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Question New Macs that came out today?

ultimatebob

Lifer
Jul 1, 2001
24,206
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So, Apple released a new Macbook Air, 13" Macbook Pro, and Mac Mini that use their new "M1" ARM processor.

They looked so slick in the presentation, but not so much when I looked at the spec sheets that were released afterword. It seems that they share video and system memory, and are currently limited to 16 GB of memory total.

Apple also promised that they were "Up to 3 times faster!" than comparable Intel processors, but then I remember them doing similar benchmark shenanigans during their PowerPC era. Something tells me that they cherry picked certain benchmarks for Apple optimized applications, and that in other benchmarks (especially games) they're going to fall behind similarly priced Intel products that have a dedicated GPU and video memory.

But, hey... I've been wrong before. What do you guys think?
 

simas

Senior member
Oct 16, 2005
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What could they actually run ? I.e. could they run Valve Steam and its collection of games? what about xbox game pass for PC from Microsoft, can you run that?

I am not sure I understand the use cases for these things - fancy chromebook?
 

ultimatebob

Lifer
Jul 1, 2001
24,206
1,833
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What could they actually run ? I.e. could they run Valve Steam and its collection of games? what about xbox game pass for PC from Microsoft, can you run that?

I am not sure I understand the use cases for these things - fancy chromebook?
Probably Apple Arcade games, I'd imagine. One of the big features of macOS 11 is that you can now play iOS games on it natively.
 

simas

Senior member
Oct 16, 2005
398
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Probably Apple Arcade games, I'd imagine. One of the big features of macOS 11 is that you can now play iOS games on it natively.
Not familiar with Apple Arcade so cant comment on it. what about real PC games? What about any application not made by Apple and not only delivered through its store - do those exist?

This may be a product only for those who are stuck in Apple ecosystem and cant imagine anything else. for the rest of us *shrug* , the walls of that walled garden may be closing in..
 
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Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
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I've been tempted to try developing on a Mac, and I've always been a bit tempted by the Mac Mini. Although, I am not tempted by the $200 price to increase storage! I imagine it would be better to just use external storage for most things, and just upgrade the memory to 16GB.
 

TheStu

Moderator<br>Mobile Devices & Gadgets
Moderator
Sep 15, 2004
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Not familiar with Apple Arcade so cant comment on it. what about real PC games? What about any application not made by Apple and not only delivered through its store - do those exist?

This may be a product only for those who are stuck in Apple ecosystem and cant imagine anything else. for the rest of us *shrug* , the walls of that walled garden may be closing in..
Anything that was compiled for an Intel mac can also run on an Apple Silicon mac. It uses a translation layer called Rosetta 2 to handle converting x86 code to ARM. However, it will only run 64bit code; IF a game in Steam has a Mac version AND IF that Mac version is compiled for 64bit, then it will run on the new Apple Silicon macs.

Apps DO NOT have to come through the App Store, and any dev that wants to target ARM for the Mac can (relatively) easily re-compile their app to run on either ARM or x86 (assuming they've kept up with Apple's latest APIs and are using Swift).

At this time, MS has not released their ARM version of Win10 to the public (ie, you can't go to Microcenter and buy a license), it's only for OEMs. So at this time, there's no BootCamp support on these new Macs.
 

simas

Senior member
Oct 16, 2005
398
102
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Anything that was compiled for an Intel mac can also run on an Apple Silicon mac. It uses a translation layer called Rosetta 2 to handle converting x86 code to ARM. However, it will only run 64bit code; IF a game in Steam has a Mac version AND IF that Mac version is compiled for 64bit, then it will run on the new Apple Silicon macs.

Apps DO NOT have to come through the App Store, and any dev that wants to target ARM for the Mac can (relatively) easily re-compile their app to run on either ARM or x86 (assuming they've kept up with Apple's latest APIs and are using Swift).

At this time, MS has not released their ARM version of Win10 to the public (ie, you can't go to Microcenter and buy a license), it's only for OEMs. So at this time, there's no BootCamp support on these new Macs.

Thank you. So eventually they will find a way to hack/emulate/make work the world of programs on X64 on these Mac laptops, correct?

