Early 2021 Apple Silicon iMac said to have 'A14T' processor

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2020
Supply chain sources claim that Apple is to make a new desktop processor, the "A14T," plus its own GPU, for forthcoming Apple Silicon Macs, both of which are to be 5nm processors.

27-inch iMac
27-inch iMac


As Apple is expected to be going into mass production of its A14X processor for Apple Silicon Macs, a new report says it is developing a new desktop processor called the "A14T." This, plus an Apple-designed graphics processing unit are to be launched in 2021, and Apple is already designing a new "A15" series.

According to China Times, Apple has a research and development project codenamed Mt Jade, which is developing the new processors. The Apple-designed GPU is known internally as "Lifuka" -- presumably named after the island in the Kingdom of Tonga.

Apple Silicon and A-series chip development rumor, credit ChinaTimes
Apple Silicon and A-series chip development rumor, credit ChinaTimes


"Lifuka," the "A14T," and the further "A15" processors are believed to all be built using TSMC's 5nm process. The iPhone 12 range uses TSMC's 5nm process.

TSMC has previously been reported to be basing Apple's "A16" chips on a 3nm process, with this processor having been expected to be in the iPhone and iPad in 2022.

According to China Times, the 2021 "iPhone 13" will use an "A15 Bionic" processor, based on an enhanced version of the 5nm process that TSMC will launch in 2021.

Reportedly, the first Apple Silicon Macs, expected in November, will use an "A14X" processor. The "A15 Bionic" for the iPhone is expected to enter production in the third quarter of 2021. The "A15T" is believed to follow at some point afterwards.

China Times expects TSMC to be building 5nm processors for other companies, including Qualcomm, Broadcom, and MediaTek. However, TSMC has recently reportedly been losing staff to rival companies.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 85
    A silicon atom is only about 0.21 nm, so a 5nm process might be the limit for a while!
    cornchipdarkvaderwelshdogwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 85
    “...and Apple is already designing a new "A15" series.
    What?!?!  Already designing the A15?!?!  I’m shocked!  Shocked, I tell you!!!

    I though they just woke up one morning in September every year and said to themselves, “ya know, I think I’ll design the next generation A-series processor over lunch today...”.  :p
    entropyswilliamlondoncornchiplkrupprandominternetpersonRayz2016seanjfastasleepchiaAlex1N
  • Reply 3 of 85
    entropysentropys Posts: 2,966member
    I am discombobulated. An A15 in the works!  

    Must admit I am surprised at the separate GPU rumour. Could be a canary trap. As could also be the codename “Mt Jade” seeing as its coming from the China Times. Seems a bit obvious.
    diz_geekAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 85
    I wonder what the upgrade cycle will be for Macs with Apple processors, and how those processors will compare to mobile processors. If a Mac uses an A14 variant and then an iPhone/iPad is upgraded to an A15, will the Macs then be slower than iPhones and some Mac users feel the need to upgrade every year to have the fastest available? What Mac user is going to feel good about their Mac being slower than the next iPhone that comes out?

    Or will the Mac variants of the processors be faster enough that an iPhone/iPad using next generation will still be slower?
    cornchipAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 85
    h4y3sh4y3s Posts: 43member
    It’s likely that the iMac variant will have additional cores as well as higher clock speeds, as they will be able to dissipate much more heat than the mobile devices. Similar to the iPad Pro with the A12X.
    radarthekatdysamoriaaderutterronncornchipchiaAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 85
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,613member
    I am so looking forward to the second generation of Apple Silicon Macs. They will be amazing.
    Pascalxxseanjwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 85
    neilmneilm Posts: 885member
    When thinking about an AppleSi iMac, I think we have to be careful to distinguish between the 21.5" version (hopefully to become 24"), and the 27". The former is mostly a consumer market product, while the larger version is widely used for professional purposes as well. The CPU and GPU requirements for each are likely to be quite different. 
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 85
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,310member
    georgie01 said:
    I wonder what the upgrade cycle will be for Macs with Apple processors, and how those processors will compare to mobile processors. If a Mac uses an A14 variant and then an iPhone/iPad is upgraded to an A15, will the Macs then be slower than iPhones and some Mac users feel the need to upgrade every year to have the fastest available? What Mac user is going to feel good about their Mac being slower than the next iPhone that comes out?

    Or will the Mac variants of the processors be faster enough that an iPhone/iPad using next generation will still be slower?
    My guess is they will be pretty much in lockstep although the various product line releases will most likely stay on the same staggered timeline as now.
    seanjwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 85
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,506member
    If it suppose to be announced in 2020 than 3 more weeks and we should be able to find out bit more on Apple Silicon processors and ASi MACs.
    edited October 2020
  • Reply 10 of 85
    georgie01 said:
    I wonder what the upgrade cycle will be for Macs with Apple processors, and how those processors will compare to mobile processors. If a Mac uses an A14 variant and then an iPhone/iPad is upgraded to an A15, will the Macs then be slower than iPhones and some Mac users feel the need to upgrade every year to have the fastest available? What Mac user is going to feel good about their Mac being slower than the next iPhone that comes out?

    Or will the Mac variants of the processors be faster enough that an iPhone/iPad using next generation will still be slower?
    My guess is that Apple will be using comparisons to what people used to expect for performance in an Intel based MacBook versus what they will be getting now. In other words, I would expect the comparison to be very flattering for the A14X. That would likely continue with the A14T etc. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 85
    Hopefully, they have one more full refresh on X86. At the rate this will take to have any impression on me moving forward it'll be 2023.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 12 of 85
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,428member
    This rumor again. 

