Whither x86?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Sydde, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. Sydde macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2009
    Velvet Green
    So far, Intel architecture has been the major de facto standard for CPU architecture. If you were using some other minority architecture, you had an Apple or something really obscure.

    HP Announces ARM-based Servers

    HP may be transitioning away from Intel processors. How well that works out remains to be seen. If they get good sales from their ARM server line, this could bode ill for x86, IMHO. With Apple apparently charting a convergence of iOS and Mac OS X, it may not be long before the A<x> processors start migrating into notebooks, and thence non-portables.

    Energy use has become quite significant. With powerful GPGPU chips to boost performance at minimal energy cost, I can envision even Windows moving toward ARM.
  2. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    I suggest you read the article you link to. It is about using ARM servers for things that require very little processing power (static web pages for example) Macrumors could not run on one of those servers. The forums alone would kill the server in the processor demand for keeping the database upto date.
  3. *LTD* macrumors G4


    Feb 5, 2009
    We don't know what ARM is testing, but you can bet Apple already has an ARM-based Mac running OS X. And again, we don't know what ARM is testing.
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I doubt apple will drop x86 architecture but if they did go with that wacky decision, I'd be one of many people dropping the mac platform.

    I have certain needs and I don't see those needs being met with an ARM architecture.

    Of course this is all conjecture at this point
  5. longofest Editor emeritus


    Jul 10, 2003
    Falls Church, VA
    HP's ARM Server

    HP is introducing an ARM-based server.

    Now, before we go off the deep end and say "ooh... MacBooks based on ARM soon!!!", note that the server is aimed at the cloud server market, where you have a highly horizontally scalable application that doesn't require a lot of compute power on one core. Great for servers and cloud applications -- not so much for a desktop. Still, given Apple's interest in ARM and the perennial "Apple will switch the Mac to ARM" rumors, I thought I'd mention it.

    EDIT: found this thread, so merged my thread with this.


    Actually, not necessarily. The servers are for very little processing power per node. Right now we only have a handful of forum servers, but imagine having hundreds of forum servers with the ability to instantiate them on-request as demand grows. That's what cloud computing and horizontal scalability is all about. It doesn't take a lot of compute power to serve up webpages (even forum pages) to a few clients. spread that across hundreds of servers with dynamic instantiation and you have a cloud.

    I do have questions though on how the server will handle data volumes. x86 server CPUs have a ton of cache - ARM not so much. Just don't know how it will be able to work in a server environment.

    Regardless, I like seeing HP trying something new.


    Like I mention in my blog post linked above, I don't think this will be too hot a seller for a little while yet. More niche for now. Right now, virtualization is still hot, as it can be done with little to no impact on existing applications, and this server doesn't virtualize nor does it run x86 apps. To move to cloud architecture can often require a re-design, so companies are often slower to move unless they throw all their chips in like some did (Netflix is one great example).
  6. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    In my opinion, yet another chipset change for Apple's computer OS is a terrible idea.

    The last thing I want is all my £ spent on OS X intel software to be tipped down the drain after 3 years because Apple refuse to include the emulator in the latest OS. Again.

    And I also think developers would be pretty annoyed about having to learn to write for another architecture too. Again.
  7. ct2k7 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2008
    London or Florida
    We tried an ARM-based dual-core, A9 in a server for a web server, it didn't survive well.

    Then we tried it in a storage server, it survived. Performance wasn't great.
  8. HellDiverUK macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2009
    Belfast, UK
    ARM is being used for low-power servers already. Time Capsule is one. Feature rich routers with media servers, BitTorrent clients and USB ports for connecting external drives to are powered by ARM. Consumer NAS boxes are ARM based.
  9. longofest Editor emeritus


    Jul 10, 2003
    Falls Church, VA
    I wouldn't imagine that one single server would survive well. The idea is that you can pack a bunch of ARM servers into a condensed package, distribute the load, and scale up and down as needed.

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