Apple unveiled its intention to transition from Intel processors to its own processor on June 22nd, 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference. It intends to transition to Macs which will be powered by Apple Silicon chips other than Intel chips. The aim of the transition is to come up with its own ARM-based processors that will provide its users with energy and efficient and high-performance Macs.
Although, Apple has undergone a transition in the past when it moved from Power PC to Intel. This is the very first time it will be coming up with making a processor itself. As suspected by former Intel engineer François Piednoël, Apple is changing processor supplier in relation to dissatisfaction it encountered with Intel. Intel is seeing to move at a slower rate in its improvement and coming up with innovative ideas that cause Apple to seek a better alternative. François Piednoël affirmed poor quality assurance associated with the company’s Skylake chips which in turn prompted Apple’s decision to forfeit its partnership with Intel.
Another factor for Apple’s decision is management and control. Switching to AMD for its processors could have been an option but it will perhaps give Apple set back by depending on an intermediary supplier whose goals might vary from Apple’s. Apple developing its own processors will enable it to be in control of its software and hardware teams for maximum effectiveness.
What is ARM?
ARM (Advanced RICS Machine) architecture is what Apple used in all of its chips and it was designed by Arm Holdings. For those that use Apple products like iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Apple Watch, all these devices are powered by ARM-based processors. Apple was attracted to ARM processors because of its low power consumption and efficiency. Apple utilizes it to develop devices that are lighter and thinner with excellent performance rate.
Apple Silicon chips vs Intel processors
It’s quite difficult to ascertain that Apple silicon will be as powerful as Intel processors due to some consumer companies that are utilizing ARM computers. Microsoft for instance has come up with Surface Pro X with an AMR chip and saying its performance is three times performance per watt of Intel-based Surface Pro 6. Apple’s iPhone and iPad are ARM-based which pitch them ahead of competitors.
In addition, Bloomberg reported that the forthcoming Apple silicon chips to out-stand Intel in terms of performance based on Apple’s internal testing. This is regard to its artificial intelligence and graphics with less power consumption. Apple also affirmed this when it revealed that its new chips are targeted towards developing less power consumption and high-level performance device.
Apple Silicon vs Intel vs AMD
With the new development with Apple’s processor, rumors have it that the CPU will possibly have 12 cores (8 capable of handling power intensive task and four for its energy efficiency which will be able to intensive task), all these in a 5nm process. Apple also confirmed it that its processor which will be based on its A12Z iPads pro chip (and hybrid CPU which operate on 4 performance cores and 4 performance power efficiency cores). Because the A12Z is an ARM processor and that implies that Apple Silicon will operate in a different manner from Intel and AMD CPUs.
Intel and AMD CPUs that are found in desktops and laptops operate on CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computer) while A12Z is RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Company). RISC is at the advantage over CISC with its excellent performance and power efficiency in carrying out some task. Nonetheless, RISC execute one instruction at a time thus it requires more RAM when compared with CISC. Because it executes one instruction per time, more working memory is needed for it to load instructions. On the other hand, CISC processed multiple instructions per time as efficiently as possible.
The processor speed reveals their performance and on the off chance, because of the way ARM A12Z processor handles instructions, it may be slower or faster than Intel and AMD’s x86 and this depends greatly on the type of program you are running.
One can’t really ascertain Apple’s processor’s performance but the A12Z in the latest iPad gave a clue to what Apple Silicon performance will result in when compared with Intel and AMD in macOS.
Geekbench 5 can help out with some vital information. The new A12Z iPad Pro scores have 1114 single-core performance and 4654 multicore performances. Looking at what Geekbench 5 has for a 2020 MacBook Pro 13 model, it has 16 GB RAM with 4-core Intel Core i7-1068NG7 and this shows that the difference in the numbers isn’t that wide. Moreover, MacBook Pro 13 scores 1260 in a single-core benchmark and 4676 in multicore. Apparently, this reveals that Apple Silicon’s performance could result in a great one.
Apple’s demo by playing the game through Rosetta 2 with 1080p resolution and it reveals to playback at 30 frames per second with graphic setting average range. With that, it is standing against Nvidia’s GTX 1050 performance and that could only happen if Apple’s demo indeed runs from an integrated GPU other than a dedicated GPU. Such performance would reflect that the fasted integrated GPU would come from Apple. Because, when compared to the best APU on market, that performance is impossible to be pulled off by AMD’s Vega 11. Vega 11 operates on an average of 50fps which means that Apple’s demo game played at more than 30fps.
This reveals the possibility of Apple surpassing what Intel and AMD have to offer. If it can actually pull off the GPU and CPU performance type as suggested by the current iPad’s performance and also if it selects its demo carefully.
Apple could in the real sense come up with such an incredible performance as it claims. Ascertaining the credibility of the new development will depend on testing it and checking it against the macOS environment that will be later this year.