New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBook

Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBook
By: David Kanter (dkanter.delete@this.realworldtech.com), May 10, 2011 10:18 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
Richard Cownie (tich@pobox.com) on 5/10/11 wrote:
---------------------------
>David Kanter (dkanter@realworldtech.com) on 5/10/11 wrote:
>---------------------------
>
>>Charlie's reports aside, Apple will not switch their laptops to ARM any time soon.
>>Despite Apple’s previous migrations, there are too many technical and business
>>challenges and too few benefits.
>
>I don't know what's going to happen. But I think some of
>your arguments are weak:
>
>First, the idea that Apple is focused on performance.
>Sure, right now, they happen to have both MacBook Pro's
>and iMacs with up-to-date Sandy Bridge cpus. But that's
>not typical at all: they have rather consistently been
>focused on low-power solutions - sticking with Core2 for
>a long time in spite of its relatively low performance,
>and building some of the lowest-power solutions around,
>suchas the Mac Mini, MacBook Air, and iPad. They usually
>sacrifice performance to get low power and compact
>physical design.

Yes, I agree that performance is secondary to power in those designs. However, I don't think they are willing to take a performance hair cut. Also, the rumor was about ALL notebooks, not just the MBA.

>Second, the argument that putting together an untested
>cpu and an untested GPU in a laptop would be a huge risk.
>But that isn't what they would be doing: they've already
>got the iPad1 and iPad2, with a very strong software
>ecosystem, and surely they also have iPad3 prototypes
>already and have a very good idea of what an existing
>ARM+GPU-based system can do, running quite a wide variety
>of software. A hypothetical ARM-based laptop would surely
>be, in terms of the compute system, an evolution of the
>iPad hardware, rather than a crippled MacBook.

I don't think ImgTec has anything that would serve for a MacBook Pro. Not sure about MBA.

>Third, with Grand Central and OpenCL in OSX, Apple have
>been providing the infrastructure to allow compute-intensive
>apps to utilize multiple cores and GPGPU compute.
>Look at descriptions of the new Final Cut Pro X video
>editor for an example. If we're looking at a future where
>single-thread apps run fast enough (and most already do
>on the iPad2), and compute-intensive apps prefer to use
>GPU resources, then the need for x86-level single-thread
>performance is questionable.

Color me skeptical. OpenCL isn't that widely used, and I'm not too sure about Grand Central. I agree the pieces are in place...but that's like 5-10 years out.

And single threaded performance always matters. There's a reason why Nvidia's Tesla servers are using Nehalem...

>In all, Apple doesn't succeed by winning in benchmarks.
>It succeeds - and charges a hefty premium - by providing
>an overall user experience. If moving to ARM involves
>less single-thread performance, but allows you to have a
>faster GPU and more cores and maybe an SSD instead of a
>5400rpm disk, that might well be a good tradeoff. And
>the people playing with iPad3 prototypes are almost
>certainly the ones with the best information to make that
>decision.

The MBA already has an SSD I think.

>Having said all that, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see
>some Apple laptops with AMD Fusion APUs; or else just a
>whole lot of rumors to scare Intel into giving them a
>really good deal.

Now there's a theory I can buy into.

