Week In CPUs And Storage: Is Apple Gearing Up To Challenge Intel's Desktop CPUs?

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memadmax

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Apple using it's own proc may be the reason why the mac pro hasn't received any love or a follow on since 2013.

This may get interesting, if apple can make it affordable for once...
 

InvalidError

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As more and more software gets written for JiT-style environments, hardware manufacturers have that many fewer reasons to remain shackled to their previous platforms. Android has done it with ART/Dalvik, Microsoft has MSIL, Apple has one or two of its own, all of which heavily inspired from Java's JiT.

What does that mean for future hardware performance-wise? That remains to be seen and will depend heavily on future JiT compilers and profilers/optimizers. I am cautiously optimistic at best.
 

Plumboby

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apple being afforadable a joke they be dump to ditch intel if apple make there own processors to the pc market be a huge fail wouldn't touch apple over priced junk & software
 

nutjob2

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Intel's legacy architecture can't compete with ARMs in low power usage, and Intel is losing its process advantage, so Apple eventually porting macOS to ARM is inevitable. It serves not only a low power purpose which would allow them to have industry beating battery life, but it also makes them masters of their own domain, being able to design their own CPUs across their product ranges. Apple's PC line is a minority of their revenue, but it has some strategic value and Apple being "different" is also something that they've use strategically to hype their products.
 

ohim

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Apple makes absolutely nothing affordable, they are in for the money and to be a luxury brand so don`t expect anything. As for the CPU they either go for AMD`s Zen or the very crazy part would be to move everything to something on the lines of the mobile CPUs, but this would piss off so many people because they change again the architecture.
 

alidan

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Question, is there any apples to apples way to compare arm to x86 as we know it now? I know arm is better for low power, but from what I understood it lacked power. I know it was something where one of the iphone chips clock for clock beat out intel, or at least could beat it out, but somehow, I find arm taking over being VERY VERY doubtful, as having many android and IXXXX things, they NEVER handle anything smoothly, even if i just want it to be as smooth as my current phenom II 955 at stock speeds and ddr2. If they can not work there effectively, how the hell would the take over a real laptop or computer without brute force "I got so many cores every process has several" or some serious powering up that I have yet to even hear mentioned, only theoretical 'if they put this with a proper heat sync and clocked it to 2.5 or 3ghz it would beat a desktop'
 

Mostafa_17

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I question whether the CPU used in iphone is scalable. You are speaking of two distinct classes of CPUs: One is mobile, the other is Desktop. Right now, Intel's kaby Lake is almost five times more efficient than A10's high power cores. One reason is that the 25 watts chip inside iphones is very weak in real demands: For example, in tests which the hardware acceleration of their custom ARM is not a matter. For example, it only beats atom clovertrail+ 32 nm in 3d marks physics performance. It is not the only benchmark so, there are benchmarks which apple fails very badly, in addition to those famous good in. It means they certainly did use custom ICs rather than real CPUs which understand software well. Even now it is no more a secret Apple uses FPGA in iphone, circuits like for rendering HTML is very old Apple did to increase performance. But Intel's CPUs are made by an independent company and works across a lot of platforms without need for a driver or even complex optimizations. It makes a steady performance across many platforms. Whether it is OS or virtualization or programming languages or mobile/Desktop use. Intel's latest are king in both Desktop and mobile...
Intel's broadwell is so old, you must compare apple's a10 with it in real use, of course, it has less limitations... How do I say it? based on real use... My Laptop with haswell is very fast i7 quad core 37 watts, but in spite of it, 70% of battery use of my 4 hours laptop is by screen only, so, the CPU is much more efficient than screen. That's in windows 10 x64 with lots of programs on. Now, you suppose A10, this is like 90% of use is by CHIPs inside iphone (specially when using it mixed). Users complain about iphone 7 battery life extensively, one said if you run fitness app and run, it consumes 1% of battery every one or two minutes (or two percents in every one min/I don't remember well).
Intel's Kaby Lake is twice faster than Skylake. And Skylake? Intel Xeon E3-1240L v5: a 25 watts TDP CPU with 4 cores: How fast is it? Faster than quad core broadwell 65 watts and faster than haswell quad core 84 watts in every area. Price? Only $278...

