Mac considering ARM for laptops/Desktops: Your thoughts PowerPC Owners

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by rjcalifornia, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    rjcalifornia

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    #1
    Now that apple is Considering moving away from the intel platform to ARM, what do you guys think about it, since you are still using powerpc like me and struggling with the lack of support like me?
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    skateny

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    #2
    I read that piece today. It seems to me to be more speculation than anything else. From what I know of their own chips, it will take some time before they can compete on the desktop with Intel. Frankly, with Apple doing much better in computer sales than Windows PCs, it doesn't seem like this is something that would happen very soon. My thoughts are that I hope my iBook remains current up until what isn't necessarily an inevitable switch.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    SuperJudge

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    #3
    Highly dubious. Highly, highly dubious. ARM is still a long way from running a full fledged general purpose OS at a speed that would be acceptable to an average end user. Furthermore, I would like to doubt that Apple would risk isolating their OS X user base any further than necessary. I get that their bread and butter is now the iDevice ecosystem, but they're still one of the biggest PC makers around.

    Besides, you need not struggle with a lack of support from Apple. The PowerPC Linux community has grown by leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. Lubuntu and MintPPC in particular are quite nice.
     
  4. Guest

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    #4
  5. macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

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    #5
    Absolutely stupid idea. ARM is like a kid toy compared to Intel chips. Apple jumped to Intel in the first place because they were FASTER and were going to get even better.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rjcalifornia

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    #6
    I know but, I was thinking may be the Macbook Air. Why? Simple. OEM went with Atom to create netbooks. Atom sucks, but it has a great power management. ARM sucks big time, but it has a fair advantage over intel in terms of power management.

    May be a new OS for Air will arise, a cut down version of Mac OS, not like iOS, but similar to Chrome OS in terms of 'light' which will be named 'City Lince' :cool:
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    SuperJudge

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    #7
    Subtle but crucial difference, though: the Atom is fully x86 compatible. An ARM proc is not and will not readily lend itself to emulation. Being able to have binary compatibility or the ability to emulate would be crucial in any processor architecture migration. If you don't have that, you'll alienate your user base.
     
  8. macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #8
    I've be expecting this for years. The MacBook Air is a perfect low-cost ARM powered PC.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rjcalifornia

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    #9
    Well, they were isolated with Power PC. And they could isolate again with ARM

    Now is more about battery duration rather than power. Look at Sandy after match. People were starving for energy and most were charging cellphones rather than laptops, since cellphones last longer.

    Look at us, we are happy with our Power PC because of the power management and durability. May be Apple could release an ARM laptop that matches the Macbook Air, that would be a game changer...

    ----------

    Why would you need to emulate Windows? (Copy & Paste User)

    Anyone will be excited to own a mac, even an ARM Macbook Air. Marketing will be like 'Air last for 12 hours. A regular PC only last 5 hours on a good day. Get a Mac'

    People need to check their email, facebook, twitter, instagram, connect iPhone, etc. The people who makes a product successful just need something that works and lasts. Not a powerhorse
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    SuperJudge

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    #10
    True, but one of the big selling points of Mac for a large number of users is the ability to run Windows on their Macs, too. That's a possibility that there could be an excellent ARM powered MacBook Air, but it's still a few years off, IMHO.

    You wouldn't need to emulate Windows. You'd need to emulate Mac programs compiled for x86 procs. That's what Rosetta did with PowerPC apps. The use case you're outlining there is the niche the iPad fills. I don't think Apple will want to cannibalize sales from other products of theirs.
     
  11. Guest

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    #11
    Most laptop users (especially MB Air users) want a machine with long battery life - I think a combination of a revamped OSX, new generation of ARM chip (remember this is still 2017 speculation, thats 5 years away!) would potentially give a very potent machine. If they sold a 'competitive' performance laptop (not necessarily the fastest) which gave many hours of battery life I'd certainly be interested.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    PowerPCMacMan

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    #12
    Optimistic that Apple will go from Intel to ARM.

    I really am all for the change over from Intel back to RISC. Whether it be a new improved PowerPC or even ARM, Those processors made us all look different and think different compared to those with Intel machines.

