Central processing unit Stories January 15, 2015

Apple chip supplier TSMC announces record profits, migrating to more advanced technology

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company – better known as TSMC – has posted record Q4 profits after taking around 60% of the orders for the A8 chip in the iPhone 6/Plus. Nasdaq reports the company’s net profits for the quarter rose 79% year-on-year.

TSMC, the world’s largest contract chip maker by revenue, said Thursday that net profit for the three months ended Dec. 31 was 79.99 billion New Taiwan dollars (US$2.51 billion), up from NT$44.81 billion a year earlier.

TSMC’s move into 20-nanometer chip production enabled Apple to reduce its reliance on Samsung for the A8 chip, with the chipmaker saying that it is making further investment in more advanced chip-making technology. It plans to increase its capital expenditure this year to $11.5-12B, up from $9.52B last year.

A KGI report yesterday predicted that TSMC would pick up 100% of orders for the A9X chip expected to be used in the next-generation iPad, as well as making all of the A10 chips for the nominal iPhone 7, and all the S2 chips for the second-generation Apple Watch.

Central processing unit Stories January 9, 2015

fake

We noted a couple of days ago that you didn’t have to look far at CES to find the Apple Watch knock-offs, but for those desperate enough to pretend they have one some two months before it’s even launched, they don’t have to dig very deep into their pockets. Mashable’s Karissa Bell was able to buy one for the grand sum of $27.

It even works, kind of. Bell reports that it did, after a few attempts, pair to her iPhone 6 and allow her to make phone calls and play music through the watch. She said that it looks almost like the real thing – “for about three seconds.” Looking at the photo, I think she’s exaggerating by about two-and-a-half seconds …  expand full story

Central processing unit Stories January 5, 2015

NVIDIA sets the bar high for Apple’s A9 chip as early Tegra X1 benchmarks significantly outperform A8X

NVIDIA has thrown down the gauntlet to Apple in the mobile chip power stakes. While the A8X chip used in the iPad Air 2 has so far blown away the competition, NVIDIA has shown off benchmarks indicating that its new mobile superchip, the Tegra X1, leaves it standing.

The benchmark data shared with SlashGear were heavier on graphics than hard data, but appear to show that the chip significantly outperforms the A8X, with NVIDIA saying that it will offer “silky-smooth 60fps 4K video.” The one number the company did share is that when throttled back to match the GPU performance of the Apple chip, power efficiency was 1.7 times better.

Central processing unit Stories July 10, 2014

a7-apple

Up to this year, all of Apple’s SoC’s have been manufactured by Samsung.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has finally escaped Samsung’s grasp of iOS device CPU production. Although Samsung lost exclusivity last year, there was still doubts that TSMC would be able to follow through with their contract. According to this report, the manufacturer has succeeded and started shipping next-generation microprocessors for Apple’s devices (likely adorned with the ‘A8’ nomenclature) in the second quarter.

This marks a significant point in the production of the iPhone, finally allowing Apple to distance itself from Samsung in such a key area of its devices. The A8 chips use 20-nanometer production processes, according to the report. This compares favorably to the 28-nanometer process used for the A7, which should give better power efficiency and performance per watt. 9to5Mac previously reported that the A8 would focus on significant efficiency enhancements, rather than raw compute performance.

expand full story

Central processing unit Stories April 10, 2014

Next-gen faster Haswells chips out as soon as next month, could find their way into upgraded MacBook and iMacs

Intel’s next generation of its Haswell CPUs could be out as soon as next month, according to sources cited by TechPowerUp (via TonyMacx86).

According to sources in the IT retail, Intel could launch these new chips, led by the Core i7-4790K, on May 10th in most markets […]

 Intel Core “Haswell” Refresh processors offer marginally better performance over current Core “Haswell” chips, at existing price points (i.e., they will displace existing chips from their current price-points).The 9-series chipset offers features such as M.2 SSD support, making you ready for a tidal wave of 1000 MB/s SSDs that will launch around Computex.

Apple now uses PCIe SSD interface  even in its base model MacBook Air so the mSATA improvement will only benefit PC users and Hackintoshers but the mildly improved performance might find its way into updated iMac or MacBooks due ’round WWDC.

Central processing unit Stories April 2, 2014

intel_xeon_e5_2600_v2

You may still be waiting for your Mac Pro to arrive, but OWC is ready to sell you a CPU upgrade once it does. The company offers a choice of four E5 2600-series processors, ranging from an 8-core 2.6GHz chip with 20MB cache for $950, to a 12-core 2.7GHz processor for $1480.

