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Apple to Develop the Metal Family of GPUs, Dump AMD Radeon

In the next big step toward complete silicon independence, Apple is planning to dump AMD as a supplier of discrete GPUs in the near future, closely following its decision to dump Intel and the x86 machine architecture in favor of its own SoCs based on the Arm machine architecture. The company is developing its own line of discrete GPUs under the "Metal GPU Family," a name borrowed from its own Metal graphics API.

This explosive bit of information comes from a WWDC 2020 presentation slide posted by Longhorn (@never_released) on Twitter. The slide suggests that along with the processor, Apple is making a clean break with its graphics hardware. The SoCs powering client-segment Macs, such as future iMacs or MacBooks, could feature iGPUs based on this graphics architecture, while larger platforms such as MacBook Pros, Mac Pros, and iMac Pros of the future could feature Apple's own discrete GPUs.

Apple's Homebrew Mac Processor to Leverage Arm big.LITTLE

The first homebrew processor for Macs by Apple could leverage Arm big.LITTLE technology, according to a slide from a developer-relations presentation leaked by Erdi Özüağ of Donanim Haber. Apple is referring to the setup as "asymmetric cores" in its documentation, although it essentially is big.LITTLE, a technology that's been implemented by Arm SoC vendors since 2012. It combines groups of low-power (high-efficiency) and high-performance (low-efficiency) cores in response to processing demands by software, with the high-performance cores only been engaged when needed. Intel only recently introduced its rendition of this tech, called Hybrid Processing, with its Core "Lakefield" processor, and looks to scale it up with future chips such as "Meteor Lake."

Besides a multi-core big.LITTLE CPU, the Apple SoC features dedicated AI acceleration hardware, including a neural engine and matrix-multiplication hardware (dubbed ML accelerators), a dedicated video hardware encoder and decoder, and memory controller that's optimized for UMA (unified memory) for the iGPU and system memory. Apple has already started shipping Mac Mini prototypes with an Arm-based processor to its ISVs along with a special version of MacOS "Big Sur" and a wealth of software development kit to help port their x86 Mac software over to the new machine architecture.

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 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.

AMD Reports Second Quarter 2019 Financial Results

AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) today announced revenue for the second quarter of 2019 of $1.53 billion, operating income of $59 million, net income of $35 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.03. On a non-GAAP basis, operating income was $111 million, net income was $92 million and diluted earnings per share was $0.08.

"I am pleased with our financial performance and execution in the quarter as we ramped production of three leadership 7nm product families," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "We have reached a significant inflection point for the company as our new Ryzen, Radeon and EPYC processors form the most competitive product portfolio in our history and are well positioned to drive significant growth in the second half of the year."

MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Updated for Back-to-School Season

Apple today updated MacBook Air, adding True Tone to its Retina display for a more natural viewing experience, and lowering the price to $1,099, with an even lower price of $999 for college students. In addition, the entry-level $1,299 13-inch MacBook Pro has been updated with the latest 8th-generation quad-core processors, making it two times more powerful than before. It also now features Touch Bar and Touch ID, a True Tone Retina display and the Apple T2 Security Chip, and is available for $1,199 for college students.

MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are also part of Apple's Back to School promotion, which includes a pair of Beats Studio 3 Wireless headphones with the purchase of a qualifying Mac notebook or iMac. With their sleek, portable designs, Retina displays, great everyday performance, all-day battery life and running macOS, Mac notebooks have never been more popular in higher education, with Student Monitor data showing nearly 60 percent of US college notebook buyers own a Mac.

AMD Announces the Radeon Pro Vega II and Pro Vega II Duo Graphics Cards

AMD today announced the Radeon Pro Vega II and Pro Vega II Duo graphics cards, making their debut with the new Apple Mac Pro workstation. Based on an enhanced 32 GB variant of the 7 nm "Vega 20" MCM, the Radeon Pro Vega II maxes out its GPU silicon, with 4,096 stream processors, 1.70 GHz peak engine clock, 32 GB of 4096-bit HBM2 memory, and 1 TB/s of memory bandwidth. The card features both PCI-Express 3.0 x16 and InfinityFabric interfaces. As its name suggests, the Pro Vega II is designed for professional workloads, and comes with certifications for nearly all professional content creation applications.

