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[dupe] Apple Describes 7nm iPhone SoC (eetimes.com)
9 points by rbanffy 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 10 comments

What are the honest chances that Apple is prepping to move off of x86 to ARM for their computers? They are basically the undisputed leader in ARM processors at the moment right?

There is an immense corpus of software that is optimized for x86. It's not easy stuff a compiler can optimize - it's stuff that checks and uses SSE and AVX when available that need to have NEON (I forgot the new name) support added in order to be on par with the x86 stuff. Backblaze did a fine post on porting Xeon/SSE code to NEON a couple months back.

Apple now benefits from being on the x86 bandwagon - by the time it launches a new computer with a new Intel processor, there are already people checking what the new parts can do and optimizing software for them. If Apple is the only company that uses their own processors, they need to bring all that optimization work in-house and manage it in a way it stays competitive with the world outside.

The final point is that I'm not sure how much cheaper for them it'd be. Of course they could get the chips at cost, but they'd need to bankroll their development and all the fine tuning that goes with it.

The writing is definitely on the wall in a number of ways, including the deprecation of "legacy" stuff like OpenGL and 32-bit.

I would guess that ARM Macs, if not some iPad+Mac hybrid, might come one year after they finally release the UIKit-on-macOS API that they showed off at WWDC 2018.

I'm curious as to how they might solve x86 compatibility.

They already have a history of cross platform "emulation" from the PowerPC to X86 move.

You know they've already figured it out and it's down to a business decision not a technical one.

I could even imagine they've gotten Parallels involved - an ARM prototype perhaps?

> I'm curious as to how they might solve x86 compatibility.

Didn't Microsoft already demo how to do this, where they emulate x86 on ARM? Then again, Intel apparently isn't too happy about that.[1]

1: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14523587

Didn't they already announce it?

That's not an announcement, that's a rumour.

>powered by a 7nm SoC enabling up to 512 GBytes of memory.

What is the relation between 7nm and storage capacity? Is the nand 7nm?

Addressability — 512GBytes is 2^39 bytes aka 2^36 8-byte chunks. So each memory address needs 39 bits, and each internal memory address bus needs either at least 36 or 39 wires, depending on the context — too much for 32-bit addresses.

In other words, going to 7nm makes it easier to route wide busses around the chip. You could do the same thing on a larger process, but it's less space-efficient.

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