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dogslobber

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Oct 19, 2014
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I'm expecting that Apple will allow user to upgrade the unified memory in future ARM Macs. This will also likely make it cheaper to manufacture as it will reduce the parts needed to make Macs. This means if you buy a bottom of the line Mac then there will be headroom to grow the unified memory footprint easily. Feels like Apple will be onto a winner with it.
 

jz0309

Contributor
Sep 25, 2018
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Temecula, CA
I'm expecting that Apple will allow user to upgrade the unified memory in future ARM Macs. This will also likely make it cheaper to manufacture as it will reduce the parts needed to make Macs. This means if you buy a bottom of the line Mac then there will be headroom to grow the unified memory footprint easily. Feels like Apple will be onto a winner with it.
If that is your expectation, I think you will be in for disappointment.
 

yitwail

macrumors regular
Sep 4, 2011
182
189
I'm expecting that Apple will allow user to upgrade the unified memory in future ARM Macs. This will also likely make it cheaper to manufacture as it will reduce the parts needed to make Macs. This means if you buy a bottom of the line Mac then there will be headroom to grow the unified memory footprint easily. Feels like Apple will be onto a winner with it.
Very unlikely for MacBook. iMac, less unlikely perhaps. Anyway, as far as reducing parts goes, the socket(s) for plugging in RAM would themselves be parts, so don't think that would reduce part count very much. Besides, unified memory performance depends in part on mounting RAM right next to memory controllers on the chip.
 
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dogslobber

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Very unlikely for MacBook. iMac, less unlikely perhaps. Anyway, as far as reducing parts goes, the socket(s) for plugging in RAM would themselves be parts, so don't think that would reduce part count very much.
No, you folks are thinking about it the old way. This hardware industry is moving to a licensing model where HW vendors ship one single entity which has hardware licenses to enable additional hardware features. In effect, Apple will always ship maximum configs but you'll only be licensed to use the version you bought. You can buy additional hardware licenses to enable more cores, more memory, more storage.

This is how the industry is going and I expect to see some form of Apple hardware licensing scheme to occur in the near term.
 

quarkysg

macrumors 6502a
Oct 12, 2019
685
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Honestly can’t see it happening, it’s built into the same chip as the processor so it has faster throughput. If it was made user replaceable it wouldn’t have those benefits.
The RAMs are not build into the same chip. The LPDDR5/4X RAMs used for the M1 Macs do not come in DIMM/SODIMM modules, so it's not an option at the moment for user upgradable RAM for the AS Macs.

The AS Macs' RAM modules are placed very close to the M1 SoCs mainly for power efficiency reasons. Longer wire traces running at high frequencies (2.3GHz buses for the M1 and 2.7GHz for the M1 Pro/Max) means high voltage needed to drive the signal, which translates to more energy required. Shorter traces also means RAM timings can be more aggressive.

I would expect the AS Mac Pros to use ECC DIMM modules.
 

jz0309

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Sep 25, 2018
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No, you folks are thinking about it the old way. This hardware industry is moving to a licensing model where HW vendors ship one single entity which has hardware licenses to enable additional hardware features. In effect, Apple will always ship maximum configs but you'll only be licensed to use the version you bought. You can buy additional hardware licenses to enable more cores, more memory, more storage.

This is how the industry is going and I expect to see some form of Apple hardware licensing scheme to occur in the near term.
so that sounds different from your original post, just like Tesla's batteries then?
Well, while that is a possibility, max config means max cost for Apple which given the way semiconductor has worked in the past, will not happen.
Can you give other example than Tesla for "This is how the industry is going"
 
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dogslobber

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so that sounds different from your original post, just like Tesla's batteries then?
Well, while that is a possibility, max config means max cost for Apple which given the way semiconductor has worked in the past, will not happen.
Can you give other example than Tesla for "This is how the industry is going"
This is happening a lot in retro hardware development to reduce costs and in the embedded space. I work in one of those areas so can't say much more. But I expect Apple to do something like I mention above.
 

jz0309

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Sep 25, 2018
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This is happening a lot in retro hardware development to reduce costs and in the embedded space. I work in one of those areas so can't say much more. But I expect Apple to do something like I mention above.
well, Intel has been doing this (fusing) for over a decade, they can turn a i9 chip into a i3 thru SW and fusing, but that is very different as silicon is cheap to manufacture ... at a system level, I don't see it happening when you're selling an entire computer to consumers, again, max cost for Apple and the consumer might chose the lowest cost option for them, doesn't make sense, yet. Technically it's possible, not arguing that
 
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wilberforce

macrumors 65816
Aug 15, 2020
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SF Bay Area
No, you folks are thinking about it the old way. This hardware industry is moving to a licensing model where HW vendors ship one single entity which has hardware licenses to enable additional hardware features. In effect, Apple will always ship maximum configs but you'll only be licensed to use the version you bought. You can buy additional hardware licenses to enable more cores, more memory, more storage.

