Apple B8 chip?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ABCDEF-Hex, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. ABCDEF-Hex macrumors 6502

    ABCDEF-Hex

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  2. Crosscreek macrumors 68030

    Crosscreek

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    #2
    The problem with running ARM in a Mini is there is no way to bootcamp Windows or any other OS.

    Windows bootcamp is a major selling point for Mac's.
     
  3. scottsjack macrumors 68000

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    #3
    An excellent point. Since I sold my Mac Pro my mini is my only Windows installation. Also why would someone buy an ARM mini and then have to replace virtually all of their software?

    Photoshop, when you could buy it as a stand-alone, and MS Office, much preferred as a stand-alone, cost more than a typical mini. There may be a future for high-powered ARM processors in Macs but it will require somewhat of an overlap and transition from Intel processors.

    If Microsoft keeps doing just about everything wrong there could be a future for ARM Macs. On the other hand if Microsoft can get it together PCs could impact Mac sales.
     
  4. farewelwilliams macrumors 65816

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    #4
    is that still true today?
    Windows bootcamp used to be my main reason for buying a Mac, but I no longer feel the same. I ended up buying a PC just for gaming because there's no way I'm going to be buying a Mac Pro for games only.
     
  5. westrock2000 macrumors 6502

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    #5
    I think several years ago that ARM was looking attractive for PC's because of the low power usage and lower cost. The chips are not as powerful as x86 processors, but the low power leads to smaller form factors and better battery life.

    But things are different now. Intel finally saw the pressure from ARM a couple years ago and has started putting out some VERY power efficient x86 processors. Current "Bay Trail" line are down to about 2 watts in some versions. And the next generation "Brasswell" will be about 1/4 the physical size and will use even less power.

    Intel saw the writing on the wall and when it comes to money, no one can come close to what they have available to them. It is very attractive to developers for Intel to offer a fully compatible x86 processor that does not require any rework of code on the developers part. Going to ARM introduces a lot of complications and the only thing you really gain is lower power usage and possibly slightly lower cost due to licensing. Intel has gotten very aggressive when it comes to costs with these low power CPU's. The flood of low cost Chromebooks switching to x86 instead of ARM is a result of this.

    I've got a Chromebook that runs one of these Intel processors and while I can't say that Chrome is a great OS, I can say that little notebook is extremely snappy and the battery life is fantastic.
     
  6. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    http://ark.intel.com/products/codename/54859/Avoton

    I personally would like to see a mini based on these, however can't see it as no integrated graphics, but wouldn't have an issue with x86 compatibility as are Atom chips so still x86.

    Bootcamp is still an issue for switchers, which is supposed to be one of the area's for the mini in enticing people over from PC's. You can go Mac and if need an application that still needs Windows then can still Bootcamp or Parallels/Fusion to get that App on your Mac. It is there as a safety net for you.

    Isn't an issue for me, I have a separate PC for gaming/anything need Windows for, however I have already switched ( 5 years ago ) so Bootcamp isn't an issue for me, but for people looking at switching could be more of an issue.
     
  7. leman macrumors 604

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    #7
    Apple would really need to pull of a miracle to catch up with the performance of current Intel CPUs. The GPU situation is even worse.

    I could see them introducing a new low-performance home computer variant though.
     
  8. Crosscreek macrumors 68030

    Crosscreek

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    #8
    It isn't just gaming that is a problem.

    As an engineer, most of my engineering programs are Windows based applications.

    I prefer Macs over PCs because of the quality of build and hardware, no viruses and stability and I know many engineers that would agree with that.
     
  9. westrock2000 macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Especially with Iris Pro that has on-die high speed memory for the graphics. It's getting to be nearly to the same performance as mid-range discreet graphics cards. It's impressive for a company that was ridiculed for it's graphics chips just 6-8 years ago.

