Apple’s patented macroscalar processor architecture: What it is and what it means

“Apple got a new patent on something called a macroscalar processor this month,” Robin Harris reports for ZDNet.

“Apple is, among other things, a fabless semiconductor company. They design, but do not build, their own processors, such as the dual-core A5 in the iPad 2,” Harris reports. “The macroscalar architecture, well implemented, offers higher performance for a given clock-speed and lower energy consumption. Both are valuable in mobile devices.”

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Harris reports, “Since Apple provides its own compilers as well as designing CPUs, it is uniquely positioned to offer a complete macroscalar solution to its large band of iOS developers, further widening the price/performance gap between it and the iPad wannabes.”

“Is it a breakthrough? It could be if the efficiencies it promises can be realized in practice,” Harris reports. “We’ll have to see just how good Apple’s compiler engineers are.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “krquet” for the heads up.]

16 Comments

  1. Talk about erecting even bigger barriers to entry to the very market it has turned from being an abysmal failure into a roaring success!

    Now competitors have to not only have an app store but also access to high performance chips designed and optimised around the OS of their device.

    How long will the Andriod brigade survive before they hit the performance wall?

  2. I’m not sure how others will compete – but you can pretty much guarantee that NVidia will try to shove 8/16/32/(insert-8x-factor-number-here) cores in their next Tegra board (more of a portable furnace, than a tablet) just to make sure flash skips along at what, 14 fps – before crashing the whole unit?

    1. I once knew a semiconductor – Philip Wylie, who led an orchestra only twice a month. Couldn’t take time off from his other job to be a full-time conductor.

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