News Posts matching #Mac

Return to Keyword Browsing

Apple Updates M1 Mac Mini with 10 GbE Upgrade Option

Apple has quietly added a new M1 Mac Mini configuration option to their website with an optional upgrade from the internal 1 Gbps Ethernet to 10 Gbps Ethernet at the time of purchase for 100 USD. The upgrade is only available as a factory option and cannot be added after purchase so those who require 10 GbE will want to purchase the upgrade at the time of purchase. For existing M1 Mac Mini owners it is possible to get 10 GbE with a USB 4 / Thunderbolt 3 dongle such as the OWC Thunderbolt 3 10G which retails for 149 USD. Why Apple has only just now decided to include this 10 GbE upgrade as an option and not with the original launch is unknown.

Apple Announces the 2021 iMac, Powered by M1 Chip, Featuring 4.5K Retina Display

Apple today introduced an all-new iMac featuring a much more compact and remarkably thin design, enabled by the M1 chip. The new iMac offers powerful performance in a design that's just 11.5 millimeters thin, with a striking side profile that practically disappears. Available in an array of vibrant colors to match a user's personal style and brighten any space, iMac features a 24-inch 4.5K Retina display with 11.3 million pixels, 500 nits of brightness, and over a billion colors, delivering a brilliant and vivid viewing experience.

The new iMac also includes a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, studio-quality mics, and a six-speaker sound system—the best camera and audio ever in a Mac. Also, Touch ID comes to iMac for the first time, making it easier than ever to securely log in, make purchases with Apple Pay, or switch user profiles with the touch of a finger. Combining the power and performance of M1 and macOS Big Sur, apps launch with blazing speed, everyday tasks feel incredibly fast and fluid, and demanding workloads like editing 4K video and working with huge images are faster than ever. The new iMac joins the incredible family of Mac models powered by M1, including MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini, marking another step forward in Apple's transition to Apple silicon. iMac is the most personal, powerful, capable, and fun it has ever been, and customers can order it beginning Friday, April 30. iMac will be available in the second half of May.

TSMC to Enter 4 nm Node Volume Production in Q4 of 2021

TSMC, the world leader in semiconductor manufacturing, has reportedly begun with plans to start volume production of the 4 nm node by the end of this year. According to the sources over at DigiTimes, Taiwan's leading semiconductor manufacturer could be on the verge of starting volume production of an even smaller node. The new 4 nm node is internally referred to as a part of the N5 node generation. The N5 generation covers N5 (regular 5 nm), N5P (5 nm+), and N4 process that is expected to debut soon. And perhaps the most interesting thing is that the 4 nm process will be in high-volume production in Q4, with Apple expected to be one of the major consumers of the N5 node family.

DigiTimes reports that Apple will use the N5P node for the upcoming Apple A15 SoCs for next-generation iPhones, while the more advanced N4 node will find itself as a base of the new Macs equipped with custom Apple Silicon SoCs. To find out more, we have to wait for the official product launches and see just how much improvement new nodes bring.

Valve Releases Official Steam Link App For macOS

Steam Link is a program developed by Valve which allows gamers to remotely play games from their main computer on other devices. The program originally launched for Android before expanding to iOS, Linux, Raspberry Pi, tvOS, and now macOS. The Steam Link application relies on Steam Remote Play technology which performs real-time H.264 video streaming over a low-latency protocol to the connected device, resolutions of up to 4K 60 FPS are possible if enough bandwidth is available. The Steam Link app is now available to download through the official Mac App Store and comes in at just 30 MB. Steam Link for Mac requires macOS 10.13 or higher along with a PC to host the games running on the same local network.

Apple is Discontinuing Intel-based iMac Pro

According to the official company website, Apple will no longer manufacture its iMac Pro computers based on Intel processors. Instead, the company will carry these models in its store, only while the supplies last. Apple will be replacing these models with next-generation iMac Pro devices that will be home to the custom Apple Silicon processors, combining Arm CPU cores with custom GPU design. Having a starting price of 4990 USD, the Apple iMac Pro was able to max out at 15000 USD. The most expensive part was exactly the Intel Xeon processor inside it, among the AMD GPU with HBM. Configuration pricing was also driven by storage/RAM options. However, even the most expensive iMac Pro with its 2017 hardware had no chance against the regular 2020 iMac, so the product was set to be discontinued sooner or later.

