Apple goes ARM

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BigEd
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by BigEd »

I'm prepared to be presently surprised - not that I expect to buy this coming generation of apple gear for a few years yet, but on the one hand Apple have a fine team of CPU implementers, and on the other hand JIT techniques for emulation have moved on a lot since they last had to do this. Oh, and on the third hand, as noted, sometimes performance isn't about the CPU anyway - it's about the GPU or the memory bandwidth or the storage speed or the responsiveness of the software.
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Elminster
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by Elminster »

True. Although the other issue of course is apart from memory on iMac it is just about impossible to change unless you buy the the £5k pro.
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by chinnyhill10 »

Elminster wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 5:38 pm
True. Although the other issue of course is apart from memory on iMac it is just about impossible to change unless you buy the the £5k pro.
Not just the Pro. It's a 5 minute job on the 27 inch (the biggest hassle for me was just laying the thing safely on the floor face down). No issue at all.

21 inch has to be done by Apple or an authorised repair shop. There's a video of how it's done here. The electronics side of it wouldn't worry me (other than the tiny connectors vs my fat fingers) but the glass removal does! https://eshop.macsales.com/installvideo ... 1594599713
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Elminster
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by Elminster »

chinnyhill10 wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:26 am
Elminster wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 5:38 pm
True. Although the other issue of course is apart from memory on iMac it is just about impossible to change unless you buy the the £5k pro.
Not just the Pro. It's a 5 minute job on the 27 inch (the biggest hassle for me was just laying the thing safely on the floor face down). No issue at all.

21 inch has to be done by Apple or an authorised repair shop. There's a video of how it's done here. The electronics side of it wouldn't worry me (other than the tiny connectors vs my fat fingers) but the glass removal does! https://eshop.macsales.com/installvideo ... 1594599713
I disagree. Not talking about people like us.

I have change the hard drive on my previous iMac 27inch before 5 or 6 years ago (Edit: Checked it was 2013 on a 2011 iMac), it is not easy particularly., I.e. it is not something your average user is going to do. (And it was more like 30 mins to swap the hard drive out). As it was I nearly ripped the monitor connector off the motherboard (it is only attached by a few bits of solder these days, still works as I donated it to a family member), so I would not risk doing that again on my not yet two year old iMac. And it gets worse each generation.

It is like taking laptops apart, which I did to my current Linux laptop to change the lcd screens, possible but a right pain in the bottom. Or mobile phones, I used to take them apart but I don’t bother with smartphones. The main issue being if you do damage an Apple it is almost impossible to get spare parts and then you have to pay more more to get it repaired than buy a new one.

And if you want to change the cpu without updating the rest of the Mac......

But these aren’t new complaints aimed at Apple, comes with the territory.
Last edited by Elminster on Mon Jul 13, 2020 11:27 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by Kazzie »

Elminster wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 9:30 am
It is like taking laptops apart, which I did to my current Linux laptop to change the lcd screens, possible but a right pain in the bottom.
I miss the built-like-a-tank IBM Thinkpads: designed for field repairs, with proper service manuals too. (Lenovo's ones have gone a bit fiddly and fragile, probably to keep up with the "thin brigade".)
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by Elminster »

Probably true of most IBM stuff. I had several thinkpads in the 00s and you could use them as a laptop of an odd shaped hammer. Same with the PCs as well in that era, easy to upgrade, built like a tank.

Before Macs I used to just build PC from parts, rebuild every 6 months. While I like the integration of the Mac, at times it can be frustrating when they get old and you can’t do much with them.

Edit: I think watching Louis Rossmann completely put me off upgrading any more Macs :)
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by Elminster »

Although having looked at upgrading my Linux box, which was state of the art 7 years ago, I can see why perhaps Apple are going ARM, the cpu cooling on the higher end intel;and processors now is huge. Some of them are about the size of two stacked Mac mini’s for for some of the monsters.
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by Elminster »

With the release of a new Intel iMac todayish, it looks like it will be a while before the iMac will get an ARM. I guess they could quite stretch the current lineup to last.

