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Intel Inside For Apple?

pudge posted more than 11 years ago | from the slow-week dept.

Technology (Apple) 239

iomud writes "Bear Stearns analyst Andrew Neff predicts that there's a better than 80 percent chance Apple will make the jump to Intel in two to four years. As the relationship with Motorola seems to be weaning the question may be what chip would you like to see in next-generation Macs and why?" It seems important to note that Bear Stearns owns shares of Intel and Dell, and has a banking relationship with Dell and HP. Oh, and even if it didn't, that I can't see any reason why anyone should care what Andrew Neff says. But that doesn't mean it can't be fun to talk about!

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239 comments

Who fucking cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4014963)

This is a cunting LUNIX site. Why should we bother about REAL companies?

LNUX stock now at $0.01 Get it now!

Fist Sport!

An Apple user makes the switch! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4014966)

"I've tried everything to understand women. Their obsession with self-image, inability to make up their mind, always saying one thing while expecting another -- I just couldn't cut it."

"My, er, relationships were always crashing -- I couldn't maintain a hard-on for more than a couple of minutes before it fizzled out on me."

"Eventually I got fed up with women and decided to get a twink."

"I couldn't understand how the female genitalia works. A penis is just so... intuitive. It works the way I work."

"I've been in a loving relationship with my life partner Lance for six months now. I can't imagine ever switching back."

Gay -- http://www.switch.gaymke.com/ [gaymke.com]

"My name is Rod Hardcastle, and I'm a certified Apple dealer."

Re:An Apple user makes the switch! (0, Troll)

BitGeek (19506) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015197)



MMM Twinkies. Tasty.

I read today that the reason guys wear baseball caps backwards is that it makes it much easier to give blowjobs. IS that why I see all those young boys with backwards baseball caps?

Sure gay people use apples. That should be a clue- if you want to be manly too, switch to a Mac!

"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (4, Insightful)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 11 years ago | (#4014994)

"Neff, for instance, predicted Apple, which uses chips from Motorola and IBM that currently top out at 1GHz, will switch to Intel, whose chips run at 2.5GHz, to get a performance boost and gain more customers. There's a better than 80 percent chance Apple will make the jump in two to four years, he said." This seems to imply that the 2.5 GHz P4 is 2.5 times as fast as the 1 GHz G4... Which is a joke. However, a lot of people (primarily the ones buying their PCs at Walmart) are great believers in the MHz Myth and will compare the two chips based just on clock speed. This indeed might make more gain in terms of customers for Apple, but at what cost? Chips that run hotter and process fewer instructions simultaneously? How about instead of advertising chips in terms of clock speeds, start marketing them in terms of calculations per second (start comparing gigaflops... in which case, last I checked, G4s were way ahead of Pentiums). -T

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015102)

You're right, a 2.5GHz P4 isn't 2.5 times as fast as a 1 GHz G4. It's about 1.5 times as fast. Face facts: the G4 is a more efficient chip. But it's not *2.5* times as efficient.

The tougher fact is this: The 2.5GHz P4 is significantly cheaper than the 1GHz G4. You can buy 1GHz G4's in top-of-the-line Macs. You can buy 2.5GHz P4's at Costco.

The ratio is, literally, "bang for the buck". At some point the bang for the buck for Intel will so outstrip the PowerPC that Apple simply won't have any choice but to make the jump. Thankfully, once Apple's got everyone on board on MacOS X, the procedure isn't too evil. NeXT did it once already.

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (1)

Toraz Chryx (467835) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015124)

The Altivec hardware in the G4 is still _extremely_ impressive, but it seems bandwidth limited.

I seem to recall some Xserve benches that showed a single processor Xserve being right on the heels of a DP Quicksilver in some processor intensive tests?

Can't remember where, was a german website I think?

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (1)

DiscoOnTheSide (544139) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015266)

yes, but dont forget that the XServe has a redesigned northbridge and bus, it also has DDR memmory which helps things.

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (2)

Toraz Chryx (467835) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015278)

...

That was my point, the Xserve has more memory bandwidth, although the FSB is the same, it seems be better equipped to keep the processor fully fed whilst also servicing the NIC/disk controllers etc.

(and AFAIK the CPU northbridge on the Xserve was still 133Mhz SDR? )

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (2)

DavidRavenMoon (515513) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015575)

(and AFAIK the CPU northbridge on the Xserve was still 133Mhz SDR?)

