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Old Nov 6, 2012, 11:47 AM   #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Fusion View Post
This would be a very silly move.

Switching to their own chips I could possibly understand, but ARM? Eventually they're going to let them down just like IBM and Intel.
The difference is that Intel have to make Apple's processors. With ARM, Apple can make the processors themselves under license (like they do for the iPhone/Pad.

Given the way the hardware market is going, unless Intel stop messing around, both Microsoft and Apple will be moving to ARM. If both move, it'll be a much quicker and easier transition, and I can actually imagine it's something they would work together to do. On the other hand, they could force Intel into being a lot more flexible with their CPU's as the thread of loosing both Microsoft and Apple would kill Intel.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 11:52 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by Spanky Deluxe View Post
That's not true - the current ARMv8 chips are capable of about probably about 25% the performance of current Intel chips. Now of course integer performance isn't everything but ARM has the potential to rival x86 processors. If it were pushed towards performance rather than efficiency more then it would become even more of a rival.
People need to stop confusing Chip design and instruction sets. You can make a very power efficient x86 chip, you can make a performance screaming ARM chip.

The performance vs power efficiency compromise is not an aspect of instruction sets. ARM isn't magically more power efficient, x86 isn't particularly a better performer. It all comes down to chip design.

For more than a decade, ARM carved out a niche for embedded systems, by making highly efficient SoC designs, a market Intel was gladly ignoring (though they did produce ARM SoCs for a while there... bet you guys don't remember the Intel StrongARM acquisition and subsequent processors).

People in these 2 threads are mistaking a lot of things, and mixing up instruction set wars with chip design with symetric multi-processing and multi-threading. If you don't know what you're talking about (like the guy racking up multiple posts claiming 32 ARM cores can rival a single Intel core in the other thread), then you're just wasting everyone's time in these discussions.

Right now, aside from independance from Intel, I don't see the PROs in such a move and there are a lot of CONs involved, including losing a lot of compatibility that makes the Mac a desireable platform (forget things like games, most are ported using a WINE wrapper that requires x86, forget virtualization of Windows, forget booting Windows on the hardware, a lot of compatibility will go with this move. Not to mention all the abandonned software titles that vendors won't recompile, forcing us into yet another emulation situation. The problem though is that unlike the PPC to Intel switch, the new CPU would be atrocious at running emulated code).

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Originally Posted by rmwebs View Post
unless Intel stop messing around
In what way is Intel messing around ? Is this the new "Google are bad because some rumor says Apple they are" thing ?

Intel is doing fine. It's producing the best processors out there right now, beating things like SPARC and POWER in the server room and dominating the consumer market. They are even entering the low-power embedded world with their new SoCs and ATOM processor line-up. They are ahead of everyone in fab processes, have a mature and tested instruction set, evolve their SIMD every generation providing ever better performance...

About their only problem right now is graphics. Something they could've remedied years ago with a small acquisition (looking at you nVidia).

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Originally Posted by nuckinfutz View Post
You mean the same Jobs that acquired Intrinsity and PaSemi? Jobs set this in motion with acquisitions that lead to exactly what we're seeing here the potential for custom ARM designs.
Intrisity and PA-Semi are not acquisitions that allow Apple to compete with Intel. They are highly specialized in SoC design, embedded processors for small appliance type applications. You know, like tablets, phones, iPods.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 11:54 AM   #103
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I believe these rumors are very unlikely. ARM performance is light years behind i7 performance, we are talking about second gen Atom speeds. Sure, if Apple went "all out" on performance, they could get up to low end i3 speeds, but what's the point? The move from PPC to x86 made a lot of sense because it opened up more hardware options and better software development.

Moving to ARM has no benefit other than possibly reducing cost. However, the high end A15 chips cost around 30-40 dollars right now. If Apple went all out, that would surely raise the price into Intel territory for the type of performance Mac users expect.

Not only that, pretty much all software will not work. I just don't see this happening any time soon, especially with Intel making great strides in the low power field.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 11:55 AM   #104
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680x0 -> PPC -> Intel -> ARM?

I'm all for speed and capability, but honestly I don't know how many more changes I can take. Every time I lost something important in terms of software...
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 11:59 AM   #105
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I see angry fanboys in Apple's future then.


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I coulda sworn somewhere someone is working on a design that implements ARM and x86.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:00 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by KnightWRX View Post

[/COLOR]

Intrisity and PA-Semi are not acquisitions that allow Apple to compete with Intel. They are highly specialized in SoC design, embedded processors for small appliance type applications. You know, like tablets, phones, iPods.
Nope. I never mentioned Intel. Apple's desire was to have in-house expertise to modify ARM cores to suit their needs. I've read some people say that Steve wouldn't have approved of this. Where'd they think Jobs was when Apple was brokering these deals? At the country club?

