Macs and Intel - Was it a good choice?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by slooksterPSV, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. slooksterPSV macrumors 68030

    slooksterPSV

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    #1
    Just for starters, I love Mac OS X, the OS, but the hardware Apple uses, now that's a different story.

    It took me a while to figure this all out, but, I know I'm going to get flamed, and I'm sorry, I've never really been a fan of Intel products. Why Apple chose to go with them is beyond me. Here's what frustrates me about Macs now (remember I used to have an iBook G4 and post here all the time):

    1. Intel Processors, processors get better on a month to month basis, but Apple uses older hardware for 4-8 months before an "update".

    2. Cost - If Apple is using older Processors why is the cost still through the roof? I wish I could afford a new Mac, but I've went ahead to building a Quad core PC (AMD Phenom). A lot of you are against Pystar, but I hope they win, just because I'd rather pay $5xx for a Mac than pay $1,xxx for one. We're not all as rich as we'd like to be.

    Like I said, Mac OS X is still my favorite OS, just the hardware is still lacking. I personally think if Apple would have went with AMD And ATI they would have been better off. If you look at the 780G chipset on an AMD mobo, you usually get an ATI HD 3200 Integrated Graphics chipset, which is amazing when playing 3-D Games, even on Vista.

    I'm not a big PC user, I'm actually using Linux right now. It's cheaper to make a quick easy PC than it is to buy a Mac. But if Apple would have went with AMD would the cost of the Mac still be the same? No offense, but I think Apple should release it's OS as OpenSource or release it for all AMD, Intel, and Via Processors. More people want Macs, but its difficult to get the money to buy one. I'm still a Mac OS X fan, just not big on Apple products any more. I miss the old days with the G4 and G5 processors. They performed better than any dual, tri, or quad core processor I've used.
     
  2. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

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    #2
    I miss the PPC days as well, but I could go on for pages about that.
    Anyway:


    1.Well, you can't really expect Apple to update their computers to the latest processor that comes out every month, can you? Good lord, how big of a complainfest would this place be then? People who buy their computers would be complaining about it being updated so fast, and then there would be a LOT of model's with such a small difference in specs it would be ridiculous to sort them out, let alone sell them.

    2.Kind of ties in with #1, but that aside, You're paying for more then the processor. You're basically paying for the mac expereince. OS X, the design of the computer, etc. All that costs a lot, apparently.

    I like AMD more then Intel, but the difference in the cost for us would be little to none, even if Apple saved money, had they used AMD.
     
  3. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

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    #3
    I too used to dislike Intel's products pretty intensely and be a very partisan PowerPC supporter. That started to change when Intel finally realized that the Netburst Pentium 4s were a disaster, backed away from that path to nowhere and started taking a much more sensible approach beginning with the Pentium M and continuing through the Core Duo chips.

    AMD just hasn't gotten the job done over the past few years, and the PowerPC platform through Freescale and IBM has been moribund for even longer than that.

    And no, Intel most certainly does not release slightly speedbumped processors every single month.

    No offense, but you should stick to Linux. If you're that much into specific CPU and graphics platforms and custom building/tweaking your hardware, Mac OS X is never going to get the job done for you.
     
  4. SactoGuy18 macrumors 68020

    SactoGuy18

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    #4
    Actually, in the end it was a good choice because once Intel went to the using the Pentium III-M CPU core as the starting basis for its future CPU designs, Intel could dramatically improve speeds with vastly less complexity than going with the Netburst CPU cores used by the Pentium 4 CPU. Apple saw this and as such decided to go with the Intel CPU's because it had more speed growth potential than the PowerPC CPU's it was using at the time.

    In many ways, the Conroe-core Core 2 Duo ended up being the most important breakthrough for Intel since the Pentium Pro CPU (the Pentium Pro CPU core became the basis for the Pentium II, Celeron and early Pentium III CPU's).
     
  5. sporadicMotion macrumors 65816

    sporadicMotion

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    #5
    For Apple? Absolutely... look at their profits in the computer sector (iPods and iPhones aside) and they've made a massive jump in sales. From a long time mac user perspective? I miss PPC too... but that's more of a cultural thing than a hardware thing... after all... being a Mac user at that point was way different from an outside viewpoint than it is now.
     
  6. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #6
    Exactly.

    Back in the day of PIII's, PPC's held their own, and seemed to be updated at a some way reasonable rate (for Apple anyway).

