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darkgoob

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 16, 2008
312
303
First, let me get this out of the way: Intel has not been able to deliver 5nm chips. Taiwan Semi has.

  • 5nm means much better performance-per-watt.
  • 5nm runs much cooler.
  • 5nm means no more throttling due to heat like what happens today in a MacBook Pro, where heat is the limiting factor.
  • Apple could elect to support CHERI in their ARM implementation—a super-secure new processor architecture

All that said... this transition is going to be a royal pain in the butt for all users (except for brand new ones).

I have lived through all the major transitions: 16 to 32 bit. Motorola CISC to PowerPC RISC. MacOS 9 to MacOS X. PowerPC to Intel. 32-bit to 64-bit.

So let me tell you what this transition really means for many you:

  • many x86 binaries won't run natively, which means
  • goodbye to any Intel-platform-based VMs running with native performance (in WWDC 2020 Platforms State of the Union, Apple demo'd Parallels running an ARM version of Linux)
  • goodbye to locally running the same binaries in Docker that run on the server (Apple says Docker is not initially supported but they're "working with Docker over the coming months"—but I can't see how it could possibly work reliably with binaries that were precompiled for Intel servers)
  • goodbye to older peripheral hardware—like audio interfaces, for instance—these will stop working because it won't be worth it (or possible) for the devs to rewrite the drivers
  • goodbye to older software plug-ins, like all your current VST and AU3 plugins, Photoshop plugins, etc.—especially 32-bit ones (currently those can still be made to work on Catalina using compatibility wrappers, but I'll be shocked if that works on ARM Macs)
  • goodbye to BootCamp
  • goodbye to WINE games
  • goodbye to the few mainstream PC game ports we get nowadays... it will be a long time (possibly forever) before enough of these ARM macs are out there for it to be worth it for PC game makers to bother with native Mac versions, so we'll be forever doomed to the same horrible third-world garbage games as the dreadful Apple Arcade (sorry, speaking as a gamer, it SUCKS—none of these games come remotely close to taking advantage of devices like iPhone 11 Pro Max or iPad Pro 3rd/4th gen.)
  • reliability and performance of Intel apps running under Rosetta 2 will NOT be a guarantee—expect crashy, spotty performance
  • just like Rosetta 1, Rosetta 2 compatibility will get phased out sooner than many would like—after the end of the two-year "transition period", so by 10.18 or 10.19, which will be here much sooner than you'd like, forcing many users to have to rebuy thousands of dollars in software or not update
I've kept hoping after each of these transitions that it would finally have been the last one.

Each has laid waste to my software library and created a graveyard of unusable scanners, silent audio interfaces, unplayable games, and dead plugins that litter my closets and leech heavy metals into local landfills. All these items WOULD still be usable if Apple wasn't addicted to making users rebuy everything they own once or twice per decade.

So here is my advice:

Buy a really nice Intel Mac this year or next, and keep it forever.

Rather than look at this as a transition, look at it is an investment opportunity, because the final Intel Macs will hold their value extremely well.

Look at this as an opportunity to create a final version of what the Mac once was, which you can always keep as a treasure of a forgotten era. You'll now have a way to always and forever run your prior software and still use your old hardware.

I've been following this tenet the entire time. Yes, I own 37 Macs, stored across four rooms of my house on various desks. No, my significant other is not fond of this.

I can still run World Builder on my SE/30, and I can still run 10.6 and Windows 98 through Windows 8 VMs on my Mac Pro 2009.

I can still use my SCSI Nikon film scanner on my Beige G3 desktop. I can still run A-10 Attack on my 9600.

What I do with my IIfx and Quadra 950, however, is classified. Literally.

Just some advice.
 
