back to article Sorry Pat, but it's looking like Arm PCs are inevitable

Pat Gelsinger may not be worried about Arm-compatible PCs eating into Intel's profit margins, but, if recent history tells us anything, he probably should be. On the x86 giant's Q3 earnings call on Thursday, Gelsinger assured investors that Arm PCs posed an "insignificant" threat. "We take all our competition seriously, but I …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Strategy

    Simply add 1000 to the next model number, sprinkle in some letters like 'K' or 'F' for flair, and when in doubt, toss in a few more cores—maybe even label the lesser ones 'Efficient'.

    There is absolutely nothing to worry from Arm!

    Glad I sold all my Intel shares ages ago.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Strategy

      I think this time Intel are facing a much more serious threat. They may have to add "Turbo", "MAX" or "Pro" to the name

      1. b0llchit Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Strategy

        They slept through the "Mega" age. Now it is time to enter the "Giga" age. They might even be ready to do so when all the competition has entered the "Exa" age.

      2. katrinab Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Strategy

        Intel Core i9 15900KX Ultra Max, Extreme Edition

        1. My Coat

          Re: Strategy

          I mean, it's hard to tell if that's a CPU or a razor blade...

          1. Robin

            Re: Strategy

            Can't it be both?

          2. Pierre 1970
            Coat

            Re: Strategy

            That's my definition of cutting edge technology

        2. big_D Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Strategy

          As long as it is efficient and passively cooled...

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Strategy

          Only £1,999.99...or if you want it as a Xeon without the GPU, that'll be £199.99...you just have to shuck it from an entry level dual socket Dell PowerEdge and sell the rest with just one CPU on eBay.

          All Intel needs to do to get back in the game is sort its pricing out.

          Nobody cares if a CPU is 5-10% crappier if it costs 20-30% less.

          Intel will have to become the "value" proposition...which it always technically has been unless you self build...I don't know about anyone else here, but I'm a big proponent of buying "last gen" servers, ripping out the bits I want, then making a workstation out that...then sell the rest as parts on eBay...in some cases you can actually make more back than you paid for the whole unit...especially if there is a PERC controller in the server.

          There was a period of time where you could buy a second hand Dell Power R230 for about £350 and flip the PERC back on eBay for the same price. So you'd essentially get a decent low power CPU and 64GB RAM for nothing...plus a 1U "pizza box" chassis, power supply and motherboard.

          Really bizarre times, because the PERC controllers in R230s were crap. You were better off plugging the backplane into the motherboard (which had a header for it, depending on the model, there were two possible boards, not sure if they were different revisions or different boards in the same range) and using ZFS or something.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Strategy

      but to call Arm an "insignificant" threat to Intel's PC business feels shortsighted.

      Calling it one thing publicly, and probably calling it something completely different off the record behind closed doors… is just gamesmanship in the PR world.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Strategy

        It won't help the share price if investors are saying to themselves "Is that what he really thinks?".

      2. NeilPost Silver badge

        Re: Strategy

        All Of This Has Happened Before And Will Happen Again….

        Windows RT (and Window's Phone) debacle anyone ?

        Performance may have been addressed, but x86/x64 remains. Rosetta 2 equivalent does not really exist in the Windows world.

  2. tyrfing

    If Microsoft is serious about making Windows run on ARM, then it is a threat.

    MS is still the big dog for desktop.

    Ya ya, "That's what the mainframe guys thought".

    You still don't do anything on a phone other than consuming content. Where does that content get made? A desktop.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Where does that content get made? A desktop.

      Vast majority of the content that ends up on social media is made on the phones.

      Then I'd say most content creators use Macs and those who didn't surely upgraded once Apple released M1 chip family.

      Desktop market is mostly youth playing games and they couldn't care less what CPU they have as long as it gets them more fps.

      1. NerryTutkins

        Yes, the desktop market is mostly youths playing games.

        I've seen them in banks, shops, design houses, architects, engineering companies, car showrooms, dental practices, hospital receptions and almost every office in every country. Youths, playing games.

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          These are on the way out. Employers used to buy desktops, because laptops were expensive and slow.

          Companies that have their computers due for replacement get Apple products as they are now in another league, in very much every metric.

          You still have the trickle down effect where some post lease desktops go to less well off businesses and they are going to be there for a few years, but these are not new machines.

          1. JimboSmith Silver badge

            Companies that have their computers due for replacement get Apple products as they are now in another league, in very much every metric.

            Apple are not in the retail businesses I support other than iPads which allow staff to show catalogue products to customers. They use a mixture of desktops and laptops depending on the usage case all running Windows..

            1. Snapper

              What ARE you smoking?

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Our parent company (Cthullu International) only uses laptops for 1000s of mindless cubicle demons and salespeople.

                All they do is on O365 / Teams. They just want thin, light, shiny and nice screens - they don't care about microcode complexity

                Only engineers get desktops, Windows for CAD /or Linux for development.

                1. Adrian 4

                  @Yet Another Anonymous coward

                  So, they're essentially a windows Chromebook ?

                  Why are you still on x86 with all that legacy baggage ?

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              You got 4 downvotes for stating a fact about your work?!? Sheesh that’s tough.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                I downvoted you and you said nothing wrong. Welcome to the real world kid!

            3. John Geek

              around here, modern point of sale retail is almost entirely tablets running android.

              1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

                around here, modern point of sale retail is almost entirely tablets running android.
                That's the front of house. Absolutely everywhere else you will see laptops and/or desktop PCs in use. Do you think for a second that the head office stock ordering and store management is undertaken by staff wandering around the office with android tablets?

                That's just retail. Most other office based businesses operate using laptops and/or desktop PCs too.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Won't someone think of the warehouse people? Their interface into the modern world is the same one way protocol they've had for decades. Reams of A4 and a Laserjet 4050.

          2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Apple's League

            Companies that have their computers due for replacement get Apple products as they are now in another league, in very much every metric.

            I won't argue CPU/GPU performance. I will argue that Apple products are not in a presumably-better league, in very much every metric. Apple products fall down in four places, for business use cases: (1) repairability and warranty support (3-year maximum warranty length; most large businesses these days have a four- or five-year PC/laptop refresh cycle), (2) integration with Active Directory (it's now much better than it's been in the past, but is still not good enough), (3) connectivity -- no card slots! Despite so many people drinking the Apple juice and believing "everything around the world is just like it is in Cupertino", many industrial control and monitoring systems do not connect via USB (and whatever-to-USB converters can introduce some "interesting" comms anomalies), and (4) [personal opinion here] the feel of their keyboards still sucks (in the "far" past, it did not).

            You'll see Macs in small businesses: restaurants, boutiques, single-store retailers, and such, but not in large companies with AD and serious security needs.

            Full disclosure: I've bought, owned, and loved Macs which were made in the "good old days", before Apple became a fashion company whose products just happen to contain computers.

            (Icon for, "I remember when Apple products were great! T'ain't true no more.")

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Apple's League

              Ah, let's go through that one by one then.

              I won't argue CPU/GPU performance

              .. because that is definitely a ball in Apple's court, so let's skip that. It only matters to, say, end users? :)

              Apple products fall down in four places, for business use cases: (1) repairability and warranty support (3-year maximum warranty length; most large businesses these days have a four- or five-year PC/laptop refresh cycle)

              Not where I work and have worked. The capital writeoff tends to align with how taxation allows you to write it off, and Apple's warranties are sensibly in sync with that. But let's take your other argument, repairability. I'll tie in hardware support to that as they belong together in what the users experience. Quick sidestep before we go there: from a software prespective I find that Apple supports an older OS a lot longer than Redmond does.

              First off, repair is a skill that you have to acquire and is in most businesses a cost Most companies I've worked with tend to call out a Dell or Lenovo engineer to come and fix parts when they go wrong so it's not inhouse to start with, and so repairability is less of an issue: it becomes Apple's own problem, and I don't need to keep cupboards full of spares which is also a cost. But I'd go further in that insofar that I also have to consider supporting people when they're travelling, and here is where Apple has a massive advantage: I can send people down to an Apple shop to either get a fix or a replacement. There and then. If you stay in one country you can even get an Apple business account which means that the new device automatically links to company management and control the very moment it's switched on and I have less of a worry it'll get breached the moment it goes online - MacOS and iOS have over time exhibited few out-of-the-box security problems (although Apple pissed me off advertising there were none, which is lunacy). If my user is in another country I'll need him to download a profile pack first if he or she obtains a replacement machine, but then too I can get them up and running.

              What's more, most of the tools they need are already built in - at no extra cost. Remote viewing? Messages - Conversation - Ask to share screen. Open Standards compliant SMTP/IMAP/carddav/caldav support? Part of the default loadset. Do I HAVE to use Microsoft? Hey, it's cloudy now so just start up Safari or Firefox (IMHO still better) and you can even run *cough* Teams from there, with the sandboxing making sure no data is exported from the machine without our permission. As a matter of fact, you must have a look at how good profiles provide resource isolation and that is again built-in to the machine, out of the box.

              In the case of remote support about the only language issue may be the keyboard, but it appears Apple sorted the international language issue eons ago - Microsoft is STILL stuggling with multilingual setups after only being in business for what? 30 years or so? Not hardware but very important if you stray outside the UK and/or US.

              (2) integration with Active Directory (it's now much better than it's been in the past, but is still not good enough)

              If you absolutely have to. It works, but as profiles are a far more intelligent way to push control to devices I'm actually glad it only conforms so far. AD control is an absolute dog. I am happy the spent time disappears in the operational (manpower) budget but I would not want to count the hours staff spent on figuring out how to make something work or, more often, why something did NOT work as expected. And no, I do not doubt the expertise of the people working on it. The problem is that they're up against Microsoft's deliberately convoluted way of doing things where touching one thing leads to a domino effect. I get an industrial control feel from your comments, which is where I would definitely not want AD driven control as it's way too unreliable, unpredictable and very much too depending on Microsoft's whims of the day which seem to be related more to the weather in Redmond than customer needs. I like stuff that stays the same for SCADA, sorry, but then I'm also no longer talking about Apple or regular PCs - that's the ruggedised kit and yes, Apple won't go near that.

