Intel 10nm Cannon Lake delays push MacBook Pro with potential 32GB RAM into 2019

“Apple customers waiting for a MacBook Pro with 32 gigabytes of memory may have to wait until 2019 before they can buy the notebook, after Intel’s warning that its 10nm ‘Cannon Lake’ processors won’t be shipping in high volumes in 2018, pushing the wider availability of the chip into 2019,” Malcolm Owen reports for AppleInsider.

“Revealed during Intel’s quarterly earnings report, the chip giant revealed it would continue to focus on shipping chips that use the established 14-nanometer process this year, reports PC Gamer,” Owen reports. “From an Apple perspective, ‘Cannon Lake’ has support for LPDDR4 memory, which can be used to help produce MacBooks and MacBook Pros with up to 32 gigabytes of memory without having to resort to DDR4 memory. The two technologies are not the same, despite the similar name.”

“This generation of MacBook Pro models can only use up to 16 gigabytes of RAM, in part due to the Intel processors currently used in MacBook production not including native support for LPDDR4,” Owen reports. “While it is possible, Apple is unlikely to add a new RAM controller with DDR4 support to the MacBook Pro in the short term, and would probably wait until the company performs a major shift in the processors it uses to ‘Cannon Lake’ or similar chips. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: 16GB ought to be enough for anybody. 😉

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31 Comments

    1. I think it’s the complexity of x86. Even if they COULD produce a processor at 7nm TODAY, if it’s not x86 compatible, no one would be interested. And “compatible with x86” is no small task. There’s TONS of old cruft they have to drag forward with each generation just to maintain compatibility with really really old hardware and software. They may have reached the limit of x86.

      1. Following up on Wrong Again’s post, the increased complexity in combination with smaller process size could drive yields lower which increases cost and decreases profit.

        But I have wondered the same thing as Chris. TSMC, for instance, is making great progress with smaller process sizes.

        Following up on my previous posts on the subject, this is another factor that might accelerate the use of A-series SoCs in Mac laptops and low to medium performance desktop Macs. The A11 is already pretty darn good. And the A12 is on its way.

        1. Good point, not only is x86 more complex, that complexity likely means that, even in the BEST possible case, they are going to get far fewer per die than an ARM compatible or, pretty much ANY other instruction set.

          Think about when Apple went from a chip that had to be 32 and 64 bit compatible to ONLY 64 bit compatible. The die shrunk by a third, and, as a result, they added functionality in the same small die size. Compare that to Intel that has to maintain a LOT of legacy stuff… they’ll NEVER be able to dump 32 bit junk so… in a BRAND new 64 bit enabled OS computer, there will be sections of the processor doing nothing but waiting for 32 bit commands.. which will likely only happen when the user decides to do some virtualization or run some old software.

          I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the first mac that addresses 32 GB of LPDDR4 memory will likely be an Aseries mac 🙂 Well, unless those “limited quantities” they’re shipping is to Apple so they can ship SOMETHING with 32 gigs this year.

    2. Economics and durability, just to name two.

      Some vendors brag about the size of the smallest circuit on the chip and struggle to get yields. Customers usually prefer reliable supply at a reasonable price.

      1. There are ways to deal with different processor architectures. Anyone serious about a high performance product in the scientific or engineering realm will be able to deal with A-series processors.

        If you absolutely have to have Intel, then I suggest that you start considering a transition to Linux or Windows, because Apple Macs are headed towards A-series processors. Apple products will be ARM-based across the board – macOS and iOS – sooner than most people think.

        1. The work I’m in is high-RAM but not high-performance the way you’re thinking of. That said, I remember the poor performance of the emulation days, where a PPC CPU running VIrtualPC you’d be lucky to get 25% of the performance of a comparable Intel. Based on that, I doubt I can justify the price of a loaded A-series MBP.

        2. Most scientific and engineering pros aren’t interested in waiting for Apple compatible software. When they have a project, they need the tool in place immediately. Apple is nowhere to be found in scientific and engineering circles.

  1. 4 years ago, my work MBP with 16 GB was the best dev machine amongst the Windows laptops my colleagues were using, and could run the necessary virtual machines no problem.

    Now, my colleagues boast 32 and even 64 GB on their dev laptops, and the RAM requirements for the virtual machines running far more complex stuff is approaching 16 GB. I can still run the current builds with just 8GB but memory paging is slowing performance.

    At this rate, my next work laptop cannot be a Mac.

    Apple, stop focusing on energy efficiency on pro laptops, it’s as blindingly shortsighted as making them as thin as possible!

