Discussion Apple Silicon M series thread

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Doug S

Golden Member
Feb 8, 2020
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There was rumors are that the Mac Pro is going to be refreshed with Icelake-W. They can release that whenever or even be cancelled. And also an ARM product that could be called Mac Pro but would really be something like a Mac Mini but bigger.

I would not be at all surprised to see Apple selling x86 and ARM versions of the Mac Pro concurrently for several years. I wouldn't even be totally shocked if they announced a new x86 Mac Pro AFTER they announce the first ARM Mac Pros, though it seems more likely they'll announce a new x86 model soon (maybe even tomorrow?) and the first ARM models next June.

Not because the ARM Mac Pros won't exceed them in performance (they will) but because the high end niche and possibly custom[*] applications they buy a Mac Pro to run will be the last to be ported, and those among them who are more risk averse will want to wait a while for the early adopters to shake out the bugs.

[*] Not sure if it is still true today but I know some of the Hollywood SFX studios were running internal (some heavily modified open source, some developed from scratch) scene rendering code on Macs ~10 years ago
 

StinkyPinky

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2002
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Performance wise what can we expect from the GPU side of things? Currently have the 5500M on my mac, it's ok, but nothing amazing.
 

Ajay

Lifer
Jan 8, 2001
11,576
5,264
136
I've read that there will be no large iMac (27/30") announced tomorrow. If true, I wonder why. NOT enough GPU performance yet???

Oh well, <24 hours an we will know what's what.
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
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I've read that there will be no large iMac (27/30") announced tomorrow. If true, I wonder why. NOT enough GPU performance yet???

Oh well, <24 hours an we will know what's what.
GPU performance will be more than enough for 98% of iMac users.

I suspect Apple has been hit by component shortages as well, like everyone else in the industry. Not the SoC, but the smaller ICs.

So, it makes sense to prioritize their biggest sellers, those being the laptops. The rumour mill was more iffy about the Mac minis, but one of the more respected leakers is saying it should come tomorrow too.


Less than 24 hours left until the event. Here's what I'm hoping to see:

LPDDR5 (please, please let it be max 128GB)
Double the amount of cores (both CPU and GPU)
4K HDR mini-LED display in MBP16
PCIe Gen 4 SSD
Already available games running in Windows ARM edition at 3050 Ti performance level
The pundits are claiming 64 GB max for M1 Pro/Max. They are also saying:

Double the number of performance CPU cores, but half the number of efficiency cores, so 8+2 = 10 cores. I'm guessing a Geekbench 5 score of about 13000-14000 multi-core.

Double & quadruple the number of GPU cores at 16 & 32, depending upon the variant (Pro vs. Max).

HDR Mini-LED display for both the 14" and 16" models. Not 4K. (4K wouldn't make sense in these sizes.) Exact screen resolutions supposedly are 3024x1964 and 3456x2234, which are 16:10 + 74 pixels added to the vertical resolution to compensate for a notch +/- curved top corners. Yes, the rumours are for a notched screen, like the iPhone.
 
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Ajay

Lifer
Jan 8, 2001
11,576
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HDR Mini-LED display for both the 14" and 16" models. Not 4K. (4K wouldn't make sense in these sizes.) Exact screen resolutions supposedly are 3024x1964 and 3456x2234, which are 16:10 + 74 pixels added to the vertical resolution to compensate for a notch +/- curved top corners. Yes, the rumours are for a notched screen, like the iPhone.
Hmm, for FaceID? Only reason I can see for a notch would be better built in face recognition (stereo infrared or the like). Well, or a surprise "one last thing".
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
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Hmm, for FaceID? Only reason I can see for a notch would be better built in face recognition (stereo infrared or the like). Well, or a surprise "one last thing".
The same rumour mongers say there will NOT be Face ID.
 
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Ajay

Lifer
Jan 8, 2001
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The same rumour mongers say there will NOT be Face ID.
Wow, crazy time. Weird, it just makes so, so much sense to add Face ID to Macs. I was going to add Windows equivalent to my PC, except the only compatible 'webcam' at the time cost $300 :oops:.
 

repoman27

Senior member
Dec 17, 2018
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OK, with only 12 hours to go, looks like my last chance to toss out some predictions...

