Apple does something amazing

“With both Intel and Apple designing world-class microprocessor cores, it’s worthwhile to examine the various design choices and trade-offs in Intel’s ‘Silvermont’ micro-architecture and Apple’s ‘Cyclone’ micro-architecture and to compare and contrast them,” Ashraf Eassa writes for Seeking Alpha. “The field of processor micro-architecture (that is the design choices that determine the performance/power of a chip) is just as much an art as it is a science, and I believe that investors, industry analysts, and chip geeks alike are likely to be interested in understanding how Apple and Intel both likely thought when designing their latest generation microprocessor cores.”

“What’s not up for debate is that Apple’s design team has done a damn good job with its second low power processor design, proving that Apple is a more deeply technical and innovative company than ever before. Intel’s processor team also has done a fine job, particularly as ‘Silvermont’ competes very well with the merchant chips from Qualcomm and Nvidia,” Eassa writes. “But it’s clear that Apple will be using its own designs for generations to come as its design team truly is best in class.”

Apple A7

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Carl H.” for the heads up.]

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43 Comments

      1. Another clueless fanboy comment. Apple owns zero, I repeat, zero percent share in ARM Holdings. They sold their last share in 1998 when ARM Holdings was floated on the London Stock Exchange.

        1. That is correct you mindless troll. Apple owns a complete license to all ARM technology, they sold their stake in the company when Steve Jobs returned. Nonetheless it can use and improve on whatever ARM does.

          1. Anyone, I repeat, anyone can own a complete licence to ARM technology provided you pay the licensing fees. Nothing exclusive about it. Samsung has access to ARM licenses for its quad core Exynos processor. Seeing the Apple has only got two cores in its latest A7 CPU, I’d say that Apple is behind the curve in processor technology.

            1. No when the 2 cores designed by Apple outperforms all of the 4 cores currently used by Samdung. Pretty darn impressive if you ask me..

            2. So 4 cores that are inefficient and slow are more advanced than 2 cores that are efficient, fast and low and behold 64bit to boot. Clearly you think a horse is more efficient than a motorbike because it’s got 4 legs.

            3. The difference is that most companies license ARM cores, Apple has an architecture license that lets them design and build their own cores based on the ARM instruction set.

            4. OK Dickhead, explain to me how Samsung’s 4 32 bit cores are optimized and the work load distributed among them. Apple’s 2 64 bit cores are optimized and managed to distribute the work load efficiently. If Samsung did start using 64 bit processors they would still have a 32 bit OS, and still be unable to efficiently manage work load. This is why the iPhone 5s is twice as fast as the fastest Samsung 4 core phone, and even at that it’s with Samsung cheating on the benchmarks. Nice try, Dickhead.

            5. So rich when a nimrod troll sells himself down the river with a half clever handle, and you can innocently address him without accusation of profanity 🙂

            6. samsung Exynos?

              I love it when Android idiots quote Exynos as Samsung after HYPING and giving exynos powered S4s to the press to review QUIETLY REPLACED MANY SHIPPING S4’S octa Exynos with CHEAPER quad core Qualcomm Snapdragons.
              i.e Samsung did a BAIT And SWITCH on android idiot fanboys.

              get that? Many of Samsung’s top of the line S4’s uses CHIPS made by another company AND an OS by another company , Goog’s Android.
              Samsung’s top phone has two most important parts: the chip and the brains designed and made by others….
              lol.

    1. Apple also has the rights to the latest ARM instructions and can modify the ARM core as it sees fit (along with the instructions), thus giving Apple the unique ability to fully customize the A chips for specific device operation.

    2. Yes ARM is a british Co. derived from Acorn Computers. Just as they were about to go bankrupt Apple saved them and gave them a good start by telling them to concentrate on processors…. that Apple wanted to buy for their products. So ARM was initially an ARM of Apple.

      1. That’s how to re write history I guess. ARM was originally the research arm of Acorn it was the latter which eventually faded into obscurity as part of Olivetti. Apple was interested in ARM RISC chip tech for the Newton as it was the only suitable architecture but it needed development and funds to do it and Apple invested in a spun off ARM as equal share holders initially with Acorn.

