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mindquest

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Original poster
Oct 25, 2009
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No ones know this but just putting it out there. With an iMac 27 you can choose i5 vs i9. Do you think when the iMac 27" ARM does come out it will have an option for more than one SOC processor type?

My gut tells me gen 1 will have one choice for a processor. Maybe gen 2 or gen 3 will have upgrade options.

Thoughts!
 

cmaier

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Jul 25, 2007
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I think that there won’t be processor choices to start with. Maybe a couple clock speed choices. No way to know for sure, of course. But Apple may be inclined to think of things the way they think of iphones - you have pro and regular versions, and can choose storage, but not cpus.
 
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glindon

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Jun 9, 2014
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I certainly hope not. It would be nice to just pick ram and storage and be done with it. I doubt they would go with clock speed as a differentiator because that would require them to bin all the chips they produce and they've never done that with any iOS device. If any thing, a binned chip would be a 16 core cpu with some bum cores and it's packaged as a 8 core for use in a cheaper Mac.
 

cmaier

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I certainly hope not. It would be nice to just pick ram and storage and be done with it. I doubt they would go with clock speed as a differentiator because that would require them to bin all the chips they produce and they've never done that with any iOS device. If any thing, a binned chip would be a 16 core cpu with some bum cores and it's packaged as a 8 core for use in a cheaper Mac.
Could be. Or an ipad. Or an Apple TV. Or whatever. Haven’t seen a schmoo plot for their die distributions, but they’ll likely have to bin since they will be relying on the upper tail for their best machines.
 

glindon

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Jun 9, 2014
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Could be. Or an ipad. Or an Apple TV. Or whatever. Haven’t seen a schmoo plot for their die distributions, but they’ll likely have to bin since they will be relying on the upper tail for their best machines.
Well we do know that the a12x has one disabled GPU "core" vs the a12z that has all 8 gpu "cores" available. We also know that the iPhone SE is slightly slower by about 100 Mhz but that mostly boils down to heat, smaller casing, and tiny battery.
 

drzen

macrumors regular
Aug 8, 2017
206
207
Didn't Ming Chi Kuo predict a 27" mini LED iMac Pro? The rumored new redesigned iMac is said to be 24".
 

JacobHarvey

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2019
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What does everyone think GPU wise with future ARM iMacs? CPU wise you can easily see how Apple can catch and surpass Intel CPUs, e.g. using a chiplet design with their fast cores and less thermal restrictions.

GPU wise Apple has a far greater gap to catch up to nVidia and AMD.

I believe their current fastest GPU in the iPad Pro is roughly around the level of a lower mid range PC card (e.g. GTX 750) from 2013 or an Xbox One/One S from that same era (impressive for a mobile device but that is an eternity ago tech wise and performance wise compared to the latest and greatest GPUs).

Do you think we'll be all getting ARM Macs that will rely on solely on Apple's integrated GPUs, limited by being stuck as part of a SOC for the next few years? Or do you think there will be some hope that Apple will still manage to integrate dedicated GPUs from AMD in some models (and maybe much further into the future its own dedicated GPU designs)?
 

the8thark

macrumors 601
Apr 18, 2011
4,622
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What does everyone think GPU wise with future ARM iMacs? CPU wise you can easily see how Apple can catch and surpass Intel CPUs, e.g. using a chiplet design with their fast cores and less thermal restrictions.
This is one thing I am concerned about. Apple keep talking about shared memory in relation to the ARM Macs. I hope it's not the death of dedicated GPU's in the Mac.

I agree on the CPU side, Intel is doing quite poorly. Not reaching their targets, taking too long to develop new chips and processes etc etc. However as you correctly have said, AMD and NVIDIA are moving ahead pretty well. Probably in part bacause they keep trying to one up each other. Proving that competition existing is a good thing.

If the ARM Macs are all integrated GPU's then It's up to Apple to prove to us how they are supposed to be able to compete with AMD and NVIDIA. I don't think any i-GPU can compete with that. The technology is not there yet.

Also Apple's language has been focused around better performance per watt of power used. This goes against the cutting edge offerings from AMD and NVIDIA which are beastly GPUs that don't care how much power they consume.

