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Question New Apple SoC - M1 - For lower end Macs - Geekbench 5 single-core >1700

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Doug S

Senior member
Feb 8, 2020
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It is alright to be skeptical...

I am not disagreeing with your logic. I bet long term Apple is going to grow market share, but I also recognize there is no way to prove the future with present info.

I am just sharing what info I have now.
When this was announced (and I expected Apple Silicon to perform about as well as it ended up doing) I thought that if Apple was able to double their market share to ~15% in five years that would exceed their wildest projections. Getting comfortably into double digits is probably their goal for the next three.

They are "comfortably in the double digits" in the mobile market (a bit higher in the smartphone market) and that's about as good as they can ever do given that they sell premium devices. The market for premium PCs is larger as a percentage (because the really poor people that are a majority of the world's population who do own very low end smartphones or feature phones do not and never will own PCs) but Windows has an entrenched advantage they didn't face when they entered the mobile market.
 

amrnuke

Golden Member
Apr 24, 2019
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Given the iPad cadence I wasn't sure if Apple would put the M-line on a similar cadence... but maybe they are.

Report: New MacBook Pro models will arrive this year with MagSafe, M1 successor

If accurate, the MagSafe charger returns (it was fantastic!) and the M1 successor will have more "CPU" cores and "enhanced graphics". The source is Bloomberg but I link to Arstechnica's analysis for perspective.

In hindsight this would be unsurprising since Apple have been on a 1 year cadence of improving their fast and efficient cores in the A-line for the iPhone, and those cores are the centerpiece of the M-line as well.
 

Doug S

Senior member
Feb 8, 2020
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Given the iPad cadence I wasn't sure if Apple would put the M-line on a similar cadence... but maybe they are.

Report: New MacBook Pro models will arrive this year with MagSafe, M1 successor

If accurate, the MagSafe charger returns (it was fantastic!) and the M1 successor will have more "CPU" cores and "enhanced graphics". The source is Bloomberg but I link to Arstechnica's analysis for perspective.

In hindsight this would be unsurprising since Apple have been on a 1 year cadence of improving their fast and efficient cores in the A-line for the iPhone, and those cores are the centerpiece of the M-line as well.
Well we already knew they'd have to have something better for higher end Macs so it is hardly a surprise. But this doesn't guarantee a one year cadence. They could have a beefier "M" SoC for midrange Macs in 2021 but not update the M1 until 2022, and not update the beefier one coming out this year until 2023. Ditto for the high end one going in the Mac Pro / iMac Pro in 2022 (whether it is discrete or chiplet based)

They might be able to offer some minor bumps in performance, i.e. perhaps an M1 fabbed this fall would be made on N5P and get a few hundred MHz more but be otherwise the same)

Not saying they will do this, or that they will continue revving the iPad 'X' chip every other year in the future when they will have all the stuff the M1 is currently going in adding to the wafer total for that design. Just that we can't assume it will be yearly just because they are taking the very obvious step of making a different chip for midrange Macs coming out later this year.
 

jpiniero

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Oct 1, 2010
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Interestingly it also mentions that Apple is going to refresh the current Mac Pro and that is staying Intel. Intel doesn't have any replacements out for the Cascade Lake Xeon W processors they are currently using so they might not update the processor and just update everything else like the GPU.
 

Doug S

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Feb 8, 2020
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Interestingly it also mentions that Apple is going to refresh the current Mac Pro and that is staying Intel. Intel doesn't have any replacements out for the Cascade Lake Xeon W processors they are currently using so they might not update the processor and just update everything else like the GPU.
Not surprising since Apple is likely waiting for Q3 2022 and TSMC's 3nm process to make sure their first ARM Mac Pro is a true beast.
 

Leeea

Senior member
Apr 3, 2020
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I think one of the interesting things about the M1 is it allows an new level of imprisonment for PC users:


We only used to see this level of control with Apples phone products.

