TSMC and UMC producing Intel Chips

Lakados

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Sounds like shareholders finally got tired of adding +'s to the old 14nm node.
I think it’s more in response to loosing Apple, but yes. Share holders want them to shore up some loose ends. It also lets them better focus on their upgrading their fabs.
 

1_rick

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https://www.trendforce.com/presscenter/news/20210113-10651.html

TLDR;
15-20% of non CPU
i3’s at 5nm for second half of 2021
High end CPU’s at 3nm for second half of 2022.
Is there any substantiation that a company that's struggling at 10 and 7nm is suddenly (almost) ready to produce at 5 and 3 nm on someone else's process? Even if they were to just copy+paste they Skylake design (or the one that's eventually coming on 10nm) wouldn't they have to essentially redo it anyway because the design rules are different?
 

BinarySynapse

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Is there any substantiation that a company that's struggling at 10 and 7nm is suddenly (almost) ready to produce at 5 and 3 nm on someone else's process? Even if they were to just copy+paste they Skylake design (or the one that's eventually coming on 10nm) wouldn't they have to essentially redo it anyway because the design rules are different?

As with any big business dealings, this has most likely been in the works for quite some time to determine the feasibility of the move and put together a preliminary plan to execute it.
I’ve known about some of the partnerships and acquisitions my company has made several months before anyone on the street heard a rumor about it, much less it becoming official. And even in those cases I wasn’t even remotely the first to know.
 

Lakados

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Is there any substantiation that a company that's struggling at 10 and 7nm is suddenly (almost) ready to produce at 5 and 3 nm on someone else's process? Even if they were to just copy+paste they Skylake design (or the one that's eventually coming on 10nm) wouldn't they have to essentially redo it anyway because the design rules are different?
No clue, but their 10nm and 7nm struggles look mostly over (based on the lack of lawsuits from investors and the DOJ), but they also just replaced their CEO again so who knows what's going on over there. Their i3's are a very high volume part for Ultrabooks, and nicer Chromebooks, getting those out in time for the back to school / Christmas would put a dent in any inroads AMD might have tried to make in that space. There are articles popping up all over with speculations, some even thinking that Intel and TSMC will form a partnership of some sort or a licensing of tech and processes. It's madness!
It may also let Intel push out some of their more radical transistor designs ahead of schedule, but nobody really knows how Intel's 7nm compares to TSMC's 7, 5, 3 nm processes so its all guess work.
 

Lakados

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GiGaBiTe

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Quote from the new Intel CEO
“We have to deliver better products to the PC ecosystem than any possible thing that a lifestyle company in Cupertino” makes, Gelsinger reportedly told Intel employees. “We have to be that good, in the future.”

That quote shows how out of touch with reality the CEO really is. Apple for the past two decades has marketed themselves and their products to the high school, college and young adults as "our products make you look sophisticated, hip and well to do." The last time the PC market had anything like Apple's advertising was in the 80s. Since the 90s, PCs have been advertised to progressively smaller and niche audiences, and are now associated with older people in their 30s on up. Nobody is buying big iron anymore, even for home use besides the gaming and HEDT crowd.

Apple definitely isn't marketing their products on reliability or consistency, because they have always sucked at that going back to their inception. They've made numerous blunders over their history that almost bankrupted them several times. It continues to this day, you can't go a few months without hearing about some glaring design flaw that has a class action lawsuit in the works on their products, or how badly they perpetually screw their customers. They never own up to their mistakes and always downplay them as hard as possible. Whenever there is a recall or something, it's always stated as "a small number of users" when it could be 100% failure rates.

Apple has basically worked out how to box up and ship stockholm syndrome and human suffering and get people to pay for it year after year, it really is quite an accomplishment.

The PC industry doesn't need better products, it needs better marketing. If that doesn't come, the PC market is going to continue to contract and one day we may just be another footnote in history.
 

Lakados

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That quote shows how out of touch with reality the CEO really is. Apple for the past two decades has marketed themselves and their products to the high school, college and young adults as "our products make you look sophisticated, hip and well to do." The last time the PC market had anything like Apple's advertising was in the 80s. Since the 90s, PCs have been advertised to progressively smaller and niche audiences, and are now associated with older people in their 30s on up. Nobody is buying big iron anymore, even for home use besides the gaming and HEDT crowd.

Apple definitely isn't marketing their products on reliability or consistency, because they have always sucked at that going back to their inception. They've made numerous blunders over their history that almost bankrupted them several times. It continues to this day, you can't go a few months without hearing about some glaring design flaw that has a class action lawsuit in the works on their products, or how badly they perpetually screw their customers. They never own up to their mistakes and always downplay them as hard as possible. Whenever there is a recall or something, it's always stated as "a small number of users" when it could be 100% failure rates.

Apple has basically worked out how to box up and ship stockholm syndrome and human suffering and get people to pay for it year after year, it really is quite an accomplishment.

The PC industry doesn't need better products, it needs better marketing. If that doesn't come, the PC market is going to continue to contract and one day we may just be another footnote in history.
I'm pretty sure the quote is mostly in relation to the M1, it hands Intel its ass on a silver platter at that price/power point and it doesn't look good for a company whose primary focus is CPU's to get outdone by as he says "A Lifestyle company". Which selling a lifestyle or image to young adults is exactly what a lifestyle company does. So if anything he's right on the ball there.
 

Comixbooks

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What are the Intel foundries in Malaysia and Vietnam? I think I read that they only produce the Heatsink lids and not the chips?
 

[Spectre]

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I wonder what they are farming out to UMC. UMC process nodes are not particularly advanced.
 

serpretetsky

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I wonder what they are farming out to UMC. UMC process nodes are not particularly advanced.
Yeah I saw that too. I"m sure they have plenty of other chipsets that don't need the most advanced nodes: network, storage, flash, etc etc. But why do they need to outsource these. They don't have enough room for older node chips at their own fabs? Or is this a "just in case" move?
 

paradoxical

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That quote shows how out of touch with reality the CEO really is. Apple for the past two decades has marketed themselves and their products to the high school, college and young adults as "our products make you look sophisticated, hip and well to do." The last time the PC market had anything like Apple's advertising was in the 80s. Since the 90s, PCs have been advertised to progressively smaller and niche audiences, and are now associated with older people in their 30s on up. Nobody is buying big iron anymore, even for home use besides the gaming and HEDT crowd.

