Apple Mac Going to ARM RISC



  • @Dashrender said in Apple Mac Going to ARM RISC:

    period.

    1989 published reference talking about how the x486 was the latest powerhouse processor for IBM's defined PC architecture:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=5CmkZ3THZtwC&pg=PT34&lpg=PT34&dq=intel+pc+hardware+standard&source=bl&ots=Kb5eq5kEoG&sig=ACfU3U1tclLCWAUu1fu2V6Bu_BNyQWxJMg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiahemDuJ3qAhWnmOAKHYDAAAY4ChDoATAPegQICRAB#v=onepage&q=intel pc hardware standard&f=false

    I love those old computer references like that because these things were how I learned about computers in the early days. Books and mostly computing magazines of the 1980s. It's so weird today to think about how we used to use paper to learn about computers!

    PC Mag has been around a LONG time. Anyone remember BYTE!?



  • ZDNet, which is primarily for lay people, already called the new, non-PC Macs PCs in their latest headlines. So the degree to which the lay people use PC to refer to any personal computer is pretty much out there. Obviously lay people don't even know what processors are, let alone which an architecture is, so that they use PC in some general way like this is to be expected. They just mean personal computer. But that lay people universally associate PC with Windows is completely false. Chromebooks, Linux desktops, Raspberry Pis, Macs and others are called PCs all of the time, too.

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/apple-silicon-is-the-new-mac-the-pc-of-the-future/



  • When it comes to Apple you get the worst of the worst for information because their userbase is not just non-technical, but they just don't care.

    Similarly to the PC discussion, notice how many outlets refer to the move being from Intel to ARM. But this is incorrect.

    The move is from AMD64 to ARM64 and/or from PC to non-PC and/or from Intel to Apple. Intel makes AMD64 processors for the current Macs. Apple is going to make ARM processors for the new ones. And the move shifts them from PC to non-PC overall architecture. So saying they are going from Intel to ARM cannot make sense, as Intel makes ARM processors just like everyone else does.

    People are just using whatever words people recognize in these things. What's odd is how much people talk about ARM (the company) and seem to think that they make chips, but they do not.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Apple Mac Going to ARM RISC:

    @Dashrender said in Apple Mac Going to ARM RISC:

    no lay person will ever call ca Mac a PC.

    Lots do and always have. In fact that's always been a huge part of the problem because Macs were always personal computers, whereas PCs rarely were for the first eight years or so. So Macs were always heavily associated with the term by confused people long before they became a PC.

    Then when Apple moved from M68K Mac architecture (which was different than Atari and Commodore's M68K architectures) to PowerPC, they did so to some degree intentionally to get Mac people to refer to them as PCs for marketing reasons, and it worked like crazy. Macs used to always be called PCs, incorrectly. I used to have this same discussion, in reverse, constantly.

    When Macs actually moved to PC it's true, the absolutely confused Mac user crowd actually starting calling them PCs less than every before. So my guess is that when they leave PC architecture to go to ARM that people will call them PC more then than now.

    But lay people call them PCs all of the time, and NIST's definition 100% supports that. The idea that Windows = PC and nothing else does is something I hear, but not all that often. PC as a general catch all for all personal computers, that I hear a lot and includes Mac every time. The problem there is that it also starts to include iPads and such that is wrong.

    That Surfaces are PCs and iPads are not adds to the confusion.

    uh, those days are long over... perhaps there was confusion back then, but there hasn't been - for lay people - for ages.

    the current confusion I frequently see is - will it run on my 'phone' - it's odd how many don't know they have iOS or Android...



  • @scottalanmiller said in Apple Mac Going to ARM RISC:

    When it comes to Apple you get the worst of the worst for information because their userbase is not just non-technical, but they just don't care.

    Similarly to the PC discussion, notice how many outlets refer to the move being from Intel to ARM. But this is incorrect.

    The move is from AMD64 to ARM64 and/or from PC to non-PC and/or from Intel to Apple. Intel makes AMD64 processors for the current Macs. Apple is going to make ARM processors for the new ones. And the move shifts them from PC to non-PC overall architecture. So saying they are going from Intel to ARM cannot make sense, as Intel makes ARM processors just like everyone else does.

    People are just using whatever words people recognize in these things. What's odd is how much people talk about ARM (the company) and seem to think that they make chips, but they do not.

