ARM Processors with Mac Pro Level Performance Possible Today

Former Apple executive and Be, Inc founder Jean-Louis Gassée explores the possibility of Apple's move to ARM-based Macs in the near future.


The speculation comes amidst of increasing rumors that Apple will be launching ARM-based Macs as early as 2021.

Gassée explains he was previously skeptical about the ability for ARM-based processors to achieve performance parity with current Intel offerings, but now says he was "wrong". Gassée points to a startup called Ampere Computing that offers high-power ARM-based processors that compete head-to-head with high end Intel chips:

Ampere top of the line chips consume less power, about 210 watts, than a competing Xeon CPU needing as much as 400 wats, for about the same amount of computing power — hence investors' interest in a device that could progressively supplant Intel products in tens of millions of servers around the world. Ampere shows us that the ARM architecture can yield the class of chips a Mac Pro would need.

Apple, of course, designs their own custom ARM processors, but it seems at least one other company is pushing the limits of performance with the ARM architecture. Apple's custom processors have quickly ramped up in performance that is comparable to their recent Mac laptops powered by Intel processors.

Serious rumors about Apple replacing Intel chips with ARM chips in their Macs started in 2018 with a detailed report from Bloomberg. The most recent rumor has placed the transition at stating in early 2021.

Related Roundup: Mac Pro
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

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3 weeks ago


Will Apple still insult their consumers with ridiculous prices?


Still got around $700 for my Macbook Pro (Retina) after 6 years... which was $2300 when i bought it. So it ended up not being that expensive after all.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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3 weeks ago


Honestly, I’d rather have Intel compatibility at this point. I don’t really need more performance out of my system. In fact, I’m happy with pretty much everything my iMac does. I don’t sit down and think “man, I wish my processor was 2x as powerful.” I sit down and enjoy my speedy iMac and I’m happy.

The only reason I’d upgrade is to be able to update to the latest macOS, as I get obsoleted.


I've been through the 68K to PPC, and the PPC to Intel transitions, and frankly I don't really relish having to go through another, even if Apple has another emulator in the wings that can make it relatively painless process.

My Mac is already as fast as I need it to be, and bringing the iOS app experience closer to desktop isn't necessarily a good thing either, so I'm having difficulty envisioning a compelling reason to switch.

Now, get off my lawn.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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3 weeks ago


Saw this article on Engadget this weekend

[URL unfurl="true"]https://www.engadget.com/2020/03/08/amd-cpu-take-a-way-data-leak-security-flaw/[/URL]

The Intel processors have always worked great for Apple so I don't know why they would want to switch to ARM

That article is about AMD, not ARM

Either way, I hope they stick to Intel as well
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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3 weeks ago
Odds are macOS is already living a secret double life on ARM processors! ;)
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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3 weeks ago
Make BeOS Great Again!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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3 weeks ago
And give up native x86 virtualisation? Count me out.

The move to ARM offers nothing drastically better, at best you can hope to achieve the same level of performance - so why switch architectures if it's more of the same?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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