              (3) connectivity -- no card slots! Despite so many people drinking the Apple juice and believing "everything around the world is just like it is in Cupertino", many industrial control and monitoring systems do not connect via USB (and whatever-to-USB converters can introduce some "interesting" comms anomalies)

              Do you want to take about card slots or USB? The USB-C socket is quite universal (and came actually from the work that Apple did with the Lightning connector) and the card slot was re-introduced recently (they do listen) but if you're telling me that many industrial control and monitoring systems do not connect via USB then you're talking about desktops and yes, Apple does not do them for industrial use. However, then you're talking about specialised gear (which IMHO could do a lot better with a Linux platform as you need resilience) and I think Apple will not even has a desire to go down that path. But you're also talking about connectivity that has long since left desktops too. I bet that most new users would not know even know what an RS232/RS485/Centronics/SCSI port is or what to do with it. I would agree that Apple gear won't be of much use if you're trying to drive 0-20mA loops or want to connect up an industrial bus, but few desktops are that now by default.

              (4) [personal opinion here] the feel of their keyboards still sucks (in the "far" past, it did not).

              Well, yes, that's the hardware equivalent of vi vs emacs, that's very personal indeed - no argument from me there :).

              1. doublelayer Silver badge

                Re: Apple's League

                "from a software prespective I find that Apple supports an older OS a lot longer than Redmond does."

                And you think this why? This is a provable claim, and it's not true. For example, my old Mac, which cannot install any Mac OS after Mac OS 11, but can still run the latest version of Windows 10. The hardware is the same. This applies to any Intel Mac released after 2009 or so which has reached the end of Mac OS updates. I'd have agreed with you if you were talking about IOS and Android, where the facts are equally provable but go in Apple's favor. I may even get to agree with you when Windows 10 drops out of support. The reality is, however, that I have a computer here which Apple dropped over two years ago and Windows will continue releasing compatible updates for almost two years past today. I'm not the only one who can say that.

                1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

                  Re: my old Mac, which cannot install any Mac OS after Mac OS 11

                  Of course you can install the latest offering from Cupertino, Sonoma on your old Mac.

                  I have a 2012 15in MBP running MacOs 14.0, Sonoma in my office.

                  Just do a little searching (with that google thingy if you must) and you will discover 'OpenCorePatcher'.

                  This allows you to bypass the H/W checks. Just like there are ways to make an old PC run Windows 11 that normally requires some special bit of Hardware.

                  This ain't rocket science you know.

                  1. doublelayer Silver badge

                    Re: my old Mac, which cannot install any Mac OS after Mac OS 11

                    On the same basis, I can patch the Windows 11 installer and that will also run. The point is not what I can make happen, but what Apple's support system is compared to Microsoft's. If I use methods to break the unnecessary hardware checks, both are supported. Only time will tell which company breaks those checks first, but if we're taking bets, I'm betting on Apple because eventually they'll cut off all the X86 Macs and I doubt OCP will get around that. However, if we're talking about when the companies put up that message that says this machine is done and write their software to check for that condition, as fragile as that check may be, then Apple is doing it earlier than Microsoft is.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: my old Mac, which cannot install any Mac OS after Mac OS 11

                      You don't even need to patch the Windows 11 installer...you can override the checks with a command line switch and a reg key.

                  2. hoola Silver badge

                    Re: my old Mac, which cannot install any Mac OS after Mac OS 11

                    That does not happen at the corporate level.

                    What techies chose to do is not what happens in the real world.

                  3. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: my old Mac, which cannot install any Mac OS after Mac OS 11

                    Rocket science it ain't, but OpenCorePatcher isn't exactly in the same ballpark as flipping a registry key is it?

                    I figured out how to get Windows 11 running on an "incompatible machine" in less than 20 minutes without Googling because Microsoft has a long history of "soft" blocking things using simple reg keys...they don't care if you run their product on an "unsupported" device, they'd just rather you didn't...whereas with Apple...they are vehemently against it...they need to push boxes because they are a hardware company first. Microsoft is a software company, it makes no difference to them in the grand scheme of things if you don't update to the latest and greatest hardware right away...as long as you're installing their product and not a competing one.

                    I see unlocking Windows with a reg key as kind of an unwritten gentlemens agreement between me and Microsoft...yeah I can do it, no they don't care...but if I want support I'm on my own...and that's fine...and if I change that regkey, it will likely never switch back and prevent me installing updates etc.

                    Apple lockdowns are arbitrary and hostile. Apple goes out of its way to fuck with you with every major update...the major insult is how hard it is to install another OS on an Apple product.

                    If I had to sum up Apples approach to locking things down in two words, those two words would be "fuck you".

                    I used to think Microsoft was hostile, but they appear to be mellowing out in their old age...you can play on their lawn, they don't necessarily like it, but they won't typically go out of their way to stop you...and occasionally, they will visit your lawn and ask to play there...and I usually politely decline, but sometimes I'll run a cheeky dotnet app on Linux.

                    Apple on the other hand wants to chase you around with a fucking stick demanding you get off their lawn and when an invitation is extended to come and have a look at someone elses lawn, they'll tell you to fuck yourself.

                2. big_D Silver badge

                  Re: Apple's League

                  I had a first generation Intel 24" iMac, Apple dropped support around 2012, when the motherboard died in 2019, Windows.7 on the Bootcamp partition was still in support.

              2. big_D Silver badge

                Re: Apple's League

                It only matters to, say, end users? :)

                Except the end users usually don't get a choice. Here they get a Core i3 desktop in the production or a Core i5 laptop in back-office due to the Corona Lockdowns, otherwise they would generally still be on Core i3 or i5 desktops as well.

                In most businesses, there are very few users that actually need a powerful PC. The only ones here that get something more than a Core i5 laptop are the CAD engineers, who get workstations, but that is less than 1% of the workforce. For the majority, a Core i3 or i5 (or an M1 Mac) is more power than they will generally need.

                I use a MacBook Air M1 that was left over from an MDM project and had sat in a cupboard for 2 years, until my Windows laptop broke last month. With Parallels and Windows on ARM for a couple of legacy applications, it works fine for me - and I use a Mac at home for photo retouching work, it replaced a Ryzen 1700 desktop PC, it was a little faster than the Ryzen at the tasks I need, but uses much less power.

                from a software prespective I find that Apple supports an older OS a lot longer than Redmond does.

                That is the argument that got me to buy a 24" iMac with Intel processor, when they can out. Apple dropped support for it in 2012, when the motherboard finally failed in 2019, Microsoft Windows was still in support on the Bootcamp partition and was all it ever got booted into.

                I'm hoping that my M1 Mac will fair better...

                Not where I work and have worked. The capital writeoff tends to align with how taxation allows you to write it off, and Apple's warranties are sensibly in sync with that.

                I've never worked anywhere that has worked on replacing equipment on capital wirteoff timescales. Everything beyond the writeoff timescale is a bonus. We generally replace any remaining kit between year 8 and year 10, if it breaks sometime after year 5 it gets replaced, if it is under 5 years, it is assessed to see if it is economical to repair.

                First off, repair is a skill that you have to acquire and is in most businesses a cost Most companies I've worked with tend to call out a Dell or Lenovo engineer to come and fix parts when they go wrong so it's not inhouse to start with,

                Again, not my experience. We've replaced 3 batteries on Dell laptops this month (first ones we've had to change in the 5 years I've been with the company) and it was very easy. We had a new laptop with a defective cooling system, Dell did send an engineer out for that, as it was under warranty. And we've replaced a few SSDs, you don't generally need an engineer for that either. But over the last 5 years, with around 500 PCs in total, I'd say we've had hardware problems with less than 1% of them - ages between new and 10 years.

                But I'd go further in that insofar that I also have to consider supporting people when they're travelling, and here is where Apple has a massive advantage: I can send people down to an Apple shop to either get a fix or a replacement.

                Fine if you have Apple Stores near you. Our nearest one is a 3-4 hour drive away. But for the equipment under warranty, we have next-day on-site, worldwide support. The user doesn't have to go anywhere, the support comes to them. For the older kit, it will be replaced and shipped to them.

                What's more, most of the tools they need are already built in - at no extra cost. Remote viewing? Messages - Conversation - Ask to share screen. Open Standards compliant SMTP/IMAP/carddav/caldav support? Part of the default loadset. Do I HAVE to use Microsoft? Hey, it's cloudy now so just start up Safari or Firefox (IMHO still better)

                We are chemical production, so everything pretty much does have to be Windows - for most of the industrial equipment and lab equipment, you have the choice of Windows or Windows... And often that is connected via serial ports. We are also in an area where cloud is not an option, pretty much everything is local applications and information stored within the company firewall.

                If you work in an industry where you aren't limited by the software you have to use only being available on Windows, that is fine, you have more options, but a lot of LoB software is still Windows based.

                In the case of remote support about the only language issue may be the keyboard, but it appears Apple sorted the international language issue eons ago - Microsoft is STILL stuggling with multilingual setups after only being in business for what? 30 years or so?

                We support users in many different coutnries, mainly Germany and USA, but Finland, Japan, Brazil, Belgium etc. and we've not really had many problems with remote support.

                AD control is an absolute dog.

                And a neccessity for many. If you can get along without it, fine. But many places don't really have a choice. I got my MBA connected, but I'm glad that is a one-off.

                Do you want to take about card slots or USB? The USB-C socket is quite universal (and came actually from the work that Apple did with the Lightning connector) and the card slot was re-introduced recently

                I thnk the OP meant PCIe card slots, as opposed to memory card slots. USB-C is fine for many general things, but again, like you SCADA example, you can't beat a genuine serial port, for example. We have a lot of PLCs, industrial scales, weighbridges and lab equipment and a lot of it doesn't like Serial to USB, let alone direct USB. Most of it has the option of Windows software, if you are lucky, it will run on Windows 10 (but not 11), we still have a lot of kit that requires XP or Windows 7, which means we have a lot of isolated PCs that can't talk to the backoffice network, let alone the Internet. For most of it, there is no Linux option, let alone Apple option for software.

                Then there is our LoB software, most of that is Windows only as well. We could use Macs (I do, but I am the only one), but it adds unneeded complexity and cost, because each one would need Parallels and Windows on ARM to get that LoB running - and some of it won't run on ARM, even under emulation.

