back to article But can it run Avid? The Reg hands shiny new M1 MacBook to video production pro, who beats it with Blender, Handbrake, and ... Hypercard?

I was three-quarters of the way through the third rewrite of this review before I remembered I was actually at Apple's WorldWide Developer Conference in 2005 when Steve Jobs got up and said: "Yep, we're going to Intel." I mention that memory because the last Apple chip transition was quite a long time ago now. Maybe you've …

  1. Roger Kynaston Silver badge
    Go

    This is an interesting review

    I did rush out and buy one of the shiny new toys for myself. I am a newbie to fruity computing though I did use Apple IIs at school.

    I am also quite a different sort of user being a systems administrator by profession (profession!!????). I had bought a second hand intel one to see how i got on with it and then decided to buy the ARM. At work I use a linux workstation so having native support for the sort of tools I use like ssh and even an IDE for ansible coding and scripting were a real attraction.

    So far I am happy with it. Zsh is good and homebrew is mostly OK though they keep tweaking python which I am sure drives python developers up the wall. Battery life is amazing. I am getting used to the different keyboard layout now though it would be better for everyone to adopt a standard as I always get ~ rather than \. Libreoffice seems to be compiled for native ARM and works fine. I haven't installed MS office but I have got Visual Studio Code which works perfectly for my purposes. I don't know how true developers would get on with that.

    All in all, I am pleased with it and will likely stick with fruity computers though I hope it lasts a good long time.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: This is an interesting review

      MacPorts is less opinionated than Homebrew.

    2. Dave559 Silver badge

      Re: This is an interesting review

      "they keep tweaking python"

      I thought that was just pretty much "situation normal" for Python…? ;-)

  2. jzl

    Multiple monitors

    The big thing holding me back for now is that the new Macbooks don't support more than one external display. I use my Macbook with two external monitors most of the time.

    My working assumption is that this is just a limitation on the first generation of Apple silicon with Thunderbolt. After all, one of the least talked about (but most interesting) things with these new machines is that they're the first implementation of Thunderbolt on ARM to my knowledge, and one of the very few non-Intel Thunderbolt implementations of any kind.

    1. Wyrdness

      Re: Multiple monitors

      It's a bit annoying that they don't support more than one external monitor. I opted for an ultra-wide monitor, which is preferable (IMHO) to two screens. Other people have reported that DisplayLink adapters work well with M1 Macs and that there is native support for them, so that might be an option if you don't want to replace existing monitors.

      1. SleepGuy

        Re: Multiple monitors

        Can confirm DisplayLink works well, running 3 displays on my M1 Mac Mini.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Multiple monitors

      So far Apple has only replaced the entry level on each model that got it. The "higher end" SKUs are still using Intel. Presumably those are waiting for the M1's follow on, which will have more cores, support normal RAM (because LPDDR is very capacity limited) and probably will be released later this year so they can use the A15 cores and get a little extra speed as well.

      The ability to support more than one external monitor might be a product segmentation thing based on how many display controllers are included in the various M* SoCs as they go up the chain from entry level in steps all the way to the Mac Pro.

  3. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    It will run Final Cut Pro!

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Shame that's not "Pro" anymore. Used to be great, then Apple dumbed it down

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Is that a comment made from experience or from hearsay?

        Anecdotal evidence from those that persevered and worked through the transition would suggest that it’s more “pro” now than it ever was.

  4. naive

    Apple did a great job with the M1

    Thanks for the good review.

    After decades of being the sole CPU choice for private computing, x86 gets competition on its performance.

    Maybe one day Apple will decide to sell those CPU's for other manufacturers to build systems, opening the market for Arm as a viable alternative for those who can't afford Apple hardware.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "Maybe one day Apple will decide to sell those CPU's for other manufacturers"

      Yes, and before that Apple will start to answer any of The Register request for comments...

      It's far more interesting to see if the ARM acquisition by nVidia gets the green light, what nVidia will do.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Maybe one day Apple will decide to sell those CPU's for other manufacturers"

        Considering what Apple has achieved without acquiring ARM, whatever Nvidia wants to do with ARM is not going to be about the processor's performance.

        I still don't see, from an engineering perspective, what Nvidia wants to do with an acquisition, that an architectural license did not afford them. It can only be to distort competition around ARM offerings.