    Then Intel went down the P4 road of cranking up the MHz, and it sucked. AMD were producing better chips at this time. At around the same time PPC development seemed to have slowed to beyond a crawl.

    For whatever reason AMD obviously weren't thought of as being up to the task, in the end they were proven right. AMD are lagging behind.

    Intel are on the ball, have been on the ball, and their road maps indicate they will continue to be.

    I think Apple made the best choice, PPC was going no where, and AMD are falling apart. Intel is where it's at.
    You actually think Apple should take the OS they've no doubt spent billions on and make it OpenSource? Have you been drinking?
     
  7. pilotError macrumors 68020

    pilotError

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    #7
    Apple certainly would not have had the growth that they are experiencing if they stuck to PPC. I know I personally wouldn't have purchased one if I couldn't have opted for Windows in the event that OS X didn't work for me.

    Intel could give Apple what IBM couldn't. A complete range of products from Laptop to Desktop to Datacenter. IBM struggled at the low power stuff. Look at Atom as an example. A chip that lived shortly in Intels labs and revived specifically to meet Apple's need. Now there's a bunch of OEM's using it. This is a revenue stream that popped out of nowhere for Intel, so they are both seeing benefits to being partners. Something that IBM didn't really take advantage of.

    AMD was probably a very big contender in the decision, but ultimately lost out to Intel's roadmaps and the stuff they are running in their labs. I'm sure Intel probably cut a first round deal that AMD couldn't compete with.

    As far as old products, Apple's strategy has been to bring out a top of the line computer in terms of components and ride that baby into the dirt.

    During the initial rollout, they probably aren't making all that much, but as component vendors drop their prices, Apple keeps the difference as profit.

    Customers are happy, because the machine they just bought will be Apple's best for the next year, with only minor bumps here and there. With that mindset, they can create an artificial mindset cycle for the crowd that always has to have the latest and greatest. If you notice, Intel has now adopted that same strategy for the most part. Mainly because AMD hasn't been any competition to the Core Duo / Core 2 Line of processors. Why bring out your best when the competition isn't even close anymore...

    I am really surprised to see them pull out of Macworld though. This was like Mecca to the Mac faithful. I guess they didn't want the pressure of being tied to the Macworld timeline for their products anymore. I think this is a big mistake for Apple.
     
  8. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #8
    Where are Apple using the Atom? :confused:
     
  9. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

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    #9
    *cough*
    perhaps in a superthin laptop?
    *cough*



    p.s. perhaps also in the next mini?
     
  10. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #10
    Not at the moment they're not.
    Wouldn't make any sense. They're for low power battery powered devices, not stuff that is plugged in at a desk.
     
  11. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #11
    What are you talking about?

    The MacBook Air uses a Core 2 Duo processor. The Intel Atom processor is really slow compared to anything Apple is currently using in it's computers. The only current device where it could be useful is the :apple:TV.
     
  12. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

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    #12
    my bad, thought the atom was the name given to the chip from the airs
     
  13. Cory5412 macrumors member

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    #13
    I'd say that overall the switch to Intel has been a good thing for Apple. PowerPC processors, and the complete architecture around them were starting to lag severely behind the x86 platform in terms of performance. Sure, in terms of raw crunching ability a 1.67GHz G4 may have been able to outperform a 1.8 or a 2.0GHz Northwood Pentium 4, but their 167MHz buses and the fact that neither the G4 nor the G5 chips had been significantly speed-bumped in quite awhile was starting to get a little bit concerning.

    The G5 was never going to make it into a laptop, and even on the desktop machines had performance issues because most code was never really written the correct way for G5s.

    I'm glad they went with Intel because even though they don't have a machine using an actual desktop chip+chipset, they are able to keep up a lot better in terms of performance. (Core i7 in a Mac would be pretty much completely epic.)
     
  14. Kwill macrumors 68000

    Kwill

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    #14
    I would love if a computer worth $1,xxx could be purchased for half price. When you get old enough to go to school and take business and economics classes, you'll learn about some things called "R&D" and "margin." Initial product introductions with the latest technology are quite expensive. Patents, attorneys, engineers, fabrication, manufacturing systems, software development, licenses, materials, advertising and personnel training consume a large portion of initial units shipped. Therefore, a manufacturer looks forward to when all of this can be absorbed into thousands of units sold.