Last edited:

pshufd

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,856
13,114
New Hampshire
My current approach is to use a mix of hardware and operating systems cooperatively. I could use a faster Mac right now and the Mini is the most attractive to me out of Apple's lineup in terms of price/performance and thermals. A friend uses one for trading and tells me that it runs quite hot (no surprise as that's Apple's lineup today except for the Mac Pro). So bring it on. It may very well be that used equipment goes up in price because of this. But what would you buy? The Mini's CPU is two years old. The Mac Pro is pricey. MacBooks have a ton of power in a small space. Same with iMacs.
 

iamMacPerson

macrumors 68040
Jun 12, 2011
3,441
1,830
AZ/10.0.1.1
To be fair, a lot of the arguments you're making now people were making when Apple switched from PowerPC to Intel. The truth is we just don't know what's going to happen. The people who bought the last of the PowerPC machines got shafted, considering you could still buy a new PowerMac G5 in Aug 2006 and Snow Leopard dropped support for it in Aug 2009.
 

pshufd

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,856
13,114
New Hampshire
To be fair, a lot of the arguments you're making now people were making when Apple switched from PowerPC to Intel. The truth is we just don't know what's going to happen. The people who bought the last of the PowerPC machines got shafted, considering you could still buy a new PowerMac G5 in Aug 2006 and Snow Leopard dropped support for it in Aug 2009.

It's fine for running email and console. It's slow as a dog for modern software.
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
13,115
17,188
Why do people insist on conflating “two years of transition to Apple silicon” with “Rosetta and it Universal binaries are being dropped in two years time”.

Where is that assumption coming from aside from blatant cynicism?
 
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iamMacPerson

macrumors 68040
Jun 12, 2011
3,441
1,830
AZ/10.0.1.1
PowerMac G5. I have one right behind me.

Nice haha. I have one as well, an original 2003 model that sits next to my 2009 -> 2012 Mac Pro. It runs great except it loves to rev it's fans. There's basically no modern software for it other than TenFourFox.
 

ghostface147

macrumors 68040
May 28, 2008
3,810
4,376
I'm really curious about Windows performance on x64 emulation. Granted virtualization has come a long long way since the G4 was emulating x86 (at Pentium 400 Mhz speeds) back in the early 2000's, but it's still something for me to consider.
 

pshufd

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,856
13,114
New Hampshire
I'm really curious about Windows performance on x64 emulation. Granted virtualization has come a long long way since the G4 was emulating x86 (at Pentium 400 Mhz speeds) back in the early 2000's, but it's still something for me to consider.

Running x86 will be about translation, not virtualization nor emulation.
 

endlessike

macrumors member
Jun 8, 2010
80
72
Look into Shadow as a gaming alternative. Pricey, but I was shocked when I played around with it for a month.

You don’t need every game ported to MacOS, you just need Shadow, or Stadia or Geforce Now.
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To be fair, a lot of the arguments you're making now people were making when Apple switched from PowerPC to Intel. The truth is we just don't know what's going to happen. The people who bought the last of the PowerPC machines got shafted, considering you could still buy a new PowerMac G5 in Aug 2006 and Snow Leopard dropped support for it in Aug 2009.

I have seen this sentiment a lot and actually couldn’t disagree more. At the time, everyone knew Apple couldn’t make a G5 laptop, and that for many use case scenarios even the G5 desktops were falling behind Intel’s offerings. I think people were very excited about the ability to do something like bootcamp, and happy to leave PPC behind.
 
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tfuentes3

macrumors member
Jun 11, 2016
30
32
Mexico City
To be fair, a lot of the arguments you're making now people were making when Apple switched from PowerPC to Intel. The truth is we just don't know what's going to happen. The people who bought the last of the PowerPC machines got shafted, considering you could still buy a new PowerMac G5 in Aug 2006 and Snow Leopard dropped support for it in Aug 2009.
The difference, this time: We are going to lose A LOT MORE than the PPC-> Intel transition.
 

ssgbryan

macrumors 65816
Jul 18, 2002
1,461
1,367
Why do people insist on conflating “two years of transition to Apple silicon” with “Rosetta and it Universal binaries are being dropped in two years time”.

