back to article Apple lifts the sheet on a trio of 'scary fast' M3 SoCs built on a 3nm process

Apple has announced its M3 silicon, claimed they are the first CPUs for desktop computers built on a three-nanometre process, and packed them into its MacBook Pro and iMac products. Announced at an event it named "Scary Fast" on Monday night, the M3 lineup includes a base model, plus Pro and Max variants. The iGiant claimed …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Yep, it's almost 2024, and Apple is still shipping PCs with 8GB of RAM."

    Yes, and what of it, if it works? My 2018 laptop has 8G and that's more than enough. Are we supposed to believe that the amount of RAM needed must continue to grow continously, even though applications are stabilizing and getting less and less new features?

    1. Mishak Silver badge

      We need a new metric

      One that shows how efficiently the RAM is used (though I've no idea how to measure that).

      I only bought this one with 32GB so I could run a number of VMs at the same time, but it is useful when running a load of memory-hungry apps at the same time.

      People who "only" use a machine for email, office applications and web browsing are likely more than adequately supported with 8GB and an OS that is memory-efficient.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We need a new metric

        Speaking as someone working in an 'office' environment I can assure you 8Gig isn't even close to being enough these days.

        Consider Teams alone takes up a gig of memory and don't get me started on outlook, excel, antivirus and the absurd ram occupied by having multiple tabs open. Yes yes I know it's *a lot* of tabs but that's the nature of my role.

        16Gig is just about enough, and sometimes a reboot is needed to clear it all down as it starts to drag if left online too long.

        1. 43300 Silver badge

          Re: We need a new metric

          Macbooks of 8 years ago had 8GB RAM and 512GB SSDs as one of the standard configuration options - things ought to have moved on since then!

          The lower options seem largely just to make the entry level price look better, but anyone intending it for more than very basic use is going to need one of the higher options. Same applies to iPhones of course - and in both cases it's largely impossible to upgrade later (iPhones don'e even have an SD card slot).

          1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            Re: We need a new metric

            -- things ought to have moved on since then! --

            WHY?

            1. 43300 Silver badge

              Re: We need a new metric

              Because data quantities in particular have expanded - some might want to put eveyrthing on cloudy services, but not all of us do!

              1. 43300 Silver badge

                Re: We need a new metric

                So - thumb downers. What do you disagree with? Do you reckon that everyone thinks it's an absolutely fantastic idea to stick all their data in cloudy repositories?

                1. tip pc Silver badge

                  Re: We need a new metric

                  normally data in the cloud is stored or accessed not running in RAM.

                  fast ssd mitigates the need for lots of RAM.

                  reading/writing 3GBs+ from ssd makes it more convenient to park unused items on disk with little to no impact on the user experience.

                  if things are slow, perhaps you need a faster processor?

                  1. 43300 Silver badge

                    Re: We need a new metric

                    So why is the same size SSD as eight years ago not an issue then, given that data has expanded, unless you want to store everything on cloudy services?

                    And arguing that SSDs are faster therefore swapping from the RAM is a good idea is a strange way of viewing it - RAM is still going to be faster, despite increses in SSD speed.

                    Presumably you also think they should be using processors from 8 years ago too? After all, they were generally fast enough for what most people needed to do.

                    1. tip pc Silver badge

                      Re: We need a new metric

                      I’m not sure you are understanding the roles of RAM & Storage.

                      RAM is volatile so when you turn the power off it’s gone. RAM is a fast cache for delivering data to the cpu, it’s more expensive than storage.

                      Storage on disk / tape etc is retained when the power is off, this is where you store your files for later retrieval, storage is cheaper than RAM.

                      Storage is normally far slower to read and write from than RAM so to do things efficiently with fast CPU’s you need that faster cache of the information you need to deliver so its copied into RAM for the cpu to work with.

                      Pre SSD’s, fast hard drives may have delivered ~100MBs, they could be pooled into array’s with data stripped on multiple disks so faster data rates where possible, a good sized array in a server or storage array delivering 1GBs was expensive but useful for purposes that needed it.

                      A cheap ssd today will deliver ~1GBs

                      Biggest question really is what you need all that RAM for and why 8GB isn’t enough. If an app consumes 1GB of RAM chances are most of the data isn’t used and only a fraction is needed, it’s more likely the app needs the data in your work file stored in RAM and again likely only a fraction of that data is actually worked on so that tiny fraction can easily be stored in RAM with the remainder of the app and its data on disk, so you only need a fraction of that 8GB of RAM to do work.

                      The penalty of reading from disk is time taken to do so, reading 8GB is less than 3 seconds on a modern m system but not all 8GB needs read/written so 1GB would be ~ 0.3s

                      If you have apps that need to read/write huge volumes from RAM & they absolutely need to be in RAM then it’s likely a portable computer isn’t what you need and a desktop like a Mac Pro or Mac Studio is most appropriate.

