Form factors and performance

Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBook
By: David Kanter (dkanter.delete@this.realworldtech.com), May 10, 2011 12:39 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Richard Cownie (tich@pobox.com) on 5/10/11 wrote:
---------------------------
>David Kanter (dkanter@realworldtech.com) on 5/10/11 wrote:
>---------------------------
>
>>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.
>
>It doesn't have to be "widely used"; it has to be used in
>the few critical apps that cover a lot of common usage.
>Video transcoding (well, that may be in dedicated hardware);
>photoshop; video editing. And since Apple supplies much of that
>themselves, with iMovie, iTunes, Final Cut Pro etc, they
>can make it happen quickly - it seems that's what they've
>done with Final Cut Pro X already. Not that I really think
>anyone wants to do video editing on cheap ARM hardware,
>but it shows that Apple is pushing hard on exploiting
>multi-core and GPGPU in the apps that need it.

When I've talked to folks at Apple, they seem to have a fairly different perspective. They see a lot of code where performance matters and OpenCL won't be adopted for a while. It takes time. And not all things are suitable for OpenCL.

>>And single threaded performance always matters. There's a >reason why Nvidia's Tesla servers are using Nehalem...
>
>If that were true, Apple wouldn't be anything like as
>profitable as it is. They've been making a ton of money
>the last few years selling fairly slow iMacs and MacBooks
>and Mac Minis. And even slower iPads. There are
>markets where single-thread performance matters a lot
>(and HPC is very definitely one such); and others where
>it really doesn't, as long as you can jump a fairly low bar.
>Lots of people are using web browsers on 800MHz ARM >smartphones quite happily.

I never said it was the most important. Apple probably looks at form factor as a first order constraint, and then performance and efficiency. If you look at the MBA, they use slow CPUs because Intel/AMD didn't have anything that was sufficiently low power (for the form factor) and better in perf or power.

But I think within the context of a given form factor/power envelop, performance does matter. Performance is often interchangeable with efficiency to a certain extent.

I agree that nobody is really saying: "Give us the best performance and we'll design a cooler, PSU, case, etc. for it." But performance really does matter.

>Another point about your article is that probably very few
>of the apps these days have much assembler in them, so
>there would be fewer roadblocks in moving OSX apps
>from x86 to ARM than there were in the transition from
>68K to PowerPC, or even PowerPC to x86.

Yes, that's true. I just assume for the sake of argument that migrating the code is pretty simple. I know Apple is careful about not getting locked in.

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
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  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
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              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
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    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
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  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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