Apple definitely isn't marketing their products on reliability or consistency, because they have always sucked at that going back to their inception. They've made numerous blunders over their history that almost bankrupted them several times. It continues to this day, you can't go a few months without hearing about some glaring design flaw that has a class action lawsuit in the works on their products, or how badly they perpetually screw their customers. They never own up to their mistakes and always downplay them as hard as possible. Whenever there is a recall or something, it's always stated as "a small number of users" when it could be 100% failure rates.

Apple has basically worked out how to box up and ship stockholm syndrome and human suffering and get people to pay for it year after year, it really is quite an accomplishment.

The PC industry doesn't need better products, it needs better marketing. If that doesn't come, the PC market is going to continue to contract and one day we may just be another footnote in history.

No, the PC industry needs:

Laptops with equivalent or better build quality to a MBP (and do not even try to tell me Surface is, I have three ones with broken hinges on my desk here at work)
Laptops with equivalent quality touchpad to a MBP
Laptops with an equivalently good operating system to MacOS
Laptops with equivalent SSD speeds to Apple (for the last three years there was nothing even remotely close until the new PCI-E 4.0 SSDs are starting to proliferate)
13inch laptops with 4 full speed thunderbolt 3 ports like Apple (still none exist)
16 or 17 inch laptops with 4 full speed thunderbolt 3 ports like Apple (still none exist)
A complete re-write of the audio subsystems of windows to be as low latency as Apple's is (even with my RME drivers windows is about 30% higher latency)
Industrial design at the level apple has (industrial design is part of marketing)
A mainstream company that is shipping FPGA accelerators like Apple is
A mainstream company that is creating custom ASICS for things like spatial audio and SSD controllers like Apple is
A company that stands up to the FBI's request to break encryption like Apple does
A company that can make mobile silicon as fast and power efficient as Apple does (Intel is not even close)
A company that has as integrated of an ecosystem as Apple does
A company that reinvests as much capital as Apple does in their products

The reason Intel's CEO said what he did was because while Intel was busy with 14++++, Apple was spending billions of dollars transitioning from a lifestyle company to a silicon company - a silicon company with the industry-best understanding of full-stack consumer products and consumer's buying patterns. That also happens to be an incredible software company.

The lifestyle company has now become the 800lb gorilla in the room....
 
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IceCaveMan

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Apple has basically worked out how to box up and ship stockholm syndrome and human suffering and get people to pay for it year after year, it really is quite an accomplishment.

It's healthy to be critical of Apple on several fronts--they deserve it. Now this short of hyperbolic romp? I'm going to assume this was binge-assisted.
 

GiGaBiTe

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It's healthy to be critical of Apple on several fronts--they deserve it. Now this short of hyperbolic romp? I'm going to assume this was binge-assisted.

What about it is false? It's fact that Apple has treated their customers terrible for decades, and it's also fact that they cause human suffering. Let's not forget about suicide nets at their slave labor Foxconn factories in China. They're not the only ones guilty of the practice, but it doesn't change the fact they need to be called out on it.
 

The Lurker

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Well, I guess TSMC is becoming the pure play processing unit manufacturer. I do wonder one thing, why didnt they ask Marvell, they have 7nm fabrication capability.
 

[Spectre]

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Well, I guess TSMC is becoming the pure play processing unit manufacturer. I do wonder one thing, why didnt they ask Marvell, they have 7nm fabrication capability.

Where does Marvel have 7nm foundries?
 

ChadD

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Well, I guess TSMC is becoming the pure play processing unit manufacturer. I do wonder one thing, why didnt they ask Marvell, they have 7nm fabrication capability.
Marvell is fabless. They contract TSMC like everyone else at this point.
 

Lakados

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What are the Intel foundries in Malaysia and Vietnam? I think I read that they only produce the Heatsink lids and not the chips?
Intel has 15 wafer fabs in production worldwide at 10 locations. Approximately half of our workforce handles production or production services.

Our fab production sites in the United States include:
  • Chandler, Arizona
  • Hudson, Massachusetts
  • Rio Rancho, New Mexico
  • Hillsboro, Oregon.
Fab production sites outside the United States include:
  • Leixlip, Ireland
  • Jerusalem, Israel
  • Kiryal Gat, Israel
  • Dalian, China.
We have one testing facility and one assembly development facility in the United States. The remainder assembly and test sites are outside the United States:
  • Shanghai, China
  • Chengdu, China
  • San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Kulim, Malaysia
  • Penang, Malaysia
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
https://www.intel.ca/content/www/ca/en/support/articles/000015142/programs.html
 
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clockdogg

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...The reason Intel's CEO said what he did was because while Intel was busy with 14++++, Apple was spending billions of dollars transitioning from a lifestyle company to a silicon company - a silicon company with the industry-best understanding of full-stack consumer products and consumer's buying patterns. That also happens to be an incredible software company.

The lifestyle company has now become the 800lb gorilla in the room....
To be fair to Intel they were spending billions too. On stock buyback schemes. That's like R&D. For share price.
 

GiGaBiTe

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Laptops with equivalent or better build quality to a MBP (and do not even try to tell me Surface is, I have three ones with broken hinges on my desk here at work)

Sorry, what? A $400 Walmart laptop has better build quality than any Macbook to ever exist. The list of hideous design flaws is endless, but a few highlights are the butterfly keyboard, delaminating Retina displays, USB-C dongles make wifi stop working (), SSD failures with no possibility of data recovery due to logic board integration and encryption, "Flexgate" causing screens to die, "Flexgate 2.0", some macbooks have weak LCD panel supports that fatigue and break, leading to the display cracking. Let's also not forget dongles, where you need expensive dongles due to the lack of ports in many of their laptops.

