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Henry Mishin
Henry Mishin

Intel Processor For Mac

While Apple is rapidly transitioning its Mac lineup from Intel processors to its own Apple silicon, it's worth highlighting as 2021 wraps up that the relationship between Apple and Intel hasn't been entirely severed as reports indicate Apple still has one more Intel-based Mac in its pipeline that's yet to be released.

Intel Processor For Mac

On October, 5 Microsoft has officially released Windows 11. This article provides detailed instructions on how to create a Windows 11 virtual machine on a Mac with an Intel processor. To learn more on how to install a new Windows 11 virtual machine on Mac computers with Apple M Series chips please refer to KB 125375.

For some people, running Windows on a Mac is the perfect way to use a specific app that is unavailable on Mac, or to play Windows games. For a long time, it was easy to run Windows on a Mac. Since Windows is designed to run on an Intel processor, you could Windows on your Mac and boot into Windows, or run it in a virtual machine on your Mac.

In 1994, Apple released a Mac that allowed users to run both operating systems on a single computer. The Power Macintosh 6100 was available in a version with a PDS (processor direct slot) card which contained an Intel 80486 DX2/66 processor, allowing users to boot into Windows when needed, or even run both operating systems simultaneously if they had two monitors. The 1996 Power Mac 4400 also supported Windows, through the use of a PCI PC compatibility card, which contained a Pentium processor.

In 2006, when Apple switched to Intel processors, running Windows became simpler. Apple released Boot Camp, which allowed users to install Windows in a dedicated partition on a Mac and boot into that operating system when necessary.

Around the same time Parallels Desktop was released offering virtualization; the ability to run Windows within macOS, rather than requiring that you choose an operating system at startup. One year later, VMware Fusion was released, offering the same capability, and today, these two apps offer excellent Windows virtualization on Macs; if they have Intel processors. (Both apps can also run other operating systems, including Linux, and even older versions of macOS.)

The updated M2 processors debuted in the middle of 2022 in an updated 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, and today unveiled the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips for the Mac Mini and 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro. They're effectively just spec bumps: they're more or less the same excellent computers inside and out, with more powerful and efficient chips inside. Heck, the updated Mac Mini actually got a hundred bucks less expensive, with a new starting price of $599.

I have an M1 Max 16-inch MacBook Pro and I'll be honest: I love it. I've been a Mac user for a while now, and generally like the Intel-powered MacBook Pro laptops I cycled through over the last 15 years, but always had complaints about the battery life or heat or that damned butterfly keyboard and the stupid Touch Bar strip screen that replaced my beloved function keys (in truth it wasn't that bad, just mostly useless). This M1 MacBook Pro? It's amazing. The XDR screen is incredible (yes, the notch is silly, but I barely notice it), the battery life is phenomenal, and even when I doing stuff that hits the processor hard like video rendering or 3D modeling it never skips a beat and barely even gets warm. My only real complaint is the weight, but I knew that going in.

But what Apple didn't mention in all of this is that the Intel Mac Mini they'd offered alongside the M1 Mac Mini was being decommissioned. All of Apple's consumer-grade hardware is now powered by Apple-designed processors, from the Apple Watch to the iPad Pro all the way up to the highest-specced M2 MacBook Pro. This leaves just one Mac with an Intel processor inside: the Mac Pro.

Right now, you can buy a Mac Pro from Apple with a selection of Intel Xeon processors, from a 3.5GHz 8-core Intel Xeon W starting at $5,999 up to a 2.5Ghz 28-core Xeon W starting at $12,999. Fully max that bad boy out with 1.5TB of RAM (O_o), two AMD Radeon Pro W6800X Duo graphics cards with 64GB of memory each, 8TB of SSD storage, an Apple Afterburner PCIe accelerator card, and a $400 set of caster wheels for *gulp* $52,199.

It's only a matter of time before the Mac Pro gets the M-series treatment and Apple fully leaves their nearly two-decade partnership with Intel behind. The scalable architecture of the M-series platform makes this an inevitability. With something like the Mac Pro the power-sipping constraints of laptops are less of a concern. Apple will still undoubtedly tout the power efficiency because using less energy is still a good thing, and the Intel Xeon processors are power-hungry beasts so it'll make a good comparison on Apple's usual unit-less charts and graphs. I wouldn't be surprised if later this year we see an M2 Ultimate processor with a comically large footprint but extreme performance find its way into an overhauled Mac Pro.