The specs

Processor
Single or dual 1GHz PowerPC G4 processors
Velocity Engine vector processing unit
Full 128-bit internal memory data paths
Powerful floating-point unit supporting single-cycle, double-precision calculations
Data stream prefetching operations supporting four simultaneous 32-bit data streams
256K on-chip L2 cache running at processor speed
2MB DDR SRAM L3 cache per processor with up to 4GB/s throughput
133MHz system bus supporting over 1GB/s data throughput

Memory

256MB or 512MB of 266MHz PC2100 DDR SDRAM with up to 2.1GB/s throughput
Four DIMM slots supporting up to 2GB of DDR SDRAM using the following: -- 128MB or 256MB DIMMs (64-bit-wide, 128Mb technology) -- 512MB DIMMs (64-bit-wide, 256Mb technology)

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (2)

stux (1934) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015984)

The trick is, the XServe's memory subsystem can saturate BOTH processors...

just because its saturating the processors doesn't mean they're not stalling waiting for memory accesses.

I've written quite a lot of altivec code, and the single largest problem with ALL G4s is that they DO NOT have a DDR type memory bus.

AltiVec code is almost ALWAYS stalled waiting for main memory.

But when you actually finding something compute intensive enough that the memory bandwidth is not really an issue, only then, do you truly see how impressive AltiVec is.

Damn, I wish they made G4s which had DDR!

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (1)

UranusReallyHertz (567776) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016382)

I think the fact that G4s STILL don't have DDR even after it has become more or less standard on PC's is indicative of what is wrong with Apple. Apple will probably be just beginning to use DDR when PC's will be using DDR-II

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015896)

You fucking Altivec ZEALOT loon tune.

The SpecCPU2000 says it all. apple never submits ebcause Altivec or not, they SUCK SHIT.

Stop being a fucking fool who ignores a fact, the sky is blue, the G4 is slow. PISS OFF.
Athlon XP 1800MHz ("2200+") : 738 / 624
Pentium4 2533 MHz : 893 / 878
Power4 1300 MHz : 804 / 1202
Itanium2 1000 MHz : 807 / 1356
G4 1000MHz: 306 / 187
The dual G4 gets its ASS KICKED in benchmakrs by a Single P4-2.5Ghz. HAHAHAHA. [digitalvideoediting.com]

The differences are sometimes very surprising. Well, are they so surprising? Let's have a look at the 3 major "vendors" of CPUs systems, Intel, AMD and... Apple (because Motorola doesn't seem to gloat about the performance on the PowerPC G4, only Apple does).

AMD has recently released their new Athlon XP 2200+. Is it really faster than a 2200 MHz CPU? On integer stuff, the AthlonXP is good for 738 points. The funny thing is, a Pentium4 at a mere 2GHz scores the same 738 points. Oh, yes, I know, that's because AMD has a superior floating-point performance. Sure. CFP2000, AthlonXP goes as high as 624 points. And the poor little Pentium4 at 2GHz with its slow FPU only gets 744 points. Please read that again. So, how much floating-point power is there in an Athlon XP 2200+ running at 1800 MHz? Well, about as much as in a Pentium4 running at 1600MHz. Man I wouldn't want to have just read that if I was an AMD zealot, that's gotta hurt.

Don't worry, my AMD friend, your CPU performs more than adequately. Wait until I talk about the "super-computer" G4 that is used by Apple.

G4 1000MHz: 306 points in integer. Just like a PIII at 667MHz. But, as you all know, The G4 is extremely good in floating point, capable of doing billion operations per second. G4 1000 MHz: 187 point in floating point. That's the level of a PIII at 500MHz. Oh my God, if I overclock three-year-old my dual-PIII from 450 to 504 MHz (where it is perfectly stable), I get as much FPU power as a top-of-the-line Mac. I don't know if I should laugh or cry. I just feel sad for all the people who fall in for Apple's propaganda. If a Mac can do all that a "Wintel" PC can do (yeah, right), well, it'll be doing it much much much much slower.

A few comments before people flame me. Or maybe a few comments that'll cause people to flame me...

A few comments before people flame me. Or maybe a few comments that'll cause people to flame me...

I picked the baseline results over the peak results. Because I only had baseline results for the G4, and because I think that they are more realistic to show real-world speed: if you're a developer, just use the same compiler flags as Intel, Dell or AMD used, they are published in the benchmark report.