                      They demoed m1 Mac laptops editing multiple 4k streams in realtime which is far beyond what most people would do with their machines.

                      In summary

                      RAM is really high speed cache of data & instructions stored on disk & keeps the CPU running more efficiently instead of constantly waiting whilst it reads / writes from disk. If disk could be read/written as fast as RAM there would be no need for RAM

                      Current memory management methodologies mean there is little to no impact of paging to disk, case in point how long does it take for you to click in a different application and start to do work? Also paging to disk means os can address vastly more RAM than it has onboard by using page files.

                      Lastly Basic modern ssd ~3.2GBs storage as found in Mac’s is ~ half as fast as slow ddr3 ~6.4GBs from 2007

                      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                        Re: We need a new metric

                        "Biggest question really is what you need all that RAM for and why 8GB isn’t enough."

                        You don't edit any video files, do you?

                        There are plenty of applications for more than 8gb of RAM. I can sometimes get into projects where I have a couple of VM's going and a handful of applications open and it would have the OS using disk storage as swap space. I can be much more productive if I'm not waiting on the computer. When my new cheesegrater is swapped into my office array, I'm going to add another 32gb of RAM (making 96gb total) for ~$25. That's very little to pay for the times when I'll use that much RAM. When I do need it, I expect it will be in the midst of a big and complicated project that I'm being paid good money to do (on a fixed contract). The faster I can do that work, the more my customers will love me.

                        If I did nothing be commentard on el Reg, this wimpy little laptop would be sufficient.

                      2. 43300 Silver badge

                        Re: We need a new metric

                        Thanks for the patronising lecture! Believe it or not, working in IT I do know the difference between RAM and non-volatile storage.

                        The fact remains that RAM is faster than an SSD, and a decent amount of RAM is going to give better performance when using multiple programs (especially if things like InDesign are involved).

                        You have completely ignored the point about SSDs - i.e. that data quantities generally expanding (as they have done) means that either more local storage is needed, or offloading it all to cloudy repositories - which not all of us are keen on doing.

                        1. tip pc Silver badge

                          Re: We need a new metric

                          Macbooks of 8 years ago had 8GB RAM and 512GB SSDs as one of the standard configuration options - things ought to have moved on since then!

                          The biggest improvement is in the cpu and data rates from ram & storage over the last 8 years.

                          The cheapest MacBook Air with no cooling and less gpu with 8GB RAM is perfectly capable of editing 4+ 4k streams simultaneously.

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4ycuS1a14c&t=470s%0A%0A

                          https://youtu.be/sH6NsJQ0vec?feature=shared

                          You have completely ignored the point about SSDs - i.e. that data quantities generally expanding (as they have done) means that either more local storage is needed, or offloading it all to cloudy repositories - which not all of us are keen on doing.

                          To address your point specifically regarding storage, how much are you expecting and how much do you need?

                          The cheapest MacBook Air is the m1 8GB RAM and comes with 256GB of ssd but you can option it upto 2TB & 16GB RAM.

                          I’d rather be able to up the RAM and ssd myself at a later date but that’s not what they have made.

                          If you need lots of storage then buy an external ssd, usb3 externals are fast and thunderbolt ones even faster. If you need more than 2TB then you need external storage anyway.

                          If your storing in the cloud then you likely don’t need super fast storage as most external storage is faster than putting it into the cloud, but in theory gigabit bb is as fast as a spiny disk at 100MBs.

                          If you’re using off machine storage then how much is enough on Machine is a question you need to answer?

                          If you’re complaining that an entry level machine’s basic specs are too low then don’t buy the entry level, get the one you need.

                          I think you’re missing that the innovation is the cpu/gpu not RAM/SSD.

                          This video may be useful for you

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zNuiP9-jkQ

            2. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: We need a new metric

              "-- things ought to have moved on since then! --

              WHY?"

              4k video. Highly compressed media files (that need very fast decoding). The biggy is that memory costs have dropped so it's the same or less money to equip a new computer with 16-32gb of RAM for what 8gb cost several years ago. The same applies to storage. It seems like everytime I buy another SSD, I spend the same money and get twice the storage, yet Apple wants an additional $400 to go from 1tb of storage to 2tb the last time I looked at a Studio. Everything I have now has a 4tb main drive as I'm tired to the system bitching at me when temp files use up all of the free space and I have to close everything and reboot to clear the docks.

        2. pimppetgaeghsr

          Re: We need a new metric

          Software will just use up that RAM and cause the same issues. The issue isn't a lack of RAM, it's a lack of optimisation in software from a generation of SW devs that just assume things will double in capacity every 3 years. TSMC isn't cheap anymore.

