Apple Developing ARM-Based Mac Chip to Handle Low-Power Functions Alongside Intel Processors


falainber

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Mar 16, 2016
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This is awesome news, dual CPU machines with x86_64+ARM that sounds amazing! I can't wait for this to be true. I love power nap already, but I SOOooo.... want more out of it! NICE NICE NICE

If they really wanted to use a second lower power CP, it would probably make much more sense to use the second Intel processor (a lower power one). This way they would be able to run the same software on both.
 

thisisdallas

macrumors regular
Sep 26, 2012
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Cupertino, CA
MacOS doesn't have as large of a software ecosystem as, say, Windows so Apple can afford to risk switching CPU architecture away from x86-64 to ARM. Wouldn't be surprised if Apple follow Google Chromebook that's architecture agnostic and can run on x86-64 or ARM.
Someone might've already said it, but I'm calling BS to the whole "macOS doesn't have as large of a software ecosystem as windows" thing. I've always found really nice apps for literally anything I can think of without issue. Whether it's system utility, video/audio production, social/chat/email, development, or design, there's always mountains of options to choose from. The same can't be said when I've tried finding Windows alternatives to essential apps that I have on my Mac.

No point arguing about gaming though because Mac isn't even remotely close to Windows on that front.
 

Tycho24

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Aug 29, 2014
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Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper to buy Intel?
God, I hate all these comments with such a passion.

Like any problem.... blindly throw money!
It shows what incredible lack of fundamental understanding of tech these commentators have.

In this case.... the main issue w/ Intel is chip delays. Would Apple owning them magically fix this?? No.
So, why again would Apple buy Intel?? What an insane idea.
 
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Labeno

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Jul 21, 2008
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Sounds like a very smart approach.
I'm all for ARM chips, but Apple stated the Intel uses very little power in nap mode, so the ARM chip isn't really adding anything in that aspect. They should address the much much bigger issue, that when not in nap mode the 10-hour battery drains in much less than 10 hours when using pro level software, and remember, the the MB Pro is named as a pro machine. For those who say you can get 10 hours when reading emails and browsing the web, you can do that on a MB Air or just a plain MB. This is a MB Pro... where's the 10 hours when using pro level applications?
 
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sudo1996

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Wait, how does Power Nap run on an ARM? If it's checking emails and stuff, that means parts of the OS are running on it. Surely an ARM CPU can't share the system RAM with the main Intel CPU, right? Is the ARM chip running an entirely separate OS and RAM that just share the disk? This sounds pretty cool, however they're doing it.
 

amegicfox

macrumors 6502
Apr 19, 2016
454
908
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be prepared for a 30 minute battery life and carrying lots of power bricks just to be able to send an email

between that stupid LED bar and all these other processors,
there will be no juice left to do any actual work
 
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xflashx

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Aug 12, 2016
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I believe people are fooled by benchmarks nowadays. To be precise, different architectures are hardly comparable.
A CISC processor (x86) is much more powerful than a RISC processor(ARM).

Im not sure what this means for the future, but I as a data scientist for example will need a powerful system which is able to process a lot of big data in short time. Honestly I prefer macOS over other OS, but I also need to run smaller non-commercial cross-Platform tools and i don't see the developers rewriting their tools for an ARM processor.
 

nutjob

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Feb 7, 2010
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If they really wanted to use a second lower power CP, it would probably make much more sense to use the second Intel processor (a lower power one). This way they would be able to run the same software on both.
The problem is Intel processors are power hogs, they just can't compete at very low power usage.

The move to 100% ARM is inevitable, it's only a matter of time.
 
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bice

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Aug 22, 2015
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A few more iterations of the "Pro" concept and removal of features from the desktop OS I am sure all Macs will be able to run on architecture with inferior capacity.
 

nutjob

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Feb 7, 2010
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I believe people are fooled by benchmarks nowadays. To be precise, different architectures are hardly comparable.
A CISC processor (x86) is much more powerful than a RISC processor(ARM).

Im not sure what this means for the future, but I as a data scientist for example will need a powerful system which is able to process a lot of big data in short time. Honestly I prefer macOS over other OS, but I also need to run smaller non-commercial cross-Platform tools and i don't see the developers rewriting their tools for an ARM processor.
CISC isn't more powerful, it's just less efficient. You should google it. You're missing the point entirely. As "a data scientist" you should know that data processing at scale is done in parallel and in that scenario using numerous, less powerful, processors always outperforms faster single processors. The key metric today is performance per watt, since power usage limits how processor dense your design is and the total throughput of the machine.
 
