Last Active
  • Apple is using a custom connector for the SSD in the new Mac Pro

    Looks like the same NAND cards in the iMac Pro:

  • Apple planning to ditch Intel chips in Macs for its own custom silicon in 2020

    My Python 3.6 plotting script execution time:

    2015 rMBP15 w/Intel Core i7-4980HQ (2.8/4.0 GHz): 91.1 sec

    2017 iPad Pro 10.5 w/Apple A10X (2.3 GHz): 91.5 sec

    This is 45 W vs a 10 W envelope or so. Use Pythonista on iPad. Terminal on macOS. Don’t know if the Core i7-4980HQ actually turbo-ed to 4 GHz. Who knows. That’s why you do a lot of testing.
  • First look: Mac Pro and Apple Pro Display XDR [u]

    Prousty said:
    First post with a question that I cannot find the answer to - or find any reviewer that is even asking the question.

    Given that the new Mac Pro is using Xeon processors, why is there no second slot for dual processors? or more processors? the machine seems to be skewed towards multiple graphics cards - but suppose you wanted maximum cpu power but relatively basic graphics?

    Just an idle question - the machine is well outside my price range.
    Intel has segmented its Xeon branded processors even more so than its Core branded processors. The multisocket Xeons, “a second slot for dual processors”, are branded as Xeon SP, scalable processors, that come with metal suffix name sub brands. (Gold, Silver, Platinum, etc). 

    Unfortunately, these are really low GHz, high core count processors, really meant for servers. A big part of the desktop or workstation experience is it being fast. The low GHz, the single thread experience is a big part of this. There were only 2 Xeon SP processors that were suitable for desktop systems. 

    Towards this end, Intel created the Xeon W, “W” for workstation, line which has the high GHz, single thread performance for desktop systems. These are only 1 socket systems though. 

    Apple could create a 2 socket, or even 8 socket, Xeon SP system, but the market that wants that many cores on a desktop gets ever smaller. At same point, the buyer would just have a rack in a server room. 
  • Tested: Apple's patch fixes the thermal slowdowns in the 2018 i9 MacBook Pro

    cgWerks said:
    tht said:
    From Apple’s statement: we’ve identified that there is a missing digital key in the firmware that impacts the thermal management system and could drive clock speeds down under heavy thermal loads on the new MacBook Pro

    People will chase their own theories, but Apple is saying that the installed version of the firmware was missing a cryptographic key (digital key). This minimally has to be true given that it is a public statement that they will be sued for if it is untrue. It’s just much simpler to take this as all there is to it instead of armchair sleuthing. The armchair sleuthing has no end as their isn’t a way to conclude anything.
    Does anyone happen to understand what this means, though? This missing 'digital key' was somehow slowing the processor down? Or, causing it to overheat/throttle? I suppose I have to take their word for it, but it sounds kind of odd.
    For certain chips and functions within chips to work, they have to be digitally signed in order to talk to each other. A “digital key” or cryptographic key is just a series of numbers that the firmware reads and enables this or that chip or function from a chip to work. For whatever reason, the shipped units didn’t have needed information for whatever managed the throttling of the CPU. Since there are a whole cluster of other sensors in the laptop to provide thermal information, the system still ran mostly fine, but looks like it resulted in more throttling then required. 

    Maybe the missing firmware identified what specific CPU was running or a throttling profile, and since it was missing, it went with a more throttled state by default. Who knows. Being energy efficient is one of the great software+hardware problems today, and it is not trivial.

  • Apple contemplated buying parts of Intel's cellular modem business to speed up 5G

    Ben Bajarin was rumormongering this last year, that Apple would buy Intel’s modem business. He also said Apple does half the work in “Intel’s” modem development, so Apple buying Intel’s modem assets was very possible.

    n2itivguycurtis hannahjony0
  • Apple hires 8 year Qualcomm Engineering VP to its wireless SoC team

    melgross said:
    This doesn't mean that Apple is developing their own cell radios. All major companies have teams for areas in which their devices function. When they design a product, they need people with expertise in all areas. They also need people to liaison with the actual parts and module designers at other manufacturers. This is particularly true when they have special requirements.

    it would be interesting if Apple were looking to design their own radios, but why bother? This isn't as important as their SoC. What I can see is the possibility of Apple gaining a concession from Intel that they couldn't get from Qualcomm to put the radio on the SoC silicon. If that were so, they'd need people with more expertise than they likely had, though Intel would work on that with Apple. 

    There are some good reasons for Apple to make their own cellular modems:

    1. It's cheaper. Designing their own cellular modem that's integrated into the SoC and licensing the FRAND IP should be cheaper than buying a 3rd party chip and licensing the FRAND IP. "10 nm" chips will have a LOT of transistors. Devoting some of them for cellular connectivity would be a good thing. 