                Teams works better on Mac, Microsoft's RDP client on the Mac is better, but all the important software we use is Windows only, so everybody only gets the choice of Windows. If you are in an industry where the software works on multiple platforms or is cloud based, you have a lot more options for hardware and operating system. But there are still a lot of places that need specific hardware and operating systems.

                I'd like to do a lot of things differently and use different hardware and software, but I am limited to what our LoB software runs on and that is simply Windows. Many businesses can't just unplug one OS and plug in another, the software is what is important, the operating system and the underlying hardware are an afterthought, dependent on the software that is being used.

                1. Grunchy Silver badge

                  Re: Apple's League

                  Operating system is irrelevant now, no matter what software you want to run. Said from the perspective of, “if I can do it, pretty much anyone can.”

                  I’ve upgraded my CAD and engineering workstation to Ubuntu 22 and am running Qemu and Virt-Manager to run Win7, Win10, Mac-OS, even Solaris. I’ve even gotten these to work with full GPU passthrough acceleration (even HDMI audio, if that’s important.)

                  So, that’s it then. I converted to Linux for daily driver and any other operating system as a mere sandboxed environment, completely sheltered from the view (and control) of Microsoft, Apple, even Oracle.

                  “Arm” is great, I guess? I already have all the computational power I need or want, it’s all paid-for, and the electricity bill is quite affordable. I doubt I’m upgrading any time soon. Put it this way, I’m still going great with iPhone 4. What do I need a modern, clown-size phone for? Nothing!

                  1. big_D Silver badge

                    Re: Apple's League

                    It depends on the software. A lot of industrial software is Windows only and then only certain patch levels, if you install the latest Windows security patches with the authorisation, the software is no longer supported. If it is running a multi-million dollar production facility and an outage can run to 6 figures in a couple of hours, you really don't want to be running the software on any hardware/software combination that is going to get the support desk to laugh in your face and hang up, with the words, "until it is running on a supported platform, there is nothing we can do, but thanks for the monthly maintenance payments."

                    A user in the production doesn't care about the OS, he just wants the system to work and to have support when it goes pear-shaped. They wouldn't know a Linux from a SCADA, or a Windows from a SCADA for that matter, they just know, when they turn up to work, the PC shows their production facility and that's it. They don't know or care what OS is running, why virtualise a Windows PC on a Linux PC, when the user spends 100% of their time in 1 application on the Windows side?

                2. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: Apple's League

                  >” In most businesses, there are very few users that actually need a powerful PC.”

                  Agree however….

                  >” For the majority, a Core i3 or i5 (or an M1 Mac) is more power than they will generally need.”

                  With good specification Ryzen 7 based laptops (eg. Lenovo and Dell) available at “silly prices” (*) - namely £500~700 +vat for Ryzen 7 Pro, 16GB Ram and 512GB SSD, 1080p screen etc., I’ve basically, standardised on these for all, except for specific use cases such as CAD stations and (more than casual) video editing.

                  So all the refreshes since 2020 (when systems based on AMD Zen 2 CPUs became available), have been AMD.

                  (*) For Lenovo the sweet spot for discounts seems to be purchasing 5 in one go, as this tends to get me 5 for the price of 4 - okay I’m not buying at enterprise scale, which I presume would qualify for larger discounts.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Apple's League

                "Do I HAVE to use Microsoft? Hey, it's cloudy now so just start up Safari or Firefox (IMHO still better) and you can even run *cough* Teams from there"

                My god, your users must fucking hate you. There is no professional situation where Apple is the obvious choice for technical reasons...it's 100% subjective with Apple gear.

                "Most companies I've worked with tend to call out a Dell or Lenovo engineer to come and fix parts when they go wrong so it's not inhouse to start with"

                Irrelevant. Apple never send engineers out, so you couldn't get an external repair person if you wanted to, and if you take your device to one of their stores, they just replace the device (if eligible, they will go out of their way to avoid this)...and once your broken device goes behind the magic curtain, you'll never see it again.

                "if he or she obtains a replacement machine"

                Screw that, if my work laptop dies, I'm not going out to an Apple store to buy a new one and hope that you'll reimburse me. Order it and I'll collect it, maybe. But I don't care how convenient it is for you. Who on Earth thinks sending out an employee to drop £2k of their own money on a new device is a good idea? Furthermore, if the company policy is BYOD, who the fuck wants to install a company profile on a personal laptop? Your whole argument here is bollocks.

                "Well, yes, that's the hardware equivalent of vi vs emacs, that's very personal indeed"

                Sort of, but not quite...Apple keyboards suck. Universally.

                Apple keyboards objectively suuuuuuuuuck. I've found cheap OEM keyboards for peanuts that are better to type on...my missus, for years used an HP OEM keyboard plugged into a Macbook because she preferred it.

                If people want to buy Apple kit and use it in their own time in Starbucks to write their novel...more power to them...but for work...eehhh...the person with the Mac is always the one that moans that their calendar isn't syncing...their email isn't arriving for some reason...shit is stuck in the outbox...can't access the network drive...complains that the wifi keeps dropping out...etc etc...we all know this person and that person is more fucking hassle than they're worth.

            2. Jason Hindle

              Re: Apple's League

              “ Companies that have their computers due for replacement get Apple products as they are now in another league, in very much every metric.”

              So many misconceptions in this thread, so I’ll try:

              - Is Mac a good fit in the corporate space? Most of the time. They do sometimes break SMB shares between OS upgrades, but that’s what IT departments are for. Office Mac is pretty good. Most of the time.

              - Is the Mac more expensive? For users who need little more than a thin client, they are bloody expensive. For power users, high end Macs and PCs are pretty much the same.

              - Is the Mac a good development platform. It’s great for many use cases but I always have a PC for when the Mac does not for. Docker in the Intel space is a good example.

              - Is the Mac repairable? As others have said, the extended guarantee lies inside the buy/disposal cycle of a lot of big companies.

              - Is that pretty despicable? Yes! Love my Mac but I can replace the battery in my corporate Dell 5590 with my own hands (not to mention upgrade the memory and SSD).

              I know a couple of (infrastructure/software) consultancies who offer new consultants/developers the option of a Mac. It’ll be a good fit for some; not for others. In the pure corporate space, Office 365 is Microsoft’s smart move. It’ll work anywhere, but unlike Google the desktop apps are always a bit ahead of the web experience (which is actually very decent). I have no idea how anyone else would usurp that at the moment.

              1. big_D Silver badge

                Re: Apple's League

                It also very much depends on the corporate software. Office 365 runs anywhere, as you say, but most of the important software, like ERP, CRM, manufacturing control, warehouse management etc. are a lot more limited and for a majority of users, they live in those applications, with Outlook and a bit of Excel on the side, so their PCs have to run the OS that those tools dictate and for many, that means Windows...

                (Says he, writing this reply on a MacBook Air M1, but the only one in the company and it was a fight to get it connected to the domain and I have Windows on ARM running in a VM for some of the legacy software, not something I'd be happy putting the average user through.)

            3. ThomH

              Re: Apple's League

              Businesses don’t usually buy Apple for endless reasons, but I’m not entirely persuaded that lack of card slots is very high up the list; you’d definitely be an idiot if you switched for industrial control. Though that’s got to be less than 1% of computer purchases.

              Agreed it’s much more about provisioning, hardware maintenance, etc.

              I have frequently worked at businesses that use Macs because I’m a software developer in America. Most, though not quite all, involved spending the first morning on a call with IT making sure your Mac is properly set up.

            4. big_D Silver badge

              Re: Apple's League

              I agree for the most part. I use a Mac at home and now at work, because my Windows laptop died and we had a MacBook gathering dust in a cupboard. But all of our software (industrial scales, weighbridges, lab equipment, production controllers, warehouse management, PLC management etc.) is mainly Windows only, so for a majority of our users they would be a non-starter.

              1) We are on a 7-10 year replacement cycle, if the kit doesn't die first, but no extended warranties, kit over 3 years just gets replaced, if it fails, but a majority of kit holds at least 5 years and we still have a lot in the 8 year + range that have never had any problems.

              2) Yep, getting my MacBook Air into the domain involved jumping through many hoops, but it eventually worked. Okay for one device, but not something I'd want to do on a regular basis.

              3) For 98% of our users, not a problem, but there are a couple of PLC programmers, where finding a Windows laptop that still has a real serial port is hard to find!

              4) I use and external keyboard 99% of the time (MacBook is docked at work or at home to a 44" 4K monitor with an external keyboard and mouse), but I find the keyboard is okay, not as good as a Lenovo or HP, but better than the cheap keyboards our desktops get delivered with..

          3. werdsmith Silver badge

            Companies that have their computers due for replacement get Apple products as they are now in another league, in very much every metric.

            Companies that replace their end user computers buy products that work easily with their existing support infrastructure and knowledge.

            That usually means Active Directory, Group Policy, SCCM etc. Apple products are not in the same league in that very important metric.

          4. Ozan

            Apple is too expensive for corporations. Maybe possilble for Big managers but not for the masses

            1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              It's not. Sure the price of admission may seem high, but it pays itself many times over in increased productivity and satisfaction of the workers.

              1. _olli

                I would gladly take a macbook any day if I just could install my OS of choice into it. Which I can't, thus am locked out of the Apple ecosystem.

                I will also gladly take this new qualcomm wonder if it's really twice as fast as i7, which I suspect it won't be. I by the way measure the performance with AC power connected, because I have never needed to run any seriously heavy workload while being outside the power grid. Sure I have cleaned up notes and polished PowerPoint slides on airplane, but any laptop can sustain that kind of light work much much longer than decently necessary.

                1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

                  It's mostly about throttling and fan noise. There is nothing more embarrassing than taking out a Dell laptop from a briefcase (let's assume it didn't fry itself and ate all the battery on the way, as these laptops tend to do), turning it on and grabbing all stares "where this noise comes from?". Some workers really get a PTSD from all the fan noise and get anxious when it comes to opening a remotely resource hungry app.

                  This doesn't happen on new Apple laptops.

                  1. Roj Blake Silver badge

                    It doesn't happen with HPs either.

                    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge
                2. RPF

                  You can now install Linux on even M1 Apples. You can install Linux and Windows on older x86-chip ones, too.

