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Apple's transition to ARM on Mac - what does it mean for us?

Hi there,
Apple has informed that the Mac will transition to ARM in the next two years. Which means that there are no longer dedicated GPUs like AMD and so on.

What does it mean for the game industry? Will this decision makes the Mac computer one with mobile devices (with other control options) and developers have to decide whether they bring a high-end game on Windows and consoles or a “normal” game on Mac and mobile (graphically)?

Or what do you think what this means for us?

I’d guess that mac users will be playing mobile games on their macs from now on xD

IDK what it means for the developers in general, but I personally would simply treat Mac as a huge, overpriced phone with a keyboard and touchpad/mouse input :slight_smile:

Curious about this as well, what’s the future of the Unreal Engine support for Macs with Arm processors. But also the future of the Unreal editor.

Currently, it would mean that if you want to make games for those devices you would be able to by making an iOS app.

As for using the editor on those machines or making more graphically intensive native games, the editor would have to be updated to support that platform, and I don’t see that happening until/if they develop machines that are powerful enough to do that. That would be years away.

Thank you for clarifying!

Are you sure that they are not powerful enough? The A12Z has a faster single-core as my iMac Pro and that’s not the CPU which comes with the first ARM-Mac.

So that means, you’ve to switch to Unity (because the Unreal-Editor needs much more GPU-Power to run well on an ARM-Mac) if you want to remain in Apple’s eco-system in the next years or you’ve to switch to Windows, if you want to produce games with Unreal and/or for multiple platforms with more power.

Is that right?

They don’t have enough graphical power, they don’t have enough processing power, for a while they’re just going to be ultraportable machines. I wouldn’t expect Unity to support it all that soon either, since they face the same issue though Unity isn’t as heavy as Unreal.

Unity Tech announced support on WWDC in 2020.2 this year and showcased some 3D stuff on an ARM-Mac (Platforms State of the Union - WWDC 2020 - Videos - Apple Developer << Unity starts at 21min)

Again: Single core is faster on a A12X or Z as on my iMac Pro 2017 XEON Machine. But I understand what you mean.

So… if you want to stay with an Apple you are no longer able to build “real 3D” games for any platform. So you’ve to switch to a Windows-Machine in your opinion?

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You don’t need to switch for a while, they don’t even have any ARM-based Macs released yet and the first ones will be low-end. But if you’re developing for next-gen, then you’re going to need something with more power than that, and there’s going to be some advanced rendering techniques I wouldn’t expect them to get, like ray tracing.
If you’re developing for mobile platforms it looks like you can do OK with the new ARM machines.

But you think I can’t really count on an ARM version of the Unreal Editor?

I would say–If it’s just up to Epic, think of it this way:

-The first devices won’t be available for a while
-The first devices would probably be ultraportable laptops, not really a game development machine
-The number of developers that need it would be small

So, based on that, if I were Epic I wouldn’t be too concerned about getting an ARM version of UE4 out any time soon because it’s just not needed.

Makes sense. I think Apple will release an iMac, MacMini and a MacBook at the same time with an ARM, because they want to push it fast.

Epic has just to recompile the Editor for ARM. The more important question is: Will the Editor run on an ARM based GPU since the Editor itself runs on the Unreal Engine.

I thought with this Rosetta translator Intel/AMD apps run on the Apple chips as well, didn’t they show Tomb Raider running on the A12X using the Rosetta?

Also, I think we will see the Apple CPUs mostly in the thinner more mobile Apple laptops, and not really in Apple workstations for another couple of years…

ARM chips are built using EUV lit process ASML machines by the TSMC vendor… Intel doesn’t have way to catch up to the 5nm and 3nm and TSMC is leaving it behind. This is why Trump made TSMC start a factory in Arizona.

Intel is being left behind and stuck on 10nm… so ARM is the future. Even Huawei was working on desktop motherboard chipset using its HiSilicion arm based tech before the ban.

Long term this will be disruptive to PC gaming, to Unreal scene and everything in between as it fragments what one was

Despite that Intel is behind in getting smaller than 10nm their processors still perform very well, and ARM just doesn’t compete at the upper end. For game development the GPU is also very important, especially so for developing for PS5/Xbox Series X

Games/Game developers are not Apple’s market, most of the people that buy their computers are not doing hardcore gaming and game development.

However, there are rumours that Apple wants to get serious with AR/VR right? That would need powerful graphics.

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The Oculus Quest has been able to do quite a bit on mobile hardware, so I’d think they would do something like that rather than a high-end gaming PC.

I think so too.

To me that means I’m not buying a Mac.

Actually I would like to know Unreal’s road map on Apple’s Mac ARM OS. Especially since this will more than likely be one of two platforms their new VAMR headset works with. As far as mobile VR capability, I was always able to get better frame-rates with Apple’s A10 than I could with a Snapdragon during that same time-frame. The CPU clock rate will be higher on their laptops or desktop units. Also the GPU will be different with improved Metal performance. Of course this will never compete with a NVIDIA 3080 or even the 3070ti, but neither of these can be used in mobile environment.

I think we’ll have to rethink “mobile”.

It’s rumoured Apple is aiming for 16/32/64/128 Core GPUs for their M-Series chips till 2022.

So if you do the “math” the 8Core M1 GPU has 2,6 TeraFlops.

So there will be GPUs with about 5,2/10,4/20,8/41,6 TeraFlops.

Of course this is pure speculation, but it’s not unreasonable to believe, Apple will be VERY competitive with AMD, Nvidia (and maybe Intel if you count them in :D)

Apple is trying to unify everything on arm.

If there will be Raytracing Support? Nobody knows… I hope so. And as Apple already is equipping their CPUs with accelerators for i.e. AI, why wouldn’t they do that with their GPUs.
And it’s no coincidence Nvidia bout ARM or that AMD is partnering with Samsung to bring their GPUs to Mobile.

There is a big shift in tech ahead and UE will follow it. I would be very surprised if they would not, as they normally do. And maybe UE5 already considers that, and may also be the reason the full release is in the end of 2021.

But we’ll all have to wait an see…

Some source of what I am talking about:

Apple reportedly developing high-end 32-core CPUs and 128-core GPUs - VideoCardz.com

Apple unleashes M1 - Apple

NVIDIA to Acquire Arm for $40 Billion – Arm

Samsung Exynos SoC with AMD RDNA GPU Destroys Competition, Apple 14 Bionic SoC Kneels | TechPowerUp