UltraFusion employs a technique called a silicon interposer, essentially a layer in the chip package with 10,000 high-speed links between the two slices of silicon. "This is a super clever approach to maximize a mature design," said Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin. Compared to the first-generation M1, the M1 Ultra has seven times as many transistors, the basic electronic building block in a processor.

Apple said a Mac Studio powered by the M1 Ultra is 1.9X faster than an Intel-powered Mac Pro with a 16-core Intel Xeon processor and 1.6X faster than a Mac Pro with a 28-core Xeon, though it didn't detail what speed tests it used. The Mac Studio's high performance comes with a high price tag, but creative pro customers who need to wrestle huge video files or programmers building new software can be willing to pay for top computing horsepower.

Although the M1 Ultra is a new high-water mark for Apple's processor family, it's a step short of an expected M2 processor that eventually should revamp the core engines in Apple's Mac chips. Even though Apple boasted that the new Mac Studio is faster than the existing Intel-powered Mac Pro, it also said a new Mac Pro based on Apple silicon remains in the works.

Apple's Mac chips, which are more powerful variants of the A-series processors in its iPhones and iPads, have been "a huge success for Apple," said Tirias Research analyst Kevin Krewell. "Most people are happy with the performance, compatibility and battery life."

Intel is working as hard as it can to improve its chips -- and the legions of Windows-based PCs that use them. Intel's new Alder Lake processors, formally called 12th Gen Core and now shipping in desktops and laptops, are its first to adopt a hybrid performance and efficiency design used in smartphones and Apple's M series chips. The designs marry performance CPU cores for top speed with efficiency cores for better battery life.

But Intel, still scrambling to upgrade its chip manufacturing technology after years of delays, has a lot more work ahead of it. Under new Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger, it aims to make its own processor components competitive with that of rivals Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung by 2024 and superior by 2025. In the meantime, Intel has begun sourcing elements of its own processors from TSMC, which builds Apple's A-series phone chips and M-series Mac chips.

64-bit processors can access much more memory than 32-bit processors. They can also potentially handle processor requests more efficiently than their 32-bit counterparts. Apple decided years ago to transition into 64-bit processors exclusively for the Mac, as well as the iPhone and iPad.

Update: running Windows 11 on Apple Intel machine since Win 11 was announced. Zero issues but a bit of a tech chore to set it up as it is "not supported" whatever that really means. . Also on a different Apple M1 processor machine, running Windows 11, using Parallels, since the day Win 11 was released - flawless (but costs $). All the supported and non-supported positioning by the various players is a bit laughable IMHO. It all works, and works flawlessly for me anyway. The longer these "non-supported" options are supported by VmWare and Parallels - the less likely they are to actually stop support. Too many people in the pool. @Technogeezer will probably disagree, but I am reporting on what is actually happening thus far - not what might happen in the future.

@Technogeezer thank you for your Q&A post! Is there any option that allows me to convert a bootcamp running on intel to a VM to eventually run on an M1 Mac? I know you can import the bootcamp in VMWare Fusion to convert it into a virtual machine, but if you then want to use that virtual machine on an M1 Mac, how can that be done? Is there no way to convert it?

Every Apple event attracts a lot of attention, but the launch of the 2020 MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini was about more than new features and sleek industrial design. This year, the big news is hidden deep inside the anodized aluminum chassis of new MacBooks, in the form of the Apple M1 System on a Chip (SoC), which is replacing Intel processors in 13-inch MacBooks and the Mac Mini.

Granted, we are used to laptops with soldered RAM, but this is different. With soldered RAM, manufacturers can refresh their product lineup by swapping out the RAM chips with higher capacity ones, e.g. using two 16GB RAM chips instead of two 8GB units. This approach should not require any changes to the motherboard or other components. However, with RAM integrated into the SoC, this would require doubling the memory capacity in the chip package, i.e. a revised M1 chip. Therefore, Apple is unlikely to add a 32GB RAM option in its mid-2021 update, as it will most likely have to wait for a new M-series processor, which could take 12 to 18 months.

In addition to the CPU, GPU, and RAM, the Apple M1 also features a 16-core Neural Engine, a new image signal processor (ISP), Secure Enclave, Rosetta hardware optimization, support for AES encryption hardware, as well as dedicated encode and decode engines for audio and video content. According to early reviews, the latter allows it to outpace x86-based Macs by a significant margin.


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