Over a year ago Samsung unveiled a 16TB SSD. For about $10,000. Meanwhile, Seagate introduced a 10TB hard disk drive which should sell for less than $500. Clearly, storage continues to grow in size as prices fall. What about CPUs?
Faster And Cheaper
A quick look at my favorite non-Apple Mac hardware store– MacSales.com— revealed some hardware upgrades for Apple’s aging and neglected Mac Pro. A 3TB SSD for $2,000. 1TB for $895. In the HDD arena, 5TB hard disk drives are available for barely $230. Storage grows, prices fall.
When it comes to CPUs and what they can do in Macs and PCs these days, Intel may have hit a wall. The new MacBook model comes with an Intel Skylake mobile CPU inside, though performance remains about the same as a high end MacBook Air which can be ordered with 512GB of SSD storage and an Intel i7 2.2Ghz CPU for just $50 more than the MacBook.
It’s obvious that Intel has not been able to grow CPU performance and lower prices as quickly as storage device makers have been able to increase storage and lower prices.
A fully loaded 27-inch iMac tops $4,000 with 32GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, 4GB video card, and a quad-core Intel i7 CPU. The entry level Mac Pro– sans display, of course– starts at about $3,000 but has 12GB RAM. Equipped to match the aforementioned iMac, the Mac Pro’s price jumps to $4,300– without a display (a good 4K or 5K Retina display can range from $500 to $1,500). Granted, the Mac Pro sports Xeon CPUs vs. the i7’s in the iMac.
CPU performance in the aging-and-in-need-of-an-upgrade MacBook Pro line is segregated by screen size. Get the 13-inch MBP and the i5 or i7 CPU is dual-core. Get the larger, 15-inch MBP, and all options are Intel i7 CPUs.
With storage so cheap it does make you wonder why an iPhone still has an entry level model with only 16GB of storage. The answer is clear. Apple establishes a base model with minimum specifications– in this case storage is about the only option to differentiate certain models– and then charges $100 for the next level of storage.
Flash memory cards on Amazon can be had for $6 for 16GB while 64GB, which should be the minimum for any modern smartphone, is available for $30 to $50 (which means manufacturers like Apple can buy similar storage for much, much less than is available on Amazon for individual buyers).
It’s also easy to see why Apple wanted to design their own CPUs and why Intel has lost out in the mobile space now dominated by ARM designs. Power and power. Apple’s tweaks to ARM’s basic designs have resulted in power sipping CPUs which generate tremendous graphic performance that far exceeds what Intel offered. While Intel struggles to stuff more power into new CPUs, Apple and others have squeezed increased performance from the ARM design that uses less power.
In the desktop and notebook arena, storage continues to grow in capacity and drop in price, while CPU performance has not advanced as quickly.
How long before Apple introduces a Mac with its own A-series CPUs inside?