The Apple Silicon discussion and experience thread

No contest... 2nd gen 5nm Mac SoC vs 10nm Intel chip...

But imagine jumping from

- 2011 MBP 13" 32nm
- 2012 iMac 27" 22nm

To

- 2021 MBP 16" 5nm
- 2023 iMac 27" 5nm
I know, because I did...

My old MacBook Air was a late 2010 13" with a 45nm Intel Core2 Duo and Nvidia 320m, 4 gb ram, and 256 gb SSD, I replaced that with the late 2020 M1 MacBook Air with 16 gb ram, and 1 Tb SSD.
 
How was it? Could you feel the upgrade?
Well, the old one was really only good for basic tasks like web browsing, video viewing, typing documents and e-mails. It had something like two hours of usable battery life left (still on it's original batteries) You could pretty much forget about asking it do do anything more demanding than that. The M1 MacBook Air was an enormous upgrade in pretty much every way possible. I did add the extra ram and storage mostly for future proofing, hopefully I'm set for the next decade with this.
 
Oh god, the new Mac Pro. I get the idea, and what they were trying to accomplish, yet it feels so half-baked. It kinda feels as if they just wanted to be done with the Apple Silicon transition, so they put an M2 Ultra from a Mac Studio in the old chassis and called it a day.

I sincerely hope they will add further options for the Mac Pro, like support for even more memory. I don't know whom the top-of-the-line Mac Pros with 1.5 TB of RAM and 28-core CPUs were for, but since they offered them, I guess they had their market, as niche as it might be.
 
Oh god, the new Mac Pro. I get the idea, and what they were trying to accomplish, yet it feels so half-baked. It kinda feels as if they just wanted to be done with the Apple Silicon transition, so they put an M2 Ultra from a Mac Studio in the old chassis and called it a day.

I sincerely hope they will add further options for the Mac Pro, like support for even more memory. I don't know whom the top-of-the-line Mac Pros with 1.5 TB of RAM and 28-core CPUs were for, but since they offered them, I guess they had their market, as niche as it might be.
One can wonder how the Mac Pro is worth $4000 more than the Mac Studio with the same guts, especially as you can’t replace the chip, can’t add more ram, and you can’t add or upgrade the graphics. What are those six gen. 4 PCI-e expansion slots for then? Unless the M2 Ultra here is socketed and can be replaced with an M3 Ultra or an M4 Ultra years from now.

There is also the rumoured 4-die M2 Extreme, but that hasn’t happened, likely due to scaling issues, but may be possible at a later time.

Also, what’s the point of that 15” MacBook Air? The whole point of the “Air” is to be the most portable Mac notebook, so making it bigger just goes against all that. I know the size makes it look super thin, but the footprint is almost the same as the 16” MacBook Pro, which will require a noticeably larger case or bag to carry it. It’s also priced oddly, if you want to upgrade it to 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB storage, you get to $1699 very fast, just a $100 away from the frequent sale price of the 14” MacBook Pro (almost the same size display, but in a smaller footprint) which not only has the same 16 GB RAM, and 512 GB storage as standard, but also comes with the vastly superior M2 Pro, mini-LED ProMotion display, and way better I/O.

I was hoping for a return of the smaller 11” MacBook Air, as Apple Silicon would actually permit that with no compromises to it’s performance.
 
To a certain degree, I get the 15" MBA. Some want a light laptop with a larger screen, the 15" MBA is still some 100 g lighter than the 14" MBP. That being said, between an upgraded 15" MBA and a 14" MBP on sale, it'd be no-brainer for me, and I guess the vast majority of Apple buyers.
 
My current 13" MacBook Air M1 is, I think, my fifth 13" in a row. I've had several Airs and a 13" Pro Touch Bar with chiclet keys. And back in the day, a 13" MacBook Aluminium Unibody. Anyone remember those?

A year and a half ago I got a work laptop, a 15" Dell something or other. Had to be 15" because I need a numeric keyboard. I got it and realized 15" laptops aren't as unwieldy as they once were. It slips into my every day carry bag with ease. So maybe this 15" Air malarky isn't such a bad idea after all. I just need to come up with a very good reason to replace the 13" M1 Air which is the best general purpose laptop I've ever had or used.
 
Watch this video from Dec 2018... It correctly predicted Apple Silicon launch prior to WWDC 2020 in June.
Yes, it was very accurate. But even then it was a well known fact that Apple was looking at moving away from Intel. According to a lot of rumors, circulating as early as 2016, Apple was very displeased with the performance and energy efficiency of Intel's Skylake architecture. The 12" MacBook, Touch Bar MacBook Pros, and the 2018 redesign of the MacBook Air were all made for the illusive 10nm Intel chip that came to the market 4/5 years late, which doomed those devices to use thermal throttling 14nm over clocked furnaces.

The A12x that was introduced with the 2018 iPad Pro was the 7nm blueprint for the 5nm M1 chip. Those devices are still great performers. There were rumors of 12" MacBooks with A12x chips running full Arm versions of Mac OS already then, but a hint of this was when Apple launched Mac OS Catalina in 2019, dropping 32 bit support, before announcing the transition on WWDC 2020.
 
I bet that most manufacturers would love to just kick x86 to the curb and make their own. The difference is Apple can.
 