                3. Spazturtle Silver badge

                  "I will also gladly take this new qualcomm wonder if it's really twice as fast as i7, which I suspect it won't be. "

                  Do remember that Qualcomm charges for driver updates, and only the OEM can buy them, so if you use Linux you will be stuck on a single kernel version. This is why android custom roms can't update to a newer kernel.

                4. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Which OS do you want? My M1 MacBook runs Windows 11 and Several Linux flavours via Parallels - in fact, Win 11 runs better than most other "Windows-native" laptops I currently see in use. Even my 2011 iMac (retired early 2022) ran Windows 10 and 11 via Parallels as very workable speeds - ironically, the MS Office apps ran better in Win10/11 in Parallels than on the native Mac.

                  And, whilst I'm prattling on, the Win11 on my MacBook is an Arm version and, whilst I've not stressed it beyond basic office tasks, I've not found anything that makes it less useful than the x86 version. Of course, I'm stuck on Win11 as that's the only Arm version and I'm only using it for basic office use - but, during my 40+ year career, that's what I saw the vast majority of laptops and desktops doing.

                  I'm not saying Macs are all that is needed but, for general office use, and in my own experience, a Mac can often provide serviceable use longer than most other kit. All arguments need two sides - and, quite often, both are valid, depending on your viewpoint.

                5. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  This I agree with, I would love to run proper Arch Linux with no hacky bullshit on Apple silicon...I would buy one tomorrow...but alas...

                  I don't think there is a nerd on Earth that wouldn't love a decent ARM based laptop...unfortunately our choices are limited...for now.

                  Tell you what though, when the balance tips and we start getting loads of ARM based laptops that aren't arbitrarily locked down, Linux could go off like a rocket...I've been using ARM based Linux workstations and servers for a while and oh baby are they fast!

                  I cannot explain the shift in performance when moving from an x86 based Linux workstation to an ARM based Linux workstation...it is game changing...when I first saw the responsiveness and speed, my balls nearly exploded...first time in years that I felt like I'd achieved a genuine upgrade.

                  Linux on ARM leaves MacOS in the dust.

                  To me moving from x86 to ARM on a workstation felt like that first time I used a hardware graphics card to play a first person shooter.

                  In my lifetime thus far there have been some milestones that blew my socks off....including, but not limited to these highlights...

                  1) The Internet (I can build websites and people all over the world can them! omg!)

                  2) Doom Multiplayer (nuff said)

                  3) Playing Duke Nukem 3D with a Soundblaster (blew my mind that games could have sound and music like that, and he says funny shit!)

                  4) Gaming over ISDN after ditching dial up (less than 50 ping yo).

                  5) Switching Quake 2 from software rendering to hardware rendering on an STB Velocity 4400 TNT Graphics Card at 1600x1200 (smoooooooth)

                  6) Playing Quake 3 on a Sony GDM FD520 at 1280x1024 @ 125hz (smoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooth)

                  7) Bitcoin & AI. (just generally mind blowing)

                  8) Moving my dev machine from x86 to ARM (faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast)!

                  With numbers 1 to 7 in mind, which I think a lot of people here can relate to...imagine what number 8 is like!

                  I'm not exaggerating either...the latency on ARM workstations is ludicrously low.

                  I was running scripts and navigating around giggling to myself...people thought I'd lost my mind! You don't realise how much latency there is on x86 until you go to ARM.

                  Every time I switch back to x86 now, no matter the spec of the machine, it always feels like a laggy, sluggish mess.

                  Apple silicon is also quite snappy, but it doesn't have the snap of a Linux ARM Workstation...it's definitely better than x86...but not by much...

                  ARM doesn't have nearly the same amount of throughput as x86 can achieve (yet) but the drop in latency is something you probably didn't think you needed...you do. So crisp.

                6. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  "Sure I have cleaned up notes and polished PowerPoint slides on airplane"

                  This is exactly the thing that is missing from the laptop market that Sony came dangerously close to filling with the Vaio-P.

                  Imagine that form factor, with a modern nvme and low power octo-core ARM CPU in it and 16GB RAM, ethernet jack and RS232. It'd be a masterpiece. Every techie everywhere would want one.

                  The only draw back is that it would also be insane at retro gaming, which would force us to pay the "muh retroarch" tax due to the ridiculous demand.

                  I used to love my Vaio-P, but I was restricted to command line only on it because of the stupid fucking GPU...I got a lot of miles out of that laptop and I would have bought it's successor...but the Macbook Air came along and fucked the laptop market up, made it crushingly dull.

              2. big_D Silver badge

                We generally have a 400€ PC in the production areas, connected to WinCC and our Windows based ERP software. A Mac mini would be nearly double that and would need Parallels and a Windows license on top of that, and they'd still spend most of their time in Parallels.

                It very much depends on what software you are using and whether it is cross platform.

                Also, most of our users don't care about computers, they don't care what operating system it is using, they don't care what brand it is, they just need to know want to know which icon to click to start their ERP software and mail client and that's about it. They live in those 2 applications, everything else is irrelevant, as long as it works. Probably less than 10% of our users care about computers, let alone know how to use Windows or macOS for more than starting their programs.

              3. dhartsock

                Really? That sounds more like a personal opinion rather than a fact.

              4. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Are you high?

                In my 20+ years as a techie, I've never once found any evidence that productivity is higher on Apple kit...the only metric I have for measuring such a thing is the number of tickets logged by Windows users vs Mac...and Mac users log a lot more tickets because shit goes wrong all the time...dodgy calendar syncing, fucked network drive mappings, crappy wifi...I could go on and on.

                One of my first forays into IT support was on a work experience placement at Yellow Pages...the double arrows of doom were a constant pain in the arse then when using network resources...to this day, networking is crap on Apple kit...Apple always seems to find all new ways to make networking crap.

          5. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

            [...]Employers used to buy desktops, because laptops were expensive and slow.

            Companies that have their computers due for replacement get Apple products as they are now in another league, in very much every metric.

            At our place we stopped buying desktops several years ago (Lockdown was the incentive to pull the plug on new dekstops). But we're still buying Dell rather than Apple. Apple is too expensive and MacOS too different for most office workers.

            1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              But we're still buying Dell

              If you want to find out if a company hates its employees - that's a sign.

              1. Pseudonymous Clown Art

                If a company hates its employees, it buys Asus laptops.

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              "MacOS too different for most office workers"

              You think office workers haven't seen Macs in the wild? They might even have one at home. And what about graduates entering the workplace? Quite likely to have used them as student machines.

              1. big_D Silver badge

                Most don't have a computer at home, or they have an aging Windows PC from the previous decade.

                Most people really don't care about the hardware or the operating system. They just want to be able to do their job, which is usually some LoB software, ERP system, with a bit of email and Excel thrown in for good measure. They have learnt enough about Windows to log themselves in and start the software they need, and they've learnt to use the software they need. At home they probably use a smartphone and/or a tablet these days.

                My wife, for example, has my old laptop, but she powers it up maybe once a month (and then complains that every time she turns it on, it needs to perform an update!), at work she has a 15 year old Dell Vostro laptop that she uses to make her weekly orders. The rest of the time, she uses her iPhone and iPad, she doesn't care about computers and would happily thrown the damned thing out the window! This seems to be pretty typical of the users where I work as well. The PC is a sufferance they need to use to do their job, they don't care about it and they don't want to actually learn how the OS works, let alone what OS they have, just as long as the UI doesn't change.

          6. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Companies that have their computers due for replacement get Apple products as they are now in another league, in very much every metric.

            .. except for the Microsoft lock in, which is SO strong (partly due to a deliberate strategy of entanglement) that they manage to convince people to leave off staff time off TCO calculations. That makes sense from a bookkeeping perspective in that devices and IT purchases in general come off CAPEX whereas staff time comes off OPEX (read: different budgets with different masters), but from an overall operational cost perspective and simply from a security/risk exposure and corporate performance angle that is sending WAY too much of your income to Redmond for no profit to your own shareholders. Private banks get this - especially with the whole cloudy thing there's no real barrier to run it off MacOS with a Firefox browser, or even an M2 equipped fondleslab (as a matter of fact, my own boss does it at home and we're a fat enough MS client for Redmond to even occasionally take notice of what we say) I have seen those change over wholesale, not in the least because Apple gear has more of a cachet with customers than a Dell that barely makes through an hour on its battery so you're forever lugging a brick around (and no, unlike Apple, Dell's PSU has the USB-C cable firmly attached, it's much larger and it only really works on one specific USB-C socket).

            As a matter of fact, given that all Apple's stuff is very happy talking Open Standards and has had a practically stable UI over the last 15 or so years it could be argued that only Apple products are truly suitable for the hybrid enterprise - provided you can get the required skill sets in house. Skills are your main barrier after untangelemnt and migration. It used to be Outlook, but as Microsoft has YET AGAIN decided to change how it works and looks (and the previews have shown me it's the same sh*t, just a new year in that the UI changes again, and again not in a way that improves things) I'd say they've removed at least that problem..

          7. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            35 years in IT and I haven’t worked in a single place that issues Apple products for anything other than to a handful of marketing types that insist on them for Adobe software. Everywhere has been Windows for 99% of employees.

            1. RPF

              I know several companies where all employees use Apple hardware. UX companies.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Ah yes, I know those type of companies...the ones that have a cocktail bar in the office and hire external contractors to do the hard work...the internal staff just sit around doing fuck all for show.

          8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "Employers used to buy desktops, because laptops were expensive and slow."

            The consequence is that you now have to regard desktop and laptops as being in the same market. Put the laptop on a desk and it's a desktop, whatever the form factor.

          9. hoola Silver badge

            Apple products are not in another league.

            If you compare premium business laptops with Apple devices there is no difference.

            What does matter is devices, application & OS management in a corporate environment. Microsoft wins there.

          10. big_D Silver badge

            Given most of our hardware (industrial scales, weighbridges, laboratory equipment, PLCs and warehouse management systems only have Windows based applications to control them, Macs, let alone tablets or phones, are well down on our list of PCs we'd consider.