    This is the same as the whole "Linux" thing. people talking about Linux like it's an OS



  • @scottalanmiller

    From my research now, it tells me a "PC" is defined as any computer that is based on Open architecture.

    Is that a solid simpler way to define it?

    Or actually... (on second thought)

    A "Personal Computer" (PC) is an IBM-specific branded device "IBM PC" that happened to be based on the Open architecture...
    ...and then later "PC" became to mean any computer based on Open architecture.

    A "personal computer" (still "PC" because abbreviations are capitalized) is exactly what it says... a (any) personal computer.

    So really, nobody has a "Personal Computer" anymore because that was a specific device branded by IBM, specifically a 5150/5250 or any compatible with IBMs PC-branded products. Now we all have "personal computers", some based on Open architecture, some not.



  • @Dashrender said in Apple Mac Going to ARM RISC:

    @scottalanmiller said in Apple Mac Going to ARM RISC:

    When it comes to Apple you get the worst of the worst for information because their userbase is not just non-technical, but they just don't care.

    Similarly to the PC discussion, notice how many outlets refer to the move being from Intel to ARM. But this is incorrect.

    The move is from AMD64 to ARM64 and/or from PC to non-PC and/or from Intel to Apple. Intel makes AMD64 processors for the current Macs. Apple is going to make ARM processors for the new ones. And the move shifts them from PC to non-PC overall architecture. So saying they are going from Intel to ARM cannot make sense, as Intel makes ARM processors just like everyone else does.

    People are just using whatever words people recognize in these things. What's odd is how much people talk about ARM (the company) and seem to think that they make chips, but they do not.

    This is the same as the whole "Linux" thing. people talking about Linux like it's an OS

    Yes, extremely similar, for sure.



  • @Dashrender said in Apple Mac Going to ARM RISC:

    uh, those days are long over... perhaps there was confusion back then, but there hasn't been - for lay people - for ages.

    It's EXACTLY the same confusion today. Exactly. For example, everyone who says Mac vs PC is confused. Everyone who conflates PC with Windows is confused.

    There is one legit technical way to use PC. And there is one legit way to use "personal computer" in the lay sense. And in neither case does it allow for what you feel "all" lay people are doing. So while I don't agree that lay people do that so universally, by your claims ALL lay people are as confused as ever.



  • But anyways, it doesn't really matter to me... I can see everything going ARM soon, for everything, even personal computers will likely not use anything else soon.



  • @Obsolesce said in Apple Mac Going to ARM RISC:

    From my research now, it tells me a "PC" is defined as any computer that is based on Open architecture.
    Is that a solid simpler way to define it?
    Or actually... (on second thought)
    A "Personal Computer" (PC) is an IBM-specific branded device "IBM PC" that happened to be based on the Open architecture...
    ...and then later "PC" became to mean any computer based on Open architecture.

    Not quite. PC works because it is an open architecture. But, like in the example, Amiga 500 was also an open, but wholly different, architecture. Amiga 500 has completely different processors, buses, interconnects, everything. But it was open.

    PC was the first popular (maybe just the first) open architecture. But just like how BSD was the first open OS, it's not the only one now.

    IBM made another thing called the PC Open Architecture group or something like that, that was a working group for defining the open architecture of a PC.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC_Open_Architecture_Developers'_Group

    That was the 1990s when that started. So they use the term inside the name sometimes, but there's no "Open Architecture" to base PCs on. It's just an open architecture (lower case.)



  • @Obsolesce said in Apple Mac Going to ARM RISC:

    But anyways, it doesn't really matter to me... I can see everything going ARM soon, for everything, even personal computers will likely not use anything else soon.

    I don't. China is already leaving it as Trump made it really clear how fragile and dangerous ARM is. For modern system design, ARM is already seen as a legacy (but excellent, mature and proven) option. RISC-V is seen as the future with more modern and more open design than ARM and zero security risks like ARM has. ARM is so risky, I'd never risk (pun intended) developing something new with it, only something old.

    Apple is already tied to it so heavily, and shares the ARM risks already, that to them it makes sense. But if you are a company that uses a third party foundry or is only just making your own now or are not US/UK/Japan based, I'd see ARM as too risky to invest in.

    Huami already did that a year ago. They dropped ARM, saved money, and improved performance. Everyone in the big device space is talking about how to run away from ARM. It just takes time.



