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Discussion Quo vadis Apple Macs - Intel, AMD and/or ARM CPUs? ARM it is!

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amrnuke

Golden Member
Apr 24, 2019
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My take on this hot topic is we're still looking at it from the wrong perspective: Apple isn't about to change the CPU inside their Mac, they're about to change the iPad into the Mac successor.

Let's take a small trip down the memory lane:

This post was from 2015. We had no Zen back then, and consumer desktop computing meant quads.


This post was from 2017, after Apple aired their "What's a computer" commercial.

Apple has a new category in their product portfolio - the iPad Pro, which they improve continuously with better input options at hardware level and better multitasking at OS level.

They are building the ARM Mac in plain sight. The iPad Pro is their (expensive) early access program. Your next computer is not a computer.
Agree completely.

I wouldn't be surprised by the following:
- the next Macbook will be a beefed-up iPad with an Apple Keyboard Pro (2 USB-C slots and a trackpad)
- they keep pushing to converge development for ARM and x86 as they are, Adobe's product lines eventually nearly fully fleshed on ARM
- the next Macbook Pro will be an iPad Pro with a 4 + 4 or 8 + 4 (big, little) CPU and the Apple Keyboard Pro
 

senttoschool

Golden Member
Jan 30, 2010
1,536
212
106
Agree completely.

I wouldn't be surprised by the following:
- the next Macbook will be a beefed-up iPad with an Apple Keyboard Pro (2 USB-C slots and a trackpad)
- they keep pushing to converge development for ARM and x86 as they are, Adobe's product lines eventually nearly fully fleshed on ARM
- the next Macbook Pro will be an iPad Pro with a 4 + 4 or 8 + 4 (big, little) CPU and the Apple Keyboard Pro
What OS would this device run on?
 

Markfw

CPU Moderator, VC&G Moderator, Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 16, 2002
21,575
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1. There is nothing that is not competitive about Intel CPU. Especially if you look at the whole range of SKUs on offer from 5w to 250W. They are expensive and that is possibly the only downside to it. Hence the lowering price to Apple as incentive.

2. Bundling of CPU and GPU as packages isn't Anti-Competitive at all, although I know EU will find a way to it. Giving heavy discount to customers isn't illegal either, and is currently the industry norm. Especially when AMD is showing to be extremely competitive, And Apple could also switch to ARM when they *want* to, that is itself is much more of a threat to Intel than anything else. I seriously doubt any commission will challenge such a threat with lowering price as anti competitive.

To be fair I dont see any of these happening either. I just dont felt Apple actually cares about the Mac enough to do all these. I felt they are just milking the platform for as long as they could with minimum resources, all while working on iPad and iPhone.
You have to be kidding. Intel has nothing competitive right now. (except the top of the line gaming cpu) Desktop, HEDT, now laptop, and server are all AMD.
 

Glo.

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2015
4,835
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I found one topic in the r/hackintosh subreddit.
I asked you about Apple forums not Reddit...

That guy saying that Mac OS has no limits on Thread/Core counts is actually clueless, because people already have been testing time and time again MacOS Hackintoshes with 64 Threadrippers and EPYC CPus and they do not even post, they immediately display Kernel Panic messeges.

Everything is fine till you use 32 Core/64 Thread CPU. If you go beyond that in your hardware configuration - immediate Kernel Panic. It does not matter whether you use Single CPU, or Multiple CPU configs - always displays KP with any config that has more than 32 Cores/64 Threads. Go to MacRumors forum - it has been discussed for pages.
 

senttoschool

Golden Member
Jan 30, 2010
1,536
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The next MacOS somewhere abouts September through November. The one that swaps out most of the elderly parts of MacOS with the youthful parts of iOS.
So basically an iPad Pro running MacOS with some parts of iPadOS integrated then?

I disagree with your perspective.