The fact that the G4 benchmarks come from a magazine and are not official results. I would normally have put a disclaimer about that. Well, if you're not happy about the results, please go and put some pressure on Apple to publish official results. I monitor the SPEC results on a regular basis, and I'll be more than happy to take any official results into account.

Some zealots will say that the G4 can do better than that because gcc doesn't use Altivec. Well, now, it's not my fault if you don't have a decent compiler, is it? Do you think that someone with a mind would go spend some time hand-optimizing his/her code in assembly for a CPU that only has a few percent of market share? Imagine a team of 30 engineers trying to release an application simultaneously for Windows and MacOS. 28 engineers write the portable core of the application (and they all develop on Windows with Visual C++ and Purify), 1 engineer is responsible for the Windows adaptation layer and Windows optimization (like, tweak the compile flags for the intel compiler), 1 engineer is responsible for the MacOS adaptation layer, MacOS-specific issues and MacOS optimization (like, deal with a compiler that doesn't support the Visual C++ extensions, deal with a CPU that orders bytes differently, deal with an OS that'll do some things differently, like not have drive letters, use slashes instead of backslashes as a file separator, not support MDI, put the menubar at that top of the screen, and when there's a little bit of time left, re-write in assembly a routine that the original programmer will modify so much before the release date that it'll have to be re-written in assembly 5 times in the coming year). I wouldn't want to be the MacOS guy.

Oh yeah, I've also read that running SPEC benchmarks for PowerPC was unfair because the benchmarks are x86-specific. Well, I guess that the same benchmarks are also unfair for HP-PA CPUs, Itaniums, Sparcs, MIPS, Alphas, POWER... which all manage to beat the G4. The only reason why they're "unfair" for PowerPC is that those benchmarks are written in C, C++ and Fortran, and that the measure as much the compiler as the CPU. Got a sucky compiler? You'll get bad SPEC results. Guess what? Got a sucky compiler? You'll get bad results on everything but the 3 routines that Apple will optimize by hand to make Altivec shine... Eugenia Loli is a fat pig fascist bitch ;p


Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (1)

Mr. Piddle (567882) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015511)

But it's not *2.5* times as efficient.

Other CPUs, such as the UltraSPARC III and Power 4, are this much more efficient than the Pentium IV.

However, these chips have reliability, SMP, and bandwidth features above and beyond the Pentium, which is part of why they are more than 2.5 times more expensive.

It really is sad that the Intel marketing machine has put so much emphasis on Hertz. The G4 and the other mainstream RISC chips have always been so much simpler, more elegant, and have withstood the test of time without becoming a kludge like x86 has.

What would be ideal would be for Apple to ensure the G4 Macs routinely beat x86 machines and, then, market them like mad.

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (5, Insightful)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015708)

The tougher fact is this: The 2.5GHz P4 is significantly cheaper than the 1GHz G4. You can buy 1GHz G4's in top-of-the-line Macs. You can buy 2.5GHz P4's at Costco.



The ratio is, literally, "bang for the buck". At some point the bang for the buck for Intel will so outstrip the PowerPC that Apple simply won't have any choice but to make the jump. Thankfully, once Apple's got everyone on board on MacOS X, the procedure isn't too evil. NeXT did it once already.

P4's are cheaper to buy, yes. However, they consume more power and run hotter, which makes the G4 a vastly superior choice for laptops (even in bang for the buck comparisons).

As for the notion that the gap will widen and Apple will be forced to switch, keep in minds that in the desktop market the x86 archetecture has always had a ! for $ edge over any Motorolla/Apple system (with the exception of the original Apple ][, in which Woz chose a Moto knock-off over Intel chips because they were cheaper). I'm fairly sure that no Mac has ever given you more flops-per-dollar than whatever the prevailing Wintel box of the day was... Not so much because the chips are so much more expensive (although the do cost a little more), but because Apple's superior operating systems have let them sell their boxen with a much higher profit margin than companies like Compaq (RIP) and Packard Bell (Ditto), who had no way of really making their computer stand out from the budget systems from your local neighborhood screwdriver shop (or the no-name vendors who get all their sales from good scores on Pricewatch.com).