If anything, Apple needs to build things to PC quality standards, not the other way around. PC laptops aren't perfect, but at least they don't have some of the same serious glaring design faults year after year. Apple sells their laptops for thousands of dollars, they have absolutely no excuse for the continued problems that plague their designs.

They also design in spite and forced obsolescence to all of their products. Normally asinine parts that exist for PC laptops that have cheap replacements available are either hideously expensive or unavailable in Apple land. Apple has spent decades quashing the 3rd party repair industry and doing everything in their power to stop the proliferation of parts to repair their products, including using immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) to seize and destroy products shops buy to repair Apple products under the guise of them being counterfeits, despite them being in many cases original refurbished Apple parts. Then there's also the recent effort to serialize parts and lock them to specific devices to make them impossible to replace, even if you have a perfectly good OEM replacement part.

Laptops with equivalent quality touchpad to a MBP
Laptops with an equivalently good operating system to MacOS
Laptops with equivalent SSD speeds to Apple (for the last three years there was nothing even remotely close until the new PCI-E 4.0 SSDs are starting to proliferate)
13inch laptops with 4 full speed thunderbolt 3 ports like Apple (still none exist)
16 or 17 inch laptops with 4 full speed thunderbolt 3 ports like Apple (still none exist)

First two points are subjective. I have a universal disdain for touchpads without discrete mouse buttons. I've used Apple touchpads and PC touchpads and I don't like either. MacOS being good is subjective as well. I've used MacOS since before it was even called that and there are quite a few things that aren't great about it.

As for the SSD and Thunderbolt ports, both have hideous problems. Apple in their more recent machines have integrated the SSD on the logic board, which is a terrible, horrible idea. Beyond the fact it can't be upgraded, when it fails, you're screwed out of your data and out of a laptop. On a PC, you can just slot in another drive and keep going at least. Thunderbolt is sure great for speed, but bad for everything else. It's a fragile connector that is prone to spectacular failure on Macbooks, and requires dongles to connect common USB peripherals. The connectors are also a mess, you have different connectors for thunderbolt 1 and 2 and another for 3. So you need a mix of adapters to get the connections you want, it quickly turns into a spaghetti mess.


A complete re-write of the audio subsystems of windows to be as low latency as Apple's is (even with my RME drivers windows is about 30% higher latency)
Industrial design at the level apple has (industrial design is part of marketing)
A mainstream company that is shipping FPGA accelerators like Apple is
A mainstream company that is creating custom ASICS for things like spatial audio and SSD controllers like Apple is
A company that stands up to the FBI's request to break encryption like Apple does
A company that can make mobile silicon as fast and power efficient as Apple does (Intel is not even close)

I can't speak about audio latency because I don't really have a need for precision audio, but FPGA accelerators? Apple definitely doesn't make those, they're just slapping on some random Xilinx part and putting a bit of code into it, literally anyone can do that. The reason FPGA accelerators aren't more widespread is because there's no point to having them. CPUs and GPGPU can do what a modest FPGA can do. The last time FPGA accelerators were a thing in PC land was back in the 90s when CPUs were in fact too weak to do quite a lot of specialized tasks.

A company that has as integrated of an ecosystem as Apple does

Apple doesn't so much have an integrated ecosystem, as more of a walled fortress where nobody is allowed in. They don't want to share with anyone, they want complete control what you see and do. They've been this way since Steve Jobs came back in the late 90s, all of their openness vanished overnight and he clamped down with an iron fist until his death in 2011. But his legacy of being cut throat continues to this day.
 

Chief Blur Buster

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Laptops with equivalent or better build quality to a MBP (and do not even try to tell me Surface is, I have three ones with broken hinges on my desk here at work)
Laptops with equivalent quality touchpad to a MBP
Laptops with equivalent SSD speeds to Apple

I love MBP builds and own them, so let me tell you a secret:

I have Macs and PC laptops, and I have found that the metal Razer gaming laptops come pretty close. Black anodized metal, slim, MBP-quality touchpad, and very fast SSDs.

It does not tick all the checkboxes, but it is about the same size as a 15" MBP, even about same thickness too, and comes with either a 4K OLED screen or a 240Hz-to-360Hz 1080p screen. This species of gaming laptops make kick-ass office laptops that breeze Visual Studio and Adobe Photoshop for my office work, with 3 gigabyte/sec SSDs, 6C/12T or 8C/16T CPUs, and an RTX graphics chip (2000 or 3000 series). Yet can switch to Integrated Graphics mode for a 5-hour battery life in Microsoft Word in Battery Saver mode (that feels faster than Performance Mode of many cheap laptops).

Although it does not have the delightful Taptic Engine, the Razer touchpads is now as good as a 2015 MBP Pro touchpad (the one without Taptic Engine), capable of proper subpixel smooth flick scrolling at the same quality in applications that support the new precision touchpad APIs. Ginormously huge PhotoShop-precise touchpad just like I am accustomed to on MBPs.

Most offices don't consider gaming laptops as an option. But, some models are magical MBP-like office machines.

With really great SSDs, MBP-quality touchpads, Retina OLED screens, etc. The Retina OLED screen on the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition is superior to any MBP screen I've seen. Or if you love refresh rate, the 1080p 360Hz screen has one-sixth the web scrolling motion blur of a 60Hz laptop, and one-third the web scrolling motion blur of a 120Hz iPad. The high refresh rates are no longer just for games, it ergonomically benefits all apps and scrolling with less motion blur.