        1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

          Re: "Maybe one day Apple will decide to sell those CPU's for other manufacturers"

          My guess is that Nvidia wants to do two things: make money (ARM is profitable and growing) and keep it out of the hands of competitors.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          Re: "Maybe one day Apple will decide to sell those CPU's for other manufacturers"

          Apple designed a SOC with a lot of components directly connected to the CPU - it didn't designed a new more performant processor - nVidia can do that too, and also has the GPU technology....

          1. Proton_badger

            Re: "Maybe one day Apple will decide to sell those CPU's for other manufacturers"

            Designing a new more performant processor is *exactly* what they did. It has a 8-wide decode block, which is by far the current widest commercialized design in the industry except for IBM’s POWER10 (Intel sits at what? 4-wide? ARM Cortex-X1 is 5-wide). Further, its Re-order Buffer is a crazy 630 instructions deep, and let's not forget number of executions units, the caches, etc etc. This is a completely new and more performant custom design.

            1. LDS Silver badge

              Re: "Maybe one day Apple will decide to sell those CPU's for other manufacturers"

              Sure - it enlarged and inflated the CPU. WIder here, deeper there, larger here, more units there.... It's not a new groudnbreaking design. Nothing nVidia can't easily do itself. Especially if it has the whole ARM design team inside the company. And probably can do even more.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Maybe one day Apple will decide to sell those CPU's for other manufacturers"

            Go lookup Tegra and Denver and Altran

            Nvidia has been trying to play for quite a while now. They haven't scored any goals so far.

            1. LDS Silver badge

              "They haven't scored any goals so far."

              They didn't own ARM yet.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Incredible

    I'm no Apple lover at all, but its just incredible what they have done here by careful planning and investment. An almost seamless transition to a new platform that is massively better and faster *under emulation*. The battery life!

    In addiiton, because they are making the chips themselves they can pressure Windows laptops on price or cream massive profits, maybe both

    It cannot be overstated how huge this might be.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Incredible

      Not only Price or margins,

      but even more so on design/form of the pc's, laptop, tablets, maybe even servers

      due the low thermal footprint of the M-series sOc's vs x86/Windows.

      And because they go from mobile to desktop they can integrate also more and more other functions/modules in the sOC itself (maybe a G5, WIFI6 modem in the M3)

      The first Apple MacBook Air was a marvel on thermal management and material assembly.

      even so much that Intel was obliged to develop in house an alternative case design . which it sold + CPU at Dell, Acers and the others of the windows world.

      Would be interesting what form the new Apple mini, MacBook will have with the M2 in it

      and i'm pretty sure they could make life very hard for the PS5, Xboxs in a Apple TV with a future M2..

      and also on this front of gaming there putting chess pieces together.

    2. TaabuTheCat

      Re: Incredible

      Agreed, and it's only a matter of time until all of their devices are M1 and the ecosystem really sings.

      Frankly, it's refreshing to see Apple, with more money stockpiled than God, finally using some of it in a really thoughtful and strategic way. This project had to be a huge undertaking, and if I'm honest I didn't think Tim Cook had it in him to strategically position Apple for the next 10-20 years. With the investment in M1 (and M2 and M3...) I take it all back. What he and his team did here is a massive long-term win for the company, and I hope it's just the first of many innovations. Goodbye Jone Ive. Welcome to the new Apple.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Incredible

        Indeed. When Apple transitioned to 64-bit ARMv8 for the iPhone5S in 2013, the industry did not understand why ARM 64-bit was relevant outside the server space.

        Now 8 years later, you can see why they did it.

        1. Oh Matron!

          Re: Incredible

          I have a question: why is 32bit still a thing on windows? Is it purely because of legacy apps?

          1. WolfFan Silver badge

            Re: Incredible

            That would be it.

          2. DS999 Silver badge

            Re: Incredible

            There are people who still run DOS stuff, believe it or not, so dropping support for running 32 bit code is probably something neither Intel nor Microsoft will be able to accomplish in our lifetime.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Incredible

              With today's zippy CPUs, could you not run ancient 32-bit Windows/DOS programs in a Rosetta-like emulator layer, and just be done with it otherwise (may I suggest it could be called Ozymandias, hnyuck, hnyuck…)?

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Incredible

            Because Microsoft place more emphasis on not breaking old apps than Apple do.

            I let my guard down just one time and all the 32-bit games on my iPod became irretrievably broken when iOS 'updated'.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Incredible

      It cannot be overstated how huge this might be.