The "M1 Pro" will use the "Jade C-Chop" which is a chop, or reduced floor-plan version, of the "Jade C-Die" used for the "M1 Max". It will be a unique, smaller die and not just a binned version of Jade C. It will be manufactured on either TSMC N5 or N5P. Given the timing and the fact that N5P is fully IP compatible with N5, I'm almost leaning towards N5P here. It will use the same A14 generation Firestorm and Icestorm CPU cores as the M1. I just can't see any real benefit to halving the existing 4C efficiency cluster, so I'm going out on a limb and saying the rumors got that bit wrong. I think M1 Pro will have 4 efficiency cores, 8 performance cores, 16 GPU cores, and 32 NPU cores. It will have an 128-bit (8x16) LPDDR4X-4266 interface as well as a 1024-bit HBM2E interface. There will be two LPDDR4X stacks and one HBM2E stack on package allowing for either 16GB (8+8) or 32GB (16+16) memory configurations. The memory will still be unified despite being tiered or heterogeneous. The GPU and display engine will be able to support at least 3 rendering pipelines and display outputs simultaneously, and (hopefully) up to 7680 x 4320 (3840 x 2160 HiDPI) resolutions. I/O will include two integrated (and hopefully not broken this time) Thunderbolt 4 ports.

The M1 Max will use the full Jade C-Die which bumps the GPU cores up to 32 and a adds a second HBM2E interface. The LPDDR4X stacks will move off of the SoC package to allow for up to 4 packages total. Along with the two HBM2E stacks, This would enable 16, 32 and 64 GB unified memory configurations. I'm hoping for at least 5 rendering pipelines / display outputs and at least four integrated Thunderbolt 4 ports.

The integrated storage controller in the M1 is actually connected directly to the system fabric and shares in the unified memory pool. As such, it does not appear to be constrained by a PCIe interface at all, but rather by the interface to and performance of the NAND packages themselves. Considering the performance of the storage in the M1 Macs is achieved using just two NAND packages, I expect Apple to simply step up the number of channels / degree of parallelism for the M1 Pro and Max.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro will be the second all-new chassis design for Apple Silicon Macs. It will replace the current 13-inch MacBook Pro which will go away entirely. The new 14-inch MBP will be available with either M1 or M1 Pro SoCs.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro will inherit the same chassis as the outgoing Intel model and be equipped with an M1 Max. The 16-inch MBP already sports an FAA mandated maximum 100 Wh battery, and with the radical reduction in logic board and cooling solution size, the Apple Silicon versions should have an embarrassing amount of volume left over for reintroduction of ports or features that might have been squeezed out of previous editions. I don't expect overall z-height to increase though, so that will still be a constraint. Even the much rumored HDMI port would require recontouring the edge profile of the current chassis. MagSafe may come back in name, but I reckon it will look much less like the old pogo-pin design and more like the iPad's Smart Connector. USB PD charging via the Type-C ports will still be possible, but Apple may well go with a MagSafe charger in the box.

M1 Pro versions of the Mac mini and 24-inch iMac (why the heck not) will both be announced tomorrow as well. I also wouldn't rule out an Ice Lake Xeon W / Maple Ridge Thunderbolt 4 refresh of the current Intel Mac Pro. The 27-inch iMac is in desperate need of something, but I really don't think Apple is ready to announce anything on that front yet. Obviously it would get the M1 Max treatment, but a significant chassis redesign is also in order.

The rumored "Jade 2C-Die" and "Jade 4C-Die" variants suitable for an Apple Silicon iMac Pro and Mac Pro are also probably not ready yet. I reckon these are multi-chip modules built using 2 or 4 Jade C dies. But Jade C is a complete SoC on its own— there is no disaggregation happening here whatsoever. So Apple is pursuing a strategy more akin to Intel's AP line of Xeon processors rather than any sort of chiplet or tile approach. And while I understand that these are low-volume parts for Apple, and they probably can't amortize the cost of additional die designs, that would also indicate that there's an awful lot of baggage along for the ride with Jade C. At a minimum it would include a dual-channel DDR4 / quad-channel DDR5 interface with ECC support, and probably three PCIe Gen5 x16 links (assuming Apple will use CXL as the cache-coherent interconnect fabric between dies). I guess there's a chance the 16-inch MBP will use conventional DDR SDRAM (rather than LP4X) to cut down on the number of memory controllers, but that seems very unlikely to me.
 
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Gideon

Golden Member
Nov 27, 2007
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So many rumors are mentioning this 8 + 2 setup for such a long time that it is probably true. I still find it a bit odd though.'

I guess 8 big cores make sense as that's around the sweetspot for tasks that require big cores but don't scale nearly indefinately with throughput (think encoding rather than rendering). But just 2 small cores seems puzzling. considering how little space the small cores take vs all the rest of the chip (particularly the humongous GPU) I would have expected at least 4 small cores. Even a 8+8 setup would only be about the same ballpark as 10 big cores.

We'll hear soon enough, I'd really like a 8+8 Mac Mini setup for my throuput limited tasks though :(
 

Ajay

Lifer
Jan 8, 2001
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1024-bit HBM2E interface
Really?? I would be very surprised. Maybe for the, eventual, ARM based Mac Pro/ iMac Pro - though something like AMD's V-Cache (SRAM) would make more sense to me. I know, I know....the patent, there are a lot of patents that never see the light of day. I will eat crow if wrong (okay, not literally).
 

guidryp

Platinum Member
Apr 3, 2006
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Less than 24 hours left until the event. Here's what I'm hoping to see:

LPDDR5 (please, please let it be max 128GB)
Double the amount of cores (both CPU and GPU)
4K HDR mini-LED display in MBP16
PCIe Gen 4 SSD
Already available games running in Windows ARM edition at 3050 Ti performance level

Don't you dare disappoint me, Apple!
Fairly certain it won't enable 128GB of RAM.

Extremely unlikely the SOC will connect with more than 4 LPDDR chips and there are no 32GB chips.
 
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guidryp

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Apr 3, 2006
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So many rumors are mentioning this 8 + 2 setup for such a long time that it is probably true. I still find it a bit odd though.'
Same here. This is still primarily a laptop chip and and they went with 4 efficiency cores for the M1, which seems to make 4 efficiency cores the minimum. I would expect at least 8+4.
 

repoman27

Senior member
Dec 17, 2018
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Really?? I would be very surprised. Maybe for the, eventual, ARM based Mac Pro/ iMac Pro - though something like AMD's V-Cache (SRAM) would make more sense to me. I know, I know....the patent, there are a lot of patents that never see the light of day. I will eat crow if wrong (okay, not literally).
Well, there is no way the GPU scales to 32 cores without HBM or GDDR. The GPU offerings in the current 16-inch MacBook Pro range from 128-bit GDDR6 @ 192 GB/s to 2048-bit HBM2 @ 394.24 GB/s. 128-bit LPDDR4X @ 68.27 GB/s ain't cutting it.

Jade C-Chop could forgo the HBM interface entirely and just use four LPDDR4X packages, which would be unfortunate. I guess they could go with something exotic like a 256-bit (16x16) LPDDR4X-4266 interface, but that seems less likely to me.

And you heard it here first: the Jade 2C-Die chip will be called "M1 Max Duo" while the Jade 4C-Die chip will be marketed as "M1 Max Quattro".
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
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This is still primarily a laptop chip and and they went with 4 efficiency cores for the M1, which seems to make 4 efficiency cores the minimum. I would expect at least 8+4.
I was going through the initial posts in this thread, and it seems almost all of us predicted 8+4 for this new chip coming. However, some of us were later swayed into believing Mark Gurman's claim of 8+2, as he seemed quite specific about this.

So, who's going to start the new M1 Pro/Max thread? :cool: I would have already if we had solid info, but we don't yet.

Fairly certain it won't enable 128GB of RAM.
Yeah, if the rumours are anything to go by, none of the the more believable leakers are saying 128 GB. Maximum is 64 GB.

Extremely unlikely the SOC will connect with more than 4 LPDDR chips and there are no 32GB chips.
Makes sense.
 

Doug S

Golden Member
Feb 8, 2020
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The rumored "Jade 2C-Die" and "Jade 4C-Die" variants suitable for an Apple Silicon iMac Pro and Mac Pro are also probably not ready yet. I reckon these are multi-chip modules built using 2 or 4 Jade C dies. But Jade C is a complete SoC on its own— there is no disaggregation happening here whatsoever. So Apple is pursuing a strategy more akin to Intel's AP line of Xeon processors rather than any sort of chiplet or tile approach. And while I understand that these are low-volume parts for Apple, and they probably can't amortize the cost of additional die designs, that would also indicate that there's an awful lot of baggage along for the ride with Jade C. At a minimum it would include a dual-channel DDR4 / quad-channel DDR5 interface with ECC support, and probably three PCIe Gen5 x16 links (assuming Apple will use CXL as the cache-coherent interconnect fabric between dies). I guess there's a chance the 16-inch MBP will use conventional DDR SDRAM (rather than LP4X) to cut down on the number of memory controllers, but that seems very unlikely to me.