Good new for Mac intel owners as should mean they support Intel macs a little longer.

Some of the reviews on internet (you tube) show the ARM Mac mini dev kit very performant even though it is running an iPad processor, which is very promising.
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by richardtoohey »

Apple might be going ARM, but where's ARM going?

All this talk of Nvidia or TSMC buying ARM seems like a worse move than the SoftBank purchase - out of the frying pan and into the fire.

I'm no expert but these guys seem concerned about it:

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53637463
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53678506
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Elminster
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by Elminster »

richardtoohey wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 3:25 am
Apple might be going ARM, but where's ARM going?

All this talk of Nvidia or TSMC buying ARM seems like a worse move than the SoftBank purchase - out of the frying pan and into the fire.

I'm no expert but these guys seem concerned about it:

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53637463
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53678506
Yes indeed. Been a lot of buzz about that on the Mac you tube channels as well.

Not sure how much difference that would actually make to Apple, fairly sure they have a nailed down license whoever owns it.

But would be ironic if Nvidia bought it as Apple switched to amd gfx cards and their own metal gfx libraries after a tiff with Nvidia, which is a right pain for me as Blender is optimised for Nvidia.

But I guess the way ARM is licensed that wouldn’t really effect Apple that much.
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by BigEd »

Perhaps we need a sweepstake on how long it will be before Apple switch to RISC-V...
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by SarahWalker »

Depends on how good their ARM architecture licence is! I'd imagine they got quite a good deal, good enough to not have to worry about ARM's ownership for some time.
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by algenon_iii »

What did Apple do with the stake it in ARM back when it was formed by Acorn, Apple and VLSI? I guess they probably sold it sometime after the Newton ceased to be produced.
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by BigEd »

That's a great story: Apple (Scully) sold the stake at a great loss in order to survive.
https://www.cultofmac.com/97055/this-is ... ust-1990s/
Herman Hauser: “John Scully was running Apple at the time, and they were in real trouble, real financial trouble, and in fact they were about to go bust,” said Hauser. “The reason they didn’t go bust was because they sold their ARM stake that they had originally purchased for $1.5 billion for $800 million.”
From http://elleeseymour.com/2011/05/24/how- ... ved-apple/
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by algenon_iii »

Well Apple have finally unveiled their new ARM based CPU

https://9to5mac.com/2020/11/10/apple-un ... computers/
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by English Invader »

I don't wish to be a troll here but what do you guys see in Apple products? As far as I can tell, all they do is combine the inflexibility of Windows with the limited software support of Linux and ask two grand for the privilege :? .
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by BigEd »

"you guys" is almost always a bad sign: there is no consensus, there's a whole variety of people on here making a variety of choices. Different choices at different times, for different reasons.

If you don't see why someone might do something, think about what you might be missing. If it really matters, ask politely.

Otherwise it's just provocative posting with no benefit to the community.
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by guesser »

I know some creative types who pay the apple tax because they suit their workflow.
That said they're looking at non-upgradable 16 gig max RAM and saying "maybe Apples aren't for us anymore"
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Re: Apple goes ARM

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English Invader wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 10:31 am
I don't wish to be a troll here but what do you guys see in Apple products? As far as I can tell, all they do is combine the inflexibility of Windows with the limited software support of Linux and ask two grand for the privilege :? .
It's because their hardware lasts much longer. I still have an iPAD3 (the first model with retina screen) and it still works fine. At the same time (in 2012) I also bought an Asus tablet with Android and it stopped receiving updates within one year. It's battery went bad after two years while my iPAD is still in great condition.

Same for my first MacBook, model late 2008 .... (4GB memory) still running fine with the latest MacOS operating system (installed with a hack, but what the hack, it works!). My three year old Lenovo laptop with 16GB memory and Windows 10 has its display already replaced and is very, very, very slow. Both have an SSD drive installed.

