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Joe Dohn

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 6, 2020
227
352
Hello, everyone!

If you want an M1 Mac, would still like to run X86 applications at native speed, this "hack" makes it possible. It can be a bit costly, but at least it's portable enough:

1. Buy an Intel compute stick (or an equivalent usb stick computer).​
2. Buy a HDMI to USB capture card.​
3. Plug the Intel compute stick into your USB card.​
4. Plug the USB card into your Macbook or equivalent M1 device. You should be able to see output from the X86 computer into your Mac device. The X86 system will (obviously) run at native speed, since it's a x86 processor all in itself.​
5. You can run your X86 system straight into it or use RDP to integrate the X86 windows with Mac Windows, similar to how Parallels has its seamless mode. Or, if you absolutely need multiple x86 machines, you can run as many as the x86 processor will allow you to.​
 

Joe Dohn

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 6, 2020
227
352
I highly doubt if that is faster than userspace x86 emulation on M1.

It is, because you're using a X86 processor to run X86 applications. This means you are running a full-blown computer and using your M1 Mac as a display. The biggest difference is that full-blown computer is running on a USB stick.

The good thing about this strategy is that it's flexible. If the processor of your choosing is not fast enough, you can pick another portable device. For instance, GPD Win Max would be a better choice for people that would like to play games.
 

leman

macrumors P6
Oct 14, 2008
16,512
14,006
It is, because you're using a X86 processor to run X86 applications. This means you are running a full-blown computer and using your M1 Mac as a display. The biggest difference is that full-blown computer is running on a USB stick.

You are using a dead slow x86 processor to run X86 applications. The Atom CPUs inside those sticks are literally 10 times (or more) slower than the M1.

The good thing about this strategy is that it's flexible. If the processor of your choosing is not fast enough, you can pick another portable device. For instance, GPD Win Max would be a better choice for people that would like to play games.

Your suggestion literally boils down to "buy a Windows machine".
 

Mcdevidr

macrumors 6502a
Nov 27, 2013
728
284
Yea the compute stick performance is gonna be worse than translation or emulation on M1. Even the best compute stick.
 

Joe Dohn

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 6, 2020
227
352
You are using a dead slow x86 processor to run X86 applications. The Atom CPUs inside those sticks are literally 10 times (or more) slower than the M1.



Your suggestion literally boils down to "buy a Windows machine".
The twist is that those are portable enough they can be easily integrated with a laptop.

I also said that you can use something faster, like GPD, but it seems that was ignored.
 

Gnattu

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2020
997
1,353
The twist is that those are portable enough they can be easily integrated with a laptop.

I also said that you can use something faster, like GPD, but it seems that was ignored.
I somehow got your point.
I did something similar before, I used to carry a Raspberry Pi with my iPad to provide a complete Linux environment.
But compute stick or similar x86 devices are not like Raspberry Pi that much as they are:
  • Significantly more expensive
  • Using more power
  • Somehow weak for "Windows Use".
If you are talking about stronger machine like GPD, then the GPD itself is very expensive in the first place.
 

leman

macrumors P6
Oct 14, 2008
16,512
14,006
The twist is that those are portable enough they can be easily integrated with a laptop.

I also said that you can use something faster, like GPD, but it seems that was ignored.

Or you could just use a cloud windows machine. Cheaper, reasonable performance, less stuff to carry around.
 

Joe Dohn

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 6, 2020
227
352
Or you could just use a cloud windows machine. Cheaper, reasonable performance, less stuff to carry around.

This requires a good internet connection, which not everyone has. If your connection is anything worse than stellar, expect huge lag, or simply being let down. Plus, there's a recurrent cost too.


Gnauttu said:
If you are talking about stronger machine like GPD, then the GPD itself is very expensive in the first place.

I acknowledge that this is a somewhat pricey solution, but it's better than nothing.
 
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