Could this be the new chipset?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by thinkdesign, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. thinkdesign macrumors 6502

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    See "Marvell's Tri-Core ARM Chip Has Near PS3-Level Graphics" by Jon Stokes, last updated 9/25/2010, on www.arstechnica.com

    Small enough and capable enough, at least for the rumored 11.6" Air or not-Air notebook?
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

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    ARM isn't x86 thus it cannot run OS X. Someone correct me if I'm wrong
     
  3. mr0c macrumors regular

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  4. cleric macrumors 6502a

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    As far as we know osx is only x86 and x86-64. It also seems highly unlikely they did a port to ARM for one piece of hardware that has or will soon have x86-64 base processors available for it.
     
  5. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

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    OS X is only x86-32 and x86-64, it is not and never was x86-16,
    Also the MacBook Air has always used x86-64 processors.
     
  6. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

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    Remember the switch from PowerPC to Intel?

    When Apple switched to Intel chips, it came pretty much out of the blue. Jobs said something to the effect that they had been writing code to compile on both PowerPC and x86 for some time. I wouldn't be all that surprised if Apple had a build of OS X that will run on ARM in the lab right now.

    Ever since the A4 was introduced for the iPad, I've been thinking Apple is heading that way for Laptops as well. I don't think it is going to be soon, but as ARM solutions get more powerful and processing tasks migrate to the cloud, it seems like the two paths are going to cross and make an ARM based Mac more viable.
     
  7. costabunny macrumors 68020

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    Can't see it happening. One of the big events for the macbook range was the ability to run Windows also - with an ARM cpu set you would lose that.

    while it would be nice to be back to a different chipset; (the G5's were pretty darned good); the bootcamp ability is a big factor for lots of users.

    The only way ARM could be used in ultra portables would be iOS based or some derivitive (pro-iOS?).
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

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    I doubt ARM will match Intel in performance any time soon, maybe never. Other issue would be Windows as one of the main reasons Apple switched to Intel was the ability to run Windows as that's one of the reasons why Macs have got the market share they have now since people are now longer tied to OS X
     
  9. stordoff macrumors regular

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    I'd be surprised if they didn't have a full version of OS X that runs on ARM devices.
     
  10. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

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    I'm waiting for it to happen. Their rational for the switch to the x86-64 architecture was because they couldn't shoehorn the G5 into a 1" thick PowerBook, and Intel offered a better Performance per Watt ratio. Now, ARM seems to offer the best performance per watt ratio.

    If you remember when Apple first switched, they never intended for people to run Windows on their Macbook's. It was only after people were able to hack the firmware to incorporate BIOS emulation did Apple come out with an official version.

    So unless Apple decided that the running Windows on the 11" Macbook Air is a requirement, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see an ARM based Macbook Air, with a significantly longer battery life.
     
  11. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

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    Agreed that ARM may never match Intel in performance. But in performance per Watt? Maybe. Also, IMO, there is a trend toward putting processing power on the network or in the cloud, which means that future end user devices may not need the kind of horsepower that Intel processors will be able to provide.

    Apple is already laying the foundation to convince us that "User Experience" is more important than raw hardware specs. If 2 years from now I could get an ARM powered MacBook Air that 'feels' just as fast as my 2008 MBP does right now, but in a sub 3 pound package with all day battery life, I'd be all over it.

    Point taken on Windows. Virtualization would obviously be a lot harder to do (both to build the software and for the processor to run it) if the underlying Chip is not compatible, but someone would probably setup up and do it. Then there is always Remote Desktop. Windows compatibility certainly provides a lot of comfort for people buying their first Mac, but my personal experience has been that the more I use my Mac, the less I find I actually need Windows. When I do absolutely have to use Windows, Remote Desktop usually fits the bill. Even Virtualization is less and less necessary.
     
  12. thinkdesign thread starter macrumors 6502

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    thejadedmonkey: Discussion of any probability of something like this will go down 2 different paths, A.) If the commenter assumes the Air (or any Apple ultraportable) must continue and build on what they've got so far.... or B.) if one is open intellectually (and maybe emotionally, too) to the idea that the 11.6 notebook could be conceived as a fresh start, with a whole new bundle of tradeoffs in the design... in pursuit of a more limited set of functions. You clearly are on assumption track B, too....

    I can imagine a hit 11.6" Macbook. Plastic/carbon case, all have cellular modem, all have biggest possible SSD, the battery life is up at least a bit from Air, the price isn't aimed at being cheap but is aimed at certain group of highly mobile workers (for whom "mobility" means more than carrying it from couch to kitchen table with one hand, and more than unplugging it in my office to drive to your office where I can plug it in again). Wasn't there a compact Caddilac "Cimmaron" years ago with no available options, because everything was already 100% in it?

