Who’s to Blame for the 16 GB RAM Limit on the New MacBook Pros: Apple or Intel?

“Exploding_m1”, in a thread on Reddit:

The true reason behind the lack of 32 GB or DDR4 is Intel. Skylake does not support LPDDR4 (LP for low power) RAM. Kabylake is set to include support, but only for the U category of chips. So no LPDDR4 support for mobile until 2018 I think.

One example is the Dell XPS 13. On the Dell XPS 13 version, you cannot go for 32 GB of RAM. Meanwhile, the 15 inches does give you that option, but you have to sacrifice battery life for it.

From what Apple told me last week, I believe this is true. You can certainly argue with the design of the new MacBook Pros — and many are. The argument against this design is that it’s backwards — that for MacBooks targeting pro users, Apple should start with high performance specs and then build a machine that supports things like 32 GB of RAM. If they had done that, they’d have wound up with thicker, heavier designs. Many actual pro users would be delighted by that.

Apple simply places a higher priority on thinness and lightness than performance-hungry pro users do. Apple is more willing to compromise on performance than on thinness and lightness and battery life. Intel just doesn’t make the chips that Apple needs.

This is why Apple designs its own chips for iOS. You don’t see people complaining that the iPhone or iPad Pro are underpowered. In fact, they’re faster than their competition. (The iPhone 7 has a single-core Geekbench 4 score that is double that of the Google Pixel.) With iPhones and iPads, Apple makes them ever thinner and lighter and yet they still offer industry-leading performance. We’ve all been speculating for years that Apple might start designing its own chips for Macs. At this point it looks like they have to do it. If anything, these new MacBook Pros were overdue — they arrived late and Intel still doesn’t have the chips Apple really needs.

Intel is designing its chips for an industry that does not share Apple’s obsession with thinness and lightness.

Monday, 31 October 2016

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