The Radeon Pro Vega II Duo is the first dual-GPU graphics card from AMD in ages. Purpose built for the Mac Pro (and available on the Apple workstation only), this card puts two fully unlocked "Vega 20" MCMs with 32 GB HBM2 memory each on a single PCB. The card uses a bridge chip to connect the two GPUs to the system bus, but in addition, has an 84.5 GB/s InfinityFabric link running between the two GPUs, for rapid memory access, GPU and memory virtualization, and interoperability between the two GPUs, bypassing the host system bus. In addition to certifications for every conceivable content creation suite for the MacOS platform, AMD dropped in heavy optimization for the Metal 3D graphics API. For now the two graphics cards are only available as options for the Apple Mac Pro. The single-GPU Pro Vega II may see standalone product availability later this year, but the Pro Vega II Duo will remain a Mac Pro-exclusive.

Apple Announces Groundbreaking Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR

Apple today introduced the all-new Mac Pro, a completely redesigned, breakthrough workstation for pros who push the limits of what a Mac can do, and unveiled Apple Pro Display XDR, the world's best pro display. Designed for maximum performance, expansion and configurability, the all-new Mac Pro features workstation-class Xeon processors up to 28 cores, a high-performance memory system with a massive 1.5TB capacity, eight PCIe expansion slots and a graphics architecture featuring the world's most powerful graphics card. It also introduces Apple Afterburner, a game-changing accelerator card that enables playback of three streams of 8K ProRes RAW video simultaneously.

Pro Display XDR features a massive 32-inch Retina 6K display with gorgeous P3 wide and 10-bit color, an extreme 1,600 nits of peak brightness, an incredible 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and a superwide viewing angle, all at a breakthrough price point. Together, the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR are the most powerful tools Apple has ever put in the hands of pro customers and will change pro workflows forever.

QNAP Introduces New 10GbE and Thunderbolt 3 NAS TVS-x72XT Series

QNAP Systems, Inc. today released the new TVS-x72XT NAS series, powered by 8th Gen Intel Core processors with both 10GBASE-T and Thunderbolt 3 high-bandwidth connectivity for tackling heavy workloads and smoothly transferring, displaying and editing 4K videos in real-time. By supporting M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs and graphics cards, the TVS-x72XT series provides the ability to boost performance and create a scalable working environment for high-speed file sharing and collaboration.

The TVS-x72XT series features quality hardware and excellent performance with multiple 10GBASE-T and Thunderbolt 3 ports to provide workstations with high-capacity and high-throughput storage," said David Tsao, Product Manager of QNAP, adding "the TVS-x72XT series is also an exceptional storage base for iMac Pro users as they can flexibly choose between Thunderbolt 3 and 10GbE connections to suit their application and device needs."

Apple Deprecates OpenGL and OpenCL from MacOS

Apple, at WWDC 2018, announced that with the latest update to MacOS, its operating system for iMac desktops and MacBooks, the company is deprecating two of the industry's leading APIs, OpenGL and OpenCL, in a bid to boost adoption of its own Metal API. OpenGL and OpenCL applications will continue to function on MacOS 10.14, but the APIs themselves will be deprecated going forward. The removal of OpenGL from future MacOS releases breaks most AAA cross-platform games playable on the Mac, particularly distributed over Steam. The deprecation of OpenCL comes as a surprise to the scientific community, as several computational applications running on Mac Pros will be affected. Adobe Creativity Suite applications take advantage of both APIs. Apple is pushing for Metal's compute-shader features to replace the API.

Apple to End the x86 Mac Era in 2020

One of the biggest tech stories of the 2000s was Apple's transition from the PowerPC machine architecture to Intel x86, which brought the Mac closer to being the PC it so loathed. The transition wasn't smooth, as besides the operating system, practically every third-party software developer (eg: Adobe), had to rewrite their software for the new architecture, with new APIs, and new runtime environments. Apple could be bringing about a similar change before the turn of the decade.