So what do I see in Apple products? High quality hardware and very stable software.

BTW ... the software that I use is available on every mainstream platform: Firefox, Thunderbird, PHP-Storm, LibreOffice, TeamViewer, KiCad, Beebasm, Atomulator and so on :lol:
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Re: Apple goes ARM

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English Invader wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 10:31 am
I don't wish to be a troll here but what do you guys see in Apple products? As far as I can tell, all they do is combine the inflexibility of Windows with the limited software support of Linux and ask two grand for the privilege :? .
I guess for starters this thread is about Apple going ARM, so for the first time since Acorn disappeared (and I'm prepared to be corrected on this), you've got one of the top computer brands basing their line-up on the ARM architecture (I'm ignoring Windows on ARM as Windows is still mostly x86). As Acorn fans that's cause for intrigue/celebration.

Personally, I love my iPhone and iPad and think they do their jobs better than the android equivalents (for balance I have a Pixel 3a for personal use and an iPhone for work). They "just work" without me having to worry too much about how I layout my home screen, hardware is good quality, last for years with software updates, etc. Also integrate very well into a corporate environment.

I don't and have never owned a Mac so can't speak for them. Imagine similar qualities to the iPad/iPhone though - longevity, stability, quality. Not for tinkerers though I suspect.
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Re: Apple goes ARM

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English Invader wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 10:31 am
I don't wish to be a troll here but what do you guys see in Apple products? As far as I can tell, all they do is combine the inflexibility of Windows with the limited software support of Linux and ask two grand for the privilege :? .
For myself (as a macbook, windows, android, RISCOS Pi and in the past linux user) I like my macbook for the same reason I like classic old school 8-bit, 16-bit (other than the PC) and in the case of the Archie 32-bit computers. It just works. I'm writing this on my 10 year old macbook that still works just fine, would I buy a new one, possibly not as I'm tempted by the idea of chromebook (but I might get a used ARM-based mac at some point).

Finally as an Acorn fan I remember that Apple partnered with Acorn and VLSI to form the company we know today as ARM, whose processor designs they'll be using in their new laptops and desktops.
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Re: Apple goes ARM

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English Invader wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 10:31 am
I don't wish to be a troll here but what do you guys see in Apple products? As far as I can tell, all they do is combine the inflexibility of Windows with the limited software support of Linux and ask two grand for the privilege :? .
Actually that was one of the advantages for me in switching to Mac (in 2002, when they were all still PowerPC) from Windows, switching to MacOS X gave me an OS that gave me both UNIX (I'm a Computer Scientist, I teach Computer Architecture) and access to all the UNIX tools, and UNIX command line I use all time while still giving me all the great software I need to use everyday (Office, Acrobat, Photoshop, Premiere, etc -- stuff for which there is still no Linux version nor an open-source alternative that comes close) while offering plenty of different software choices to try (Keynote, Final Cut Pro, iPhoto, etc.). Also, at the time there was nothing else like my iBook G3 on the market in terms of power, cost and flexibility (I still have it, and it still works, although the display cable probably needs replacing).

It was also a breath of fresh air in usability compared to Windows systems at the time and made computing enjoyable for me in a way that using Windows hadn't been -- I'd switched from an Atari STe in 1998 to a home-built dual processor P2-350 based Windows machine running NT4/2000/XP during its lifetime. It was great machine but just not as enjoyable to use as the Atari had been or the Mac was.

Maybe I just like my computers to come from companies beginning with A (Atari, Apple, Acorn…). Interestingly, there were three of us who had been friends at school in the early-90s and very interested in computers (I had an Atari, one had Acorn, and the other a PC) and we'll migrated to Macs at roughly the same point for the same reason.

Personally, I've not yet seen a reason to switch to another OS/platform since then -- even though Microsoft are doing interesting things with WSL, and Apple are restricting some of the more UNIXy aspects of the OS. And the AArch64/Apple Silicon stuff has the potential to be revolutionary, both on the desktop (with Apple) and in the server space, (Amazon's Graviton2 based EC2 instances are supposedly very good).

