March 06, 2021, 02:35:05 AM

Author Topic: Apple Silicon  (Read 388 times)

Offline iWasAdam

Apple Silicon
« on: July 24, 2020, 07:01:11 AM »
Well we all know that something is coming and we all know (generally) what is going to be inside it. But what we don't know is how it will run... Until now.

I've just had a small black box delivered from Apple. It looks like a mac mini, but it's very almost black and has no x86 inside.
Specs are 16gb Ram, 500gb ssd, z12/a12 chip with Big Sur

Unpacked, plugged in, logged in. If you like Macos then you will be happy. There's nothing to see here, just move along please.

Next was to pop to and download QasarBeach for the sound test. (this is going to fun)
The bloody thing ran without any issues. There was no stall for recompile, click and it ran. Everything was there, everything worked, tested full load on the sound and even the shaders and it just worked!

After that it was GenusPrime2. This is known as being a bit of a pig. But it just ran without any faults... !!!

I have no idea of what sort of magic is going on with the Apple Silicon. but it does exactly what they said it would: runs pure x68 code buttery smooth.

Next up will be compiling, but that is going to take a bit of time to wrangle. I'll report more findings if there needs any. But for now take it that this isn't a joke, they have delivered - and this is their 2 year old chip. the actual hardware will be faster...

x86... You had your day, but i am afraid it's over!

Offline Derron

Re: Apple Silicon
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2020, 07:31:36 AM »
So... uhm "why" did you get it "delivered" - did you order it or was it spent to you (to aid you developing for it or so) ?

Compilation times - compared to normal x86 computers might be interesting.

@ butter smooth
I assume that our software isn't that performance hungry ... so our x86 computers most probably idle a lot of time and so does the emulated stuff too.


Offline iWasAdam

Re: Apple Silicon
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2020, 07:59:53 AM »
It's a dev kit. It belongs to apple. I signed up for the dev program and they accepted me!

My audio code (which is not optimised) can have issues with windows machines. it's running on threads and can be very hungry so is a good test. TBH I wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised.

I haven't got compilers set up yet. I'll report back on that front...

Offline Steve Elliott

Re: Apple Silicon
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2020, 09:54:13 AM »
Well congrats on being accepted as an Apple Developer, it'll be interesting to hear how this early ARM System runs.  Yep Intel seem to be treading water while AMD and now Apple Silicon are swimming nicely.

An interesting video:

Windows 10 64-bit, 16Gb RAM, Intel i5 3.2 GHz, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (2Gb)
MacOS Big Sur 64-bit, 8Gb RAM, Intel i5 2.3 Ghz, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 1536 MB
Linux Mint 19.3 64-bit, 16Gb RAM, Intel i5 3.2 GHz, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (2Gb)
Raspberry Pi 400, Pi4, BBC B, C64, ZX Spectrum

Offline iWasAdam

Re: Apple Silicon
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2020, 10:53:14 AM »
Very interesting about the apple controller - I could certainly see that appearing.

The one thing that I was not expecting from the dev kit was how much you don't notice things. It looks and feels just like using a mac. Yep there are some new UI bits here and there, but the new icons new rounded corners - you don't really notice the change.

It certainly not sluggish (which is what i was expecting). Infact it feels very smooth and buttery. Using the activity monitor (gives you new cpu bars as a window) shows 8 cores, I suppose that is 6 fast and 2 slow cores?

shhh... don't tell my main mac but it keeps pace and is virtually cold!

One thing that really hits me with the new silicon, is how similar it is to how computers operated in the 70s/80s. What I mean is you have a cpu and memory and video controller all in one. You just need to add system memory and storage. everything is just like a spectrum or c64 in concept. PC architecture is all about busses and talk to this and talk to that. But this fundamentally goes back to the old way. cpu and video system all there all on. just learn the new pokes and peeks...

Offline Xerra

Re: Apple Silicon
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2020, 06:34:20 PM »
I'm curious about this dev kit because a friend got accepted for it but he didn't go in for it as the £499 price is quite expensive. The contract says you have to return this kit after a year and are only allowed to use it for actual development, not as a general use computer. So, my question is, does it work like the previous offer Apple did a few years back where they took the dev machines back but the testers who had paid out for the machine were given a current Mac mini instead.

Otherwise it's a lot of money to spend out for basically renting a machine for a year unless you're a serious developer looking to make the money back by being at the forefront of technology when they actually release.

I couldn't see anything in the small print about them compensating you for paying for the privilege of testing their hardware but I don't think they promised anything last time either.

Offline Qube

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Re: Apple Silicon
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2020, 08:57:00 PM »
Oo! Very intriguing. Do more testing with x86 stuff as I’m curious about the results. Hell, test everything you can and keep us updated ;D

I know Parallels doesn’t work yet ( our ever will ) but I’m really curious IF Windows x64 can run on the new Apple Silicon via virtualisation and more importantly at what speed?

Perhaps you could whip up a hypervisor over the weekend and let us know? :))
Mac mini ( 2018 / 2020 ), 3 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i5, 16 GB 2667 MHz DDR4, 1TB NVMe, eGPU Radeon Pro 580 8 GB, LG Ultragear 27GL83A-B 27 Inch
Mac mini (2020 ), M1 SoC, 8 GB LPDDR4, 512GB NVMe 
Commodore VIC-20, 1.1Mhz MOS 6502 CPU, 5KB RAM, VIC ( 6560 ) GPU

Until the next time.


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