      It can, and you've just done it. Impressive as the work is, it was largely to be expected. Apple has had both the time and the resources to tune the M1 for emulation, something that wasn't possible with the PowerPC to Intel transition which was done entirely in software. It helps that there are more similarities between x86_64 and ARM64 than there were between PowerPC and x86, and that modern CPUs generally have cycles and RAM to spare, which wasn't the case 15 years ago. It also helps that a lot of processing, such as codecs, has already been offloaded to the GPUs, though full hardware acceleration isn't available to all: read up on restrictions for ffmpeg (used by Handbrake) on MacOS on x86 for more information. But this means that Apple can more easily intercept the relevant calls and route them through hardware acceleration. At the same time it profits not only from its own optimisations but the work already done by ARM,

      It has been covered elsewhere that the M1's memory has been optimised for certain operating conditions and where this works, the results are spectacular. Where this isn't possible, performance won't seem so great.

      But the work done on the compiler and the toolchain have also made it much, much easier for developers to target the new architecture and release universal binaries. This has certainly been helped by owning the toolchain making incremental changes over the years. And maybe developers have learned from the last transition that asking users to pay for universal binaries is not the best way to get on their side.

      But not all that glistens is gold: look at the number of updates since release and it's obvious that there has been a lot to fix. This, and Apple's determination to build up the walls around the garden, is why I haven't installed Big Sur on any of my machines. Nevertheless, what Apple has managed to do is impressive.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Incredible

        >> it was largely to be expected

        Not at this performace. You're kidding yourself if you think that x86-64 emulation was "expected" to match a core i5.

        >>the work already done by ARM

        Given others, with the same ARM tech, haven't achieved anywhere near comparable performance (Windows on ARM/Snapdragon with only x86 emulation (x64 in alpha), I'd say they couldn't do it. There is nothing about x86-64 emulation announced by ARM.

        They also are not showing the commitment to fixes and improvements, which you seem to think is a bad thing. Apple have moved the M1 to iMac, iPad Pro, and soon Macbook Pro. It is clear they are confident.

        You also miss that they are achieving all this with a single design, just binning it for core count, without the user needing to choose x64 expect for a few speciaist scenarios.

        This M1 processor has already triggered the CEO of Intel to change, Nvidia to acquire ARM for an excessive $40 bn, Qualcomm to acquire Nuvia. Samsung threw in the towel with the Apple A11.

        Your comment lacks perspective, but Apple's competitors have it. It's fair to say all of Apple's competitors and their customers in this space realise the impact here, and are now concerned.

        1. Slipoch

          Re: Incredible

          A few comments - The M1 has a dedicated x86 interpretation chip, so the performance should be pretty much there except for higher-end applications which are utilising the more powerful assembler instruction sets for x86/64 chips.

          > without the user needding to choose x64...

          ? where would you normally choose x64?

          >m1 processor forcing change

          Maybe on intel ceo, NVIDIA was already trying to acquire ARM prior to the M1 announcement, let alone release. Same with Qualcomm. Unsure what you mean by the Samsung A11 comment, Samsung do not make CPUs.

          It will be interesting to see where it all goes from here regardless.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Incredible

            "The M1 has a dedicated x86 interpretation chip, so the performance should be pretty much there except for higher-end applications which are utilising the more powerful assembler instruction sets for x86/64 chips."

            Misleading or wrong. The M1 has extra functionality to improve the process, but it doesn't have a separate chip for X64 operations. That would essentially be a dual-processor system. It doesn't have that.

            "Unsure what you mean by the Samsung A11 comment, Samsung do not make CPUs."

            Now here I'm torn. I also don't know what they mean, but you're wrong here. Samsung do make CPUs. The Exynos range of ARM SoCs. They aren't the fastest out there, but they're still making them. So probably the original comment about them "throwing in the towel" is wrong too unless it was referring to something minor I don't know about.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Incredible

              >> So probably the original comment about them "throwing in the towel" is wrong too unless it was referring to something minor I don't know about.

              https://www.androidauthority.com/samsung-custom-cpu-shut-down-1050052/

              Samsung had their own processor architecture team (creating M cores), could not meet performance to match Apple A processors, so gave up. They now just integrate ARM Cortex releases, like the others.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exynos#Exynos_1000/2000_series_(2021)

              So far only Apple has succeeded with a custom core, Qualcomm, Samsung, Nvidia have given up, and Qualcomm is trying again with Nuvia.