For Apple this is a huge advantage over the much more open x86 systems, which by their nature always allowed users to go around their "benevolent" Apple deity to install their own stuff. Or commit the greatest heresy, install a non-Apple OS and ignore Apple all together.
 

guidryp

Golden Member
Apr 3, 2006
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I think one of the interesting things about the M1 is it allows an new level of imprisonment for PC users:


We only used to see this level of control with Apples phone products.

For Apple this is a huge advantage over the much more open x86 systems, which by their nature always allowed users to go around their "benevolent" Apple deity to install their own stuff. Or commit the greatest heresy, install a non-Apple OS and ignore Apple all together.
Yeah, big brother is out to get you. ;)

This is just stopping iPhone/iPad appstore from downloading Apps for the wrong platform unless the developer OKs it first.

Really they should have skipped this boarderline useless capability anyway.
 

LightningZ71

Senior member
Mar 10, 2017
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Well we already knew they'd have to have something better for higher end Macs so it is hardly a surprise. But this doesn't guarantee a one year cadence. They could have a beefier "M" SoC for midrange Macs in 2021 but not update the M1 until 2022, and not update the beefier one coming out this year until 2023. Ditto for the high end one going in the Mac Pro / iMac Pro in 2022 (whether it is discrete or chiplet based)

They might be able to offer some minor bumps in performance, i.e. perhaps an M1 fabbed this fall would be made on N5P and get a few hundred MHz more but be otherwise the same)

Not saying they will do this, or that they will continue revving the iPad 'X' chip every other year in the future when they will have all the stuff the M1 is currently going in adding to the wafer total for that design. Just that we can't assume it will be yearly just because they are taking the very obvious step of making a different chip for midrange Macs coming out later this year.
Maybe they come up with one basic "M" architecture per generation. Maybe they build one small M1 chip that has a basic level of functionality, then, the next year, an M1X that has twice the big cores and a double sized iGPU with twice the dram channels, and finally an M1Z that is a die recovery M1 for things like tablets. Then, there's a second generation on a new, smaller node, the M2, then M2X, then finally M2Z. This keeps going forward.

I just don't know what makes sense for the high end Mac Pros. Maybe they will use something ARM based from a third party with an on board T3 or something that incorporates the NPU and any other fixed function features that it needs.
 

awesomedeluxe

Member
Feb 12, 2020
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Nintendo wanted a turn-key solution for the switch. It didn't matter who they went with, as long as they could hit the price/performance/thermal/power target that they had. Nintendo's problem now is that a follow on product that makes meaningful improvements on the switch is going to be difficult to change vendors with. That being said, most current non-bargin-bin smartphone SoCs are more performant that the chip in the existing Switch, so, they have a lot of choices available to them for hardware, but doing the gpu side could be a challenge with respect to programming to allow 1st gen switch games to play well.

What does this have to do with Apple? Not a whole lot, though, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that they could ink a deal with Nintendo to supply a SoC for the switch. The A14 or the A14x/M1 would do VERY well in a follow on Switch Pro, and the extra volume would help offset some of Apple's costs.
It would be a great move for Apple! Even if they could only get Nintendo agree to let them make/sell the hardware at a profit, put their non-Arcade services on it, use the eshop instead of the App Store, and let users play eshop games they've purchased on the Switch 2 on their Mac (for a fee, of course).

I don't think Nintendo is totally screwed, but they will have to wait. Really wait for 1) nVidia's acquisition of ARM to go through and 2) for nVidia to replace Mali graphics and 3) for someone to release something using that design for Nintendo to buy.

Alternatively, they could go with AMD. A future semicustom Van Gogh-U (or better) could probably emulate the Switch no problem.
 
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Mopetar

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Jan 31, 2011
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I've always found it a tad funny that some
people want to buy a Mac to run Windows. I mean, I used boot camp back in the day myself, but for most cases it's better to just run it in a VM, especially now that it's not actual x86 hardware under the hood.

I do wish Apple would make it easier to run other operating systems on their hardware or even just open source some of their drivers so that it would be easier for those other people. They already sold you a high-margin computer and they don't charge for updates so it isn't as though they make more money off you running something else on the hardware.
 