When the stock of the iMac Pro runs out, Apple will replace this model with its Apple Silicon equipped variant. According to the current rumor mill, Apple is set to hold a keynote on March 16th that will be an announcement for new iMac Pro devices with custom processors. What happens is only up to Apple, so we have to wait and see.

AMD is Preparing RDNA-Based Cryptomining GPU SKUs

Back in February, NVIDIA has announced its GPU SKUs dedicated to the cryptocurrency mining task, without any graphics outputs present on the chips. Today, we are getting information that AMD is rumored to introduce its own lineup of graphics cards dedicated to cryptocurrency mining. In the latest patch for AMD Direct Rendering Manager (DRM), a subsystem of the Linux kernel responsible for interfacing with GPUs, we see the appearance of the Navi 12. This GPU SKU was not used for anything except Apple's Mac devices in a form of Radeon Pro 5600M GPU. However, it seems like the Navi 12 could join forces with Navi 10 GPU SKU and become a part of special "blockchain" GPUs.

Way back in November, popular hardware leaker, KOMACHI, has noted that AMD is preparing three additional Radeon SKUs called Radeon RX 5700XTB, RX 5700B, and RX 5500XTB. The "B" added to the end of each name is denoting the blockchain revision, made specifically for crypto-mining. When it comes to specifications of the upcoming mining-specific AMD GPUs, we know that both use first-generation RDNA architecture and have 2560 Stream Processors (40 Compute Units). Memory configuration for these cards remains unknown, as AMD surely won't be putting HBM2 stacks for mining like it did with Navi 12 GPU. All that remains is to wait and see what AMD announces in the coming months.

China Gobbling Up Supply of Used Semiconductor Manufacturing Machines

As the tensions between China and the US seem to have come to stay for the foreseeable future, Chinese companies are now opting to resort to older technologies so as to shore up their semiconductor manufacturing capability and reduce dependency from US-based imports. With several companies feeling the tight rope of US-imposed sanctions on their ability to purchase critical supplies (which brought even giant Huawei to its proverbial knees), it seems like a safe bet that China doesn't really care to be on the cutting edge for all but the most mission-critical applications. This happens at a time when the world is still reeling from general semiconductor shortages (some 30% below demand levels). This results in used semiconductor manufacturing equipment - which according to some sources, was "worthless several years ago" - to now be flying from storage warehouses and directly onto factory floors as fast humanly possible. And sometimes, that equipment is acquired for a cool $1 million.

The litography equipment being bought-up (apparently, 90% of the available supply is headed to China) mostly churns out 200 mm wafers, as opposed to today's most modern processes' 300 mm. This means that it's not only the wafer etching machines that are required, but also all the other peripheral equipment that is indispensable to the manufacturing process, such as etching and cleansing machines. This has prompted certain companies, such as Canon, to re-release litography equipment for 200 mm processes - nine years after their last offering was put to sale. This could actually be a way to supplement existing semiconductor requirements, as not everything has to be in the cutting edge of semiconductor capabilities - the old "satisficing" adage could indeed prove a good solution to the increasing demand for semiconductors.

Apple M1 Processor Manages to Mine Ethereum

Ethereum mining has been a crazy ride over the years. In recent times, it has become very popular due to a huge surge in Ethereum prices, following those of the main coin currently present on the market - Bitcoin. However, Ethereum miners use a customized PC stocked with many graphics cards to mine the Ethereum coin. Any other alternative is not viable and graphics cards have a high hash rate of the KECCAK-256 hashing algorithm. But have you ever wondered could you mine Ethereum on your shiny new Apple M1-equipped Mac? Our guess is no, however, there are still some people making experiments with the new Apple M1 processor and testing its capabilities.