To me, this Macbook Pro will be running MacOS, period. It will be thicker than the iPad Pro because it needs a fan for long tasks such as a 1 hour+ video export. It needs to have a built in keyboard, not an optional attachable keyboard. It needs to be 16" for the Pro version. The largest iPad Pro is only 12.9".

When you do all those things, you end up with... a Macbook Pro with an ARM processor.
 

uzzi38

Golden Member
Oct 16, 2019
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- the next Macbook Pro will be an iPad Pro with a 4 + 4 or 8 + 4 (big, little) CPU and the Apple Keyboard Pro
Not a chance in hell of anything big.LITTLE. Only Intel are insane enough to try that in anything not a phone.
 

senttoschool

Golden Member
Jan 30, 2010
1,536
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I asked you about Apple forums not Reddit...

That guy saying that Mac OS has no limits on Thread/Core counts is actually clueless, because people already have been testing time and time again MacOS Hackintoshes with 64 Threadrippers and EPYC CPus and they do not even post, they immediately display Kernel Panic messeges.

Everything is fine till you use 32 Core/64 Thread CPU. If you go beyond that in your hardware configuration - immediate Kernel Panic. It does not matter whether you use Single CPU, or Multiple CPU configs - always displays KP with any config that has more than 32 Cores/64 Threads. Go to MacRumors forum - it has been discussed for pages.
You know Apple can change that right? They don't have a reason to support more than 32 cores unless they switch to AMD.
 

tamz_msc

Platinum Member
Jan 5, 2017
2,900
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I asked you about Apple forums not Reddit...

That guy saying that Mac OS has no limits on Thread/Core counts is actually clueless, because people already have been testing time and time again MacOS Hackintoshes with 64 Threadrippers and EPYC CPus and they do not even post, they immediately display Kernel Panic messeges.

Everything is fine till you use 32 Core/64 Thread CPU. If you go beyond that in your hardware configuration - immediate Kernel Panic. It does not matter whether you use Single CPU, or Multiple CPU configs - always displays KP with any config that has more than 32 Cores/64 Threads. Go to MacRumors forum - it has been discussed for pages.
Source for your claims?
 

DisEnchantment

Senior member
Mar 3, 2017
908
2,376
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That guy saying that Mac OS has no limits on Thread/Core counts is actually clueless, because people already have been testing time and time again MacOS Hackintoshes with 64 Threadrippers and EPYC CPus and they do not even post, they immediately display Kernel Panic messeges.
Darwin descended from BSD 4.4+ so it would be strange indeed if it cannot handle Multisocket, NUMA and high core count .
FreeBSD and DragonFly are capable of doing so.
Kernel Panic could happen from many things like Machine check exceptions and such but most likely not from being unable to handle 64 core.
 

ThatBuzzkiller

Golden Member
Nov 14, 2014
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It would be suicide if Apple abandoned x86. Mac is already not worth maintaining as a platform for advanced graphics since they wouldn't even support a modern industry standard like Vulkan so with this possibility I can only imagine that most of the current developers will outright ditch developing on macs altogether ...
 

Glo.

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2015
4,835
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Source for your claims?
Which is why they're not ****ing themselves over the AMD Threadripper 3 - they can't use the higher core counts. The 28C/56T Xeon is very close to the limit of what Apple OSX can use.

Apple OSX can't support a 64C/128T processor. Windows and Linux can.
yes, you can definitively say OSX has the same problem.
you can look at the kernel and see it, OSX limit is @64 (cores+threads)
one of many of the discussions on it

so many of the Hackintosh communities are talking about whether it's patchable
and the AMD OSX community, in particular, seems to be most affected or will be because a 3970x or 2990wx is the best you can use at the moment and within next few weeks the 3990x comes out which is a consumer part rather than server thus more mainstream.

so while the CPU will work you'll lose out on its full potential when Hackintoshing at least until a successful patch by one of the communities or Apple themselves.

its actually changed my next Hackintosh build plans I was excited for a top-end threadripper system since AMDs can now use thunderbolt but thats its own offtopic tangent.
MacOS CPU core support tops at 32 Core/64 Threads.