    As I do so little gaming anymore, I finally pulled out my big dual slot video card out of my PC and use the Intel built-in graphics (Ivy Bridge i7) and have zero performance issues running at 1920x1200. Saves the noise and heat of having a discreet video card.

    EDIT: It would be nice if consumers could get a chip that Iris Pro in it. The 4770R would be a really nice chip if you could actually buy it on it's own.
     
  10. Zellio macrumors 65816

    Zellio

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    #10
  11. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    #11
    It's not a "true/not true" question: its a case of how many customers require bootcamp/parallels/vmware as an essential feature. I'm sure that number is rapidly declining, since we seem to have passed "peak Windows".

    The Mac games scene is now far better than it was (especially with support from Steam) and while those games might not all transfer to ARM, Apple now has a major gaming platform in iOS, which might well run on an ARM-based Mac. Plus, as you say, Mac hardware is already unattractive for serious gaming.

    Then, at least outside the corporate realm, the days where you couldn't get far on the web without hitting an Internet Explorer-only site are rapidly receding.

    Mac support on corporate networks is also vastly better than in the past - for various reasons such as the demise of Novell, better OS X support for Windows file sharing/email, the move to web-based services and the demand for iOS and Mac laptop support.

    So, lots of the "mass market" reasons for needing Windows on the Mac have greatly diminished. That really leaves people who need to run specific bits of substantial windows-only software, or developers needing to test on Windows/IE.

    I think a conceivable medium-term possibility is a Mac range where "pro" means "Intel" and "Air" means ARM. That would probably make a nice, clear marketing distinction, with the ability to run bootcamp/virtualisation, or heavy-duty third party software like Adobe CS, versus size, weight, heat and battery life as the big difference.
     
  12. Moonjumper macrumors 68000

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    #12
    ARM processors have mobile performance because the current iterations are built for mobile devices. Is there anything inherent in the design that limits performance? ARM did start off as a desktop processor, it could return.

    Intel seems to delay every new generation, seemingly because of a lack of demand from the manufacturers. An ARM switch would free Apple from that, and allow custom designs to differentiate their products.

    So many companies have iOS software, therefore the knowledge is in place for an ARM switch, and lots of codebases ready. There is even an ARM version of Microsoft Office there.

    If Apple (and I am saying "if", rather than they will do it) release ARM for OS X, then it will be with a machine at least as powerful as what it replaces. I would be surprised if Apple hasn't been testing this as a possible option, and started some time ago.

    TL;DR I believe there is the potential for it to happen, but the only sign it is imminent was Apple describing the A7 processor as desktop class.
     
  13. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    There has already been evidence of Macbook Airs with ARM processors in them previously. Makes sense and there was OSX for Intel years before was announced that moving from PowerPC architecture.

    I guess Apple need to determine if support 3 systems

    OSX on Intel
    OSX on ARM
    iOS on ARM

    As Microsoft have found out with Win 8, then Tablets/Phones etc use a differnt UI to Desktops/Laptops
     
  14. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #14
    This conversation has been had elsewhere for a while now.

    My opinion is that the ARM processor is just not up to Intel's CPUs. I think it lacks the ability in handling multithreaded tasks as efficiently as Intel's and the GPU while pretty decent on an iPhone/IPad will be quite inferior.

    I for one, would avoid any Mac that uses an ARM processor, additionally if Apple goes all in, then I'd not buy a mac next time.
     
  15. Crosscreek macrumors 68030

    Crosscreek

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    #15
    My desktop will remain an X86 chip regardless of who I have to buy it from until I see ARM compete or surpass that architecture and show an advantage over it.
     
  16. scottsjack macrumors 68000

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    #16
    I fully agree. Remember though that a lot of Apple customers want the apple experience and the coolness as well as being part of an enlightened world.

    An Air would never make it on my desk. Neither would the new cheapie iMac. They are too weak, too inflexible and too not user-configurable but I'll bet that a lot of people own them, love them and find them perfect for their required tasks.

