• Apple’s M1 processors are shaking up how you compute

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    #2441709

    SILICON By Brian Livingston After defining the smartphone market with its iPhone for years, Apple Inc. has shaken up the tech territory by designing i
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    • #2441715

      It is my understanding that the current M1 chips, original through Ultra, that are “Systems on a Chip” or SOCs, in future versions: M2, M3, etc. are going to have its three components: CPU, GDU and neural network “engine” separated into three chips, one for each component of the single M1 chip.

      I am of the impression that both the higher density of gates allowed by the smaller components and the switch from the Intel CISC to the Apple RISC-type CPU, that processes fewer basic instructions to arrive at the same result, are the two main reasons for the increase in computing speed and reduction in power consumption, as it could be expected.

      As to how earth-shaking this innovative computer architecture being ushered in by Apple might be, perhaps it is still a little early to know? This will depend on how many of these new kind of machines are bought and how those that are bought get to be used to do what. While they show great promise, how earth-shaking they really might prove to be, that we shall know in due course, I think. Perhaps, rather than “earth-shaking”, “gentle prodding” might turn out to be a better turn of phrase?

      And for how much longer the only company manufacturing the chips and in possession of the very sophisticated technical means needed for that, sited as it is in Taiwan, might be able to make and export these chips? That is, in good part, in the hands of the people governing the DRC, that are in charge of deciding to continue observing the present informal status quo, or to actively enforce the official policy that Taiwan is a rebellious province of their country and must be brought back into the fold, by force if necessary. Production could be moved to a safer place, if necessary, but not overnight. Or as fast as big computer users, such as big private corporations and governments, might decide to better use something else than Silicon Macs.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

    • #2441725

      Wow, that’s a lot of bold words. “shaken up the tech territory”, “disruptive effect of the M1″, ” shockwaves felt throughout the processor and computing world”. All sounds a bit too much Apple-marketing talk. While the M1 is certainly a step forward in processor evolution, it’s certainly NOT a revolution. The only revolutionary thing are the blatant lies Apple tries to sell.

      Anyway, it’s a good thing Apple stirs up the processor market, but way too soon to call it a winner….

    • #2441741

      All sounds a bit too much Apple-marketing talk.

      Sure does. Apple hype is nothing new. But when it comes to Apple silicon, Quinn Nelson (Snazzy Labs) is just one of many YouTube Apple watchers who is impressed. And while he and others are praising the silicon and confirming that what Apple is saying is accurate, they are also taking Apple to task for the new Studio display. In short, they’re calling it like they see it and not succumbing to hype.

      way too soon to call it a winner …

      Mac sales are up 25% year over year for 1Q22. The last six quarters are the best for Mac sales in Apple’s history. Don’t take my word for it – check out Apple’s financial results.

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    • #2441743

      Intel CISC to the Apple RISC-type CPU

      RISC processors hit their stride when they went superscalar. At the time, common wisdom said CISC architectures would not survive. But here we are today, with all those famous RISC processors from Sun and Motorola and IBM dead and buried, while Intel soldiers on. That’s because Intel took its architectures superscalar, with sophisticated pipelining and hyper-threading and without abandoning complex instructions.

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      • #2441878

        It would seem we’ll be reading more about Intel and how they are responding to the M1 challenge, in the next installment in this series.

        -- rc primak

      • #2442049

        Intel took its architectures superscalar, with sophisticated pipelining and hyper-threading and without abandoning complex instructions.

        Yeah, impressive stuff. I especially like Intel’s clever addition of predictive boosting solutions creating velocity uplift like never-before in their processors.

        Okay, yes, security pros don’t much like Intel’s addition of predictive BS creating VULNs in their processors. But, hey, my processor seems faster, so…
        ;-D

    • #2441767

      I’m sure the M1 platform is quite exciting from a tech perspective, and I’m sure the Apple faithful have gone gaga over this latest “amazing” product from Apple resulting in higher sales, but the people I know who sell Apple products are not so enamored with it and are still suggesting users stick with the older Intel based products through refurb and renewed solutions.

      That said, the real issue here is not technological supremacy, but rather the cold hard facts of trying to use Apple products in a business setting.  It just doesn’t work.  With so much line of business software written for the Windows Intel platform, even companies that want to try using Apple can’t.  Apple Boot Camp was one solution, but it’s very hard to justify paying extra to buy an Apple computer and then never using the Mac OS, which is in effect what business users of Apple computers usually end up doing.

      Now, if all you need is a web browser and email, and you’re not married to any Windows based software, just about any operating system will suffice.  But if you’re also looking for an abysmally small selection of software to chose from, on a seriously locked down computer, in the “walled garden” that is Mac, and you don’t mind paying a premium for the pleasure of these limitations, then an Apple computer could be for you!

      As a computer consultant, I dream of the day I can realistically move my client base from being locked into the Windows infrastructure to something other.  I certainly use Linux whenever I can, as it does offer quality solutions to a number of OS and software needs, but even it can not replace Windows effectively in a business environment.  And that is really the only crucible that matters to me and many others.

       

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      • #2441883

        How (or whether) Windows will still be able to run on the M1 processors is presently being debated in tech circles. The business strategy of buying Apple hardware and running Windows software on it has temporarily been disrupted. Linux also.  I’m sure future installments in this series will cover this aspect of Apple’s switch to the M1 processors.

        -- rc primak

        • #2442097

          The business strategy of buying Apple hardware and running Windows software on it has temporarily been disrupted.

          It’s been permanently disrupted. It will take more time to see if Mac sales continue their upward trend, but as long as that’s the case, there is no incentive for Apple to help make Windows run. Third parties might do that.

