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Apple insiders say firm is testing CPUs with 32+ cores

by Mark Tyson on 8 December 2020, 10:11

Tags: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)

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We have seen Apple make an impressive entry to the laptop and SFF processor market with the new Apple M1 chip. To recap, the M1 is an SoC which wields a 4+4 (performance+efficiency) Arm architecture CPU, 7 or 8 GPU cores, a 16 core Neural Engine, with a unified memory architecture (8GB or 16GB on board), as well as other important components - in a 5nm chip with 16 billion transistors. Early tests have shown it is a punchy performer with plenty of potential going forward as Apple developers make more apps native, and it has had a very positive impact on laptop battery life.

Apple M1 processor

A few hours ago Bloomberg published and updated a story about Apple Silicon things to come. Insiders working at the iconic Cupertino tech giant have been talking to Bloomberg anonymously but the news is pretty big and as evidence of this Intel's share price has fallen nearly 3 per cent on this news, while Apple's is up.

Bloomberg's sources have some pretty big claims for the upcoming Mac processors. In brief it says that "if Apple’s processors live up to expectations, they will significantly outpace the performance of the latest machines running Intel chips". Moving on to actual plans, the insiders say that Apple will introduce its next set of chips as early as Spring 2021, with more set for product releases in the Autumn. The latest beefed up Apple Silicon will appear across the Mac range, from upgraded versions of the MacBook Pro, both entry-level and high-end iMac desktops, and later a new Mac Pro workstation, according to the sources.

Core counts get serious

As mentioned in the intro, the current Apple M1 has 4+4 cores but the next gen chip targeting MacBook Pro and iMac models will become available in up to 16+4 configurations. Apple would be able to make lower tier versions of this chip with fewer cores activated, to make the most of the yields it receives from TSMC. Later in 2021 Apple is expected to have a 32+X processor ready for higher-end desktops and a new half-sized Mac Pro.

Apple GPU ambitions

In a similar timescale as mentioned above for the CPU developments of 2021, Apple is testing 16-core and 32-core graphics parts for the coming high-end laptops and mid-range desktops. Remember, the Apple M1 sports 7 or 8 GPU cores depending on the system you buy.

Moving on to later in 2021 or perhaps into 2022, Apple will consider rolling out graphics upgrades with 64 or 128 cores. According to the Bloomberg insiders the resulting systems will have graphics "several times faster" than the current options allow using Nvidia or AMD add-in cards.

Apple's ambition seems impressive and it will be interesting to see the new processors and systems when they arrive in 2021/2.



HEXUS Forums :: 24 Comments

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When do you think we’ll see x86 become dead to the end user? (Either to ARM or RISCV) And what was the last similarly huge shift in personal computing?
Intel are seemingly taking a kicking on all sides this year, Apple are moving from Intel to their own silicon, so that could be a win for both them and Nvidia (Did that ARM deal go through), AMD are kicking them on the CPU front, they're sold off a few bits from their portfolio..

Are we starting to see the death of a giant here?
I really don't want Apple silicon to be wildly successful. Imagine a world where the entire ecosystem is in Apples control.

*shudder*
Tabbykatze
I really don't want Apple silicon to be wildly successful. Imagine a world where the entire ecosystem is in Apples control.

*shudder*

Could it be a good thing? It'll be worth moving off x86 to a more efficient ISA and with Apples push, more developers might start programming for ARM. Saying that I'm banking on other manufacturers with ARM architecture licenses to give users a non-apple choice because like yourself, I don't want to be stuck with Apple.
Tabbykatze
I really don't want Apple silicon to be wildly successful. Imagine a world where the entire ecosystem is in Apples control.

*shudder*

Lets be honest it already is…. they have a ‘developer key’ (that is paid for yearly) which makes it so a user needs to jump through hoops like on android to install apps from non ‘authorised’ sources and we all know how well that works on android. With the change to arm and their focus on ‘services’ I can see it becoming more restrictive sooner rather than later too.


As to the 32core cpu, well if you ignore the naming conventions of the parts in the current m1 it's technically an 8 (processing) + 16 (neural engine) core cpu already so making a 32core cpu could just be adding another 8 cores to the processing side of things, which wouldn't be too hard.

Will there be more cores in the future, well seeing as there are already 100+ core arm cpu's well it's kind of a given….. not that this really makes any difference to me, none of my primary programs are even made for os-x, let alone anything non x86/x64. Although I would like to see better arm support on windows and ideally the neo come with a decent arm cpu instead of an intel one….