  • For those not aware, ARM designs, but does not make, chips. And they make a LOT of designs. So there is no single ARM. There are two big families today, ARM32 and ARM64, both have many, many members. Unlike the PC world, there is no single reference architecture for building devices with ARM processors, so nearly every manufacturer makes their own (Apple ARM isn't compatible with Samsung ARM isn't compatible with RP ARM and so forth.) There are several (maybe hundreds) of open ARM-based reference standards out there. The only one with wide recognition and traction outside of embedded manufacturing is Raspberry Pi. That's why people refer to RP compatibility because it's a reference standard, like PC, that includes the proc, buses, interconnects and even form factor.

    ARM designs have to be licensed and are crazy expensive. They are mostly designed in the UK, but with some design from the US, and they are owned by SoftBank in Japan. All three countries have been involved in the last year alone in economic warfare by stopping technological supply chains against their customers. This makes ARM very risky as you can be cut off as an ARM customer, without ARM having any say in the matter, but any of at least three countries, even if you've paid for it and have contracts.

    So chip makes, making their own chips, have to question if that's a risk that they want to take, for a chip that they are already paying a premium to be allowed to make that's based on an extremely old design (ARM has been making desktops since the 1980s.)



  • @scottalanmiller said in Apple Mac Going to ARM RISC:

    RISC-V is seen as the future with more modern and more open design than ARM and zero security risks like ARM has. ARM is so risky, I'd never risk (pun intended) developing something new with it, only something old.

    Oh yeah, forgot about that!



  • This turned into a really interesting look at PC history. LOL

    So here is some interesting stuff that happened in the PC world back when people were still new to it.

    1972 - The first "PC", meaning general term applied to any personal computer, was used for the Xerox PARC Alto.
    1981 - The IBM PC 5150, the first "IBM PC" architecture device, based around the Intel 8088 processor. This is the origination of the PC architecture. So now there is the lay term PC meaning any personal computer of any architecture/OS; and PC meaning the architecture regardless of its use case. (Current Macs fall 100% into both definitions today, lay and tech.)
    1984 - IBM PC AT or "Gen 2" PC came out, moving to the 80286 processor.
    1987 - IBM PS/2 or "Gen 3" PC came out. Based on 80286 and 80386 processors. Some models had high end MCA proprietary buses and weren't PC compatible (IBM became famous in the 1980s for being unable to be compatible with its own standards.) So only most PS/2s were PCs, a few were something else that was just really similar but not close enough to be compatible.

    The PS/2 was very interesting because they were pretty much crap, but really expensive. But they were important because they had enough power, especially with the 386 in later models, that CP/M, DOS were not cut out to be used on it. They ran, but made little sense.

    Keep in mind that a Windows OS would be many years away yet, in this era Windows was around, but was not an OS but just a graphical layer on top of DOS. DOS was the OS for Windows at this time. Windows wouldn't even mimic an OS for another eight years in the DOS space, and Windows NT wouldn't release for another six. So Windows, as an OS, wasn't even a player in the PC space for the first twelve years!

    So IBM release AIX for PC (lower before it was available for Power, which is what it is associated with today.) And IBM also started work, with Microsoft, on a DOS replacement called OS/2. OS/2 was purpose designed for PS/2. OS/2 was huge for a little while but lost traction and Microsoft took their side of the project and years later released Windows NT from it in 1993.

    OS/2 and, in some ways, Windows NT, were the very first operating system(s) to be written for PC architecture primarily rather than being adapted for it later. OS/2 remains the only PC-only operating system to ever be commercially available. Windows NT (which we still use today and call Windows 10 now) has always been heavily tied to PC conceptually, but has almost always had non-PC options like Power, Itanium, Alpha, and ARM.

    The IBM PS/2 is now best known for its big blue power buttons in the front, odd case shape, and, of course, for introducing the infamous PS/2 mouse and keyboard connectors to the world.



  • @Obsolesce said in Apple Mac Going to ARM RISC:

    @scottalanmiller said in Apple Mac Going to ARM RISC:

    RISC-V is seen as the future with more modern and more open design than ARM and zero security risks like ARM has. ARM is so risky, I'd never risk (pun intended) developing something new with it, only something old.

    Oh yeah, forgot about that!

    Still very low end devices, but moving up fast. I'm really excited to see the first SBCs and desktops built off of it.