While AMD captures all the attention with the new Ryzen 5000 processor offer for Windows PCs, Apple is preparing a tailor-made response, in the form of a 32-core CPU for Mac Pro systems.
Based on the ARM architecture, the chipset expected in the second half of 2021 will have 16 high-performance cores, along with cores with high energy efficiency. At the same time, Apple could launch in 2022 a “half-sized” Mac Pro model, equipped with an optimized version of the chip that will be announced next spring.
Depending on the configuration used (high performance cores vs. efficient nuts) the new chipset can be found in the less expensive iMac system. At the same time, Apple is working on a new GPU, equipped with up to 128 dedicated cores.
The news of the preparation of new Mac processors appears shortly after the launch of the first generation MacBook equipped with the M1 chip, the solution developed by Apple as a replacement for the Intel x86 processor range. For comparison, the Apple M1 chip has an octa-core CPU consisting of 4 high-performance cores and 4 cores optimized for efficient battery use.
Without the constraints of a laptop cooling solution, the number of processing units can increase to staggering numbers, with Apple’s plans for configurations with up to 128 cores. Undoubtedly, reserved for professional customers, the new chips will be available by the end of 2021, or the first part of 2022.
Depending on the constraints of the manufacturing process, Apple could still limit the number of processing units to 8 to 12 active cores, greatly improving profit margins.
The first ARM-based Mac models impressed with their excellent level of performance, compared to energy efficiency. However, to compete with the most powerful workstations based on Intel or AMD processors, even more ambitious approaches are needed. Given the ambitious plans to migrate the entire range of Mac systems to its own chipset-based platforms over the next two years, the fact that Apple is also developing more powerful processors is not a surprise.