Doug S

Senior member
Feb 8, 2020
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I do wish Apple would make it easier to run other operating systems on their hardware or even just open source some of their drivers so that it would be easier for those other people. They already sold you a high-margin computer and they don't charge for updates so it isn't as though they make more money off you running something else on the hardware.
How would open source macOS drivers that implement Metal help people write Windows drivers that implement DirectX?

Apple supports running Windows on a M1 Mac in a VM, which should work fine for pretty much everything you'd want to run Windows for. There aren't any Windows/ARM games, so what would be gained by having a full speed native Windows GPU driver?

The sorts of Windows only business apps 99% of people who say they "must" be able to run Windows on a Mac would be using are almost always x86 only so the WoW64 overhead will be the major performance difference between an ARM and x86 Mac - which is the same whether you boot native or run in a VM. Taking a 70% performance hit from WoW64 and getting maybe 5% back from booting native (if you're lucky) is lost in the noise.
 
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moinmoin

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Jun 1, 2017
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Looks like somebody still needs to tell Intel that the way it does benchmarks only helps ridiculing itself.
 

Mopetar

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Jan 31, 2011
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Looks like somebody still needs to tell Intel that the way it does benchmarks only helps ridiculing itself.
Sure, for anyone who's informed, but that's zero point what percentage of the population? The vast majority just see numbers, charts, etc. and think nothing of it. There are far more of those people to sell to and Intel will gladly let you ridicule them as much as you want if they keep raking in billions of dollars.
 

Thala

Golden Member
Nov 12, 2014
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How would open source macOS drivers that implement Metal help people write Windows drivers that implement DirectX?

Apple supports running Windows on a M1 Mac in a VM, which should work fine for pretty much everything you'd want to run Windows for. There aren't any Windows/ARM games, so what would be gained by having a full speed native Windows GPU driver?
Does not really matter if the games are ARM64 or x86/x64, the GPU driver is always native ARM64 - its only the application layer which is emulated. In case of Parallels the GPU driver's backend maps to Metal apparently. There is no evidence that the translation to Metal is a big bottleneck - however it does not support D3D12 as Metal is lacking certain features.

The sorts of Windows only business apps 99% of people who say they "must" be able to run Windows on a Mac would be using are almost always x86 only
Most business apps I use are indeed native ARM64, which is including Office, Adobe Lightroom, Visual Studio Code and others while 90% of the games i have are x86/x64 and only a few ARM64.
 
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guidryp

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Apr 3, 2006
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Does not really matter if the games are ARM64 or x86/x64, the GPU driver is always native ARM64 - its only the application layer which is emulated. In case of Parallels the GPU driver's backend maps to Metal apparently. There is no evidence that the translation to Metal is a big bottleneck - however it does not support D3D12 as Metal is lacking certain features.
Parallels is using a Virtual GPU driver like all other virtual machines. It's a non issue for running in a virtual environment, since Apple is doing the HW driver.

Running other OS's via virtualization should be good enough for 99% of people that want to run other OS software on an M1 Mac.

It's the whiny 1% that wants hardware drivers for third party OS usage, that are never going to exist in any decent shape. Apple won't spend any resources on this and they shouldn't either. It's a complete waste.
 

Thala

Golden Member
Nov 12, 2014
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Parallels is using a Virtual GPU driver like all other virtual machines. It's a non issue for running in a virtual environment, since Apple is doing the HW driver.
Thats precisely what i was implying with respect to performance. My point was however that both emulated x86/x64 or native ARM64 applications are using the same native ARM64 GPU driver - which happens to be a Virtual GPU driver.
 

Doug S

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Feb 8, 2020
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Most business apps I use are indeed native ARM64, which is including Office, Adobe Lightroom, Visual Studio Code and others while 90% of the games i have are x86/x64 and only a few ARM64.
Other than visual studio those are available native on the Mac so you don't need Windows at all. I'm talking about people who say they MUST be able to run Windows for the new Macs to be a viable option for them. The fraction of Windows applications ported to ARM64 are mostly available on the Mac already, the ones that aren't are mostly x86 only.