Apple already builds its own application processors for iOS devices, and some of the newer chips such as the A11 Bionic and A10 Fusion have already reached the performance levels of entry-level x86 desktop processors. It's only a matter of time before Apple can build its own SoCs for Macs (that's not just iMac desktops, but also Mac Pro workstations, MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro). That timeline is expected to be around 2020. Since these chips are based on the ARM machine architecture, they will mandate a major transformation of the entire software ecosystem Apple built over the past decade and a half. Intel shares dropped by as much as 9.2 at the first reports of this move.

Ethereum Mining Wipes Out Radeon Inventory, AMD Stock Rallies

AMD Radeon graphics cards have always been too good at GPGPU for their own good. The new Ethereum block-chain compute network, with the Ethereum crypto-currency, works really really good with AMD Radeon Graphics CoreNext architecture-based GPUs (that's every AMD GPU since Radeon HD 7000 series). As a result, not only have Ethereum prospectors bought out nearly all inventory of AMD Radeon graphics cards from the market, but also forced an inflation of used AMD Radeon graphics cards on online tech-forums, and used-goods stores on eBay and Amazon. Some of these used cards are priced higher than even launch-prices.

Every $1,000 spent on AMD Radeon hardware towards Ethereum mining is recovered within 2 months, and then as long as your hardware lasts and you're paying your power bills, you're swimming in crypto-currency that can be converted to Bitcoin and even US Dollars. One Ethereum (ETH) exchanges to USD $265 at the time of this writing. There's already $330 million worth Ethereum being traded, and that number is only going to grow as people sell USD or BTC to buy ETH and pay for entry into the Ethereum network, and use ETH as a crypto-currency.

Apple to Update its Mac Pro Line of Desktop Computers

For some users, it's been a long time coming. For others, it just meant that Apple had given up entirely on the desktop ecosystem, choosing to focus on its "mainstream luxury" approach towards selling phones with a BOM of $219 for $1000. Most others, though, will probably look at this update as more of a passing shot than an actually thought-out product development.

For now, Apple is going to update the innards of its Mac Pro line with some pretty interesting (if expectable) hardware: the $2,999 model sees a two-core bump from the quad-core Intel Xeon E5 3.7 GHz processor towards a six-core Intel Xeon E5 3.5 GHz. The same path will be followed by the $3,999 model, bumping towards an eight-core Intel Xeon E5 3 GHz processor from the six-core Intel Xeon E5 3.7 GHz processor that just kept on giving since 2013. Both models have also been updated with dual AMD FirePro D500 and D700 GPUs. The $2,999 model also sees an increase in its available memory, from 12GB of DDR3-1866 memory to 16GB.

Samsung Intros the ArtPC Pulse Premium Desktop

Samsung drawing inspiration from Apple on product design is not new. Its latest is a cylindrical desktop PC that bears semblance to the Apple Mac Pro. To be fair to Samsung, the Mac Pro is technically a multi-GPU ready workstation powered by Intel Xeon processors. The new ArtPC Pulse Premium Desktops from Samsung, on the other hand, are just that - Windows desktops. Measuring 5.5 inch x 5.5 inch x 10.7 inch, this desktop packs in some premium PC hardware, flash memory, and an integrated 360° speaker system by Harman Kardon attached to its body.

The ArtPC Pulse comes in two main variants, the base $1,199 model featuring Core i5-6400 processor, 8 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory, and 256 GB NVMe SSD storage; and a higher $1,599 variant featuring a Core i7-6700 processor, 16 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory, and a 1 TB HDD in addition to the 256 GB NVMe SSD. Both variants feature AMD Radeon RX 460 graphics with 2 GB of video-memory. Other connectivity includes 802.11ac WLAN, gigabit Ethernet, SDXC card reader, five USB 3.1 ports (including a type-C port), and HDMI 2.0b display output.

Dune Case is the Mac Pro Lookalike That Everyone Can Have

Dune Case is a premium small form-factor PC case that should instantly remind you of the latest Apple Mac Pro, but packing whatever hardware (or software) you wish it had, in its 260 mm x 215 mm x 215 mm dimensions. Its designer is raising $130,000 on Kickstarter to get it to the shelves, and has already raised half the amount, with 8 days of fundraising to go. You can back the project from this page. The aluminium-built case comes in rose gold and black.