So yea, Apple could (in theory) save about $50 a system (their cost) by moving everything over to Intel. But they would also end up increasing the odds that somebody could reverse-engineer their ROMs (as Compaq once did to IBM), and suddenly all those "Pricewatch Special" shitbox PC's and PC Mo-Bo kits (and I say that as a big fan of "Pricewatch Special" shitbox kits) will be able to run OS X after a simple chip-mod, and Apple would die a horrible death shortly thereafter, making version 10.5 (or whatever) the last Mac OS ever.

Nobody can make enough money to sustain a company by writing operating systems for commodity PC's sold by other vendors. Microsoft doesn't; they make the big bucks selling their Office Suite (which is MS's Real Monopoly if you ask me). Red Hat also doesn't; they sell and support an OS that they did not have to write or buy, and is being constantly dev'd by people they don't pay. Remember when we were told in the pages of "In the Beggining Was the Command Line" that Be would be the wave of the future? Be is gone. Remember when they tried to revive the Amiga OS? Remember when Gateway bought it to port to x86? Remember when the chumps they sold it to were going to release something?

Apple learned the hard way during their 1-year attempt at "clone" licensing that the only way they can develop a desktop OS and make money doing it is if they sell every single computer that runs it. By using a chip that is not a commodity part, they raise the barrier of entry to somebody that wants to copy their ROM settings and make a rival motherboard. Switching to an x86 archetecture jeopardizes that plan. Some think that this is part of the reason why Apple became interested in StrongARM technology last time their relations with Motorolla became strained. If they were to drop Motorolla, I'm guessing that they would be far more likely to contact some other chip maker (i.e., IBM, Siemens, TI, Lucent, AMD, whoever) and contract them to make another non-x86 chipset for them... maybe even one that already understands the existing G3 instructions. For that matter, buying those high-performing G3's that IBM is already making for their servers might even make more sense than moving to Intel.

Still, I can't help but think that a lot of these rumors get started by Apple turf-layers, who are hoping to light a fire under the asses of Motorolla engineers.

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (2, Funny)

frooyo (583600) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015137)

How about instead of advertising chips in terms of clock speeds, start marketing them in terms of calculations per second

You mean, cycles per second WHICH is Hz. Thus a Pentium IV at 2.5 MHz is 2.5million cycles per second.

Enough said

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (4, Informative)

Toraz Chryx (467835) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015167)

No, calculations != cycles

Different processors can handle a different number of instructions per cycle.

and hence, require a different number of cycles to perform the same calculation.

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4016313)

you moron.... you don't know what you're talking about

"Enough said"

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (2)

tunah (530328) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016379)

And all of those cycles put together won't tell you why the hell you would want to underclock your P4 to 2.5MHz.

"MHz Myth" is a myth, MHz do matter ... (2)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015329)

The "MHz Myth" is a myth, or more accurately RDF. MHz do matter but they are not everything. Historically the PowerPC has held up extremely well against Intel. Some programs really do excel on the PowerPC but in general you get about a 20-30% increase when comparing PowerPC and Intel of the same clockrate. Assuming properly compiled and equivalently optimized programs, no Apple PR games like using old 486 optimized code on a Pentium (ByteMark), G4 vs. Pentium 4 comparisons where the Mac code uses Altivec and the PC code does not use SSE2, etc.

If someone wants to argue that there is practically no difference between a 1.0 GHz G4 and a 1.4/1.6 GHz Pentium 4 I would readily accept that. You need a benchmark program or a good stopwatch to tell the difference. However with Pentium 4's up to 2.5 GHz (and 2.0/2.2 GHz being pretty inexpensive) you will find that raw brute force MHzs does matter. It may not be the 2.5:1 that the non-technical might assume, but it is noticable.

Comparing CPUs in terms of operations? Well that's what SPEC is all about. However Apple does not like SPEC since it is not RDF friendly and contradicts the arguement that MHzs don't matter.

RDF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4016404)

what does RDF stand for; what does it mean?

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (2, Interesting)

Tom7 (102298) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015537)

It's true that you can't compare chips directly, but try an actual benchmark (ie, not a photoshop filter commissioned by apple) and you'll see that the 2.5 GHz P4 beats the 1 GHz G4 pretty easily. Try cpuscorecard.com, for instance, which says a 1 GHz G4 is a little worse than the 2 GHz P4.

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (3, Informative)

DavidRavenMoon (515513) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015687)

The ultimate smackdown: Mac versus PC [usatoday.com]

Dual 1GHz G4 versus 2.2-GHz Sony Vaio RX690G Digital Studio.

"Rather than argue the point, I decided to conduct my own comparison. Apple even provided the actual Photoshop picture used, a full-color photo over 44 megabytes in size, depicting seven bike riders with colorful bikes and helmets. This is the sort of file that graphic artists have to manipulate on a daily basis.

"Apple also sent me a copy of its actual test protocol, including a Photoshop Actions file, a set of scripts that automated the various rendering functions. They also provided a high-end twin-processor desktop Power Macintosh on which to run the tests.

"The Mac was upgraded to the latest version of Mac OS X, 10.1.5. The Sony had Windows XP. I installed the standard retail versions of Adobe Photoshop 7 on both computers."

"Running the tests proved exceedingly simple because Photoshop displays the actual timing of a rendering process rounded off to tenths of a second. Per Apple's directions, I conducted each test four times to deliver the most accurate results.

"Like all Adobe applications, Photoshop is a bit slow to launch. It took 15 seconds on both computers to get ready for the main event.

"In the nine test runs, the Mac came out on top five times, besting the Sony by up to 8.1 seconds. Where the PC emerged victorious, the margin was usually less than half a second.

"In all, the Mac took a total of 35.5 seconds to complete the nine rendering steps. The PC took 50.1 seconds, making it 41% slower according to my calculator's reckoning.

...

"The upshot of all this, however, is that, when someone tells you a Windows box is always faster than the Mac, point them to this article and tell them it isn't necessarily so."

Of course the PC beat the Mac in a game of Quake ;)

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015793)

Apple also sent me a copy of its actual test protocol, including a Photoshop Actions file, a set of scripts that automated the various rendering functions.

Right. Read the test setup carefully. The result is:
When Apple Computer selects exactly which filters to run, a DUAL top-of-the-line PowerMac beat a SINGLE cpu medium-cost x86 box 5 times out of 9. Not to flattering...

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (2)

Tom7 (102298) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016284)


It's true that Photoshop has filters optimized for the Mac, and the benchmarks for those are somewhat irrepresentative of general performance. Most programs do not have this kind of parallelism available, and even fewer are actually optimized to use the processor's vector capabilities. (A better benchmark would compile the same C program using the vendor's compiler on both platforms and measure how the two stacked up. Or at least allow both vendors a shot at optimizing the filters in question...)

But the main problem with this test is that he's testing a dual processor G4 against a single processor Pentium in a multi-threaded app doing highly parallelizable work!! How can we make sense of those results?

Re:"Performance Boost" a result of the MHz myth? (1)

1+(smarterThanYou) (539258) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016331)

funny...a performance boost might refer to render times...i've seen measures of dual P4s, dual AMD MPs, and dual 1 ghz g4s in a comparison test of adobe photoshop 7 and premiere 6...and the P4s and MPs blow away the dual g4s. here [digitalvideoediting.com]...
So there appears to be a performance benefit from switching over...at least as far as rendering goes.

False Information (2, Redundant)

Sandman1971 (516283) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015010)

It's hard to take this article seriously when it attempts to spread false information.

Neff, for instance, predicted Apple, which uses chips from Motorola and IBM that currently top out at 1GHz, will switch to Intel, whose chips run at 2.5GHz, to get a performance boost and gain more customers. There's a better than 80 percent chance Apple will make the jump in two to four years, he said.

Everyone knows you can't compare speeds of Intel and Motorolla chips, as they do not equate to the same thing. I lost all respect and believability for the article after reading that piece of rubbish.

Re:False Information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015149)

Which is the reason why recent benchmarks [digitalproducer.com] of After Effects between Apple and PC hardware had the PC thoroughly trouncing the Apple platform. Now, I will hand it to you, the antiquated bus on the Mac might have had something to do with it, but don't make it sound like they are neck and neck. Maybe you SHOULD take a comment like that seriously.

Re:False Information (1)

Tom7 (102298) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015547)

Well, it's not false information, just misleading. Though you can't compare the clock speeds directly, it IS true that because the P4s run at 2.5 GHz, they are a performance boost over the G4 (which would need to run at around 1.25 GHz to get equal performance).

False Information comes from both sides (2)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015558)

Everyone knows you can't compare speeds of Intel and Motorolla chips, as they do not equate to the same thing. I lost all respect and believability for the article after reading that piece of rubbish.

Of course you have blown your credibility with the above as well.

MHz can't be used as a precise measurement but it can not be completely disregarded. Especially when the ration is over 2.5:1. Is a 1.4GHz Pentium 4 faster than a 1.0GHz G4, for all practical measurements probably not. A 2.5 GHz Pentium 4, yes, raw brute force can overcome elegance and efficiency.

Re:False Information comes from both sides (1)

ealar dlanvuli (523604) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016002)

Of course you have blown your credibility with the above as well.

It can be completly disgarded if the G4 performed 2.5x more instructions per cycle than the P4.

Re:False Information comes from both sides (2)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016079)

Of course you have blown your credibility with the above as well.

Nope, you are merely misinformed. :)

It can be completly disgarded if the G4 performed 2.5x more instructions per cycle than the P4.

Only if x86 and PPC instructions are doing equal work which is not necessarily the case (CISC vs. RISC), only if these instruction do not need to access RAM or other resources outside the CPU, etc. You are substituting one erroneous metric, instructions per cycle, for a different erroneous metric, cycles per second.

Re:False Information comes from both sides (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4016147)

oh good point, hehe wasn't even thinking that far ahead, was just pointing out the obvious counter-argument

anyway, it is possible that a 1g chip can outpreform a 2.5g chip, even significantly.

Also I believe we are only talking about the G4 vs P4 here, not the rest of the archetecture (which I will admit does need some help)

I'm not a mac user btw, just saw a falacy that 2.4g performs more decisions(work) in a 1 minuite peroid than a 1g processor in all situations and wanted to correct it

Re:False Information comes from both sides (2)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016169)

... it is possible that a 1g chip can outpreform a 2.5g chip, even significantly ...

Absolutely, it's just a pretty rare event. In general PowerPC seems to do 20-30% better than x86 of an equal clockrate.

... I'm not a mac user btw ...

I use both Macs and PCs which is why I recognize Apple PR events where Macs run twice as fast for what they are. :)

Re:False Information (1)

vipw (228) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016438)

Comparing microprossors to other microprocessors seems like an excellent idea to me. They equate to the same thing much more than a microprocessor and a toaster for instance.

Yeah, right. (1, Redundant)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015035)

Neff, for instance, predicted Apple, which uses chips from Motorola and IBM that currently top out at 1GHz, will switch to Intel, whose chips run at 2.5GHz, to get a performance boost and gain more customers. There's a better than 80 percent chance Apple will make the jump in two to four years, he said.
I'd like to make a brief, stunningly persuasive, riposte to his argument:
Yeah, right.

Nope (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015062)

Apple likes to build cool stuff. Noise is not cool. I don't think we'll see Intel based Apple machines any time soon unless there are drastic strategic changes at Intel.

64bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015083)

Is it just me or does Motorolla have no plans for 64 bit cpus? I thought that I'd heard something like that somewhere.

The only reason I don't buy an Apple is the price. Ya gotta love the *nix backend and the Mac GUI. If moving to x86 hardware makes it cheaper, all the power to them. And if we're talking about Intel, let's not count out AMD.

Re:64bit (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015216)

Ok, couple points here:

1) I have no idea about Motorolla and 64-bit CPU's, however PPC cpu's do exist that are 64-bit, they are just made by IBM. (The POWER4) While I doubt Apple will team up with IBM, you never know. (Apple + IBM, boy wouldn't people have afield day with that one...)

2) What with Apples innovative design strategies regarding space, I doubt we'll see AMD CPU's inside Apple computer's even more so than I believe we'll see Intel CPU's. (No space + lots of heat != A Good Thing(tm))

3) Steve Jobs ran NeXT. NeXT sold both hardware and software. Before the end of NeXT they stopped selling hardware, and began making their software available for what's known as 'white boxes' or x86 machines (as opposed to NeXT's 'black boxes') This didn't save NeXT from dying, and I doubt we'll see Steve do it unless Apple enters into dire financial peril. Last I checked, this wasn't the case, and last I checked Apple made more money from hardware than from software, a financial source they lose if they switch to x86's. (This of course assumes that Steve learnt from his experience at NeXT)

Re:64bit (2)

Toraz Chryx (467835) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015250)

Just FYI, Apple currently ship IBM processors, the IBM "Sahara" PowerPC 750FX (G3) is used in the iBook

They are quite sweet little chips too :)

Re:64bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015322)

Thank you, I was unaware of that and thought that all of Apple's CPU's came from Motorola. So there are possibilities for a 64-bit Mac then... *drool*

Re:64bit (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015769)

You were close to being right. All G4's come from Motorolla, because what makes a G4 a G4 is Motorolla's "AltiVec" layer.