Even 120Hz is about to slowly hit the office (with Apple spreading high-Hz goodness to more devices, and soon to their Macs in the near future). 120Hz is slowly now becoming mainstream and will enter office devices throughout later this device (with higher Hz staying in gaming). But 240Hz is even more ergonomic for office use with even less scrolling motion blur (great for panning zoomed photos around in Adobe PhotoShop or scrolling a long PDF). Staid offices can get a jump on this by treating a gaming laptop's high-Hz gaming screen for office-ergonomic purposes with CRT-motion-clarity with no eye-straining LCD motion blurring, and without flicker of a CRT. Quadrupling Hz on an LCD cuts LCD motionblur to one-quarter, and if you've ever used a 120Hz iPad, then wait till you office along on a 240Hz laptop if you do lots of scrolling all day long.

Granted, many of these have MBP-like prices (and sometimes more expensive, if you splurge for the expensive screen options that MBPs don't even have). There are nice corporate metal monoliths (if you turn off their RGB or turn them to white mode). Rather than the flashy weird shaped plastic hulks that seem out of place in a corporate office.

Hate RGB? No problemo -- configure its RGB keyboard into white mode, and it just looks like a corporate backlit MBP keyboard (and superior to the Butterfly variant). It's ready for a suit-and-tie at the executive suites. I know at least one corporation now use gaming laptops (with gaming apps blocked), just because they really blaze along as office laptops, just ignore the "gamling laptop" label if you have a no-gaming policy. It's your ticket to a non-Apple MBP experience.

TL;DR: Little known corporate secret: If you want shocking good office app performance with MBP-like experience in a Windows laptop, consider one of those smaller metal ultraslim corporate-looking gaming laptops.
 
Last edited:

alxlwson

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Aug 25, 2013
Messages
7,763
I love MBP builds and own them, so let me tell you a secret:

I have Macs and PC laptops, and I have found that the metal Razer gaming laptops come pretty close. Black anodized metal, slim, MBP-quality touchpad, and very fast SSDs.

It does not tick all the checkboxes, but it is about the same size as a 15" MBP, even about same thickness too, and comes with either a 4K OLED screen or a 240Hz-to-360Hz 1080p screen. This species of gaming laptops make kick-ass office laptops that breeze Visual Studio and Adobe Photoshop for my office work, with 3 gigabyte/sec SSDs, 6C/12T or 8C/16T CPUs, and an RTX graphics chip (2000 or 3000 series). Yet can switch to Integrated Graphics mode for a 5-hour battery life in Microsoft Word in Battery Saver mode (that feels faster than Performance Mode of many cheap laptops).

Although it does not have the delightful Taptic Engine, the Razer touchpads is now as good as a 2015 MBP Pro touchpad (the one without Taptic Engine), capable of proper subpixel smooth flick scrolling at the same quality in applications that support the new precision touchpad APIs. Ginormously huge PhotoShop-precise touchpad just like I am accustomed to on MBPs.

Most offices don't consider gaming laptops as an option. But, some models are magical MBP-like office machines.

With really great SSDs, MBP-quality touchpads, Retina OLED screens, etc. The Retina OLED screen on the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition is superior to any MBP screen I've seen. Or if you love refresh rate, the 1080p 360Hz screen has one-sixth the web scrolling motion blur of a 60Hz laptop, and one-third the web scrolling motion blur of a 120Hz iPad. The high refresh rates are no longer just for games, it ergonomically benefits all apps and scrolling with less motion blur.

Even 120Hz is about to slowly hit the office (with Apple spreading high-Hz goodness to more devices, and soon to their Macs in the near future). 120Hz is slowly now becoming mainstream and will enter office devices throughout later this device (with higher Hz staying in gaming). But 240Hz is even more ergonomic for office use with even less scrolling motion blur (great for panning zoomed photos around in Adobe PhotoShop or scrolling a long PDF). Staid offices can get a jump on this by treating a gaming laptop's high-Hz gaming screen for office-ergonomic purposes with CRT-motion-clarity with no eye-straining LCD motion blurring, and without flicker of a CRT. Quadrupling Hz on an LCD cuts LCD motionblur to one-quarter, and if you've ever used a 120Hz iPad, then wait till you office along on a 240Hz laptop if you do lots of scrolling all day long.

Granted, many of these have MBP-like prices (and sometimes more expensive, if you splurge for the expensive screen options that MBPs don't even have). There are nice corporate metal monoliths (if you turn off their RGB or turn them to white mode). Rather than the flashy weird shaped plastic hulks that seem out of place in a corporate office.

Hate RGB? No problemo -- configure its RGB keyboard into white mode, and it just looks like a corporate backlit MBP keyboard (and superior to the Butterfly variant). It's ready for a suit-and-tie at the executive suites. I know at least one corporation now use gaming laptops (with gaming apps blocked), just because they really blaze along as office laptops, just ignore the "gamling laptop" label if you have a no-gaming policy. It's your ticket to a non-Apple MBP experience.

TL;DR: Little known corporate secret: If you want shocking good office app performance with MBP-like experience in a Windows laptop, consider one of those smaller metal ultraslim corporate-looking gaming laptops.

I second this. My Blade 2019 Advanced is a beast of a machine with absolutely impeccable build quality and fantastic design.
 

Saabjock

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So in the end... we chose to 'farm' it out because we simply could not compete within the profit margin or level of expertise. Got it
 

Nside

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No, the PC industry needs:

Laptops with equivalent or better build quality to a MBP (and do not even try to tell me Surface is, I have three ones with broken hinges on my desk here at work)
Laptops with equivalent quality touchpad to a MBP
Laptops with an equivalently good operating system to MacOS
Laptops with equivalent SSD speeds to Apple (for the last three years there was nothing even remotely close until the new PCI-E 4.0 SSDs are starting to proliferate)
13inch laptops with 4 full speed thunderbolt 3 ports like Apple (still none exist)
16 or 17 inch laptops with 4 full speed thunderbolt 3 ports like Apple (still none exist)
A complete re-write of the audio subsystems of windows to be as low latency as Apple's is (even with my RME drivers windows is about 30% higher latency)
Industrial design at the level apple has (industrial design is part of marketing)
A mainstream company that is shipping FPGA accelerators like Apple is
A mainstream company that is creating custom ASICS for things like spatial audio and SSD controllers like Apple is
A company that stands up to the FBI's request to break encryption like Apple does
A company that can make mobile silicon as fast and power efficient as Apple does (Intel is not even close)
A company that has as integrated of an ecosystem as Apple does
A company that reinvests as much capital as Apple does in their products

The reason Intel's CEO said what he did was because while Intel was busy with 14++++, Apple was spending billions of dollars transitioning from a lifestyle company to a silicon company - a silicon company with the industry-best understanding of full-stack consumer products and consumer's buying patterns. That also happens to be an incredible software company.