May be I am missing the point - what is the value to end user?
i.e.
- it is massively cheaper cost for same or better compute (since Apple does not have to pay Intel/AMD for CPU/GPUs anymore) ?
- is this new capabilities we have not had before leveraged across applications that are useful to me as end user?

or is this just an attempt by Apple to move its gross margins from 40% now to 60% (by cutting out suppliers) while offering little to nothing to me as end user and instead taking away a bunch of applications that I was able to run previously?

Right now I am in the market for laptop - I would like good screen, sturdy build, strong CPU , and upgradable . As such I am leaning towards Ryzen 4000 laptop APUs and trying to find a build where I understand the trade offs manufacturer taken. I will also install Steam on (for occasional light gaming) . What can I do with new Apple laptop ?
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
30,007
637
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Right now I am in the market for laptop - I would like good screen, sturdy build, strong CPU , and upgradable . As such I am leaning towards Ryzen 4000 laptop APUs and trying to find a build where I understand the trade offs manufacturer taken. I will also install Steam on (for occasional light gaming) . What can I do with new Apple laptop ?
In regard to an AMD APU-equipped laptop, my problem is that AMD has been stuffing their older Vega architecture into their APUs and will continue to do so until Renoir in 2022. Vega isn't awful, but it also isn't as competitive as the latest RDNA2 or even the original RDNA. I've been waiting for a good AMD APU using a recent GPU architecture to just build a simple fanless HTPC that supports games at maybe... 1080p medium?
 

simas

Senior member
Oct 16, 2005
398
102
116
In regard to an AMD APU-equipped laptop, my problem is that AMD has been stuffing their older Vega architecture into their APUs and will continue to do so until Renoir in 2022. Vega isn't awful, but it also isn't as competitive as the latest RDNA2 or even the original RDNA. I've been waiting for a good AMD APU using a recent GPU architecture to just build a simple fanless HTPC that supports games at maybe... 1080p medium?
probably 18 months away at least - Zen 3 APUs would still have Vega cores..
Intel is out with their XE approach next year too..

i just don't understand appeal of Apple to myself - yes build quality is good (or at least use to be), yes there is support ecosystem in place so I can give this to my 80 year old in-laws (or at least use to, they would not go into any store now with COVID). otherwise, what is the point? cant run anything, cant game, cant use things like gamepass (very convenient from Microsoft)

If I want an ARM laptop _and_ support a good cause , I would buy pine64 product for $200
if all I care about is google classroom (very common for my kids now even for things like Sunday school), I would get them a Chromebook
my daughter is now raving (and enjoying playing Wyldermyth) so she graduated to her own Steam account/games. Apple is way too expensive for this and does not support Steam.

confused on where I would use it even if given for free..
 

TheStu

Moderator<br>Mobile Devices & Gadgets
Moderator
Sep 15, 2004
12,060
42
91
Thank you. So eventually they will find a way to hack/emulate/make work the world of programs on X64 on these Mac laptops, correct?

May be I am missing the point - what is the value to end user?
i.e.
- it is massively cheaper cost for same or better compute (since Apple does not have to pay Intel/AMD for CPU/GPUs anymore) ?
- is this new capabilities we have not had before leveraged across applications that are useful to me as end user?

or is this just an attempt by Apple to move its gross margins from 40% now to 60% (by cutting out suppliers) while offering little to nothing to me as end user and instead taking away a bunch of applications that I was able to run previously?
Since it now includes the Neural Engine built in, ML functions can run on the bare metal directly and more quickly, so that's useful to end-users. Improved performance and battery life are also being touted, and those for sure benefit the end-user.

From Apple's perspective, yes they probably can increase their margins (rather than lower prices, sigh), but also now the chips are on their schedule, and they can dictate which features will go into the systems directly. They've released a new CPU every year for 9 or 10 years now going back to the A4 in the iPhone 4. Apple wants more control over their products and this gives it to them.

What applications were 'taken away'/won't run on the new systems? Remember that as of Catalina (intel CPUs) Mac no longer run 32bit applications. So your inability to run certain applications may be OS driven rather than hardware.
 

simas

Senior member
Oct 16, 2005
398
102
116
Since it now includes the Neural Engine built in, ML functions can run on the bare metal directly and more quickly, so that's useful to end-users. Improved performance and battery life are also being touted, and those for sure benefit the end-user.