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xflashx

macrumors regular
Aug 12, 2016
153
496
CISC isn't more powerful, it's just less efficient. You should google it. You're missing the point entirely. As "a data scientist" you should know that data processing at scale is done in parallel and in that scenario using numerous, less powerful, processors always outperforms faster single processors. The key metric today is performance per watt, since power usage limits how processor dense your design is and the total throughput of the machine.
True, of course, if I let run analyses on servers. If I'm working on my local pc (main tool R) I need a powerful CPU due to a very bad mutlicore parallel computing support of R (packages are almost useless to implement parallel computing due to the language itself R is written in).
Let's see what the future brings, I'm excited
 

Marx55

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Jan 1, 2005
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Intel x86 inside Mac is a must for true full compatibility with the rest of the world (read Windows). Switch Mac to ARM and we will switch to Windows. Sadly. A shame for all.
 
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ReneR

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Jun 18, 2008
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Intel x86 inside Mac is a must for true full compatibility with the rest of the world (read Windows). Switch Mac to ARM and we will switch to Windows. Sadly. A shame for all.
For the rest of the world it does not matter at all what CPU macOS is running on.

The only thing affected would be actually running Windows on a Mac.
 
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Steve121178

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Apr 13, 2010
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Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper to buy Intel?
Yes of course, but Apple wants control over their hardware. Right now they are in Intel's hands when it comes to releases. Intel have all the tech in the world at their disposal which is why their chips are so good. I'm sceptical if Apple can create chips that are as good as what Intel can offer. So I'd be disappointed if Apple reveal a non-Intel based MacBook in a few years time that is only as powerful as an Intel powered MacBook from 5 years ago.

I'm sure it can be done though but can some of us run multiple VM's on an ARM CPU in a few years from now? Or will Apple make machines with only the consumer in mind? Or will Apple continue to produce Intel MacBooks and have a separate product line for ARM-only machines? Lots to think about.
 

ReneR

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Jun 18, 2008
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Good point, but what incentive would Intel have to license that to Apple, in turn assisting Apple in moving away from Intel processors?
Apple could also simply bring their own external bus to the market. It is not like they would not have the courage doing so. They could name it Applewire, Teslaport, or heck: Firewire ;-)

Or, by then, they could have the courage to nix such external high speed extension ports for good (because it is legacy and who uses it right?) and only have video out ;-) - if at all, …
 

Steve121178

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Intel x86 inside Mac is a must for true full compatibility with the rest of the world (read Windows). Switch Mac to ARM and we will switch to Windows. Sadly. A shame for all.
Windows can already run on ARM CPU's in a preview version.

I still don't understand why some people buy a Mac if they need to run Windows. And it makes no sense at all if your primary need is to run Windows. Just buy a Windows PC!
 
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gnasher729

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Nov 25, 2005
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That's pretty impressive.
Windows has been running on Macs with either 68k or PowerPC processors 20 years ago.
[doublepost=1486027068][/doublepost]
I still don't understand why some people buy a Mac if they need to run Windows. And it makes no sense at all if your primary need is to run Windows. Just buy a Windows PC!
I have been at places where having a MacBook was kind of a status symbol (and they _are_ nicer than mast Windows laptop), and if the company has a Microsoft site license, they can install Windows etc. for free. So anybody who _needed_ windows and had a little bit of say in the company would make sure they had a MacBook.

"I have a Mac and you underling have an old Toshiba laptop" is an _excellent_ reason for some people.
[doublepost=1486027610][/doublepost]
That is a harsh thing to say, ARM processors are powerful and power efficient. With the focus on Swift, and more native written applications, ARM may very well be a contender. It is a wait and see game, why let fear overcome you now as we are not even there yet.
Apple said a while ago that the most powerful ARM processors in iOS devices are more powerful than the Intel processors in 90% of all laptops sold. So a MacBook with an ARM processor would actually be perfectly fine for many (but not all) Mac users.
 

lowkey

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Jul 16, 2002
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Or you know, instead of devoting more resources to this project, they could just put a *GASP* normal-sized battery in their laptops (and make them slightly thicker) and use those resources to update the Mac Pro, Mini, etc...
yeah, thats what we want. thicker heavier computers rather than new advancements in technology :sheesh:
 

lowkey

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2002
530
402
australia
Windows can already run on ARM CPU's in a preview version.

I still don't understand why some people buy a Mac if they need to run Windows. And it makes no sense at all if your primary need is to run Windows. Just buy a Windows PC!
Well here in my shared office of Architects, Designers and Marketing/Communications people there are 10 27" iMacs. 7 run windows. 3 run Mac.
Why? They look good and are well designed with high quality fit and finish. They are not Plastic. They are easy to manage. The screens are amazing. They take up very little desk space for their screen size and don't take up any floor space below the desk. And they are powerful enough for what everyone does here [Revit, Autocad, Adobe Suite, MS Suite]
 

cicalinarrot

macrumors regular
Apr 28, 2015
146
494
Or you know, instead of devoting more resources to this project, they could just put a *GASP* normal-sized battery in their laptops (and make them slightly thicker) and use those resources to update the Mac Pro, Mini, etc...
I just think this is what Apple does and not the PC with a better OS that you wish they made.