    I am not knocking the Intel Macs as I own one myself, currently typing this on my 6-core Mac Pro which could be my very LAST Intel Mac as most of my main every stuff I do on my trusty, yet powerful PowerBook G4 DLSD 1.67.

    The PowerPC macs had and still do have a soul and heart with all those who used to own one or continue to do so. The last model PowerMac G5's and PowerBook G4s, along with the mighty dualie 1.25/1.42 + processor upgrades keep the PowerPC torch ALIVE.

    As one on here said: If we can't use Leopard anymore, we have a growing support mechanism within the Linux/BSD community. PowerPC will never die so long as there are people who still use the machines.

    I am a proud owner of a G4 Pismo 550, PB G4 1.67, and soon to be G5 Quad + my Mac Pro. PowerPC LIVES!!

    I am being optimistic that Apple will dump Intel and finally develop a chip in house and call it THEIR OWN.

    Here's to the ARM and PowerPC - Brothers in the RISC family!
     
  13. Wildy, Nov 7, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2012

    macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I don't pretend to know much on the inner workings of various architectures, but you can't ignore ARM for much longer - it's definitely not the slow, cumbersome architecture that struggled to run seriously underpowered smartphones a few years ago. With companies now shifting server duties over to multicore ARM chips for the performance/watt ratio I think by 2017 ARM chips will be a serious contender. I'd expect to see another universal binary format introduced - I've never developed anything on ARM, so I'm not sure how hard it would be to port a piece of well-written code from x86 to ARM. But as there are many iOS developers already I'm sure there's plenty of expertise out there.

    From what I've read, endian-ness is not an issue, sizeof(int) and sizeof(long) are the same on x86 and ARM, and sizeof(void*) shouldn't be a problem because Apple will adopt 64-bit without a doubt. That's quite nice to know - but not being a real developer I can't say what other incompatibilities may rise.
     
  14. macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #14
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rjcalifornia

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    #15
    This is a game changer... Not because Apple will buy AMD chips, but because it proves that powerful yet power efficient ARM Processors can be made.

    Now onto the app compatibility. Well, Apple will figure out a way. That or Macbook Air (ARM) could have its own App Store. May be it will be a cut down Mac OS? Who knows? I would be buying a Macbook Air that can last up to 14 hours.
     
  16. macrumors 68000

    Nameci

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    #16
    The apps for iPad/iPod/iPhone were already developed to run on an ARM processor. They already had the OS, it is called iOS. They only need to configure the GUI to suite the MBA.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rjcalifornia

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    #17
    Indeed... I will buy it in no time haha :D
     
  18. macrumors 68000

    Nameci

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    #18
    It is just a matter of time. Those people that are against it, were either drinking the Intel kool-aid or are afraid of technological innovation and wanted to live under a cave. It doesn't that if it's small it is not powerful enough to do the task.

    If a single slow SoC can run a factory then why not a multi-core one?
     
  19. macrumors 6502

    SuperJudge

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    #19
    I think that's a gross oversimplification. iOS isn't a general purpose OS. You can't install apps that aren't in the App Store without jailbreaking other black magic. We're talking about an apples and oranges comparison.

    A move to ARM could be another salvo in the war against general computing. That's what I'm afraid of. Not the hardware, mind you, but the kind of software that goes on top of it. I would be sad to see Apple move entirely away from general purpose computing.
     
  20. macrumors 68000

    Nameci

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    #20
    Or general purpose computing would be the one to change and adapt to hardware tech.
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    seveej

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    #21
    Remember all those presentations Steve held, when Apple was switching to Intel, the guys had had OSX working on x86 from day one, but did not make it public until 2005 (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?annota...&feature=iv&src_vid=T1Wd8QycIw8&v=I51EvC0VZgE, about from 4:45 minutes). If Apple has had any sense, they already have a version of OSX running on ARM

    That said, I do not want you to switch my MBP's processor from i7 to ARM now, but in five years time, it might make a lot of sense. Everything points to that ARM is really charging forwards in terms of performance. I'm among the first to admit, that they have some ways to go, but if you consider the advance of ARM-power (as signified by the four generations of iPads), they've gone from a geekbench score of roughly 450 in Jan 2010 to roughly 1750 in autumn 2012) the development is highly positive. Extrapolate that five years hence, and those ARM's will be no sloths. Moreover, Intel seems at least to date, to be absolutely incapable of grasping that the world around them is changing.