Where is that assumption coming from aside from blatant cynicism?

We lived through the last transition.

10.6.8 hung around for a very long time. Just because Apple moved on, didn't mean that a lot of us didn't.
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I don't game but Steam for Mac was supposedly a big deal.

The audio stuff for me is going to be COMPLETE HELL.

Not if you move to Windows.

Come on in, the water is fine.
 

pshufd

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,856
13,114
New Hampshire
Not Enough to run Windows or Linux besides macOS, isn't it? The REAL OS, not the crappy ARM versions.

I don't know why you'd say that. I ran FX!32 back in the mid-1990s and it did just that. It ran Windows NT on an AlphaStation. The AlphaStation was a RISC machine that looked a lot more like ARM than CISC. It can be done. I've seen it done. It will not cover 100% of cases.

It's done in your browser today. Javascript JITs started back in 2008 at Mozilla and there were massive performance gains in Javascript execution due to JITs. It was on-the-fly translation. A degree in Computer Science helps in understanding. All of this technology has been around for a long time - it's just a matter of putting it together.

And I imagine a lot of software projects are pulling the build tools and doing test compile/links to gauge how much work it will be to port. How many porting projects have you worked on? It's not rocket science - it's computer science and it's straightforward.
 

pshufd

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,856
13,114
New Hampshire
I'm a Computer Scientist too and that's why I'm pretty much worried about this transition. CISC Architecture (The one ARM is based on) is really much simple, was created for much less complicated tasks and you know that. Parallel computing is practically impossible using this architecture. Are we using Mobile chips in Evolutionary Computation? I don't think so. Or just take a look at the mess that is Windows 10 in ARM. We are watching the end of the Mac as we know it and a lot of people will look to other companies because the Mac is physically incapable to run particular software in favor of the toy apps present in iOS/iPadOS.

This will be a serious concern, good to know it is not for you. But for the rest of us...

ARM is RISC, not CISC. One of the acronyms for ARM is Advanced RISC Machine.

Modern CISC processors are actually RISC processors with a decoding layer on top. So CISC machines are, at their core, RISC machines. I worked on Alpha chips in the 80s and the 90s and those were RISC architectures and nobody would call those machine unsuited for complicated tasks. They were often called mainframes.

Why do you think that the ISA determines the capability for parallel computing? We had multprocessor systems even back in the 80s and 90s that were RISC-based. We even had clusters. Mobile chips use a low-power process. High-power chips use a high-power process. Apple will have to use a high-power process if they want to achieve high-performance - I think that they can achieve better efficiency than Intel because Intel has bungled their transition to smaller geometries for the past almost-decade. They had a two process-node lead and squandered it.

Windows 10 on ARM is an implementation failure. You can do a good job or a bad job. Microsoft just did a bad job.

Where did you get your CS degree from? You sound like you don't know what you are talking about.
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
13,115
17,188
what's wrong with being cynical?
Nothing, I’m accused of it myself from time to time. But being willfully cynical by ignoring the clearly years of planning Apple has *already done* for this transition and instead just latching onto “I remember the last time” seems like being grumpy to just be grumpy.

This is a company that has an astounding record with chip design but people just wave that away like their last 10 years haven’t been anything short of astounding in this regard.

Theres a lot to gripe about with Apple, but their approach to chip design and deep integration of custom built software isn’t one of them.
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I don't expect to see any support for intel macs past 2021.
Can you be specific by what you consider “support”? I think we’ll be getting new OS compatibility (with features dropped of course for hardware that simply can’t do it) for at least 5 more years.
 
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Tech198

macrumors P6
Mar 21, 2011
15,916
2,150
Australia, Perth
First, let me get this out of the way: Intel has not been able to deliver 5nm chips. Taiwan Semi has.

