Apple Silicon M1: Black. Magic. Fuckery. →

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Apple M1 system on a chip (SoC) since its announcement a couple of weeks ago. More than any normal person should think about a SoC. As a hobbyist PC builder who has custom built many PC’s over the last 23 years and has kept a pulse on the latest CPU technologies and advances, I can’t recall a time where a new CPU or technology has made such an enormous leap over everything else on the market. Not the switch from 386 to 486, not the advancement from Pentium to Pentium II/III/Dual Core/i-series/etc., not the transition from AMD K5 to K6/Athlon/XP/64/x2/etc. The CPU performance leap that Apple has achieved with the M1 is monumental. Not only does it have faster single core and multi-core performance than all current mid-range CPU’s on the market, it’s trading punches with AMD and Intel’s higher-end processors. And it’s doing all of this at a fraction of the voltage (wattage) and being passively cooled (no heatsinks or fans). Apple’s M1 emulates x86 performance better and more efficiently than true x86 processors! All of this with a first generation chip! It’s impressive what they’ve accomplished. This is another 2007 iPhone announcement and product release-type moment and it’s hardly being noticed.

Just wait until someone figures out a way to emulate or virtual machine Windows 10 with the M1 and shows that it performs on-par or better than Windows 10 running natively on any AMD or Intel-based machine. Then people might start to notice…

An advantage that the M1 SoC has is good integrated graphics. Current benchmarks of the M1’s GPU put it on-par with a NVIDIA GTX 1050ti, a 2+ year-old graphics card by today’s standards. Today, that performance is more than adequate for desktop applications (web, Office, etc.), most photo and video editing, and for some 1080p gaming. Intel Iris and AMD Vega are getting much better than the old days of integrated graphics, but neither are offering a SoC. Given Apple’s year-over-year incremental improvements to its A-series processors in its phones and tablets, I’d wager a bet that by the 2nd or 3rd generation of the M-series chip that the graphics performance will catch-up to whatever is the standard at the time of its release.

Another consideration is that the M1 chip is what Apple is showing us is powering their entry-level products: the Mac Mini, the MacBook Air, and the MacBook Pro (13″). What they haven’t mentioned is what’s in store for its iMac, iMac Pro, Mac Pro, and MacBook Pro (16″) lineups. These machines have typically been powered by Intel’s mid to higher-end CPU’s (more cores and threads, higher voltage), have been spec’d out with higher amounts of RAM, and with higher-end GPU’s. I’m sure whatever Apple has planned for these machines is going to be a leap beyond what they have shown us with the M1.

This tweet from DHH,

I pray that Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm is letting the M1 give them ideas, take them in new directions. Because this level of sorcery is too damn powerful to be held by a single company. Especially a monopolizing conglomerate like Apple. But fucking kudos to those chip wizards 👏

AMD, Qualcomm, and certainly not Intel have a standalone CPU in their pipeline to compete with the performance of Apple’s M1. None have a SoC that competes with the package that Apple is offering with the M1. I do hope that they are paying attention and can innovate and compete. I can still see a future where hobbyists custom build their own PC’s, but at the price, performance, packaging, and value that Apple is proposing, it may upend that hobby and market.

[update 11/27/2020] Developer successfully virtualizes Windows for ARM on Apple M1

[updated 11/30/2020] I edited my original post after reading Erik Engheim’s article “Why is Apple’s M1 Chip So Fast?” because where I meant “CPU” I actually meant “SoC.”

[updated 12/3/2020] Benchmarks show that the ARM version of Windows 10 running on the Apple M1 destroys the ARM version of Windows 10 running on the Microsoft Surface Pro X. From the article:

Windows on an M1 got a single-core score of 1,288 and multi-core score of 5,685 whereas the Surface Pro X’s scores were roughly 800 and 3,000 in those respective benchmarks.

That’s 1.5x the single-core performance and almost 2x the multi-core performance. The Ryzen 3 system I built just three months ago is starting to seem like a relic from year’s past.

Opinion | Why Michigan’s Top Legislators Should Cancel that Meeting with Trump – POLITICO →

The Trump administration is nearing its end. Any other president who got these results on Election Day would have conceded gracefully and now be cooperating in a peaceful transfer of power—giving his successor’s team the information it needed so that from the stroke of noon on January 20, it could begin protecting American national security, fighting the Covid pandemic, and so forth. Trump is choosing to block all of that constructive work so that he can avoid admitting that the other guy won. He is doing a fair amount of damage on his way out. That damage is hurting the country in general, and it will also hurt specific people.

He has never cared about this country, only profiting from it.

However the election ends, white supremacy has already won →

Despite hundreds of thousands of people dead in the United States from the coronavirus and Trump’s sabotage of the relief efforts, along with his cruelty, violence, tens of thousands of lies, treasonous behavior and destruction of the country’s economy; despite the many thousands of brown and Black migrants and refugees held in his concentration camps and other detention centers; despite his vast corruption, lawbreaking, racism, white supremacy, and nativism; despite his destruction of America’s and the world’s environment, thereby imperiling the survival of the human race; despite being credibly accused of rape and sexual assault by dozens of women; and despite his ignorance, stupidity and overall evil, Donald Trump remains remarkably popular in the United States.

It’s disheartening to know that half the country wants four more years of this…

Google users locked out after 15 years’ use →

Reading accounts like this are the type of things that keep me up at night. And no response or explanation from Google is appalling.

I have entrusted Google to hold and manage my mail, contacts, calendar(s), photos, documents, etc. This is a great reminder to occasionally backup your Google accounts and data via Google Takeout.

*updated 12:50 p.m.* Here are some popular alternatives to Google products.

Chevy’s Little Engine That Could – The New York Times →

KISS at its finest. It’s incredible that this one motor has powered and continues to power so many vehicles that are on the road today. It’s still the go-to motor for many hot rod and racing applications. Even the next generation of this motor, the LS-series, utilizes many of the same engineering, technologies, and designs as the original (e.g. bore spacing, single cam, lifters, push rods, etc.) and including this motor in the next generation Corvette (C8) signals that there are no signs of retiring this motor.

America Has a Law for Disputed Elections—but It’s Not Ready for Trump →

I’m really hoping for a clean and resounding win for Biden and Harris in November to avoid a disputed election. Whether Trump accepts the election results and concedes the office is another concern for another day.

As of today, FiveThirtyEight projects that Biden is slightly favored to win (69 in 100 outcomes vs. Trump’s 30 in 100). You’ll remember that FiveThirtyEight predicted a Clinton presidency in 2016 and got it completely wrong. Trump beat the odds then and still has a chance to do it again in November.

After four years of this tyrant, kleptocracy, and gross incompetence, it’s preposterous to me that this is even a contest. I’m reminded of this David Sedaris quote:

I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it? To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.