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littlepud

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 16, 2012
450
305
Do you think we will see the end of configurable CPU / GPU options with Apple Silicon where each model of Mac only comes with a single choice of CPU that is not configurable BTO?

Pros:
  • Simplified product lineup / less perceived customer confusion. No more: "Which CPU should I get?"
  • Simplified supply chain. Only one CPU SKU per logic board layout.
  • Simplified R&D, validation, and repair. No need to qualify / test / package multiple different SKUs.
Cons:
  • Less perceived customer choice
 

pldelisle

macrumors 68020
May 4, 2020
2,248
1,506
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I don't think.

Already on most Apple products you only have 2-3 processor choices for every model. Most of the time it only changes the core count.

I think Apple will offer several SoC with different core counts. No clock frequency choice. You pick the number of cores you want, that's it.
 
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leman

macrumors Core
Oct 14, 2008
19,357
19,430
CPU options are a great money-maker for Apple, so I don't think they will disappear completely. But maybe Apple will find some other way to "solve" this.

What I do expect is a bigger differentiation in hardware features from laptop to laptop. E.g. LPDDR as system RAM on the 13" model, HBM2 on the 16" mode etc...
 

boss.king

macrumors 603
Apr 8, 2009
6,248
7,250
Not gonna happen. Have you seen the margins they make on upgrades?

They may simplify things but I don't see a world in which Apple removes the opportunity to make more money.
 
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leman

macrumors Core
Oct 14, 2008
19,357
19,430
Clearly, the key lies in persuading Apple's customer base that their perceptions are WRONG.

You might be joking, but offering less "choice" here is actually bad for Apple. The performance difference between two CPU tiers is usually minuscule, but users happily pay $200 for 3% increase in theoretical performance because of "future proofing". This is a great way for Apple to make money (the genius move was offering 64GB on the 16" MBP).
 

JPack

macrumors G5
Mar 27, 2017
12,893
24,425
It would go against basic semiconductor economics. So no, this wouldn’t happen.

Chips are binned according to performance and thermal characteristics. The iPhone and iPad can handle a small thermal envelope. In the past, Apple would have to dump chips that didn’t perform expected. Now, they can keep and sell all of them.

Similarly, if all Apple Silicon from TSMC can perform at 3GHz, Apple can underclock to 2.5GHz and sell the upgrade at 3GHz for a premium.
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 603
Aug 19, 2017
6,146
7,000
It seems it possibly took a while for the production of A12X chips to be able to yield enough chips for all the GPU cores to be active (A12Z), so I think the binning process that Intel and AMD use which effectively define i3, i5 and i7 or 3, 5 and 7 chips (outside H series where they are actually slightly different chips?) might come into play for Apple as well. Particularly if we're looking at more complex chips, Apple will probably want to be using as much of each wafer as possible.
 

Boil

macrumors 68040
Oct 23, 2018
3,343
2,986
Stargate Command
I think it’s the end. I believe Apple will simplify their line to the 2 x 2 grid they had back with Jobs.

Steve went with the 2x2 product grid to clean house from all those damned Performas & Quadras that were clogging the channel...

What was that 2x2 grid? iBook / MacBook Pro & (CRT) iMac / Mac Pro?

They could have MacBook (arm64-based APU) / MacBook Pro (arm64-based APU & dGPU), but for the two desktop slots in that grid, the current Mac Pro makes it a silly comparision with it's astronomical price tag.

Addition of a dedicated GPU should be the defining feature that makes a "Pro" model?

If you look at Apple's current headless desktop line-up, it is crazy. On one end , a lower priced SFF chassis with no dedicated GPU; on the other end there is a Big Chungus monster of a chassis, with a price tag to match.

We need a middle ground, we need a return of the Cube!!!

So I would say a 3x3 Mac product grid would be best:

Three tablet/laptop hybrids; 11", 13", 16"...

Three iMacs (23" & 27")/ iMac Pros (32")...

Three headless desktops; Mac mini / Mac Cube / Mac Pro...