            I am using a MacBook Air as an interim replacement for my old Windows laptop, which died (the MacBook Air was a left-over from an MDM project & surplus to requirements, sitting unused in a cupboard). I like it a lot, and with Windows on ARM running under Parallels, it does a great job and I'm in no hurry to order a replacement Windows device. But for the majority of our users, Macs would be non-starters as they know how to use their control software, but even getting them to do something as simple as starting an RDP session to access the ERP software is confusing enough for many, let alone trying to explain having to start Parallels to actually get to the software they need, it is just added complexity. A 400€ Core i3 PC with a 256GB SSD and a 24" monitor is a much cheaper and simpler solution that fits their needs much better than an expensive Mac plus Parallels + a Windows license.

            There are a lot of places where Macs are a much better solution (and I use a Mac at home as well), but in normal industrial businesses they aren't even on the cards. It still comes down to the best device for the job at hand, for the types of job usually found in industry, a Windows PC is still the go-to choice.

            I'm lucky, my boss (IT Manager) is open minded and doesn't care what we in the IT use, as long as we can do our jobs. One has Linux, the rest have Windows and I have the only Mac the company ever bought, But for the users, it is the simplicity plus the fact that the software they use is only available on Windows that limits their choices.

          11. dhartsock

            I still don't pay Apple prices, and I am not sure businesses are willing to do so either.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Quite right, most businesses tend to have a Dell account manager that will immediately take 10-20% off any quote you send them or find you an almost identical spec for significantly less money. Slightly pikier companies will have a third party distributor that sells them HP gear that has been upgraded by a junior in a dodgy warehouse somewhere...but pay the same prices as Dell...yet be convinced they're saving money because the distributor will compare prices with the full retail price, not the wholesale price you'd get if you had an account.

          12. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Out of the many companies that I support (and have supported over the years)...less than 2% were / are Mac centric. Those that are, usually regret it.

            Macs are fucking shit for enterprise / business work. Mostly because Outlook is / was / always will be trash on MacOS...as is the dumbass clunky calendar syncing and so on.

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          Banks, shops, car show rooms, dental practices, hospital receptions; are all use cases where the cheapest iPad could do the job just fine.

          Increasingly in shops I do see iPads being used. Haven't been to a car showroom recently, but that seems like a perfect place to have iPads instead of desktops, because they can carry it around with them rather than have to go back to the desk to use it.

          1. MrReynolds2U

            Sitting at the desk is part of the sales process.

            1. katrinab Silver badge

              It no longer has to be.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "dental practices"

            Maybe in reception where they ask you to sign some form on a tablet. In the surgery it's a desktop with a big screen pulling up X-ray images & the like. Definitely not iPad territory.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Indeed...and where the cheapest iPad can do a decent job, so can an even cheaper Android tablet. Which is why you rarely see iPads in places and see you Android tablets everywhere...purpose designed, industral Android tablets.

            Those are not iPads that you're seeing...maybe at your hipster farmers market or craft ale festival...but certainly not in your local butcher, hairdresser, mechanic etc etc...they are using the free android tablet that comes as part of the service.

      2. Adibudeen

        Taj

        Many of those youth have school chromebooks that already use ARM chips. It's already here.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      My ThinkPad died last month. I looked at ordering a new laptop, but wanted to wait for the 14th Gen stuff to come out... We had an old MacBook Air M1 sitting around in a cupboard doing nothing (bought for MDM purposes, but never needed), so I thought I'd use that as an interim solution, while I wait for the new models to come online. I can run 85% of what I need on the MacBook natively, but with Parallels and Windows on ARM, it fulfills 100% of my needs and it is faster than my old ThinkPad T480 for the Windows stuff - a couple of legacy applications, plus Outlook, because Outlook for Mac can't talk to Exchange, only Outlook.com, Yahoo! and GMail...

      With it connected up to my 44" monitor, it is doing a fine job and it is silent. I'm now not really in a hurry to see what new Intel processors come along, maybe wait and see what 2025 brings...

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Gimp

        Outlook for Mac talks to my Exchange Server just fine. You do need to enable Exchange Web Services on it though, and don't activate the "new" version of Outlook.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          I know, but it still won't connect to our old Exchange, whilst we are in migration.

  3. karlkarl Silver badge

    Once the ARM ecosystem *finally* evolves past custom DTBs and BSPs, then it might tackle the desktop market.

    However it has been over a couple of decades now...

    1. Sunset

      The ARM PC ecosystem - ie, the Snapdragon machines - aren't custom DTBs and BSPs. They're more or less normal EFI/ACPI systems, though with some strangeness in the ACPI implementation that Linux is still adapting to.

      Same goes for severs. SeverReady systems have basically the same firmware and system-discovery stack that x86 servers do. There is essentially nothing machine-specific necessary for an ARM server OS vendor.

      Not everything is a Pi.

    2. Johannesburgel12

      All Windows in ARM devices have been using UEFI and ACPI since Windowa 8/RT. The FOSS ecosystem is severly lagging behind in this area. It works on Ampere servers, but I still can't boot Linux via UEFI on my Thinkpad X13s. It's quite absurd, UEFI boots into GRUB using an UEFI stub and the Linux kernel that gets booted then has to be fed with a devicetree file.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I think client computers are dying from the development end out.

        So much of what was useful was developed 10-20 years ago, and the people that did it have gradually stopped.

        On the other hand platforms and tools have proliferated, spreading the remaining.

        From another side, opensource tools are built on a "tottering tower of turds". It can be difficult to even install them and make them work - so you just have to use them as a service.

        On linux less than 50% of software I want to run can be installed and run, because of worsening library issues. These spiral, as there are fewer actual maintainers working on distros, and just cosmetic repackaging. Linux has failed to fix DLL Hell, which MS fixed by 1997

        MS is making also making increasing numbers of breaking changes, and the software is not going to be fixed because more breaking changes are coming.

        I've stopped maintaining a tool, for which there is no real replacement, only trivial, minimal versions because of this.

        All of this removes the x86 barrier to ARM. If your old, important software won't run anymore on x86 pcs, and you can only really make replacements work as a service, the architecture doesn't matter anymore at all.

        1. Roo
          Windows

          "Linux has failed to fix DLL Hell, which MS fixed by 1997"

          As someone who has coded for DOS, Win 3.x, Win 95, Win NT (3.51, 4, ... and so on), no they really didn't sort it out.

          These days we have Java, Spring and Node on top of that DLL hell. To compound it we "solve" the problem with VMs, Containers and Flatpack etc to work around the inherent packaging problems...

    3. FrankAlphaXII

      That's precisely what I was going to say, except I'd go one further and say about 30 years but I pay a lot of attention to ISAs.

      ARM has been the "next big architecture" since about the Archimedes. I also remember when PowerPC, Alpha, and IA-64 were all going to "replace" x86 at one time or another.

      I dunno about you but it's been a long time since I've seen an Itanium or an Alpha in the wild.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Those other architectures weren’t already ubiquitous in the majority of devices. Nor were they available as ISAs or as core designs ready for anyone to license develop their own silicon/SoC solutions.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Some Alpha processor stuff was licenceable.

          "were they available as ISAs or as core designs ready for anyone to license develop their own silicon/SoC solutions."

          It may not be widely known, but the Alpha architecture stuff was available for licensing and a few well known outfits did sign up, some even got products to market, at levels from chip to board (look up e.g. 21164PC). Samsung and Mitsubishi spring to mind. See also Alpha Processor Inc, API Networks, and maybe others.

          Some of this stuff was described in more detail at www.alasir.org but I can't get there from here, nor to the Wayback Machine to see if they have it archived. There does seem to be some related stuff at

          https://www.zx.net.nz/mirror/www.alasir.com/alpha/alpha_history.html

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Way way back to Alpha history on Alasir

            Try this, or something similar

            https://web.archive.org/web/20230208221159/http://alasir.com/articles/alpha_history/

    4. timrowledge

      I’ve been using ARM desktops etc since 1986.

      An x86 is a waste of perfectly good sand.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You can already get ARM based workstations that are insanely fast...they just aren't sexy...ARM desktop machines have been around for a while...I love them.

      Where ARM will really shine is when we finally start getting ultra portables back again...there will be a second coming.

      Vaio P form factor will return...and I will pay handsomely for it.

  4. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Certainly for those millions of boxes that sit on desks in offices all over the world that mainly run Office 365 and a browser, the CPU in an ARM based Windows PC wouldn't even need to be particular powerful as ARM native versions exist of browser and Office software so no translation needed. And thanks to there generally better performance per Watt over x86, they will probably save a ton of money on the electricity running costs if you are a large enterprise who has thousands of machines to swap out.

  5. Proton_badger

    Seriously

    "We take all our competition seriously, except this quickly growing threat that's already made significant inroads into the server market with Graviton (Amazon) and Ampere (Google, Microsoft Azure, Tencent, Equinix Metal, and Oracle) , has been conclusively proven on the desktop by Apple and have several big companies working on desktop chips (one of which consists of former Apple chip designers who designed the M-series). Uhuh, no, nothing to see here but we take all competition seriously."

    1. Lurko

      Re: Seriously

      That's a bit harsh. Regardless of whatever the reality is, Gelsinger has to tell his investors that the threat is insignificant. If you were an Intel investor, you'd be pretty peeved if he talked up the threat, thus giving it more credibility with investors and technical partners, and stating that Intel can be challenged. Not to mention encouraging tech investment funds to move money out of Intel and into AMD/Nvidia/ARM.

      Many people assume CEOs are omnipotent, the reality is that their scope for decisions or pronouncements is often remarkably constrained.

      1. ianbetteridge

        Re: Seriously

        If I was an investor, I would expect the CEO to understand the threat, take it seriously, and have a plan to beat it. What I would not expect him to do is minimise what is a clear threat, because companies that do that don't stay top dog for long. Didn't another CEO once say that only the paranoid surivive?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Seriously

          I might have expected the CEO of a CPU company to have noticed ARM / Mobile / GPU / Fabless etc a decades ago and have been building up a plan

          But they were probably busy leasing back 'the machine that goes ping' from the company they sold it to , so it comes out of a different budget

          (And this guy was once an engineer and has been at Intel forever - so he has even less excuse than the round of parachuted in MBA types)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Seriously

          What I would not expect him to do is minimise what is a clear threat,

          Yeah, remember Ken "snake oil" Olsen?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Intel were ARM licencees for a while.