This is how the industry is going and I expect to see some form of Apple hardware licensing scheme to occur in the near term.
And the next step after that will be the subscription model. Keep paying a yearly license fee to enable your extra RAM
 
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Gnattu

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2020
809
957
If we don't look at the business part, there are still many reasons for not having an upgradable RAM in Mac laptops.

First of all, the LPDDR RAM does not have SO-DIMM modules so we are forced to use regular DDR RAM if we want to have upgradable RAM. However, this will increase the power consumption and is not a great thing for a laptop.

What's more, the Apple's SoCs nowadays are super bandwidth-hungry as they integrates multiple high-performance parts together. To achieve the 400GB/s theoretical bandwidth, we will need 8 DIMM slots and all of them MUST be populated at the same time. I wonder how to design a laptop with 8 DIMM slots and keep it as portable as the current MacBook Pros.

We cannot have upgradable RAM in laptop Macs without above technical design trade-offs. You will have a laptop that is thicker and runs shorter on battery if upgradable RAM is a must and you don't want to compromise performance. This is very similar to why we cannot upgrade our RAM in PS5/Xbox One X. We just cant make something that offers the huge bandwidth and keeps the form factor at the same time.

Where we may see the upgradable RAM happens is the desktop Macs. The space and power constraint is less on a desktop platform and users may want more RAM that a SoC can integrates.
 
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stradify

macrumors member
Jul 4, 2015
95
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USA
For that special project you could enable as much ram as is available in your computer with a push of a button. Once complete you drop down to your "baseline allocation" of ram for the everyday stuff. This would allow corporations to buy baseline computers knowing they'll be more than sufficient the majority of the time and then as special occasions present themselves that require a more powerful computer they rent as much Ram as necessary. It might not just be ram that they're renting, it could also be gpu cores as well.
 
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Veeper

macrumors member
Nov 20, 2020
54
89
No, you folks are thinking about it the old way. This hardware industry is moving to a licensing model where HW vendors ship one single entity which has hardware licenses to enable additional hardware features. In effect, Apple will always ship maximum configs but you'll only be licensed to use the version you bought. You can buy additional hardware licenses to enable more cores, more memory, more storage.

This is how the industry is going and I expect to see some form of Apple hardware licensing scheme to occur in the near term.
No one will ever circumvent the protection either. Like DVD, Blu-ray, Cable, SataliteTV, Credit Bureaus, Websites…. wait what the latest uncrackable thing?
 

dogslobber

macrumors 601
Original poster
Oct 19, 2014
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Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
No one will ever circumvent the protection either. Like DVD, Blu-ray, Cable, SataliteTV, Credit Bureaus, Websites…. wait what the latest uncrackable thing?
Depends on how it's implemented. HW interfaces for licensing can truly brick the device to the point of no return if a license is incorrectly entered too many times. Think efuse and the fact most SoCs have the latest encryption tech built in.
 

Yebubbleman

macrumors 601
May 20, 2010
4,448
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Los Angeles, CA
I'm expecting that Apple will allow user to upgrade the unified memory in future ARM Macs. This will also likely make it cheaper to manufacture as it will reduce the parts needed to make Macs. This means if you buy a bottom of the line Mac then there will be headroom to grow the unified memory footprint easily. Feels like Apple will be onto a winner with it.

No, you folks are thinking about it the old way. This hardware industry is moving to a licensing model where HW vendors ship one single entity which has hardware licenses to enable additional hardware features. In effect, Apple will always ship maximum configs but you'll only be licensed to use the version you bought. You can buy additional hardware licenses to enable more cores, more memory, more storage.

This is how the industry is going and I expect to see some form of Apple hardware licensing scheme to occur in the near term.

The RAM is fixed in place on the chip itself. I'm not saying that there won't be higher RAM capacities offered down the road (the base M2 may be able to up from the base M1 and similar with the M1 Pro and M2 Pro and M1 Max and M2 Max and so forth), but the RAM appears to be fixed as does the SoC itself. Unless one or both of these become socketed (and given that Apple is insistent on tighter integrations of components into SoCs, I find this highly unlikely), what you are predicting won't come to pass. It'll always be "choose the RAM and storage you want at the time of purchase or forever hold your peace".
 

lcubed

macrumors member
Nov 19, 2020
58
40
seems like the perfect next avenue for intel greatness

i just don't see apple silicon going down this route
 

dtm84

macrumors member
Oct 10, 2021
32
62
This makes sense if the cost of producing different chips is higher than the actual cost of making the chips. I think the huge m1max probably costs way more to make than the m1 so it is still worth having the different physical chips. The difference in size/cost/complexity of the m1/m1pro/m1max/m1extreme (or whatever the imac is going to be) is way higher than that of low end vs high end intel cpu.