We first confirmed that CPU upgrades were possible last December. The company says the upgraded processors offer speed gains ranging from 25 percent to 46 percent over Apple’s base model 4-core 1600-series processor. You can get rebates of between $100 and $750 for trading in the processor supplied with your Mac Pro, and also have the option of boosting the RAM from Apple’s maximum of 64GB to 128GB …  expand full story

Central processing unit Stories February 11, 2014

How to: Get Spotlight processes back under control when CPU usage goes crazy

If you’re finding that your Mac fans are running a lot more than they used to, you might want to check out whether a couple of Spotlight processes are consuming more than their fair share of CPU cycles.

Ever since the latest Mavericks update, I found that my MacBook Pro seemed to be running hot a lot of the time, with fans ramping up to high levels to cool it. Checking Activity Monitor didn’t seem to be shedding much light on things at first glance. The only two processes using an unusual amount of CPU were mds and mds_stores. These are two processes used by Spotlight when indexing, so I didn’t think too much of it – Spotlight has to do its indexing sometime, right?

But several checks later, these two processes seemed to be helping themselves to significant chunks of CPU on a regular basis, at which point I did some Googling.

I started by disabling Spotlight altogether to confirm that it was the culprit. To do this, I went into Terminal and entered:

sudo mdutil -a -i off

The fans spooled down and all was back to normal. Spotlight was indeed the culprit.

I briefly considered leaving Spotlight off until the next OS X update, but that proved too much of a pain. I keep my most-used apps in the dock, but everything else I habitually launch from Spotlight. CMD-space plus the first letter or two of the app is just too convenient to give up. So I did some more Googling – after switching Spotlight back on with:

sudo mdutil -a -i on

The first tip I found was here, where it suggested deleting the Spotlight database and forcing it to re-index. You can do this in Terminal again:

 sudo rm -rf /.Spotlight-V100/*

Top tip: set this going overnight, as the re-indexing takes a while.

This helped quite a bit, but the mds process still seemed a little greedy. More Googling led me to a suggestion to remove from Spotlight’s indexing any directories with frequently-changing content, especially those used for online backup. You can do this by going into System Preferences, clicking the Privacy tab and then drag-and-dropping onto it any directories you don’t want it to index.

I added my CrashPlan, MobileSync and Dropbox folders – three specific suggestions I’d found – and then for good measure added some others with frequently-changing content.

This did the trick: my fans stayed on low, and Activity Monitor showed the mds processes consuming only tiny amounts of CPU.

I’m not sure how general an issue this – hence making this an aside – but if you’re finding your Mac running hot, it may be worth checking out.

Central processing unit Stories January 31, 2014

hac

If you’ve decided you’ve waited long enough for Apple to update the Mac mini with a Haswell processor, you can always create a Hac mini.

A user posting on the Hacintosh site tonymacx86.com has documented his successful squeezing of an Intel DH61AG motherboard with i3-3225 CPU (55w TDP), 4GB Ram, 128GB mSATA SSD, half mini PCIe Wifi and an external Dell laptop power supply into a 2010 Mac mini case …  expand full story

Central processing unit Stories December 31, 2013

RtFlKRIVD1AnbWMo.huge

Following a quick look from Other World Computing last week, iFixit has published its teardown of the new Mac Pro.

Unlike any other Apple product iFixit has reviewed this year, the firm gives high praise to the repairability of the Mac Pro. The system uses no proprietary screws and RAM is accessible without the need for any tools.  Add in the socketed, upgradable CPU originally found in the earlier teardown, the Mac Pro is the most repairable computer in Apple’s lineup by far.

expand full story

Central processing unit Stories September 12, 2013

5battery_678x452

AnandTech dug into the FCC filings for the new iPhones to reveal that the iPhone 5s battery offers approximately 10 percent more capacity than its predecessor, while the 5c battery offers a more modest 5 percent gain. That’s a different size battery (5.96Wh vs 5.92Wh) than we’d seen in supposed 5s prototypes …  expand full story

Central processing unit Stories August 15, 2013

pro

There was much disappointment back in June when the new Mac Pro‘s CPU – the 12-core Xeon E5-2697 – delivered a surprisingly low Geekbench score of 23,901. It had been widely expected to break 30,000.

