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theconnactic

Is OSX86 doomed?

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In a word: No.

Apple will never move Pro range from x86. They may move MacBook one day but Adobe are not going to move Creative Suite to ARM and simply put it sells too many Macs.

Intel also have the capability to blow away ARM offerings should they need to. Apple moving to ARM would be too symbolic to the rest of the world of the end of desktop computing on x86.

Intel bringing AMD Vega iGPUs should show already how much Intel is willing to bend over backward to make sure that their main customer sticks with them, but Intel has stalled the PC industry with it's lack of performance gains since Sandy Bridge.

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Also, I might add this interesting facet.

If Apple did transition completely to ARM, that could likely be fantastic news. All the existing x86 code now has no value to them so likely won't be compiled for x86 at any point in their chain post EOL, updates clearly won't work for existing models and hacks without recompilation to x86, and recompiling software to another arch would be a great test case for the 'making parts for existing but out of production goods' protections in copyright law that China loves so much.

Essentially it would be like handing over the source of OS X to hackintosh devs, and the existing Macs would eventually rely on the community for updates. What's the best developed, community and OS centric dev space right now on Mac: Hackintoshers

 

We're the Apple equivalent of the Android OS dev forums.

 

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Nah this is all just media hype. X86 is going nowhere. It might morph into something else but I highly doubt that either. If it it broke don't fix it kind of deal. 

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Depends on how you look at it. I was saying the same thing first then I realised something.

The last time this happened was PPC. This was because no matter how much (water) cooling and grunt they stuck in a Powermac it just couldn't keep up with new Intel chips. Jobs was as vocal about his dislike of PPCs progress as he was of Flash, but hopeful as the tech plateaued and they moved on.

Intel are going through the same thing. tl;dr they are being very reactionary and scared because x86 won't get much faster for a long time. Spectre/Meltdown hardware fixes still mean having to replace technology, initially with worse (much worse judging by how far back it reaches) tech. This is the last in a long line of publicly visible problems within their org, all alongside Apple doing their own ARM for a long time now. Plenty more things to point out if need be:
 

Spoiler

Intel blunders: Haswell was late, hot and underperforming compared to expected (esp on Mobile). Then Broadwell was supposed to be a desktop chip too and wasn't. Then tick tock stopped and Intel started flat out lying to suppliers about expected dates on new gen (according to Semiacc). IPC improvements went single digit for a while. Kaby lake, Coffee Lake and 14nm+ and ++ etc were invented along the way to cover the failure of Intel to get Cannon 10nm working. Every node before matured without being renamed, with the CPUs gaining from them getting a new stepping or refresh. The whole time since Core 2, Intel tried to strangle the industry on quad cores because of their fab process, arguing that power efficiency was the new 'Power'. Apple were happy to play ball having seen PPC do a Pentium 4 (and cook trying to catch up with an intrinsically simpler design). As Intel slowly got rid of the dual socket a year ago through pricing and socket types, Apple had already redesigned their new Mac Pro to be small, sleek, powerful and obviously gpGPU biased.

Then AMD comes with TR and suddenly; SkyX panic and 14 core Dell boxes without server prices incoming and we go from 1/4 size Mac Pro's to needing a 27" enclosure to fit the big cores in. It's not that 14 cores is new, it's that taking it out of Xeon range puts it in consumer's eyes and that makes Mac Pro and everyone else with a single Xeon look slow. It completely ruined everyone's trend models on computer power draw. It's also that Apple likely consulted with Intel on what TDP the Pro should be capable of as the last case design was a 20 year design. The advice they were given was bad enough that they can't make a new Mac Pro that's competitive, so they are forced to make the iMac Pro and expand their weakest market and one they were.

Because the idea of 'Power' suddenly doubles in power requirements, everyone has to push the premium units down in the range to account for the new cores needing new bigger enclosures and cooling. 10nm is a train wreck... current releases point to it only being usable at very low watts, which makes sense because had AMD not just popped up, i7s would still be quad and your top end 65w desktop chip could end up as low as 30w. No 10nm, no impressive Mac Pro.

It's less about whether AMD won, and more about the fact it made Intel abandon their ethos of a market where power draw would keep reducing for the whole consumer processor range, not just mobile. Coffee Lake core count, the fact that X299 had 3 times the TDP of X99 at it's upper end and the fact that Server ARM will be able to match or beat Intel outside x86 emulation are all strong reasons why Apple could simply start putting Atom cores in every Mac for the x86 apps and move everything else to high TDP server ARM. This is especially true as Intel move to more cores, forcing parallelism in apps. ARM can already match x86 IPC in most things, if not AVX.

If Intel were serious about keeping both power users and low watt users it would have scaled up Atom quads long ago (to fight ARM) and eliminated Pentium/Celeron and all other low end big cores. Intel is too focused on single core output and ultimately x86 will hit a ceiling there that RISC (ARM and others) doesn't have.



tl;dr SkyX practically forced an entire product range out of Apple. Apple didn't like being forced to do anything. ARM will eat x86 alive on desktop because Apple can have them fabricated on desktop TDP processes, even if it takes them building fabrication themselves... they could also go to AMD for this as AMD has Opteron ARM A1100 server cores already. 

 

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