The lifestyle company has now become the 800lb gorilla in the room....
While there are some pros Apple has, there are certainly some cons as well.

The build quality argument has been going on for ages, and it usually boils down to 2 things:
Comparing budget laptops to Macbooks (which are NEVER budget)
Comparing component integration design, where all Macbooks are build by the same company that designs or specifically chooses every component and builds a limited number of model variations.

Both of those are flawed in their approach. There are some aspects Apple gets right, there are many they get wrong as well, and that's from a company that builds and/or designs everything. The Keyboard issue from a few years back is a good example. The most worrying thing about their flaws is their refusal to admit them, and users typically get blamed instead.
"You're opening your Macbook too fast"
"You're holding your phone wrong"
"You're filthy, and your personal filth is clogging up our super-advanced keyboard. Try to clean it, and if it doesn't work, you obviously did that wrong too."

Most of your list is subjective, or a result of limitations when it comes to hardware variations or software support. Literally everything on the list comes with a trade-off. I will say I will take a machine I can repair or replace parts on over most of your list. I also avoid PC/Laptop models that do the same crap as Apple. MB-Integrated SSD? nope... Soldered RAM? Nope... etc...

I will give you the audio latency issue as I don't know much about it. I do know that Windows is terrible at handling audio as a whole, specifically "virtual cables" or rerouting specific audio streams natively, but that's just my experience. There are programs that make it easier (or possible at all), but you still have to basically "trick" windows settings into doing what you want which turns into convoluted game of Audio-Inception. I don't know that Apple's OS is any better at it, but I know Linux sure isn't There might be a distro that is, I dunno). Both my experience and the latency you speak of are niche use-cases though.
 

paradoxical

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Messages
102
Sorry, what? A $400 Walmart laptop has better build quality than any Macbook to ever exist. The list of hideous design flaws is endless, but a few highlights are the butterfly keyboard, delaminating Retina displays, USB-C dongles make wifi stop working (), SSD failures with no possibility of data recovery due to logic board integration and encryption, "Flexgate" causing screens to die, "Flexgate 2.0", some macbooks have weak LCD panel supports that fatigue and break, leading to the display cracking. Let's also not forget dongles, where you need expensive dongles due to the lack of ports in many of their laptops.

Your opening statement makes it obvious to everyone you're just into hyperbole above facts. Nobody would realistically claim that the majority of PC laptops are built as well as Macs. Macbooks have by far proven the most reliable machines at my company, with an average replacement time of 4 years. PC laptops are at 1.4 years, and we get the expensive ones (Zenbook, Surface, Envy). You can buy a seven year old Macbook and it will perform the duties of an average person just fine; that's not the case with the vast majority of PC laptops. And if you do have a problem, you just hope in your car and drive 20 minutes to the nearest Apple store where they fix it for you.

My SSD in my Macbook Pro, which is from 2018 and still faster than 99% of PC laptop's SSD in 2021, could fail today and I would be back online with a completely new machine and zero data loss in TWO HOURS, which is impossible for the vast majority of PC laptops. How? I'd drive to the Apple store, have my 2018 laptop replaced under Applecare, drive home, and let Time Machine re-image my hard drive. Easy, and something you can't do with most PC laptops - especially boutique ones that you have to special order.


They also design in spite and forced obsolescence to all of their products. Normally asinine parts that exist for PC laptops that have cheap replacements available are either hideously expensive or unavailable in Apple land. Apple has spent decades quashing the 3rd party repair industry and doing everything in their power to stop the proliferation of parts to repair their products, including using immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) to seize and destroy products shops buy to repair Apple products under the guise of them being counterfeits, despite them being in many cases original refurbished Apple parts. Then there's also the recent effort to serialize parts and lock them to specific devices to make them impossible to replace, even if you have a perfectly good OEM replacement part.

I don't really care. I have a much more sophisticated lab than Rossman and can do BGA rework, etc, no problem. But I don't have a need to, since my Mac doesn't break and if it does it's easier to just go to the store and have it replaced under warranty instead of fixing it.

As for the SSD and Thunderbolt ports, both have hideous problems. Apple in their more recent machines have integrated the SSD on the logic board, which is a terrible, horrible idea. Beyond the fact it can't be upgraded, when it fails, you're screwed out of your data and out of a laptop. On a PC, you can just slot in another drive and keep going at least.


This really isn't a problem, why aren't you backing up your data? Also, 90% of PC laptops are now soldering ram and SSD to the logic board as well. It's the way the future is going, whether you like it or not.

Thunderbolt is sure great for speed, but bad for everything else. It's a fragile connector that is prone to spectacular failure on Macbooks, and requires dongles to connect common USB peripherals. The connectors are also a mess, you have different connectors for thunderbolt 1 and 2 and another for 3. So you need a mix of adapters to get the connections you want, it quickly turns into a spaghetti mess.


"Ferrari's are sure great for driving fast, but bad for going to the grocery store."

