so... ARM on your next computer

User avatar
matt3o
-[°_°]-

26 Jun 2020, 08:23

can we address the elephant in the room? Apple finally announced what the market was waiting since years. ARM processors on every Mac. It's a perfectly logical step for Apple that finally can merge smartphones and computers, but apart from that I'm really less exited about the move than I was like 4 years ago (from a merely technological point of view, not that I will ever buy a Mac again).

Probably what I would really like to see is more love for the RISC-V. Everybody's exited about it but I have this terrible feeling that it won't go anywhere just because the market is not ready for another contender... at least not in the consumer market.

andrewjoy

26 Jun 2020, 09:29

I think ARM is a good move , especially for laptops, even for some servers that are massive parallel things like cavium thunder etc are very cool.

It is a little late for apple tho , i see why they did it , but with the low power 7nm AMD mobile chips they could have held off for a little longer with RYZEN 4000 mobile, not to mention the power of the GPU inside , still vega for now , but soon some NAVI :).

I would love a ARM laptop for linux , it just needs a decent case and screen few USB ports and a big ass battery. problem is that ARM laptops in the windows/chromebook world are ether shit low end stuff or overpriced google stuff.

Findecanor

26 Jun 2020, 09:57

Apple isn't really using ARM-chips: they are using their own chips that happen to run an ARM ISA. If IBM had stayed competitive for Macs laptops with PowerPC, I think it could have very well been that ISA instead.
Although AArch64 is a more modern ISA than x86-64 or PowerPC, I think it is still mostly about wanting to be in control of the hardware: to not be dependent on others companies, and about not having to pay a mark-up to use another company's silicon. It has been said that Commodore in the 1980's had had an economic advantage over other 8-bit computer makers by owning MOS. But unlike Commodore, I don't see Apple ever letting others use theirs.

Most of the operating systems in the iPhone, iPad and MacOS is technically the same. The differences are in the user interface and the apps that use them. I think Apple is merging the iPad and MacOS under the hood, but I think they have learned from Microsoft's mistakes with Windows 8 and chosen more to open up MacOS for iPad apps and letting the market decide where go to instead of forcing change onto people.
Therefore, the two platforms are likely to remain somewhat distinct for some time, at least in the visible parts of the OS.

But yeah, it does add more momentum for the AArch64 ISA... And Apple saying that they are going to allow Linux to run on MacOS/AArch64 under a hypervisor is definitely interesting.

I think RISC-V is going to be grow mostly in embedded systems, because it is royalty-free and modern.
Then it is going to be used for low-performance servers like NAS and such. Whether it will be used for cell phones is going to be interesting.
It does have as much potential for high performance as ARM, but not significantly more that it matters.
The adoption of ARM has been held back by not having a standard platform of I/O chips like what the PC has. I think that if RISC-V is going to succeed, it is going to need that.
ARM/Sofbank is probably going to undercut RISC-V vendors when they can, because they can, thus holding RISC-V back.
andrewjoy wrote:
26 Jun 2020, 09:29
I would love a ARM laptop for linux , it just needs a decent case and screen few USB ports and a big ass battery. problem is that ARM laptops in the windows/chromebook world are ether shit low end stuff or overpriced google stuff.
Yes! I've wanted one for a decade.

andrewjoy

26 Jun 2020, 10:39

Well technically they licence the cores from ARM.

ARM is a much more simple design ( as its RISC) than the older CISC ways of doing things like x86 and AMD64, it should be the way things are going.

Honestly , anything legacy at this point should be running on a virtual machine, just let windows and all its legacy baggage sit in the corner with the safety scissors eating glue along with its fat friends debian and fedora, inside a nice virtual machine where it cannot break anything!

Let the real work be done by well designed systems with well designed tools, like Arch, with plan9 core utils and the suckless software suit!

Apple , letting you run a hypervisor..... whatever next, designing there hardware properly ? Not screwing over the customer ? Not screwing over independent repair ?

