Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Why do you think Apple hasn't moved to AMD cpus for its Mac products?

In the past I thought maybe the rumored move to ARM could be the reason, but now with the new Mac Pro I doubt Apple will move to ARM except for some of its laptops.

That Apple have married themselves to Thunderbolt (co-developed by Apple and Intel) may have had something to do with it. Previously Thunderbolt was not well supported on AMD platforms, as I understand it. This appears to be changing though.

Thunderbolt has been an open standard (and now royalty free) for some time. I'm sure if someone as big as Apple wanted to adopt AMD that was the only blocker, it wouldn't be a blocker for long.

X570 boards has thunderbolt merketing on it, so it seems that thunderbolt will now become a normal feature on AMD.

Honestly, I figured all the T2 work would help for this.

Because Intel and Apples CPU business is larger than a generation of competitors CPU's that finally provide competition?

So you think AMD cpus weren't competitive until now?

Well they weren't. Bulldozer and Excavator were both disasters.

Did you just completely forget about the past two years? Zen was very competitive from day one.

AMD having one good generation doesn’t mean anything when Apple signs multi-year deals. They aren’t HP/Dell/Lenovo who will just contract Foxconn to make a bunch of different boards with standard chipsets to satisfy consumer demand, instead focusing on a tightly integrated platform that they won’t throw away willy-nilly.

If AMD can keep it up this time (or Intel keeps flopping) then it may very well happen down the road. Until then, the age old investor relations statement rings true: “past performance is no guarantee of future results.”

Note: I have a Ryzen 5 1600 in my gaming rig and a Ryzen 5 2600 in the wife’s, I love these chips - but I also see the reality of Apple’s ecosystem is all.

No I didn't. I've even been very happy with my 2700x after a decade of using Intel. But this is a very recent development in the grand scheme of things, and AMD isn't really pulling ahead of Intel until Zen 2 launches next month.

As a AMD stock holder I have not forgot. My opinion still stands. I have not seen a time I can recall where AMD has been competitive in every vertical against INTEL, not only in PRICE, but node, IPC, single core performance/multicore core performance, and manufacture scaling of several core cpus.

"Competitive" does not ever mean "uncontested". It means the trade-offs are reasonable. Choosing Intel after Zen was released meant making trade-offs -- giving up advantages, such as losing a large amount of multithreaded performance and paying a much higher price, as well as having to disperse more heat at maximum load for the chance at that lesser performance.

Just the same as choosing AMD would involve trade-offs in terms of a very slight loss of single threaded performance, or a higher idle power consumption, particularly in laptops.

In either case, you have good options. Neither product is completely devastatingly useless for any task, as was the case with Bulldozer, which had single threaded performance that was nearly half that of Intel's.

With the release of Zen, there was no longer a clear market leader dominating in performance of all classes, or pricing, or whatever other metric you want. That's called "competitive."

Zen 2 looks like it will be "uncontested." It will have the advantage in essentially everything, including single and multithreaded performance, gaming performance, power consumption, and price... if AMD's benchmarks are to be believed. The general sentiment is that AMD's benchmarks were actually conservative.

The benchmark leaked above in this thread is not running at the production boost clock, which would be 9% higher than the benchmark given, making it theoretically uncontested.

Obviously, we will have to wait for extensive third party benchmarking, but Zen has always been competitive, immediately and unequivocally reducing Intel to merely being competitive as well. Zen 2 has the opportunity be more.

No TB3 though.

I wouldn't be so sure:


Intel opened Thunderbolt up for non-Intel platforms awhile ago, and we're already seeing motherboards that offer it for Ryzen.

Yeah, but you asked "why" about day 1... not the current crop of X570 motherboards.

I think I lost track of the thread though, because you're not necessarily the one who asked "why" about Apple.

They've not had the IPC of Intel for Sometime (I haven't owned an AMD CPU since the Athlon days, even though I was a fan of AMD as they were better value than Intel).

