beginning and why OpenGL was sent to the dustbin. Apple has been planning this move for almost a decade and I think it runs much deeper and faster than most people suspect; no INTEL/AMD, no AMD/NIVIDA and soon no Qualcomm.

    The end of dependence on competitors or a single source for parts. Complete design and manufacturing freedom.

    I suspect we'll also see the price drop as times goes on since they will be able to maintain margins and expand their base at the same time; maybe -$100 on the low end and $100s of dollars up the chain to the higher spec'd hardware.

    These new Macs will still support discrete GPUs. There’s no reason to think they won’t.

    Would not be at all surprised if the Developer kits have a GPU in them. Given they were supposedly driving the XDR display.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 45 of 123
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,907member
    crowley said:
    I wonder if the higher end Macs will have A chips with integrated GPUs, or if there will be non-GPU variants where Apple have a dedicated separate GPU, presumably from AMD.
    Presumably from Apple.
    fastasleepspock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 46 of 123
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,083member
    micabe2006 said:
    Real gaming on the mac is dead. Steam will not run on new ARM macs. So all those games that people bought on steam will be worthless for those who own these new ARM macs. Also when it comes to programs,
    Bullshit. You apparently missed the demo of Tomb Raider running translated by Rosetta. No reason to think Steam app won't also run on it, and eventually be ported to Apple Silicon as well. Newer games and games yet to be released be (re)compiled for Apple Silicon. I'm expecting to be able to play my 64bit library via Rosetta in cases where they aren't recompiled. 32bit apps are already left behind, so that's not new.

    There is Photoshop for ipad which is what your ARM mac will run and then there is REAL Photoshop with all of the x86/64 plugins that people have made. I wonder if they will port their plugins to the new ARM photoshop. Will the ARM photoshop even run plugins. The same is true for office will you get ipad office on ARM or REAL office that you do now?
    They demoed desktop versions of Photoshop and Office running on Apple Silicon, so no they are not iPad versions. Of course it'll run plugins. It's possible existing plugins will run under Rosetta for all we know at this point.

    Also this is after Apple throws you out in the cold by stripping roseta2  away from you as they did is mac OS 10.7 i believe. Lets also not forget that wonderful smooth transition from 32-64 bit only apps that nearly killed Steam on the mac.
    You don't know that's going to happen, or when it will, if it does. Steam didn't get killed, just old games that aren't updated anymore. That was like a small number of my collection and not ones that I'll cry over.

    Also how nice will apple play with developers and users once they have hegemony. Apple silicon is the ultimate lock in. I can see apple using gatekeeper to make their platforms only use the mac app store. That means you new $899-$10,000 mac is a glorified locked in ipad with a keyboard and mouse. At least with intel macs you can run crossover to get older 32-bit versions of windows apps and wine. Will you get that on your ARM mac. Lets not forget this is the same company that will not let you change your default web browser, or maps app in iOS because they want total control of the user experience. I bet you this will be coming to a mac near you, in mac OS 11.3 or whatever they are going to call it. This is a sad day for the computing industry indeed, if the market falls for Apple and their lock in scam. 
    And here we go with the FUD, slippery slope fallacy, etc. There's no indication any of this is happening in the foreseeable future. They demoed their devotion to allowing (and helping port) open source software. You can change your default browser and mail apps in iOS 14, so much for that harbinger of doom. Running old games should not be our reason for clinging to the past. 
    patchythepirateraoulduke42roundaboutnowspock1234watto_cobraDetnator
  • Reply 47 of 123
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,907member
    darthw said:
    Will it be possible, eventually, for Apple to make faster SoCs than the fastest most powerful intel Xenon chips?
    The A12Z is just a developer chip for Macs. In terms of overall performance (which won’t be CPU-bound), the first A-Silicon SoCs for production Macs should beat most Xeons.
    patchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 48 of 123
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,083member

    Would it be possible (with development) to plug your phone into your Mac to double the processor power similar to how external GPUs work today? 
    Via USB? Not likely.