    1. None of that is accurate. If they’re using 32GB laptops, they’re not portable at all, they weigh 13+ LBS, and they have 4 memory slots at minimum to accommodate the controller for the intel chips. If they’re using a 64GB “laptop” it’s running a Xeon and is in no way portable. They should be using some type of iMac or headless desktop, the ont reason to have a high powered laptop is for it to be portable, which one of what you’ve described is. Also? Your above comment about virtual machines requiring 16GB is nonsense… you’re aware of that. We run auto desk VM’s in double redundancy and still don’t hit full usage when under parallels. The iMac pro’s with 128GB have two machines with max 8GB of ram allocated to them, you’d never run twin machines like that on a laptop natively, you’d most likely use parallels access or another virtual setup. Just stop.

      1. Don’t say “none of that is accurate” and then not do basic research, you just look silly and lose credibility:

        https://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-ThinkPad-Mobile-Workstation-Laptop/dp/B01GSBS9IE/

        15″ laptop, i7-6700HQ (same as the 2016 MBP, i.e. NOT A XEON), 64 GB, and 5.9 pounds… less than HALF the weight you claim they must weigh.

        Also? You have zero clue what our VM setup is or what for, it’s nothing so simple as Autodesk, so don’t arrogantly presume that it’s nonsense just because *you* don’t need that much RAM allocated to it. 16 GB VM allocation was being suggested last week, I had to clarify that I had 16 GB in my *laptop*, not that I had already allocated that much to the VM.

        1. And that Lenovo has the following ports…

          4x USB 3.0 ports (one Always On), HDMI, mini-DisplayPort, Ethernet (RJ-45), USB Type-C / Thunderbolt 3, Dock Connector, 4-in-1 card Reader, Dock Connector, Headphone/Mic Combo

      2. Nude Emperor: you are incorrect. The bestselling HP ZBook is about 6 pounds. Yes they have 4 DIMM slots. It is more portable than carrying around Apple’s only “pro” Macs, which are the Trashcan cylinder and the iMac Pro all in one.

        I suspect mossman’s work is different from yours, so YOU just stop. Apologizing for Apple is a waste of everyone’s time. You will never have a winning argument by telling someone making their money using a computer that they should just go ahead and pay premium prices for a product with less than half the raw power of what another brand offers. This is Cook’s Apple now.

  2. Remember when Intel was leader? They’re behind TSMC AND Samsung. “Oh, ours will pack more features per square inch!” What they DON’T tell you is that by that time, the competition will be shipping REAL 8mm and 7mm processors that.. you know, physically DO pack-in more per square inch.

    SO, and A-series chip built on Samsung or TSMC processes has the potential to run circles around an Intel chip. Exciting times we live in!

      1. Oh… ah yeah… traces as wide as 7 dimes is EXACTLY what I was talking about…. it’ll be all the rage. The hipster crowd will eat it up! 😀

    1. Wrong Again, you need to do your homework.

      The most popular portable laptop workstation on the planet is the HP ZBook.

      Why? For starters, you can configure it to have the latest Intel Core i7 or Xeon processors (i7-8750H or e3-2186M), or many other chip choices according to your needs. Apple doesn’t do Xeon in laptops, even the ones Apple thinks are “Pro”..

      What does that mean in terms of RAM?
      ZBook offers 4 SODIMM slots with up to 64 GB DDR4-2667 ECC SDRAM; 64 GB DDR4-2667 non-ECC SDRAM 5 (Transfer rates up to 2667 MT/s.) That is 4 times the RAM that the most expensive Apple laptop offers.

      The HP ZBook furthermore offers all the latest and most used ports.

      Shall we talk graphics next or are you getting the picture?

      Other computer makers serve pros. Apple does not. This is a dumbass business decision from Apple, not a fault of Intel.

      1. And… all that doesn’t excuse the fact that Intel is UNABLE to mass produce a chip using a 10nm process. TSMC is first to mass production with a 10nm process and WILL be first to market with mass production of 7nm. TSMC has a fairly good lead in the semiconductor process race and, if Intel slips again, that lead may become insurmountable. Doesn’t mean much when you depend on x86, but other companies looking at foundry production will no doubt look to TSMC, the leader, for production of their custom silicon.

        1. Eh, XXnm at one manufacturer has nothing to do with XXnm at another. And really, it’s become much more complex than a single number. It’s mostly marketing at this point. Last I heard, an Intel 14nm was a superior process to a TSMC or Samsung 10nm or less.