User avatar
matt3o
-[°_°]-

26 Jun 2020, 11:11

andrewjoy wrote:
26 Jun 2020, 10:39
ARM is a much more simple design ( as its RISC) than the older CISC ways of doing things like x86 and AMD64, it should be the way things are going.
while that was true at the beginning now RISC has become way more complicated and CISC made things simpler and mitigated the gap. Actually the two architectures copied each other quite a bit. I see Apple move more of a way to merge the two worlds. The iPad is already plenty enough for many laptop users. In Apple vision everything will be an app you download exclusively from their store you use exclusively on their devices that you don't own (macs/iphones are basically loaned) that you need to change every 4 years because they refuse to repair and you can't upgrade them.

Shihatsu

26 Jun 2020, 11:41

Well, Linux on Arm is done - the Pinebook is a wonderfull piece of geeky laptop. running with Manjaro it is my wet dream of a notebook. Shame on Lenovo that their laptops are as good as they were, my T60p is still up an running (albeit a new battery, but thats that) - otherwise a pinebook would be sitting on my desk. Might buy one nevertheless... or a new MT3 set.... or new furniture for the garden... decisions decisions!
Regarding Apple I read an article from the ex chief of engeneering at intel who says that Apple just had enough of being intels second line of QA and thus made the step. I think it is about controlling the quality. Everything else can be easily achieved today. The media telling "iOS apps on macOS" is stupid. Just give the developers a second compile target, make it required for new apps, and you are done. Apple has no problem at all to make such harsh decisions. And yeah, I know that my "done" is simplified to the max, but it can be done, and has been done in the past, that is the point.
Regarding the hypervisor thingy: funny thing is, this is nowadays already reality on the vast majority of all computers worldwide: The smartphone. You thinking your smartphone runs Android or iOS? think again, it is NOT. The smartphone runs the OS of the baseband, and the baseband controlls everything else. Yeah, it is not a full hypervisor, but neither Android nor iOS runs natively on the smartphone either. We are almost there.

andrewjoy

26 Jun 2020, 15:19

Shihatsu wrote:
26 Jun 2020, 11:41
Apple just had enough of being intels second line of QA.
Funny that , because when i ran Apples Open directory i felt exactly the same about them :D

User avatar
ddrfraser1

26 Jun 2020, 15:22

But can it run chrome?

andrewjoy

26 Jun 2020, 16:44

ddrfraser1 wrote:
26 Jun 2020, 15:22
But can it run chrome?
Dont ask silly questions , you know the minimum system requirements for chrome are Two EPYC 7742 , 4TB of ram and a P4800 optane !

User avatar
kps

26 Jun 2020, 18:50

ddrfraser1 wrote:
26 Jun 2020, 15:22
But can it run chrome?
In case that's a serious question, many Chromebooks use ARM CPUs, both original and AArch64.

Findecanor

26 Jun 2020, 19:58

andrewjoy wrote:
26 Jun 2020, 10:39
Well technically they licence the cores from ARM.
There is a difference between getting a core and plopping it in, and designing your own based on ARM's architecture.

Apple designs their own cores, but they may have broad access to stuff within ARM that others don't. Apple's CPU division stems back to P.A. Semi that Apple had acquired in 2008. Before that P.A. Semi sold chips running the PowerPC ISA.
Shihatsu wrote:
26 Jun 2020, 11:41
Well, Linux on Arm is done - the Pinebook is a wonderfull piece of geeky laptop. running with Manjaro it is my wet dream of a notebook.
Ars Technica's review wasn't too positive though.
The SoC inside (rk3399) has comparable Geekbench scores to the Intel Atom in my 8" Windows tablet, that I got five years ago for about the same price. (and the tablet still has a better screen)

User avatar
ddrfraser1

26 Jun 2020, 20:05

kps wrote:
26 Jun 2020, 18:50
ddrfraser1 wrote:
26 Jun 2020, 15:22
But can it run chrome?
In case that's a serious question, many Chromebooks use ARM CPUs, both original and AArch64.

It was not, but good knowledge and I appreciate you looking out for me :D

Sturmtiger001

26 Jun 2020, 20:38

I think this is legit a very interesting move and I look forward to what comes of it or at the very least will be watching from the sidelines, haha.

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