The Apple M1 chip has allowed the company to successfully transition itself away from the x86 Intel CPUs. However, this is just the beginning. Reports indicate Apple Inc. is planning to ditch CPUs and GPUs from its longtime partners and go with its own silicon for processing and graphics.
Apple’s plan to replace Intel CPUs within its entire Mac computer lineup is going a lot quicker than previously anticipated. Besides the rumored Apple MX1 custom chip that will succeed the Apple M1, the company is already deep in the development of powerful CPUs.
Moreover, reports also suggest the company is building Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) that will replace AMD and NVIDIA as preferred suppliers. Needless to add, Apple’s chosen partners to achieve these lofty but feasible goals are ARM and TSMC.
Apple has 16 Core and 32 Core CPUs in development at TSMC?
Apple introduced its new lineup of Apple MacBook Air, Apple MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini computers with its own Apple M1 System on a Chip (SoC). The Apple M1 is a completely new approach to desktop-level computing as it combines not only CPU and GPU but also has integrated RAM.
The Apple M1 chip has received some stellar reviews. Moreover, tinkerers have successfully installed and run Microsoft Windows 10 operating system on a Mac computer. Interestingly, the OS appears to run faster than Microsoft’s own ARM-based SQ2 custom chip.
— Erik Engheim (@erikengheim) December 7, 2020
The Apple M1 houses four high-performance and four high-efficiency cores paired with up to 8 graphics cores. The next-generation of Apple chips will have different combinations of performance and efficiency cores.
In terms of Core count, Apple is currently developing a new chip with up to 16 high-performance cores. However, the company could launch a custom SoC with 8 Cores as well as a 12 Core option earlier.
Incidentally, reports also claim Apple is also developing a chip with 32 Cores. It is not immediately clear how many cores will be high performance and how many will offer efficiency. Nonetheless, this high-performance chip is apparently a replacement for the 28-Core Intel CPU that powers the top-end variant of the Mac Pro desktop computer.
Is Apple also planning to ditch AMD and NVIDIA GPUs and embed their own?
The Apple M1 chip houses just 8 GPU Cores. The count is surely low, but the GPU is not meant to play games or run graphics-intensive tasks. However, Apple is reportedly thinking far beyond GPUs for office work.
Apple released Navi 12 based MacBook Pro 16-inch laptop earlier this year. Navi 12 is AMD’s RDNA 1-based GPU. It seems Apple is keen to replace even GPUs within its computers with in-house developed alternatives.
According to Bloomberg, the company is working on 16 and 32-core graphics solutions. This is a significant but quite probable evolutionary leap compared to the Apple M1 chip’s 8-Core GPU. The new GPUs will obviously be embedded inside high-end mobile and mid-range desktop solutions.
To compete in the big-leagues, such as the AMD Radeon RX 6000M, the RX 6000 Series Graphics Cards, and the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3000 Series, Apple is reportedly developing 64-core and 128-core GPUs as well.
Although Bloomberg has offered a report, the publication states it has obtained the information from people familiar with current Apple roadmaps. It is important to note that unless Apple confirms, these are rumors and assumptions.