          Intel were ARM (StrongARM, from DEC?) licencees for a while, see e.g. the Intel IXP1200 router-targeted chip. But for some reason Intel company HQ preferred to throw money at Itanic, or to financially motivate the x86-dependent world to not look at AMD's competing products.

      2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Seriously

        Gelsinger has to tell his investors that the threat is insignificant

        Is something like that legal? I am pretty sure there is a word to describe such behaviour.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Seriously

          Yes, so long as you put all the small print in the Press Release

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Seriously

          What, being confident, even if it later turns out you're wrong? Yes, that is legal. I'm having trouble figuring out what people expected him to say. There's a chance he's right, but if ARM is a much worse threat, than he said, he's unlikely to say "ARM's going to win, we can do nothing about it, start panicking". If he was lying about whether Intel has a certain product or the known capabilities of his competitors, that would be a problem, but he only stated an opinion about ARM's possible success. That opinion isn't that outlandish: I'm confident that you could come up with a list of reasons that ARM could fail to take over the desktop market, even if you have other lists about why it might succeed.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Seriously

        "Regardless of whatever the reality is, Gelsinger has to tell his investors that the threat is insignificant."

        There are a few alternatives here:

        1. He really believes it

        2. The investors really believe ti

        3. He believes the investors really believe it.

  6. Shane Sturrock

    Server market could switch from x86_64 easily

    The vast majority of servers and HPC systems worldwide run some flavour of *nix (mostly Linux). That’s a huge and lucrative market which Intel could cede to ARM. Desktop is largely irrelevant in this fight because it’s just a small part of the global market place (devices such as phones and tablets are almost all ARM based) but even so, Windows on ARM does run surprisingly well although the x86 emulation layer isn’t anywhere near fast enough compared with Apple’s Rosetta2 which can run x86 code on an M1 processor at near native speeds (80% performance) unlike the older Rosetta for PPC->x86 which at best managed around 25% performance of native code and was only tolerable due to the amount of native libs code called. Regardless though, servers is where it is at.

    Data centres computers are straining under the power consumption and heat of Intel’s products, ARM has a real chance to oust them given the dominance of open source code which already runs very nicely on ARM. I’ve been running Rocky Linux 9 ARM64 in a UTM VM on my M1Pro Mac and it easily out performs the same code running on my AMD Ryzen or Intel i7 boxes and the CPU temp rarely tops 40C. Intel should be (and probably are) very scared.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Server market could switch from x86_64 easily

      In a way he's correct in saying that the competition in the low margin desktop market isn't a big threat.

      He's already lost the vast and growing low power mobile market and is in the middle of losing the high value, high margin server market

    2. Porco Rosso

      Re: Server market could switch from x86_64 easily

      We could also argue that Microsoft is more and more a Linux shop/investor/enabler (surely with Azure and its services) and they are less and less focused in the windows part of their empire.

  7. steelpillow Silver badge
    Holmes

    Anybody remember Intel StrongARM?

    Back in the day, Intel licensed ARM tech, added their own patent sauce to it and created the StrongARM processor range. It did quite well for a time, with Acorn using it in the RISC PC range as I recall, but as the x86 line improved and Acorn, or Element 14 or whoever they called themselves by then, danced their prima donna dance, the StrongARM faded into history.

    Somewhere I read, perhaps last year?, that Intel are showing a renewed interest in ARM. Intel are not just a CPU patent pool and are not proud about how they make their money either. Maybe they'll repeat history and turn out to be the ones showing the rest of us how to upstage x86 and hit the ARM sweet spot* (How about an on-chip x86 accelerator for those awkward CISC emulator moments). Might just explain their optimism.

    * Gags about under-ARM must surely follow!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Anybody remember Intel StrongARM?

      Probably politics.

      Adopting StrongARM threatened the x86 group's budget / executives bonuses. Given that it's Intel they probably have a VP for every individual instruction.

      So the VP of SIMD has a chat with an investor/board member at the country club about concentrating on core business to enhance shareholder value.

      Similarly when everyone else is going to TSMC, the VP of fabs has a word with a few friendly journalists about how the foolish CEO is abandoning Intel's heritage as the leader of America's semiconductor industry

    2. talk_is_cheap

      Re: Anybody remember Intel StrongARM?

      StrongARm was designed and built by DEC, which Intel acquired as part of a patent infringement lawsuit. Intel built upon the IP it acquired to create XScale, the IP was then sold on to Marvell back in 2006.

      At the moment the only thing Intel holds is the paperwork granting them an ARM architectural license from the time period.

      For both Intel and AMD the real question is does an ARM core offers them anything they do not already have within their P/E (intel) and Zen/ZenC (AMD) cores. Much of the investment nowadays is the ecosystem that the cores are placed into, just look at the tight integration that Apple delivers between CPU cores, GPU cores, and memory to get the performance it can sell.

    3. Roo
      Windows

      Re: Anybody remember Intel StrongARM?

      StrongARM was actually developed and produced by Digital Equipment Corporation. StrongARM was a big deal at the time, it was clocked a lot higher than the contemporary ARM cores and opened up a lot of new applications for ARM cores. Compaq bought out DEC, HP bought out Compaq - and at some point in that kerfuffle Intel paid whoever owned DEC at the time a huge wedge of cash to license some big chunks of DEC IP - which included StrongARM. Intel carried on producing StrongARM for a while, got bored and dumped it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Anybody remember Intel StrongARM?

        I vaguely remember it.

        StrongARM (DEC) eventually became XScale (Intel).

        Lots of them hidden in PocketPC PDAs etc.

  8. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    Compatibility

    You are forgetting that there's almost 4 decades worth of legacy software written for x86 which cannot be easily ported to ARM. And no, emulation isn't acceptable to many professionals.

    This is the reason IMHO that Apple's Macbook sales are going South. It's no wonder rumors have again started surfacing that Apple is going to release a low-cost Macbook. I believe this time the rumors are real because Apple will have to act to prop up sales.

    I, for one, don't think we'll see ARM conquer the desktop anytime soon. Hardware is just a pile of wires without software.

    1. Ace2 Silver badge

      Re: Compatibility

      Mac sales have been going south? Citation please.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Compatibility

        Well, they have been, but I don't think the reason they stated is why. Manufacturing problems and the fact that a lot of people bought computers in 2020 that are still just fine probably contributes.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Compatibility

          Article doesn’t say there has been a significant decline in the number of MacBooks sold, although the inference is that they have declined.

        2. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

          Re: Compatibility

          Apple is trying to bury the fact with all kinds of excuses. In a couple more quarters the truth will come out: many well-paid professionals which previously bought Macbooks as bling-bling are reverting back to x86 laptops, since they need Windows compatibility in their day-to-day work.

          I've been saying for years this would happen, but nobody believed me. I don't think Apple will reverse their decision to switch to their own silicon, but will instead have to lower prices to remain relevant. Hence the rumors of lower priced Macbooks.

          1. Ace2 Silver badge

            Re: Compatibility

            I get that you want that to be true, but your failure to back it up with anything is a bit of a tell.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Compatibility

              How dare you!. He's backing it by saying it will happen.

          2. Tim13

            Re: Compatibility

            I bought MacPro in 2008, and 6 years later in 2014.

            All the while, press keeps comparing annual sales Windows/Mac - but never realize Mac is used much longer.

            My boss bought me MacBookPro in 2016, still original battery - will return it next month - after 7 years of use.

            I bought a MacStudio M1 in 2022 (to replace an 8 year old MacPro).

            Sales tank, sure - because we Mac users all bought new computers, which will last us 6 years on average.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Compatibility

      > You are forgetting that there's almost 4 decades worth of legacy software written for x86 which cannot be easily ported to ARM.

      Because it is written in ASM?

      I get C can be problematic porting where the code may include assumptions about bit ordering, number of bits in short and long’s etc.

      But the main problem is OS APIs, UI and hardware interaction.

      I suspect given the changes in the x86 platform, very few if any end users anre actually running 40 year old applications, they may however, be running the latest release of an ancient application eg. MS Office. Which leaves server software, which is currently being migrated to the cloud.

      I get there is an issue emulating the x86 platform so that ancient software runs perfectly, but this also happened with x86 emulators running on x86, hence tools like Qemu were developed.

      So it is quite possible for ARM to push x84 into niches, in the same way x86 pushed other architectures into niches.

      1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        Re: Compatibility

        It's not that simple. Underneath that C code there's a lot of optimized assembly code or architecture dependent C code, both in drivers, operating system and application code.

        For a lot of software even a recompile is too much work for ISV's. Why do you think the PowerPC, Alpha and Itanium version of Windows have faltered? Maintaining different SKU's costs a lot of money.

        1. Roo
          Windows

          Re: Compatibility

          SoftPC emulated PCs on UNIX machines back in the mid-80s to the point where you could run FlightSimulator on it (slowly). VMs and emulation have moved on a bit since then - those problems are old hat and quite frankly most of that "optimized assembly code" doesn't actually run that well on modern hardware anyway... ie: you're not losing anything by trans-piling the code on the hoof. With respect to device drivers - they are largely a solved problem - although I'd argue you probably shouldn't be targeting running those as native code - just provide the interfaces (again VMs do this just fine).

          The PowerPC, Alpha and Itanium editions of Windows faltered because they don't make the hardware any more. Joking apart modern software development is a different ballgame - stuff like unit tests and coverage vastly simplify and accelerate validation of "ports" of software to new environments. By comparison Windows development was pretty stone age even in the mid 90s. :(

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Compatibility

          "Maintaining different SKU's costs a lot of money."

          Not maintaining SKUs when the market's shifted costs sales and maybe more.

        3. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Compatibility

          >” Maintaining different SKU's costs a lot of money.”

          Agree maintaining different versions costs, however, the point here is porting code originally developed for an x86 platform to an ARM platform. If ARM shows signs of becoming the dominant platform, I suspect many will, like Apple, port to ARM and end game their x84 offering.

          Which lays out the challenge, ARM need to give to the world a platform, like IBM did with the original PC.

          I would suggest the biggest hurdle to new technology is all the developers and admins who only really know Windows on x86 and so are reluctant to look at anything else…

          1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

            Re: Compatibility

            Why would ARM become the dominant ISA? Apart from somewhat better battery life it doesn't benefit users in any way.