Unlike the Mac Pro, which features a cylindrical design with key components arranged along three sides of a triangular structure, with cooling machinery taking up its center; the Dune Case takes a different approach. It's spit into three compartments vertically along the bore of the cylinder, with the center holding a mini-ITX motherboard, one side with room for a full-height yet under 185 mm graphics card (connected to the motherboard through a PCIe riser); and the third compartment holding two 2.5-inch drives. A custom rear panel plugs into your motherboard, and an SFX power supply (not included) fuels your build. The main air channel is a 140 mm spinner that spouts warm air from the top.

MSI Vortex is a Mac Pro Inspired Dual-GPU Monster

MSI unveiled its latest desktop under its coveted MSI Gaming logo - the Vortex. This compact gaming desktop features a design that's heavily inspired by the Mac Pro - a cylindrical case with three planes, and key components arranged along those planes, with a common air channel running through the bore of the cylinder. Much like the Mac Pro, the MSI Vortex packs a wallop.

In its base configuration, the MSI Vortex comes with an Intel Core i5 "Skylake" desktop quad-core processor, and two GeForce GTX 960 (desktop) graphics cards in SLI. The top variant gives you a Core i7-6700K quad-core chip, and two GeForce GTX 980 (desktop) cards in SLI, making it capable of 4K Ultra HD gaming. Sharp edges aside, the Vortex comes with RGB LED lighting. Not just design, MSI appears to have taken cues from Apple on even pricing - the base model is expected to be priced around US $2,000.

OWC Releases New 4.0TB Aura SSD Upgrade for 2013 Mac Pro

OWC, a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, announced today the immediate availability of the OWC 4.0TB Aura SSD Upgrade for the 2013-current Apple Mac Pro. The Aura SSD for Mac Pro is the first internal SSD upgrade for the 2013-current Mac Pro and debuted at CES 2015 offering up to 2.0TB of capacity. The all-new 4.0TB model shipping just in time for CES 2016 doubles the capacity available offering up to 16x the capacity of the standard factory drive and 4X the capacity of the maximum factory SSD/flash option.

The 4.0TB OWC Aura SSD for 2013-current Mac Pro (black cylinder models) includes the award-winning OWC Envoy Pro SSD enclosure, making it easy to repurpose the original factory-installed Mac Pro SSD as an elegant aluminum-body external drive for incredible portable performance. OWC also provides free how-to installation videos and a special tool needed for straightforward end user/do-it-yourself installation.

Buffalo Introduces the DriveStation Ultra 10-drive Thunderbolt 2 DAS

Buffalo Americas, a leading provider of external storage, network attached storage (NAS) and networking solutions, today announced availability of its new DriveStation Ultra, a high-capacity direct attached storage solution ideal for businesses and professionals that demand fast data transfer speeds for large files, such as high resolution 4K video.

Professionals working in video production, gaming development, CAD design and more require both fast data transfer of extremely large files and the capacity to store them in a convenient form factor that is readily accessible. The DriveStation Ultra was designed to meet the performance and capacity needs of these industries with its 10-drive design, delivering up to 80 TB in a desktop form factor. Equipped with Thunderbolt 2, Mac users can experience write speeds up to 1243 MB/s using RAID 0.

OWC Announces Accelsior S PCIe-SATA Riser Board

Other World Computing announced today the Accelsior S, a new PCIe card with direct mount support for a 2.5" SATA 6Gb/s SSD. The latest addition to OWC's award-winning Accelsior line enables PC, Mac Pro tower and Thunderbolt interface expansion chassis users to quickly and easily add additional storage. Utilizing the robust PCIe architecture, the Accelsior S card offers both storage expansion and 6Gb/s speeds up to 550MB/s - more than double the performance of SATA 3Gb/s.

When equipped with the Accelsior S PCIe card and an SSD, Mac Pro tower and PC users can launch, capture, render and process I/O-intensive apps without long wait times. The Accelsior S PCIe card is also extremely easy to install - no drivers or software are required.