This is a bigger issue than some arewilling to admit. Why? Many Mac owners buy their Macs because they are decently usable for a long time. People still using 10+ year old Macs is a thing. I'm almost there myself with my 2011 iMac. Gatting a relatively decent dedicated GPU in your iMac means in 8-10 years time it'll still be decent enough to do most things. I don't know how well integrated graphics options from 10 years ago perform today.

Apple have proven they can design good CPUs thanks to the iOS devices. But GPUs? Apple hasn't designed any dedicated GPUs as far as I know. All their offerings seem to be ingetrated. We'll know the answer before the end of the year though as Apple has said they will ship at least something ARM Mac related before the end of the year.
 
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JacobHarvey

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2019
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This is one thing I am concerned about. Apple keep talking about shared memory in relation to the ARM Macs. I hope it's not the death of dedicated GPU's in the Mac.

I agree on the CPU side, Intel is doing quite poorly. Not reaching their targets, taking too long to develop new chips and processes etc etc. However as you correctly have said, AMD and NVIDIA are moving ahead pretty well. Probably in part bacause they keep trying to one up each other. Proving that competition existing is a good thing.

If the ARM Macs are all integrated GPU's then It's up to Apple to prove to us how they are supposed to be able to compete with AMD and NVIDIA. I don't think any i-GPU can compete with that. The technology is not there yet.

Also Apple's language has been focused around better performance per watt of power used. This goes against the cutting edge offerings from AMD and NVIDIA which are beastly GPUs that don't care how much power they consume.

This is a bigger issue than some arewilling to admit. Why? Many Mac owners buy their Macs because they are decently usable for a long time. People still using 10+ year old Macs is a thing. I'm almost there myself with my 2011 iMac. Gatting a relatively decent dedicated GPU in your iMac means in 8-10 years time it'll still be decent enough to do most things. I don't know how well integrated graphics options from 10 years ago perform today.

Apple have proven they can design good CPUs thanks to the iOS devices. But GPUs? Apple hasn't designed any dedicated GPUs as far as I know. All their offerings seem to be ingetrated. We'll know the answer before the end of the year though as Apple has said they will ship at least something ARM Mac related before the end of the year.

Yes, if they really go all in with their own designs and scrap third party GPUs I think performance in that area will definitely suffer compared to what is available on other platforms for a number of years at least.

Even ignoring nVidia and AMDs advanced GPU architectures, the thermal and size limitations of having the GPU silicon on the same package as their CPU silicon will be an extremely significant challenge to try and overcome (plus having to share RAM without dedicated GDDR6 or HBM graphics memory). In the meantime AMD and nVidia will definitely not be sitting still with their constant competition and continuous architecture improvements etc.

One other thing that they will most likely remove in these future iMacs is the ability to upgrade your RAM after purchase (at sane prices) using off the shelf SODIMMs. People have even managed to upgrade their internal SATA and NVMe SSDs in the current iMacs. I will miss those capabilities. Though I understand that many users wont care as much
 

mindquest

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 25, 2009
481
103
Wouldn't Apple just lean towards their integrated GPU and not bother with using a third party one?
 

JPack

macrumors G3
Mar 27, 2017
9,376
16,342
Of course there will be different choices for clock speed and core count. It's basic semiconductor economics.

iPhone/iPad don't get different choices because those devices have a tight thermal envelope.

iMac with A14 can handle 3GHz whether the chip bins at 9W or 12W. Apple doesn't need to throw those chips away like before. Apple can trade higher power by enabling more cores. If every A14 hits 3GHz, Apple can underclock some and sell them as 2.6GHz and ask $300 for an "upgrade" to 3GHz. It's free money on the table.
 
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Erehy Dobon

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One possibility is that Apple will have have a discrete GPU chips designed in-house for the higher end Mac models.

During the keynote, Apple was very careful not to focus on the ARM CPU architecture and they were exceptionally vague about the GPU architecture. They simply described it all as "Apple Silicon".

That leads me to believe that Apple will also dump AMD Radeon GPUs in its non-Intel Macs just like they dumped Imagination GPU cores from their Ax series SoCs and replaced them with their homegrown GPUs.

They may continue to use third-party vendors for certain tasks (networking for example) but Apple has developed a lot of specialized ICs for security, signal processing, disk controller tasks, memory, motion processing, and more. As time goes by, I expect Apple to replace even more third-party chips with their own in-house silicon.
 
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mindquest

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 25, 2009
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One possibility is that Apple will have have a discrete GPU chips designed in-house for the higher end Mac models.