I'm going to be watching intently on Apple's moves in the next couple of years. If they are seriously planning a move to ARM we're going to see more acquisitions in this space and we're going to see iOS and OS X begin to drift towards perhaps improved support for threading and scalable processors.

All these people on here asking for innovation. You're going to get and in some ways you may not want it
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:00 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by dkersten View Post
Good thing Apple is looking out or its customers again. If there's one thing we need its a low power chip on all those desktops.
Exactly. Just think how much thinner iMacs could get!
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:01 PM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Fusion View Post
This would be a very silly move.

Switching to their own chips I could possibly understand, but ARM? Eventually they're going to let them down just like IBM and Intel.
Two reasons why Apple absolutely *must* switch to ARM chips, at least in consumer Macs:

1. Money
2. Destiny

Intel chips are extremely expensive for Apple. Apple isn't as big a buyer as Lenovo, for example, so they don't get the same economy of scale on Intel CPUs. Designing their own ARM-based SoCs will reduce Apple's hardware costs and help them keep their Mac hardware margins up and/or lower their consumer Mac prices. Just ask the Ultrabook Initiative folks about margins.

And, as you astutely state, CPU manufacturers have let Apple down. Apple management no doubt remembers the years of Motorola and IBM indifference, the buggy PowerPC chips, and the painfully slow clock speed ramp-ups back when AMD and Intel were one-upping each other in the Megahertz Myth era.

Apple now has the cash and technical expertise to eliminate some or all dependence on Intel for at least their consumer Mac lines. Designing their own custom ARM-based SoC is the final step in Apple's path to independence. It will give them the power to control their own destiny. Priceless.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:03 PM   #109
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The Power PC days were my favorite as a Mac user. Since the switch to Intel chips, it has been less exciting. It was fun having a computer that was not only aesthetically different from Windows PC’s but also processor and performance wise. Apple crushed the Windows competition in the Power PC days…at least until IBM failed on their Power processor roadmap. I would welcome a return to those days. Only, now using Apple’s own chips….as long they can outperform anything Intel puts out. Otherwise, what benefit would there be of switching processor architecture?

Rosetta worked great for me during the Intel transition. I’m sure the next transition, if it happens, would be just as good!

It doesn’t matter if Apple actually switches, it would still be wise for them to have options for the future. The best of companies always have back-up plans and alternative options. You never can predict what issues or opportunities come up down the line.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:03 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by MacMilligan View Post
I believe these rumors are very unlikely. ARM performance is light years behind i7 performance, we are talking about second gen Atom speeds. Sure, if Apple went "all out" on performance, they could get up to low end i3 speeds, but what's the point? The move from PPC to x86 made a lot of sense because it opened up more hardware options and better software development.

Moving to ARM has no benefit other than possibly reducing cost. However, the high end A15 chips cost around 30-40 dollars right now. If Apple went all out, that would surely raise the price into Intel territory for the type of performance Mac users expect.

Not only that, pretty much all software will not work. I just don't see this happening any time soon, especially with Intel making great strides in the low power field.
Think many ARM cores and you're then barking up the right tree.

It's not going to be a single ARM processor against Broadwell it's more likely to be 16 ARM cores versus Broadwell.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:14 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by linkgx1 View Post
I coulda sworn somewhere someone is working on a design that implements ARM and x86.
Lenovo has done 2 designs that feature such "an hybrid". The IdeaPad U1 and the ThinkPad X1 models have both x86 and ARM cpus.

The thing is though, switching between the 2 is not non-disruptive, heck, when running off the ARM processor, you're not even running your Windows OS anymore, just a stripped down Linux "instant-on" type OS (I think some version of Ubuntu).

You can't actively switch between CPUs, it's not like GPUs, it's a bit more involved in that you'd need to reload a different kernel built for another architecture and reload every bit of user space applications (basically, you'd need to reboot to the ARM OS and then reboot back to the x86 OS).

They could implement it like Sun did the SunPCi/SunPC cards. But again, those cards were just an entire PC on a Sbus/PCI card, and only shared the input devices with the Sun workstations, the OS weren't interconnected or sharing memory/hard drives or anything of the sort.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuckinfutz View Post
Think many ARM cores and you're then barking up the right tree.

It's not going to be a single ARM processor against Broadwell it's more likely to be 16 ARM cores versus Broadwell.
SMP doesn't scale well enough, and beyond a couple of cores becomes really hard to program for and take advantages of all the cores. The more cores, the harder the programmer has to work to seggregate code and run the instructions asynchronously and identify locking and non-locking portions.

