What does Intel’s chip delay mean for current and future Mac users?

“Intel’s main processor roadmap was leaked last week. The main takeaway is Intel’s new Broadwell processor will be delayed until 2015,” Karl Johnson writes for T-GAAP. “Intel does have a few updated Haswell processors coming out in 2014, but they do not show significant improvement over current designs.”

“Intel will be using their new 14nm design on the Broadwell processor, which is the main reason for the big delay,” Johnson writes. “This new chip is rumored to have a 40% increase in GPU performance over their current GPU built into the Haswell processor, which is a main focus for Intel. The current Haswell processor’s main improvement was battery life with only modest CPU improvements. So what does all this mean for Mac users?”

“Current Macs will be staying near the top of the performance curve for longer than they have before. These new computers should last at least another one to two years longer,” Johnson writes. “If one is looking to purchase a new Mac, now is a great time to purchase one since current Macs will likely stay on top for at least another year or more. The only exception would be the Mac Mini, since Apple still has not updated the Mac Mini model to the Haswell processor and might at any time.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Apple did heavily invest in ARM during the 1990s. Selling off ARM stock was one way Apple stayed in the black after the outrageous marketing blunder that caused the $1 Billion write-off of unwanted Performa Macs in 1997.

      As for IBM: Why? So Apple can get into main frames? Huh? Apple wrote off IBM’s Power chips in 2005 and good riddance.

  1. One big reason Apple left IBM and the PPC technology was the lack of a good technology plan that would help Apple stay in the lead technology wise. It looks as though Intel is doing what IBM did back then. A delay of this length really hurts Apple because their products stagnate longer than normal, and people don’t buy new computers when there’s no significant performance benefit. It’ll be interesting to see how Apple manages this issue. I don’t believe they’ll just sit still and wait for Intel.

    1. I’d say it just makes people hang on to their current machines longer and then it’ll be ‘release the kracken’ when the new models show up. There isn’t too much more to be done with laptops that would really be that exciting, except maybe put a cell modem in them and bring back DVD drives (since no one will be able to afford to download things in the not too distant future).

    2. Your argument would be more compelling if Apple actually kept its products up to date with the latest chipsets. The Mac mini soldiers on with 2-generation old chips.

      Apple cannot “fall behind” when everyone relies on Intel for their chips. Apple seems content to fall behind through its own slowness, however.

      1. How are you able to imply that Apple isn’t keeping it’s products up to date with the the latest chipsets, when the article already stated that the only Apple device that uses Intel chips that isn’t up to date is the Mac Mini?

        If it were as you write, then Apple would indeed have problems. As it stands, not really.

        You’re also treating it that PC makers are all using the latest chipset, when you know that that isn’t true (though there are so many companies churning out so many models that it’s hard to tell whom has what).

    3. Yes, but than wouldn’t that affect all computer manufacturers that use Intel chips? Does ARM have anything that competes or outperforms Intel’s chips? One more thing, are we in some dire need for higher chip performance? For 90% of current users, they already have machines that are overkill for their needs. Most are just doing web, email, and other basic functions. I don’t see the big deal with this. If the current Mac Pro isn’t enough power for you, buy a mainframe.

    1. The computer engineer has doubts.

      Comparing future vaporware ARM to Intel processors might be fun, but ARM is not going to displace Intel’s core business anytime soon. Intel remains cutting edge for anyone who needs serious computing power and access to a plug on the wall. ARM remains desirable primarily only for low-power mobile devices. That will not change for many, many chip generations to come. They are totally different ends of the market.

  2. I have a new MB Pro Retina.. I think they can easily hold off on a new CPU by bringing other technologies and features into the MB pro Line.. I am not starved for CPU/GPU power on this computer.. there are other places that improvements and new features can still be made. Nothing to worry about. Maybe the later year Haswells will give a slight speed bump and allow an upgraded interim MB pro…

    I would really like to see Lighting accessories come down in price.. and maybe something cool come out utilizing that bandwidth.

  3. Everyone needs to calm down about this — especially authors like this.

    The “Tic-Tock” every year process has been slowly elongating since the year after it was announced. Everyone who knows anything about the process node shifts knows that as the feature size gets smaller it gets harder and harder to perfect the chip fabrication processes.

    In fact, I was a bit surprised when Intel originally stated that Broadwell would be shipping in quantity in the second half of 2014. Now it seems that most of the people I know were, and are, correct that it will be the first half of 2015 before Intel ships any significant quantities of these chips.

    Then expect another 14-18 months before Skylake at 14 nm (think mid to late 2016). Follow that with an 18-24 months before Cannonlake at 10 nm (think very late 2017 to mid 2018).

    While this is not a catastrophic issue — and indeed is expected to occur to various levels across the entire industry — it is very possible that this might have one upside: Haswell Xeon chips *might* actually ship before Broadwell is in wide distribution.

  4. I love Intel. Hell, they are by far the biggest employer in my state (Oregon), but these boys better keep moving their chips forward or we are going to find ARM chips in our future Macs.

    1. Well, ARM has a ways to go to catch up in speed for running a Mac. But if Intel rolls over and plays dead, I suppose Apple might be willing to mess over its customers and developers yet again with a CPU platform shift. But because they’d be moving from CISC to RISC chips, it would be a huge PITA.

      Going CISC to RISC with OS X on what became iOS devices was easy because EVERYTHING was new on the new platform. Not having to deal with all the extra CISC crap on iOS devices was in fact a big benefit in both coding and power consumption. – Yet another reason Apple had zero interest in Intel Atom processors.

  5. If other writers are to be believed, people already use their Macs much longer that others use their Winblows machines. I really don’t see this as a big factor, especially when the “consumer” iMacs are blazingly fast for most people. Other factors may provide motivation to purchase.

    1. people already use their Macs much longer that others use their Winblows machines

      That’s been tested many times and consistently been proven to be true. I can still boot and use my 1993 Quadra 650 with 601 PPC daughter card imaging workstation. Not that I want to much any more. The Mac’s longer lifetime of usability is one reason it has a FAR better ROI, Return On Investment, than any comparable Windows box. That’s always been the case, with no testing proving the contrary!

      Right now I’m typing away on my old MacBook from 2006-11. I will continue to do so until I get my new MacBook Pro this summer. I can hardly wait. Meanwhile, I have a 2011 Mac Mini where I do more heavy lifting as well as beta testing.

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