Apple is planning to scale up its in-house silicon with an aggressive roadmap next year. A Bloomberg report citing people familiar with the matter say that the Cupertino company plans to introduce a series of new Mac processors that span up to 32 high-performance CPU cores, clearly aimed at outperforming Intel’s 28-core Xeon W processor that are currently used in Mac Pro desktops.
Apple’s inaugural ARM-powered chips on the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Mac mini surpassed most people’s expectations in terms of performance. The current M1 chips are built around four high-performance cores that help with tasks like video editing and four efficiency cores for handling less intensive tasks like web browsing.
The report states that Apple is developing new System on Chips (SoCs) with up to 16-high performance cores and four power-efficient cores (20 total cores) that are destined for new versions of the MacBook Pro and iMac.
As mentioned earlier, Apple is testing a chip design with as many as 32 high-performance cores for its higher end desktops and plans to release it for later in 2021. The company is also said to introduce a new half sized Mac Pro in 2022.
Apple engineers are also said to be developing more ambitious graphics processors. The current M1 processors are offered with a custom Apple graphics engine that comes with either seven or eight GPU cores. The company is believed to be currently testing models with 16 and 32-core GPUs for its iMac and higher-end MacBook Pros.
For its highest-end desktops, Apple is said to be developing 64- and 128-core GPU models. These new GPUs are said to be several times faster than the Nvidia and AMD GPUs that Apple is currently using in its products. This may be a hint that Apple may sever ties with AMD for its future products. These new Apple developed GPUs are expected to debut later in 2021 or potentially in 2022.
The first ARM-based Macs have impressive performance thanks to their combination of power-efficiency and performance. But matching the capabilities of its more powerful Intel-based machines like the Mac Pro is likely to prove to be a bigger challenge.