Apple has to rewrite the Kernel for them to support higher Thread Counts.
 
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tamz_msc

Platinum Member
Jan 5, 2017
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MacOS CPU core support tops at 32 Core/64 Threads.

Apple has to rewrite the Kernel for them to support higher Thread Counts.
That's certainly a limitation, but I think the lack of support for high-density DIMMs in Threadripper is a bigger limitation as to why Apple won't switch to AMD for the Mac Pro.
 

Tup3x

Senior member
Dec 31, 2016
536
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It'll definitely happen, laptop first though. Apple has such strong control for their software development and distribution that they could force it through (i.e. all new App Store apps need to be compiled for ARM too and the current ones too ore they'll kick them out). I don't see software being as big issue as with Windows on ARM - though, Qualcomm monopoly is issue at the moment. Lack of affordable hardware...
 

uzzi38

Golden Member
Oct 16, 2019
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Qualcomm's SQ1 and 8cx are both heterogeneous core configuration SoCs. They go in laptops.
And so far they've been a resounding success in their implementation and are fantastic products.

No but seriously, Apple don't need little cores to make a compelling product. Their big cores are already plenty powerful and in power efficiency they're on a different level compared to what they've had to work with until now.

They've got enough problems ensuring they have a full ecosystem ready for a transition, the last thing they'd want to do is try and also add on the requirement to developers to also consider big.LITTLE as well. And simply put, it's a risk they don't need to take. Provided they can get the software ecosystem down in the most major apps people use, they should be able to handle everything up until and including Macs with a relatively smooth transition. No little cores necessary.
 
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jpiniero

Lifer
Oct 1, 2010
10,105
2,364
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As for this year, Renior does make a lot of sense for both 2020 MBPs... but I agree that I don't think it's happening. I don't believe there is a 4+3e Comet Lake model coming, so the options for the 13" is either the 1068G7 (and/or Apple specific 28W Ice Lake models?) or a rebrand of the current Coffee Lake model. The 16" would use Comet Lake.

Using Ice Lake would be asking a lot of 10 nm but you would have the benefit of stockpiling for almost a year. The 13" is Apple's best selling Mac I believe so you are talking like a million+ a quarter.
 

jpiniero

Lifer
Oct 1, 2010
10,105
2,364
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They've got enough problems ensuring they have a full ecosystem ready for a transition, the last thing they'd want to do is try and also add on the requirement to developers to also consider big.LITTLE as well. And simply put, it's a risk they don't need to take. Provided they can get the software ecosystem down in the most major apps people use, they should be able to handle everything up until and including Macs with a relatively smooth transition. No little cores necessary.
It seems to work pretty well on iOS... and remember there really isn't much difference under the hood between iOS and OSX other than the UI.
 

DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
17,842
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And so far they've been a resounding success in their implementation and are fantastic products.
Actually, we have no idea how well they've sold. Regardless, you did say only Intel would do it, and that's not really true. I fully expect Apple to use small cores via DynamIQ as a powersaving measure once they put A14 or whatever into laptops.
 
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Glo.

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2015
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That's certainly a limitation, but I think the lack of support for high-density DIMMs in Threadripper is a bigger limitation as to why Apple won't switch to AMD for the Mac Pro.
Obviously they won't switch to Threadripper for MP.

If anything Apple will switch to EPYC CPUs. Threadripper's can only be reserved for iMac Pro's.
 

Glo.

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2015
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The funny thing about that initiative, that is supposed to run ARM apps on Mac is that they are supposed to run iOS(!) Application on MacOS, not port MacOS applications to ARM.


Lets face it. If Apple was going to move Macs to ARM, full-stop, they would launch initiative that would port current x86 apps to ARM, not port iOS Apps to x86(!).
 
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