Tuesday, November 6th 2012

Apple May Ditch Intel for CPUs in Macs, But It's Not Over to AMD

In the coming years, Apple could end its partnership with Intel for supply of CPUs, according to a Bloomberg report, citing Gartner research. The company plans to make a transition from x86 to ARM for its Mac product line, which includes MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, and Mac Mini. Such a transition would be similar to the one Apple took from PowerPC to x86 machine architecture, across 2005-06. According to the report, Apple's engineers are confident of designing an ARM-based chip of their own that's powerful enough for mainstream personal computing on Mac products. Apple's engineers foresee a convergence of technologies between mobile devices (such as the iPhone and iPad), and Macs. Currently, Apple designs its own processors for iOS devices, which are ARM-based.

Source: Bloomberg
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74 Comments on Apple May Ditch Intel for CPUs in Macs, But It's Not Over to AMD

#1
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
I'm not too surprised, even more so with the release of 64-bit ARMv8.
Posted on Reply
#2
Kaynar
If this happens, will it still be possible to install Windows OS on Macbooks?
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#3
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: Kaynar
If this happens, will it still be possible to install Windows OS on Macbooks?
No, and the entire "hackintosh" ecosystem will collapse.
Posted on Reply
#4
eidairaman1
by: Kaynar
If this happens, will it still be possible to install Windows OS on Macbooks?
probably RT
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#5
xaira
rt only comes preinstalled, the macbook air will be thinner than it is now...wtf, macs will be completely ontop of the ooh its soo thin market
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#6
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: eidairaman1
probably RT
Not going to happen, because:
  • Apple will custom-design its chips, and in interest of its own software platform, those chips might lack virtualization features
  • Changing an operating system on an ARM platform is nothing like changing it on an x86 PC.
  • Windows RT isn't available to customers (end-users), it's only available to device makers (just like Android is), there's no "Windows RT installation disc."
  • Like Mac OSX, Windows RT can't run Crysis, either (there's zero incentive left in going Windows)
Posted on Reply
#7
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
This isn't very good imo. The iMacs are still nice machines, and you can use Windows on them.. I'm more interested in what they will do with the Mac Pro.
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#8
xenocide
This rumor pops up every 3 months. I've been hearing it since AMD first launched APU's, saying the end was near because the iGPU was better on APU's, and now it's moved on to ARM since ARM CPU's are the best thing since sliced bread (until Intel refines its mobile platform). I doubt they would completely get rid of Intel because a lot of people pay top dollar for high-end Macs.
Posted on Reply
#9
Fourstaff
by: xenocide
This rumor pops up every 3 months. I've been hearing it since AMD first launched APU's, saying the end was near because the iGPU was better on APU's, and now it's moved on to ARM since ARM CPU's are the best thing since sliced bread (until Intel refines its mobile platform). I doubt they would completely get rid of Intel because a lot of people pay top dollar for high-end Macs.
Problem is that Apple is always testing different stuff, and anything remotely interesting to them gets published as "rumors".
Posted on Reply
#10
FreedomEclipse
Crazy Dogmatic Bullsh!t!
by: btarunr
No, and the entire "hackintosh" ecosystem will collapse.
and the Appledroid shall rise :rockout::rockout:

ok, I admit - that was terrible.

Here are some other ideas:

Mackinroid
Appleroid
Droidtosh
Posted on Reply
#11
de.das.dude
Pro Indian Modder
This would be interesting indeed. I really hope they will switch to ARM. This will bring ARM upto the main market of personal computers.
Posted on Reply
#12
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
ARM has a lot of advantages, low heat output being one very important one. but don't think intel won't have something that can compete or is better than the ARM arch
Posted on Reply
#13
Fourstaff
by: Easy Rhino
ARM has a lot of advantages, low heat output being one very important one. but don't think intel won't have something that can compete or is better than the ARM arch
Intel is producing CPUs for phones (Medfield and its successors), ARM needs to massively step up their game if they want to displace x86.
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#14
3870x2
by: Fourstaff
Intel is producing CPUs for phones (Medfield and its successors), ARM needs to massively step up their game if they want to displace x86.
Their game has been stepped up quite a bit lately.

