Apple has some incredible chip designers on its team

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by saintforlife, Sep 21, 2015.

  1. saintforlife, Sep 21, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015

    saintforlife macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Damn...Apple's engineers sure know how to design a processor that is both powerful and efficient. When pretty much everybody is trying to put larger and larger batteries in their phones, Apple is going smaller, with both the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus have smaller batteries than their predecessors. Goes to show how much confidence Apple has in its efficient power sipping chip designs. But the A9 is no slouch. It is blows all Geekbench benchmarks out of the water, and seems to be faster than the iPad Air 2!

    Apple should seriously think about designing their own processors for their laptop and desktop lines as well; they will probably do a great job with that too. That way they can become even more vertically integrated. They should buy or lease a couple of semiconductor fabs while they are at it and make their own chips, so they don't have to be at the mercy of Samsung or TSMC's foundries. If anybody has the resources to do it, it is Apple.
     
  2. thesiren macrumors 6502a

    thesiren

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    #2
    Completely agree. This phone is going to be a beast. Can't even imagine the iPad pro's chip.
     
  3. jbjarko macrumors member

    jbjarko

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    #3
    I'm quite excited. This thing will be smooth as silk.

    Siren, iPad pro is going to be a game changer imo. Pure guts in a tablet form. Should be something to behold.
     
  4. clukas macrumors 6502a

    clukas

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    #4
    Personally I want apple to stay with Intel, mainly for bootcamp support and because Intel know how the design good desktop class processors. Apples chips have been good on mobile, but desktop should stay with Intel.
     
  5. se1000, Sep 22, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2015

    se1000 macrumors 6502

    se1000

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    #5
    I get the enthusiasm but it's a bit misguided.

    Apple does design the A-series processors but wouldn't be able to without the IP of ARM making it possible. This is no different than Qualcomm's Snapdragon line, and Samsung's Exynos processors. Apple is also not vertically integrated at all. They produce little to no technology components across their entire product line. Displays made by LG, memory by Samsung and SK Hynix, modem by Qualcomm, and as you mentioned the processors farmed out to Samsung and TSMC. BTW, the big surprise this year was Samsung beat Apple to a 14-nm FinFet processor by dumping the Snapdragon 810 and going with the in-house Exynos 7420 in the Galaxy S6. The new A9 will use the same 14nm FinFet process.

    Also, it's one thing to license out an instruction set, design a core, buy a graphics company, integrate that GPU and then have someone else fab a chip, it's ENTIRELY another to create an instruction set and stay a full generation to two generations ahead in the fab business like Intel does. I'm not saying it's impossible, but the reality is, Apple would be completely insane to try to fab a chip that would compete with Intel's processors. Let's not forget all those years Apple told everyone that PowerPC was better than x86 and stubbornly held onto IBM's chips and then after they switched completely did a 180. More realistically, in a few generations, we may see ARM architectures start to approach a performance profile that could begin the move away from x86-64 to ARM.
     
  6. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

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    #6
    As much as I can see where your going with your post samsungs 8 core chip for me is a shot in the dark. It's like the couldn't get what they wanted out of the 4 power cores in terms of efficientcy so they bunged in 4 slower efficient cores for good measure. We will see what happens when the a9x is benched.
     
  7. hutrebug macrumors regular

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    #7
    I would really want to see Apple make forays into the gaming industry. Maybe partner with Steam or Nintendo etc.

    Apple TV is okay but gaming on that is an afterthought, not the main focus.
     
  8. soupcan macrumors 6502a

    soupcan

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    #8
    Expect a slightly higher clocked quad-core with about 2500 points in single-core score and about 6000 in multi-core score. And 4GB of RAM.
     
  9. Wallabe, Sep 22, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2015

    Wallabe macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    For now. In a few years, they will announce their first Apple desktop chips. Faster, less heat, more power efficient, twice as expensive.

    Did I say twice as expensive? I meant thrice as expensive.

    I don't mind, because Intel will then have a real competitor, not some silly AMD. In the end, the consumers win.

