Apparently I can’t leave well enough alone. After upgrading my Mac Pro 4.1 to a 3.2GHz quad core Xeon from the originally installed 2.66GHz quad core Xeon, I read about some who had upgraded their Mac Pros to the six core W3680 Xeon CPU. I did some checking on Ebay and the time, these CPU’s were going for around five to six hundred dollars. Doing some more research, I found out about the slightly faster version of that CPU series, the Xeon W3690, a speed bumped version of the W3680. This CPU can be found on Ebay for much less, and they are clocked about 200MHz faster. So, I picked one up off of Ebay and installed it into my Mac Pro. Overall, the system seems faster, and considering its a five year old machine, it’s a good investment. I frequently use Handbrake to encode ripped Blu-Rays and it does work well for this task. Handbrake makes use of all the cores for encoding and this CPU with hyperthreading displays as 12 threads. All in all, this Mac Pro is running smoothly now, and should be usable for a few more years. I considered installing a PCI express based SSD from Macsales, but for the time being I settled on a standard Samsung SSD. Even thought the Mac Pro is limited to a 3GB/second SATA interface, it’s still much faster than a spinning platter disk.
Looking at the article from Jean Louis Gasseé regarding the Apple is going to move to ARM for laptops scenario, I think we can be certain that Apple has to be preparing for this as a contingency. As Matt Ritchman noted in 2011, Intel currently charges a premium price for the CPU’s that power todays Macs. We can also probably figure that the delays in releasing new Macbook Pro’s is due to the issues Intel is having with its die shrinking process from 22nm to 14nm. This causes problems for Apple, problems which are out of their control, and we know that Apple likes to be in control of its destiny with its core products. Having to depend on another vendor for CPU’s is not something Apple enjoys. We have seen the lengths Apple will go to in order to escape from dependence on Samsung for parts, and I’d imagine the scenario with Intel is no different. I have no doubt that Apple internally has a version of Mac OS that runs on the ARM architecture. Intel as we know, are probably a couple of generations ahead with its chip fabrication technology compared to its rivals. Intel probably also has spare capacity now since PC sales have been declining the past few years. If only Apple could convince Intel to fabricate a newer line of the A series processors for it, it would benefit both parties. Apple would get the chips it needs, at lower die sizes than it can currently get, allowing for a better power savings. Intel would get some serious revenue, as Apple could certainly deliver some gigantic orders. Would ARM processors work in a Macbook? Certainly. Would they be any better than an Intel chip? I don’t know, but Apple does have the talent that could design the chips for that very purpose. I’d imagine if Apple does not have to work in the thermal restrictions of a tablet or phone, they could probably make an A(x) chip that would run OSX well.
———————— Just in case anyone is wondering, if you have an older Mac Pro, I have installed a PNY GTX 670 2GB video card and it works fine. You will need an extra 6 pin PCI Express power cable, but it works.
As Intel reported quarterly profits down 25% year over year, [Mark Hachman at ReadWriteWeb](http://readwrite.com/2013/04/18/intels-secret-to-success-manufacturing#feed=/enterprise) doesn’t think it’s a big deal because of Moore’s law. He believes that Intel’s die shrink to 22nm will help them bring the x86 architecture to compete with the ARM dominance in the mobile field. And of course, Intel has always been able to increase performance with each CPU generation. I don’t share his optimism.
One of the key benefits of having an ARM license is the ability to design a chip to your own specifications for a particular device. Combining that with someone like Apple who controls the entire software stack, and you can see how beneficial this capability is. With Intel, you are beholden to their timeline on processors, and you have to hope that they will design it with features that you need. Not everyone who licenses ARM technology has this type of license, but Apple and Samsung do, and guess who are on top of the mobile game?
EDIT-added link to ReadWriteWeb.
“Anybody here from New York? Any of you use AT&T? Any of you that use them, you happy? Of course not, the network’s crap.”
Pretty bold words from a CEO of a major company? For a while ATT and T-Mobile have been trading jabs about network quality. I have been testing the T-Mobile network on my Galaxy Nexus for the past few months in the Long Beach area of California, and, so far, it has worked better than the ATT HSPAA+ network. I also have not had a dropped call, which happens pretty frequently with my ATT service. It looks like the iPhone 5 that will be released in April on the T-Mobile network will support the specific LTE and HSPA+ frequencies for the T-Mobile network. For Android folks, it looks like they will also be selling the highly regarded HTC One also. Both can be had for $99 down and then $20/month. I’m not sure if they phones come unlocked, but that would be nice if they were.