          Microarchitecture and ISA are other issues entirely of course. Everybody knows x86 needs to die but nobody wants to accept the pain from killing it.

  3. Imagine what would have been if Apple’s chip partners IBM & Motorola hadn’t dropped the ball on PPC development but knuckled down innovating instead?
    Is Apple now back at a similar predicament which prompted the switch to INTEL in the first place?
    Oh, the irony!

  4. Good, this will give Apple time to redesign the MBP to install a reliable quiet keyboard, more battery, and more ports which remain industry standards (Ethernet, SD cards, USB-A, etc).

    By the way, Intel is not the hold up. Chips are available, they just require more battery. Apple’s stylists are the hurdle. Apple refuses to make a thicker MBP, and they refuse to make a workhorse 17″ MBP. Why? Bad leadership. Don’t blame Intel.

    1. Intel is the hold up. You can TRY to apologize for them, but Intel is saying that Intel is the hold up. How can you take that for anything more than Intel is holding up progress? I would wager that the mystery customer Intel is shipping small quantities to may actually be Apple. If that’s the case, it might be the last laptop with an Intel processor.

      1. Evidence please. Until Apple returns to the days when they get the first shipment of the latest chips, then their premium pricing looks more and more like fleecing the customer. You clearly have a beef with Intel but you’ve never given any evidence that Apple’s embarrassing product update schedule has ever been held up by any Intel schedule constrain in the Cook era. That doesn’t mean Intel hasn’t encountered a slowdown in their roadmap, but Apple’s dumbass product planners aren’t even asking for what Intel does offer today. Apple is generations behind.

        How much clearer do I have to be for you to get the clue? HP and Dell and others offer current chip choices from Intel. Apple does not.

        Explain why you think that’s Intel’s fault.

        Nobody gives a fig about the gamed inconsistent nanometer bragging press releases. It’s chip performance that matters. Taiwan Semi has lied about their capabiliies from day one. Intel has the best foundries and makes a much wider array of chip options.

        If Intel was such a laggard, why does Apple continue to rely on Intel for chips in BOTH Macs and iOS gear?

        1. “Evidence please.”
          tchk. Evidence? If you haven’t seen it yet, then you’re just like a flat earther, nothing I show you will be evidence enough 😉

          So, how about we do a little switcheroo. Provide a link to a Intel i9-8950HK powered laptop (that’s their mobile processor, in case you were wondering) that uses 32 GB of LPDDR4 memory (that’s mobile memory in case you were wondering). I’m sure if this mystical beast exists, you’re the one to find it! Go forth young Mike!

          I’m ENTIRELY willing to change my mind if Intel says they can’t ship a mobile processor that uses LPDDR4, but YOU know in your heart of hearts they already do. 🙂

          1. Hey Wrong Again — Intel has been offering 32gb Lddr4 chips since August 2017 that would be a perfect fit for the MacBook Pros. https://www.appleinsider.com/articles/17/08/21/intel-details-8th-generation-core-i7-i5-processors-suitable-for-macbook-dual-core-macbook-pro-refresh

            Intel offered many other chips w/ Lddr4 before that but Apple chose to go thin on the latest MacBook Pro redesigns. If Apple hadn’t “designed itself into a thermal corner” on MacBooks like they did with the trashcan, it would have taken little effort to offer 32gb RAM in MacBook Pros by xmas last year. Or if Apple wanted to offer a real portable workstation, it would have a thicker 17” design ready to go. But no, Apple made the decision to give away the top performance end of the market in the pursuit of fashion.

            Intel has not been the holdup as you keep stupidly repeating. Give it a rest.

  5. From… ahhh, well, no other way to say it than from the first paragraph of the story you linked to.

    “though while this series is suitable for use in MacBooks and the dual-core MacBook Pro, it won’t help provide users with a 32GB memory option.”

    I WOULD say good effort if it was even remotely a good effort. But it’s not. It’s not often that people provide a story that disproves their point in the effort of MAKING a point, but, guess it just happens sometimes 😉

    AND… JUST because you went SO out of the way to disprove your point… the image? In the story? That you linked to? Not a ONE of those processors support LPDDR4. NONE of them. And none SINCE then has either. Some folks like to make excuses for Intel, and, you know, I guess folks just have their hobbies.

    Keep on thinking the world is flat! 😀 For ANY company that wanted to make a laptop utilizing a mobile Intel processor and utilizing 32 GB of Low Power mobile RAM, they are unable to do so. MAYBE next year, but Intel’s track record isn’t very good in this area.

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