    Apple does not seem to be about making really powerful computers. Rather they excel at making great computers for that ambiguous group often referred to as "most people". Powerful ARM processors would fit many Apple customers' usage.
     
  17. rctlr macrumors 6502a

    rctlr

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    #17
    Remember they say a while ago that they we porting the OS to intel for years before actually did it. I would not be surprised with the current state of ARM chips they are looking into porting it back.

    It will be a while though, a couple of years if Intel don't pull their finger out.
     
  18. Traverse macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #18
    I agree, but I really doubt Apple would do that. It would ruin their line. I could see an ARM MacBook as a niche product and as the market became accustomed to it, slowly adding more to the lineup. If an entire ARM transition occurred I don't think it would be for at least 5 years. I could be wrong, but that would just be a foolish move.
     
  19. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    #19
    I would be very surprised if they don't already have OS X, iLife & iWork running on ARM in a lab somewhere - just as they had it running on Intel for years before they switched chips. That doesn't mean its ready to use, or even that it will ever be released, but it would seem strange if they haven't explored the possibility. Its not like they don't already have plenty of ARM experience, and some of the necessary work would already have been done for iOS.

    They've probably got iOS running on Intel, too... Always hedge your bets.

    Porting OS X and Apple's own software is not going to be the sticking point for any hypothetical ARM-based Mac, nor is persuading a critical mass of software developers to hit recompile and make ARM binary versions of their software.
     
  20. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #20
    There was a huge difference back then. Motorola was unable to produce newer faster PPC chips, they had trouble fulfilling Apple's orders and the G3/G4 seemed like a dead end at the time.

    Just when they were about to switch to intel, IBM swooped in and promised them a revised G4 (calling it a G5) could be done and it will run at 3GHz. IBM failed to deliver on any mobile chips, failed to provide the inventory needed and failed to achieve the promised 3GHz speed. Apple's only choice at the time was to switch to intel.
     
  21. Zellio macrumors 65816

    Zellio

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    #21
    The biggest problem with an arm for desktop machine is that would only be good for osx/windows beginners who only surf and check email. No programs from windows or osx will work.
     
  22. crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    I'm still trying to figure out just what advantage switching to ARM chips would give us since this crazy story went global.
     
  23. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    main thing would be lower power draw/less heat output from CPU allowing the mini to get thinner ( if that is important to you ) and need less power ( less important on a desktop )

    for macbook airs then would allow thinner and lower power draw allowing longer battery life

    In theory as well then the ARM is also available at a lower price and available customise to your specific needs which is why Apple can produce there A series, and this allows you to differentiate from other suppliers.

    With x86 then going to be stuck with what Intel prepared to supply whether in there Core, or Atom series processors.

    In terms of the user then not sure how many of the iOS apps are actually useful on a desktop/laptop as they have all been designed for iPhone/iPad access with touchscreen whereas Laptops/Desktops are still mostly Keyboard/Mouse and not sure that is going to change in the near future.

    Will Apple really want to maintain two seperate Desktop Architectures as can't see ARM scaling to fit the Mac Pro market for a while
     
  24. crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Which is exactly why I'm confused by this whole switching to ARM story/rumour.

    ARM is fine for phones, tablets and lightweight devices, it's more than enough to power a web browser, Facebook app and tons of lightweight games - that's pretty much what I use my iPad for.

    It can't however, at this point in time, be a replacement for x86 processors in the professional fields or capable of pushing advanced 3D games - and that's what I really need from a desktop computer, real horsepower.
     
  25. mtneer macrumors 68020

    mtneer

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    #25
    Acknowledging that you are expressing your opinion here.. But is there a reasonable metric to compare ARM's best to Intel's best? Everyone has a subjective opinion to say that ARM is not up to par with Intel, but on what metric and by what magnitude? It would be great if someone would invent a metric that would enable a lay person to compare ARM's best to Intel's Baytrail, or Core or Xeon's.
     

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