            Instead users will have to spend huge sums of money to replace their current software as ISV's will not replace it free of charge. Then there's the pain of enormous amounts of software which will never be ported (because the vendor doesn't support it anymore of has ceased operations). Think of public companies running decades old software for sewage treatment or water distribution. Emulation could solve some of that but that still leaves too much stragglers behind.

            I don't believe it will happen. PowerPC and Alpha support too were just a "compile away" from running on their respective Windows NT versions. It didn't materialize. Even Microsoft didn't port most of their software to these platforms. It was just too much work.

      2. Tim13

        Re: Compatibility

        On my Mac M1: Windows 11 for Arm, happily runs any x64 software - with about the same speed as the 4-core/8GB HP desktop at work. The software to program my KNX system has never been released on macOS.

        October 2023 - what century are you from?

    3. Mostly Irrelevant

      Re: Compatibility

      The JIT recompiler isn't an emulator and it uses native APIs. It's genuinely a usable stopgap (I've been using to for a while, if you haven't I don't think your opinion is worth much). And since most Windows programs are just a compile away from native ARM support it's not a big lift. If ARM Windows PCs become common it'll only be a few years before most software is available for ARM (just like it is for Macs now).

      Macbook sales are down because sales of all perceived luxury goods are down. Bad economic conditions hit makers of luxury goods first.

  9. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Digital photography poses an insignificant threat.

    -- Kodak

    1. cipnt

      Users like the feel of a real keyboard

      – Blackberry

      1. Matthew 25

        It's true

        I for one would love a modern BB10 device with a real keyboard. Half the time my touch screen phone ignores me. The other half it thinks I have touched the key next door to the one I thought I had. If I hadn't broken it, I would switch back to my old Q10 and put up with the slowness, inability to handle modern web, lack of apps etc just to get a real keyboard and a phone that fits in my pocket.

        1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

          Re: It's true

          Just buy an external Bluetooth keyboard. I use one every day when I have type large amounts of text mostly in WhatsApp.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: It's true

            There's a reason I don't have my laptop in my pocket.

            An external keyboard isn't much use when nearly everything I write on my phone requires holding my phone at the time.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: It's true

          But that's the problem, isn't it? Blackberry (formerly RIM) may well have been right that their users preferred the feel of a real keyboard. I hate touchscreens myself, and if I could get a decent slider phone at a reasonable price I'd have one. But in the end user preference is not enough, if those users are in the minority, because economies of scale are going to roll over it.

  10. Updraft102

    Apple didn't really go to ARM because of some fuzzy idea about how ARM is the wave of the future. They wanted control over the hardware, and that means vertically integrating. If they are going to design their own silicon, what else would it be other than ARM? Apple can force ARM to work because they control the silicon, the platform hardware, and the OS, and they have users who are quite accustomed to being browbeaten into compliance with their arbitrary decisions. A market full of Stockholm-syndrome sufferers is a lot easier to force into a new, binary-incompatible new platform when you alone decide that there won't be any more non-ARM Macs made, nor will the OS support non-ARM Macs beyond the point that Apple decides to stop releasing the updates.

    The PC market is a lot broader than one hardware company that also is the OS vendor and the silicon maker. Apple can force its captive audience into ARM, but Dell can't. HP can't. Lenovo can't. Asus cant, Acer can't, and so on. Each of them knows that if the customers don't want to go where they are trying to force them, they can just as easily get commodity gear from someone else.

    Windows could hypothetically decide they are going to stop Windows for all platforms besides ARM, but that would mean telling a lot of their close "partners" in the hardware industry that some of the products they want to sell won't be viable because of an arbitrary decision by Microsoft. These OEMs are the largest buyer of Windows licenses in existence, which makes them big customers of MS, with big amounts of cash. Will MS willingly tell them all to get lost? I doubt it.

    All of this also assumes that Intel can't match the power savings of ARM designs. Some of the engineering tricks to make them efficient are not any kind of secret... things like the big.LITTLE hybrid core setup and super wide data buses (which can operate at lower clock rates) are not secret. Intel has been using the hybrid setup since its gen 12 products, and it would be foolish to count them out and declare that with all of their expertise, they can't match what Apple has done. They've stagnated over the years, with no real competition to push them to innovate, and we've ended up with generation after generation where most of the performance changes come from incremental process node improvements, without substantial architectural changes.

    The Mac market is not the PC market.

    I am personally still in x86 (including the AMD64 variant) land even though these days I use only laptops. My desktop simply is not needed anymore, since a laptop with a large monitor (or monitors plural), external keyboard, and an actual mouse does quite well. Power consumption is important to me, as I do spend a lot of time on battery, but ARM is still a no-go.

    As far as hardware, Apple is out of the question... I do not favor their business practices, especially their efforts to make their products unrepairable. Any laptop that has a non-replaceable SSD is ruled out straight away. Any that has a battery I cannot replace with basic tools in a few minutes, same thing. (And I also don't like MacOS, so there's that.) I don't care how great Macs may be on power... if I can't easily repair them myself for a reasonable cost, they are ruled out.

    I don't like Windows either. Linux, of course, does have ARM versions, but a number of the programs I use are Windows x86 via WINE... so while I personally don't use Windows, the way the Windows market goes of its own accord has a bearing on the hardware I select.

    I expect that Intel will release more SoC designs that are increasingly good in terms of power, which doesn't have to actually match that of ARM designs to do well into the future. As long as it is perceived as relatively close, the ability to avoid a tumultuous platform change will mean it will likely remain the most popular option.

    1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

      Don't forget it probably increases their profit too. Their own silicon is much cheaper than Intel's offerings.

    2. Mostly Irrelevant

      I agree about Apple's motivation, but x86 can't compete for efficiency which means ARM notebooks have a lot longer battery life and that's something the average user really cares about.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Is it? Is there any methodologically-sound study showing that? Pretty much all the laptop users I know mostly work with their machines plugged in.

        It's easy to claim users care about battery life; they may even make that claim themselves. What premium, on average, are they willing to pay for more of it?

    3. FirstTangoInParis Bronze badge

      So when was the last time you actually replaced a SSD, battery or some other internal on a laptop? The only time I replaced the SSD on a MacBook was to put a bigger one in, so this time round I just got one with a bigger SSD. Other than that, if a HP Windows laptop fails or goes mental, IT just swap it for another and it likely gets re-imaged or junked. Buy a cheap laptop (not HP or Dell) and you’ll break it just trying to take it apart.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        "So when was the last time you actually replaced a SSD, battery or some other internal on a laptop?"

        Two weeks ago. No, I don't work in IT for my company, doing this to broken user machines. I do it for myself and for friends. In the past two months, one friend got extremely annoyed with a Mac from several years ago which is still fast enough for their use cases, but had a battery that was worn to the extent that they were tethered to a wall. Fortunately, this was from when Apple wasn't gluing things down, so I got them a replacement and spend a few minutes with a screwdriver. Their computer is good again and for much less than it would cost to buy any replacement, let alone the same model from Apple's current line. Then we have the two weeks ago situation where I removed a disk from a laptop, in this case because it was not turning on and accessing the data was going to be faster if I read it in a different device than if I fixed the problem that developed.

        Sometimes, I do this for myself, but the fact that I'm doing it for friends and family proves that there is demand there for doing repairs. By making the repairs easier, we make it possible for people to do them on their own without needing an expert or to hire the assistance of someone who doesn't need extreme equipment to manage it. Contrary to your statements, cheap laptops are not usually built so badly that you have to break them to open them up, and if they are, the chances are that they were among those that weren't intended to be opened, which is exactly the problem.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        When my previous work laptop died, I took it apart to remove the SSD and the conventional hard drive, so I could move them to external enclosures. That may not happen often, but when it does happen, I would be extremely annoyed to be unable to do so.

        Of course, that's not the main reason I don't use a Mac. I hate Windows, but I loathe MacOS. Of course in either case I do most things from the command line, in bash, and largely avoid GUIs; but on the rare occasion I have to use a GUI, I'd rather suffer with Windows. Still terrible, but less patronizing than MacOS, and less concerned with hiding useful information.

      3. Yankee Doodle Doofus

        "So when was the last time you actually replaced a SSD, battery or some other internal on a laptop?"

        I've done so at least 4 times in the last year alone, and that only counts my own personal machines and those of friends/relatives. At work (IT department of a university), I do so multiple times every week. Believe it or not, repairability and upgradability are huge factors in purchasing decisions for many individuals and organizations.

      4. Roland6 Silver badge

        Several times in the last few years.

        Okay all were systems that were a couple of years old, so could be regarded as pre Zoom/Teams and thus were purchased when memory etc. was expensive.

        Based on experience, I tend to buy the best CPU and screen and cut costs by buying adequate RAM and HDD, knowing that in a couple of years, I can relatively cheaply upgrade to handle both the increased software bloat and my increased demands. This also means I can take advantage of vendors preconfigured offers, increasing the savings compared to getting a custom build.

        For example, currently doing a lot of playing around with VMs and that 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD is starting to feel constrained - due to careful purchasing, I’ve been able to drop in a second 16GB RAM module and shortly that SSD will be replaced with a 2TB one. But give this cost me £600 and the custom build over £1400, I’m quids in.

        Obviously, when buying small quantities my criteria are markedly different to when bulk buying for an enterprise refresh. But even at this scale having the option to add stuff, means many special cases can be easily handled.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "they have users who are quite accustomed to being browbeaten into compliance with their arbitrary decisions. A market full of Stockholm-syndrome sufferers is a lot easier to force into a new, binary-incompatible new platform"

      Which "they" are you thinking of here?

  11. JamesTGrant

    An irrelevant thing….

    Recently learned that Stockholm Syndrome isn’t a real thing - turns out that the lady in the bank was very justifiably worried about the possibility that police action would result in her (and everyone else’s) death so she walked the tightrope between the hostage-takers and the police and managed to get out alive. In police interviews afterward she was asked ‘why did you advocate for them?’ Her answers were *careful*. Her behaviour was attributed to her being a ‘woman being overly empathetic under duress’ - rather than a clever adult being canny and working out their most likely route to remaining not dead.

    Prior to that, in Sweden there had been several well publicised previous hostage situations where the police had gone in HARD and it hadn’t ended well for the hostages.

