Jump to content
Starise

Future Macs ARM , and The Intel answer

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Is there an Intel answer to Mac Arm based laptops said to be out later this year?

Imagine a laptop that doesn't need a cooling fan, can last for 20 hours on one charge and is faster than anything we now have.

Anyone else following this? 

On one side of it, ARM Mac manufactured chips have been in ipads and iphones for a long time. Looks like they are scaling things up  to add Mabooks to the lineup.

The smaller Macbook would be a good candidate for the first try because it isn't as powerful so you could basically add the insides from the latest ipad and have a good result.

Moving on to the better Macbook pro line Apple will make a new version of the ARM chips especially for the Macbook pro. Developers can buy a special mac mini to prototype software on. Things haven't really hit the fan yet though in terms of real world actual use. In order to remain competitive Apple will need to show at least some perfoamnce gains over x86 architecture.

I haven't heard much about what Intel has in mind to counter this. They are working on ARM chips as well...but I am concerned their integration might be a problem.  Apple will obviously be going through some growing pains  with this transition. When the bugs are ironed out though Intel will have some very real competition on their hands for the laptop market if performance can be shown to out class them on ARM Apple devices. 

The tech from Apple looks mainly like regurgitated PowerPC architecture taken to a different ( maybe better) level. If it works well though, and I suspect it will,  I would look for a response of some kind from Intel. If performance gains are only 2% it won't break the bank. Comparisons might be sketchy at best because we are then comparing apples to oranges. Adobe and Microsoft are on board with early development . This might make a reasonable litmus as a comparison. Of course, anything Apple writes will be streamlined for their computers, the reason Logic works just a little better than a Mac version of Cubase.

Edited by Starise

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If they are faster, quieter, and cooler, I'm sure Apple will be happy to price the entry models at $7999. Given that people seem happy to pay for the latest, greatest iPhone, I'm fairly sure they will be happy to pay.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, antler said:

If they are faster, quieter, and cooler, I'm sure Apple will be happy to price the entry models at $7999. Given that people seem happy to pay for the latest, greatest iPhone, I'm fairly sure they will be happy to pay.

This was one point raised by most who are following this- You won't gain any financial benefit with future Macs. Any savings made from changing over to in house chips goes into someone else's pocket. I don't think the prices will be quite that high unless we are talking a Mac high end tower. So far ARM is only slated for laptops. This could change.

 

Edited by Starise

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I read "Future Macs ARM..." I couldn't help but get visions of machines like the Terminator in my head... 😆

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's Mac's Arm

R-2758715-1552210045-4837.jpeg.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Bapu said:

Here's Mac's Arm

R-2758715-1552210045-4837.jpeg.jpg

I think that MAC version is for the Ladies :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it might end up being AMD on TSMC 5nm process with a competitive product to the new ARM Macs coming out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been reading about this is on the Avid & Steinberg forums, just to get any indication as to what plans they have, but its pretty much all speculation at this point.

Going by past upgrades though  (i.e. PPC to Intel, and also the OSX compatibility cycles), it's likely that the Intel Mac's will continue to be supported for around 5 years after the ARM macs start hitting the streets.

The more worrying issues for those tied to the Apple platform are:

- Will DAW companies, and more importantly plugin companies be able to make the switch?  I mean, there's a lot of codebase there that may or may not be easy to port over. Some will simply be able to recompile for ARM, others may have DSP specially tuned for Intel and will require more work. Also differences in chip architecture / OS could mean major changes to their threading  models. DAW companies that target both PC & Mac may have a tough decision to make here if they're looking at maintaining a divergent codebase moving forward.

- Will the audio interface companies be ready with drivers for the ARM macs?  Presumably Apple will also need to come up with some new Thunderbolt 3 solution for ARM too, unless they ditch Thunderbolt and come up with some new proprietary interface.

- People who rely on bootcamp to run Windows will be out of luck. This feature was only viable because both OS's ran on the Intel architecture.

So even if the DAW companies manage to make the transition, there's a pretty good chance that you'll have to upgrade your audio interface and say goodbye to many of your plugins.

I can envisage a lot of pro studios moving over to Windows to avoid this pain.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

My first Mac had a Motorola CPU.

Then they changed to IBM (Power PC) and everything I had went obsolete. Nothing would work anymore.

Then they changed to OSX (say Oh-Ess-$EX) and everything I had went obsolete.