    There is no way Apple is going to use an A-series SoC in a Mac - not even a low-end MacBook. Those SoCs were designed specifically for iOS and the need to be highly efficient. There's a reason Apple said they were designing a new family of SoCs for the Mac - different needs. Using an A14X for both the iPad Pro and a MacBook, means one of those is not as optimized as Apple usually prefers.
    rundhvidAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 85
    red oakred oak Posts: 849member
    You have to assume an A14T is going to be a major step up from the A14X, which you assume is going to be a major step up from the A14 

    And, the A14 is already a beast.   On par with the fastest Mac 13" Pros 

    So, what does that tell you? 
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 85
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,299member
    mjtomlin said:
    This rumor again. 

    There is no way Apple is going to use an A-series SoC in a Mac - not even a low-end MacBook. Those SoCs were designed specifically for iOS and the need to be highly efficient. There's a reason Apple said they were designing a new family of SoCs for the Mac - different needs. Using an A14X for both the iPad Pro and a MacBook, means one of those is not as optimized as Apple usually prefers.
    One would hope.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 85
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 523member
    entropys said:
    I am discombobulated. An A15 in the works!  

    Must admit I am surprised at the separate GPU rumour. Could be a canary trap. As could also be the codename “Mt Jade” seeing as its coming from the China Times. Seems a bit obvious.
    This doesn't necessarily say the CPU and GPU will be physically separate, just that they have separate codenames. We already know Apple gives the different core types different codenames even though they wind up on the same die. For example, the A14's fast cores are called Firestorm, and the low-power cores are called Icestorm.

    That said, it wouldn't surprise me if they wanted to separate the two simply to expand their update cycle and heat management options. If the GPU is physically separate, Apple's teams can update the CPU and GPU at different rates.

    Could also be important for the iMac Pro and the Mac Pro, both of which use specialized chips and sell in low enough volume it probably wouldn't be worth the engineering effort of building a whole separate processor line just for them. If they separate the CPU and GPU, and build the CPU to support multiple chips in a single system, that would let them make one single processor at the high end and simply adjust the number of chips per system.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 85
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,157member
    I'm hoping Apple will still offer a discreet GPU, the Metal score for the Apple GPUs is crap compared to AMD and Nvidia's GPUs. It might be fine for mobile games with graphics on par with the Xbox 360, but desktops have far exceeded that.
    rob53Alex1N
  • Reply 17 of 85
    xsmixsmi Posts: 137member
    Apple said at their keynote that the Mac chips would be designed from the ground up with the Mac in mind. Wouldn’t that preclude them using a variant of iPhone/iPad chips? 
    Alex1Nwelshdogwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 85
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 523member
    xsmi said:
    Apple said at their keynote that the Mac chips would be designed from the ground up with the Mac in mind. Wouldn’t that preclude them using a variant of iPhone/iPad chips? 
    No, it doesn't. They could say they built the A14 "from the ground up" for Macs, and would you look at that! It just happens to work for the iPad Pro, too! What a coincidence!

    From a purely practical standpoint, we know the chips aren't going to be new "from the ground up". The instruction set is definitely shared. The core designs are definitely going to be shared, with the possibility of an additional desktop-only core design (I don't think a desktop-only core is likely, but it's possible).
    canukstormronnd_2Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 85
    georgie01 said:
    I wonder what the upgrade cycle will be for Macs with Apple processors, and how those processors will compare to mobile processors. If a Mac uses an A14 variant and then an iPhone/iPad is upgraded to an A15, will the Macs then be slower than iPhones and some Mac users feel the need to upgrade every year to have the fastest available? What Mac user is going to feel good about their Mac being slower than the next iPhone that comes out?

    Or will the Mac variants of the processors be faster enough that an iPhone/iPad using next generation will still be slower?
    No necessarily. Don't forget iPads/iPhones have different thermal restrictions from a Desktop or Laptop which can have larger heat sinks, proper ventilation and, fans.
    ronnrazorpitAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 85
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,977member
    georgie01 said:
    I wonder what the upgrade cycle will be for Macs with Apple processors, and how those processors will compare to mobile processors. If a Mac uses an A14 variant and then an iPhone/iPad is upgraded to an A15, will the Macs then be slower than iPhones and some Mac users feel the need to upgrade every year to have the fastest available? What Mac user is going to feel good about their Mac being slower than the next iPhone that comes out?

    Or will the Mac variants of the processors be faster enough that an iPhone/iPad using next generation will still be slower?
    It used to be, a long time ago, that Apple upgraded its Mac every quarter as slightly faster chips came out. Then it was 6 months, then once a year. It stayed that way, along with pretty much every other computer manufacturer, until Intel had problems with new chips that Apple was designing around. So Apple slowed its iterations to match the chip. They’re not happy about that.

    ‘’the reality is that there are always going to be people who are unhappy every time Apple upgrades their machines because they bought on the a]year. But that’s just too bad. If we know that Apple will upgrade their machines every year again, and when, we can go back to preparing for those upgrades.

    since Apple is designing chips JUST for their Nacs, I imagine they will be faster than the same generation chips for the phone, and likely, the iPad. With the bigger battery capacity allowing faster designs, and better cooling capacity, these chips can run faster, possibly have more cores, bigger neural learning and machine learning core, among other advances.

    ‘’I highly doubt Apple would have gone through the publicity to make it clear that a series of chips were being developed only for Macs if this weren’t so. I don’t know what this supposed A14X is supposed to be, other than the A14x for the iPad Pro. That could be a mixup, or, if it’s correct, the capital X, rather than the lower case one Apple normally uses for that chip, could mean it’s an enhanced version.
    Alex1Nwelshdogwatto_cobra
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