    2. Integrating cellular modems into the SoC will save board space. This would make room for some other component, more battery or some other feature. It could be a double whammy for instance: the cost for cellular connectivity will be cheaper and say they can use 2 lower density NAND chips instead of 1 high density NAND chip. 

    3. They can design cellular modems specifically for their hardware. An LTE modem in a Watch? In Airpods? In some other wearable? Their own laptops? For the Watch, it doesn't need to be a multi aggregating band monster. Just something highly targeted and therefore could be optimized for lower power consumption. 

    I do do agree that this guy could simply be hired as a VP for Apple's cellular integration work, but there are good reasons for Apple to design their own cellular chips. Cellular bandwidth is at the point of diminishing returns. Driving down its cost in all phases would be a good thing, and making their own would be one way to do it. 
  • The new Mac mini is a great machine, but a $499 model could serve a larger audience

    Disagree with this. A consumer Mac for budget seekers is something like a $600 to $700 laptop. The market for desktops is pretty small, and is basically nonexistent in education now? How Apple would get to a $700 laptop is a very good question, and for a lot of people what will be in it will be unacceptable. 

    It would be nice if there was a $500 Mac mini, but there just aren’t that many buyers for something like this anymore. Just don’t see it if most of the market is buying laptops and tablets. Look at the Surface Go. Any takers if that hardware was inside a $500 box? An Apple TV with macOS/ARM on it for $400? Is the lack of near term compatible software going to kill it? And would buy it?

    For education, I think iPad + Pencil + Services is Apple’s best option for students, and the most benefit for students. Apple really needs to shore up its educational services and iPad + Pencil software, but the triad of iPad + Pencil + Services is the way to go. They need to develop an attractive package for schools. Whether they want to do it, who knows.

    A lot of the computer or web based homework I see for my junior high schooler has a real good chance of making students dumber, not smarter. I mean I’m near steaming mad about it. What a waste of time.
  • Seven new MacBook & MacBook Pro models on the way

    If there are 7, only 6 are listed in this article, 

    1. Retina MacBook Air 
    2. Retina Macbook
    3. MacBook Pro 13 FN
    4. MacBook Pro 13 TB
    5. MacBook Pro 15 TB
    6. 16 to 16.5 inch laptop
    7. ???

    I imagine the classic MacBook Air won’t be changing model numbers. So, there are two new form factors coming out?

    Wish they would just retire the classic MBA, retire the MB12 and retire the MBP13FN. They can make lessor and higher performance versions of the rMBA and fill out price tiers at $1000, $1200 and $1500. 

  • Editorial: Will Apple's $6k+ Mac Pro require brainwash marketing to sell?

    That doesn't negate the point that HP offers lower-tier "prosumer" towers that Apple does not -- it just negates what you've just said here. It also doesn't negate madan's basic point, which he could easily have made without bringing his DIY numbers into it. It only illustrates that his DIY numbers are bullshit and in the real world even the base configuration of the Mac Pro is a decent deal. It's just that the iMac Pro and the iMac are even better deals.
    There was no point to be made. Madan was just attacking a strawman arguing that people in the market for the base price Mac Pro would be better off with whatever cheaper machine. That is wrong imo. He assumes he knows why and what people are buying the machine for. If someone is buying the base model, one at $6k, they know what they are doing and why they are doing it. It’s doubtful Internet commentary is adding any actual information regarding a purchase decision of this magnitude.

    Awhile back, AI had an article about the Mac Pro with this image:

    It has this caption: Apple demonstrated a Mac Pro stuffed with 6 Avic HDX cards, handing over 1,400 audio tracks and costing over $22,000 alone

    So, this looks like a base model buy to me. 2 or 3 of these Avic HDX cards, and if memory or storage is needed, they can buy third party. A big production house could buy 10, 20, 100 base models for this type of purpose, or a small production house can buy 1 or 2 base models. 

    No matter how much people want this to be a consumer machine, a $6k price tag should completely obviate the idea that it is. It’s blindingly obvious. For those in the market to buy such a machine, it’s hubris to think that you or I know better than whoever wants to buy the machine.
  • Apple's new Mac Pro internal components - answers and lingering questions [u]

    SEJU said:
    Does anyone know if it is PCI 4 or 5? There were some rumors about 4 being a gap solution and that most vendors would probably go right to 5 ...

    I read somewhere the new MP used 3, but I think/hope that was a mistake.
    It is an Intel system. It is PCIe 3.0.

    AMD supports PCIe 4 in recent models, but it is really really early for PCIe 4 still.

    PCIe 5 is paper specifications essentially. Won’t see anything beyond demos for like 5 years or so.