          1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            Re: We need a new metric

            Yeah - fully agree. Its also that a lot of devs have nice wizzy machines and just don't understand that Fred in accounts has a 20 year old Windows 98 PC (ok a bit OTT but you get the idea)

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: We need a new metric

              "Yeah - fully agree. Its also that a lot of devs have nice wizzy machines and just don't understand that Fred in accounts has a 20 year old Windows 98 PC (ok a bit OTT but you get the idea)"

              A little hyperbole never hurt anybody and it does illustrate a good point. If a new app requires the latest OS, which only runs on the latest generation of hardware, the buy-in to be able to run that app can be thousands. I just saw a neat utility for Mac that would be handy except it won't run on anything more than a year old and with Apple prices, that's a big pile o' money. If it would run on something older, I would have sent them the money.

              I think there could be a market for software that runs on older machines. I have an old CCTV application that runs on an older computer and it's fine. I'd love more features but I'm not going to splash out for a brand new computer just for that. I also have a stack of PC's in the closet I've been given (I have a friend that does estate sales). They all work and I've popped in a freshly formatted drive with W7 or Linux on it so they are ready to go. One is slated for a small CNC router I want to build. That doesn't need gobs of performance, but many new CNC programs require the latest everything. Why? G code is just a text file and the computer isn't doing anything more complex than squirting that out to the router. If you want to write your own code, you can do that on a Pi, but it's easier to manage on a Windoze box.

        3. Handy Plough

          Re: We need a new metric

          Do you use a Mac in an office environment?

          1. balrog

            Re: We need a new metric

            He doesn't use a M series mac in an office environment and thats obvious. We use Studios in our err studio. And we hammer photoshop so I whimpered and paid out for 64Gb when we refreshed. Anyway a while later I needed to hire a couple to cover some temps and could only lay hands on 16Gb minis on an M2. And they are plenty fast enough for what we do. Best we dont let the bean counters find that out. In the mean time I'd bought more macs always upping office users to 16Gb. The last couple I got with 8Gb and we find them perfectly fine for MS Office/FileMaker/general use. Modern apple hardware does have some issues, heat in the intels, somewhat mediocre build quality, poor port selection and lets not even mention the keyboards but the tightly integrated processor, memory and ssd is not one of them.

            1. big_D Silver badge

              Re: We need a new metric

              Same, I have a 32GB Ryzen, which I replaced with a 16GB Mac mini M1, same performance and no memory problems.

              At work, I just replaced my dead ThinkPad with an MBA M1 8GB and it is just fine for the work I do (sys admin work). It was supposed to be an interim replacement, until I ordered a new Windows laptop, to be honest, I've seen no need to order a replacement yet.

        4. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: We need a new metric

          So what OS are you using?

          Just because M$ can't deal with less than a TB of ram to boot and open notepad, doesn't mean other OSes can't do much better.

          1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            Re: We need a new metric

            Coffee meet keyboard - thanks for the splutter.

        5. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: We need a new metric

          I have an 8GB Windows laptop that runs a Windows guest VM which only has 4GB assigned to it.

          They work just fine thank you.

        6. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Re: We need a new metric

          Ahhh. One of the few. Now go and look at the non-IT workers and see what they're doing.

        7. big_D Silver badge

          Re: We need a new metric

          On Windows, I'd agree with you. Doing a 5-way conference, Teams was stuttering on my 8GB Windows laptop and I had to quit Outlook, browser andjust about everything else that was running. On the Mac, with 8GB, Teams doesn't cause any problems in the same situation. I'm actually pleasantly surprised how good the M1 MacBook Air is with 8GB, that I am using as an interim replacement. To be honest, I'm happy to wait a year or so, to see what happens on the Intel/Qualcomm front, before ordering a replacement.

          That said, our desktops are still 8GB for the most part and most users don't have any problems with that. Most of the laptops are now 16GB, but I'd say 75% of our fleet is 4GB or 8GB.

          1. lamp

            Re: We need a new metric

            Mac book Air vs Windows - Unix!

        8. Snapper

          Re: We need a new metric

          Is that on an Apple Silicon Mac or a PC? People edit video on an Apple Silicon computer with 8GB.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: We need a new metric

            "People edit video on an Apple Silicon computer with 8GB."

            It can certainly be done, but it's not efficient if you do a lot of editing or are doing complex video effects.

            Somebody just doing office tasks can certainly be just fine with 8gb of RAM. But, that's today. Next month with a new OS release it could be a problem or the computer is needed for another task where 8gb isn't sufficient.

            The cost of 8gb of RAM has dropped in the last several years while the cost of an Apple computer has gone up. If Apple is going to continue to make throw-away computers that have no CPU, Memory or Storage upgrade path, they should at least have enough of all three to survive longer than a Chromebook.