Some cautioned then that the score, based on a 32-bit build of Geekbench running on an early pre-release version of the CPU with a beta version of Mavericks, might not tell the whole story, and new tests by Tom’s Hardware on V2 of the chip appear to confirm this …  expand full story

Central processing unit Stories July 17, 2013

Rumored iPhone 5S production shots & specs: IGZO display, fingerprint reader, NFC, 12MP cam

Some unverified news out of China this morning points to new iPhone 5S production shots and specs which don’t seem out of the realm of possibility. The production shots above claim to be of the iPhone 5S, but with the case expected to be identical to the 5, it is hard to tell the difference.

Specs for the iPhone 5S from this same leak include NFC reader (which was taken out of the iPhone 5 late in production we’ve heard), a Fingerprint Reader (which may or may not be causing production delays), Sharp 4-inch 1136×640 (and maybe LG) IGZO display for power savings and better image quality and new 12 megapixel backside camera with dual LED flash.

Other purported improvements include 2GB of RAM, same A6 CPU at a higher clock with improved quad-core SGX 554MP4 (upgrade from the 3-core PowerVR SGX543MP3 in the iPhone 5) and improved LTE. Perhaps the power savings in display will offset the higher power usage needed for this improved hardware. That and a slightly bigger battery.

None of these seem outside of the realm of possibility (which is suspicious), but taken together seem to paint a picture of a dramatically improved iPhone 5S with some pretty incredible sensor improvements.

For those looking at upgrading to the lower cost plastic iPhone, the site also includes shells for those compared to iPhone 5, below (originally from Sonny Dickson):

Central processing unit Stories July 10, 2013

Central processing unit Stories March 8, 2013

The ‘Apple to use Qualcomm CPUs in low cost iPhone’ rumor circles around the globe

In January, anonymous U.S. analysts at Detwiler Fenton postulated that Apple could save a few bucks on a low-cost iPhone by using a Qualcomm Snapdragon integrated processors that place the CPU and wireless processors on the same die.

“It is likely that the work with QCOM is being driven by AAPL’s concern regarding maintaining gross margins as well as the need to differentiate the product by performance,” the research firm (which shuns putting the spotlight on particular analysts) said in a research note. “AAPL would not want a value priced iPhone to offer the same kind of graphics and video support, processing power etc. that its premium priced device would, therefore a less powerful lower-end Snapdragon integrated solution would help segment the product.”

At the time, the idea of Apple using Qualcomm processors and not its own perhaps older-model processors seemed preposterous. Sure, Apple uses Qualcomm 4G radio chips extensively, but its own processors now power the ‘free with a plan iPhone 4’ and the prospect of reworking the OS to work with a new off-the-shelf Qualcomm processor instead of in-house solutions still seems extremely unlikely.

The rumor seemed to have died, but the ‘iPhone Math’ translation experts at the China Times republished it. The rumor was then picked up by Macotakara in Japan, and is now back stateside, but it is no more likely this time around.

In fact, the original analysts —with the statement  “AAPL would not want a value priced iPhone to offer the same kind of graphics and video support, processing power etc. that its premium priced device would, therefore a less powerful lower-end Snapdragon integrated solution would help segment the product”— seemed to have no knowledge of Apple’s wide range of A4, A5, and A6 processors or wide range of iPhones in which those processors currently reside.

Central processing unit Stories March 5, 2013

Apple introduces $1,099 21.5-inch iMac for education with 4GB RAM, 500GB HD & 3.3GHz dual-core i3

As noted by MacRumors, Apple has recently introduced a new model of the low-end 21.5-inch iMac to educational institutions that brings slightly downgraded specs and shaves $200 off the price of the entry-level iMac available to consumers.

Replacing the old $999 iMac for education option, the new $1,099 21.5-inch iMac (ME699LL/A) offers 4GB of RAM, Intel HD Graphics 4000, and a 500GB hard drive. That’s compared to the 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive Apple includes in the regular entry-level model. Apple is also including a 3.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 CPU in the machine instead of the usual 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5.

The new education model offers most of the usual built-to-order options, including the ability to upgrade to a 1TB Fusion Drive and up to 16GB of RAM.

Apple just recently dropped shipping times from 1 to 3 days down to “within 24 hours” for the new iMacs in its North American online stores, but the new iMac for education is shipping in 5 to 7 business days.

