Rumor: Intel "Tick-Tock" dead moving to "Process-Architecture-Optimization"

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by mindquest, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. mindquest macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2009
  2. tuxon86 macrumors 65816

    May 22, 2012
    They have moved on from the tic-toc cycle for a while already...
  3. joema2, Mar 23, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016

    joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    It doesn't really affect the Apple Mac product line more or less than other computer vendors. As a company it affects Apple much less, since (as of Q1 2016) Mac revenue is only 8.8% of the total. 76.4% of revenue came from iOS devices.

    In fact in Q1 2016 Apple made more money from iPads alone than total Mac sales. All Apple's iOS devices use non-Intel CPUs, and they are only indirectly affected by the semiconductor fabrication issues Intel faces.

    It will be interesting whether going forward the overall pace of performance development changes between Intel x86 and ARM and similar architecture CPUs.

    Intel discontinuing the tick tock development cadence has been known for some time. The above article was just a splashy rehash of that.

    The increasing limitations faced by CPU architects -- not just Intel but AMD and IBM's Power CPUs -- have been long understood.

    It is not yet the end of the line: Intel's latest Xeon E7-8890 v3 has 18 cores and can do nearly 3 teraflops. However the heat problem limits the base frequency to 2.5Ghz and turbo to 3.3Ghz. In theory this could provide a single-socket 18-core Mac Pro, although the current price for that chip is too high (about $7,000). However this illustrates it is technically achievable.

    Intel has previously made 8-core "enthusiast" CPUs, although these would not work in the current iMac case. In the relatively near future, increasing transistor budgets and improving CPU thermal efficiency could allow an 8-core iMac in the current physical form factor. The problem is you still can't clock 8 cores as fast as 4 cores because of on-chip thermal factors, and those cannot be fixed with a better CPU cooler.

    On the GPU side we will see a major performance increase this year since both AMD and nVidia are finally moving from 28nm to 14nm fabrication. This should produce GPUs that are 2.5x better performance per watt. That is a 250% increase vs the typical 10-15% increase we've grown accustomed to. That increase won't happen again for a long time but at least it's nearly here.
  4. mindquest thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2009
    Have GPU's with 14nm been announced for 2016 yet? Hopefully the next iMac refresh could take advantage of this bump.

    Thanks for the insight!!
  5. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    AMD's Polaris is already being manufactured in sample quantities and based on recent tests on actual hardware, AMD has increased their performance per watt estimate to 2.5x (up from 2x) vs prior AMD and nVidia products. nVidia will also probably have similar improvements since they are also moving to 14 nm.

    The current expectations are AMD will launch Polaris in June:

    Whether this will be in time for Apple to use in an iMac update late this year is unknown. I am optimistically guessing yes, since test parts are already available. However we can't be certain.

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