Apple silicon Macs to support Thunderbolt despite shift to ARM

Interesting… and it’s Thunderbolt 4, so there could have been a deal struck on the protocol, so there might still be Intel controller chips in Macs just yet.

Hahahaha fucking arm based PCs will have working thunderbolt before AMD ones do.



Trillion dollar company vs multi dozen dollar company … kind of.
It is funny though. :stuck_out_tongue:

Sidenote: With Apple transitioning away from x86, do you think it is still fair to call it a PC?

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Apple are a thunderbolt partner from the start and can build their own. Apple was as much of a driving force behind thunderbolt (I’d argue more so) than intel were, despite intel being the vendor to produce the chipset up to this point.

There’s nothing to stop apple building their own, as above they were an original partner and its an open standard now anyway (and will be merged into USB4 for Thunderbolt 4 or so I hear).

With every new revision, they still need a new deal since Thunderbolt 4 is not royalty-free at launch.

I’m sure they can afford it. Or can afford to just buy intel if that’s what it takes. :smiley:

Besides, the license is (was?) like $1 per port or thereabouts. Even if apple make 30x markup on that, no Mac user is going to quibble over an extra 60 bucks for a typical MacBook with 2 thunderbolt ports (for example).

And apple could absorb that anyway as their own CPUs will be much cheaper for Apple to supply than buying (worse performing) processors from intel.

X doubt.

Thunderbolt needs kind of a lot of plumbing. And the security implications are another box of crazy.

Seeing tb on amd and what has to happen I predict pcie device support on arm will be sketchy at best. Rember nubus? Like that.

I hope not. But if apple doesn’t already have a robust solution it’s already too late from the timeline they have previously.


I mean, thunderbolt was kinda a mac thing right?

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Early indications are some mandatory DMA protections require Intel VT-d. So yeah, SVM is not equivalent…

I can tell you that theres work going into vfio of all sorts on mac rn, and in turn, theres bound to be stuff in the works for arm. Apple will engineer/ass something into exishence.

ironically, though, the vfio work is precisely because intel is so broken for security. IOMMU’s whole deal originally was so you could have truly process/context safe DMA.

I don’t think we’ve got any of the plumbing on arm to do that. We don’t even have the plumbing to do that on AMD. The fix for that with AMD was to encrypt all memory… which doesnt fix the memory read problem of DMA… so is a bit of a kludge… but that was less work (and overhead…because… you know… performance) than doing it in a truly secure way in the first place.


Looking at the failure modes of their product, my bet is on assing it into existance.

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Most likely they’ll have some chip that handles all the spare shit the intel chips have to do.

The current problem is there’s really no interface that’s stream based rather than packet based like USB, other than SDI, a video interface.

The reason why musicians liked Firewire so much was because it was a stream, not packets.

I guarantee you that Apple has had macOS and most associated stuff working internally on ARM for 5 plus years at this point as a contingency plan. The writing has been on the wall that intel were screwed since at least 2016 when the lies regarding 10nm started getting bigger and bigger, and processor advancement had basically stagnated since 2011.

Third party peripherals I agree driver support might be spotty on ARM, but I really don’t think Apple would go down this route without a game plan to support thunderbolt properly.

Given Apple’s work on all their custom silicon over the past decade (AXX, Sx, Tx, Wx, etc.), and given they are an original partner in thunderbolt development, I very much think it will be relatively trivial for them to implement.

Certainly less difficult than building their own competitive mobile processors and GPUs - which they have demonstrated an ability to put out.

firewire, for it’s time, was amazing. I used to run a studio and even in windows, being able to record 24+channels of 48k audio was so far beyond usb and it’s 2-4 channel ability was great. that is, after you worked out the windows quirks.


Consider as well that this statement

“Over a decade ago, Apple partnered with Intel to design and develop Thunderbolt, and today our customers enjoy the speed and flexibility it brings to every Mac. We remain committed to the future of Thunderbolt and will support it in Macs with Apple silicon,”

I suppose it might be a question of which version we will see and will it be in the first gen arm machines. I’m not expecting tb4 this year.

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