Hello and welcome to the Geeky Brummie Tech Round-Up!
Each week I’ll be deep diving into the world of technology. Bringing back some new pearls from Birmingham and beyond! If you want to send any local tech articles over, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week we look at a raft of new Processors from Apple, Google and Intel!
M1 Processors to the Max
Apple have released their new range off MacBook Pro’s released in recent weeks. With new 14″ and 16″ sizes, no more touch-bar and decidedly more connectivity than the previous model it’s got certain apple fans hot under the collar.
Other standouts are the increased amount of connectivity with THREE Thunderbolt 4 ports, a headphone jack (lost some of that courage Apple?), HDMI 2.0 and an SDXC card slot, a significant step up from the two thunderbolt 3 ports and the heap[hone jack of last years 13″ model.
Yep, we know what you’re thinking.
To cram in a new 1080p webcam and reduce bezel size, the dreaded notch has migrated from the iPhones over to the MacBook’s. One not unwelcome change is the Mini-LED tech of the latest iPads has also migrated over, with 3024 x 1964 on the 14″ and 3546 x 2234 on the 16″, both with a peak brightness of 1000 nits. So if you can live with the camera bump, all good.
Under the hood is where it really gets interesting with the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips building off the back of their M1 chip which seemed to be in almost every apple product last year.
The chips are much beefier with more performance cores, more GPU cores, more memory bandwidth and the “ProRes accelerators” debuting. These accelerators are designed to enhance performance when video editing.
Don’t expect these new laptops to be cheap though with the 14″ starting from £1,899 and the 16″ from £2,399. Yikes
It’s getting Google Tens(e)or…
Not to be outdone Google have gone all Thanos with the their new Pixel 6 and have done the silicon themselves. Not going to Qualcomm, Mediatek or Samsung (cough), they’ve instead developed their own System on Chip (SoC)
The design is an 8-core ARM based CPU with 2 high-performance cores, 2 mid cores and 4 high-efficiency cores, all backed up with a 20 core GPU. It’s been ‘co-developed’ with Samsung and some have even said it’s just a Samsung Exynos processor with new marketing…
In their blurb, they state that Google’s Machine Learning Engine takes place on the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), allowing for advanced computational photography, and machine learning for lower powered tasks, like always-on display or “now playing” to run with reduced battery drain.
The first devices with this new hardware are Googles new Pixel 6 and 6 Pro phones, a complete redesign from previous generations with a camera ‘stripe’ rather than a camera ‘bump’.
Pixels are known for their excellent photography, stock android and long lasting support so lets hope this continues.
Nevertheless it’s due to deliver flagship level performance and us UK types can buy a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro containing this new chip direct from Google from £599 (6) / £849 (6 Pro).
“It’s Alder Anakin, we have the high ground…”
Finally getting back into the game are Intel, after over half a decade of 14nm designs they’ve finally moved to 10nm or ‘Intel 7’ as it’s been rebranded because it’s equivalent to ‘others’ 7nm manufacturing processors.
It also has a completely new design with new Performance (P) and Efficiency (E) cores similar to the Big-Little design of most modern smartphone processors. The plan is for the Efficiency cores to handle to low effort background tasks like streaming music or antivirus applications which frees the Performance cores to focus on more demanding and complex tasks like gaming or media creation. The “thread director” in this new generation will handle what goes where apparently.
This should close the gap between AMD’s best and brightest Ryzen chips and also provides support for DDR5 (and DDr4 so expect some motherboards with both for self builders) and also PCIE 5.0, which doubles the bandwidth of its predecessor.
All of this will be of course on a new chipset. Intel Z690 to handle the new oblong processors.
In their pressers the new chips are shown to be 15% more efficient on Windows 11 than AMD’s equivalent offerings however this should be taken with a HUGE pinch of salt as these benchmarks were done before Windows 11’s latest patch which fixed a performance bug in Lisa Su’s finest.
All in all, though I run AMD at home, it’s great to see competition back in the market as the two desktop titans battle for market share it means good news for us, the consumer with better performance and cheaper costs going forward.
Alder Lake is scheduled to launch on 4th November.
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