          As for software, the most important and desired apps are already multiplatform, including MS Office. It’s only niche apps, such as many I use for development, that are not available.

          As I’ve said before, relatively minor increases in Mac market share don’t mean much to the market as a whole today, but these modest gains are a big deal for Apple. And if it could manage to sneak up on the mid-teens, that might be enough critical mass to propel it higher after floating around at five or six percent for decades.

        • #2442100

          I have been running Windows 11 on ARM Insider on my M1 MacMini in a Parallels VM. I haven’t had time to investigate what s/w will run on it and with Rosetta other than a few basics (Firefox, Thunderbird, VLC, CCleaner, Belarc, etc) but that may be a possibility other than Bootcamp.

    • #2441775

      You missed a big one in your list of firm developing custom processors: Microsoft. If that takes off, it really could rise to the level of shaken and disruptive. Unlike Apple, it’s less about performance and more about pushing security into the processor. Some interesting reading below

      Meet the Microsoft Pluton processor – The security chip designed for the future of Windows PCs – Microsoft Security Blog

      Microsoft Is Planning To Make A Processor For Its Surface Devices

      (androidheadlines.com)

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    • #2441887

      You missed a big one in your list of firm developing custom processors: Microsoft.

      This is not a CPU but just a new ‘TPM’ chip not comparable to Apple’s M1.
      Apple had such a chip for years in iPhone, iPad, Mac.. called ‘Enclave’ & T1 chip.

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    • #2441951

      So I have my feet in both camps. I’ve had and been happy with iPhones and iPads for well over a decade, since the days of Motorola flip phones, put it that way. Yes they’re pricey, but they work for me, and other than YouTube (a guilty sin), I do what I can to sidestep Google.

      Yet I’ve been an MS Windows devotee since my 1980s Apple IIe, and greatly prefer it to Macintosh computers. I like the way Windows PCs handle files. I can just get more done with less hassle.

      My wife and daughter, OTOH, once owned but HATED IBM/Sony/Dell Windows PCs, and have since gotten and been much happier with Macs.

      Now since I am the family tech support person, I have had to grit my teeth and bear it in dealing with setting up and maintaining their Macs. It would have been much easier for me to work in Windows, except that I must admit when my wife or daughter walk within 10 feet of a Windows PC either one owns, it will become demonically possessed and develop an issue that no one knows how to fix in any reasonable time. I can’t explain it. But experience has taught me that it’s easier to deal with the weirdly buttoned-down iOS and websearch fixes to their occasional Mac issues than deal with their complaints about Windows PCs. Your mileage may vary.

      Both my wife and I were due for new midrange computers and got them (hers an M1 Macbook Pro, mine a homebuilt Windows desktop PC) this past year. And apart from an agonizing day or two on my end setting up and resolving transitional issues in each one, we both ended up feeling we got our money’s worth.

      Her MacBook M1 Pro, which she uses for email, web shopping… (I know, way overkill)… but yes, also serious amateur photo editing in Lightroom and Topaz AI, plus my routine backups with Carbon Copy Clone, is a truly impressive laptop.

      Did she really need a MacBook Pro? According to this YouTube reviewer who makes good sense to me (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zePD4Sdf6yA), not especially, because the 14″ MacBook M1 Air is a pound-the-table better value ($1,000 cheaper) in an Apple computer, in terms of performance bang-for-the-buck. Very little gain for your $1k.

      But she was really set on getting a bigger display, and to get from a 14″ to a 16″ screen in MacBook, she needed MacBook M1 Pro. She’s happy. This makes me happy. And I’m really impressed at its smooth, no hassle, screaming fast execution of photo editing and backup with the USB 3.2 ports and external drive (okay, we needed new backup drives, too). I doubt you would go wrong with either a MacBook M1 Air or Pro. They are fast, nimble, and smooth as butter.

      As usual, the bleeding edge of the tech curve, going to M1 Max is only worth considering if price is no object, because the additional performance for dollar spent is minimal. Yeah, I know, you could argue the same for Air to Pro, but there’s the screen size. If you want more than 14″, you need Pro.

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    • #2442150

      there is no incentive for Apple to help make Windows run.

      It has nothing to do with Apple.
      Microsoft is to blame for not releasing a public version of Windows ARM.
      Insider build of Windows on ARM run fine on M1 Macs.

      • #2442202

        Related to this comment by Will Fastie and Alex’s reply: I wonder if this would extend to MS Office for Macs, the one thing from MS that I still use regularly and prefer to keep doing so, if I decided to move on to “Silicon” Macs.

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

    • #2442269

      I wonder if this would extend to MS Office for Macs, the one thing from MS that I still use regularly and prefer to keep doing so, if I decided to move on to “Silicon” Macs.

      https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/microsoft-365-office-2021-and-office-2019-support-for-apple-silicon-c55b603e-14a6-4b69-bdc0-2bb4c9a36834

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    • #2442559

      If you can handle a few moments of cognitive dissonance, my colleague Byron Wine in Manassas, Virginia, several years ago assembled a body of suppressed R&D that is quite astounding, even shocking, in many ways e.g. battery technologies.

      Google is censoring this search, so try BING:

      site:supremelaw.org/authors/wine “Energy Invention Suppression Cases”

      scroll down to:

      IPMS:  Energy Storage/Battery Devices

      • #2442596

        Google is censoring this search, so try BING:

        Is that because your site is flagged as Not Secure, due to having no certificate?

        Why do you provide a search rather than a link?

        Windows 10 Pro version 21H2 build 19044.1682 + Microsoft 365 (group ASAP)

      • #2442649

        @SupremeLaW. What does your post to do with Apple’s M1 Macs ?

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