      2. jmch Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: We need a new metric

        "People who "only" use a machine for email, office applications and web browsing"

        Many people tend to abuse of multiple browser tabs and 'restore previous tabs on first load' in lieu of bookmarks, which takes a heavy toll on memory. Ditto with opening multiple office documents and leaving them open in the background. So I guess there is a small subset of users for whom 8GB is enough, but that's a pretty small set. I wouldn't go for that myself, especially since it isn't specifically mentioned that the RAM is user-upgradeable.

        (incidentally my 2011-era iMac came with 8GB which I upgraded myself to 12 and has run pretty good ever since. It has started to struggle the last couple of years, so time to upgrade in a year or two... but ultimately I probably got 2-3X the lifetime of a PC at 1.5-2X the price)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We need a new metric

          this is apple, it will all be soldered.

          on crappy designed MB's that will die when you breath on them, repair price is whole new computer

          1. Altrux

            Re: We need a new metric

            Soldered? It's inside the chip package, I thought! No upgrades possible here, but that's what you trade off for screaming performance.

          2. Snapper

            Re: We need a new metric

            Shows how little you know about modern Macs then.

          3. Gordon 10
            Trollface

            Re: We need a new metric

            Funny. My 2013 MBA died last week. My 2012 MBA is still running, My 2011 Imac is still running (and that had a bad rep for the graphics card).

            Back under your bridge?

        2. Mike007 Bronze badge

          Re: We need a new metric

          "Many people tend to abuse of multiple browser tabs and 'restore previous tabs on first load' in lieu of bookmarks, which takes a heavy toll on memory."

          Default behaviour of chrome (not technically default but it pesters you to enable it so might as well be) is to not load background tabs until you click on them. It also unloads idle tabs after a while.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: We need a new metric

            "Default behaviour of chrome "

            Microsoft, Apple, Google: Choose your manner of torture. Given the sorts of things Google gets up to, I'll stay clear of Chrome.

        3. big_D Silver badge

          Re: We need a new metric

          I currently have around 20 tabs open, plus my day-to-day sys admin applications running, plus Outlook and Excel and my MBA is using 7GB from 8GB - including Parallels and Outlook and some legacy tools running in the VM.

      3. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        Re: We need a new metric

        What we really need is a measure of how much it improves the life of the user.

        We seem to have reached the point where for most users (I exclude companies processing masses of database stuff) the computer is way faster then they need. Game players may benefit a bit but I would maintain that the games should be less realistic so the more intellectually challenged of the human race can spot the difference between playing a computer game and doing it (whatever it is) in the real world.

    2. SketchyScot

      As long as you don't need Microsoft Office on your OS... you're good with 8Gb for basic use

    3. Piro Silver badge

      Bad take tbh. 16GB should be the minimum.

    4. Graham Jordan

      I'm with you. 8gb might make a Windows machine fall over but my Mac, even with MS programs installed, runs perfectly fine.

    5. ICL1900-G3

      'My' first computer was an IBM 360/30 with 32k. Just being an old fart!

      1. BebopWeBop

        Hah

        Mine (still have it) was a Science of Cambridge MK14 - with 128 Bytes of ram....

    6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      I think it's a bit of both: many people will be fine with 8GB but it does also allow Apple to charge a hefty premium for more memory and storage. And, for those of us who don't entrust everything to someone else's storage, 500GB can be filled pretty quickly with the photo and music collection, a Windows VM, Docker…

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > , 500GB can be filled pretty quickly with the photo and music collection,

        Time for - NAS!

    7. Jason Hindle

      Until recently, some of my developments where on an 8GB machine

      Think VS Code connected to a Linux Docker container, all running on under Windows 10 on a 2015 Lenovo Thinkpad Carbon. Worked like a charm for some of the development I was doing in Java.

    8. big_D Silver badge

      I would have said the same thing 2 years ago.

      I bought a Mac mini with 16GB, which was a step down from the 32GB Ryzen system it was replacing, but it was fine for my needs.

      My ThinkPad T480 died recently and I dug an 8GB MacBook Air out of the cupboard, which had been bought for activating iPhones for our old MDM system. It was surplus to requirements and just shoved in a cupboard. I was surprised, it runs better than the ThinkPad, with Parallels and WoA for a couple of legacy applications. It is probably at its limits, in terms of memory use (Outlook, Firefox, WoA Parallels, TeamViewer Manager, TeamViewer, Teams, VOIP client, Microsoft RDP client, Safari, Books, Excel and shell running, it takes up 7.5GB from 8GB), but it doesn't pause, doesn't stutter, it just works.

      Even with a 5-way Teams conference, I don't have to quit other applications - on the ThinkPad, I had to quit just about all running applications, because it ground to a halt and started stuttering.

      For normal office use, 8GB seems to be more than acceptable, although, coming from a Windows world, I wouldn't spec it with less than 16GB for my own use, but I do do photo editing on the side.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "Even with a 5-way Teams conference, I don't have to quit other applications - on the ThinkPad, I had to quit just about all running applications, because it ground to a halt and started stuttering."