RAIDON Announces Stardom Thunderbolt2 ST4-TB Thunderbolt Dock

The fastest, most versatile I/O in any desktop of any size, Up To 25x Faster than firewire800, Thunderbolt 2 technology in ST4-TB is phenomenally fast. The two Thunderbolt 2 ports on ST4-TB features dual 20-Gbps channels for data transfer and that's up to four times faster than USB 3. But beyond speed, Thunderbolt gives you unprecedented expansion capabilities. You can daisy-chain as many as six Thunderbolt devices to a single port. And since Thunderbolt is based on Display Port technology, Mini Display Port devices like Apple LED Cinema Display can plugs right in, too.

For field editing applications, the ST4-TB can be made portable as it comes with a grip handle, which you can choose to install for making creative contents mobile convenient and less bulky. With two optional storage modes, user can choose between RAID 0 and independent mode. In RAID 0 mode, the enclosed four drives will be striped and combined into one large volume for storage to enhance the data transfer speed performance. Under the Independent mode, the enclosed drives are seen as four separate volumes instead of one single volume.

Transcend Releases DDR3 RDIMM Modules for Apple Mac Pro

Transcend Information, Inc., a worldwide leader in storage and multimedia products, is proud to announce its launch of 16 GB and 32 GB DDR3 Registered DIMM (RDIMM) modules aimed at maximizing memory in Apple Mac Pro 2013 systems. With four user-upgradeable memory slots available, Transcend's latest high-performance DDR3 RDIMMs can boost Mac Pro 2013 Intel Xeon E5 3.5 GHz 6-Core, 3.0 GHz 8-Core, and 2.7 GHz 12-Core models to 64 GB, 96 GB, and even 128 GB total memory capacity.

"The new Mac Pro 2013 is advertised to support up to 64 GB of memory, and we understand that pro users running applications that place high demands on RAM have a need to meet and most likely exceed this threshold," said Angus Wu, Director of Research and Development at Transcend. "For this reason, we have developed and fully tested higher density modules to give users the option of raising their Mac Pro system memory to the advertised 64 GB right up to 128 GB."

HighPoint Intros Thunderbolt Storage Companions for 2013 Mac Pro

HighPoint Technologies, a pioneering force in the storage industry for the past 18 years, delivers a diverse selection of Thunderbolt Storage products and solutions for Mac Pro platforms. From quick, convenient dual-bay storage docks with hot-swap connectivity, to professional class hardware-RAID storage towers, PCIe expansion enclosures and Rackmount chassis solutions. Easy to use, fast and versatile, HighPoint Thunderbolt Solutions are ideal storage companions for any 2013 Mac Pro workstation.

New AMD FirePro Deliver Unprecedented Levels of Performance for Mac Pro

AMD announced dual AMD FirePro professional graphics solutions (GPUs) deliver unprecedented levels of performance for the new Mac Pro. The AMD FirePro D300, D500 and D700 professional GPUs offer exceptional compute power and reliability for creativity and productivity in a wide range of applications. With industry-adopted OpenCL (Open Computing Language) support, Mac Pro users have the ability to seamlessly edit full-resolution 4K video and simultaneously render effects in the background, and still have enough performance to power up to three high-resolution 4K displays.

These new AMD FirePro GPUs are built on the strength of AMD's award-winning Graphics Core Next GPU design -- an architecture conceived from the ground up to intelligently manage rendering and compute workloads. The combination of AMD FirePro GPUs and OpenCL -- strongly supported by both Apple and AMD -- is designed to deliver massive compute and graphics performance in one compact solution.

Crucial Announces New Memory Lineup for Mac Pro Systems

Crucial, a leading global brand of memory and storage upgrades, today released a new lineup of high-performance memory solutions specifically designed for the new Mac Pro systems. This new memory is engineered to meet the component densities, speeds, and Serial Presence Detect (SPD) programming specifications of the new Mac Pro workstations, and is now available in densities up to 16 GB through select global channel partners and at www.crucial.com.

The new modules designed for Mac Pro workstations operate at 1866 MHz, which is the fastest mainstream DDR3 ECC UDIMM and RDIMM speed currently available, allowing users to leverage all the capabilities of the new Mac Pro systems. For further performance gains, modules are available in densities up to 16 GB. These high-speed, high-density memory modules provide users with increased system responsiveness, faster application load times, and an increased ability to multitask with ease when using data-intensive programs such as Apple FinalCut Pro or Adobe Photoshop software.
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