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For current or would-be users of Apple Mac computers, with answers to many FAQs.

Re: New Macs

Postby Agharta » Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:29 pm

This graph shows the total system power consumption:

Image
So the SoC itself is pulling up to around 22W.
https://www.anandtech.com/show/16252/ma ... -m1-tested
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Re: New Macs

Postby blinddrew » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:16 pm

I have to say I'm not generally a Mac fan* and feel that for a while they've been coasting on a combination of inertia and fanboi-ism, but this new chip development really looks like they're stepping up to be disruptive again.
And that's going to be good for all of us. :thumbup:


* we have one at work but as a nearly-30-year windows user I don't really get on with it, plus it keeps crashing.
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Re: New Macs

Postby Humble Bee » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:17 pm

WOW!

I was skeptical to the claims made initially but this time it truly is impressive and innovative stuff from Apple!

The price/performance ratio looks rather unbeatable to at this point.

I sit and try to imagine what the "pro" machines will show... And what the windows side of things will do to catch up...

Crazy times! :crazy:
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Re: New Macs

Postby Agharta » Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:43 am

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Re: New Macs

Postby BobTheDog » Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:07 am

Agharta wrote:Here's the shadow side:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickmoo ... t-to-pass/

The shadow side as written by someone that works for AMD!
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Re: New Macs

Postby Humble Bee » Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:07 am

Agharta wrote:Here's the shadow side:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickmoo ... t-to-pass/

I thought it was a scam from apple of course. :thumbup:
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Re: New Macs

Postby BobTheDog » Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:29 pm

Sob, my Mac Mini M1 has gone missing :(

After a 45 minute wait on the phone to Apple I spoke to a nice Irish man who told me that it should be in Gatwick but it isn't, was last seen in Amsterdam and he is very worried about it, he is passing on the details to senior management.

Great!
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Re: New Macs

Postby ManFromGlass » Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:29 pm

So the new laptop can run iOS apps? Doesn’t that seem kind of odd? Apps are lean and mean size-wise but I’ve come across very few I’d call full featured and only 1 so far I’d call brilliant.
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Re: New Macs

Postby desmond » Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:41 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:So the new laptop can run iOS apps? Doesn’t that seem kind of odd? Apps are lean and mean size-wise but I’ve come across very few I’d call full featured and only 1 so far I’d call brilliant.

As always, just because you don't want a particular feature doesn't mean *everybody* feels the same. There are a lot of people (mostly younger, in all liklihood) who are mobile-first/mobile-centric, and the ability to run their favourite apps on a computer too is desirable for them.

For me - I'm much the same as you, but this is all about Apple unifying and making more consistent their whole platform, which is understandable - and there are good apps on iOS that don't yet have a Mac equivalent - for example, I listen to Podcasts with Overcast, which is much better than Apple's Podcasts app, and that works apparently fine on the Mac under Catylist - so there are some wins.

And if you really still believe Apple won't add touch support to their computers, adding support for iOS apps just *screams* to me that this will be coming at some point.
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Re: New Macs

Postby ManFromGlass » Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:46 pm

Interesting times indeed! I’m fixing up an old laptop. I cant tell you how many fingerprints I have on the screen because subconsciously I thought it was an ipad.
:mrgreen:
also
So from that shadow-side review it sounds like the new laptop works better as a humongously souped up ipad. . . . . . .
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Re: New Macs

Postby desmond » Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:51 pm

Agharta wrote:Here's the shadow side:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickmoo ... t-to-pass/

TL;DR; "I ran a bunch of non-optimised, non-Apple industry/PC applications on day one that haven't been updated yet and performance is not as good as Apple promises."

From the stuff I read - eg people compiling Webkit twice as fast as an £6K iMac Pro, *silently*, without the machine *getting warm*... using a fifth of the power... and I just think "Oh my god so much yes..!" :crazy: :clap: :thumbup:
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Re: New Macs

Postby James Perrett » Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:11 pm

desmond wrote:TL;DR; "I ran a bunch of non-optimised, non-Apple industry/PC applications on day one that haven't been updated yet and performance is not as good as Apple promises."