    If Apple's smart this time around, they'll learn from how they painted themselves into corners with arbitrary size and weight limitations on the Air & the Newton, and this time around not try to make any bragging point out of any significant reduction from the 3 lb. weight.

    If that mac-only 11.6" ARM & 3/4G model isn't one's cup of tea, they can keep the 13.3" Air going too... offer a choice.... 2 very different animals.
     
  13. drjsway macrumors 6502a

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    I have no doubt that Apple is planning to switch to custom designed ARM-based chips for their entire portable line. In fact, a switch to ARM may be the reason why 10.7 has been delayed.

    The reason the iPad has such amazing battery life is because they designed the chip to do exactly what they wanted for maximum performance per watt. Imagine how efficient a chip designed specifically for OSX would be.

    This puts Apple at a major advantage and allow their notebooks to be thinner, lighter, and with a battery life that no Wintel machine will be able to touch. The battery is still the bulkiest and heaviest component in a notebook.

    I don't know how fast this Marvel tri-core is, but even if it's slightly slower than the current core 2 duos, performance per watt will make up for it.
     
  14. elppa macrumors 68040

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    I don't understand why you reach this conclusion. Every design decision made for Mac OS X has to be architecture agnostic. The OS X Kernel runs on ARM. Apple can compile cocoa apps for ARM. I think it is extremely likely they could provide tools for exisiting Macintosh developers to recompile their apps to run on ARM architecture. The problems would be:
    [1] Losing bootcamp support. Apple could soften the blow by provining support for iOS apps instead.
    [2] It is unlikely Apple would be able to provide virtualisation (ala Rosetta) for applications which hadn't been recompiled for ARM.
    [3] Developers who don't use Xcode. I'm not sure there are many left. I can think of one quite big one though.
    [4] Having to support the Mac on two different platforms. Which may or may not be that much of a big deal.
     
  15. Perdification macrumors regular

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    Gosh, I guess apple might choose to use ARM if they came out with apple netbooks, cos people don't run virtualization on them, and that's one big problem solved.
     
  16. Hellhammer Moderator

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    That would be an iPad with a keyboard
     
  17. Scottsdale macrumors 601

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    I definitely agree that Apple has every intention to make the switch as soon as they can to get away from the evil empire known as Intel. Intel literally set its own demise in motion when it went well beyond acceptable by kicking out Nvidia over technicalities.

    I also think there are more problems than you have listed... and that's just the start of it. However, in the long run, I believe Apple can successfully transition due to the love of iOS products. With iOS encouraging users to buy Apple products, they will consider buying Macs too.

    I believe OS X has no innovation in its latest offering. I have to believe that Apple is planning a huge upgrade to OS X 10.7. However, the poster before you thinks 10.7 will be the ARM switch. I don't believe we're anywhere near that close to a switchover. Quite honestly, the technology isn't there yet. Apple will need a clear advantage in both performance and power efficiency to make the switch.

    Apple's user base is so strong and small enough that it can endure a switch. It's not like Microsoft with a billion users worldwide. People that love Apple products will put up with the hassles of none of their current apps working, whereas Microsoft doesn't have such an advantage. And that's really just the start of it.

    Does Apple even want to sell Macs anymore? I know their Macs have become less than 1/2 their revenue. In the last year, it has become obvious that OS X and Mac computers were not a focus in any way, shape, or form. The lack of innovation to Mac computers is a huge problem with the fan base. If Apple does want to take its computing business to the next level, it's going to need to drop its attitude and rediscover its passion for the Mac.

    I do believe it's correct for Apple to focus on the iOS products right now while they can gain a foothold in both the smartphone and tablet markets. However, Apple has the resources to focus on both iOS products and Macs, but it has failed to do so. The current Mac offering is horrific. There was zero innovation in the latest MBPs. The wait between updates was longer than ever before, and they brought NOTHING to the end users. Apple needs to use iOS to build its Mac brand not forget about its Macs forever and just focus on iOS products.

    We will see where Apple goes, but I hope that Apple sees the Mac as a bigger opportunity in the long run than the iOS products. Apple failed in the infant stages of the computing market with Macs, and it's obvious it will not make the same mistakes with iOS products. However, in the long run, I believe the Mac could own domination of the computing markets, and it just might be the iOS products that help Apple do that. With lower cost ARM SoCs, Apple can have true 12-hour battery life, faster Macs, and systems that blow us away.

    But, it has to REALLY WANT IT BAD... does Apple want the computing business anymore? Us computer users are a pain in the ass. We want it all now. iOS product buyers are amazed by what's free (the simple user interface and apps designed by developers willing to give them away). And there are subsidies to sell cell phones for $400 less giving the user more affordable access. Maybe a Verizon line of 4G/LTE cards in every new Mac would help with that?