Some of us need to drive fast for work. Slower interfaces just don't work for things like external NVME arrays, 10GbE, 40gbps fiber, eGPU, etc. Also, saying Thunderbolt is a fragile connector is just patently ridiculous - it's the same connector that every damn PC laptop uses for USB C. Finally, there is no "spaghetti mess" of cable, my travel setup is incredible lightweight and powerful:

Macbook Pro 13
Pixel 4 XL
iPad Pro 12in
One multi-purpose dongle (usb 3, hdmi, ethernet, sd card)

I carry ONE charger and two thunderbolt cables for all of my devices. And two other little nice touches make this an awesome travel setup - the Macbook can high speed charge other devices out of it's thunderbolt ports even when it's closed and asleep, so overnight it can charge the iPad, my Phone, and my battery bank all while it's connected to the wall. And using Sidecar with the iPad in hotels is just an awesome way to have a dual-monitor setup on the go.

All of this is much less convenient and functional on a PC laptop. I would much rather carry one dongle that weighs two ounces instead of multiple cables, multiple power bricks, or adapters. Plus, each of my ports is much faster and more flexible than any port on a PC laptop.

I can't speak about audio latency because I don't really have a need for precision audio, but FPGA accelerators? Apple definitely doesn't make those, they're just slapping on some random Xilinx part and putting a bit of code into it, literally anyone can do that. The reason FPGA accelerators aren't more widespread is because there's no point to having them. CPUs and GPGPU can do what a modest FPGA can do. The last time FPGA accelerators were a thing in PC land was back in the 90s when CPUs were in fact too weak to do quite a lot of specialized tasks.

This is just patently wrong, I work with FPGAs for a living and a $20 FPGA will shred a $4000 3990x for many types of workloads. I am not speaking of this theoretically, I own a 3990x with 128gb of ram and it gets 100% pegged running DSP that a $60 FPGA just shreds.

Apple doesn't so much have an integrated ecosystem, as more of a walled fortress where nobody is allowed in. They don't want to share with anyone, they want complete control what you see and do. They've been this way since Steve Jobs came back in the late 90s, all of their openness vanished overnight and he clamped down with an iron fist until his death in 2011. But his legacy of being cut throat continues to this day.

Who cares if they don't want to share? I buy products that are the best, and fit my needs the best. I don't buy products because "wahhhh steve jobs is a dick and doesn't want to share so I'll buy from benevolent microsoft instead."
 
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Zangmonkey

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 6, 2005
Messages
3,941
I love MBP builds and own them, so let me tell you a secret:

I have Macs and PC laptops, and I have found that the metal Razer gaming laptops come pretty close. Black anodized metal, slim, MBP-quality touchpad, and very fast SSDs.

It does not tick all the checkboxes, but it is about the same size as a 15" MBP, even about same thickness too, and comes with either a 4K OLED screen or a 240Hz-to-360Hz 1080p screen. This species of gaming laptops make kick-ass office laptops that breeze Visual Studio and Adobe Photoshop for my office work, with 3 gigabyte/sec SSDs, 6C/12T or 8C/16T CPUs, and an RTX graphics chip (2000 or 3000 series). Yet can switch to Integrated Graphics mode for a 5-hour battery life in Microsoft Word in Battery Saver mode (that feels faster than Performance Mode of many cheap laptops).

Although it does not have the delightful Taptic Engine, the Razer touchpads is now as good as a 2015 MBP Pro touchpad (the one without Taptic Engine), capable of proper subpixel smooth flick scrolling at the same quality in applications that support the new precision touchpad APIs. Ginormously huge PhotoShop-precise touchpad just like I am accustomed to on MBPs.

Most offices don't consider gaming laptops as an option. But, some models are magical MBP-like office machines.

With really great SSDs, MBP-quality touchpads, Retina OLED screens, etc. The Retina OLED screen on the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition is superior to any MBP screen I've seen. Or if you love refresh rate, the 1080p 360Hz screen has one-sixth the web scrolling motion blur of a 60Hz laptop, and one-third the web scrolling motion blur of a 120Hz iPad. The high refresh rates are no longer just for games, it ergonomically benefits all apps and scrolling with less motion blur.

Even 120Hz is about to slowly hit the office (with Apple spreading high-Hz goodness to more devices, and soon to their Macs in the near future). 120Hz is slowly now becoming mainstream and will enter office devices throughout later this device (with higher Hz staying in gaming). But 240Hz is even more ergonomic for office use with even less scrolling motion blur (great for panning zoomed photos around in Adobe PhotoShop or scrolling a long PDF). Staid offices can get a jump on this by treating a gaming laptop's high-Hz gaming screen for office-ergonomic purposes with CRT-motion-clarity with no eye-straining LCD motion blurring, and without flicker of a CRT. Quadrupling Hz on an LCD cuts LCD motionblur to one-quarter, and if you've ever used a 120Hz iPad, then wait till you office along on a 240Hz laptop if you do lots of scrolling all day long.

Granted, many of these have MBP-like prices (and sometimes more expensive, if you splurge for the expensive screen options that MBPs don't even have). There are nice corporate metal monoliths (if you turn off their RGB or turn them to white mode). Rather than the flashy weird shaped plastic hulks that seem out of place in a corporate office.

Hate RGB? No problemo -- configure its RGB keyboard into white mode, and it just looks like a corporate backlit MBP keyboard (and superior to the Butterfly variant). It's ready for a suit-and-tie at the executive suites. I know at least one corporation now use gaming laptops (with gaming apps blocked), just because they really blaze along as office laptops, just ignore the "gamling laptop" label if you have a no-gaming policy. It's your ticket to a non-Apple MBP experience.

TL;DR: Little known corporate secret: If you want shocking good office app performance with MBP-like experience in a Windows laptop, consider one of those smaller metal ultraslim corporate-looking gaming laptops.


I've been watching razer and xps17 a while now.
I just want them to refresh onto the current generation of silicon.

Even razer's CES release is older gen
 

Chief Blur Buster

Owner of BlurBusters
Joined
Aug 18, 2017
Messages
94
I have a universal disdain for touchpads without discrete mouse buttons. I've used Apple touchpads and PC touchpads and I don't like either. MacOS being good is subjective as well. I've used MacOS since before it was even called that and there are quite a few things that aren't great about it.

