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Question Apple Silicon M1 series thread, including M1 Pro, M1 Max - Geekbench 5 single-core >1700

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LightningZ71

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Mar 10, 2017
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Well, 60-75% of 1650 performance from an iGPU with rather conservatively specced dual channel ram is nothing to sneeze at. If they effectively doubled the iGPU size and doubled the RAM bandwidth, they would be beyond 1650 super performance. If they quadrupled the iGPU and switched to soldered, "quad" channel DDR5 (for up to 200+GB/sec), which should be available in quantity, they could be approaching 1660 performance or better. I know that that's all very optimistic scaling, but, this is apple...
 

Doug S

Senior member
Feb 8, 2020
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I don't think they will worry too much about performance under Rosetta 2. Every application of consequence will be ported by the end of this year. Some old applications that are no longer actively maintained won't be, but an ARM Mac will run them faster than the x86 Macs available at the time of the application's release even if it gets "only" 65-70% of native performance.
 

B-Riz

Golden Member
Feb 15, 2011
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You expected them to upgrade the entire line to ARM at once, dropping all x86 models the same day? Of course it is bifurcated for a while, there has to be a transition period.

All they've done so far is stick the M1 in entry level systems, they haven't even dropped the "higher end" x86 SKU (higher end in quotes since it is slower) for their cheapest products like the Air and Mini.

They will support larger memory configurations in non-entry level systems that will get whatever follows M1 - we'll probably see something later this year based on the A15 cores. Some will likely still have soldered RAM depending on the model, but they won't be able to use LPDDR4/5 outside the entry level due to its inherent capacity limit.
No, I didn't expect a full upgrade. The thing about this product, is, it is fully integrated, dropping BOM and licensing vs Intel for the Mini. That leads to cheaper production costs and increased profits and it is a cheap way to get hardware in developers hands.

So in 2 years, I'm guessing, after devs have learned and worked with the Mx series, there will be a huge hardware push by Apple.

But I feel that it would be a huge mistake if Apple pushes to end x86 software support after the 2+ years of Mx being out in the wild for consumers.

Personally, I think the M1 Mini base is just a luxury Chromebox right now, no up-gradable-ness, just a disposable item.
 

B-Riz

Golden Member
Feb 15, 2011
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It was compelling for me. I had a mac mini i5 6 core (2018) with 32GB RAM (installed it myself - it was easy). The M1 with 16GB runs circle around the Intel. General usage is significantly faster (browsing, app launch, scrolling). Photo editing is a lot faster. A large photomerge in photoshop (15 42MP RAW files) was almost 2X faster. Even Lightroom CC classic running under Rosetta was about 20% faster. I also dabble in video editing - but my cursory usage reveals it is at least 3X faster or more.

Note: I've been a big fan of the mini. I had the 2012 quad core i7 model previously. Upgrading to the 2018 model. never gave me a "wow, that was fast moment". It was an incremental speedup. The upgrade to the M1 definitely changed that. There were several times I thought, "wow, that was fast!".

I don't regret the upgrade to M1 at all. Unless you really need to run x86/x64 virtualization - upgrading to an M1 IMO is a no-brainer.
I do think it is really great how a workflow like this is significantly faster on the M1, but I see it as a lot of custom hardware that is accelerating the work. So Apple was able to have this massive performance increase because they designed for it, while the old x86 is just a simple workhorse.

Right now, I am waiting for an Mx product from Apple that I can upgrade memory and storage on.
 
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Doug S

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But I feel that it would be a huge mistake if Apple pushes to end x86 software support after the 2+ years of Mx being out in the wild for consumers.
Why do you think they'd push to end x86 support after only two years? They support old iPhones a lot longer than that, I imagine they wouldn't support old Macs for a shorter time.
 

jpiniero

Lifer
Oct 1, 2010
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Why do you think they'd push to end x86 support after only two years? They support old iPhones a lot longer than that, I imagine they wouldn't support old Macs for a shorter time.
x86 support isn't going to be dropped for awhile. Especially when it sounds like the Mac Pro is getting an Intel refresh.
 

smalM

Junior Member
Sep 9, 2019
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N3 will be entering risk production pretty soon, well before N4. TSMC seems to have a risk production window of about 9-12 months before entering HVM, and TSMC targets a window of Q2 for the start of HVM to match up with the iPhone launch.
N3 will enter HVM in the second half of next year.
 

