Friday, February 7th 2020

Apple Finally Buying AMD CPUs? Pointers to Ryzens Found in MacOS Beta

Since its switch to the x86 machine architecture from PowerPC in the mid-2000s, Apple has been consistent with Intel as its sole supplier of CPUs for its Macbooks, iMac desktops, and Mac Pro workstations. The company's relationship with rival AMD has been limited to sourcing discrete GPUs. If pieces of code from a MacOS beta is anything to go buy, Apple could bite the AMD bullet very soon. References to several AMD processors were found in MacOS 10.15.4 Beta 1. These include the company's "Picasso," "Renoir," and "Van Gogh" APUs.

It's very likely that with increasing CPU IPC and energy-efficiency, Apple is finally seeing the value in single-chip solutions from AMD that have a good enough combination of CPU and iGPUs. The 7 nm "Renoir" silicon in particular could change the mobile and desktop computing segments, thanks to its 8-core "Zen 2" CPU, and a "Vega" based iGPU that's highly capable in non-gaming and light-gaming tasks. AMD's proprietary SmartShift feature could also be leveraged, which dynamically switches between the iGPU and an AMD discrete GPU.
Source: _rogame (Twitter)
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64 Comments on Apple Finally Buying AMD CPUs? Pointers to Ryzens Found in MacOS Beta

#1
ratirt
I am really curious about this renoir APU. I'm thinking about getting one of these although I'm not convinced it will be Mac. Anyway, Since Apple is going AMD that means the company does see value in the processors. No shock there.
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#2
R0H1T
It's unlikely they'll go from Intel to AMD, unless there's supply/pricing issues. They'll most likely switch to their own Axx at some point, there are probably as many reasons to suspect a switch to ARM (from x86) as there are wrt the move to AMD.
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#3
ratirt
R0H1T
It's unlikely they'll go from Intel to AMD, unless there's supply/pricing issues. They'll most likely switch to their own Axx at some point, there are probably as many reasons to suspect a switch to ARM (from x86) as there are wrt the move to AMD.
Do Apple really need to move from Intel to AMD. They can get both CPUs stuck in their products and make more performance wise tiers of laptops. And the x86 arch doesn't necessarily eliminate ARM. Apple can still make stuff with ARM powered CPUs.
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#4
R0H1T
I'm sure they won't move completely off x86, at least at first. What this move could do is probably give them a carrot & a stick with the pricing they negotiate with Intel, now we do know that code names don't mean much in & off themselves so I suppose we'll have to wait for a while to see if Apple does go with AMD. One of the things obviously going in favor of Renoir is the core count, not to mention IGP which are both way better than the best Intel has to offer at 10nm currently.
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#5
ratirt
R0H1T
I'm sure they won't move completely off x86, at least at first. What this move could do is probably give them a carrot & a stick with the pricing they negotiate with Intel, now we do know that code names don't mean much in & off themselves so I suppose we'll have to wait for a while to see if Apple does go with AMD. One of the things obviously going in favor of Renoir is the core count, not to mention IGP which are both way better than the best Intel has to offer at 10nm currently.
I know ARM is tempting and getting better each year (or every new release is better) but I agree with the idea, if moving it will be slow transition not boom we are here now. Same goes with AMD supplying for Apple's computers. I am so damn curious of the AMD's APU and since Intel isn't making any strides in the iGPU department, I'm really not surprised AMD takes edge.
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#6
shompa
Apple tried to source AMD in 2009. AMD simply could not deliver the number of CPUs needed.
AMD cant even today supply enough 12 core/16 Ryzen 3 and today is different since AMD simply could order more wafer starts.

If Apple would use AMD, it would be a custom solution like the PS5/Xbox Series X chip since macOS is GPU accelerated since 2002.

For companies like Apple/Dell/HP there is no reason to move to AMD. These large companies have huge rebates from Intel in the 50% range. That's why we home builders CANT build cheaper using the exact same parts. intel also pays 300-400 million dollars each year in "design fees" to OEMs. AMD does not play that games today.

If you like fast CPUs/innovation. Let's hope Apple instead finally announces ARM Macs / and or RISC V stuff. MacOS Darwin opensource port posted ARM ports for A10 SoCs years ago, so Apple has working macOS for ARM if they want. The developer tools are ready. The reason why Apple also killed 32bit apps are for ARM/RISC V migration. X86 uses 64bit extensions. Not real/optimized 64bit. Intel/AMD cant remove the 32bit ISA in the CPU without breaking their CPUs. Apple removed the 32bit ISA 3+ years ago on their ARM stuff. Instead, they could put on 2 more cores. X86 needs to die. Its 50 years old and people think it's normal that CPUs cost 300+ dollars + motherboard tax 100 dollars. Just a hint: Ryzen3 cost less to manufacture than A13 / A12X. Still, experts think SoCs cost 25 dollars but CPUs have 300+ dollar value.
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#7
ratirt
shompa
Apple tried to source AMD in 2009. AMD simply could not deliver the number of CPUs needed.
AMD cant even today supply enough 12 core/16 Ryzen 3 and today is different since AMD simply could order more wafer starts.
I wouldn't be so sure about it. From what's been in the ether for so long is that Intel has problems with supplying CPUs since last year. Maybe that is the reason Apple is going with some Apple computers with AMD.
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#8
ARF
Apple should go all AMD now because AMD CPUs are:
- faster;
- more power efficient because of the more advanced manufacturing node;
- require less physical space because the cores/mm density is higher;
- more hardware features - PCIe 4.0;
- more secure against hackers attacks

Apple should look for the new Navi 21 given also that AMD RDNA 2.0 Navi 21 is about to launch soon after successfully passing its official Korean RRA certification, according to some reports.
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#9
ratirt
ARF
Apple should go all AMD now because AMD CPUs are:
- faster;
- more power efficient because of the more advanced manufacturing node;
- require less physical space because the cores/mm density is higher;
- more hardware features - PCIe 4.0;
- more secure against hackers attacks