If you think about the mac line up, Apple is going to sell way more M1/M1pro than M1max/M1extreme so bundling the latter in to every device when at an extra cost of $1 is no big deal but doing so when it costs an extra $100 is probably a no-go.
 
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Freeangel1

macrumors 6502a
Jan 13, 2020
778
1,123
APPLE should have designed all motherboards with the APPLE silicon ARM chip easily removed and upgradable.

Maybe even designed the ARM socket to accept future APPLE silicon chips.

This would Mac the current APPLE Silicon Macs more desirable to both Big Companies and individuals alike.

This would also open the door to be able to repair your own Mac or upgrade it.
 

Gnattu

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2020
809
957
APPLE should have designed all motherboards with the APPLE silicon ARM chip easily removed and upgradable.

Maybe even designed the ARM socket to accept future APPLE silicon chips.

This would Mac the current APPLE Silicon Macs more desirable to both Big Companies and individuals alike.

This would also open the door to be able to repair your own Mac or upgrade it.
Even if they designed it to be easily removed in hardware (with all the performance/power consumption/form factor trade-offs), it will still not be easily self-repairable and upgradable. Your storage is cryptographically encrypted by the controller in the SoC, and the SoC's SecureROM stores key pairs used to get certificates signed by Apple during the activation process. Simply replace the SoC will not work because your internal storage will not be readable due to the encryption and you have to perform a DFU restore, and then if Apple refuses to sign the certificates during activation, you Mac is still not usable.
 

dtm84

macrumors member
Oct 10, 2021
32
62
APPLE should have designed all motherboards with the APPLE silicon ARM chip easily removed and upgradable.

Maybe even designed the ARM socket to accept future APPLE silicon chips.

This would Mac the current APPLE Silicon Macs more desirable to both Big Companies and individuals alike.

This would also open the door to be able to repair your own Mac or upgrade it.
I'm not a hardware engineer but I imagine there are performance penalties of a socket versus direct soldering. Also I'm not sure why Apple would bother with a socket since they are the only motherboard manufacturer and the only chip manufacturer. It adds complexities to their products for an extreme fringe market. There's basically nothing else on the board of value aside from the soc so why bother?


Upgrading CPUs is a bit of an outdated solution. Even after ten years, the CPU is rarely the component limiting the system's performance. Getting past any of those barriers generally involves limitations from multiple different components so performance is only minorly improved with any individual component swap. Even if you had a socket and could drop in an entirely better soc there is probably going to be other limitations. And if the soc is 90% of the computer's value then Apple might only sell it at a 25% discount to an entirely new machine which makes it not worthwhile.

Sockets and interoperability and interchangability exist in the x86 world due to the ecosystem and number of players. Those market forces don't exist in Apple's world. The absence is actually one of Apple competitive advantages and I don't think anyone wants to go back to the terrible mac clones of the 90s.
 
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robco74

macrumors regular
Nov 22, 2020
246
369
APPLE should have designed all motherboards with the APPLE silicon ARM chip easily removed and upgradable.

Maybe even designed the ARM socket to accept future APPLE silicon chips.

This would Mac the current APPLE Silicon Macs more desirable to both Big Companies and individuals alike.

This would also open the door to be able to repair your own Mac or upgrade it.
So far, nobody really does this. Even with hobbyist boards like Raspberry Pi, everything is soldered. Many Intel laptop CPUs are also soldered with no socketed version available.

If most users upgraded their RAM, then Apple and others would likely not use soldered RAM. But few users ever crack the case. In my own experience, CPU upgrades are never simple. There's often a new socket, newer and faster RAM, new mainboard chipsets, faster I/O options, etc. In the past, I've usually wound up getting a new mainboard and RAM to go along with the new CPU. We'll see what happens with pro desktops though.

As for big companies, even then I don't know too many who would spend the labor to upgrade machines rather than simply speccing out machines that will last the life of the service contract, then simply replace them. We've reached the point, for many products, where the cost to build new is considerably lower than the cost to repair or upgrade.
 
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wilberforce

macrumors 65816
Aug 15, 2020
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what you are predicting won't come to pass. It'll always be "choose the RAM and storage you want at the time of purchase or forever hold your peace".
I agree. Apple makes a lot of money off people who overbuy when they purchase due to FUD (rationalized as "future-proofing"). If people have the option to "upgrade" later by paying an additional license fee, everyone will just buy the base model, and hold off on the upgrade licenses. The majority will then find the base model does them just fine, and Apple will lose the extra cash from unnecessary upgraders.
 
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