The heat was hot

, and the ground was dry. But the air was full of sound- AmericaA Horse with no name”
I started out in this business as a digital hardware engineer. My specialty was computer design. I re-designed their in-house mini-computer for better packaging and performance. I also designed a microprocessor board (or two). These used Motorola processors which were hot stuff in their day.
The parts we used were commercial grade which means that their heat range was 0-70º C. Military grade could go to 125º C. Desktop computers run somewhat cool < 60º C .Then there are laptops, specifically Apple laptops. Due to design problem with Intel processors, these systems will idle greater than 60º and if any significant work is done will be thermally limited at 100º . For those who don’t know , most processors will slow down their clocks when the package temperatures get too high. Old school AMD processors originally lacked thermal protection and would burn up if the CPU fan stopped running. (N.B this is no longer the case).For a long time now Apple has been obsessed with thin laptops, the thinner the better. This means , for their Intel laptops, that they were always thermally limited. Sometimes having lower spec processors could run faster than higher spec’ed processors due to poor cooling necessitated by thin bodies.You certainly did not get full value with the more expensive Intel processors.
Apple carried the thinness to the ridiculous extreme with their current generation Intel MacBook Air. The so-called cooling fans weren’t even connected to the CPU heatsink. Therefore they only contributed noise when the MacBook Air overheated , very little cooling. This happened all too frequently even when surfing the web with Chrome. And Zoom conferencing? Forget it.There was speculation that Apple designed the MacBook Air for a theoretically lower powered processor that Intel couldn’t deliver. Intel now lags both AMD and Apple as far as process goes. In any event we returned a new Intel MacBook Air after a few days since Apple’s inadequate cooling solution was not acceptable. We bought the latest Intel Generation MacBook Pro at a mere 2X the price.
But now there is Apple’s in-house Silicon. They are based on a sophisticated 64bit Arm Architecture, similar to what is in their iPhone/iPad products. From a thermal and performance standpoint there is no comparison between the M1 and Intel . Apple has “Rosetta 2” which dynamically translates Intel code to M1 code. Even running some benchmarks under Rosetta the M1 beats the Intel processors.
The M1 MacBook Air doesn’t even bother with a fan. Currently there is little performance difference between the M1 MacBook Air and M1 MacBook Pro. Also there seems to be little difference between 8GB and 16BG as far as performance goes. This is due to more efficient use of memory. Perhaps that will change when more apps are ported to native ARM code. Perhaps, not.
So two questions remain. 1)Should we have waited for the M1 MacBook Air? and 2) What happened to Intel?
As far as #2 and I am guessing here, is that a) Intel ran into process problems and b) ran out of ideas. Since Intel owns their own Fabrication lines, they are obligated to use them. These Fab lines have been lagging the rest of world (mostly Taiwan) in process. This has hampered their efforts for thermal efficiency. AMD and Apple contract externally for fabrication and this is now an advantage. For those of you who don’t know, Fab lines are a tremendous capital investment, one that Intel can’t walk away from easily.The other problem that Intel has is that they are stuck with the X86 Architecture. This is commonly known as CISC or “complex instruction set”. The alternative is RISC or “reduced Instruction Set” RISC has inherent advantages due to being able to scale more efficiently. For a while Intel was able to stave off obsolescence by utilizing RISC ideas. However, this apparently has now come to an end. Moreover, Intel has inherent security flaws that ARM doesn’t have. Any attempt to mitigate these flaws in software causes the OS to run more slowly. None of this is encouraging. Not that i feel sorry for Intel. They stole the X86_64 Architecture that AMD invented along with other improvements. So Intel has joined the ranks of Companies who had a good idea once and now are plodding along.So should we have waited? Perhaps with 20-20 hindsight. However,this laptop was meant to primarily drive an Epson Art printer so compatibility was all-important. At the time I didn’t think that the M1 would perform so well.

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