Then they changed to Intel, and everything I had went obsolete.

Here we go again :(

 

Edited by Notes_Norton
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never really been a Mac user, but from what I've read Apple don't seem to care much for their existing user base when making 'progress', e.g. the 3.5mm headphone jack. I guess things becoming obsolete is the price for having a finer tuned iTunes/Logic/other-Mac-centric-software experience.

3 hours ago, msmcleod said:

- Will DAW companies, and more importantly plugin companies be able to make the switch?  I mean, there's a lot of codebase there that may or may not be easy to port over. Some will simply be able to recompile for ARM, others may have DSP specially tuned for Intel and will require more work. Also differences in chip architecture / OS could mean major changes to their threading  models. DAW companies that target both PC & Mac may have a tough decision to make here if they're looking at maintaining a divergent codebase moving forward.

 

3 hours ago, msmcleod said:

I can envisage a lot of pro studios moving over to Windows to avoid this pain.

Are there any statistics for Windows/Mac userbase percentage for DAW based applications? I'm guessing Windows has a larger share?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only recently added a Mac Book Pro (2013 refurbished) for initially non-DAW related needs (iOS app development).

Then I decided to install the seven cross compatible DAW I've purchased to test compatibility. I also purchased Logic X for the fun of it for real cheap on ebay. It's only a 2.0GHz Quad core I7 w/16GB of RAM but it competes quite nicely with my current 3.4GHZ Quad Core I7-2600K PC w/32GB or RAM machine.

As soon as I finish my two current collaborations I'm going to be upgrading to an I9-10900K 3.7GHZ 10 core based system with 64GB or RAM (able to expand to 128GB if necessary.

I was looking at used (2010 or so) Mac Pro systems on ebay. Found some fairly high end units for sale but decided that I'm sticking with Windows as the machine I'll be building will last a good 5 years (or more) as will all my DAWs that I rely on.

I'll keep the MacBook Pro for the odd test etc. Hopefully it will not become obsolete for the iOS app I'm involved in.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since the first time I touched a computer (an HP2000 timeshare actually) way back in 1970, I've never owned an Apple computer.  I've been able to afford the top-of-the-line stuff (most of the time) and old stuff continued to work for years after it had been replaced with newer things.  I'm happy with those decisions.  🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being that I write aftermarket styles for Band-in-a-Box, and that in the past the styles were slightly different for different computer OS's I owned Atari, Mac and PC.

I dropped Atari when it faded away.

When the styles became 100% compatible I quit buying Macs.

It's not a "I prefer this OS over this other OS" decision. Instead I make my decision by the software I use the most.

The StyleMaker app in Band-in-a-Box has more fine tuning features on BiaB Windows than BiaB Mac. That means it's possible to write better styles on BiaB Windows, and since that is part of my monthly income, that is were my money goes.

Plus my primary way to make a living is by gigging. I play by backing tracks on a computer (ThinkPad). If my computer crashes, I have another up and running on stage and all I have to do is move the USB-Audio interface to the second computer and the show goes on. This has happened twice since I went computer in 2002 so the ThinkPads are very reliable computers. In fact, I just retired a 2002 machine because it finally started giving me minor problems.

If a Mac crapped out on the gig, and I needed a new one, it would take a week or more to get a replacement or repair. In that time I'd be running without a spare. If a Windows computer craps out, I can pick one up at Staples, Office Depot or even Walmart if I need to.

So since Mac went Intel, and BiaB styles went 100% cross platform compatible, I haven't owned a Mac. I often suspected that their changes that made all software obsolete was a way of making money using the planned obsolescence formula :D

Addition, I did own an iPad, but when the battery died and I couldn't get it replaced, I bought a Galaxy which I like better. It's easier to move files back and forth to my Windows PC with the Android than it was with the iPad.

Again, nothing against Macs, there are pros and cons for both platforms, but my business keeps me in the PC camp.

Insights and incites by Notes

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first computer I touched was an HP3000 making modifications to a business application programmed in Fortran.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine was a DEC - don't know the model, I was working for a Cable TV equipment manufacturer. It was as big as a mini Refrigerator and did file things, very, very, very slowly by today's standards, but quicker than doing it by hand.

They tried to make it work for security systems, but eventually we put a vase with a plastic rose bud on the console at the trade show because it wouldn't boot.