Don't you think the higher end Mac models won't be the first out of the gate? I am thinking 24" iMac out before the 27" iMac with processor upgrade options.
 

Erehy Dobon

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It's the battery powered mobile computers that will benefit the easiest from the the performance-per-watt advantage of Apple Silicon. Note that Johny Srouji made performance-per-watt the key point in his segment during Monday's keynote; he mentioned it in the first minute.

Apple's Mac sales are >85% notebooks. Those are the units that will see Apple Silicon the first, probably starting with the MacBook Air or possibly an Apple Silicon revival of the discontinued Retina MacBook.

On the desktop, the iMac might get Apple Silicon before the other lines (mini, Pro) simply because it's the top selling desktop line. That said, the Developer Transition Kit is being deployed in a Mac mini chassis so the mini might actually be the first desktop unit to become a retail desktop with Apple Silicon. After all, it also has the most constrained thermal design.

The low end Mac mini and the lower-end notebooks don't require top graphics performance which buys Apple time to improve their GPU performance before deploying Apple Silicon on the high-end systems.

From a business perspective, it also makes more sense to deploy Apple Silicon or any custom hardware functionality in the devices that have the most unit sales first to drive down costs. Apple benefits more from putting Apple Silicon in Macs that have quarterly unit sales in the hundreds of thousands, not the tens of thousands.

The iPhone has been the driver of innovation for Apple's custom chip designs because Apple sells more iPhones than anything else. It is only because of the iPhone's success that today they are able to transition to Apple Silicon in the Mac product families.
 
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Wackery

macrumors 65816
Feb 1, 2015
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I certainly hope not. It would be nice to just pick ram and storage and be done with it. I doubt they would go with clock speed as a differentiator because that would require them to bin all the chips they produce and they've never done that with any iOS device. If any thing, a binned chip would be a 16 core cpu with some bum cores and it's packaged as a 8 core for use in a cheaper Mac.
Isn’t that what they did for a12x vs a12z?
 

ondert

macrumors 6502a
Aug 11, 2017
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For me, they just bit the bullet and left AMD also. Naming it as Apple silicon not Apple cpu and showing the graphical capabilities of A12Z via tomb raider and maya led me think this way.
 
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glindon

macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2014
529
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Isn’t that what they did for a12x vs a12z?
Close. They disabled one of the graphics cores on the a12x. However, it seems that they did so intentionally (probably for power reasons) because if the manufacturing process was producing x percentage of bad GPU cores, one would assume that also x percentage of cpu cores would be bad as well. Apple never sold any A series chips with disabled cpu cores so that would mean they’d have to throw out the whole chip. Maybe that’s what happened? Just speculating.
 

windowsblowsass

macrumors 6502a
Jan 25, 2004
689
264
pa
This is one thing I am concerned about. Apple keep talking about shared memory in relation to the ARM Macs. I hope it's not the death of dedicated GPU's in the Mac.

I agree on the CPU side, Intel is doing quite poorly. Not reaching their targets, taking too long to develop new chips and processes etc etc. However as you correctly have said, AMD and NVIDIA are moving ahead pretty well. Probably in part bacause they keep trying to one up each other. Proving that competition existing is a good thing.

If the ARM Macs are all integrated GPU's then It's up to Apple to prove to us how they are supposed to be able to compete with AMD and NVIDIA. I don't think any i-GPU can compete with that. The technology is not there yet.

Also Apple's language has been focused around better performance per watt of power used. This goes against the cutting edge offerings from AMD and NVIDIA which are beastly GPUs that don't care how much power they consume.

This is a bigger issue than some arewilling to admit. Why? Many Mac owners buy their Macs because they are decently usable for a long time. People still using 10+ year old Macs is a thing. I'm almost there myself with my 2011 iMac. Gatting a relatively decent dedicated GPU in your iMac means in 8-10 years time it'll still be decent enough to do most things. I don't know how well integrated graphics options from 10 years ago perform today.