1. I disable light tap-to-click
2. I reconfigure MBP and Razer touchpads to right-click when I click the bottom-right corner.
3. I require physical click for left click

Try it! Then it's a pleasure.

I can drag-and-drop just by pressing down with one finger [actual mechanical click anywhere on touchpad surface], dragging, then releasing finger. Feels the same on MBP and Razer when configured this way.

I absolutely adore the entire touchpad being a tactile mechanical clickable mouse button, for very quick text-selecting operations and dragging operations, because I can just press down [tactile mechanical click], drag, release [tactile unclick] with just one finger instead of two.

I just merely HATE tap-to-click because I accidentally click while typing. But fortunately that's easy to disable. Those gigantic MBP/Razer touchpads are fundamentally one big tactile-mouse-button when I press down hard enough (whether clicking button or dragging things). You know, these football-sized touchpads means I can drag-drop something from one screen edge to the opposite edge, in one pressed-down finger flick.

None of the wimppads where I have to HOLD a button with a 2nd finger while I flick-flick-flick with other finger in a painful long distance drag drop of a typical postage stamp touchpad. It's luxurious bliss. Occasionally, I actually sometimes prefer touchpad over mouse -- for Adobe PhotoShop specifically - that's how good it finally properly becomes is once I expertly attack the touchpad settings with Black Belt Settings Fu.

Settings Fu, yaaar!!!
 
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GiGaBiTe

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 26, 2013
Messages
1,495
Your opening statement makes it obvious to everyone you're just into hyperbole above facts. Nobody would realistically claim that the majority of PC laptops are built as well as Macs.

It's more obvious you're out of touch with reality. Mac laptops are not built to any higher standard than PC laptops, and it's readily apparent with recalls year after year for asinine things. The very same thing you claim to not like PC laptops for (hinges breaking) is even worse on Apple products. The hinges don't break, but the screen cables do, as do the screen supports, and the screens themselves. As someone who has repaired thousands of PC laptops, hinges rarely break, the problem is the screws come loose from the loctite holding them failing. Reapplying loctite and screwing the hinges back fixes the issue for years more. Broken PC laptop hinges occur from the screws getting loose for too long, or the laptop being dropped most of the time.

"flexgate"
https://www.pcmag.com/news/ifixit-flimsy-macbook-pro-cables-can-cost-600-to-fix

Butterfly Keyboards
https://www.macrumors.com/guide/butterfly-keyboard-issues/
https://www.techrepublic.com/articl...-butterfly-keyboards-at-basecamp-have-failed/

Recalls, etc.
https://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/macbook-problems-recalls-3699153/

Macbooks have by far proven the most reliable machines at my company, with an average replacement time of 4 years. PC laptops are at 1.4 years, and we get the expensive ones (Zenbook, Surface, Envy). You can buy a seven year old Macbook and it will perform the duties of an average person just fine; that's not the case with the vast majority of PC laptops.

You and your company are not the world, the position you have of not having a problem yourself or where you work, so everyone else must be the same is invalid. You're also hilariously wrong if you think a 7 year old PC laptop is any less capable or reliable than a 7 year old Macbook. Heck, I've had customers which were still using 15-20 year old laptops with no issues besides plastic wear and a flat battery. I have a couple of 15 year old laptops myself and they still work just fine if all you're doing is office work.

And if you do have a problem, you just hope in your car and drive 20 minutes to the nearest Apple store where they fix it for you.

since my Mac doesn't break and if it does it's easier to just go to the store and have it replaced under warranty instead of fixing it.

By "fix", you mean take to the cleaners? The Apple store doesn't fix anything anymore, they're more interested in trying to get you to buy a new Macbook.

Here's your typical trip to the Apple store with a problem. In this case, we know what it was, a damaged cable. Apple wants $1200 at minimum, or $1980 maximum, and the chad making the quote still could not give the "customer" a diagnosis of what exactly was wrong with the laptop, just shotgun replace parts and hope that it starts to work again. This happens to thousands of people daily, so your idea of getting a problem resolved at an Apple store is a figment of your imagination.

My SSD in my Macbook Pro, which is from 2018 and still faster than 99% of PC laptop's SSD in 2021, could fail today and I would be back online with a completely new machine and zero data loss in TWO HOURS, which is impossible for the vast majority of PC laptops. How? I'd drive to the Apple store, have my 2018 laptop replaced under Applecare, drive home, and let Time Machine re-image my hard drive. Easy, and something you can't do with most PC laptops - especially boutique ones that you have to special order.

This really isn't a problem, why aren't you backing up your data? Also, 90% of PC laptops are now soldering ram and SSD to the logic board as well. It's the way the future is going, whether you like it or not.

Where is your data? All you've done so far is fling insults and anecdotal experience. It appears you don't have any, so it's basically your anecdotes vs thousands of people and news outlets reporting on said issues. Sorry, but they have more credibility than you do.

I don't really care. I have a much more sophisticated lab than Rossman and can do BGA rework, etc, no problem. But I don't have a need to,

You do seem to care greatly, since you bothered to debate me about saying Apple products are junk. And congratulations on having a BGA rework setup? Not really sure what point you're trying to make. It just furthers my point of you being out of touch with reality, the average joe doesn't have thousands of dollars of equipment and the knowledge to do board level reworks, nor should they be expected to.

This is just patently wrong, I work with FPGAs for a living and a $20 FPGA will shred a $4000 3990x for many types of workloads. I am not speaking of this theoretically, I own a 3990x with 128gb of ram and it gets 100% pegged running DSP that a $60 FPGA just shreds.

Who are you arguing against here? It certainly wasn't me because I never said that. Please do tell me where a $20 FPGA can outperform both a CPU and GPGPU in conjunction.
 

Chief Blur Buster

Owner of BlurBusters
Joined
Aug 18, 2017
Messages
94
Who are you arguing against here? It certainly wasn't me because I never said that. Please do tell me where a $20 FPGA can outperform both a CPU and GPGPU in conjunction.
One line-item correction.

(First, covering general agreement. I like both PC and Mac. I have used a few $4000 monobloc Windows laptops that are more well built than a MBP and I'm Windows-Mac agnostic (I use both). And while I love AppleCare, some Windows laptop brands have kick ass extended warranties that will replace a damaged screen without even a $99 fee -- better than AppleCare. There's a premium RazerCare add-on warranty that doubles as damage insurance, for example. So skipping comment on MBP-vs-nonMBP debate because I know how to get the best examples of both. The Dell/HP-using peasants don't even know the universe f beautiful MBP-like Windows laptops that exist.)

<FPGA SideTrack>

I have a workload that I programmed, that a $20 FPGA outperforms a $1000 GPU for.

I have to take issue with this FPGA talk; I don't think this belongs here. Yes, GPU and CPUs do certain workloads better. But not all. There's an overlapping venn diagram. So you are both right, but only in your non-overlapping venn-diagram areas. Right now, I have loaded up an Xilinix Vivado FPGA environment, looked at the complex screens, and rewritten an FPGA before, and admired at the complexity even if it wasn't my own FPGA work. Clearly, there's certain cherrypicked loads that many FPGAs can do better -- especially when you need microsecond precision.

If you do some cherrypicking, there ARE some workloads that a $20 FPGA does better. If you need microsecond-precise latencies in an emulator, an FPGA blows away a CPU and GPGPU. I've done some beam-racing experience (Tear Line Jedi) and have helped an emulator add raster-based beam-racing between emulator raster and realworld raster, but for this kind of programming workload, you can get something better in the Xilinix programming environment in timing-precision workloads, than any CPU-GPU. I programmed Tearline Jedi (see the pouet.net demoscene forum thread I posted), about the incredible timing precision I was able to cram out of a GPU -- For this specific workload, almost FPGA-quality was only possible when I went to ultra-expensive GPUs (>$1000) but wasn't quite there. Even a $20 FPGA is still able to be a few hundred microseconds better than this in mimicking an original retro machine for workloads like beam racing and raster interrupts.

Back in the mid 1970s, some of the first programmable video game consoles such as Atari 2600 had no frame buffer. (For more information, see the WIRED.com article). They needed to generate graphics in real time, over and over again, in a "beam raced" manner. The puny 1MHz processor had only 1/15750th of a second to finish generating graphics for one pixel row for an NTSC television. But today, a 240Hz monitor requires 1/270,000th of a second to generate a pixel row in real time if you try to generate graphics framebufferlessly (like I did in Tearline Jedi, in above pouet.net link), as they spewed out of the DisplayPort graphics output, as a 2D serialization into 1D wire in a raster-based top-to-bottom fashion. I had raster interrupt experience writing 6502 assembly language in the Commodore 64 days, so I had the necessary knowledge to pull off a very weird feat (generating graphics framebufferlessly on an NVIDIA GPU -- a very oxymoronic weird thing to do). I think I was one of the first to pull that off with a GPU in outputting "pixel rows" in real time without waiting for a frame buffer interval -- and I was only able to output 8000 pixel rows per second on a GTX 1080 Ti for a Kefrens Bars animation (Amiga-style Clipper but beamracing done in software on a commodity GPU). That's less than the 15.75 KHz scan rate of NTSC (15750 pixel rows per second). A $20 FPGA can do it quite easily, running circles around even a mere $1000 GPU.

I hereby mic-drop a cherrypicked workload (precision raster interrupts), that I actually programmed myself, that a $20 FPGA definitely does better than a $1000 GPU.

This workload is actually surprisingly common -- google "FPGA retro gaming" -- some retro-"emulation" devices are using an FPGA (instead of an Ardunio-style device to mimic a classic computer with far less lag than a software-based emulator that runs on a $1000 GPU. In retro fighting games, even milliseconds matter -- since at 1000 pixels/sec fast motion, a 4ms delay means a 4-pixel offset versus your professional "button timing training" (many call it muscle memory) on the original stand-up arcade machine. Connosieurs of accurate "emulation" of original machines sometimes want perfect original-machine latency, and that's a workload perfect for an FPGA.

So, what I did is only an obscure GPU-attempt spinoff of an already-common FPGA workload, and still failed to quite match FPGA, but people were still impressed I could output graphics defacto-framebufferlessly on a commodity GPU. But I am passionate about these topics, being the founder of Blur Busters / TestUFO, I am a known "temporal authority" (Hz, motion, GtG, MPRT, latency, stutter, timing, etc) with citations in more than 20 peer-reviewed research papers. So I have bucketloads to say on this topic. Cue the microphone shattering on the velocity of my micdrop.

</FPGA SideTrack>

Nonetheless, this is mostly off topic. :)

We need better chips that eat less power, no matter what it is (GPU, CPU, FPGA, whatnot) that can do more workloads, more faster, with less power, even if we're still stuck with "Right Tool For Right Job" considerations.
 
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GiGaBiTe

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 26, 2013
Messages
1,495
</FPGA SideTrack>

Thank you for your well detailed explanation of the use of FPGA, rather than arrogant anecdotes, it was very insightful. I've long known about the pitfalls of emulation and how much of a struggle it is if you want cycle accurate and frame perfect emulation of some system in software (ie. Sega Saturn), but rarely ever seen anyone talk about it from a programmer's perspective. FPGAs, PAL, GAL, CPLD, etc. are often used in the retro computer area as well to re-create rare parts, such as the dying like flies MOS parts in Commodore machines, but it's still difficult to get 100% accurate replacements using them. But hey, it's better than having a doorstop computer that can't be used.

We need better chips that eat less power, no matter what it is (GPU, CPU, FPGA, whatnot) that can do more workloads, more faster, with less power, even if we're still stuck with "Right Tool For Right Job" considerations.

Yeah, we've been stuck in Intel's labrea tarpit of laziness far too long. Hopefully AMD's continued push with Ryzen will get Intel to up their game. They've gotten away with their TDP lies for far too long.
 
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