    But in really significant terms (say +15 years), I do not expect the current computational paradigm to last. What I mean is that I not not expect the role and approach of the high-power CPU to be a lasting paradigm.

    We've seen some interesting trends in the last 15 years, first through the creation of dedicated GPU's on one hand and later the evolution of SoC (the integration of Intel's GPU's on the CPU die can be seen as a partial admission).

    I'm no CPU architect, but a long time enthusiast, and one interesting development has been the development of (what I call) power-on-demand - the fact that clock cycles (and power consumption) now start to really have the ability to react on the level of demand (this is no longer the same as SpeedStep). But still, most computer software is not designed to conserve clock cycles. If the software industry shows itself able to embrace this concept fully, and power-on-demand -techniques continue to advance, then the REAL and USEFUL computations-per-watt values of x86 chips will start edging closer to those presented in Intel roadmaps. That could have an impact.

    RGDS,
    Pekka
     
  22. orestes1984, Nov 7, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2012

    macrumors 65816

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    #22
    You guys are reading this wrong... It is just like the fact Steve Jobs said in 2007 that the iPhone ran on OS X. It's just like the fact Microsoft has been working on a version of Windows for Arm, now Windows RT which is running on the surface.

    ARM will not replace Intel yet, where people need heavy lifting they're going to want an Intel CPU. This is directed by Apple towards an ever expanding range of iOS products and maybe one day if they work out how to scale ARM up efficiently they might introduce an ARM product in the Book or Mini range.

    In the long term both iOS and Windows RT are hedges. They are full capable OSs, Microsoft went to great lengths to show the fact that it could run full scale versions of their apps on ARM, but that is not something for the now. Not until, or unless we see Windows RT really take off.

    I'm sorry, but the people who are getting scared of a "jump ship" approach now just don't have any clue what so ever about whats coming. We shall see how or whether the Surface and other Windows RT devices go, whether full fledged apps on a tablet OS work or don't work, whether the Windows APIs are a game changer or not then we will see whether Apple needs to respond with a beefed up iOS device.

    I've been watching this space for a while now, ARM is a serious contender, otherwise Apple and Microsoft wouldn't be there, but just what sort of contender it is we are yet to see. Microsoft has jumped another level with Windows RT but we will see what, or whether Apple has a response over the next few months and years.

    The fact that this has hit most consumers by surprise suggests Microsoft could finally have a real game changer in the mobile market after all these years and after losing the Windows CE/Windows Mobile market by failing to give consumers what they want and by staying with crappy stylus based PDA phones.

    I've been watching this space ever since Microsoft stated it wanted a full scale ARM OS because the honest to god truth is we all know how often Microsoft changes CPU archs and the fact it has never gone near anything else for its consumer desktop OSs. If Microsoft thinks this is real, I suggest you all start buying some Microsoft shares.

    Poo poo me all you like but the ball is rolling, this is not a 5 year plan.
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    SuperJudge

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    #23
    Maybe, but I just don't know. A lot of the changes in personal computing are moving away from general purpose computing and towards walled gardens that lock you in to a specific marketplace. I really don't see Apple allowing a general purpose OS on ARM.

    Maybe I'm paranoid or maybe this is my Linux background talking, but I just can't see this particular change from a vendor like Apple as something positive. I buy and use Apple products for a polished UI that I can then use however I want. I'm tepid on iOS because I can't futz with it much.

    I may be in the minority, but I'm telling you this much: general purpose computing is incredibly important to intellectual freedom as a whole.
     
  24. macrumors 68000

    Nameci

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    #24
    I fully understand and I am with you with it. But we do not belong to the target market most of the time.

    Basing on the processor speed growth on the iPad, it is just a matter of time.

    I really like a to have real OS not a an iOSified OS on my mac. But the things are going now with the softwares needs to be published and installed from the MAS, I would say it is just a matter of time that you have to JB your mac to install a third party app.
     
  25. macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #25
    excuse my ignorance but weren't the PPC chips based heavily on RISC? If so, wouldn't this move more or less be a move back to a similar architecture such as PPC?
     

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