If you are correct that Jade-C chop is a separate die (and I like your reasoning about "chop" implying that) then it could reduce the "baggage" you refer to. They could stick with LPDDR4x/5 stacks for the M1 Pro, and only support DIMMs on the M1 Max. I think the Max would also be the only one that would have support for separate graphics memory. I don't think the models getting the M1 Pro would warrant it, if they need more bandwidth they can add 2 or 4 more LPDDR controllers - they will need that anyway to be able to reach higher capacities.

The full Jade-C M1 Max die would have DDR4/5 controllers, as well as supporting either HBM or GDDR (each has its advantages and disadvantages, it will be interesting to see which way Apple goes) Those would be the only models that support DIMM slots. If the M1 Max is a separate die they could also avoid a separate I/O chip like AMD by building the fabric into it. We would likely be able to tell if that's the case based on the die photos and relative size difference between the two.

I will say that just because they have the M1 Max doesn't mean it can only go in hardware that uses 32 GPU cores. They will still want to bin a die that big, so it makes sense to create some SKUs to consume partially defective dies. If nothing else that would allow them to offer models with DIMM slots without restricting that to ones that have the thermal headroom to handle 32 GPU cores. If you have a bad GPU core, maybe it is sold in between the M1 Pro and M1 Max, offering one or more of: more than 16 GPU cores, better per core GPU performance due to GDDR/HBM, DIMM slots.

Otherwise that step from M1 Pro to M1 Max leaves a pretty big hole in Apple's lineup - and it isn't yet clear how well a Macbook form factor could handle a full M1 Max.
 

repoman27

Senior member
Dec 17, 2018
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Apple hasn't sold an MBP with upgradable ram since 2012. They aren't changing now. Also HBM or GDDR6 is a little crazy.
The M1 Max is the replacement for Intel's H/S platforms. Apple hasn't released a 15+ inch MacBook Pro without HBM or GDDR since 2015, or a 27-inch iMac without HBM or GDDR in... forever? It's the only way to may a reasonably performant GPU, so I'm not sure why anyone thinks Apple won't go there. And my read is that Apple will be all in on HBM.
 
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Roland00Address

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Dec 17, 2008
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I didn’t think they would do that but now I’m wondering if they just might:

M1 Pro and M1 Max


Also, if this is accurate, it does indicate two different versions of the chip, which I suspect will be differentiated by the number of active GPU cores.
Yeah I was wondering for names are a function of brands and the markets, and the banality/stupidity of Intel's naming scheme is a function of them needing 8 to 48 different parts to sell to different markets and always wanting a step up option.

Apple has completely different incentives, and for the most part prior to recently they did not want users to know the name of a chip, merely it has the lastest silicon in the iPhone and thus it is the best. But phones now have 30 months or *much* longer turnovers and apple also sells their older phone models at lower price points.

------

Thus the changing incentives structure for Apple made me consider they want to do a naming / brand redone. M with a number for the generation, and then some form of descriptor like Big for Pros, though based off your mac rumor link it will be Pro and Max and that kind of makes more sense to me.

Regardless Apple will always want to have 3 points of information or less (aka 2 points of information) with the name, for we know a lot of how branding science works now over the decades. Giving things letters appeals to the engineering area of your brain but it is bad marketing for it is not graspable to consumers, it is "technical" type of information, one where you need to consort a binder or a wikipedia to understand what it is trying to describe. Aka it is pulling an Intel, or perhaps an HP and their obscure names and branding.


Makes sense if they offer the M1 Pro and M1 Max on the 16" MBP, the Mini (even if it's a Pro Mini) and the iMac. Can dump the client Intel models or make it while supplies last.
Have not had time to watch, but someone asked the 7 month old Intel CEO on this. Just making a mental note.
 

jpiniero

Lifer
Oct 1, 2010
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The M1 Max is the replacement for Intel's H/S platforms. Apple hasn't released a 15+ inch MacBook Pro without HBM or GDDR since 2015, or a 27-inch iMac without HBM or GDDR in... forever? It's the only way to may a reasonably performant GPU, so I'm not sure why anyone thinks Apple won't go there. And my read is that Apple will be all in on HBM.
That was with a discrete GPU. They are using "Quad" (or "Eight" on the Max) channel LPDDR5.
 

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