Apple should look for the new Navi 21 given also that AMD RDNA 2.0 Navi 21 is about to launch soon after successfully passing its official Korean RRA certification, according to some reports.
What if Apple has a contract with Intel for CPU supplies? They can't ditch it because of the penalty and they will still have to pay for the CPUs but they can go with additional company like AMD if Intel struggles with CPU delivery and/or if Apple wants to create another tier of laptops for whatever reason and stuck AMD stuff in there. That of course increases the number of available products. Maybe more variety in the market for different type of consumers. Who know.
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#10
TheLostSwede
ratirt
What if Apple has a contract with Intel for CPU supplies? They can't ditch it because of the penalty and they will still have to pay for the CPUs but they can go with additional company like AMD if Intel struggles with CPU delivery and/or if Apple wants to create another tier of laptops for whatever reason and stuck AMD stuff in there. That of course increases the number of available products. Maybe more variety in the market for different type of consumers. Who know.
You mean like how Intel couldn't stop stop making 4G modems for Apple, because they had a supply agreement and that's why there's a massive Intel CPU shortage now?
I'm sure the two could work something out...
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#11
jigar2speed
Looks like Apple is confused by AMD's most expensive consumer CPU in the world 3990X and considers AMD as premium brand. :D
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#12
john_
There is room for everything in the Apple ecosystem. Intel CPUs, AMD CPUs, ARM CPUs. AMD GPUs, Nvidia GPUs, probably Intel GPUs in a few months from now.
The question is if Apple wants something like that. They seem to restrict themselves to only one company. Intel for CPUs, AMD for GPUs.
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#13
ARF
Apple's market cap is 1,420B USD, while its supplier's market cap is only 287B USD.
Or in other words, how can a supplier 1/5th the size of Apple dictate them what to buy and punish them with penalties??

Just throw this contract out of the window because the supplier breaches the contract and that's that.
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#15
ratirt
TheLostSwede
You mean like how Intel couldn't stop stop making 4G modems for Apple, because they had a supply agreement and that's why there's a massive Intel CPU shortage now?
I'm sure the two could work something out...
Kinda. Well at least one would like to work something out when there's better opportunities around. not necessarily the supplier would be glad to stop supplying because customer has found something better.
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#16
windwhirl
Strange, I thought Apple was moving away from x86 to Arm...
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#17
ratirt
windwhirl
Strange, I thought Apple was moving away from x86 to Arm...
If it is moving (I think it is) It will not happen withing a month. X86 is stable and it's been with us since the beginning. It wouldn't be wise for a company like Apple to bet on a wrong horse. Wouldn't you say?
Be modern, try stuff but also be reasonable and when something goes wrong, you can always adjust to the new situation minimizing cost impact.
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#18
R0H1T
windwhirl
Strange, I thought Apple was moving away from x86 to Arm...
It is, in case you didn't notice ARM makes what 10x the profit for them (Apple) already than x86 especially over the last decade or so.
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#19
notb
Looking at the number of CPUs Apple needs (almost 20mln), this is almost surely beyond what AMD can deliver right now.

Moreover, Apple would order just a few SKUs, likely the high-end ones. Zen die production and binning result in a natural distribution of what AMD has to sell. So the actual capacity would have to be even larger

So it's unlikely we're talking about moving from Intel to AMD. It could be about adding a second supplier.
Or it's not happening at all and AMD CPU names appeared because of totally different reason. :)
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#20
Chloe Price
jigar2speed
Looks like Apple is confused by AMD's most expensive consumer CPU in the world 3990X and considers AMD as premium brand. :D
Mac Pros aren't for consumers ;)

Well, they've been already using AMD GPUs for years, so I don't see why they wouldn't move to AMD CPUs too.
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#21
ratirt
notb
Looking at the number of CPUs Apple needs (almost $20mln), this is almost surely beyond what AMD can deliver right now.

Moreover, Apple would order just a few SKUs, likely the high-end ones. Zen die production and binning result in a natural distribution of what AMD has to sell. So the actual capacity would have to be even larger

So it's unlikely we're talking about moving from Intel to AMD. It could be about adding a second supplier.
Or it's not happening at all and AMD CPU names appeared because of totally different reason. :)
Same feeling. Apple is not switching from Intel to AMD more like mixing things up or releasing new products in the market for certain consumers. If Apple is switching it won't happen over few months. The company isn't stupid nor crazy.
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#22
ARF
If AMD just differcifies its production orders not only to TSMC N7FF and GF N14/12 but also to Samsung N7 and GF N7, things would become better.

But of course, this is connected with the orders for its own CPUs that AMD receives, so if Apple really wants to, it can get rid of one supplier and push everything or most of the production and orders to AMD.
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#23
Kaotik
This isn't new, there has been pointers to AMD APUs in macOS at least since 10.15.2 Beta 3 last November.

ARF
If AMD just differcifies its production orders not only to TSMC N7FF and GF N14/12 but also to Samsung N7 and GF N7, things would become better.

But of course, this is connected with the orders for its own CPUs that AMD receives, so if Apple really wants to, it can get rid of one supplier and push everything or most of the production and orders to AMD.
There is no GF N7 (nor any 7nm for that matter) and you'd need to design separate chips for each process, even if they'd be all essentially the same chip. Samsung doesn't have "N7" either, they have 7LPP.
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#24
HwGeek
why not? even TB3 is not an issue anymore + think about 8C Macboock Air/MacboockPro 13" with Ryzen 4000 :).
They can add the 4700U/4800U as the top SKU's for higher price then Intel's offering .
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