Time for Apple to dump the Intel slug for AMD’s powerhouse 7nm chips

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes for ZDNet:

Intel has been stuck in a bit of a quagmire as of late. It’s 10-nanometer processors have experienced delays, while the CEO admits that it won’t have 7-nanometer parts to compete with AMD out until 2021.

I wonder how Apple – one of Intel’s flagship customers – feels about this.

Not only does AMD have 7-nanometer chips out there, but they’re performance powerhouses. And on top of that, the small architecture makes them power-efficient and run cooler than similar chips built using larger architectures.

AMD chips sound exactly like what Apple needs for its lineup of mobile and desktop computers… I know that there’s a fair bit of chatter that Apple is planning to move to in-house chips, but in the meantime, Apple needs processors — some 5 million or so a quarter — and AMD’s 7-nanometer offerings offer benefits that Intel can’t match for a couple of upgrade cycles.

MacDailyNews Take: Unless there’s some sort of contractual issue with Intel, we don’t know why Apple hasn’t already offered Macs with AMD processors, as a BTO choice at least.


  1. I don’t know about recent AMD CPUs, but the previous ones used to run hotter than comparable Intel Corp. CPUs and since Apple loves to build skinny cases with poor airflow, I don’t think it would be wise for Apple to use AMD CPUs if those chips run hot(ter). I’m all for Apple providing some computer product line with AMD CPUs as an option, but they had better make sure they’re not going to thermal-throttle under full load in a couple of minutes. When it comes to any processor, a lower TPD chip is the way to go.

    Another thing I don’t understand is why Apple uses such crappy thermal paste that dries out in a couple of years. Why would Apple do that when they can afford the best thermal paste on the market? Dried-out thermal paste is a well-known problem with Apple products.

    1. Good info (I think – you sound like you know whereof you speak and all fits in with my limited knowledge.) Thanks!

      I’d heard about the thermal paste thing before on some forum. How about some reporter in the Mac press or iFixIt or some group or org take a hard look at this?

      Apple cuts the weirdest corners sometimes in the name of holy margins (IMO), but they also respond to pressure…

      1. Just do a search for AMD Ryzen. There’s lots of information indicating performance per watt is impressive. “AMD runs hotter than Intel” is about as current as “Intel meets their processor node goals”.

  2. I think Apple should have bought AMD years ago when they were thinking of making the switch from the IBM processors! I am still shocked they didn’t buy AMD as they would have had their own PC processors and GPUs.

    1. The business for that side of the market couldn’t justify what buying AMD would cost.
      Apple is about mobile and that about watts before speed, so that meant PA Semi.

    2. Apple had their own processors in PPC as part of the AIM alliance. They of course got burnt by IBM and Motorola as they pursued self interest over common interest thus allowing superior technology and architecture to wither into a niche product. Of course some of those talented chip designers at Apple were folded into their A series chip design team. Apple might yet have the last laugh over all the others.

    1. actually it does support thunderbolt. its just not natively on the motherboards at this point. besides no one actually uses TB3, everything is shifting to USB 3.1. TB3 will forever be a niche market advertising slogan to rope in the dopes with too much money. USB 4 will unify them all and there will be no more “thunderbolt”

  3. AMD doesn’t have a suitable laptop chip. their desktop and workstation/server chips are dominating at the moment, but intel still have the laptop market under its thumb. That could change though.

  4. I guess Intel gives serious discounts for Apple staying loyal. And when I mean serious, they must be really serious. We don’t buy much servers (dozens a year), but we already get huge discounts on server-CPUs. Can’t imagine what they have to offer Apple in exchange for not even looking at AMD (except for the GPUs).
    Also, AMD doesn’t have anything for UltraBooks, yet.

    Though, for the MacPro, it would have actually made sense IMO to offer a Threadripper version.
    So much more bang for the buck. I’m sure they have a TR-Hackintosh somewhere in a lab though.
    Maybe they even showed it to Intel-folks, to keep them “motivated”.

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