Software engineer Yifan Gu, working for Zensors, has found a way to use Apple's M1 GPU to mine Ethereum. Mr. Gu has ported Ethminer utility to Apple's macOS for Apple Silicon and has managed to get GPU mining the coins. While technically it was possible, the results were rather poor. The integrated GPU has managed to get only 2 MH/s of mining power, which is rather low compared to alternatives (desktop GPUs). Being possible doesn't mean it is a good idea. The software will consume all of the GPU power and it will limit your work with the GPU, so it isn't exactly a profitable solution.

NVIDIA Expands GeForce NOW Game Streaming Service to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Australia

NVIDIA has today announced the expansion of its GeForce NOW game streaming service to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. The company has worked closely with telecommunication providers to ensure that the streaming service is working well and now they can deliver even more gamers a chance to play their favorite games in the cloud. NVIDIA stated that: "It also offers an opportunity for the world's leading telecommunications firms to deliver high-quality, low-latency PC gaming to nearly any device from the cloud. These partners form the GeForce NOW Alliance, a partnership of operators using RTX Servers and NVIDIA cloud-gaming software to expand and improve cloud gaming globally."

As a reminder, the GeForce NOW is a game streaming service that "brings real-time raytracing to today's biggest blockbusters to underpowered PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, Android and iOS devices." You can access a wide range of games from almost any device and play as much as you like.

Linux Gets Ported to Apple's M1-Based Devices

When Apple introduces its lineup of devices based on the custom Apple Silicon, many people have thought that it represents the end for any further device customization and that Apple is effectively locking-up the ecosystem even more. That is not the case we have today. Usually, developers working on Macs are always in need of another operating system to test their software and try it out. It means that they have to run some virtualization software like virtual machines to test another OS like Linux and possibly Windows. However, it would be a lot easier if they could just boot that OS directly on the device and that is exactly why we are here today.

Researchers from Corellium, a startup company based in Florida, working on ARM device virtualization, have pulled off an incredible feat. They have managed to get Linux running on Apple's M1 custom silicon based devices. The CTO of Corellium, Mr. Chris Wade, has announced that Linux is now fully usable on M1 silicon. The port can take full advantage of the CPU, however, there is no GPU acceleration for now, and graphics are set to the software rendering mode. Corellium also promises to take the changes it made upstream to the Linux kernel itself, meaning open-source and permissive license model. Below you can find an image of Apple M1 Mac Mini running the latest Ubuntu OS build.

Alleged Apple M1X Processor Specifications Surface

Apple's silicon design team has recently launched its "fastest" CPU core ever, found inside the company's M1 processor designed for laptops and mini-PCs. Featuring an eight-core processor, where four cores are represented by low power small configurations, and four big, high-performance design cores, the M1 processor proved to be extremely fast. However, the Apple Silicon processor doesn't seem to cover anything higher than the 13-inch MacBook Pro. And that is about to change. When it comes to higher-end models like the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which provides more cooling area, it is logical that the processor for those designs is a higher performance design.

Enter the world of the Apple M1X processor. Designed for high-end laptops and the most demanding workloads, the new processor aims to create a new performance level. Featuring a 12-core CPU with eight big and four small cores, the M1X processor is going to deliver much better performance than M1. The graphics and memory configuration are currently unknown, so we have to wait and see how it will look like. The M1X is set to arrive sometime in Q1 of 2021, according to the source of the leak, so be patient and remember to take this information with a grain of salt.

Apple's M1-Based MacBook Air Benchmarked

When Apple announced that they are going to switch their Mac lineup from Intel-based x86 processors to the custom "Apple Silicon," everyone was wondering how the new processors will look and perform. To everyone's luck, Apple has just a few days ago announced its first Apple Silicon custom processor for MacBook. The M1, as the company calls it, is their first processor designed for higher-power and performance tasks The M1 features eight CPU cores (four high-performance and four-high efficiency) paired with eight cores dedicated to the graphics. On the die, there is also a 16-core neural engine made to accelerate machine learning tasks found in the new applications.

Today, we are getting the first GeekBench 5 CPU benchmarks that showcase just how far Apple has come with its custom design. What we have is the M1 processor found in MacBook Air. This Mac model features a passive cooling system, cooling a CPU with a base frequency of 3.2 GHz. The system scored 1719 points in the single-core result, and 6967 points in the multi-core result. The single-threaded results measure itself with some of the highest-end offerings from Intel and AMD, while the multi-threaded results are very good given the mix and match of small and big cores.