    I already knew the moment when Apple bought the microprocessor company, they were planning to make their own CPU for their desktop. The mobile chips are just test cases, for the smaller, "lesser" important devices like iPhones and iPads, rather than serious computing power devices.

    I won't be surprised in a few years, you will see MacBooks running Apple's CPU. If it's good enough for an iPad Pro, it will be good enough in the MacBooks. I have the current 2015 Macbook. Some people are already talking about waiting for Skylake on this Macbook, hoping for a 20 or 30% improvement. I'll be waiting for one with Apple's chip. For what it is, the current 2015 Macbook should last several years before it really needs to be upgraded. By then, Apple may have gone through some updates using Intel's mobile CPU before they start announcing ones with their own.

    It's just another transition. PowerPC to IBM. IBM to Intel. Intel to Apple.
     
  10. t0mat0 macrumors 603

    t0mat0

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    #10
    Interesting that some of the head chip architects initially hired have gone on to other things - imagine it takes years from design to actual product. Wonder where Jim Keller is going after returning to AMD for a stint?
    Interesting to wTch what will happen to the SIM and the baseband soon enough.

    Guess we await Wednesday or so to get some more possible info from Anandtech or other embargoed reviews
     
  11. Wallabe macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Today, tech moves a lot faster. A good company is not going to sit on the same project for a decade. Research, innovate, produce, and move on. If you're just sitting there with your ideas but aren't turning it into real tangible items and produce a profit, you're just wasting resources.
     
  12. Evad3 macrumors member

    Evad3

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    #12
    Looking forward to the 6S

    Posted from iPhone 4 clocking a 300+ on Geekbench
     
  13. SoCalAppleWatch macrumors member

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    Apr 24, 2015
    #13
    These numbers are unbelievable. Apple is able to ultra-customize these chipsets because they can toss out wasted space like Flash player decoding. They only have to design these chips around ONE phone, while intel has to provide all the different abilities for 100 different android flagships. We're at the point of no return for these other guys IMO. Next year, at this rate, is going to set a benchmark that will not be caught. I hope we see another big revolution in hardware though. 3D touch is going to be fantastic and a HUGE change (we will use a friends phone without 3d touch and want to throw it away for being so slow!), but I hope we can be surprised again one day.
     
  14. ValO macrumors 65816

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    #14
    There will be an arm based macbook in the next 2 years, with arm based mac os/osx. It is just a matter of time. The ipad pro is one step to achieve that, by alliwing developpers to make mire powerfull apps.

    What about a 6 core a11x with 24 graphic cores and 12gb ram in 2 years?
    If apple keeps improving the power of their socs by 70% each year, in 2 or 3 years time, they will have surpassed intel.


    Great for apple' s margins, less independance on intel.
    And in the next 3 years, they will be a main player in the game consoles market.
     
  15. se1000 macrumors 6502

    se1000

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    #15
    Is there something technical that makes you say this?
     
  16. bigchrisfgb macrumors 65816

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    #16
    ARM do most of the work, Apple mostly just ask for size dimensions and performance.
     
  17. t0mat0 macrumors 603

    t0mat0

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    #17
  18. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

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    #18
    Samsungs past performance
     
  19. PTLove macrumors 6502

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    #19
    I would hate for Apple to use ARM in their main desktops and laptops. Im not looking for another architecture swap, especially when this one has little to no improvement over the current line anyway. All Applications need to be re-compiled, you lose Windows Bootcamp support, whats the advantage to the consumer?
     
  20. MikesGravity macrumors 6502

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    #20
    LOL yes it's just that simple
     
  21. Zwhaler macrumors 603

    Zwhaler

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    #21
    Personally, that's not a very strong argument for the consumer as the iPhone 6 wasn't known for spectacular battery life to begin with. Thus, a larger (let alone the same size) battery would have helped. Samsung also shrunk batteries on their two latest phones much to the dismay of many consumers.
     