To tell you the truth, these dumbass companies aren't going to care if they get a significant decrease in processing speed.

Processing speed doesn't sell. a PC that you can fit in your purse does.

This makes me worry about the enthusiast market just a bit.
Posted on Reply
#15
W1zzard
I don't see any ARM CPU even remotely close to any decent x86 processor today.

Run Sunspider benchmark in your browser now and compare to ARM below: http://www.webkit.org/perf/sunspider-0.9.1/sunspider-0.9.1/driver.html



On the other hand, with Moore's Law taken into account, Apple could make an ARM processor that's about a third the performance, at higher price, and people will still buy it -> more money for Apple
Posted on Reply
#16
TheMailMan78
Banstick Dummy
by: btarunr
No, and the entire "hackintosh" ecosystem will collapse.
So will its market share. Its like they forgot what happen before Jobs came back. Morons. x86 is the best thing that has ever happen to Apple.
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#17
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
by: 3870x2
Their game has been stepped up quite a bit lately.

To tell you the truth, these dumbass companies aren't going to care if they get a significant decrease in processing speed.

Processing speed doesn't sell. a PC that you can fit in your purse does.

This makes me worry about the enthusiast market just a bit.
The speed game is over anyway (for most users). I think tablets/convertibles/AIOs will dominate in the future, hardcore gamers and power users will be regulated to workstations. Pretty much like today but with way less standard desktop setups (which are totally not needed for most people, and people are annoyed with them). Whenever people ask me nowadays what to buy I tell them either laptops or AIOs.
Posted on Reply
#18
3870x2
by: W1zzard
I don't see any ARM CPU even remotely close to any decent x86 processor today.

Run Sunspider benchmark in your browser now and compare to ARM below: http://www.webkit.org/perf/sunspider-0.9.1/sunspider-0.9.1/driver.html

http://images.anandtech.com/doci/6309/49915.png

On the other hand, with Moore's Law taken into account, Apple could make an ARM processor that's about a third the performance, at higher price, and people will still buy it -> more money for Apple
the xolo is an intel x86(atom) while the iphone 5 is arm v7. The apple a6 (arm) beats the intel x86.
Posted on Reply
#19
TheMailMan78
Banstick Dummy
by: W1zzard
I don't see any ARM CPU even remotely close to any decent x86 processor today.

Run Sunspider benchmark in your browser now and compare to ARM below: http://www.webkit.org/perf/sunspider-0.9.1/sunspider-0.9.1/driver.html

http://images.anandtech.com/doci/6309/49915.png

On the other hand, with Moore's Law taken into account, Apple could make an ARM processor that's about a third the performance, at higher price, and people will still buy it -> more money for Apple
Never mind things like Photoshop and stuff. If Apple does this its gonna be full of fail.
Posted on Reply
#20
wickerman
Well there is some truth to the idea, Apple was a founding member of ARM holdings as a joint venture with 2 other companies. And Apple has already proven to be quite capable in creating their own chips using the licensed technology, not simply the cookie cutter designs of some competitors.

So the fact that can tightly control the hardware and software like nobody's business makes this an interesting idea. But I honestly can't see Arm chips replacing Intel chips anytime soon. The performance just isn't there to compete with a a higher TDP intel quad core Ivy Bridge, not even on the graphics front.

I could see them releasing a Air inspired competitor to Google's ChromeBook though. Perhaps focusing tightly on iCloud integration and some evolution of iOS that would be scaled to fit iPhones and iPads.

But their investment in x86 was no small thing, rewriting much of their OS and drawing in some industry software leaders. Hell today Apple is a viable gaming platform, something you couldn't say since the days of Oregon Trail. TF2 & steam, the new Guild Wars 2, lots of the Call of Duty franchise. Between all the tier 1 software vendors and the now budding games library, to make a drastic change to their entire line up would be absurd.

Atom is a viable alternative to current generation ARM chips and holds significant power savings compared to Ivy Bridge, but Apple already said a cut back x86 isn't going to make for competitive products, and you saw that with their willingness to ignore the whole netbook craze. But there is no denying they are now a CPU design house. They will find ways to leverage and expand on that.