              Nvidia is certainly trying again, but $40bn is too much for that so Nvidia are upto something fishy.

              It might mean Nvidia becomes a single source for ARM cortex, and only Apple and Qualcomm-Nuvia as alternatives. I can't see how else Nvidia can justify the purchase at that price.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Incredible

            >> M1 has a dedicated x86 interpretation chip

            incorrect

            >> > without the user needding to choose x64...

            applications using intel specific features

            >> Same with Qualcomm.

            incorrect

            >> Samsung do not make CPUs.

            incorrect

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Incredible

          Not at this performace. You're kidding yourself if you think that x86-64 emulation was "expected" to match a core i5.

          Which particular core i5? Intel has been struggling for years to improve performance of its chips. Ten years ago, x86 was significantly faster than ARM for single core work but since then ARM has improved a lot. Hence my 2020 MacBook Pro is not much faster than its 2016 predecessor. Over the same period Intel has only managed incremental improvements.

          I'm not denigrating Apple's achievements, just trying to give them more perspective than your fanboi comments. Intel has been losing market share across the board because of its failure to produce high performance chips with low power for years. This is why Google and Amazon have designed their own chips and why nVidia has been pushing GPUs for machine learning. And even AMD has got back into the game, both in the data centre and increasingly on laptops.

          One of the main reasons why Apple is a pioneer is because Google decided to cripple Android as a desktop OS in favour of ChromeOS. With Office for Android and IOS, Microsoft has demonstrated that ARM is good enough, as you'd know if you'd ever tried Samsung's DeX or similar. So well done Apple for seizing the opportunity.

          As for your comments about the semi-conductor industry: Intel's CEO had to go because the process engineers have failed to keep up with TSMC and Samsung. ARM was put up for sale by a cash-strapped Softbanka and nVidia saw an opportunity to increase its market share in ML environments. Qualcomm has been wanting to get into the data centre market for years. Samsung struggled a bit with the Exynos but continues to improve in chip design and manufacturing.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Incredible

            There is no alternative to the M1 for any manufacturer. This is the point you seem to miss.

            "It's an ARM, it can be done", etc is the gist of your narrative, but no one else succeeded. What has resisted the move to ARM, given the issues with x986-64 offerings, is SW compatibility and emulation performance - something Apple's competitor's could not address successfully despite trying (see Windows on ARM).

            You're saying that Intel doesn't do enough, but you don't appreciate that at this power/performance combination, there is no alternative anywhere. It is addressing your very point "my 2020 MacBook Pro is not much faster than its 2016 predecessor." every other laptop manufacturer has to sell a heavier, slower flagship machine. Neither AMD nor Intel address this.

            Many tried to grab the opportunity and have for years.

            Of all the ARM architectural licensees, Qualcomm tried (Krait,etc), use Cortex integration now and trying again with Nuvia, Samsung tried with Exynos, gave up and decided to go back to Cortex integration, Nvidia had, back to Cortex integration.

            One company did their own architecture, and has succeeded - but only one - Apple. And it is the fastest ARM processor, faster that ARM engineers own Cortex designs. (I am not including special purpose and lmited release designs.

            >> Intel's CEO had to go because the process engineers have failed to keep up with TSMC and Samsung.

            You don't need a new CEO to fix process engineers, they could have used TSMC. Their issues run very much deeper. They've lost very significant engineers. Go watch videos from ex-Intel principal engineers discussing the significance of Apple. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JImi0Vnjvfw for eg

            >> Qualcomm has been wanting to get into the data centre market for years.

            No they exited the data centre market. Read their own press release - https://www.qualcomm.com/news/releases/2021/01/13/qualcomm-acquire-nuvia https://www.theregister.com/2021/03/16/qualcomm_closes_nuvia_announces_chipset/

            You call me a fanboi, but ignore the fact that no competitor is offerng anything similar, despite attempts.

            And you're playing this down as "not a big deal". Apple still have an ace up their sleep to offer higher TDP.

            It's one thing to do something impressive, it's something else to do it right, for the consumer market, and despite other's trying.

            When the wright brothers flew, you're probably the person who smirked "well it doesn't get you very far"

    4. The Kraken

      Re: Incredible

      "...It cannot be overstated how huge this might be..."

      It's the first time - thought has been 20+ years since Apple was in that position.