    I think one interesting scenario though, and this is already technically possible, is being able to have say render nodes for 3D/video software running on your networked mobile devices all working together on a job. 
    edited June 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 49 of 123
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,907member
    rain22 said:
    Mac users will be stuck using dumbed down iOS software for a long time I feel. 
    After all - This is the motivation isn’t it? Eventually have just 1 OS that can be modded to facilitate the device. 
    I certainly did not get that impression from what we saw. Not sure why you did. 
    It was the spacing of the toolbar icons, very touchable.
  • Reply 50 of 123
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,083member

    crowley said:
    I wonder if the higher end Macs will have A chips with integrated GPUs, or if there will be non-GPU variants where Apple have a dedicated separate GPU, presumably from AMD.
    I'm guessing we may have seen the last of AMD / NIVIDA in any future Mac. The ARM GPU cores are no less as impressive or scalable than the CPU cores. That's another significant cost savings for Apple. It also insures that the GPU is optimized for Metal. This was the point of Metal from the beginning and why OpenGL was sent to the dustbin. Apple has been planning this move for almost a decade and I think it runs much deeper and faster than most people suspect; no INTEL/AMD, no AMD/NIVIDA and soon no Qualcomm.
    I'm wondering if any of the companies working on 3D apps/renderers currently being ported to Metal/AMD knew that they were actually working towards Metal/Apple GPU. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 51 of 123
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,083member
    mcdave said:
    rain22 said:
    Mac users will be stuck using dumbed down iOS software for a long time I feel. 
    After all - This is the motivation isn’t it? Eventually have just 1 OS that can be modded to facilitate the device. 
    I certainly did not get that impression from what we saw. Not sure why you did. 
    It was the spacing of the toolbar icons, very touchable.
    And what at all does that have to do with being "stuck using dumbed down iOS software"?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 52 of 123
    mcdave said:
    darthw said:
    Will it be possible, eventually, for Apple to make faster SoCs than the fastest most powerful intel Xenon chips?
    The A12Z is just a developer chip for Macs. In terms of overall performance (which won’t be CPU-bound), the first A-Silicon SoCs for production Macs should beat most Xeons.
    This is pure conjecture until further notice, unless you’ve got evidence otherwise.

    Hopefully Apple will have their chips that competitive, but that’s TBD.
    Riker
  • Reply 53 of 123
    vcaovcao Posts: 1member
    "At the same time, ARM itself is running into similar issues because it is now majority-owned by Chinese interests."

    Isn't Arm Holdings owned by Softbank? They are based in Japan, not China. Softbank Group owns 75% and the rest is owned by Softbank Vision Fund. Saudi Arabia was reported to purchased that 25% interest by participating in Softbank's Vision Fund back in 2017. Then there is Arm China, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary and there is an ongoing power struggle with the CEO and the Arm board of directors (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-20/softbank-s-arm-fired-china-ceo-wu-for-starting-competing-fund). Arm Holdings (Japan) owns Arm China, so the quoted text is incorrect.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 54 of 123
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,824member

    crowley said:
    I wonder if the higher end Macs will have A chips with integrated GPUs, or if there will be non-GPU variants where Apple have a dedicated separate GPU, presumably from AMD.
    I'm guessing we may have seen the last of AMD / NIVIDA in any future Mac. The ARM GPU cores are no less as impressive or scalable than the CPU cores. That's another significant cost savings for Apple. It also insures that the GPU is optimized for Metal. This was the point of Metal from the beginning and why OpenGL was sent to the dustbin. Apple has been planning this move for almost a decade and I think it runs much deeper and faster than most people suspect; no INTEL/AMD, no AMD/NIVIDA and soon no Qualcomm.
    I'm wondering if any of the companies working on 3D apps/renderers currently being ported to Metal/AMD knew that they were actually working towards Metal/Apple GPU. 

    I assume all of them did.
    fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 55 of 123
    darthw said:
    Will it be possible, eventually, for Apple to make faster SoCs than the fastest most powerful intel Xenon chips?
    Yes. I just read that the new Japanese super computer, that is the fastest in the world is built using Arm chips.

    can Apple eventually make their own SoCS to beat Intel Xeons? There are reasons that it could go either way:

    ARM ISA is easier to decode is in its favor.
    intel z86-64 ISA is more compact due to variable length instructions that reduce memory bandwidth required for a given number of of instructions that achieve the same thing.

    I think there is zero chance Apple will stay with INTEL anything and they will have no issue out performing INTEL Xeons within the same power and thermal constraints.

    INTEL chips bring a lot of baggage to include more complex instructions so I doubt they're more compact and while fixed length instructions may require more bandwidth.... 