Where AMD does compete is thread-count. A higher number of slower cores did feel a few niches. Except... Many software vendors charge per core (a Windows Server License is limited to 16 cores), so fewer, faster-cores work out better value for most business users. Plus, power usage is a huge issue in data centres, again favouring Intel.

The biggest problem right now is virtual machines can't move (live migrate) from Intel to AMD hardware (and vice versa) without having to be restarted. So AMD is only really a viable option for new clusters, but I would think Intel is still nervous.

Zen+ has about the same IPC as the Intel processors from when it was released, the problem was just lower clockspeeds. The single threaded gap was somewhere around 5%, not the 40%+ of Bulldozer.

Zen 2 raises IPC by 15%, and raises clock speeds by a solid 10% or more. Single threaded Zen 2 performance is not even a slight concern for me.

Add 9% to the benchmark result this entire thread is about, because this engineering sample was not running at the specified boost frequency that the 3950X will have. Intel has nothing to compete against that... it should be uncontested.

On Epyc, their clock speeds were generally comparable to Intel's, and the single threaded performance was already great there, except for a few specialty processors that Intel released for servers that don't care about high core counts. Epyc 2 stands to completely annihilate any advantage Intel had left.

AMD Zen has always used less power than Intel for each unit of work done, which was one of the original surprises, so... power consumption is absolutely not favoring Intel.

I really feel like you're mentally comparing to the old Bulldozer Opteron processors, based on the concerns you listed.

AMD did have a huge amount of catching up to do after Bulldozer. One of the things that has been keeping Intel ahead is their fabrication has been going smoothly, generally ALWAYS ahead of what AMD had available to them. Here's the first article I hit (AMD loses on both idle and load): www.anandtech.com/show/11544/intel-skylake-ep-vs-amd-epyc-7000-cpu-battle-of-the-decade/22

Intel seems to be in a perfect storm, while AMD seems to have all their ducks lined up (architecture, Fabrication Process, clock speeds).

Still, exciting times! Intel has stagnated on quad-core enthusiast CPUs for a decade (Q6600 - 7700k), it's good to finally have some competition again.

One reason Apple has given in the past was they needed reliability for large quantities of supply. Intel had better fab capacity then, so Intel it was.

Now that AMD is using TSMC and/or Global Foundries, not sure if still the case.

I assume political reasons.

- Don't want to rely too much on a single manufacturer (they already use AMD GPUs). Always keep multiple supplies alive/well. - Don't take away too much from Intel to not affect other components (they were in the game for LTE modems which Apple needed/needs) - How good are integrated intel vs amd gpus? Could play a role as well

Because this type of things are a +10 year commitment and Apple wants stability, they can't risk their whole Mac product line if AMD makes another Bulldozer dud.

AMD is clearly better now, but Apple just needs the CPUs not to suck, so Intel it is.

I don't think Apple will adopt AMD cpus, I think they will leapfrog to ARM in 10 years.

Agreed though, 10 Years is a much longer timeline than what current leaks are rumoring, which is 1-3 years.

Currently in fanless environments (Such as the iPad Pro) the latest CPU, A12X, outperforms Intel's fanless offerings by a good amount.

I would imagine that Apple could build like performing parts if not better using current A12 Tech and don't forget that Apple is already using TSMC's 7nm process. Additionally, Apple could make sure of big.LITTLE in varying sizes to bring large power consumption advantages to Macs as it stands, along with their Neural Core.

I don't know, I think consumer macs (non-pro) could easily go arm sooner than that.

Or who knows, maybe they'll just wait for risc-v to to mature to make any sort of switch.

What do you mean by leapfrog?

Let's assume in 10 years a descending order of the best laptop cpus are 1. Future ARM 2. Future AMD 3. Future Intel.

When I say leapfrog I am implying that I believe this list to be correctly ordered and that Apple will not use AMD chips but wait until they can use ARM.

Just idle speculation

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact