Apple Silicon a year on!

I remember when I was working at Sun Microsystems back in 2000/2001 and was eyeing up a Mac as I loved how it was now based on Unix!

But, I’d always had an Intel or AMD processor and although I do like Linux, it’s just not Windows, not to mention I was a VB6 developer at the time (for my sins), dipping into Perl/Tk for Unix scripting with a GUI! So with GUIs being in the back thought of my mind, I wanted to stick with Windows and the thought of emulating Windows on a PowerPC processor just didn’t bite the biscuit for me!

And then around 5 years later the first MacBook arrived with an Intel Core Duo arrived, which I bit the bullet and forked out for, along with a 2GB RAM upgrade! So, obviously the first thing to do on a Intel MacBook is get Parallels and install Windows on it and I loved it! I loved the Mac OS X interface and stability and using apps like GarageBand and iMovie are just fun and there’s nothing quite like it on Windows.

So, I ran that MacBook into the ground before I got a MacBook Pro 15″. which again I ran into the ground and then Apple ditched Intel for their own ARM implementation! I was dubious at first and needed a new MacBook so bought a 2nd hand, slighter newer one to tie me over before I decided to take the plunge.

So, thank god I waited, as the Mac Book Pro 14″ Arrived with it’s M1 Pro and Max chips! I waited no more and went for the middle of the range M1 Pro with 10 CPU cores, 16 GBP cores, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD.

So, at the time we were stuck with Windows 10 Insider Preview on ARM64, but I was surprised how well it ran, but now I’m running Windows 11 Pro on ARM64 22H2 Insiders Preview along with Visual Studio 2022, now running natively on ARM64, and I’m blown away by it’s performance!

But, I also am starting to like the speed on Visual Studio for Mac, and now all my new projects are .NET 7, it’s nice to be able to develop in Mac!

Recently though, I’ve decided to package up all my old VB6 programs, Clock and FLS. They are fantastic programs, albeit a lil old, but they are still great for education use and wanted to package them up to distribute to anyone that finds them useful! They’ll be available soon, once I’ve wrote some content to go with just, here’s Clock download it!

But, the problem was, creating an MSI on Windows for ARM for an x86 VB6 Program where it must register a Component was proving pretty difficult, and the only version of InstallShield I own is Express v3.5, which won’t even install on Windows 11! Especially not the ARM version.

So, this is where I decided to put UTM to the test, which is a nice simple wrapper to QEMU and Apple’s own Virtualisation engine.

It’s free, but I’ve purchased it from the App Store to support the development, as it’s amazing! It emulates a PC and runs Windows XP on x86 just beautifully! Yes, it takes a little while to boot up, but once it’s going you’d never realise it’s an ARM64 Processor emulating an Intel x86 Processor! It also allows you to Virtualise an ARM PC and run Debian Linux with Rosetta2 support. I got to say, it works very well, using Opera as a test, as there’s no ARM64 version, and it runs great! Just looking forward now for Parallels to implement this feature, as Parallels VMs are definitely more stable than UTMs, but UTM allows you to run Windows XP whilst Parallels doesn’t!

So, if you’re running Windows XP on UTM you must remember to use 4 CPU Cores and select the Force Multi-Core, otherwise you will find it periodically crashes. Once you’ve forced multi-core and given it 4 Cores, it runs sweet and very stable!

I’ve used some recent new Intel 11th and 12th Gen Laptops, and I’ve got to say, if you’re not intending to play Games on it, spend a little more and get a Mac. I will admit Gaming on Mac still isn’t there yet, although I can still play Steam games without an issue through Parallels. It is quite annoying how there’s no Oculus Quest support on Mac, and almost 2 years since the first M1 and WhatsApp is Still an Intel App that has to run under Rosetta2. Clearly Facebook don’t like Apple, can’t imagine why!

So, to summarise, I’ve used Mac through Apple’s entire span of Intel devices and I’ve had 1 MacBook, 2 MacBook Pros (15″ and 13″), 2 iMacs (24″ White and 24″ Aluminium) and now on their new Apple Silicon MacBook Pro 14″ M1 Pro and use an M1 Mac Mini at school and I have to say these new Apple Silicon devices are just amazing. It’s fantastic to get the best of all worlds, and the price, although a little more premium, certainly gets you bang for your buck! Not only do you get the appeal of their good lucks, but you get a device that lasts you and can pretty much do anything (apart from play decent games, but thats what Xbox, Switch or PS are for, surely)!

PS. I am obviously a little biased as I’ve forked out the bucks to buy one! But I don’t regret it at all!

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