  22. bchreng macrumors 6502a

    bchreng

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    #22
    It might be better to have Intel, Samsung and/or TSMC print their CPUs for them. Those factories cost a lot and probably require another huge investment when moving to a smaller print process.
     
  23. se1000 macrumors 6502

    se1000

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    #23
    So you're guessing
     
  24. t0mat0, Sep 23, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015

    t0mat0 macrumors 603

    t0mat0

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    #24
    Looking at how Apple's done some pretty good behind the scenes relationship building prior to product launches recently, as well as openly promoting relationships, capabilities of products (here's what IBM, Adobe, EA can do etc) - I wouldn't put it past Apple.

    In hindsight, some trends can be pretty obvious for Apple tech - so if you look at where things are going you can get a glimpse of how things could be. Apple TV is Apple dipping there toes into the water in comparison to the 2016, 2017 models i'd imagine.

    A quote from WWDC session on Metal: "So with Metal we're able to dramatically reduce the GPU API overhead and effectively make the GPU the bottleneck"

    Looking at the specs of the iPhone 6s's A8 (as the iPad Pro hasn't been benchmarked yet, though we expect it to be even faster) - whilst the CPU has started going into an S curve, so the rate of improvement for CPU is slowing (as expected), for the GPU, it hasn't hit that yet. And the A8 is in a decent position.

    I'd see Apple lauding EA as showing that they can get Frostbite Go running on an iPhone as smoke to a possible relationship - if they want more complex games on the Apple TV and the iPhone, iPad, they need help integrating and improving on the tech that will work with the game developer's tools.
    One example - integrating App Thinning's On Demand Resources to work efficiently with Unreal etc.
    A possible demonstration of intent? Maybe - Apple did this with showing how Adobe could utilise Metal - and from what Apple's done to get Metal up and running - it's a serious thing for them, that's underpinning more and more of their software.

    Whilst Battlefield 4 might be old or reduced graphics in comparison to the current generation of consoles, that level of graphics ain't bad to start with - it's higher than many non-console users have used much.

    So not sure about partnering (Steam has it's own venture, and is known for it's own brand of issues with it's store! Nintendo has hinted they don't want to do mobile versions of their current titles, and haven't been forthcoming with doing what could be a great partnership of having Nintendo IP on iOS).

    Maybe Skylake will help Apple improve it's gaming - Metal, the possible use of eDRAM Skylake CPUs for Macs, the demonstration in the Retina iMac and iPad Pro of custom screen refresh, timing controller etc. If Apple doesnt screw up Thunderbolt 3's capability to have external graphics.... Macs might get more gaming capable, which can only help iOS gaming too.

    Would laugh if Jim Keller's done a Stephen Elop and comes back to Apple. I guess we see as to whether the AMD GPU relationship progresses once new Macs come out (if they _have_ dGPU :/ )

    Are there any big name chip designers/site managers/lead architects at Apple that we know of? Some folks must be heading up the GPU Design Center at Orlando. Seem a few jobs going in the field (https://www.linkedin.com/job/gpu-apple-jobs/?trk=jserp_search_button_execute)

    Papermaster left to AMD
    Jim Keller left to AMD (now left AMD this month)
    Raja Koduri left to AMD
    Drebin left to AMD
    There's almost a trend here lol.
     

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  25. macduke macrumors 604

    macduke

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    #25
    Apple claims on their site 1.8x CPU increase and nearly double the GPU increase. So if that's correct, we should end up with Geekbench scores around 3250 for single core and 8150 for multi-core. That would be absolutely insane when you consider that multicore score would be a bit faster than the fastest early 2015 13" MBP and on-par with 2011 quad-core 21" iMacs and 2009 quad-core Mac Pros! The single core score would be even more impressive, clocking in around the speed of late 2012 27" iMacs and the mid-2012 rMBP, the former I use for work and the latter I use at home! I don't know if the real world scores will translate so exactly. I think the quoted speed increases for the iPhone 6S didn't directly transfer to Geekbench but were close. If it weren't for the limited RAM the iPad Pro and the lack of Pro apps, it might be able to compete.
     

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