    Not sure I can tie this up to any aarch64/amd64 analogy - but it’s a super interesting story and well worth watching one of the more recent documentaries or podcasts.

    1. eldakka

      Re: An irrelevant thing….

      > Recently learned that Stockholm Syndrome isn’t a real thing

      I felt the same way. So I picked up a book on Stockholm syndrome and by the end if iit I came around to their way of thinking.

  12. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Same words, different meanings

    To me (and some of the others here), PC means a big box with a motherboard that has sockets for CPU and memory. The article and most of the quotes assume Personal Computer is most likely to be a laptop. Gelsinger wants Apple M series performance. That is not going to happen with a motherboard restricting bus width and latency while increasing power requirements. Intel will have to use HBM, which will require big changes on many levels.

    Intel has spent decades making their CPUs immune to iterative memory technology improvements. This was a business decision: any investment in memory technology would be punished by being unused in Intel CPUs until the feature came as standard from all the major suppliers. That kept memory a low margin competitive market and reserved all the profits for Intel.

    All the effort put into coping with low memory bandwidth must now be thrown out and replaced by silicon that makes best use of high bandwidth. It means engaging with memory suppliers as partners instead of as second class citizens. It means the desktop computers become laptop boards in a different box - where that has not happened already.

    An x86 thoroughly designed for HBM should be able to compete with Apple M series. Intel will need two or three generations to catch up. I hope they do. It was bad when they were effectively a monopoly but I do not want anyone else to achieve that level of dominance either.

  13. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    What Intel need to worry about is the exclusive Qualcom/Windows agreement. Once that ends and people are running ARM Windows out of the box on Raspberry Pis & MacBooks that's when Intel need to worry.

    1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
      Joke

      Intel: What, Me Worry?

      When the exclusive Qualcom/Windows agreement ends, all Intel has to do is pay Microsoft a pile of money to include an "ARM-architecture-only, speed de-enhancement" inside Windows.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Intel: What, Me Worry?

        Don't know why you have a joke alert.

        It's widely believed that important parts of Windows NT on AlphaAXP (DEC Alpha, whatever) still had debug code in the shipped version. That would be an architecture-specific speed de-enhancement, shirley?

        And it's also a fact (see e.g.https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sec-dell-idUSTRE66L5JX20100723) that

        "Intel was ALSO paying Dell $1 billion/year not to sell AMD-based systems at that time. Dell, the company, and Dell, the man, each paid small fines. Dell, the company, restated earnings for several years, their CEO resigned and several CFOs cycled through to clean up the mess. Hopefully Intel isn't cheating this time" (this particular description borrowed from

        https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2020/11/19/apple_m1_high_bandwidth_memory_performance/#c_4149125 , thank you reg user O R:LY)

        So, no need for a joke alert, just more persistent memory. :)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New Intel

    The i15 qsb

    It is so fast your just not going to believe it but trust us.

    Quarterly Share Boost technology that we can not actually share with you lower orders.

  15. Grunchy Silver badge

    I might upgrade one day

    I’ve been upgrading my 2017 “budget build” went from Ryzen 1800x to 3800x, still pleased with my SX8200 1TB “pro”. Main slot has the Vega56, secondary has the GTX1050-Ti. Just yesterday splurged $300 Cdn on 4x 32GB DDR4-3600 modules.

    The *big* upgrade, however, was from Win10 to Ubuntu22. Now I run Virt-manager with Qemu, and pass-through the Vega56 to my compartmentalized instances of Win7, Win10, and Mac-OS (which no longer run any form of anti-virus, since they are unfit to be exposed to the internet. Nothing but legacy offline apps.)

    Even though my rig is already 6 years old, I doubt I’ll be upgrading anything else before 2030, if ever.

  16. frankyunderwood123

    Arm has been awesome for mac users

    I guess not much to really add other than the title.

    Apple Silicon is such a profound improvement over Intel that there's not a single reviewer since release that doubts the move has been incredible.

    Sure, we're dealing with Apple and their often utterly awful Intel macBooks with thermal throttling up the wazoo (I'm looking at you, 2018 models) and comparing that to Apple Silicon, but it's a valid enough comparison.

    Power consumption to performance is again something that no reviewer could deny has been nothing short of triumphant.

    Is it all a bed of roses? Hell no, depends on the use case - the bang for buck, especially in areas such as 3D rendering, isn't all that.

    Intel can still wipe the floor with Apple Silicon for many tasks - the difference is it does it with much higher power consumption.

    The competition is healthy though. Microsoft seems to be totally onboard - they'd be fools not to be.

  17. PRR Bronze badge

    > Arm has proven to be a remarkably versatile architecture.

    8086 has proven to be a remarkably versatile architecture, counting 32- and 64-bit and pipeline/manycore mutations. Some of us remember the 8080-- dBase and WordStar on CP/M made a large part of the "personal" computer market.

    Someone said there is 40 year old Intel code running. The mature old app in this house is WORD 2003, large parts over 20 years old. I "do" maintain a machine to run code from <1992, >31 years, but that's weird. My brother may know older code deep in the finance industry but he does not like to talk about that stuff.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Oh, we routinely have customer engagements where they admit they've been running decades-old binaries and aren't sure which sources they were built from.

      I'm not claiming that's a good thing, but yes, the 8086 family has lasted a long time. It's not as long as IBM's 360 family, but still impressive just for sheer duration.

  18. Cardinal Fang

    Marketting is all

    Apple is already doing well out of ARM laptops.

    Performance isn't wonderful, but better app performance and compilers (and lots of marketing :) ) make up for a lot. Apple have a big edge being able to tune their software and hardware together for what's almost a single configuration.

    You can tell actual performance is poor from one single area, games.

    As with some examples above, my years old gaming rig blows modern Apple laptops away for performance.

    Even Intel laptops still have an edge over Apple on raw performance but are held back by that boat anchor called Windows. Install Ubuntu and generally life is a lot better - alas for Intel, by default their hardware generally ships with Windows.

  19. Binraider Silver badge

    Microsoft's vision of a locked-down-to-App Store ARM PC is not going to entice anyone. Niches like RasPi are fun, a desktop board with proper expansion slots and an ecosystem around it would suit me very well. The not so minor issue of the raft of legacy software that will keep people to X86 (or emulation).

    And ARM servers are already doing good work, thankyouverymuch.

    Bring it on I say. X86 has been at an evolutionary dead end for some years now. Sure, more cores and smaller manufacturing processes have upped the oomph of hardware, but the power cost is quite literal as is the diminishing returns now possible on going to ever-smaller processes.

    Beyond a jump to ARM, something more revolutionary in architecture space might be needed to find more gains. Brain has often drifted onto the subject of ternary rather than binary designs; maybe photonics.

  20. Julian 8 Silver badge

    Who cares with a lot of todays usage ?

    At home I have a couple of T450's and X240's in different rooms as "the room pc". Only now am I looking to "upgrade" two of those to T14's Gen1 and demote the X240's due to their small screen and 8GB RAM. One T14s an i7 and the other a Ryzen. Why ? because I screwed the keyboard on a T450 and none of the replacements I have managed to find have got a backlight that works (The old one does still light up, but liquids did not go down well, so it is the replacement keyboards that have a problem)

    The T450 and x240's are about 8 years old, the T14s are at least 3

    I look at the typical usage we have at home outside of my work, and a tablet with maybe a keyboard attached would be sufficient. It is mainly surfing, the odd bit of streaming and that is it. I need a laptop for work, so I prefer to have another available incase of loss or damage.

    I can invisiage that the typical non work usage is the same for a lot of households, so if I was Intel (and AMD), I would be afraid.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not as simple as being made out here

    Apple can get away with changing the Mac's architecture because, being captive, they get to entirely phase out one for the other. They've made such a transition three time now: 68k->Power->x86->ARM. Each transition needed a few years of emulation.

    I don't think M$ nor the end user is going to want permanent emulation to be the norm for Windoze where multiple binary architectures are supported indefinitely. Android's approach might be preferable to that.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leadership devoid of memory

    This Sounds to me like when Paul Ottelini and Steve Balmer dismissed the iPhone as a fad that will go away and become a failure. Ottelini's Intel refused to build a chip for the iPhone at Apple's request and Balmer didn't even know what was going on. Well, that fad drove Nokia, Blackberry and others out of the handset business altogether. It is happening again.

  23. Torben Mogensen

    Intel making ARMs?

    As the StrongArm threads mention, Intel once made ARM processors. They could do so again. Intel is both a processor design company and a chip production company. They have traditionally preferred to produce only processors of their design, but if x86 becomes less popular, Intel may look for other architectures. They have not had a good track record of designing successors to the x86 line -- i432 was no success, and Itanium not really either in spite of being hyped enough that other companies stopped development on their own processor designs (Compaq stopped developing Alpha, Silicon Graphics stopped developing MIPS, and HP stopped developing PA-RISC, all jumping on the Itanium bandwagon). Even x86-64 was not their own design -- AMD did that. So they may have to admit defeat and make ARM compatible processors alongside x86. With their experience in production technology, they would probably be able to make a competitive ARM design. They might even do processors that can run both x86 and ARM, having cores for both instruction sets or even making cores that can switch between the two.

  24. darkrookie28

    Yawn

    Most of the software I use and want doesn't work on ARM.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Yawn

      That's settled, then. Intel shareholders can relax.

  25. luis river

    linux equal cancer

    Pat Gelsinger Mr "scrunch brain" said: "insignificant" threat", I think that assertion sound "hotheaded" Microsoft Steve Ballmer: Linux equal cancer !!!

  26. ColonelClaw

    Is Pat's speech writer Steve Ballmer?

  27. Chris Evans

    It's taken a long long time.

    It's taken a long long time and there is still a way to go. I remember in 1987 when the ARM2 based Acorn Archimedes was supposed to be going to take over the desktop world!

    1. timrowledge

      Re: It's taken a long long time.

      It did for me.

      Still have the original prototype “A500” that started with an ARM1 and got updated to an ARM3 *wirh turbo mode*. Had A540, Risc PCs, StrongARM machines, Iyonix and now Pi. When I eventually need a new Mac it will be an ARM.

  28. mdubash

    Grove

    Only the paranoid survive.... Now, who said that?

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