    "Fixed-length instructions are less complicated to handle than variable-length instructions for several reasons (not having to check whether an instruction straddles a cache line or virtual memory page boundary, for instance), and are therefore somewhat easier to optimize for speed."
    fastasleep
  • Reply 56 of 123

    mattinoz said:
    I find this all rather exciting because unlike in the past where we could look at the future roadmap for PowerPC and Intel we realistically have limited understanding of what apple's new silicon could look like. That goes especially for their higher-end Macs. The chip used in the developer Mac mini looks to certainly be capable for MacBook Air and other compact portables however I'm extremely interested to see what those higher-end chips could look like. 

    Given the transition is scheduled to take around two years that would indicate to me that the architecture of all their Mac-based chips is more or less finalized. The new silicon should provide incredible versatility for making many processes more efficient. However, I'm curious if for the high-end iMac or Mac Pro if Apple will be motivated to silence critics worried about high-end performance. The possibilities are wide open for what kind of monster Apple could create. The Mac Pro has a lot of thermal capacity. So at the end who knows but for me at least I'm quite excited.

    I guess it's going to depend on the specialist processors in the A (like ML Accelerators) and how much it makes sense to scale them up vs having small repetitive elements. Is it 2 -3 chips each to suit a part of the Mac family then bined and clocked to suit each model or do they go the other way and have 2-3 chips each to suit a roll and each machine ends up a combo of those parts?

    I do wonder If Apple might be seeing it as the later. A Family of chips as kit to build each machine instead of a part for each machine, say 3 chips 2 Bookends that go in every mac (basically versions of AX and T) and the middle one that can be used in multiples. With maybe a bigger middle chip for the MacPro charging an extra $1,000 per middle chip.

    Add some 3rd Party GPU choices in that mix and it will be interesting to see how Apple does do this over the next 2 years.
    I guessing at most three additional chip with different clock speeds; one for low end MacBooks, iMacs and MacMini, another for high-end MacBook pros and iMacs, with another for the MacPro. Would be surprised to see the the MAcPro and iMac Pro sharing that third chip at different clock speeds. But at most 4 chips in addition to the two produced each year for iOS devices.

    As for GPUs I don't expect to see 3rd party GPU options for anything other than the MacPro and eGPUs functionality for everything else. While everyone is so focused on the A-Series CPU the GPU is making the same advancements. I would also expect USB-4 which is probably why it's Thunderbolt ports are absent from the developer kit or possibly just to same money.

    Apple has a lot to gain by dumping INTEL, AMD, NIVIDA and QUALCOMM from both a development and cost savings point of view. How much cheaper is a 16" MBP if Apple is only paying $50-$60 to produce the chip vs. paying INTEL and AMD $100s of dollars more. A 8-core i9 is $500 retail alone. Apple I'm sure gets a steep discount but combined with the GPU cost, Apple could stand to save $500 simply by using an in-house chip for under $100. Apple could take the margin or knock the price of the machine down, expand the base, and profit more off of software and services. I betting they want to expand the user base which will become life long customers.
    patchythepiratemwhitefastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 57 of 123
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,291member
    Hopefully it comes a day where Apple SoC CPU is faster than the most advance Intel CPU and Apple SoC GPU is better than the latest Radeon/NVidia GPU.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 58 of 123
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,716member

    fox.kenji said:

    rob53 said:
    Good article but you left out how virtualization works and after doing a quick search of Apple's new Developer app, nothing showed up. Nothing for Rosetta either. Doesn't surprise me because it's probably a very proprietary set of software and hardware, which is fine with me.

    I saw that Parallels released a blog article mentioned their prototype version of Parallels was used for the demo but nothing about which port of Debian was used. Their blog keeps saying to check back later. Has anyone been able to ask this question of any of the macOS Big Sur Apple people during a WWDC conference call? If Parallels only had to create an Apple Silicon version of Parallels (ok, Im stopping to say ARM because it's obviously a lot more than just ARM developers will have to content with) while macOS Big Sur using Rosetta did the "conversion" then that is also a huge step by Apple. 
    Rosetta 2 does not support translation for virtualization 

    nuclide said:
    Arm Holdings (stylized as arm) is a semiconductor and software design company wholly owned by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group and its Vision Fund. 

