19 April 2006

Why Apple Chose Intel

There was much whining last year when Apple announced the move to Intel chips. There were some who thought leaving the PowerPC platform was a bad, bad thing. Others who were astonished that Apple had chosen Intel and not AMD who seemed to have the upper hand on performance. What was all this stuff about performance per watt anyway?

Reading this review of the Core Duo at Techreport via this article at Ars Technica, it is now easier to see why they took the decision they did. You don't have to read the full report at Techreport - just a few choice pages on power usage and the conclusion for instance will be enough. As the article also points out, there is also enough evidence for Mac users to (part) justify Apple's motives for not moving sooner.

With Bootcamp and other developments on the OS front, it is clear that moving to x86 itself was not just about performance per watt - it is part of a much grander plan which is only just unfolding. But MacBooks based around Turion for instance wouldn't be anything to write home about right now.

Of course, the relationship with Intel was not just about performance or performance/watt, Intel also needed Apple - comparatively small though it was. So, I've no doubt the deal between both parties encompasses many more aspects other than chip supply, and that it is a win-win for both.

I've no doubt AMD will continue to innovate and push Intel hard, and by all accounts, they will have some technology advantages again come (late) 2007 with moves towards larger numbers of processor cores. And when that time comes, Apple may well choose to offer machines using AMD chips. But for where Apple needed to be now and the next 12-18 months, Core - and the Merom/Conroe/Woodcrest successors are the perfect ingredients for its ambitions.

No comments: