AMD chips and Apple's software: ending the monopoly

by Jeremiah Foster

I have felt since the announcement of Apple's switch to Intel that they chose the wrong chip. Perhaps the Intel architecture, that is to say the x86 architecture, was the right choice, but the supplier was the wrong choice. Apple should have chosen AMD.

15 Comments

Eric
2006-11-17 05:46:16
One problem is the capacity of AMD. When they started delivering processors for Dell, they weren't able to supply the newest processors to other clients, mostly small ones... I think it's not nice when the newest apple computers are not in stock at the apple stores because of supply problems (like with the iMac G5)
Chris
2006-11-17 05:59:42
I don't think Microsoft is a customer of Intel. There is nothing that Microsoft could do to or ask of Intel that would damage Apple.
Wolf
2006-11-17 06:31:32
AMD really, really builds good processors. My hands-on unbiased evaluation of their processors always yielded a 2-4-fold increase of relevant performance over the current comparable Intel model. They fully support dynamic frequency scaling, with makes them real snug and quiet office companions. If you are on your own making business / hardware decisions, AMD comes very naturally. If you believe some charts other people cook up, well then you may very well end up using Intel or so. But if performance is all you need, I can't see how you would ignore AMD. (Conflicts of interest: none. I have no shares or business connections with any hardware manufacturer, leave alone Intel or AMD). If coolness comes from cool and affordable good performance, then AMD is cool :-)
Reedo
2006-11-17 06:32:25
I like AMD as much as the next guy, and I like its competition with Intel even more. But a 64-bit processor is simply not an AMD innovation. 64-bit processors were around before AMD64/x86-64, just not in PCs. Consider Intel's Itanium and its successors, for instance. I'm curious what the fruits of the merger of AMD and ATI will be.
Javier
2006-11-17 09:29:36
AMD builds x86 clones. Where is the innovation in that?


How much karma would Apple gain or lose if they started building Macs using an Intel clone?

will
2006-11-17 11:26:38
I'll take Intel's fundamental improvements to the architecture over AMD's goofy extensions (oops, I mean "innovations") any day.

2006-11-17 13:45:53
Microsoft is a bigger customer of IBM than Intel, a.k.a. Xbox. MS isn't tied to the chip as much as they are tied to the architecture.
Tom
2006-11-17 14:12:17
I disagree with this statement: "Intel is always going to protect its large customer Microsoft".


In the past, Microsoft has used this clout to force certain platform changes. It is never a good thing for any one company to have too much influence, and it is in Intel's best interest to diversify the OS platforms that run on x86 hardware.

pauldwaite
2006-11-17 15:14:19
> "AMD could not have supplied the necessary production capacity to match Apple's needs"


If that's true, then Apple had no choice, did they? They have shareholders. I doubt they would have enjoyed hearing "Sorry guys, we decided to sell fewer computers because, I dunno, Intel smell all Microsofty."


As far as operating systems go, Apple isn't currently a significant competitor to Microsoft. Microsoft won the operating system battle long ago. Linux is more of a worry to Microsoft, as it's free. Microsoft's biggest problem is trying to get 2000 and XP users to buy Vista.


As asked previously in the comments, is Microsoft a customer of Intel?

Ram
2006-11-18 05:31:26
Javier: AMD came up with 64 bit extensions for the x86 platform. Intel adopted the same and called it EMT64. Thats the innovation.
HaggardBushAbramoffKidanNey JebFoley
2006-11-18 06:06:57
Instead of comparing a Power PC chip connected to a 166MHz front side bus with Intel chips, why not benchmark the mighty Intel Core Solo against a Powerbook running 2 quad-core Cell processors?
JulesLt
2006-11-18 09:30:35
As someone who used to loath Intel chips, compared to the 68000, I'm not that bothered which x86 company Apple has gone with. There is a temptation to have an emotional attachment to AMD because they're the underdog, and it was a great day when they went from being a clone manufacturer to landing some serious punches in terms of performance.
On the other hand, it seems to have provoked Intel into competing - they now have a roadmap for fully re-designing the core microarchitecture every few years, rather than (as with the P4) milking it as long as it will go.
Let's not forget that when Steve Jobs was last at Apple, they weren't an underdog either.


I also suspect that MS supporting AMD extensions and AMD 64, then going PPC with the XBox, might have upset the Intel-MS relationship a little.


I also suspect Apple would have no problem using an AMD CPU if it was the right technical move. As it is, they're using the best x86 CPU available.


Me - I'd have thought it would be more interesting if they'd allied with the Sony/IBM Cell chip.

tayker
2006-11-18 20:01:47
I agree that Apple should've used AMD as well. Intel has been playing catchup to AMD in innovation since 3DNow. Intel, like Microsoft, definitely has the finances to market their processors and keep Intel in everyone's minds. On top of that, AMD bought NexGen awhile back, incorporating RISC technology into their processors. IMO, RISC technology(ie PowerPC) helped define Apple. Now they're no more than another GUI OS on a CISC platform.
Steve
2006-11-20 03:35:16
Actual AMD cpu's suck compared to Intel offerings.
Zac
2006-11-21 10:11:14
As much as I love AMD, Intel is currently offering the best chips. End of story.