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  # 961994 6-Jan-2014 16:43
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ARM processors are catching up, that's for sure.  But there'll be a lot of work to do in changing tacks again...

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  # 962002 6-Jan-2014 16:51
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Software compatibility wouldn't be a huge issue. Apple has done that before when they switched from Motorola with new Intel Macs then having the ability to run older PowerPC applications using an "emulator" layer called Rosetta (which was dropped from more recent versions of Mac OS X).

For things like video encoding, if the main CPU wasn't fast "enough", then they could hand off to a companion graphics / video CPU specifically for that purpose. With the power usage and size of chips shrinking, having multiple specific chips wouldn't be a huge issue.

Of course, it is just a rumour. :)

 
 
 
 


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  # 962110 6-Jan-2014 20:20
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A few years ago, a friend told me that Apple were using different firmware in peripherals such as optical drives. Apart from his comment - and I have never caught him out in anything else that he has said - I have no hard evidence that this is true.

However, one thing that I do know is that of the dozen or so optical drives at my disposal, the one in my old iMac is far more likely to be able to read an iffy CD or DVD than any of the other drives.

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  # 962114 6-Jan-2014 20:38
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Anyone else think this?
Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.




Try Vultr using this link and get us both some credit:

 

http://www.vultr.com/?ref=7033587-3B


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  # 962140 6-Jan-2014 21:15
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wasabi2k:
Buzz Bumble:
Since the switch from Motorola to Intel ...


There are on-going rumours of Apple switching again. For a while the rumour was they were going to switch from Intel to AMD, but more recently the rumours have them switching from Intel to their own ARM-based A-series processors (as used in the iPad and iPhone).


Yeah - sounds like a bit of a dick move.

Intel to AMD wouldn't be major.

x86 to ARM - yeesh. No virtualisation - no software compatibility..

x86 is a LOT more capable in a huge number of areas than any ARM implementation. Raw power wise there is no contest - ARM doing video encoding? I'll take my i5/i7 thanks.

They would effectively be moving the walled garden to a pacific island surrounded by sharks with lasers on their heads.

We saw what a raging success Windows RT was - what was everyone's main issue - I want my apps.




I can think of a number of reasons why a move to ARM might tempt.

ARM delivers a much better performance in terms of processing power per watt. For the Mac mini and the iMac this would be an advantage.

The Intel CPU is probably the most expensive component in a Mac mini and one of the most expensive in an iMac. An ARM CPU would be a lot cheaper and would give Apple the chance to maintain their fabulously high margins while reducing prices.

You do not have to buy an ARM off the shelf. Apple could have their own design with some number of ARM cores integrated with other logic functions. Reducing the chip count of a tight package like the Mac mini by a considerable margin.

All of a sudden, your Mac could run all the zillions of iPhone/iPad apps.

Apple may be of the opinion that the writing may be on the wall for Intel/AMD. PC and laptop sales are slowing as tablets and smart phones take over. ARM is the platform of choice for those devices as well as for smart TVs and set top boxes. Intel is performing very badly in all of those markets. Even in the market for high end servers, manufacturers are paying attention to the fact that ARM's bang per watt superiority means that ARM based servers can outperform Intel on the basis of bang per rack. Five years from now, Intel may no longer be the king of the hill - they might but there has to be significant concern and Apple may just want to be ahead of the game with other options.

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  # 962164 6-Jan-2014 21:29
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Steve Jobs once characterised OS X as leading a 'secret double life' for years before they went ahead with the switch from PowerPC to Intel. It is highly likely that they are now developing an ARM compatible build of OS X in case they ever need to go down that path.

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  # 962168 6-Jan-2014 21:32
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To answer the original question though, I see the Mac as the only modern computing platform that's designed for novice home users rather than corporates or enthusiasts. I used Ataris through the 80s and early 90s and would much have preferred to stick with them over Apple, but the way the cookie crumbled I ended up accepting that Atari had no future and Apple would be "good enough". And it has been for me for the last 20 years or so.

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  # 962198 6-Jan-2014 22:12
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Having a programming, marketing and design background (yikes), using a Mac is validation that there are individuals out there that care enough to design a device that is reliable and consistent. Apple rightfully (or wrongfully) is very pedantic about design, aesthetics and user experience. I have witnessed all that across all of the Apple product line.

As an example, pick up any iOS device regardless if yours or someone else's and you'd be able to figure out how to use it. Can't say the same to other OEM platforms which can be heavily customised.

Similarly, Apple keyboards and MacBook keyboards are of the same form factor, have the same approximate travel distance when struck, with the approximate same amount of tactile feedback. And we have all been in the situation where the keyboard/layouts differ across form factors and some OEM's even swap the arrows, pg up/down , Fn keys within their product line.

Fundamentally there are little differences from your said HP bits and Apple bits. You are considering the tangible differences, if the experience, emotion and any other intangible aspects are also considered, the differences become apparent.

Really I should be diagnosed for OCPD.....instead of spending wads of money

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  # 962216 6-Jan-2014 22:31
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Buzz Bumble: Software compatibility wouldn't be a huge issue. Apple has done that before when they switched from Motorola with new Intel Macs then having the ability to run older PowerPC applications using an "emulator" layer called Rosetta (which was dropped from more recent versions of Mac OS X).

For things like video encoding, if the main CPU wasn't fast "enough", then they could hand off to a companion graphics / video CPU specifically for that purpose. With the power usage and size of chips shrinking, having multiple specific chips wouldn't be a huge issue.

Of course, it is just a rumour. :)


You can emulate ARM on x86 - good luck emulating x86 on ARM.

I get they are catching up but they are fundamentally different! I want my processor to do heavy work - not play angry birds.

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  # 962324 7-Jan-2014 09:42
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they are catching up but they are fundamentally different! I want my processor to do heavy work


Intel has been around for decades, but the ARM (at least in the sense of Apple's co-designs) are a much much younger chip and is growing fast. The new iPhone already has 64-bit dual-core in it. Any switch might be a few years away, but is feasibly possible. iOS is of course already a version of Mac OS X running on ARM chips, along with some of Apple's of software.




A few years ago, a friend told me that Apple were using different firmware in peripherals such as optical drives.


Semi-true. In some models there was firmware and temperature sensors on the drives (hard drives, I don't know of anything on the optical drives) which were used to help fan control, etc., but wasn't a real issue if you wanted to replace it with a standard drive.

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