Steve
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by SteveBagley »

algenon_iii wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 2:12 pm
Finally as an Acorn fan I remember that Apple partnered with Acorn and VLSI to form the company we know today as ARM, whose processor designs they'll be using in their new laptops and desktops.
Actually, I don't think they are using ARM processor designs -- they are just using the AArch64 instruction set. I think Apple's processor design owes more to PA Semi (whom apple bought to everyone's surprise in 2008 -- they made PowerPC chips and Apple had switched to Intel) than it does to ARM…

Steve
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by algenon_iii »

SteveBagley wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 2:25 pm

Actually, I don't think they are using ARM processor designs -- they are just using the AArch64 instruction set. I think Apple's processor design owes more to PA Semi (whom apple bought to everyone's surprise in 2008 -- they made PowerPC chips and Apple had switched to Intel) than it does to ARM…

Steve
That's interesting, thinking back I do recall something about Apple buying a semiconductor company.
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by Diminished »

English Invader wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 10:31 am
I don't wish to be a troll here but what do you guys see in Apple products?
I've been using Mac laptops since about 2005. Over that same period my desktop machines have always been PCs dual-booting Windows and Linux.

All of the above have strengths and weaknesses. I like options.
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by lurkio »

John Gruber wrote:
Ken Shirriff, on Twitter:

"With Apple’s recent announcement of the ARM-based M1 processor, I figured it would be interesting to compare it to the first ARM processor, created by Acorn Computers in 1985 for the BBC Micro computer. Designers were Sophie Wilson and Steve Furber.

"Here are the two dies at the same scale. The M1 is over twice as large physically as the ARM1. It has 16 billion transistors vs 25,000 for the ARM1. If you built the ARM1 using the same technology, it would be a pixel-sized speck."
https://daringfireball.net/linked/2020/ ... ed-to-arm1


Direct link to Twitter thread:

https://twitter.com/kenshirriff/status ... 0636212224

:idea:
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by BigEd »

That's great! Here's the twitter thread in an unrolled format.
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by JasonStonier »

English Invader wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 10:31 am
I don't wish to be a troll here but what do you guys see in Apple products?
I have iPhones, iPads, and a 2013 MacBook Air.

I got the Air because, while I was running a charity in Zambia I went to a conference of African leaders in Israel and of the 80 people there, 72 of them had Macs. Most common reason given - battery life and they never go wrong. That was certainly my experience as well - while living there without access to spares, my Mac was super reliable.

However having come back to the UK I now run Linux on the Mac laptop, and I'm much happier with it. Battery life is still ok-ish (3 hours out of a 7-year-old laptop running a non-accredited OS), and it's nice being free of the handcuffs of the Apple OS.

iPhone and iPad, however, I love. They just work, and work really well.
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by Andy1979 »

Well, reviews are out and it would appear that this M1 chip is rather impressive, including its x86 emulation layer for older apps.

https://www.theverge.com/21569603/apple ... rm-silicon

https://www.anandtech.com/show/16252/ma ... -m1-tested

@SteveBagley - interesting that PA Semi was founded by the lead designer for the StrongARM.
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Re: Apple goes ARM

Post by algenon_iii »

Interesting comment in the anandtech article that if correct seems to explain what is actually going wrt. to the M1 and ARM
helios24 - Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - link
Apple has an Architecture License with ARM. Basically the broadest license that ARM sells. If you didn't know this, ARM was founded as a joint venture between Apple and Acorn. Apple's license is also perpetual. That is the reason why Apple isn't interested in acquiring ARM. Apple does not use ARM designs, they use certain principles present in the ARM architecture and the ISA. Apple then makes cpus that can run ARM instruction set, that is the reason why you see big difference between apple designed SoC vs Qualcomm or ARM design.
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