        Maybe someday we will get to the point where the next performance increase in hardware are so expensive that even large companies start deciding to extend what they have a few more years. This should give devs a big kick in the pants when it comes to optimizing their code. I had some engineering friends that escaped from the USSR when the wall came down and since they only had access to 640kb PC's, the code they wrote was about as optimized as it comes. One showed me an FEA program that blew my mind that it would run on a very antiquated PC. The output was mainly numeric, so you didn't have pretty pictures to look at and needed to know what you were doing, but ..

  2. Bartholomew
    Meh

    Or for less money ...

    At that price I would be looking to get far more bang for my buck with a 128 core ARM machine based around the Ampere Altra.

    1. Mishak Silver badge

      Re: Or for less money ...

      I guess it depends on your use-case. There is very little software out there that most people would use that would benefit from that number of cores.

      Would make a great Yocto build platform though...

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Or for less money ...

      And for the same price as a 500g bag of coffee, I can buy a few kg of potatoes.

      1. Robin

        Re: Or for less money ...

        That's funny, I almost spat my morning cup of potato all over my keyboard

    3. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Or for less money ...

      Won't be much room for anything else with a 70x70mm chip in the laptop.

    4. MetalScythe

      Re: Or for less money ...

      And you’d lose a metric ton of IPC in the process. Which is the major selling point of the M-series chips.

  3. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    "Of course, we recommend you take Apple's performance claims with a healthy dose of salt here. The company has a history of making nebulous claims backed by unlabelled charts about the performance of its M-series silicon, especially when it comes to comparisons of their graphics-processing powers."

    No they don't.

    Don't look now Reg, your Apple hatred is showing.

    1. OAB

      I suppose this has one solid number on it

      https://www.apple.com/newsroom/images/product/mac/standard/Apple_m1-chip-cpu-power-chart_11102020_big.jpg.large.jpg

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        "I suppose this has one solid number on it"

        Actually it has several numbers, and there's nothing nebulous about them. 2x the performance at 10W, and matching peak performance at 25% of the power, compared to "the highest-performing CPU for notebooks, commercially available at the time of testing." - the 'Alder Lake' Intel Core i9-10900HK.

        1. OAB

          And how exactly is 'performance' measured? What are the power numbers apart from 10W?

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            "And how exactly is 'performance' measured? What are the power numbers apart from 10W?"

            Peak single thread performance of workloads taken from multiple industry standard benchmarks*, commercial applications, and open source applications. Comparison made against the highest-performing CPUs for notebooks, commercially available at the time of testing.

            * Cinebench R23, Speedometer 2.0, Geekbench 5 (operating in single thread mode). Tests performed natively where possible, and under Rosetta 2 where emulation was required.

            The graph clearly illustrates the power curve under and over 10W. 10W isn't a particularly special case (or a particularly special result, compared to the rest of the power curve) - it's just a convenient reference and a catchy soundbite (2x performance at 10W). In fact the M1 exceeds the Core i9 performance per watt by more than a factor of 2 under some other power conditions.

  4. Graham Jordan

    Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

    I run a Mac m1 with 16gb of RAM and have done fine for a while now. Battery lasts nine hours +. Meanwhile I use my HP Elitebook with 32gb RAM to sterilise my semen, and I gets three hours at most. Both are used for office and general internet use.

    Why does 256gb sound crap? Office use will likely use OneDrive. Photos are stored in the cloud. The days of downloading terabytes of illegal mp3s are long over. That leaves only specialist use such as content creators wanting more space, surely?

    I've just gone to Currys Windows laptop section, filtered for Microsoft products and had to scroll nearly half way down to find a device with more than 256gb of hard drive space (also, these same devices have 8/16gb RAM). So why are we throwing the book at Apple for matching what appears to be the standard hardware?

    Sure, I guess it makes sense not to take stats from the seller at face value. But unless you can provide evidence to the contrary then simply saying "don't trust em!" sounds more like a grudge than it does good reporting.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

      "Why does 256gb sound crap? Office use will likely use OneDrive. Photos are stored in the cloud. The days of downloading terabytes of illegal mp3s are long over."

      It sounds crap because 256GB SSD is a standard spec from 8 years ago. Of course generally speaking you are right, most people offload their bulk storage to the cloud (I don't but I use a local NAS for that). Local (and fast) staorage mostly for apps and commonly used files, for which for most people 256GB is enough

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

        "256GB SSD is a standard spec from 8 years ago"

        Nope. 8 years ago, spinning rust was still the norm on standard-spec laptops. 500GB, or 1TB if you were feeling flush. *If* a laptop had an SSD, it was usually 64-128GB except on top end models.

        https://laptopmedia.com/reviews/best-notebooks-of-2015-depending-on-your-needs/

        https://www.gadgetsnow.com/slideshows/8-best-laptops-of-2015/dell-xps-13-priced-at-rs-70990/photolist/50354717.cms

        1. OAB

          Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

          Odd, I bought my laptop in August 2015 and it had a 256Gb SSD, it's not like I went top end either, it was £700.

