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Old May 27, 2011, 03:05 AM   #1
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Apple Testing an ARM (A5) Powered MacBook Air?





Mac Otakara claims that Apple is presently testing an A5 powered MacBook Air.
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And additionally, an anonymous source told more information, Apple already made test equipment of Thunderbolt MacBook Air driven by A5 processor.

According to this source who saw live A5 MacBook Air actually, this test machine performed better than expected.
The A5 processor is an ARM-based processor that Apple uses in the iPad 2. Mac Otakara is uncertain what operating system this experimental machine was running. They also add that Quanta Computer manufactured this test-drive machine.

This news comes weeks after another rumor claiming that Apple is planning on transitioning from Intel to ARM-based processors on their laptops in the not too distant future. Most people had dismissed that rumor due to the compatibility issues that would be introduced with such a transition. Another major issue is that while ARM processors are more power efficient, they presently offer significantly lower performance than their Intel counterparts.

The Japanese blog has had some accurate information in the past, being the first to describe some of the new physical characteristics of the iPad 2. It is certainly plausible that Apple might be testing such combinations in their labs, though its unclear if/when Apple might actually decide to introduce such a machine.

Article Link: Apple Testing an ARM (A5) Powered MacBook Air?
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:10 AM   #2
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A5 Powerbooks next Tuesday!
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:10 AM   #3
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What about non Apple software on ARM cpu? would it need rosetta 2.0 ?
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:12 AM   #4
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sounds shady...but if you could choose between intel (for power users) and A5 (for non power users)?
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:12 AM   #5
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its like ipad with physical keypad
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:15 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by d4rkc4sm View Post
its like ipad with physical keypad

But you dont have photoshop or flash on the Ipad.
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:16 AM   #7
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If I could switch into a very low usage state (like an iPad only running one app) and get 10+ hours of battery, that would be awesome. (Plus a backlit keyboard)
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:17 AM   #8
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they might be testing it, but it won't be until a6 or a7 that a solid "desktop" system (as opposed to ios) can be built on arm. Anyone who thinks otherwise is clueless.
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:18 AM   #9
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Maybe just an A5 for graphics and openCL purposes since A5 are fully (CPU and GPU) compatible with the standard where Intel current designs only support openCL on the CPU.
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:18 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Torrijos View Post
Maybe just an A5 for graphics and openCL purposes since A5 are fully (CPU and GPU) compatible with the standard where Intel current designs only support openCL on the CPU.
Ivy Bridge will support OpenCL on the IGP.

Last edited by asdf542; May 27, 2011 at 03:30 AM.
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:25 AM   #11
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Screw PowerBook G5, it's about the A5 now!
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:25 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by JesterJJZ View Post
A5 Powerbooks next Tuesday!
LOL!

Finally the word "PowerBook" may be used again!
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:27 AM   #13
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While I don't doubt this is being considered it seems a long way off.
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:27 AM   #14
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Perhaps this is what the future white MacBook would end up running? Seems like a good way of combating those Google Chromebooks that are coming soon.
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:30 AM   #15
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Just release the SandyBridge Airs already, then we can talk about some mystical A5 prototypes...
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:30 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by uncle.zed View Post
What about non Apple software on ARM cpu? would it need rosetta 2.0 ?
At least we can possibly still run bootcamp with Windows 8 also being arm compatible.

I also think it will be a long way off before a public switch to arm if there ever is one but I don't doubt that they are running it their labs.
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:32 AM   #17
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This wouldn't surprise me. Apple has a knack for looking into the future way into the future in some cases. That doesn't mean that they're preparing for an ARM-based MacBook Air today, just that they're exploring their options for three or four years down the road.

Eventually ARM will go 64-bit and add workstation-level features, and Apple is investing a lot of money into producing their own custom ARM-based chips. Keeping their options open for future Mac hardware makes sense.

Don't forget, Apple had been producing experimental Intel-based Macs since before Mac OS X 1.0 came out in 2001. But they never made this public until they transitioned to Intel processors in 2005; that's a four year period of experimentation and preparation for a possible future.
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:32 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by MacsRgr8 View Post
LOL!

Finally the word "PowerBook" may be used again!
It was my first "first post"! I couldn't resist.
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:33 AM   #19
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Multiple A5s now, A6/A7 later?

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Originally Posted by blow45 View Post
they might be testing it, but it won't be until a6 or a7 that a solid "desktop" system (as opposed to ios) can be built on arm. Anyone who thinks otherwise is clueless.
Agree that full-blown Mac OS X needs more than just one A5 to run well. So maybe Apple could put two A5s in a MacBook Air and use Grand Central Dispatch to coordinate tasks among the 4 cores on the two chips.

Inevitably, the ARM chips will get faster, so in the future Apple will be able to use A6, A7, etc. Of course, Mac Pros would still need to use Intel chips until GCD can efficiently handle 8, 16, 32, or more cores.
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:36 AM   #20
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They tested it, maybe.

And discovered that it wouldn’t run anything

Well, that’s what testing is for

(Makes sense to consider far-future contingencies, though. Looking ahead and doing a certain amount of work “just in case” is how they were able to pull off the big Intel transition.)
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:37 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post
Agree that full-blown Mac OS X needs more than just one A5 to run well. So maybe Apple could put two A5s in a MacBook Air and use Grand Central Dispatch to coordinate tasks among the 4 cores on the two chips.

Inevitably, the ARM chips will get faster, so in the future Apple will be able to use A6, A7, etc. Of course, Mac Pros would still need to use Intel chips until GCD can efficiently handle 8, 16, 32, or more cores.
Err... GCD can efficiently handle as many cores you can throw at it. Take a look at the dual processor 12-core Mac Pro.
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:37 AM   #22
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Can't see this coming to fruition for at least a couple of years for the reasons already stated.

Just out of curiosity however how powerful is the A5 chip in terms of it's graphics abilities compared to the nvidia GPU in the current MBA? Wouldn't be surprised if Apple have dabbled with the idea of using an A5 for low power apps and graphics with an Intel CPU coming in for heavy lifting.

There'd be a lot of technical hurdles to doing that granted but if anyone's going to pull it off, Apple would.
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:39 AM   #23
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

Can't see this coming to fruition for at least a couple of years for the reasons already stated.

Just out of curiosity however how powerful is the A5 chip in terms of it's graphics abilities compared to the nvidia GPU in the current MBA? Wouldn't be surprised if Apple have dabbled with the idea of using an A5 for low power apps and graphics with an Intel CPU coming in for heavy lifting.

There'd be a lot of technical hurdles to doing that granted but if anyone's going to pull it off, Apple would.
There's no comparison. Even the three year old 9400M takes a crap all over the A5's GPU performance, and rightfully so.
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:40 AM   #24
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Bring on the ARM Macbook hell yeah
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Old May 27, 2011, 03:43 AM   #25
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