        Interestingly the Arm architecture was originally proposed as an alternative to the Mac Motorola one , it was that that gained Apple’s initial interest, but lost out due to political /practical reasons so talk of it being used now is a little full circle. After Newton ARM took on a very successful life of its own due to the fundamental quality of that joint work.

        1. Paul may have heard the story that way. Not uncommon—especially where “how it got its name” is concerned. Doesn’t mean he is trying to “rewrite history”.

      1. Even firing Tim Cook isn’t going to make Apple shares jump 13% in one day. Firing the CEO to get a 2% share rise really doesn’t cut it. I know Wall Street certainly hates Tim Cook, but they may hate any CEO Apple gets who doesn’t give Apple’s reserve cash pile to them. Sadly enough, Wall Street doesn’t ask anything of Google’s or Amazon’s CEOs and they’re still greatly loved.

        1. Wall Street hates APPLE. It is one of the very few well run, sane, reliable, honest (mostlly) and customer respecting and customer driven companies left on the planet.

          Contemporary Wall Street is all about scouring value out of the lame and lousy companies in the world, which are aplenty. They WISH they could scour out Apple, but Apple doesn’t let them. Thus their little STAMP-THEIR-FEET hissy fits and Apple Bear Bullshit.

          IOW: Wall Street = self-destructive and out of touch with REAL capitalism. Screw them. Let this current generation of parasites die along side all the deceitful, rotting companies they represent and parasitize. – I wish. 😉

        2. Wall Street is very right wing.
          Apple is a communist, hippy, business man.
          Of Course the street hates them.
          Sheesh…paying workers in china, doing things that cost more but are better for the environment…etc..

          1. Wall Street is NOT right wing. It is apolitical. They are about making money. Unfortunately, they don’t care if they kill a company as long as they can get 24 good quarters of return from them. They’ll leave a dried out husk and move onto the next darling to suck dry. Going public is scary if you love your company.

  1. Apple’s design, being what it is, is much more focused. The design trade-offs that Apple makes are mostly different from Intels’.
    Apple knows Exactly what the chip needs to do and where to optimize for performance. 😛

    1. Exactly. This is a little-talked-about piece of the Jobs/Apple ecosystem advantage. The OS folks and the processor folks can have lunch together every day, and Samsung doesn’t get to know a thing about it until its released.

    1. How long before Intel gets adjectivised by MDN? (Beleaguered.)

      It seems ironic that Apple ditched Motorola/IBM’s PowerPC back in 2006 because Intel promised better performance per watt — and now in the era of miniature computing, it’s Intel that’s the performance laggard. RISC all the way, baby.

      1. At the point when the PPC CPUs hit 500 MHz, they really were 2x faster than the contemporary, much hyped Pentium CPUs from Intel. But the sales weren’t enough to keep Motorola afloat and it ended up spinning off its CPU division, which gradually died off. I have no idea what happened to IBM, but their ‘Power’ line of CPUs never did become energy efficient enough for the PowerBooks. Apple literally had no choice but to go elsewhere.

        Seeing as Apple already wrote RISC based code, they didn’t need or want any of the legacy API crap inherent in Intel chips. Apple had heavily invested in ARM, but they weren’t prepared to create their own ARM CPUs at that time. AMD apparently wasn’t enticing, so Intel it had to be.

        Intel, by that time, had sorted out their speed barrier by going multi-core and shrinking their chips beyond what they thought was possible. The Core 2 chips were also 64-bit and had built-in virtualization support. So Apple made out nicely!

        I don’t regret the change. Apple has never let themselves become hampered by the Intel legacy APIs, thus the simplicity of their porting OS X to ARM in the form of iOS. Wisely and brilliantly done IMHO.

        Meanwhile, I keep track of what’s going on with Intel Atom chips. It’s a dismal story.

  2. also very importantly, apple owns the OS, so the OS and the CPU works in harmony, making it efficient and giving good battery life, where as Samsung has no OS of its own, or iTunes and app store equivalent, a big disadvantage here for Samsung. The quad core and power talk by the samsung lot is “Paper Tiger” nothing more to it

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