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Apple has successfully replaced system-on-chips developed by Samsung Electronics inside its mobile devices with its own processors and is currently working on high-performance ARM architecture microprocessors to cease using Intel Corp.’s chips inside its Macintosh personal computers, according to a report.

Apple engineers have grown confident that the ARM architectures used for microprocessors that power mobile devices, such as smartphones and media tablets, will one day be powerful enough to run its desktops and laptops, said three people with knowledge of the work, reports Bloomberg news-agency. Since 2006, Apple has been using Intel’s x86 processors to power Mac PCs. Before that, Apple utilized IBM and Motorola chips with Power architecture for over a decade.

While ARM architecture is generally optimized for low power consumption, not high performance, in the recent years many chip designers initiated development of server-class ARM chips, which are supposed to work faster than mobile SoCs. For example, Nvidia Corp. is working on a high-end code-named Boulder chips that is projected to be competitive against AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon central processing units. A chip with similar characteristics could be enough to run a Mac desktop or laptop.

One of the problems with transition from one processor architecture to another is incompatibility with software. For example, programs developed for Mac OS X and x86 chips will not work on Mac OS X and ARM chips.

Another problem with attempt to substitute Intel’s chips with own designs is potential inability to keep up with performance increase pace set by the world’s largest chipmaker, which would lower appeal of Apple’s computer platform compared to Windows-based solutions. In fact, Apple’s Macs started to rapidly gain popularity among consumers only after the company started to use Intel’s x86 chips in 2006.

Apple did not comment on the news-story.


Tags: Apple, ARM, Intel, Samsung, Mac, Macintosh, macbook, iMac, Mac Pro


Comments currently: 11
Discussion started: 11/06/12 12:15:17 AM
Latest comment: 11/06/12 10:47:12 PM
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This going to be awesome. Finally a low power retina 27"+ Imac I jumping for joy YIPPPEEEE!!!! I can't wait.
3 1 [Posted by: 123  | Date: 11/06/12 12:15:17 AM]
- collapse thread

Yeah great news, lets see what they come up with.
All the best talent from AMD left and Went for Apple. Actually 123 i was saying this ages ago to AMD fan-boys but they would not understand this.
ARM is the future.
Actually AMD is trying to position itself to get bought but it seems that nobody is interested.
2 3 [Posted by: AvONbaCK  | Date: 11/06/12 01:11:39 AM]
tell me pal, do you masturbate thinking of CPUs and GPUs? you really have to go out from time to time! i'm very curious how you look in reality, i bet you have nerdy look, glasses, very skinny or fat, acne, virgin, a bit ugly, living with your mom, the stereotype of a geek. you could be a very good candidate for an psychology case, with your double or triple personalities.
0 2 [Posted by: 63jax  | Date: 11/06/12 10:47:12 PM]
Intel is no longer cool enough.
2 3 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 11/06/12 02:56:17 PM]

Once all the software makers leave the x86 field and the O/S's are not geared to high end chips it is good bye to these chip makers and the fanbois who love them most of which don't or can't use the chips power.
Think of large v8"s and their kin in the Auto world. How few high horse powered cars are sold. This looks very much what will happen to the USA chip industries.
1 2 [Posted by: tedstoy  | Date: 11/06/12 02:00:26 AM]
- collapse thread

The truth is that we don't have enough software which are highly optimized for our current hardware which is sad really.
There is a truth behind what you just said.
Software makers really need to step up their game.
3 1 [Posted by: AvONbaCK  | Date: 11/06/12 03:16:19 AM]

To be honest, I have never been that interested in a Mac, but if they go this route I can promise that any tiny bit of interest that I might have had will shrivel up and die. Why would I want to pay a price premium for a Apple derived CPU that has 1/20th the processing power of it's Intel counterpart. I cannot imagine how long rendering a scene, converting HD video to a .mkv or applying a Photoshop filter might take on a amped up A5x processor. I mean, currently converting a 30+GB blu-ray image takes my 2600k@5Ghz 1.5 hours to convert to a 4GB .mkv with double correction in place. I bet the same process would take 2 days with one of these glorified tablet cpu's.
4 0 [Posted by: jhatfie  | Date: 11/06/12 11:08:38 AM]
- collapse thread

As a matter of fact it takes three days and the quality is poor.Better quality encoding with AMD chips, not quite as fast, but one has to pay the price.
4 0 [Posted by: mosu  | Date: 11/06/12 11:22:33 AM]
I'm kinda feeling the same way. Besides that Windows will probably be harder to get working on a mac, if at all possible. And there might be a decent sized dent in Apple's (relatively) small software library if there are compatibility issues with older versions in that area.

I'm willing to remain impartial till we see what they come up with, but I personally don't see why this new designed chip would be any better than what Intel's making by the time this gets released. Not to mention compatibility issues between macs and other platforms will probably increase again...
1 2 [Posted by: whythisname  | Date: 11/06/12 12:14:18 PM]
The article stated that they were working on high performance ARM options, not an amped up A5X, which I'm sure their team of engineers are very aware would not be suitable for a desktop productivity machine. Given that there are server ARM chips in development to compete with existing server chips, I see no reason why a performance competitive desktop chip is that far fetched.
1 1 [Posted by: Doom  | Date: 11/06/12 03:58:00 PM]

Intel not good anymore ?
3 3 [Posted by: Blackcode  | Date: 11/06/12 02:44:08 PM]


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