From the stuff I read - eg people compiling Webkit twice as fast as an £6K iMac Pro, *silently*, without the machine *getting warm*... using a fifth of the power... and I just think "Oh my god so much yes..!" :crazy: :clap: :thumbup:

A thought occured to me - I wonder if this is why the Cockos team have been working on an ARM implementation of Reaper? They ported it to the Raspberry Pi a few months ago but I guess this ARM experience would give them a head start with porting to the new Mac architecture.
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Re: New Macs

Postby CS70 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:00 pm

I don't get all this talk of ARM as a big problem. The CPU and its architecture are pretty insignificant to modern applications. What matter enormously are the differences between different OS services, not the hardware. That's what makes it hard to port a Windows application to MacOs and vice-versa, not the hardware,

So long the OS of Apple stays similar, it's mostly a matter of recompiling. Since for decades now compilers have been far better than human programmers in optimizing, it's also unlikely that there's a lot of assembly in the codebases. Sure there can be a few traps if the codes not first quality, but for big, popular apps it's unlikely.

Right now the virtualization is needed because software houses haven't recompiled the software yet and tested it and possibly the optimizer or the SDK is not yet finalized or good enough, not because of some intrinsic properties of ARM architectures vs x86.

It's early to say (it's not the first time that ARM processors are deployed with fanfare) but if the significant improvement in performance keep showing when real-world applications are ported and deployed in the field, this is really impressive stuff.
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Re: New Macs

Postby CS70 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:04 pm

James Perrett wrote:
A thought occured to me - I wonder if this is why the Cockos team have been working on an ARM implementation of Reaper? They ported it to the Raspberry Pi a few months ago but I guess this ARM experience would give them a head start with porting to the new Mac architecture.

Might well, given that they probably have made use of the portability of C/C++, if they hadnt done it before (stuff like size of integers, if they are signed or not, numerical representations at bit level etc).

Do they have a Mac version already? If yes, then definitely shouldn't be a problem at all..
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Re: New Macs

Postby desmond » Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:24 pm

CS70 wrote:So long the OS of Apple stays similar, it's mostly a matter of recompiling. Since for decades now compilers have been far better than human programmers in optimizing, it's also unlikely that there's a lot of assembly in the codebases. Sure there can be a few traps if the codes not first quality, but for big, popular apps it's unlikely.

Yes, but not necessarily for very tight performance loops, when developers use all kinds of clever tricks and clever hand optimising to eek out as much performance as possible. if your audio loop utilises particular techniques that Intel chips have to eek out more performance, those same techniques might not work on chips with other architectures. There may be different tricks to use, but the dev would still have to do a fair bit of investigative work and testing.

For most apps already using Apple's dev tools, then yes, it's mostly a matter of some XCode settings and a build and you've got an ARM version - including for plugins. But for some things, it's not quite that simple.

For example, the Sculpture synth in Logic is benchmarking with great performance on Apple Silicon versus intel - we're seeing the expected performance boost that the chip suggests. Alchemy, on the other hand, isn't seeing as good a performance boost to the lvel we'd expect based on the chip performance alone. It may be that Alchemy had very optimised loops under Intel, and it hasn't quite been optimised as well yet under ARM. Or it might have used tricks that aren't available on Arm. Or it might be they haven't quite got around to tuning it yet, and it'll get better.

And while yes, compilers are very good at regular optimisations for most use cases, there is nothing like hand optimised assembly when performance is critical - like in your tight audio processing loop.

The other thing is there are apps, usualy cross-platform ones that are compiled *not* using Apple's dev tools, and the toolchain may not even support the latest technologies yet. Those apps will still run under Rosetta2 for the time being, while other tools get updated.

Like a lot of things in software development land, it "depends" on many factors, and can range from almost trivial, to "way too much work to bother with".
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