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Apple M1 - my take on it


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Actually, a correction: ARM is not making these chips for Apple. ARM actually doesn't make chips at all, they license their designs in two distinct ways. The first way is licensing a full design

After using my old one for 4 years I replaced my 13" MBP with a new one only a few months ago.   I did this deliberately, knowing that the new architecture was coming, because I didn't want to be

I guess more information on the SoC will slowly start trickling in, and we'll know specs and performance figures. I am guessing their graphics processing should be enough for most tasks too. I persona

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9 minutes ago, independent said:

So all three Macs share the same M1 chip...wouldn't they all perform roughly the same? 

Also, sad to see the Mac Mini top out at only 16GB of ram and drop the 10-bit gigabit ethernet. 

The current M1 only top 16gb ram,  I think there there will be M1X with more core and expandable Ram slot for 16inch Mbp/mac pro/imac pro

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1 hour ago, Xavier Plágaro Mussard said:

If it handles h265 OK it will sell like hot cakes. Am I the only one who thinks the Mac Mini, the Macbook Air and the Macbook Pro are going to perform nearly the same??

The Air probably will throttle a lot more because of cooling. In fact, cooling are a problem for a lot of Mac laptops lately...

Promising news, but I really would wait for some REAL world tests - as in cameras, first will be the paid reviews...

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I am very positive towards ARM CPUs. My biggest question mark is whether they are able to get graphic solutions that compete with nVidia. ARM's earlier graphic solutions have been power-efficient, but not really comparable with the Geforce series. I hope the new relationship between nVidia and ARM means they will end up with nVidia GPUs as well. I have only had bad experiences with Radeon/AMD gpus.

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I, like you, am very excited about the prospects of this M1 family of chips. If this is the first version I can't wait to see what we'll see down the line a couple of years down the line.

As for Hackintosh, there's some hope on one side of the fence as I have the gut feeling that this will push the non-Apple PC industry to adopt ARM in the form of Windows for ARM (Linux is already there but most enthusiasts still use x86 hardware). And yes, I know Microsoft already tried to come up with a Windows version for ARM tablets (it failed miserably) but my guess is that Apple will now push Microsoft to transition the full-blown Windows to ARM eventually. When that happens the Hackintosh world would have some hope. However, on the other side of the fence, I doubt this will help the Hackintosh community as now that Apple controls its own environment fully it is highly unlikely that it will continue integrating functionality on its M-series chips that will simply not be available on generic ARM chips down the road. So for most purposes this is truly the end for the Hackintosh community.

However, from another point of view there are some good news here: The new Mac mini at just US$699 with the M1 chip will probably get you more performance than what you could get from a generic PC box at the same price, so in the end you might end up with a more performant system at a lower price than by trying to build it yourself. This is, of course, assuming that Apple will not try to increase the entry-level point to its system.

And one more thing: If you think about it, the M-series and the A-series will very likely be (most likely already are) binary-compatible, so one thing the Hackintosh community could turn its attention to is on hacking low-cost iPads to turn them into Hackintoch running macOS. Just sayin'... 😉

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If its based on the ARM design (most likely the Cortex X1, with another lower re-deisgned core), theoretically Snapdragon and Exynos should be able to pull off high end laptop processors too (if they can record 8k, in compressed H.264/H.265) on smartphones, their processors already seem capable enough). Nice that processors are getting smaller and a lot kroe efficient. Also, the monopoly of over pricing processors is wearing off. Hopefully Snapdragon and Exynos join the race, sooner than later. 

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13 hours ago, independent said:

So all three Macs share the same M1 chip...wouldn't they all perform roughly the same? 

Also, sad to see the Mac Mini top out at only 16GB of ram and drop the 10-bit gigabit ethernet. 

Actually (a microprocessor engineer talking here), not really. Let me explain briefly...

The fact that all 3 machines use the same chip does not mean that they will perform the same, as Apple is probably targeting different performance characteristics and scenarios for each one.

Note that Apple in the new system specs does not mention anything about how fast these chips run on each machine (i.e., "1.8Ghz", "3.1 Ghz", etc), which should provide a clue that these systems use either a dynamic frequency or a couple of pre-set frequencies to run at, depending on the machine and the workload.

On the MacBook Air for example, most likely you will be running most of the time on the high-efficiency cores, and use the high-performance cores only casually, but once it gets too hot the system will probably return to the less-performant higher-energy-efficiency cores (while continue doing work on the MacBook Pro due to the built-in fans).

Another thing Apple could do on the Pro is allow all 8 cores at once, while on the Air allow only 4 at a time depending on usage (again, restricted by thermal characteristics).

Botton line: For short runs all these machines would probably offer similar performance characteristics, but as you get into more compute-intensive runs you'd probably notice the Pro machines pulling ahead in the long run.

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What I want from next year's "M2" machines:

1. FaceID. This would be even more useful on a Laptop that on a phone or tablet, and would save us tons of time everyday. This is a no-brainer to add and I'm sure support is already there on the M1 chips (as it has all the A-series circuits also). I'm also pretty sure that we will see this sooner rather than later.

2. More RAM. A significant segment of the Pro market needs at least 32GB of RAM, specially if they will be editing 8k files...

3. Apple please just go ahead and merge macOS and iOS/iPadOS into "appleOS" so we could run the same apps on iPads as well (and heck, even iPhones with external keyboard, mouse and display). They are already capable of doing so, and it'd be great to be able to do some tasks on these devices (maybe with the help of an external keyboard and mouse). This would be useful for a wide industry range (I'd use my iPad Pro in a blink to do programming jobs on Visual Studio Code for example).

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This is exciting for creators.

I’ve been waiting for awhile for a more affordable Mac that can edit more smoothly the 4:2:2 H.264 and especially HEVC. If the 13” MacBook Pro can edit R5 footage wether it be 10-bit 4:2:2 HEVC, 12-bit RAW, or 12-bit Canon RAW Light...I’m going to pull the trigger. 95% of the heavy lifting I do on my Mac is video editing, transcoding, encoding for final delivery. Since this all seems to be natively hardware accelerated with M1, at least in Resolve and FCPX, then I can’t see why I wouldn’t buy it. $1400 for a laptop that can edit 8K RAW on the go.

Hopefully we see some exciting things to come for FCPX and Resolve with the neural engine. Like 5 sec warp stabilizer runs on 30 second clips or near instant tracking results.

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