Apple have proven they can design good CPUs thanks to the iOS devices. But GPUs? Apple hasn't designed any dedicated GPUs as far as I know. All their offerings seem to be ingetrated. We'll know the answer before the end of the year though as Apple has said they will ship at least something ARM Mac related before the end of the year.
We all like to reference the intel ppc transition right now but it’s important to keep in mind just how different Apple is now. Apple is absolutely massive. That is to say. If they dedicate the resources there is no reason they can’t have the gpu performance of an AMD.


as a frame of reference. At close today AMD was worth 61b apple 1.56T. Just to illustrate the company Apple has become.

if they will execute is debatable. But they absolutely have the resources to do so. They could acquire AMD tomorrow for less than 4% of their shares. They won’t do that.(Nor should they) but they could and not blink.
 
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JacobHarvey

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2019
113
106
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We all like to reference the intel ppc transition right now but it’s important to keep in mind just how different Apple is now. Apple is absolutely massive. That is to say. If they dedicate the resources there is no reason they can’t have the gpu performance of an AMD.


as a frame of reference. At close today AMD was worth 61b apple 1.56T. Just to illustrate the company Apple has become.

if they will execute is debatable. But they absolutely have the resources to do so. They could acquire AMD tomorrow for less than 4% of their shares. They won’t do that.(Nor should they) but they could and not blink.

Yes it is true that they have the resources to go after AMD and nVidia, but they'll have to move quickly and would need to ultimately start creating dedicated GPU chips (separate from the rest of the SoC) if they really wanted to catch up performance wise. There does not seem to be a way to cheat the laws of physics that will limit performance, considering thermal barriers and silicon area limits if their GPUs will remain physically part of the SoC package.

Also remember despite Apple having such massive resources, throwing those resources and money at a problem won't automatically mean they'll deliver (and if they do deliver it will likely take a number of years to catch up anyway). For example, the AirPower charging mat was publicly announced back in 2017 for an early 2018 release! But by 2019 they finally had to admit they couldn't get around various issues like overheating - https://9to5mac.com/2019/03/29/airpower-buy-now/ . The AirPower project shows even a ridiculously cashed up company like Apple with all its engineering resources won't always be able to properly execute its ideas and plans in a timely manner.

Apple might even just decide that their integrated GPUs will continue provide 'good enough' performance for the majority of users (which they certainly do, if people could deal with garbage Intel integrated stuff for so long) with excellent low power draw (perfect for laptops). By instead focusing on performance per watt and battery life, Apple could also determine it unwise to spend too many resources to fully pursue AMD and nVidia in competing for the absolute GPU performance crown. We'll just have to see what the next few years brings
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
13,122
17,210
No ones know this but just putting it out there. With an iMac 27 you can choose i5 vs i9. Do you think when the iMac 27" ARM does come out it will have an option for more than one SOC processor type?

My gut tells me gen 1 will have one choice for a processor. Maybe gen 2 or gen 3 will have upgrade options.

Thoughts!
I think that’s almost certain. Watching the Platform SOTU their head chip designer explicitly said there would be a “family” of chips for their upcoming machines.
 

dallas112678

macrumors 6502a
Feb 17, 2008
811
548
I’d be surprised. Could they? Sure. Does it make financial sense? No. The amount of apple products with dedicated gpus is nothing compared to all of the iOS devices out there. It simply wouldn’t make sense for them to spend billions and years to try and compete on that front for something that is only in some of their computer models. At the end of the day, they won’t be selling to other OEMs and people to support all of that cost.
 
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gilby101

Contributor
Mar 17, 2010
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During the keynote, Apple was very careful not to focus on the ARM CPU architecture and they were exceptionally vague about the GPU architecture. They simply described it all as "Apple Silicon".

But very clear in system architecture presentation. It's a SoC, no shoving bits to and from a GPU.
 
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darkmatter343

macrumors 6502
Sep 18, 2017
297
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Toronto, Canada
Just look at what they did in the PPC days... before Intel, and that should provide some answer as two how they offered different Processor speeds, or more cores etc. I'd expect the same with Apple ARM cpu's.
 

Cristim74

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Aug 27, 2016
242
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Bucharest, Romania
There is no way Apple can rely solely on iGPU built into the SoC. Just think about the Mac Pro that can now be equipped with 4 powerful AMD GPUs. They need to be able to provide this kind of GPU power by the end of the 2-years transition period and I don't see them doing that by themselves so soon.
 

mindquest

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 25, 2009
481
103
I think that’s almost certain. Watching the Platform SOTU their head chip designer explicitly said there would be a “family” of chips for their upcoming machines.
Was there a video where he said that?
 
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