Thanks!
 

d_kuhn

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If you're building email and web browsing machines then I'm sure Apple can put something compelling together - there's a lot of competition in the mobile space and a lot of evolution of low power chipsets. However... they're not going to build a high performance desktop processor that can compete... so if they try to shove that square peg mobile tech into the round hole desktop/workstation... even high performance mobile markets, they're just going to make their products that much less competitive. However - it would explain why the keep eliminating ports - their new processors won't have the performance to deal with a lot of peripherals. :p
 

jasonf2

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Apple may well do this but they won't be cheap. They don't play low margin games. If they are doing this all they are going for is a position similar to the Samsung/Quallcomm relationship. They will be able to put pricing pressure on Intel while at the same time be able to keep access to the performance Intel has to offer. I am no apple fan so I find it kind of funny that they risk the Windows RT Surface situation by splitting archs. No matter how well you optimize the OS to run dual they will be left making compromises especially in third party software optimization to processor extensions. Armchair football here but my guess for the "no love" situation has more to do with margin than anything else. As a diy pc builder over the years the pc sweet spot for the "ultimate" enthusiast build hovered around the three grand mark for about twenty years (Street price of components). In the last 5-10 years the enthusiast components have skyrocketed and some new expensive must have pieces (like NVMe SSD's) are now in the system specs. On top of that Intel isn't really giving that class the first in line to the new tech treatment that they used to get. The -E lineup doesn't do itself any favors by being a full core cycle behind. That ultimate build price is now well in excess of $6000. Mac knows that if their MSRP goes too far out of the top they will lose share back to Windows so they have a hardware ceiling that continues to be more restrictive as components go up. Mac will be more than happy to sell you a $10000 box from their website today. But it isn't a enthusiast dream machine with bragging rights, it is a high end graphic arts production machine with components that reflect that fact (Xeon and Firepro). The ARM integration will probably show up in their bottom end laptop products, which in my opinion is already under powered/overpriced and stuck in an ultra restrictive OS ecosystem. But I digress because as I said before I am not an Apple Fanboy.
 

Robert Collins

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"Geekbench 4 scores are calibrated against a baseline score of 4000 (which is the score of an Intel Core i7-6600U). Higher scores are better, with double the score indicating double the performance."

Apple has a mobile CPU that is competitive against Intel's 15W TDP chip from 2 years ago. Its a joke to say this threatens Intel's desktop CPU dominance.



passmark single core:
Intel Core i7-6600U @ 2.60GHz 1,828 2 core 15W TDP 3.4GHz turbo Q2 2015
Intel Pentium G3250 @ 3.20GHz 1,862 $59.99
Intel Core i7-7700K @ 4.20GHz 2,640
 

Papatom

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You must be joking to use Geekbench to compare different processors.
It is known that GB promotes having 'features' (you get 0 score from not having a feature GB recognizes). And guess what - yes, GB promotes mostly features new Apple chips have. There were (in the G3 vs. Pentium 3 era) accusations of strong bonds between Geekbench creators and Apple. Nothing changed in all these years.
AFAIR my old Phenom 955 (3.2GHz) was worse (performance-wise) than Apple A8.

Like what? -- like the memory bandwidth, AES score (and some other I can't remember) had such a strong impact on the overall score that they made A8 (yes, the puny mobile chip) get better GB score than Phenom 2 955.

So no, do not take Geekbench scores too seriously.

OTOH what upcoming Apple chip will deliver is entirely different matter. Time will tell.
 

Zapin

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How is Apple supposed to be competition to Intel when they currently do not fabricate much of anything themselves atm. Maybe eventually the Athena fab facility will able to supply many of Apple's SOC demand but their own needs will require Apple to use other companies like TMSC for years to come.
Apple is a consumer of CPUs, not a supplier. Intel has actual competition in the CPU space as illustrated by the fact that Apple was able to choose not to use Intel in many of their products. It is much more accurate to say that ARM could become a competitor to x86.
 