Central processing unit Stories December 12, 2012

haswell-2013-roadmap

A report from VR-Zone (via Engadget) claimed to show Intel’s plans for its fourth-generation Haswell processors. These are expected to be released in the second quarter of next year and are the likely follow-up to Ivy Bridge for Apple’s next round of Mac refreshes (unless Apple switches to AMD, ARM, or something). Previous leaks showed Intel plans to release the Haswell processors between March and June 2013, and today’s leak, if accurate, gives us a look at all 14 new desktop CPUs expected in the Haswell launch.

The top of the lineup CPU in the Haswell lineup is a 3.5GHz Core i7, 3.9 with Turbo Boost, with a 8MB cache and a TDP of 84W. The low-voltage 35W end of the lineup goes down to a 2.9GHz Core i5. The roadmap also makes a reference to integrated graphics, listing Intel HD 4600 with built-in visuals for all CPU variations. Here is the full first wave of 14 standard and low-voltage CPUs, according to the leaked image:

Standard voltage 84W:Core i7-4770K, Core i7-4770, Core i5-4670K, Core i5-4670, Core i5-4570, and Core i5-4430.

Low-voltage: 35W Core i7-4765T, Core i5-4570T; 45W Core i7-4770T, Core i5-4670T; 65W Core i7-4770S, Core i5-4670S, Core i5-4570S, Core i5-4430S.

Central processing unit Stories December 10, 2012

160 Mac minis crammed into custom 2′ x 2′ datacenter rack

Hackaday.com pointed us to this custom rack sporting 160 Mac Minis that was originally posted by Steve’s blog. There isn’t a whole lot of information about where exactly the rack is being used, but Steve said the goal was to replace Xserve by coming up “with a way to get the same or better CPU core density into a standard 2′ by 2′ datacenter rack.”  The custom 160 Mac mini rack provided him with 640 cores—compared to his 40 Xserve setup at 320 cores per rack. However, there were many considerations to make, i.e., custom shelving, managing the exhaust of the minis, cooling, “Y” power cable splitters, etc., and Steve walked through the solution for each on his blog.

I have introduced these machines to the production environment, they run great…  I had to add a 10Gb SFP+ Ethernet card to the XServe, and now I can NetBoot all 160 machines at the same time.. It works so well that all of the machines are back up and running within 45 seconds….  That’s fast for a NetBoot..  Here are some final pics of the cabinet.

Central processing unit Stories December 1, 2012

21.5 iMac teardown late 2012

While we had some pictures of a brief teardown earlier this week, iFixit has now completed its ritual teardown of the new 21.5-inch iMac that officially went on sale on Friday.

Unfortunately, iFixit described the process as an “exercise in disappointment,” noting the iMac’s new thinner design introduces new hurdles for repairability. Most notably, the device’s glass and LCD are now glued directly to the iMac’s frame, while accessing the RAM, CPU, and hard drive will now mean having to remove the entire logic board:

The late 2012 iMac 21.5″ — code-named EMC 2544 — is an exercise in disappointment for us. We were quite worried when we saw that super-thin bezel during Apple’s keynote, and unfortunately we were correct: the glass and LCD are now glued to the iMac’s frame with incredibly strong adhesive. Gone are the lovely magnets that held the glass in place in iMacs of yesteryear.

A few things noted in iFixit’s highlights: a new rubber housing that “dampens the vibrations from the spinning hard drive,” a new single fan layout, dual microphones, and a 5mm thinner LG made display. Those are some of the highlights of Apple’s new design, but iFixit is scoring the new iMac as a 3 out of 10 (down from 7 last year) due to the many issues with repairability. Here are just a few:

expand full story

Central processing unit Stories June 1, 2012

Hackintosh Ivy Bridge vs. Sandy Bridge benchmarked, small speed gains but significant power efficiency detailed [Video]

With Apple’s upcoming Mac lineup to include the much-rumored Ivy Bridge upgrade, we get a look today at what the new CPUs might be cable of, courtesy of a comparison to Sandy Bridge, running on a Hackintosh. According to Insanely Great Mac:

How the new Ivy Bridge CPUs look to match up to Intel’s previous generation Sandy Bridge platform. Benchmarks include both stock and over clocked Core i7 3770K and Core i7 2600K. Plus a look at how the new chips may affect the next round of Mac upgrades.

Central processing unit Stories April 30, 2012

Last night, major retailers across the United States began offering Intel Ivy Bridge processors along with Ivy Bridge-optimized Intel Z77 motherboards (Sandy Bridge H61, H67 and z68 MoBos/Chipsets are still Ivy compatible). You can even find significant discounts ($50/off at Amazon above) already.