    Each new processor that is introduced carries a high initial cost. Waiting a few months can significantly lower the unit price. Apple generally does this for its lower-cost consumer computers while offering the latest and greatest in the high-end Mac Pros.

    Those with limited budgets can still have quality by purchasing discounted prior generation Apple hardware.
     
  15. sangosimo Guest

    sangosimo

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    #15
    apple could lower their really high "margins" because the don't have to spend the "R&D" to develop a cpu. Each new processor has a high initial cost but apple doesn't make new make new computers right after intels releases a new chipset. Why can I build an x58 rig that destroys a mac pro in every way for half the price?
     
  16. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #16
    Overall, I like the move to Intel.

    However, there are some shortcomings compared to the PPC platform unfortunately.
     
  17. Cory5412 macrumors member

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    #17
    If you don't mind sharing, I'd be interested in hearing exactly what these shortcomings are.

    Apple no longer controls the development cycle of the chipsets and processors... except the fact that they never did even on PPC. At least Intel has predictable cycles.
     
  18. pilotError macrumors 68020

    pilotError

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    #18
    The 1st Gen Air was an Atom processor.

    The 2nd Gen uses the 45nm core 2 duo.

    Point being that Intel pulled out the red carpet for them.
     
  19. Guiyon macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Don't know where you got that information but the 1st gen Air was a ULV Merom-based Core 2 Duo. The Atom didn't even start shipping until April and, at that point, it was the single core/ x86-32 variant; the x86-64/dual core variant didn't start shipping until around September.

    As for the switch itself, I've been a Mac user since the 68000 (Fat Mac!) series so, to me anyway, it was simply business as usual.
     
  20. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

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    #20
    As someone who got his first Mac after the Intel switch, I don't really get the nostalgia for the PPC. OK, Macs are no longer as "special", but there was zero future in PPC. It may have had further potential (debatable) but there just wasn't as much money going into research.

    Apple switched just in time - there was a valid argument that the G4 laptops were still close in performance to PCs using Pentium-M at the time of the switch, but that wasn't going to last.

    Before I switched to the Mac, I was neither an AMD nor Intel advocate. I always told people - AMD for desktops, Intel for laptops. But that was pre-Core Duo, and if Apple had gone with AMD, they'd be worse off.
     
  21. Kwill macrumors 68000

    Kwill

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    #21
    Because you are not warehousing, advertising, selling them for a profit and training a team of tech support personal to answer phones or paying rent on a number of retail outlets.
     
  22. savar macrumors 68000

    savar

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    #22
    AMD isn't a big enough company for Apple to trust with their fate. Also, Intel's R&D is simply amazing.

    I know some manufacturers will start churning out new boxes with whatever newest processor is out there, but Apple likes to keep their product lines simple. Adding new releases every couple months to each product line would quickly get confusing; they would sacrifice on design time and supporting all of those different processors would cause cost to go up also.

    I can sympathize with the cost aspect. Unfortunately, Apple just isn't interested in that low-end market; it's too saturated. They try to get higher margins by offering a more distinctive product. It's like comparing Burberry to Target.
     
  23. iGuardian macrumors 6502a

    iGuardian

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    #23
    I have investments in intel, so... I support the use of intel in Apple products :p
     
  24. savar macrumors 68000

    savar

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    #24
    He probably means the pipelining differences between the PPC's RISC architecture and what was previously Intel's CISC architecture.

    http://arstechnica.com/paedia/c/cpu/part-2/cpu2-1.html

    This was back in the days of Intel's "clock it up days" -- chips were designed to run at a high clock speed, even if it wasn't usable performance, because marketing high clock speeds was much more effective.

    Phil Schiller actually did a presentation on the pipelining differences between the Pentium and PPC at one of the conferences. Apple tried for a long time to dispel the myth.

    Intel has since shifted gears and is focusing on more usable performance, especially energy-efficient performance. That really put the nail in the coffin for Apple and PPC.
     
  25. synth3tik macrumors 68040

    synth3tik

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    #25
    Ok, so you think it was stupid for Apple to start using Intel processors, because you can't afford an Intel Mac, but you hope the company that makes a $500 computer that runs OS X wins. So, if you can't afford an Intel Mac, your would not have been able to afford a PPC Mac, therefor didn't Apple switching to Intel help? :confused::rolleyes:

    You are silly:p
     

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