Dikyashi

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Apple will not try to compete with intel(at least in PC desktop market).Apple will most likely use their own varient of AXX fusion chips for macs .This will not only save apple some $$$ but also compel intel to lower thier cpu prices for macs.Will this affect consumers??...The answer is simply No.Apple will still sell their macs at the same price while enjoying profits by using their own chip.
 

Rhinofart

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CAPTAINCHARISMA Oct 29, 2016, 12:44 PM
first apple fails to put OSX on the macbook pro and now they want to replace their laptops with a mobile CPU. apple is all about fail now

What the hell are you talking about? My MacBook Pro has run OS X from the day I bought it.... Almost 6 years ago now. 6 years old, i7 Quad 16Gb RAM, and 1 TB SSD. And guess what. It's only ever crashed ONCE, and that was my own fault. It still runs everything I need with no problems, all while running a small Virtualbox Environment of 1 2012r2 DC, 2012r2 Fileserver, 1 Win7, 1 Win8.1, 1 Win X, and a Sophos UTM 9.4 instance. Oh, and A Kali Linux VM that I fire up when I'm hired for Pentesting.
 

alextheblue

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ILs are good, but the code still should be compiled to native in most cases prior to use. It can be done in the cloud these days. Using the example of a common UWP app, you can cloud-compile to native for whatever targets are supported - including when new targets are added or you push out an update. Obviously this depends on your code, but every major release they broaden UWP's reach and capabilities. Others are doing the same. Eventually the underlying architecture won't be as vital as it is today - except for the usual legacy and business software.

But on the topic of Apple's possible shift - I would say Apple is not going to change anything for most of the market. They're interested primarily in increasing margins and/or cost competitiveness by supplanting Intel chips with ones of their own design. So in the short term, I only see AMD giving Intel significant competition. In the future though, AMD or others could very well build ARM/MIPS/whatever chips and we may see arch agnostic software enabling such a shift. Certainly not going to happen overnight, if it happens at all. Much of that depends on Intel.
 

SockPuppet

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Remember what happened last time Apple didn't have Steve Jobs at the helm, and PowerPC processors in their Macs? Oh yeah, they went bankrupt and nearly delisted from the NASDAQ.
 

gnarr

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What everyone seems to be forgetting is that Apple has been doing everything that they can do be compatible with video games. They have been saying "A mac can do anything a PC can, and more" for years.

The move from x86 to ARM would kill close to 100% of the games that run on MacOS today, and it would take years before MacOS would have anything other than Angry Birds and Farmville.
 

Kostas Kritsilas

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A couple of corrections:

There were two platforms that OSX (now MacOS) was originally written to run on: PowerPC and Intel. So to say that OSX/MacOS were built around the Intel platform is not quite accurate.

As well, Apple has made two major platform changes thta have worked reasonably well: 1. from 680XX to PowerPC, and 2. From PowerPC to Intel. So they do know how to make an acceptably smooth platform transition, and could easily make the transition from Intel to ARM, should they be inclined to build sufficiently powerful ARM CPUs.

My main question is whether this is worth doing, or not? Macs no longer represent the biggest part of Apple's revenue stream; the iPhone does. So does Apple take chip designers away from new iPhone CPUs to design Mac CPUs, or do you continue to use those chip developers to keep the iPhone competitive?

As for
 

InvalidError

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Neither. You simply design your one CPU architecture to scale both ways with some application-specific tweaking.

Although Intel has failed to gain market traction with its low-power x86 chips, it has at least proven that it can scale its desktop CPUs down to 4.5W (Core m3/m5/m7 series) and still deliver competitive performance.
 

Smlarkin

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Apple may doing traditional "orphan its users" with a new CPU chip that will not play the
the OS10 software. The Appstore gets rich selling selling new applications to run on the new platforms while bankrupting the Apple users by forcing upgrades.
Do they really think they can top an I7 Cpu? Apple computer sales have been in a decline for several years and this will kill their laptop market. They would be better off
offering an AMD processor and a cheaper computer. At least it would run legacy OS10 applications.
 
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