  • 5nm means much better performance-per-watt.
  • 5nm runs much cooler.
  • 5nm means no more throttling due to heat like what happens today in a MacBook Pro, where heat is the limiting factor.
  • Apple could elect to support CHERI in their ARM implementation—a super-secure new processor architecture

All that said... this transition is going to be a royal pain in the butt for all users (except for brand new ones).

I have lived through all the major transitions: 16 to 32 bit. Motorola CISC to PowerPC RISC. MacOS 9 to MacOS X. PowerPC to Intel. 32-bit to 64-bit.

So let me tell you what this transition really means for many you:

  • many x86 binaries won't run natively, which means
  • goodbye to any Intel-platform-based VMs running with native performance (in WWDC 2020 Platforms State of the Union, Apple demo'd Parallels running an ARM version of Linux)
  • goodbye to locally running the same binaries in Docker that run on the server (Apple says Docker is not initially supported but they're "working with Docker over the coming months"—but I can't see how it could possibly work reliably with binaries that were precompiled for Intel servers)
  • goodbye to older peripheral hardware—like audio interfaces, for instance—these will stop working because it won't be worth it (or possible) for the devs to rewrite the drivers
  • goodbye to older software plug-ins, like all your current VST and AU3 plugins, Photoshop plugins, etc.—especially 32-bit ones (currently those can still be made to work on Catalina using compatibility wrappers, but I'll be shocked if that works on ARM Macs)
  • goodbye to BootCamp
  • goodbye to WINE games
  • goodbye to the few mainstream PC game ports we get nowadays... it will be a long time (possibly forever) before enough of these ARM macs are out there for it to be worth it for PC game makers to bother with native Mac versions, so we'll be forever doomed to the same horrible third-world garbage games as the dreadful Apple Arcade (sorry, speaking as a gamer, it SUCKS—none of these games come remotely close to taking advantage of devices like iPhone 11 Pro Max or iPad Pro 3rd/4th gen.)
  • reliability and performance of Intel apps running under Rosetta 2 will NOT be a guarantee—expect crashy, spotty performance
  • just like Rosetta 1, Rosetta 2 compatibility will get phased out sooner than many would like—after the end of the two-year "transition period", so by 10.18 or 10.19, which will be here much sooner than you'd like, forcing many users to have to rebuy thousands of dollars in software or not update
I've kept hoping after each of these transitions that it would finally have been the last one.

Each has laid waste to my software library and created a graveyard of unusable scanners, silent audio interfaces, unplayable games, and dead plugins that litter my closets and leech heavy metals into local landfills. All these items WOULD still be usable if Apple wasn't addicted to making users rebuy everything they own once or twice per decade.

So here is my advice:

Buy a really nice Intel Mac this year or next, and keep it forever.

Rather than look at this as a transition, look at it is an investment opportunity, because the final Intel Macs will hold their value extremely well.

Look at this as an opportunity to create a final version of what the Mac once was, which you can always keep as a treasure of a forgotten era. You'll now have a way to always and forever run your prior software and still use your old hardware.

I've been following this tenet the entire time. Yes, I own 37 Macs, stored across four rooms of my house on various desks. No, my significant other is not fond of this.

I can still run World Builder on my SE/30, and I can still run 10.6 and Windows 98 through Windows 8 VMs on my Mac Pro 2009.

I can still use my SCSI Nikon film scanner on my Beige G3 desktop. I can still run A-10 Attack on my 9600.

What I do with my IIfx and Quadra 950, however, is classified. Literally.

Just some advice.

Why must I BUY a really nice Mac ? Keep your current Intel around ...

In the same way Rosetta stayed during the tradition to Intel, i predict the same may be true gong to ARM based Macs...

However, one major difference... I don't think Apple can yank Rosetta away in the same fashion as before, as many more things would break... VM's for one would be a major issue. which you could argue, many Mac people may not rum this, however I'm sure Bootcamp would go as well...basically Apple closing the gap for good, they once had a grip on from 2006.



If Rosetta won't support VM's, why would Windows run nativally in Bootcamp?
 
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