As TonyMacx86 notes, a kernel patch is necessary to build a Hackintosh with Ivy Bridge currently. That has not stopped some savvy Hackintoshers from getting MacOS up and running (and benchmarked). However, Apple has not shipped a native OS kernel compatible with Ivy Bridge, which makes the patched kernel less desirable than a vanilla kernel that supports Ivy Bridge.

It is not certain if Mac OS 10.7.4 is Ivy compatible (commenters—correct me, if I am wrong).

With Ivy Bridge processors now on store shelves, it would seem that there are not any external barriers to Apple releasing new Ivy Bridge-powered systems.

expand full story

Central processing unit Stories April 23, 2012

Ivy Bridge tested, significantly faster and more power efficient

.

Laptop Mag’s Michael A. Prospero put Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge through a battery of Benchmark tests and revealed the processor is certainly robust at a “mere” 22 nanometers:

It’s not a huge leap, but the performance gains we saw in our Ivy Bridge test system–with comparable battery life–makes this a strong follow-up to the previous generation of Intel Core processors. We’re really looking forward to testng slimmer and sleeker Ultrabooks with Intel’s powerful third-generation Core chip inside.

Check out the full breakdown here.  Other Ivy Bridge reviews AnandTechBit-TechTechSpotTech ReportHot Hardware

.

Central processing unit Stories March 28, 2012

With the Intel CPU news today, a 9to5Mac commenter posted the above fake commercial in our comments.

The joint mechanism is obviously a fake, but  it would not be out of the realm of possibility to see a 360-degree hinge on the next generation of MacBooks coupled with a touch display —especially because Apple has taken the Mac OS in the same direction as iOS during the last few years.

More usability is made available in the MacBook with a 360-degree hinge, but it also creates less need for an iPad, which does not bode well for this concept.

expand full story

Central processing unit Stories September 15, 2011

The rumors have been going on for months, but Digitimes is today saying Apple’s new processor foundry is Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). The move by Apple is believed to be precipitated by Apple’s ongoing legal battles with Samsung, who has provided Apple with processors since the original iPhone was released in 2007 through Apple’s release of “its own” A4 processor and A5 iPad processor earlier this year.

Apple has recently signed a foundry partnership agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), industry sources have claimed. Under the terms of the agreement, TSMC will apply its 28nm and 20nm process technologies to produce Apple’s next-generation CPUs, according to the sources.

The contract appears to be long and lucrative for TSMC..

TSMC is believed to have quietly secured Apple’s contract, and even succeeded in extending the deal to cover the manufacture for the A6’s successor, the sources said.

In addition, the agreed contract quotes are favorable to bring little impact on TSMC’s profitability, the sources revealed. TSMC managed to negotiate a good price, allowing gross margins yielded by Apple’s orders to be similar to its overall gross margin performance at present, the sources indicated. TSMC’s gross margin for the second quarter of 2011 arrived at 46%.

The details weren’t released publicly and as can be expected, neither company is commenting on the move.

expand full story

Central processing unit Stories August 31, 2011

Macworld decided to put a decked out Mac Mini Mid-2011 against a current baseline iMac 2.5GHz to see what kind of performance could be gotten from Apple’s diminutive little machine when an SSD is added.

When we say “decked out”, we’re referring to the $100 2.5->2.7GHz CPU improvement + $600 SSD upgrade which almost doubles the price of the $799 ($769) high end Mini and pushes it above the price of the base model iMac. Minis start out at around $568.

The results are pretty apparent: when running simple tests, especially ones that rely only on CPU and disk access, the Mini beat the iMac handily (above). That’s almost entirely due to the added speed of the SSD compared with the iMac’s 3.5-inch HDD. When doing more graphics intensive tests (below), the iMac and its more powerful GPU took over.

The takeaway on this however is that a HDD to SSD upgrade can make a heck of a lot of difference in performance. For those handy out there, adding an SSD to a Mac Mini doesn’t have to be a $600 proposition either. Reasonable SSDs can start out at $100 and can be added to the new Minis’ hard drive configuration (not swapped) with a simple kit.

Another important tweak not detailled in these tests is adding 8GB of RAM to the Mini which will run you somewhere south of $40. Added RAM really improves performance when lots of windows or applications are open at the same time.

expand full story

Powered by WordPress VIP