  6. teknopaul Silver badge

    Transition from PowerPc to Intel

    "I'm confident you can't say it left any permanent scars."

    Perhaps I could take you on a tour of our primary and backup data centres?

    The wound is still seeping.

    1. James Anderson

      Re: Transition from PowerPc to Intel

      PowerPC -- one of the many own goals from Motorola and IBM.

      Motorola just abandoned their biggest customer, and, IBM couldn't be arsed to step in and produce a chip suitable for a high end laptop. Given the chips they have supplied to Sony and Nintendo over the years and the awsome compute power of the high end AIX chips, they could easily have come up with a chip with the right power consumption/performance for the next generation of mac books.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I bought an M1 Mini after using my G5 for decades

    And I must say that I am very pleased with it. (One hiccough in that the default is a case-insenstive FS so I needed to hoof it to a nearby fruitshop to reimage.) You must install Xcode and XQuartz -- life cannot exist without a compiler and X. I attached a Sun mouse and keyboard -- life is good.

    As noted, the emulation is transparent and excellent for my stuff. Their clang compiler is excellent (and I prefer building my own stuff rather than using Homebrew or others). Some s/w is so full of GNUisms that they do not build on POSIX systems without a lot of tweaking but that's a tale of woe for another time. I am waiting for GCC to be ported for those languages not supported by Apple. And the h/w is blazingly fast! Finally, I have yet to find a use for the AI h/w stuff.

    All in all, recommended!

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: I bought an M1 Mini after using my G5 for decades

      You're probably the only Apple user who managed to skip x86 entirely.

    2. sgp
      Trollface

      Re: I bought an M1 Mini after using my G5 for decades

      *Decade

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Apple really has done an amazing job here...

    Just compare to Microsoft that can't keep Windows working reliably from week to week where the hardware doesn't change at all.

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Apple really has done an amazing job here...

      Someone thinks that MS _can_ keep Windows running reliably from week to week? Really? Quite a few of the machines around here run macOS or various Linux distros, mostly Ubuntu. The Windows systems are about 60% of the total, and require about 90% of the support. One particular box used to require almost daily messing about thanks to various problems with Windows… until I gave up and reimaged it with Ubuntu, and it has not needed attention since. It’s been two years.

      I am not impressed with MS’s abilities with respect to making Windows stable. We use Windows because we have to, not because we like it. We don’t. Except, of course, for the fact that using Windows ensures that we will be employed into the foreseeable future, as someone has to fix the damn things.

    2. James O'Shea

      Re: Apple really has done an amazing job here...

      Interesting. Two downvotes as of time of posting, but no comment to say what they fond objectionable. Hmm. 'Tis a puzzlement.

      1. James O'Shea

        Re: Apple really has done an amazing job here...

        Now three downvotes, no comment. Quite interesting.

        1. Geoff Campbell
          Facepalm

          Re: Apple really has done an amazing job here...

          You really think anyone is going to be stupid enough to raise their head above the parapet in this tsunami of fruit-love?

          Nah, even I'm not biting.

          GJC

          1. ThomH

            Re: Apple really has done an amazing job here...

            I'm confident the downvotes were because the original post is obvious partisan trolling, contributing nothing.

            Although I appreciate your dedication to balance, I'm not sold on fighting fire with fire.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Apple really has done an amazing job here...

            @Geoff Campbell

            "Nah, even I'm not biting".

            Why not? What's so special about you that makes you use the words "even I"?

            1. Geoff Campbell
              Facepalm

              Re: Apple really has done an amazing job here...

              There's nothing special about me. I just have a history of getting involved in fights with Apple evangelists, and not really caring about it.

              GJC

      2. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Apple really has done an amazing job here...

        Oh, it’s not puzzling at all. The Windows fanbois get all butt-hurt when someone is less than complimentary towards their One Tru Luv. They are also too cowardly to post in support of their OTL.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apple really has done an amazing job here...

          Well I didn't respond because you came across as a fanboi.

          But I didn't bother to vote either, coz.. yeah you are a fanboi.

          Give a linux machine to HR, and let's see what happens when they forget their password or their HDD decrypt key. Off-site.

          1. WolfFan Silver badge

            Re: Apple really has done an amazing job here...