TSMC 5 nm Node Supply Fully Booked, Apple the Biggest Customer

TSMC has hit a jackpot with its newer nodes like 7 nm and now 5 nm, as the company is working with quite good yields. To boast, TSMC has seen all of its capacity of 7 nm being fully booked by customers like AMD, Apple, and NVIDIA. However, it seems like the company's next-generation 5 nm node is also getting high demand. According to the latest report from DigiTimes, TSMC's N5 5 nm node is fully booked to the end of 2020. And the biggest reason for that is the biggest company in the world - Apple. Since Apple plans to launch the next-generation iPhone, iPad, and Arm-based MacBook, the company has reportedly booked most of the 5 nm capacity for 2020, meaning that there are lots of chips that Apple will consume. TSMC can't be dependent only on one company like Apple, so the smaller portion of capacity went to other customers as well.

Apple's Custom GPU is Reportedly Faster than Intel iGPU

When Apple announced their transition form Intel processors to Apple Silicon, we were left wondering how the silicon will perform and what characteristics will it bring with it. According to the latest report from The China Times, the Apple custom GPU found inside the new Apple Silicon will bring better performance and energy efficiency compared to Intel iGPU it replaces. The 5 nm GPU manufactured on TSMC's N5 semiconductor manufacturing node is supposedly codenamed "Lifuka" and it brings Apple's best to the table. Planned to power a 12-inch MacBook, the GPU will be paired with a custom CPU based on Arm ISA as well. The same chips powering iPhone and iPad devices will go into MacBook devices, with the TDP increased as MacBook will probably have much higher cooling capacity. The first Apple Silicon MacBook will come in H2 of 2021.
Here is the copy of a full report from The China Times below:

A Battle Royale for the Ages: Apple Announces Decision to Remove Unreal Engine from iOS and Mac Tools; Epic Games Responds With Another Lawsuit

The epic (ahem) battle between Epic Games and Apple is becoming increasingly nastier, as Apple has communicated to the game and game engine developers that it plans on terminating all of Epic developer accounts on its ecosystem (both on iOS or MacOS) by August 28th. If done, this would impede not only Epic from developing for these systems, but also would impact any and all companies that actually employ the Unreal Engine in their development process, be it final or merely as a toolbox. It's case to say that Apple has its finger firmly set on the big, red button.

This move from Apple comes in wake of the calculated feud initiated by Epic Games last week with both Google and Apple. What some may have failed to see is that the Epic Games move was a coordinated, well-thought-out one, in that the company knew - or thought they knew - the full ramifications of what they were setting in motion. Epic Games, with its newfound budget and clout, is looking to become a banner for developers, spearheading a charge that is looking to brunt the walled garden approach. In fact, the company is even looking to form a "coalition of Apple critics", and is looking for companies to join its bandwagon in fighting against the Apple walled-garden and middle-man approach to software distribution.

Synaptics to Acquire DisplayLink, Extending Video Interface Market Leadership

Synaptics Incorporated today announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire DisplayLink Corp., a leader in high-performance video compression technology, for $305 million in an all-cash transaction. The deal is expected to close in Synaptics' first quarter of fiscal year 2021, subject to customary closing conditions, and be financed from existing cash on hand. Synaptics expects the transaction to add approximately $94 million in annualized sales and be immediately accretive to non-GAAP gross margins, non-GAAP operating margins, and non-GAAP earnings post-close.

DisplayLink's high performance software compression technology enables universal docking and casting of high bandwidth video from any device to any display using any transport medium such as USB, Ethernet or Wi-Fi. For the Enterprise IT market, the solution supports multi-OS environments including Windows, MacOS, ChromeOS and Ubuntu Linux enabling a myriad of devices to seamlessly dock to multiple high resolution (4K, 8K) displays.