    I do say ARM is the future, but I believe it's further away than we might guess. I don't believe it's something Apple will be willing to consider until the advantages far exceed the disadvantages. Right now, it's focused on iOS products. If we give them five years, the iOS dominance may allow it to focus on its Macs and switch with its next OS... meaning beyond OS X. I don't believe OS X 10.7 will be an ARM switchover.

    We should all hope for Intel CPUs in our next MBAs but only if they're paired with ATI/AMD GPUs. If Apple cannot get both in there, we're much better off with an AMD CPU/chipset/GPU combination. I wouldn't plan on the next MBAs having ARM SoC designs... and no Apple isn't going to deal with porting everything for one Mac that doesn't even sell well.
     
  18. Hellhammer Moderator

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    What were you waiting for then? Apple used the latest Intel and NVidia products and even added automatic graphics switching. Internally, it was the biggest update for MBP since the introduction of Core 2 Duos.

    All Macs (excluding MBA) have received an update quite lately. Mini got a redesign, iMac got an SSD, Magic Trackpad was revealed, 27" LED Cinema... Seriously, it sounds like you are/were waiting for something that does not exist, maybe never will.
     
  19. thinkdesign thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Hellhammer: What else could they possibly do?

    1. They could keep up with the Joneses and offer cellular modems as options.

    2. The keyboards could move towards catching up with the (IBM)Lenovo-Thinkpad.

    3. They could put a competently-designed hinge and a 2nd USB jack on the Air.

    4. They could design all the notebook cases with some consideration for grip-ability.

    5. They could offer matte screens as an option for all models, not just some.

    6. They could offer RAM upgrades for all models, not just some.
     
  20. Nichod macrumors regular

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    I seriously doubt that Apple went arm. If they put a different chipset into the new Air it will be one that they design. Like a more advanced version of what the IPAD has in it. But I doubt they'll use something other than INTEL.
     
  21. Scottsdale macrumors 601

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    No, there was zero INNOVATION. In the past, every update seemed to bring something innovative that no other computer had. Apple introduced unibody displays, new battery tech, glass trackpads, LED backlit displays, backlit keyboards, magsafe, or software feature, and etc. The point is that there was NOTHING NEW. Nothing innovative at all. Not one thing that led me to believe that Apple gave a damn about the update. It was a ho hum let's offer something new for the suckers to buy update... but no real reason to update.

    Apple could further the display tech like it has with the iPhones. A higher resolution display or retina display or IPS display, something to set apart the visual aspect of the Mac over other computers. Apple could introduce an LCD multitouch trackpad. Apple could introduce a new user interface capability like we have seen in their patent applications. Apple could have introduced something, a real reason to buy, that would have been an update and innovative. Instead, it was very clear that Apple has its entire staff working on the iOS products (please don't tell me that their whole staff isn't literally doing this as I am smart enough to know that). The point is there was a lack of focus on the Macs at all.

    These are simple ideas I have pointed out that I thought of. This is Apple, and it offered ZERO reason for an MBP user to update. ZERO! Don't say a Core i5 CPU, as that's all marketing crap. I want a real reason that makes sense for me to upgrade... and there are zero reasons with the newest round of Macs. Sure the Mac mini is pretty, but about as innovative as Apple has been in the last year was to downgrade the Mac mini's DVI port to a HDMI port allowing lower resolution capabilities.
     
  22. Hellhammer Moderator

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    Quite useless without resolution independence. BTW, Apple added option for hi res display in 15" MBP

    How would this be revolutionary? Although it would be nice, I can't see any real use for this. I bet more people have use for the auto-GPU switching or new iX CPUs than they would for LCD trackpad. It's a computer, not a Nintendo DS.

    False. Mini-DVI has maximum resolution of 1920x1200, just like the HDMI in Mini. In fact, Apple confirmed that Mini has HDMI 1.4 which can do up to 4096x2160 but they state 1920x1200 as maximum (may be limited by firmware, nobody has tested it yet)
     
  23. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    1) ExpressCard/34
    2) That eraser thing was awesome
    3) You are funny
    4) but then they aren't Sexy Sleek and Superb
    5) I'd like that (I like 13" but I need matte so I use the MB)
    6) I'd like that too.
    They didn't come up with LED backlit displays or backlit keyboard; LCD track just burns battery with little better use; better processor is always good; Mac Mini actually got an update with HDMI

    This ^
     
  24. Perdification macrumors regular

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    Yeah true, but if they had a fully functioning OS X on it instead of iOS then I guess that's their version of the netbook.
     
  25. Hellhammer Moderator

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