Anybody else really looking forward to Apple ARM CPUs?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by collin_, May 21, 2019.

  1. collin_, May 21, 2019
    Last edited: May 21, 2019

    collin_ macrumors member

    collin_

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2018
    #1
    If Apple were to transition the MBP to its custom ARM CPUs, here are some potential (mostly overlapping) benefits we could see:
    • The end of thermal issues. Possibly even MBPs that could handle sustained maximum loads. (Also consider that less heat is good for the long-term health of the machine... and our laps).
    • Vastly more efficient Macs with much longer battery life (We would be going from 14nm chips to 7nm, or 5nm assuming they came out in late 2020. We would also likely see a mix of high performance and efficiency cores, as with Apple's A-series chips. Note that Macs would also probably age better due to the degradable batteries being cycled less quickly)
    • Enough GPU performance to make Macs viable as gaming computers (I know it doesn't make sense to buy a Mac for this, but it would be a nice bonus. Consider that the 2018 iPad Pro already matches the graphics performance of an Xbox One S)
    • More powerful Macs in general (The A12X processor already rivals or even exceeds the performance of the current Macbook Pros in many different areas. Imagine what Apple could do with more thermal headroom and a cooling system)
    • Regular updates (Unlike Intel, TMSC has been consistently shrinking its node size and refining its manufacturing process)
    • New features (Apple's custom silicon has enabled things like FaceID in iPhones and hardware acceleration for encryption in Macs. We would see more features like these over time)
    • (Possibly) Cheaper Macs (The cost to manufacture each Mac, especially the ones with custom GPUs, would drop dramatically. Of course, it's unrealistic to think that Apple would pass on all the savings to the consumer, but they would likely pass on at least some of it. Tim Cook did say recently that he hopes to reduce the price of the Macbook Air in the future. I think this comment was hinting at Apple custom silicon)
    Some have expressed concern that people who run certain specific programs (mainly virtual machines) could be in trouble. There would also obviously have to be some sort of macOS software to accommodate third-party applications, which would likely see slower performance for a while until they were updated to run on ARM (note: this sort of thing has already been done in Windows). It's impossible to say how much of a problem these things would be, because we don't yet know how Apple would deal with it. However, the applications everyone uses the most (e.g. Chrome) would probably update rapidly.

    All that to say, I think the (massive) potential benefits of an ARM Macbook Pro far outweigh the potential drawbacks, and would be interested to hear your opinions.
     
  2. GoodGuy12345 macrumors member

    GoodGuy12345

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    Nov 26, 2018
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    Canada
    #2
    I am soo siked for this! Finally my laptop wont start to burn my lap and I would have to quickly find a table to set it on. A GPU performance bump would definitely be a good start as some people have Macs as their main computers, and cramming a bit of gaming on the side would be excellent.
     
  3. mdnz macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Good points, I'd like to see it on a lower end Macbook at the start to let all the kinks show up.
     
  4. Stephen.R macrumors 65816

    Stephen.R

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    #4
    No. If apple go back to non-Intel cpus across the board I’ll need to find something else to run Linux VMs on, which while not the end of the world at a desk, isn’t practical if I’m out somewhere with the laptop.
     
  5. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

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    #5
    I am not, at least for the Mac desktops, but I see the appeal for laptops.
     
  6. LogicalApex macrumors 6502

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    Nov 13, 2015
    #6
    I'm not convinced we'll see this come to fruition honestly... Not unless computing changes dramatically first. Ditching Intel wouldn't be an easy choice for Apple as it isn't just about the CPU, but also about the package that Intel provides.

    For instance, Thunderbolt 3 is an Intel specification that is core to the portability of the MacBook...

    The last time Apple did an architecture swap the "Desktop" OS was the only option. With the entire industry moving mobile first if Apple were to force another transition they would effectively kill off their Mac business. ARM to X86 emulation isn't super performant either.... If it were you'd see tons of Windows laptops running ARM chips today and using Windows 10 on ARM which supports this emulation out of the box...

    What we'll likely see is more Apple custom ARM chips powering enhancements to the Mac like the T2 is doing...
     
  7. pshufd macrumors 6502a

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    New Hampshire
    #7
    Intel has various other technologies built into the CPU that you can read about on their CPU spec pages.

    It's also not clear that ARM can run as well as Intel on a high-power process. And hardware-optimized code won't run well or at all.
     
  8. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 601

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    #8
    Some people think that ARM processors are some kind of toy CPUs for gadgets. They haven’t been around long enough to know ARM began as a desktop CPU and was used in some of the earliest visual workstations like the Acorn Archimedes. Those were faster than Macs at the time.
     
  9. pshufd macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Some people should ask chip designers and electrical engineers about the odds of ARM chips displacing Intel chips.
     