I bet that most manufacturers would love to just kick x86 to the curb and make their own. The difference is Apple can.
You can argue that Apple started planning to do this move already with the introduction of the A4 chip in the original iPad back in 2010. One of Steve Jobs' last significant moves before he passed. The A4 was Apples first in-house designed chip, although they licensed the use of ARM Cortex CPU cores, they moved to their own cores with the A6 in the iPhone 5 in 2012, before surprisingly switching to 64 bit, and completely their own design with the A7 in the iPhone 5s in 2013, using only the ARM v.8 instruction set which they have done ever since.

Also, Apple have endured the pain of switching chips a few times, first from Motorola to IBM's Power PC, then from Power PC to Intel x86, and now from Intel's x86 to their own RISC based Apple Silicon. By doing this they are in control of their own future, and not depending on the release schedule of others.
 
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I was a part of the PPC to Intel transition, a good move at the time. But it was a lot bumpier and involved an emulation layer that was as slow as molasses. I remember the cheering when Adobe shipped a time-limited public beta of Photoshop for intel everyone could crack and use instead of running it via emulation.

The Intel to Apple Silicon transition is barely even noticeable in comparison. Everything just works.
 
I was a part of the PPC to Intel transition, a good move at the time. But it was a lot bumpier and involved an emulation layer that was as slow as molasses. I remember the cheering when Adobe shipped a time-limited public beta of Photoshop for intel everyone could crack and use instead of running it via emulation.

The Intel to Apple Silicon transition is barely even noticeable in comparison. Everything just works.
Yes, I heard a lot about the pains related to that transition, it was really bad.

This time though, it obviously helped that their chips had a lot of extra oomph, giving them a nice overhead to start with. Then there is how Rosetta 2 works, making a quick translation the first time you boot the app, rather than doing it all live time.

But mostly, it helped that Apple included dedicated hardware blocks to handle x86 code.
 
Something to consider.

2020 MBA 13" M1 has a 30W charger
2022 MBA 13" M2 has a 35W or then an option for a 70W charger
2023 MBA 15" M2 has a 35W or an option for a 70W charger

ThinkPads and Thinkbooks I am looking at come bundled with a 65W charger. This is to power a lower performance per watt chip/logicboard that is heavier and larger than a MBA.
 
Actual Max RAM of PowerPC/Intel/Apple Silicon Macs from 1997-2023

Mac
First Year
Actual Max RAM
Last Year
Actual Max RAM
iMac PowerPC​
1998​
384MB​
2005​
iMac Intel​
2006​
2GB​
2020​
128GB​
iMac Apple Silicon​
2021​
16GB​
2021​
16GB​
-​
-​
-​
-​
-​
iBook PowerPC​
1999​
544MB​
2005​
1.5GB​
Macbook Intel​
2006​
2GB​
2017​
16GB​
Macbook Air Intel​
2008​
2GB​
2020​
16GB​
Macbook Air Apple Silicon​
2020​
16GB​
2022​
24GB​
-​
-​
-​
-​
-​
Mac mini PowerPC​
2005​
1GB​
2005​
1GB​
Mac mini Intel​
2006​
2GB​
2018​
64GB​
Mac mini Apple Silicon​
2020​
16GB​
2023​
32GB​
-​
-​
-​
-​
-​
Power Mac PowerPC​
1997​
768MB​
2005​
16GB​
Mac Pro Intel​
2006​
32GB​
2019​
1.5TB​
Mac Pro Apple Silicon​
2023​
192GB​
2023​
192GB​
-​
-​
-​
-​
-​
PowerBook PowerPC​
1997​
160MB​
2005​
2GB​
Macbook Pro Intel​
2006​
2GB​
2019​
64GB​
Macbook Pro Apple Silicon​
2020​
16GB​
2023​
96GB​

Source: https://everymac.com/actual-maximum-mac-ram/

This is current as of 28 June 2023.

I am sharing this as a very vocal group of Mac Pro users finds the 2023 model's 192GB unified memory as too little.

I agree with them if their RAM needs was 256GB-1.5TB with their 2019 Mac Pro.

I've been using a 2011 MBP 13" 32nm with 16GB RAM & 2012 iMac 27" 22nm with 32GB RAM for over a decade.

If Apple did not charge RAM & SSD at more than 2x PC parts prices I'd have ~$400 64GB RAM for any 3nm Apple Silicon Mac I'd use until year 2034.

By mid 2030s will we have base model Macs being sold with 1.5TB unified memory?
 
So Apple launched the M3-family of chips last night:


View: https://www.youtube.com/live/ctkW3V0Mh-k?si=Ko10U_72rFpUnBne
TLDW:
- 3nm node, more efficient, more power, cores from the A17Pro.
- (vanilla) M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max all launched at the same time.
- Big GPU upgrades, now supporting HW ray tracing, HW accelerated mesh shading, and dynamic caching.
- Odd ram configurations on the M3 Pro, less memory bandwidth.
- 13" (TouchBar) MacBook Pro is dead, replaced by a 14" with a base M3 chip with one less T4-port.
- 14" and 16" MacBook Pro with M3 Pro and M3 Max now comes in a new Space Black finish.
- 24" iMac was upgraded with M3 the chip, no other changes.
 
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