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

            I'm not saying they didn't exist, just that they weren't 'the norm'. 256GB in SSD form was pretty pricey back then.

            1. jmch Silver badge

              Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

              I said it was 'the norm' because that's what the laptop I got then had. It wasn't anything super, maybe a bit above average. Back then the choice at the same price point was a 1TB HDD or 256GB SSD.

              1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

                That's definitely possible.

                The majority of laptops sold in that year had 500GB HDD or 128GB SSD options. Mid-tier options were typically a choice between 1TB HDD or 256GB SSD, and high-end offerings had 512GB SSD or (more rarely) 1TB/256GB HDD/SSD fusion drives.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

      you refenced curry's so they are all lowest denominator shit boxes at high price for numpties.

      even then those would have been way way way cheaper than anything apple.

      so you did a wildly biased pick of seller, to prove wild bias, nice! all you proved is fanboys are wildly biased.

      (for my last laptop I asked boss for an apple m2, he balked at the stupid prices and he's an apple fanboy!!)

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

        "for my last laptop I asked boss for an apple m2"

        Now why would you do that if you clearly hate Apple so much?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

          always willing to have my mind changed unlike fanboys.

          Why not test the hype tech, especially if someone else is paying.

          also gives me more data on how much the fanboys have been conned..

          Bosses' reaction also allowed me to take the piss out of them, and point out the hypocrisy , as it was obvious he only bought apple for himself as a status symbol like most fanboys.

          for USA ref: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/take-the-piss-out-of

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

            No no. You got caught out. Best thing to do now is admit it, or stop digging.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

              digging what?

              a hole to bury your stupidity?

              look we know fan boys are too far down the rabbit hole to be saved, but please stop making it so obvious

              1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

                It took you a day to come up with that?? Standards really are slipping around here...

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

                  some of us have real work to do, not prat about with overpriced fanboy wank machines

                  1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                    Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

                    And yet you're still here. Prattling on. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      2. Gordon 10

        Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

        Your last line is BS.

        In 2018 the cheapest MPB 13" with touchbar was $1800 a year before that the *real* budget 128Gb non-touch model was $1300.

        Today - the cheapest MPB 14" M3 is $1700

        13" 2013 MBA base price - $1099

        13.6" M2 MBA base price $1199.

        So Apple prices have been pretty stable, they've always commanded a premium but there is little evidence to show that that the premium has increased with the M series processors.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: days of downloading terabytes of illegal mp3s are long over

      oh absolutely! It's all about downloading terabytes of illegal flac, 24bit 48khz. Not to mention those 4K, 40Gb linux distros.

    4. SudMonkey

      Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

      "Why does 256gb sound crap?"

      "...starting at $1,299", for 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.

      I don't think it's the spec which is surprising people, I think it's the price of the spec.

    5. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

      On my machine, code and executables for various applications (and different architecture and debug / release targets) coupled with testing databases and websites I work on (plus storage for associated development tools & huge amounts of frameworks used) exceeds 256Gb.

      Obviously this is a niche case, but given that laptops are often used as developer machines these days (e.g. far easier to go on site and troubleshoot if all the things you need are on a laptop) it is not that unusual

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not hard to see why Apple aren't fans of TheReg with a wildly biased article like this.

        > Obviously this is a niche case, but ... it is not that unusual

        If it is a niche case then it is definitely an unusual case.

    6. Marty McFly Silver badge
      FAIL

      The days of downloading terabytes of illegal mp3s are long over.

      So says the sucker who signed up for a zillion streaming services to which they also pay bandwidth to use.

  5. Omnipresent Bronze badge

    I know it's hard to believe

    but apple is clearly going back to their roots and targeting creatives with these offerings.

    The 8 gig is basically useless, but some might buy it for their kid's school work (early indoctrination).

    Creatives use a load of ram, and will be looking at the pricier options. The one I would want is 4 grand tho, and that is equally hard to believe! That's before the adaptors that I'll need for dongles. Unreal how much the storage costs on these things. I'll have to stop buying pints, and go on a budget to get one. I'm looking at more than 4 grand when all's said. All just so I don't have to deal with microsoft, and their merry band of russian hackers.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: I know it's hard to believe

      "The 8 gig is basically useless"

      Well that's just not true.

      I know, because I run a couple of macs with 8Gb, and they work just fine.

      What you might have meant was that you would want more.

    2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: I know it's hard to believe

      "The 8 gig is basically useless"

      For my use case (classic Corporate) 8GB is absolutely fine; and all I am likely to need for the foreseeable future. 8GB Unified Storage is also substantially faster than SODIMM.