Also offer three Apple displays, obviously being the same sizes (and same panels) as in the three iMacs...
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
25,611
893
Harrogate
What was that 2x2 grid? iBook / MacBook Pro & (CRT) iMac / Mac Pro?

LaptopDesktop
ConsumeriBookiMac
ProfessionalPowerBookPower Mac

Within each product there was generally a good, better, best set of options. The iBook and iMac also had colour options (with some colours limited to specific good/better/best options: I had a graphite clamshell iBook which was a "Special Edition" with faster CPU further muddying the clarity). So the number of SKUs was actually a lot higher than it first appeared
 

sputnikBA

macrumors 6502
Jan 2, 2018
293
397
IMO we still get base MBs, Mac Minis & iMacs. these will all have the standardised lineup of Apple silicon advantages. Maybe Air and this hypothetical 12” get merged after transition is complete.

MBP, iMac Pro and Mac Pro’s get more storage options, more RAM options, discrete GPUs, additional accelerators and better binned CPUs. initially they also get the new mini-led displays And maybe pro-motion if that’s feasible. Whatever high end feature comes to them in future models then regular models later like how they handle it with iPhones.
 
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Boil

macrumors 68040
Oct 23, 2018
3,343
2,986
Stargate Command
LaptopDesktop
ConsumeriBookiMac
ProfessionalPowerBookPower Mac

Within each product there was generally a good, better, best set of options. The iBook and iMac also had colour options (with some colours limited to specific good/better/best options: I had a graphite clamshell iBook which was a "Special Edition" with faster CPU further muddying the clarity). So the number of SKUs was actually a lot higher than it first appeared

LOL, so long ago I forgot they were "Power" series products at that point...!
[automerge]1593679138[/automerge]
MBP, iMac Pro and Mac Pro’s get more storage options, more RAM options, discrete GPUs, additional accelerators and better binned CPUs.

Totally down with that, but give me a Mac Cube Pro; the headless desktop line-up needs a middle ground...!
 

nick9191

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2008
3,365
189
Britain
I believe it does mean the end of configurable processor and graphics options.

I foresee 3 levels of SoC, for the sake of argument let’s call them the A14, A14S, and A14X.

A14 on consumer products, A14S on Pro products (and top end iMacs) and A14X on the Mac Pro and iMac Pro (if they continue with an iMac Pro).

Simple and effective. Only configurable options would be RAM/SSD. This allows for fewer models, a simpler cleaner product structure and good distinction between the product lines.
 

jinnyman

macrumors 6502a
Sep 2, 2011
762
671
Lincolnshire, IL
By going their own chip, I think Apple will eventually offer wide range of chip selection.

- with chips being multi-core CPU and GPU, you can allocate perfect chip for higher end/highest count cpu & gpu core, chips with defect on one or two cores, it will be middle model, etc
- they may even offer last generation Arm chip as low end model.

So perhaps not at the beginning, but they will surely do it eventually.
 
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Waragainstsleep

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2003
605
220
UK
I can see Apple using identical chips for the model range and disabling CPU/GPU cores to make upgrade options.
 

SpitUK

macrumors 6502a
Mar 5, 2010
856
768
East Yorkshire, UK
It's an interesting debate. They will definitely keep it as they make good money from upselling.

I think it will look like this:

8 core, 10 core, 12 core
or
2.7GHz, 3GHz, 3.3GHz

I think with the GPU it will be core count just like the A12X has 7 GPU cores and the A12Z has 8 GPU cores.
 

Spock

macrumors 68040
Jan 6, 2002
3,448
7,353
Vulcan
It's an interesting debate. They will definitely keep it as they make good money from upselling.

I think it will look like this:

8 core, 10 core, 12 core
or
2.7GHz, 3GHz, 3.3GHz

I think with the GPU it will be core count just like the A12X has 7 GPU cores and the A12Z has 8 GPU cores.
I doubt they will mention the speed of the processors. My guess is like everyone else, they will use core count as a BTO options but limit certain core counts to the high end products. So the 12 core would only be available in let’s say the 16 inch MacBook Pro and not the MacBook Air etc..
 
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