Mopetar

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2011
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x86 support isn't going to be dropped for awhile. Especially when it sounds like the Mac Pro is getting an Intel refresh.
Really, that's the first I've heard. Assuming they did want another x86 Mac, which does make a certain amount of sense, why go with Intel? AMD has far and away the better HEDT and sever CPUs right now.

Unless it's contractual obligations, Apple has no reason to stick with Intel.
 
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Doug S

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Feb 8, 2020
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N3 will enter HVM in the second half of next year.
Well there's a difference between "when a wafer enters production" and "when a wafer exits production" - something like two months with modern processes, possibly up to three (I understand it was close to three in 7nm DUV due to all the multiple patterning steps, but hopefully EUV has reduced the number of wafer processing steps somewhat)

N3 will be used for next year's iPhone SoCs, so the first HVM wafers may begin exiting in H2 but they will definitely be entering it in Q2, otherwise TSMC would miss the launch date for their biggest customer's biggest product.
 
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B-Riz

Golden Member
Feb 15, 2011
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Really, that's the first I've heard. Assuming they did want another x86 Mac, which does make a certain amount of sense, why go with Intel? AMD has far and away the better HEDT and sever CPUs right now.

Unless it's contractual obligations, Apple has no reason to stick with Intel.
I too wonder why Apple did not go to a Zen2 Threadripper setup; my only guess is that their terms were too in favor for Apple and AMD is happier supplying the Zen lineup to the non-Apple ecosystem.

Also, a whole lot of testing for UNIX certification on AMD.

 

Commodus

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2004
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Really, that's the first I've heard. Assuming they did want another x86 Mac, which does make a certain amount of sense, why go with Intel? AMD has far and away the better HEDT and sever CPUs right now.

Unless it's contractual obligations, Apple has no reason to stick with Intel.
It sounds like you're thinking hardware production when jpiniero means software support.

In terms of releasing Intel-based hardware? Apple's going to drop x86 like a hot potato. But software will likely last longer. Apple didn't ditch PowerPC support in macOS until Snow Leopard in 2009, three years after Intel Macs swept aside PPC in a matter of months. That's three years of software support after the lineup had switched.

There are no guarantees the same will happen here, but it seems likely that Apple will keep Intel support going until it either hits a technical barrier (to do X, we need to ditch Intel) or it knows the Intel user base is rapidly dwindling.
 

jpiniero

Lifer
Oct 1, 2010
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That seems unlikely. Unless you consider Apple making a new discrete GPU card option, as a refresh.
Oh it'll still be AMD. AMD might actually be the holdup since I would think the GPU options will include Pro versions of the various Navi chips.
 

JasonLD

Senior member
Aug 22, 2017
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Really, that's the first I've heard. Assuming they did want another x86 Mac, which does make a certain amount of sense, why go with Intel? AMD has far and away the better HEDT and sever CPUs right now.

Unless it's contractual obligations, Apple has no reason to stick with Intel.
2 year transition doesn't mean they will be ending x86 support after 2 years. Just means they won't be doing hardware update with x86.
 

guidryp

Golden Member
Apr 3, 2006
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Oh it'll still be AMD. AMD might actually be the holdup since I would think the GPU options will include Pro versions of the various Navi chips.
Yes, the Leaks are for a new RDNA2 card, for the Mac Pro. Not a new Mac Pro.

The point is, a new GPU card, is not an Intel Mac Pro refresh.

There is negligible chance they are releasing any new Intel HW, now that their hands are full with developing and release ARM Mac HW on a tight timeline.
 
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jpiniero

Lifer
Oct 1, 2010
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Yes, the Leaks are for a new RDNA2 card, for the Mac Pro. Not a new Mac Pro.

The point is, a new GPU card, is not an Intel Mac Pro refresh.
Didn't say it would be a big refresh. Reckon along with the new GPUs they will also change the available Cascade Lake W CPUs.
 

smalM

Junior Member
Sep 9, 2019
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Well there's a difference between "when a wafer enters production" and "when a wafer exits production" - something like two months with modern processes, possibly up to three (I understand it was close to three in 7nm DUV due to all the multiple patterning steps, but hopefully EUV has reduced the number of wafer processing steps somewhat)

N3 will be used for next year's iPhone SoCs, so the first HVM wafers may begin exiting in H2 but they will definitely be entering it in Q2, otherwise TSMC would miss the launch date for their biggest customer's biggest product.
Good pioints.
But typically TSMC's targets for entering HVM mean exactly that, entering.