      You never buy RAM because you like the pretty packages the chips come in; you buy it because of what it makes possible. If you can do all you need with 8GB, then 16GB or more is a waste of money.

      1. georgezilla Silver badge

        Re: I know it's hard to believe

        " ... If you can do all you need with 8GB, then 16GB or more is a waste of money ... "

        Yep, you're right. Until ...............................

        You actually need more. Then you're fucked. And have to go out and spend more money on a new Laptop. Where as all I need to do is spend $100US ( give or that ) to double it to 16GB. Or less then that to quadruple my storage.

        You want to talk about a "waste of money"? Okay, let's actually have that conversation. But that's not going to happen, because you actually can't.

        God I love Apple fanboys. They are so funny and so easy to make fun of.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: I know it's hard to believe

          We can have the conversation, I’m fine with that. You inventing reasons why we “can’t” just demonstrates even more clearly that you’re in denial.

          Here’s my rebuttal.

          All my MacBooks have had base memory. I have never needed, or wanted, more; and as my use case is pretty much static, I’ve become very adept and knowing exactly what performance I will need over the lifetime of a device.. My base spec 2013 MBP served me well until I grudgingly retired it last year when my new employer gave me a new MBP with M1/8GB/256GB; the base model.

          The M1 is the fastest laptop I’ve ever had, and when new it ran rings around anything Windows-based for anything close to equivalent money. As previously stated, I’m a classic Corporate use case, so use about 20% of the performance capability.

          It will run, and run, quite happily on it’s 8GB unified memory, until it goes EOL in 2032 or thereabouts, or until I get a new employer. I will never need to even consider upgrading the memory, as there is nothing new I will need to do with this laptop within it’s (considerable) expected lifetime that will come close to requiring more.

          Your assumptions are both arrogant and misplaced.

        3. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: I know it's hard to believe

          Or - you use swap for the half dozen times over the lifetime of the laptop that you need a little more fast storage.

          Bulk storage - not in a laptop thanks, that's why I have a server, with protected storage and regular backups.

    3. therobyouknow

      Linux is twice as efficient in memory than windows I've found.

      8Gb works fine on my MacBook Air 2015 11". When support for macOS Monteray runs out end of 2024 (I think), I'll be putting Zorin OS Pro Linux on it. It's a dinky, tidy little machine for some web dev and general purpose. Fingers crossed there will be driver support for it for when I do put that Linux on it though.

      Success with Zorin OS already experienced by me on a Windows tablet: 2gb out of 4gb RAM in use with Zorin OS Pro, compared to Windows 10 Pro 64bit on same machine using about 3.5Gb out of the 4gb RAM. Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 MkIII. Nearly twice as efficient in Linux then. Everything works well now on Zorin - touch screen, pinch to zoom, brightness controls - after a bit of research on their forums. I'm sure getting my money's worth out of this one, hopefully well after Windows 10 expires in 2025. It's a rugged machine, great for general use, fan whines like a mosquito but nice apart from that.

      Zorin OS Pro is perhaps the most clean, tidy good looking Linuxes out there. None of this weird off/on and standby buttons, or rough edged iconography, everything is bright clean and simple.

      No affiliation, incentive or referral to me.

      I have 24Gb and 32Gb machines too, but love to get the most out of my older hardware for when I don't fancy taking the more valuable stuff around some places.

      And for when those earlier M silicon macs fall out of macOS support in years to come, there's Asahi Linux. Though Apple can do a good job supporting hardware. MacBookAir case in point - mine came out 2015, Monrteray apparently support ends in 2024 - 9 years.

      1. Nate Amsden

        Re: Linux is twice as efficient in memory than windows I've found.

        As a linux on the desktop user since 1998, I can say that the Linux kernel has very annoying memory behavior on laptops with 8GB of ram in the past ~8 years or so. 10+ years ago things were fine(at least for me). I went from a laptop with 8GB in 2010 to a laptop with 8GB in 2016, actual memory usage was about the same (peaking close to 7GB), the newer system(ran same OS Linux Mint 17(years later installed Mint 20), but probably newer kernel I don't recall) would frequently get into swap hell, completely frozen while it decided it wanted to swap out a bunch of stuff (the "swapiness" setting doesn't do anything anymore) for several minutes(everything was SSD of course). Never happened on the older system. Wasn't until I upgraded to 16GB+ that it stopped doing that. Drove me mad. More recently(started with 5.4 kernel on Ubuntu 20.04) have seen the kernel decide to swap stuff out on servers when there is literally 10GB of available memory sitting there. Never happened(to me anyway) that I can recall on older kernels.

        Currently run a Lenovo P15 laptop with an 8 core Xeon, and 128GB of ECC ram (~108GB available), not that I need that much, just decided to max it out for no reason. Last laptop(Lenovo P50) I eventually upgraded to 48GB(max was 64), though probably never went past 20GB usage.