The first computer I owned was a Texas Instrument TI-99/4A. I learned BASIC on that one (self-taught)

Then an Atari 1040ST with built in MIDI ports. I sequenced my first music backing track on that one and discovered Band-in-a-Box.

When I bought my first "IBM Clone" (DOS-5 & Win 3.1) the computer store owner bought the old TI from me as a collectors item.

My first Mac was a Classic II

I'm all ThinkPads now -- until something that works for me better comes along.

Notes

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/4/2020 at 7:57 AM, msmcleod said:

I've been reading about this is on the Avid & Steinberg forums, just to get any indication as to what plans they have, but its pretty much all speculation at this point.

Going by past upgrades though  (i.e. PPC to Intel, and also the OSX compatibility cycles), it's likely that the Intel Mac's will continue to be supported for around 5 years after the ARM macs start hitting the streets.

The more worrying issues for those tied to the Apple platform are:

- Will DAW companies, and more importantly plugin companies be able to make the switch?  I mean, there's a lot of codebase there that may or may not be easy to port over. Some will simply be able to recompile for ARM, others may have DSP specially tuned for Intel and will require more work. Also differences in chip architecture / OS could mean major changes to their threading  models. DAW companies that target both PC & Mac may have a tough decision to make here if they're looking at maintaining a divergent codebase moving forward.

- Will the audio interface companies be ready with drivers for the ARM macs?  Presumably Apple will also need to come up with some new Thunderbolt 3 solution for ARM too, unless they ditch Thunderbolt and come up with some new proprietary interface.

- People who rely on bootcamp to run Windows will be out of luck. This feature was only viable because both OS's ran on the Intel architecture.

So even if the DAW companies manage to make the transition, there's a pretty good chance that you'll have to upgrade your audio interface and say goodbye to many of your plugins.

I can envisage a lot of pro studios moving over to Windows to avoid this pain.

 This is one thing I hadn't considered. That DAW and plugin makers might struggle with the changes. It would seem Apple is making the jump easier by providing a developer kit to anyone early in the game before the ARM comes out. Apple has already essentially locked  in a more dedicated process inside their current OS with relation to how it communicates with Logic as compared to any other DAW.  

True blue Mac fans will probably roll with it in the hopes the advantages outweigh the liabilities, but yeah, if I owned a studio for $$  there would be a breaking point where I would say enough is enough. For what will likely only be a much hyped "marginal" gain it probably isn't worth it. If the switch could be made fairly painlessly then it's an option to go to PC. The other considerations might be if you only used a Mac OS or Logic for the last 20 years you need to learn a new OS which probably doesn't look too appealing. Also changing all of those Kontakt libraries and plugins over to PC from Mac would be a hassle if you had not prior run dual platforms in the studio.

Either way they will need to make changes, so maybe it's an opportune time for some to make the jump.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a couple of points:

 

"Long Battery Life" and "High Performance" are diametrically opposed.  You can have one or the other... not both.

 

General-purpose use (Office Apps, Surfing the Internet, etc) doesn't require much in the way of CPU.

ARM CPUs are already fine doing these tasks (iPads).

 

We work with a lot of Mac users who were essentially abandoned (as power-users) by Apple.

Most often they're professional composers... who need specific components in a high-performance machine; a machine that can be expanded/upgraded as need demands.

The new Mac Pro???  7k for the base model.  Specs our composer clients need would be ~$10,000... and still not offer the same speed/performance and custom/expansion/upgrade options.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also on the X86 side will be more powerful chips coming out and Windows is actively working on Windows on Arm too. It shall be interesting the next few years.  For the seasoned-Pro I wouldn't jump on this new tech on ARM but the youngsters will reap the benefits 10 years from now. Truly a high powered DAW in the palm of your hand with a holographic display :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The missing piece for portable computing is still battery storage. The exciting technology around carbon graphite has held my attention off and on over the years. It’s coming closer. That will truly revolutionise portables. We’ve been with old battery tech a VERY long time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, InstrEd said:

Also on the X86 side will be more powerful chips coming out and Windows is actively working on Windows on Arm too. It shall be interesting the next few years.  For the seasoned-Pro I wouldn't jump on this new tech on ARM but the youngsters will reap the benefits 10 years from now. Truly a high powered DAW in the palm of your hand with a holographic display :D

But still, no hovercraft. WTF?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...