A new iOS and a new sub-Air like the ChromeBook I can see, but an ARM powered 27' iMac I just don't see it. So I'd agree, just rumors right now. Ever since the intel switch there have been rumors of going back to the PowerPC chips, or Cell, and recently these Arm rumors.
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#21
Fourstaff
Reporting Sunspider! http://www.webkit.org/perf/sunspider-0.9.1/sunspider-0.9.1/results.html?%7B%22v%22:%20%22sunspider-0.9.1%22,%20%223d-cube%22:%5B19,18,19,19,19,20,18,19,19,19%5D,%223d-morph%22:%5B18,18,18,18,20,20,18,19,18,18%5D,%223d-raytrace%22:%5B24,24,24,24,27,24,24,23,23,25%5D,%22access-binary-trees%22:%5B3,3,3,3,3,3,4,4,3,3%5D,%22access-fannkuch%22:%5B14,13,13,15,15,14,14,13,14,16%5D,%22access-nbody%22:%5B10,10,10,11,11,9,10,10,10,11%5D,%22access-nsieve%22:%5B5,6,7,6,6,6,6,6,6,6%5D,%22bitops-3bit-bits-in-byte%22:%5B2,2,2,3,2,2,3,2,2,2%5D,%22bitops-bits-in-byte%22:%5B8,7,7,8,8,7,7,8,7,7%5D,%22bitops-bitwise-and%22:%5B5,5,6,6,6,5,5,6,6,5%5D,%22bitops-nsieve-bits%22:%5B12,12,11,12,11,11,12,11,11,11%5D,%22controlflow-recursive%22:%5B4,4,4,5,4,4,4,5,4,5%5D,%22crypto-aes%22:%5B12,13,13,14,12,12,12,12,13,12%5D,%22crypto-md5%22:%5B9,10,10,10,10,10,10,9,10,11%5D,%22crypto-sha1%22:%5B10,11,10,10,10,11,11,11,11,11%5D,%22date-format-tofte%22:%5B19,19,18,19,21,19,18,19,18,18%5D,%22date-format-xparb%22:%5B18,19,19,39,20,19,19,19,20,19%5D,%22math-cordic%22:%5B5,5,5,7,6,5,6,5,6,6%5D,%22math-partial-sums%22:%5B18,17,18,33,18,18,18,18,17,18%5D,%22math-spectral-norm%22:%5B8,7,7,13,6,6,6,7,6,10%5D,%22regexp-dna%22:%5B18,17,17,16,17,16,16,16,16,17%5D,%22string-base64%22:%5B11,10,10,21,11,10,10,10,10,9%5D,%22string-fasta%22:%5B21,19,20,20,20,19,21,19,19,19%5D,%22string-tagcloud%22:%5B56,52,49,77,49,48,54,49,48,46%5D,%22string-unpack-code%22:%5B57,56,57,57,55,55,57,54,55,66%5D,%22string-validate-input%22:%5B28,26,29,27,26,26,30,26,29,27%5D%7D

I think I need a faster machine :o
Posted on Reply
#22
brandonwh64
Addicted to Bacon and StarCrunches!!!
According to Geekbench...

iPhone 4S = ~620
Pentium 3 @ 1.4ghz = ~740 (+19%)
Intel Atom D525 @ 1.80ghz = ~1750 (+182%)
I5 2500k @4.5ghz = ~10,400 (+1577%)

So basically a top end smartphone today is about as fast as a low end Pentium 3 in its heyday. The next quadcores should be as fast as or faster than the Atom.
Posted on Reply
#23
W1zzard
by: 3870x2
the xolo is an intel x86(atom) while the iphone 5 is arm v7. The apple a6 (arm) beats the intel x86.
run the benchmark in your browser, on a real machine, not some POS x86 clone.
Posted on Reply
#24
W1zzard
Sunspider benchmark is single threaded, right? So you need to add another factor of 4-8 on top of that
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#25
Fourstaff
by: W1zzard
Sunspider benchmark is single threaded, right? So you need to add another factor of 4-8 on top of that
Heavy reliant on single thread, but you can see small improvements in multithreaded processors iirc. That said, ARM cores now comes in 4's, so we can ignore the multicore scaling.
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