N7 has 78 mask layers, N5 59 (14 EUV); N3 is estimated to have 21~24 EUV mask layers and I couldn't find a total number.
 

B-Riz

Golden Member
Feb 15, 2011
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Why do you think they'd push to end x86 support after only two years? They support old iPhones a lot longer than that, I imagine they wouldn't support old Macs for a shorter time.
I'm not looking at it from a malicious perspective, but a business one. Apple is on a huge push to get away from paying Intel for their chips, would Apple support and resources be also pulled from x86 after a certain point because it is better business to spend money on the Mx ecosystem?

I found a G3 iMac on the curb that still works, picked up a used G4 tower randomly that still works, have a big body MacBook Pro with the optical in it, and a MacBook Air before they went Retina.

They are so many cool software and hardware things Apple did that they essentially killed or stopped supporting for business reasons.

But for all the crap MS does, they still have a 32 bit Windows 10; and a lot of old x86 software can theoretically run on the newest x86 processors.

I am still avoiding upgrading Mac OS to keep the 32 bit compatibility.
 

jpiniero

Lifer
Oct 1, 2010
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I'm not looking at it from a malicious perspective, but a business one. Apple is on a huge push to get away from paying Intel for their chips, would Apple support and resources be also pulled from x86 after a certain point because it is better business to spend money on the Mx ecosystem?
No question it's just a matter of when. As mentioned PowerPC was three years from when Apple stopped selling PowerPC machines.
 

B-Riz

Golden Member
Feb 15, 2011
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No question it's just a matter of when. As mentioned PowerPC was three years from when Apple stopped selling PowerPC machines.
I bought a physical copy of Tiger, the G4's and G5's I find will live forever :) I am good until the disc turns to dust or is not readable :tearsofjoy:
 

Commodus

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2004
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But for all the crap MS does, they still have a 32 bit Windows 10; and a lot of old x86 software can theoretically run on the newest x86 processors.

I am still avoiding upgrading Mac OS to keep the 32 bit compatibility.
I was like that for a while, but I just couldn't sit on an old OS simply to run an ancient app or two that had modern equivalents. I'm glad I moved to Catalina and later Big Sur.

Microsoft's legacy support is a double-edged sword. It keeps apps running for ages... but it also gives companies and users the impression they can run every app forever, and that causes real problems when Microsoft needs to drop support to move forward. The stereotypical example is a company refusing to upgrade to Windows 10 because it needs Windows 7 to run XP mode to run a database app meant for NT 4.0.

Apple may be more ruthless, but it also isn't chained to old tech like Microsoft is. It can assume you'll have 64-bit software that much sooner, and design accordingly.
 
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Doug S

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Feb 8, 2020
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I'm not looking at it from a malicious perspective, but a business one. Apple is on a huge push to get away from paying Intel for their chips, would Apple support and resources be also pulled from x86 after a certain point because it is better business to spend money on the Mx ecosystem?
Apple has the resources to do both. They can let their x86 support phaseout be guided by numbers. They know how many Macs are connecting to their servers to check for OS updates, and what OS they are currently running. They'll see the numbers decline as x86 Macs are retired, see how many are upgrading to the latest OS release and how many are hanging back on an older one.

Once they decide to stop supporting x86 with new versions of macOS (whether that's in three years like it was for PPC for they go longer as they do with the iPhone today) they'll still have a run of some number of years where they provide patches for that last x86 version. That's gotta be pretty cheap from a support perspective - if a bug is found on ARM Macs that affects that "last x86 macOS version" they merely need to check if the same bug exists on x86 and port the fix. If a bug unique to x86 is found, more effort is required but the number of such bugs found will decrease over time along with the userbase.

It isn't like once they stop even making security patches the Macs will stop functioning. They'll be a little less safe, but how many people today are willing to run unsupported Windows PCs or Android phones that aren't getting security patches? The worry is overblown, some of those x86 Macs will still be in use well into the 2030s, long after Apple and all third party developers stop caring about them.
 

Leeea

Golden Member
Apr 3, 2020
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The worry is overblown, some of those x86 Macs will still be in use well into the 2030s, long after Apple and all third party developers stop caring about them.
Not all 3rd party developers. Not even the majority.

They will be boot camping into windows where a considerably larger number of software developers service the considerably larger Windows software ecosystem, and any old computer running an up to date venison of Windows 10 is treated as a first class citizen until the end of time.

Of course, there is also the Linux ecosystem awaiting those old Macs.
 

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