16 ARM cores would run 16x faster than a single ARM core. Heck, depending on the app, there's even a point where adding more cores would change anything. It could be 2 cores, 4 cores, 8 cores, at some point, the programmer just runs out of things he can do asynchronously and just has to wait on threads to finish processing in order to go on to the next batch of data to crunch.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuckinfutz View Post
All these people on here asking for innovation. You're going to get and in some ways you may not want it
Change for the sake of change is just disruptive. If it brings nothing desireable to the user, only added margins to Apple, I will gladly walk away from Macs.

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Originally Posted by Antares View Post
Apple crushed the Windows competition in the Power PC daysÖ
Only if you closed your eyes to actual floating point/integer performance where the PowerPC and Intel stuff were pretty much on par for a while there... until IBM dropped the ball and Intel left them in the dust.

Apple users always had rose colored glasses for PPC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antares View Post
Rosetta worked great for me during the Intel transition. Iím sure the next transition, if it happens, would be just as good!
Rosetta worked great because by the time Apple switched away to Intel processors, the x86 stuff was so ahead of the PPC stuff that the penalty for emulation didn't make it slow enough to notice.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:15 PM   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuckinfutz View Post
Think many ARM cores and you're then barking up the right tree.

It's not going to be a single ARM processor against Broadwell it's more likely to be 16 ARM cores versus Broadwell.
Which means an entire redesign of all Mac software. I just don't see it in the stars. The institutional inertia seems too high to be worth the change simply for small cost reductions. We are talking about an entire rework of all Apple's software (Xcode, iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, on and on). Not only that it would disrupt and cause a rift in iOS developers, who would have to transfer.

Going to Intel made a lot of sense, but ARM doesn't have nearly the benefits that moving from PPC to Intel had.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:15 PM   #113
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Yawn.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RiscPC
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:23 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by MacMilligan View Post
Which means an entire redesign of all Mac software. I just don't see it in the stars. The institutional inertia seems too high to be worth the change simply for small cost reductions. We are talking about an entire rework of all Apple's software (Xcode, iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, on and on). Not only that it would disrupt and cause a rift in iOS developers, who would have to transfer.

Going to Intel made a lot of sense, but ARM doesn't have nearly the benefits that moving from PPC to Intel had.
No. It's more likely you don't want to see it. The software issue is a bogeyman. The PPC> Intel transition was near 7 years ago. Software design has changed a lot since then

Do you realize that when you're playing a video on an iDevice, you're using AV Foundation? When you play that same video on Mac running the latest OS you're using AV Foundation or Quicktime. When you play a game on your iDevice you're using GLkit ..when you're playing a game on your Mac in Mountain Lion. You're using GLkit.

You see where i'm going here? You haven't felt any pain but what Apple has done is laid the frameworks across both ARM and Intel. The developers aren't afraid of a transition. Hell having nothing but ARM makes their Xcode work even easier. One less checkbox to check.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:36 PM   #115
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interesting idea. More of the beginning of a downfall though, not sure its worth the cost of investing in a declining market.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:38 PM   #116
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Originally Posted by nuckinfutz View Post
No. It's more likely you don't want to see it. The software issue is a bogeyman. The PPC> Intel transition was near 7 years ago. Software design has changed a lot since then
How so ? Care to offer your insight as a software developer ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuckinfutz View Post
Do you realize that when you're playing a video on an iDevice, you're using AV Foundation? When you play that same video on Mac running the latest OS you're using AV Foundation or Quicktime. When you play a game on your iDevice you're using GLkit ..when you're playing a game on your Mac in Mountain Lion. You're using GLkit.
You know when you're running that GL game on iOS, you're using OpenGL ES, either 1.1 or 2.0 and when you're running on OS X, you're using OpenGL, either a context based on the 2.1 specification or the new 3.2 context available since Lion.

You do know spatial sound support in OpenAL ? Not available on iOS, only "Stereo" mode.

And you realise that those frameworks existed in the PPC days and didn't change in the Intel transition right ? Right ?

You are a software developer to be commenting on this stuff ?
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:42 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by nuckinfutz View Post
No. It's more likely you don't want to see it. The software issue is a bogeyman. The PPC> Intel transition was near 7 years ago. Software design has changed a lot since then

Do you realize that when you're playing a video on an iDevice, you're using AV Foundation? When you play that same video on Mac running the latest OS you're using AV Foundation or Quicktime. When you play a game on your iDevice you're using GLkit ..when you're playing a game on your Mac in Mountain Lion. You're using GLkit.

