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Apple’s M1 processor has surprised everyone with just how fast and efficient it is, as well as being the company’s first attempt at switching to ARM’s architecture for Mac hardware. But what comes next? A lot more processor cores, apparently.
As Bloomberg reports, people familiar with the matter report that Apple is hard at work testing a new chip design for high-end MacBook Pro, iMac Pro, and Mac Pro workstations. The M1 chip uses eight processor cores, split into four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. The new chip design is attempting to increase the count to 32 high-performance cores, an eight-fold increase over the M1, and an unspecified number of high-efficiency cores.
The existing 16-inch MacBook Pro uses an eight-core Intel processor, the iMac Pro can be configured with an 18-core Intel Xeon chip, and the Mac Pro pushes the number as high as 28 cores. If successful, Apple’s new chip would allow the company to offer more cores along with the efficiency gains already demonstrated by the M1 processor, as well as removing the need to rely on Intel for any processors going forward.
Apple, as you’d expect, is refusing to comment, and the jump to 32 or more cores may not happen immediately. Introducing 16-core variants first would still offer a big jump in performance while giving Apple more time to perfect the higher core chip design. But we won’t have long to wait to find out what the plan is, as the next Mac hardware refreshes will happen in 2021. By 2022, Apple expects to stop using Intel processors entirely, and there’s talk of a half-sized Mac Pro also appearing by then.
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