    How is ARM "majority-owned by Chinese interests?"
    Yes that's partially correct. In 2018, SoftBank set up an ARM China joint venture and then sold off half of the interest in that to Chinese interests. That was likely to get around US restrictions on sharing ARM technology with Huawei. SoftBank also still needs money, so it could go further and sell more of ARM Ltd. In any case, apart from Qualcomm and Samsung, pretty much all of the mobile competitors using ARM are served by ARM China.  
    This cannot be allowed to continue happening. ARM architecture is way far too important to be allowed to be appropriated by the Chinese Communist government. Something must be done.
    Did this conversation just ridiculously and stupidly go absurdly propagandistic?? [rolls eyes]
    What if it falls into the hands of the mythic Antifa! [rolls eyes] Are we reliving the 1950's Red Scare again?
    Ironic that most of the very earliest semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing, that most of the VLSI R&D the lead to Personal Computers, was driven by the U.S. and Western Militaries during the Cold War. It is only prudent that the West protect its advantages in dual use technology from adversaries such as China, that are not part of the rules based order of the West. 

    I'm never impressed with people that can't see the difference between Western Democracies, for all their faults, and obvious authoritarian powers of China, Russia, Turkey, and myriad smaller countries.


    patchythepiratespock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 59 of 123
    darthw said:
    Will it be possible, eventually, for Apple to make faster SoCs than the fastest most powerful intel Xenon chips?
    Yes. I just read that the new Japanese super computer, that is the fastest in the world is built using Arm chips.

    can Apple eventually make their own SoCS to beat Intel Xeons? There are reasons that it could go either way:

    ARM ISA is easier to decode is in its favor.
    intel z86-64 ISA is more compact due to variable length instructions that reduce memory bandwidth required for a given number of of instructions that achieve the same thing.

    I think there is zero chance Apple will stay with INTEL anything and they will have no issue out performing INTEL Xeons within the same power and thermal constraints.

    INTEL chips bring a lot of baggage to include more complex instructions so I doubt they're more compact and while fixed length instructions may require more bandwidth.... 

    "Fixed-length instructions are less complicated to handle than variable-length instructions for several reasons (not having to check whether an instruction straddles a cache line or virtual memory page boundary, for instance), and are therefore somewhat easier to optimize for speed."
    Fast cache is heavier for power usage as well as space, and taking more space requires more time for the whole system to some degree, not to mention the more space a chip takes, the more expensive it is to make, as the higher number of defective chips you’ll have on any given die.

    Space matters, and if they can deal with the variable length instructions in less decoding logic space/power than the caches required, it’s a win.  It’s not just about bandwidth to/from main memory, also internally, and size matters.  Resistance and capacitance increase with the size, and that increases power while decreasing speed as well: it makes the most sense to use the least total hardware regardless of the complexity of decoding basic instructions into the micro-ops, of which there are far fewer micro-ops ever in-flight at any given time than CPU caches storing ISA machine code and its data.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 60 of 123
    darthw said:
    Will it be possible, eventually, for Apple to make faster SoCs than the fastest most powerful intel Xenon chips?
    Yes. I just read that the new Japanese super computer, that is the fastest in the world is built using Arm chips.

    can Apple eventually make their own SoCS to beat Intel Xeons? There are reasons that it could go either way:

    ARM ISA is easier to decode is in its favor.
    intel z86-64 ISA is more compact due to variable length instructions that reduce memory bandwidth required for a given number of of instructions that achieve the same thing.

    I think there is zero chance Apple will stay with INTEL anything and they will have no issue out performing INTEL Xeons within the same power and thermal constraints.

    INTEL chips bring a lot of baggage to include more complex instructions so I doubt they're more compact and while fixed length instructions may require more bandwidth.... 

    "Fixed-length instructions are less complicated to handle than variable-length instructions for several reasons (not having to check whether an instruction straddles a cache line or virtual memory page boundary, for instance), and are therefore somewhat easier to optimize for speed."
    Fast cache is heavier for power usage as well as space, and taking more space requires more time for the whole system to some degree, not to mention the more space a chip takes, the more expensive it is to make, as the higher number of defective chips you’ll have on any given die.

    Space matters, and if they can deal with the variable length instructions in less decoding logic space/power than the caches required, it’s a win.  It’s not just about bandwidth to/from main memory, also internally, and size matters.  Resistance and capacitance increase with the size, and that increases power while decreasing speed as well: it makes the most sense to use the least total hardware regardless of the complexity of decoding basic instructions into the micro-ops, of which there are far fewer micro-ops ever in-flight at any given time than CPU caches storing ISA machine code and its data.
    So far Apple appears to be winning with RISC. The A-12 is already matches at the 10th Gen i7 Quad-Core in single, multi-core, and beating it hands down in GPU performance. One of the reasons Apple is moving on.
    patchythepiratefastasleepwatto_cobra
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