  10. niji Contributor

    niji

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2003
    Location:
    tokyo
    #10
    hi

    changing a platforms...
    i willingly switched to OS X when it was released.
    it was painful. but worth it. there were just a lot of the world that didn't change or shift quickly.
    so the pain continued.
    for a couple of years.

    but, i am with you 100% on shifting to ARM for a MacBook Air level of laptop.
    however, i don't see it being able to replace desktop or MacBook Pro level laptops.

    apple has taken a an even longer strategic approach this time than it did when it shifted to Intel. which is great.
    its making it easy for developers to write code that can be more easily modified to run on both Intel and ARM.
    i would expect major announcements about this at WWDC in a few weeks.

    i want a MacBook Air using ARM, yesterday, now even!
    but actually when i say i want a ARMed Macbook Air, all that i am saying is that:
    (1) apple only needs to continue to develop further the apps currently that work on an iOS envionment iPad so that the feature set is more powerful, and
    (2) make iOS capable of handling a trackpad input on a Smart Keyboard.

    then i have my ARMed Macbook Air level machine that I can use to actually get work done it!!!

    the apps that apple has made available for use in macOS Mojave that try to mimic iOS apps found on an iPhone - like Stocks - are horrendous.
    but there are also some apps that apple has made really good choices to try to blend iOS and macOS features, such as Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.
    a lot a people would, however, quickly point out that apple has dumbed down these app's features during the past 3 years.

    apple: trackpad support on Smart Keyboards. now please.
     
  11. poorcody macrumors 6502a

    poorcody

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    Jul 23, 2013
    #11
    I like the potential of it for all the reasons you list in the opening post. I am nervous, though, because running Windows in a VM is a must for me. If it works through some sort of emulation that will be fine (I don't need it to be blazing fast), but if that becomes impossible, I probably will have to give up using a MacBook...
     
  12. retta283 macrumors 6502a

    retta283

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    #12
    I'm not. If devs have to recompile their Mac software for ARM, I can imagine many would just stop developing for the Mac. We'd be back to early-mid 2000s level software support. Can't have that. I think it would kill the Mac as a viable platform for many creatives.
     
  13. collin_ thread starter macrumors member

    collin_

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    Nov 19, 2018
    #13
    Interesting points. Would it not be possible for ARM Macs to have Thunderbolt 3?
     
  14. poorcody macrumors 6502a

    poorcody

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    #14
  15. cube Suspended

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    May 10, 2004
    #15
    I don't care as I don't expect to buy a Mac again.
     
  16. mavericks7913 macrumors 6502a

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    NY
    #16
    Intel CPU sucks and having tons of security issue. I dont mind if Apple makes ARM MacBook series. The only concern would be apps like Adobe.

    Oh yes, no more thunderbolt support. TB3 is opened but that doeant mean TB4 can be open for all.
     
  17. pshufd macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    One other aspect that most probably haven't experienced is the level of technical consulting that Intel provides to its customers.
     
  18. LogicalApex macrumors 6502

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    #18
  19. pshufd macrumors 6502a

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    New Hampshire
    #19
    The security issues are common to modern CPUs. The Spectre/Meltdown type vulnerabilities relate to speculative execution and I think that some of the recent issues relate to hyperthreading. One way to kill the hyperthreading involves turning it off. But nobody wants to give up the performance benefits of hyperthreading.
     
  20. cube Suspended

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    May 10, 2004
    #20
    Apple could just switch to Zen.
     
  21. mavericks7913 macrumors 6502a

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    NY
    #21
    Most security flaws are related to Intel. AMD is not having serious issues like Intel and dont need to sacrifice the performance.
    --- Post Merged, May 21, 2019 ---
    They just cant. What about TB3 or 4? There is no way to use those in the future.
     
  22. pshufd macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    This is untrue with Meltdown/Spectre. I have not studied AMD's chips with regard to the recent hyperthreading issues.
     
  23. cube Suspended

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    May 10, 2004
    #23
    They can use Intel TB chips.
     
  24. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #24
    It seems AMD is unaffected with this latest set of vulnerabilities
     
  25. mavericks7913 macrumors 6502a

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    May 17, 2014
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    NY
    #25
    Wrong. AMD Ryzen does not have Meltdown flaws due to different architecture design and Spectre is also not a serious issue and AMD will solve block Spectre with 3rd gen Ryzen soon.

    What about Intel? Not only Spectre and Meltdown, they also have Intel AMT security flaw(Only Intel), BrachScope, L1TF bug, Spoiler flaw, zombieload, MDS flaws, and more. There are also Spectre/Meltdown prime and Spectre NG but AMD will not have any issues after 3rd gen for 100%.
    --- Post Merged, May 21, 2019 ---
    AMD is not able to use it. How come? It's Intel's technology and without their permission, there is no way to use it. TB chip is not even available for non-Intel CPU.
     

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