TSMC to Manufacture Apple Silicon for Arm-Based Macs

Apple has recently announced its transition from Intel-based Mac computers to custom Arm-based Apple silicon equipped Macs. The speculations for such transition have lasted a few years and we finally got that confirmation. So the question remains: who will manufacture Apple's custom processors for Arm-based Macs? The answer is pretty simple. It is TSMC who will again become Apple's main supplier of silicon. With its broad offerings of the latest silicon nodes, it was no brainer choice for Apple. Combined with the history of collaboration with Apple, TSMC was the only choice for new Apple silicon. Whatever the company will use the new 5 nm node or use the "old" 7 nm one, the question remains.

TSMC expects to see huge orders from Apple in the second half of 2021, for Apple silicon, so Apple will become perhaps the biggest customer of TSMC. It is also worth pointing out that Apple will be using ASMedia's USB controller for Arm-based Macs, as the original report suggests.

SoftBank Reportedly Considering Selling Arm Holdings

According to the report from The Wall Street Journal, we have obtained information that SoftBank, owner of Arm Holdings, is considering a future of Arm Holdings without SoftBank's ownership. The report is indicating that SoftBank can either sell its subsidiary or make it go to public with Initial Public Offering (IPO). If we recall, SoftBank has purchased Arm Holdings in 2016 for 32 billion USD, and the company is potentially worth much more today. Arm Holdings was established as a joint between Acorn Computers, Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.), and VLSI Technology. The news of SoftBank selling Arm Holdings is coming just after Apple decided to make a Mac based on Arm ISA.

The report from WSJ says that the market interest for such acquisition is unknown, so there is a big possibility that SoftBank will ultimately do nothing and just keep the company. My speculations could be that Apple may have an interest in the company since it is using its royalties and intellectual property. If such a thing happens Apple would be forced to sign a deal by antitrust regulators that force the company to continue offering to license the ISA. After all, Apple was one of the founding members of the joint venture. The possibility of that is of course very low. If another option such as IPO happens, the company would still be in ownership of SoftBank, it would just go to the public trading market.

Apple Silicon Will Support Thunderbolt 4

Since Apple has announced its transition from Intel to its custom Apple Silicon processors, there has been quite a lot of speculations on what the new processors will bring. Just a few days ago, Intel announced the latest advancement of its Thunderbolt port in the form of Thunderbolt 4, which further advances the Thunderbolt standard with a heap of new features. Since Apple has decided to do away from Intel silicon, there has been a question whatever Apple will offer Thunderbolt 4 support on its Macs. And it seems like we don't have to wonder any further. In the statement below, which Apple spokesman gave to The Verge, the answer is loud and clear.
Apple spokesman for The Verge
Over a decade ago, Apple partnered with Intel to design and develop Thunderbolt, and today our customers enjoy the speed and flexibility it brings to every Mac. We remain committed to the future of Thunderbolt and will support it in Macs with Apple silicon.

Intel Announces Thunderbolt 4: Universal Cable Connectivity for Everyone

Today, Intel revealed new details about Thunderbolt 4, the next generation of its universal cable connectivity solution, delivering increased minimum performance requirements, expanded capabilities and USB4 specification compliance. For the first time, Thunderbolt 4 will offer docks with up to four Thunderbolt ports and universal cables up to 2 meters in length. Intel's upcoming mobile PC processors, code-named "Tiger Lake," will be the first to integrate Thunderbolt 4. Intel also announced the Thunderbolt 4 controller 8000 series, compatible with the hundreds of millions of Thunderbolt 3 PCs and accessories already available. Thunderbolt 4 developer kits and certification testing are now available.

"Thunderbolt provides consumers with a leading connectivity standard across a range of devices, helping to advance computing experiences and delivering on the promise of USB-C with simplicity, performance and reliability. The arrival of Thunderbolt 4 underscores how Intel is advancing the PC ecosystem toward truly universal connectivity solutions," said Jason Ziller, Intel general manager of the Client Connectivity Division.

Basemark GPU will be the first benchmark for Apple Silicon based Macs

On Monday 22nd of June Apple announced Mac transition to Apple Silicon. Even though this transition was quite expected, the industry got very excited upon the announcement. Apple released quite a lot of information about their plans, but one key question remained unanswered: how fast are Apple's new ARM based Mac chips?

