How Apple Is Chipping Away at Intel


(Jolin Warren) #22

You’ve still not explained why an ARM chip can’t run Mac OS. I’ve never heard of any technical limitations preventing it. ARM chips evolved from the chips Acorn designed for its (desktop) computers. ARM stands for Advanced RISC Machines.

Apple never denied any of this. At the WWDC keynote, they denied that they were combining iOS and Mac OS, but made no comment on hardware at all (either present or future).

I’m not saying Mac OS on ARM will happen or is even likely. But there’s no technical reason it couldn’t. It would be useful if you could provide sources to the contrary, and be careful if taking second-hand overheard ‘information’ as fact.

Also, note that the article is not Josh’s – this is an ExtraBITS article and Josh is posting a summary of it.


(B. Jefferson Le Blanc) #23

That you’ve never heard of it doesn’t signify. But the answer actually is in the name. Before Apple switched to Intel chips the Mac used RISC processors from IBM and Motorola. But development had stalled on Power PC (RISC) processors so Apple was obliged to switch to Intel (which uses a CISC architecture) if they wanted to keep up with the competition. But ask yourself, if ARM chips are as capable as Intel, why does no one use them on a Windows or macOS system? ARM technology is improving, just about as fast as Intel tech. But it’s still old tech compared to Intel’s x86 processors. You can run Linux on an ARM device and, in fact, many people do. Linux is what the Android OS is based on. But you only see that in some tablets and mobile phones, just as with iOS. Here’s an article that explains some of he differences between ARM and Intel: http://www.alphr.com/features/390064/arm-vs-intel-processors-what-s-the-difference.

You can find a slightly more appropriate comparison here: https://www.quora.com/Whats-the-difference-between-ARM-and-x86-processors

And a complex description here: https://cs.stanford.edu/people/eroberts/courses/soco/projects/risc/risccisc/.

And here: http://www.edgefxkits.com/blog/what-is-risc-and-cisc-architecture/.

The upshot is, while RISC and CISC have their own advantages and disadvantages, they are not interchangeable. I found these articles on the web. You could, too, with a little initiative. And, frankly, so could Josh.


(jbayly) #24

Here are some benchmarks on Apple laptops in Geekbench 4:

Fastest MBP in 2010: 2314 single core, 4525 all cores.
Fastest MBP in 2017: 4625 single core, 15535 all cores

Percent increase in 7 years: 99.9% single core, 343% all cores

Here are some benchmarks on Apple iPhones in Geekbench 3 (No Geekbench 4 results were available for iPhone 4)

iPhone 4 (2010): 206/206

iPhone X (2017): 4312/10585

Percent increase in 7 years: 2093% single core, 5138% all cores

They are not increasing at the about the same rate.

And your proof that Apple couldn’t switch from Intel to Arm is that RISC and CISC are different. However, as you yourself pointed out, they’ve switched between RISC and CISC in the past. So that’s not a very strong argument.

You say that the tech isn’t ready, but that’s precisely the claim that you have to support. Are you seriously saying that one of the top chip teams in the world, with the advantage of a 7nm process (compared to Intel’s 14nm) and the resulting efficiency in both electrical usage and heat reduction cannot make a chip better than Intel? I think that’s probably not right, especially given the fact that they’ve already surpassed Intel’s single-core performance on the iPad Pro, using much less electricity.

The best arguments against Apple doing this have nothing to do with the tech “not being ready.” That’s precisely why they would do it—because Intel’s tech is not ready. They are just plain unable to get their chip production going under 14nm, which is a huge problem for Apple and other PC companies. No, the best arguments probably have to do with the number of chips Apple would need to design and maintain and update, along with the possibility of losing access to things like Thunderbolt or other Intel IP.

Just my 2 cents.


(jbayly) #25

Also, in case 7 years seems like too long to compare, the improvement from 2015 to 2017 is as follows (all Geekbench 3 numbers):

MacBook Pro mid 2015: 3830/14317
MacBook Pro mid 2017: 4200/16043
Percent increase: 9.7% and 12.1%

iPhone 6S (2015’s fastest): 2496/4345
iPhone X (2017’s fastest): 4312/10585
Percent increase: 72.8% and 244%

I didn’t run any iPad numbers.

Here’s the iPhone benchmark page I was using:
https://everyi.com/ibenchmarks/index-ipod-iphone-ipad-benchmarks.html

And here’s the Mac benchmark page:
https://everymac.com/mac-benchmarks/mac-notebook-benchmarks-intel.html


(Josh Centers) #26

I’ve had enough. I will not tolerate personal insults. End of thread.


(Josh Centers) #27