David
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TopicPosted ByDate
New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookDavid Kanter2011/05/10 12:19 AM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookMark Christiansen2011/05/09 11:24 PM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookLouis Gerbarg2011/05/09 11:54 PM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBooknone2011/05/10 12:57 AM
    New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookDavid Kanter2011/05/10 01:18 AM
      New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBooknone2011/05/10 02:14 AM
        New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookDavid Kanter2011/05/10 02:19 AM
          New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookGoose2011/05/10 02:34 AM
          New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookRatherNotSay2011/05/10 06:25 AM
          ARM predication not so horriblePaul A. Clayton2011/05/10 08:05 AM
            ARM predication not so horriblenone2011/05/10 08:12 AM
              Partial update seems kind of oddPaul A. Clayton2011/05/10 08:29 AM
                Partial update seems kind of oddExophase2011/05/10 08:51 AM
                  Partial update seems kind of oddMichael S2011/05/10 12:56 PM
                    Partial update seems kind of oddMichael S2011/05/10 01:25 PM
                      Partial update seems kind of oddWilco2011/05/10 02:39 PM
                        Partial update seems kind of oddanonymous422011/05/10 07:09 PM
                          Partial update seems kind of oddrwessel2011/05/10 09:57 PM
                  Condition register usesPaul A. Clayton2011/05/10 05:56 PM
                  Partial update seems kind of oddMegol2011/05/11 01:06 AM
          New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookKevin G2011/05/11 01:21 AM
      New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookWilco2011/05/10 03:47 AM
        New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookMichael S2011/05/10 04:06 AM
          New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookWilco2011/05/10 04:25 AM
            New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookMichael S2011/05/10 05:13 AM
        Predication and OoOEExophase2011/05/10 08:34 AM
          Predication and OoOEWilco2011/05/10 03:46 PM
            Predication and OoOEExophase2011/05/11 07:51 AM
        ARM ISADavid Kanter2011/05/10 09:12 AM
          ARM ISAUngo2011/05/10 12:30 PM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookThibs2011/05/10 02:45 AM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookLlew2011/05/10 03:33 AM
    New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookDavid Kanter2011/05/10 09:34 AM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookKevin G2011/05/10 03:55 AM
    New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookDavid Kanter2011/05/10 10:07 AM
      New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookKevin G2011/05/11 01:33 AM
        New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookDavid Kanter2011/05/11 02:00 AM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBook ... The FACTS say otherwise !fabrice2011/05/10 04:07 AM
    New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBook ... The FACTS say otherwise !Rakesh Malik2011/05/11 03:03 PM
      New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBook ... The FACTS say otherwise !Richard Cownie2011/05/12 08:50 AM
        New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBook ... The FACTS say otherwise !Rakesh Malik2011/05/12 09:10 AM
    Hrmmmm...David Kanter2011/05/14 12:19 AM
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  What about MS?Joe Kerr2011/05/10 06:26 AM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookRichard Cownie2011/05/10 06:41 AM
    Dual CPU makes more sense than dropping x86Mark Roulo2011/05/10 07:54 AM
      Dual CPU makes more sense than dropping x86Richard Cownie2011/05/10 09:02 AM
        Dual CPU makes more sense than dropping x86Mark Roulo2011/05/10 09:28 AM
          Dual CPU makes more sense than dropping x86Richard Cownie2011/05/10 09:55 AM
            Dual CPU makes more sense than dropping x86Wes Felter2011/05/10 11:20 AM
      Dual CPU makes more sense than dropping x86rwessel2011/05/10 11:01 AM
        Dual CPU makes more sense than dropping x86fabrice2011/05/10 12:02 PM
    New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookDavid Kanter2011/05/10 10:18 AM
      New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookRichard Cownie2011/05/10 12:10 PM
        Form factors and performanceDavid Kanter2011/05/10 12:39 PM
          Form factors and performanceRichard Cownie2011/05/10 05:25 PM
            Form factors and performanceLinus Torvalds2011/05/10 06:24 PM
              Form factors and performanceRichard cownie2011/05/11 02:12 AM
                Form factors and performanceRichard Cownie2011/05/11 03:44 AM
              Form factors and performanceGabriele Svelto2011/05/11 09:03 AM
                Form factors and performanceLinus Torvalds2011/05/11 10:16 AM
                  Form factors and performanceMark Christiansen2011/05/11 11:06 AM
                  Form factors and performanceRichard Cownie2011/05/11 12:36 PM
              Form factors and performanceDoug Siebert2011/05/11 10:19 AM
                Form factors and performanceRakesh Malik2011/05/11 03:36 PM
            Form factors and performanceFoo_2011/05/11 04:33 AM
              Form factors and performanceRichard Cownie2011/05/11 05:35 AM
              Form factors and performanceJoe Kerr2011/05/11 09:05 PM
    New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookUngo2011/05/10 01:33 PM
      New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookRichard Cownie2011/05/10 04:54 PM
  Maybe after Cortex A15 ?Nicolas2011/05/10 07:07 AM
    Maybe after Cortex A15 ?anonymous422011/05/10 11:01 AM
      Maybe after Cortex A15 ? Nicolas2011/05/11 01:34 PM
  One way for ARM to beat Inteletienne2011/05/10 04:38 PM
  Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?John H2011/05/16 08:14 PM
    Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?blah2011/05/17 08:02 PM
      Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?Brett2011/05/18 02:50 AM
        Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?Llew2011/05/18 03:43 AM
        Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?David Kanter2011/05/18 09:46 AM
          Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?Brett2011/05/18 11:43 AM
            Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?blah2011/05/18 08:01 PM
            Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?David Kanter2011/05/18 11:47 PM
              Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?Rob Thorpe2011/05/19 01:07 AM
                Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?blah2011/05/19 11:01 AM
                  Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?Richard Cownie2011/05/19 11:48 AM
              iOS changes from OSXBrett2011/05/21 12:18 PM
                iOS changes from OSXBrett Davis2011/08/26 04:46 PM
              iOS changes from OSX Brett2011/06/03 10:50 AM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookRobi52011/05/20 11:55 PM
    New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookDavid Kanter2011/05/21 01:36 PM
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