Slower refresh cycles - anyone slightly relieved?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by johngwheeler, May 19, 2015.

  1. johngwheeler macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2010
    I come from a land down-under...
    No doubt some people will be disappointed by the recent rMBP update, that didn't include a new CPU. This is not Apple's fault, clearly, as the Broadwell-H chips simply aren't available, and may never be.

    However, it did give me pause for thought about whether the slowing pace of computer technology advancement might actually be a good thing....

    Back in the late 80's & 90's we saw doubling or tripling of CPU speeds every couple of years, which meant large incremental performance improvements between CPU releases, and a bit of an "arms race" to keep up with the latest tech.

    In the last 2-3 years with Intel's Core chips, incremental performance gains have been minimal, so there's been little incentive to upgrade between generations. Yesterday's rMBP release is a case in point - not much better (SSD and GPU performance excepted) than 2013 models.

    I think we're naturally settling into a 3-4 year upgrade cycle, where you need to wait 2-3 CPU generations in order to get any worthwhile improvement.

    This probably suits most people better than having the "stress" of wondering whether their shiny new computer will struggle to run software in the next one or two years. It also aligns with Apple Care (3 years) and many corporate laptop refresh cycles (my company allows new machines every 3 years).

    I love tech advancement as much as the next nerd, but there's no doubt that for many of us the impulse to have the "latest and best" machine is an expensive addiction.

    Maybe in a few years computers will just become another commodity household item (especially with more processing being done on cloud services) - much like your fridge or washing machine. I don't see many people getting exited by this years Electrolux or Westinghouse just buy a new one when the old one becomes unreliable and can't be fixed.
  2. PaulWog Suspended

    Jun 28, 2011
    It has been like this with CPU's and GPU's for a decade or more. Things haven't been doubling each cycle.
  3. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Intel's focus for the last few revisions has been power efficiency and graphics, so there hasn't been all that large of a CPU jump in a long time.

    The larger concern is that it is becoming really hard to shrink the transistors any further. That means progress is decreasing, and eventually fabs might start getting complacent.
  4. TheNotoriousMAZ macrumors newbie

    May 26, 2009
    Phoenixville, PA
    Increasing performance has taken a backseat to efficiency and battery life gains. We've really started to hit a ceiling in regards to the demands of most users. The majority of the population has no need for more 'horsepower' and would rather have all-day battery life. Look at the new retina MacBook for instance, as the performance of the Core M is satisfactory for most users.

    Small and efficient is the future, not burly and powerful. The only thing these days really driving the need for better performance is 4K video.
  5. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Moore's Law has crashed into the brick wall called physics.
  6. mcmul macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2009

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