        But even my new laptop had issues with memory(at least with vmware workstation), until I set this sysctl "vm.compaction_proactiveness=0", to stop the kernel from trying to defragment memory (which was a feature introduced in newer kernels than 5.4, older laptop had an older kernel which didn't have this issue even though the OS was the same (Mint 20)). With that feature on, system would freeze for periods of time while it defragmented the memory (for me it was rare as it took a long time to fill up the 128GB of memory, only managed to do it by copying a large amount of data, filling the memory with cached stuff).

        so yeah, linux and memory have really gotten annoying (for me) in the past ~8 years or so.

      2. Gordon 10

        Re: Linux is twice as efficient in memory than windows I've found.

        Screw Zorin (with apologies).

        Open Core Legacy Patcher. My 2011 iMac is now running Monterey with Sonoma supported as well.

        1. therobyouknow

          Re:Screw Zorin (with apologies).

          +1 thank you for reminding me of that option with the open core. I'll look at that when the time comes too!

    4. Omnipresent Bronze badge

      Re: I know it's hard to believe

      It's an interesting topic. Creatives are not checking email and running compilers. I admit 16 gig has been all I ever needed until now. If you are processing any kind of media tho... 32 gigs is something I used to wish for one day. Buying one of these things won't be easy, but It IS what I've been waiting for. At 4 g's they are riding the rail with me tho.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I know it's hard to believe

        > Creatives are not checking ... running compilers

        Because we all know that programming is a totally uncreative waste of time.

        God, I loathe these people who call themselves "creatives" and think it raises them above the unwashed heathens.

        If you need some good visuals done, find someone who refers to themselves as a graphics designer, shun anyone who talks about themselves as a "creative".

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: I know it's hard to believe

          It really is time for you to shut up now.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I know it's hard to believe

            Ah, such a wonderfully creative use of the English language to defend the use of "creatives" as a meaningful term and not just sheer wankery.

            "Shut up."

            The eloquence, the delightful juxtaposition of syllables, the witty choice of metaphor.

            I was truly blessed to have been replied to by one with such a command over their vernacular and structured reasoning. It puts a mere programmer in his place with poetic minimalism.

    5. Snapper

      Re: I know it's hard to believe

      I have plenty of clients running Macs with the whole Office shite including that rather nasty Teams shit, Chrome (I don't know why/actually I do know why) with plenty of RAM left.

      I'm looking over the dining room table at at my wife's early 2015 MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM (but I upgraded the original 512GB storage to 2TB), She has Word and Excel open, as well as three browsers, Safari, Firefox and Chrome. Chrome has 34 tabs open (sigh) and the original battery gives her about 8 hours of life off the plug. She'll also have Apple Messages (texts), FaceTime ,Telegram and WhatsApp open. Never had a problem with RAM in the 8 years she's had it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Didn't Bill once say

    640k should be enough for anybode

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Didn't Bill once say

      Nope.

  7. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

    Gelsinger should be suffering from a panic attack about now... :)

  8. Juan Inamillion

    Unbelievable

    1984 and people are whinging about Mac vs PC.

    2023 and people are whinging about Mac vs PC. But faster.

    40 years. So depressing....

  9. Jason Hindle

    Apple’s Problem?

    M1 and M1 Pro owners, like me, who are sitting pretty with systems that are still overkill, for us at least, three years down the line. Unless I find I need more than 16Gb, there is no need for me to upgrade. If I do find I need more than 16Gb, I doubt I’ll buy new.

    With these new releases, I think Apple is targeting segments it has already saturated.

    1. Tim99 Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Apple’s Problem?

      Some of us are replacing old Intel machines…

    2. Gordon 10

      Re: Apple’s Problem?

      Thing is Apples refresh cycle has never really changed. Its more like 5 years on the corporate side than the WinTel 3. So Apple is building M3's for the last of the Intel Mac generations.

  10. MachDiamond Silver badge

    The efficiency is great...

    It's the rest of the package that Apple has been delivering lately that sucks. No way to upgrade the RAM. Storage is non-standard and the CPU is stuck on with no upgrade path either. If you don't spend a bunch of money upfront and find in a year or two that you need more, you have to buy new all over again and see if it's even worth your time to sell your old one or just use it to collect dust in the closet. I've been upgrading my cheesegraters to the point where they are now topped out with CPU and RAM. They still work very well and to replace them with a new Mac Pro would require getting a sparky around to run a dedicated circuit which adds another couple of grand to the purchase. Sadly I think they are getting to the end of life as Apple has a new OS every 6 months and nobody has seen a way to install them on those machines. Maybe I'm ok as I'm old and can continue on with the work I do for some time. I was looking at a Studio, but with zero upgradability, I'm not interested.

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