            HR does have Linux boxes. And Windows boxes. They are equally incompetent with both, but it’s easier to fix the Linux boxes and they don’t fall over because of yet another bad update. See, for example, the recent printing problems. HR prints a lot of stuff. Most of HR is working from home, and so are either printing remotely to one of the big copier/printers or to a local printer, usual their own as we didn’t have enough small printers to give one to each of them. After the Great I Can’t Print Event, there was much screaming from those using Windows, and nothing at all from those using Linux. Or Mac. Every time MS does something like this, we point out that non-Windows systems don’t have these problems.

          2. James O'Shea

            Re: Apple really has done an amazing job here...

            Errr... people like HR shouldn't have anything saved locally, they should all be connected to something on a server or two. Which means that if they need to re-image a drive because some HR twit has done something stupid, then nothing was lost, except the HR twits' (and the tech who has to apply the fix) time.

            And I rather expect that the HR twits in question would have to bring their borked box in so it could be looked at. At which point it's no longer off-site.

            Now, if the HR twit put something onto local storage and then borked the box, well that come under "How sad, too bad, you just lost the lot, don't ever do that again." Certainly it's a termination offense _here_ if someone manages to store files locally instead of on the server where they're supposed to be. We go to a _lot_ of trouble to make local storage difficult, precisely so users can't say that they didn't know and did it by accident. YMMV. That's _remote_ storage, in _our_ cloud, not using other clouds; 3rd-party clouds (note plural) are backup, not active storage. And they supplement, but do not replace, tape. Lots and lots and lots of tape. Accounting has, on occasion, asked why we need to still have tape in this modern era of cloud storage. Our answer is that we'll happily remove their data from future tape backups, and indeed we'll drop tape completely if they'll agree that we're not liable for any missing data. They shut up. In the old days we backed up each desktop, and, if connected at the time that the backup app ran its sweep, each laptop. Now we just back up the servers and NAS and such. Anything on local systems isn't touched. We do run sweeps to see if someone is putting something locally, and periodically find files, usually porn, mostly boring porn, though one sale guy had some really spectacular stuff. He is no longer with us.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bender

    We're going to make our own CPU! With blackjack, and hookers!

  11. tiggity Silver badge

    slim

    I was amused by the line:

    " I can clearly remember that feeling of dorkiness you get being the only one at a meeting with the unfashionably thick previous-generation MacBook Pro"

    I would like an unfashionably thick laptop as it might have a decent number of "ports", optical drive (FFS what's with the fashion for no optical drive), easily replaceable battery etc.

    My work laptop is sleek, but if I had the choice I would like something a bit more suited to my needs.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: slim

      I generally agree, but I suppose we all have different requirements. For example, I don't want an optical drive. I'm not sure what you're doing that requires one so often, but I have only used one occasionally and the cheap USB one I have is sufficient for the task. I don't find disks around so often these days. I would like some USB-A ports for flash drives, but I'm sure there are people who rarely use those too. I'm entirely with you on the desire for a large and replaceable battery.

  12. katrinab Silver badge
    Meh

    You can do emulation on M1

    with a developer preview of Parallels with a developer preview of Windows 10.

    It runs about as well as you might expect from having a developer preview running on another developer preview, so not an option for a production deployment right now, but it is on the way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can do emulation on M1

      Given the new iPad also has an M1 who will be first to get windows up and running on it with a bit of creative jailbreaking?

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: You can do emulation on M1

        It has already been done on older iPads, with emulation rather than virtualisation.

        I've run Windows 95 on my iPad Air 2 with a javascript emulator running on a web page. It was extremely slow, but it did boot up. Not tried it on my Air 4, but I do have an electron-js emulator running Alpine Linux, and that runs at a pretty decent speed. All the command line stuff works. X doesn't.

  13. tip pc Silver badge

    HyperCard

    That takes me back a long long time ago

    What a great piece of software, way before it’s time too.

    When I used Dominoes/logos/IBM notes it seemed like it was built on HyperCard too.

  14. Jason Hindle

    The business side and economies of scale...

    It’s not just impressive performance but impressive business also. Currently Apple provide the Mac Mini, MacBook Air, MacBoo Pro, iMac and two variants of the iPad Pro with just two variants (8Gb and 16Gb) of the same SoC. They’re all pretty much the same bloody computer, providing impressive economies of scale at the level of one of the most costly components. It will be interesting to see how Apple handles (or redefines) the high end with its (currently) very different economies of scale.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The business side and economies of scale...