You see where i'm going here? You haven't felt any pain but what Apple has done is laid the frameworks across both ARM and Intel. The developers aren't afraid of a transition. Hell having nothing but ARM makes their Xcode work even easier. One less checkbox to check.
Ask yourself what the benefit is though. Sure ARM has lower tdp. A15 is around 1-2W (2-4 core), to get to 16 cores, we are talking 4-8W. New Haswell is set to hit 10W. Again, what's the point? A15 costs around $30-40, an A15 equivalent with 16 cores will cost more, possibly $70+. Haswell low-tdp will be likely stay the same price at around $80 for i5 and $120 for i7.

ARM will not touch i7 4-core speeds, which MacBook Pros use.

Then what happens with iMac and Mac Pro? Will they still support Intel in their desktops or are they going to also try to replace desktop i7's/Xeons with ARM? It is WAY too early to tell if ARM can be a real competitor in the desktop world. Unless you think Mac will split their laptop/desktop architecture, I just do not see this happening any time soon.

Then there is the problem with multithread scaling. You can not simply up the core count and the computer will run faster. At the end of the day IPC matters, just ask AMD. Again, ARM's fastest processors are only equivalent to Atom. There is no way this will happen anytime soon.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:42 PM   #118
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The software issue is a bogeyman.
Maybe for some, but not for everyone. If this transition pans out, it's obvious that Apple is more concerned with its consumer segment than it is with the installed base of professional users. Of course, the professional creatives have sensed this philosophical transition at Apple coming since the release of the originally gimped FCPX.

And even IF ARM and its partners are able to eventually create chips that match Intel's desktop class of processors in terms of performance, there are no guarantees that developers of professional applications will port their software to iOSX (or whatever they end up calling it).

If Apple really want to go down this road, they should just buy Adobe now and start rapid development of Creative Suite titles that will run well on upcoming performance-centric ARM chips.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:46 PM   #119
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Prognostications

An equally valid prediction:

Apple will no longer use Intel chips but will instead be using Jintel; the result of a hostile take over of Intel by Jet Magazine.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:50 PM   #120
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Originally Posted by Kyrra View Post
"hell-bent on performance", really?

They have been that way for a long while, but if they were paying attention, they know that Intel has been putting a decent amount of effort in their Atom chips (lower power offers). They not have chips that are low enough in power usage to run on a mobile phone (the Motorola RAZR i for those that are wondering). And Intel seems to have roadmaps to get power usage even lower on their devices moving forward.
Such a move could also be viewed as a way for Apple to differentiate their products/hardware from their (similar form-factor/looking) competitors, by offering additional Apple-only hardware-specific performance and OS/app features that simply cannot be (legally -- ahem) duplicated by the opposition -- right now, their battle with Android devices centers around look and feel issues -- case design as well as interface operations and other hardware-centric/driven features -- and how much functionality/performance can be crammed into ever decreasing physical spaces, while maintaining battery life and managing heat dissapation issues.

Tall order for anyone. And, can be a bit of a difficult sell at the retail level when much of this sort of tech is generally below the visual/zip-swish/blinky-light attention-getting level of perception of the non-tech literate buyer.

Intel could also offer Apple a way/license that allows Apple CPU design gurus to add their super-secret sauce to the Intel CPU hardware design that remains exclusively for Apple-only use, much in the same way that Apple now does with the ARM CPU design.

Or, Apple could outright purchase ARM -- lock, stock and barrel -- at one time, back a decade or so, Apple held an ownership position in ARM, IIRC, so not inconcievable that they might reconsider a future ownership position in ARM -- or outright buy Intel or AMD.

What if the Apple CPU design wizards cooked up some sort of licensed/legitimate X86/ARM chimera that embraces the best of both worlds, while maintaining backwards and forwards compatiblity with both CPUs?

The possibilities are endless . . . especially when one considers that Apple is sitting on a HUGE pile of cash with essentially zero corporate debt . . .


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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:51 PM   #121
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KnightWRX needs to write a book on this ****. I'm confused
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:52 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by Diversion View Post
Apple isn't this retarded people - this is all stemmed from the quarrels that Apple has with Intel.

If ANYTHING happens, Apple will design their own in-house x86/64 CPUs.. Much like AMD is to Intel.
And with as much success as AMD

Designing their own x86-64 CPUs would be madness.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:53 PM   #123
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I'd love to see Apple use AMD processors in some of their macs, if for no other reason then AMD's an underdog. I miss apple being the underdog.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:53 PM   #124
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Hey what's the Watson CPU based on?
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:57 PM   #125
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I'd love to see Apple use AMD processors in some of their macs, if for no other reason then AMD's an underdog. I miss apple being the underdog.
I'd rather Apple be the top dog rather than the underdog. There's nothing magical about paying top dollar for underperforming hardware, especially when other, better hardware is available.
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