From Apple's perspective, yes they probably can increase their margins (rather than lower prices, sigh), but also now the chips are on their schedule, and they can dictate which features will go into the systems directly. They've released a new CPU every year for 9 or 10 years now going back to the A4 in the iPhone 4. Apple wants more control over their products and this gives it to them.

What applications were 'taken away'/won't run on the new systems? Remember that as of Catalina (intel CPUs) Mac no longer run 32bit applications. So your inability to run certain applications may be OS driven rather than hardware.

Got it, thank you - a potential/occasional user of Apple I think i already described my view of them . Use to be ok/decent hardware at slightly higher price with good build quality and good support ecosystem. Whether that was worth the premium charged, was in the eye of the beholder (I did buy both mini and macbook pro for my relatives that wanted that build quality as well as support). Now, as they move to to further cementing themselves in their walled garden, i lose all interest until they can run Windows too and support programs I can about (including games). even if received for free, it would probably collect dust for now. for anything 'network task', I have old laptops with things like lubuntu on them that give me sale unix/linux shell and tooling, as well as ability to deploy other software.
 

manly

Diamond Member
Jan 25, 2000
9,153
641
126
Apple silicon has excellent performance per watt (kind of the same reason they ditched PPC in the first place). But from a value perspective, this matters less with computers. I'll explain. Although overpriced, iPhone is quite a reasonable value when you consider you get software support for approx. 5 years. As "mobile" SoC's have matched traditional CPUs in performance, this means you don't have to get rid of a perfectly usable device after 3 years of ownership as is typical even for Android "flagships" (exception LineageOS or Samsung 4 year limited updates).

This is less applicable for PCs because macOS does not support older devices any better than Microsoft does. If anything, it's worse. Not that the average person cares, but there's a carbon footprint to manufacturing our electronics. The days of an average consumer tossing a phone after 2 years or a PC after 4 years should be relegated to history.

Read a terrible article in one of the major trade magazines the other day; the writer said with all the fat incentives U.S. wireless carriers are currently attaching to iPhones, you'd be dumb not to upgrade (annually). While seasonal incentives are real, this is incredibly wasteful and obviously not a low TCO strategy. Many of these incentives from the big 3 carriers come with long commitments. It was basically an expression of stereotypical American consumerism.
 

ultimatebob

Lifer
Jul 1, 2001
24,206
1,833
126
I completely agree…you have been wrong before. ;)

-KeithP
Heh, OK. I'm not sure what I can really be wrong about here, though. It's already confirmed that these laptops are locked at 16 GB of RAM, and I can be pretty confident that Apple laptops with the M1 processor are going to have terrible gaming performance compared to a laptop with something like a dedicated GeForce 1660 in it.

Sure, these laptops weren't really built to play Crysis Remastered all day. I doubt that your average Macbook Air user is going pony up the $300 to run Final Cut Pro on them, either, but that's what Apple decided to use for some of their benchmarks.
 

ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
19,208
2,511
126
I really want the Mini and the Air but I will wait for version 2 or 3. It's going to take Apple couple years to beta test and change everything from Intel to ARM. I remember the PowerPC to Intel transition took couple years.
 

manly

Diamond Member
Jan 25, 2000
9,153
641
126
I really want the Mini and the Air but I will wait for version 2 or 3. It's going to take Apple couple years to beta test and change everything from Intel to ARM. I remember the PowerPC to Intel transition took couple years.
Depending on what software you run, you can wait for the devs to recompile and validate their app. Most consumers can likely use Rosetta 2 binary translation (say to run legacy MS Office), but we'll have to wait and see what the UX is like. The PPC -> Intel transition took about 2 years to "complete" (i.e. PPC hardware was EOL). As long as you avoided the first systems out of the gate (32-bit, single-core), the short-term and LT value proposition was good. Intel Core was significantly better than PPC G4 in Mac laptops (which even then made up 2/3 of their sales).

Everyone expects Apple to lock down their walled garden very hard, so Macs will become less of an open "PC" platform and more restricted like iOS.
 
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