Apple said people should expect pure performance in one category in particular - graphical performance. What is the performance difference over the Intel integrated graphics that ship in a new MacBook Air? There is no public information available about it.
Basemark Benchmark Apple Silion

Apple announces Mac transition to Apple silicon

In a historic day for the Mac, Apple today announced it will transition the Mac to its world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies. Developers can now get started updating their apps to take advantage of the advanced capabilities of Apple silicon in the Mac. This transition will also establish a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize their apps for the entire ecosystem.

Apple today also introduced macOS Big Sur, the next major release of macOS, which delivers its biggest update in more than a decade and includes technologies that will ensure a smooth and seamless transition to Apple silicon. Developers can easily convert their existing apps to run on Apple silicon, taking advantage of its powerful technologies and performance. And for the first time, developers can make their iOS and iPadOS apps available on the Mac without any modifications.

Apple to Announce its own Mac Processor at WWDC (Late June)

Apple is planning to launch its own high-performance processors designed for Macs at the 2020 WWDC, held in the week of 22 June, 2020. This would be the the first step among many toward the replacement of Intel processors and the x86 machine architecture from the Apple Mac ecosystem, in the same fashion as the company replaced PowerPC with x86 last decade. Apple has codenamed the process of graduating to the new machine architecture "Kalamata," and besides detailing the new processor and its architecture, the company could announce a large-scale developer support initiative to help Mac software vendors to transition to the new architecture in time for the first Macs with the new processors to roll out in 2021.

A Bloomberg report on the new processors states that the chips will be based on the "same technology" as the company's A-series SoCs for iOS devices, meaning that Apple will leverage the Arm machine architecture, and has probably developed a high performance CPU core that can match Intel's x64 cores in IPC and efficiency. Macs based on the new processors, will however run MacOS and not iOS, which means much of the clean-break transition woes between PPC and x86 Macs are bound to return, but probably better managed by software vendors. It also remains to be seen how Apple handles graphics. The company could scale up the Metal-optimized iGPU found in its A-series SoCs on its new Mac processor, while also giving them the platform I/O capability to support discrete graphics from companies such as AMD.

Apple Invests $330 Million into Micro-LED Factory

The information has been circulating the industry about Apple and its plans to integrate Micro-LED technology into its products for some time now. Micro-LED is a new display technology that allows for much better characteristics of panels like higher brightness, fuller color gamut, and higher dynamic range. The technology also offers a higher refreshing rate, wider viewing angles, and lower power consumption. Being that Micro-LED display is physically thinner, it will allow for more portable devices and it will leave more room for other components.

According to the report from CENS, a Taiwanese media, Apple is investing $330 million into a new Micro-LED factory for Apple devices. A future factory located in Taiwan is seeing major investments from the company. Being that Apple plans to use Micro-LED displays in its future products like iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, it is expected to see this move from them. However, Apple isn't doing it alone. They have partnered with Epistar, Taiwan's biggest LED producer and Taiwanese LCD panel maker, AU Optronics. These two are experienced makers of panels so they should help Apple successfully launch and operate manufacturing facilities.
Micro-LED Technology

Sonarworks Releases SoundID Listen: Personalized Sound on your Computer

Sonarworks had caught our eye back at CES 2019, when they showed off their then-still-in-progress mobile app for personalized sound signatures called True-Fi. The Latvia-based company has credentials to back all their claims, and the in-suite demo was impressive to say the least. Getting it out in the real world meant that the company had to build up their database of compatible headphones to first normalize the sound signature, and then work on the best option for recuperating R&D costs without breaking any wallets. As it turns out, the company had more insight on this at CES 2020 but are only now ready to show their retail plans in the form of SoundID.

SoundID, as both a mobile app (iOS, Android) and the new desktop SoundID Listen experience, takes over from where True-Fi started. The interface is more colorful and user-friendly to the masses, and the mobile app in the current beta form is being marketed more for profile-creation than usage, although it has the option to plug into your Spotify library. The older A/B tests are retained here, and at CES 2020 the app only had the "Core" experience. As of May, the app has new features to coincide with the desktop client's release, and read past the break for more on both.
Return to Keyword Browsing