Visual Studio is a good example of one of the few widely used Microsoft apps that doesn't run on the Mac, but it is pretty obvious why. It also doesn't matter a whole lot to run it under a VM and certainly doesn't need to run native.
 

moinmoin

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Jun 1, 2017
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Visual Studio is a good example of one of the few widely used Microsoft apps that doesn't run on the Mac, but it is pretty obvious why.
He was talking about Visual Studio Code, which uses Electron/Chromium and was essentially a fork of GitHub's Atom. It's also available for M1 Macs since December.
 
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sallymander

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Nov 20, 2020
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Visual studio is actually available for Mac (although it's a bit limited compared to the Windows version). It looks like an Apple Silicon version is in the works. I doubt many C# developers are using Macs though - probably just for Azure cloud stuff or cross-platform games.
 

B-Riz

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Feb 15, 2011
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What if Apple decided ages ago this was the future for their PC's? To go back to proprietary chips, that using Intel was just temporary?

Because, Hackintosh.

Going to x86 and Intel let the one thing happen they do not want, running Mac OS on off the shelf commodity hardware, freedom from a curated and controlled Eco-system.

Unless Mac Pro stays Intel or switches to Threadripper, I see the M1 as the beginning of killing the Hackintosh.

At some point, new versions of Mac OS will no longer run and get updates on the x86 hardware.
 

guidryp

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Apr 3, 2006
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What if Apple decided ages ago this was the future for their PC's? To go back to proprietary chips, that using Intel was just temporary?

Because, Hackintosh.

Going to x86 and Intel let the one thing happen they do not want, running Mac OS on off the shelf commodity hardware, freedom from a curated and controlled Eco-system.

Unless Mac Pro stays Intel or switches to Threadripper, I see the M1 as the beginning of killing the Hackintosh.

At some point, new versions of Mac OS will no longer run and get updates on the x86 hardware.
This will kill Hackintosh eventually, but Hackintosh is a fringe thing as far as Apple is concerned. It wouldn't have factored into the decision to switch.
 

B-Riz

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Feb 15, 2011
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This will kill Hackintosh eventually, but Hackintosh is a fringe thing as far as Apple is concerned. It wouldn't have factored into the decision to switch.
The mundane most likely answer is that they decided to do in-house M1 after learning Intel screwed up on 10nm. And control, Apple is all about controlling the product, top to bottom.

But, there are many examples of large companies doing things for petty reasons; we would never know Hackintosh played a roll, unless somone with intimate knowledge of M1 development gave an anonymous deep dive in the process to develop it.
 

Mopetar

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Jan 31, 2011
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I doubt Apple is worried about the small group of hobbyists that are just helping Apple find security vulnerabilities. Maybe there are a few people trying to sell fake Macs, but that probably pales in comparison to fake iPhones or iPads.
 
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guidryp

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The mundane most likely answer is that they decided to do in-house M1 after learning Intel screwed up on 10nm. And control, Apple is all about controlling the product, top to bottom.

But, there are many examples of large companies doing things for petty reasons; we would never know Hackintosh played a roll, unless somone with intimate knowledge of M1 development gave an anonymous deep dive in the process to develop it.
Apple could have worked at putting in Hackintosh Roadblocks in the x86 OS, but they didn't. It was just too inconsequential to matter. Hackintosh had ZERO to do the switch.

Apple will have had two ongoing experiences for nearly a decade (first Apple CPU core was 2012):
1: Ongoing performance gains, and the ability to build exactly what they wanted with ARM, tailored in every way.
2: Ongoing disappointment with Intel performance gains, and forced to accept off the shelf x86, missing significant functionality, to the point they were adding ARM chips to x86 Macs anyway.

When their own ARM core designs started catching x86, the writing was on the wall. I expect they started considering this MANY years ago and were just waiting until they felt they could build something that would match or exceed x86 on high end desktops.

They could have done a decent low end ARM laptop MANY years ago, but that would have led to an ugly split ARM/x86 lineup (kind of like Microsoft's Windows RT approach) not a quick transition like they did for 68K->PPC and PPC-x86.

They jumped when they knew they can build something capable of powering high end Macs, to transition the whole lineup quickly.
 

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