      Yes indeed. It's the carmaker model of using the same chassis. Excellent planning.

  15. Slipoch

    it's not software x86/64 emulation

    " at no stage did I notice any emulation overhead"

    Because there is a dedicated x86 64bit emulation chip (there is also a dedicated h265,prores etc.)

    Rosetta 2 is not software emulation, it is a hardware based translation, hence the short lifespan as I guess they don't want to include the chip in future versions.

    1 downside I see nobody mentioning is the SOC limitation of being limited to the one hard drive (serial lock as well as the damn thing being soldered in). Now in most systems this would not be an immediate issue, but when Big Sur is using 1.5TB of HDD temp space per day just for web browsing, and the fact the hdd is a smaller ssd without a long warranty, this means the longevity of the device is severely reduced. (<= 2 years).

    Also your reference to modern family is the exception rather than the rule in professional environments for video editing. From the people I know at dreamworks, ILM etc. no-one uses macs for movie editing. And from some of my mates in tv, very few places use them there due to the hardware limitations (8 bit colour output forced by the OS).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: it's not software x86/64 emulation

      There is no x86 emulation hardware in the M1. Rosetta 2 is fast partially because it does AOT compilation at install time when possible, rather than JIT. Apple just did a damn good job on it, and the M1.

      As for OSX forcing 8 bit colour - no. I work with 10 and 12 bit workflows in FCP X fairly often. It is built in, and has been since ProRes422, released in the late 00s hardware wise, the 4K and 5K iMacs have had 10-bit drivers since El Capitan in 2015, as Mac Pros. Don’t know about the laptops.

      You’re right re FCP X use in film studios. AVID is firmly entrenched (how I wish it wasn’t - it’s like using The hateful framemaker, interface wise, but when you’ve been using it forever you can make it sing, and it’s multi editor features are unparalleled. Much more so than Premiere, FCP X and (laughs) Vegas,

      1. ThomH

        Re: it's not software x86/64 emulation

        My understanding was that the M1 can optionally provide similar cache coherency guarantees to the x86, making for one less emulation pitfall that Rosetta has to guard against.

        That said, I can find no authoritative reference so it might all just be Internet hearsay.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: it's not software x86/64 emulation

          This is an interesting discussion on how it does the things: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25257932

  16. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    I don't mean to sound like a troll, but...

    Has Apple been making the Intel laptops gradually slower in the past few months to make the M1 look better in these side-by-side tests? I swear that my new work MBP keeps getting slower running the same software. Now it's sluggish and blasting the fans even with light loads. It's a replacement for my previous MBP that ruined its battery at the age of 8 months. Getting back to my own older i7-6900K Linux desktop after work is a refreshing blast of speed.

    1. GrumpenKraut

      Re: I don't mean to sound like a troll, but...

      Fans clogged with dust? Disassemble to check, clogging far inside is not detectable without it.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: I don't mean to sound like a troll, but...

      Yes, they absolutely have.

      Each OSX/macOS release has definitely made my 2015 imac slower.

      It used to be pretty good, but now things like "warmd" eat all the HDD bandwidth for an hour or two after startup, and it's slightly slower than a dog with no legs.

      My Windows 10 machine of the same vintage seems to run as well as it did before - at least I don't ever have to wait for it.

      I very much doubt it's deliberate though. More likely that they don't bother testing on anything older than a year.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't mean to sound like a troll, but...

      Was your MBP running the previous version of MacOS and then updated to Big Sur? Mine was doing just fine and dandy with the previous version, but Big Sur does seem to have hobbled it somewhat, annoyingly. (My gut feeling is that Big Sur has extra layers of unnecessary graphics rendering that are now just a little too much for my older processors, and the extra weight of that ends up slowing everything up for no real good reason?)

  17. keithpeter Silver badge
    Pint

    Company car syndrome?

    "Compared to the 2015 MacBook Pro, the M1 unit is still superficially very similar – I can clearly remember that feeling of dorkiness you get being the only one at a meeting with the unfashionably thick previous-generation MacBook Pro, so this is good news."

    Is above quote from OA typical in the industries around end user computers (media, design &c)?

    If so, would it apply to (say) a nice large iMac assuming that the M processor based iMacs will be thinner/quieter/cooler and in many colours?

    I'll be keeping my eye out for a second hand Intel iMac with a large screen if so...

    Icon: the more architectures the better.

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