G3's are also made by IBM, as the chip was jointly designed by the same "AIM" alliance (AAPL/IBM/MOTO) that came up with the PPC chip in the first place. For that matter, Apple could, in theory, just make their own G3's if they spent the money on the infrastructure to do it.

Jobs seems to like AltiVec, though, so everything except the iBook and the $899 "budget" iMac has been moved to the G4, which creates the vendor lock that Apple is currently dealing with.

Re:64bit (1)

noewun (591275) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015661)

Apple has already teamed up with IBM - all Apple G3s are IBM G3s, which is why we're seeing clock speeds above 500 MHz (and rumored for 1GHz for the next revision of the iBook, provided Motorola can get the G4s in the TiBook up to 1GHz).

My best guess would be the G5 as a POWER-based chip, losing Moto altogether. From what I've read, the Apollo is looking good for 1.5 MHz, which might buy Apple some time to make the switch. Also, remember that a) Apple brought some of the PPC development in-house after the last G4 fiasco, and b) IBM/Apple has already secured from Moto a liscensing agreement to make AltiVec chips. IBM has the fab facilities and the gumption to push the PPC architecture to higher clock speeds, and, unlike Moto, are not so dependent on the embedded chip market.

Re:64bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4016089)

Apple wouldn't necessarily lose hardware sales if they switched to x86s. Apple owns industrial design in this industry: they could sell *more* hardware if they had x86s and could run Windows. How pissed would MS be if they had an Apple logo on machines running Windows which could dual-boot OS X out of the box? If my TiBook were x86, I'd still own it. what else is out there that has this screen and runs Final Cut Pro? Eh?

What's the point? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015084)

Why think about this now? Apple just moved to a totally new operating system in which only 20% of their user base has switched.

Additionally, the size of the Mac user base has steadily eroded but there are marked decreases around both the introduction of System 7 and the PowerPC chip. To switch now would be suicide! Apple may indeed want a different processor, but doing so would probably mean that applications would have to be rewritten and we all know how long it took to get Photoshop out the door and many people are still waiting for Quark.

If they do switch, then good for them. History would suggest they should wait a while before undertaking such an effort and in the meantime this is just intellectual masturbation, IMHO of course.

Unfortunately this gentleman raises no good points other than the disparity between the processor speeds. Don't get me wrong, I am not someone who has been blinded by the MHz Myth as brought to you by the Reality Distortion Field, but his arguments are nonexistent. The fact that he has predicted a few other industry actions is anecdotal at best and irrelevant at worst.

Short version: Take this guy worth a grain of salt. Wait a year or two and see what the processor landscape looks like.

Re:What's the point? (5, Insightful)

BitGeek (19506) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015183)

Additionally, the size of the Mac user base has steadily eroded

I don't think you can say this. I'm aware of no information that expresses the size of the mac user base.

you often see the "%5 of the market" figure, but that is actually %5 of NEW PC SALES, (so it ignores the fact that People turn their PCs over every 18 moths, but macs are performance competitive a lot longer) oh, and these numbers also ignore most mac sales. So even saying "%5 of new sales" is a lie-- they count Dell, Ingram Micro and CompUSA. They ignore the Apple store, the Apple stores, and the hundreds or thousands of independent apple dealers around the world.

Put a better way, Apple has %5 of the Intel PC market- - because that's the market they count-- and of those people, %5 of the pcs they sell are actually apples!

The total addressable market-- that is, Macs out there in active use-- is much larger, probably %20.

Last time I had any reliable numbers, it was %30, but that was because they were the only company selling CDROM drives for computers and so you could look at the number of those sold and know how much market share apple had... so that would have been the early 90s.

I'm not saying I know what the TAM for Macs is, I'm just saying I've never seen any reliable figures, and the %5 one is clearly unreliable. ( But makes for good copy for those with "Apple is dying" stick who want to beat that dead horse.)

Re:What's the point? (2)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015806)

Actually, the "Apple is dying" crowd usually say 2%-3%. The 5% figure has often been displayed prominently in Apple's own ads. If that figure ignored Apple's in-store and on-line sales, don't you think Apple would have commissioned another study by now, or demanded a correction from the companies doing these surveys, rather than run adds on their website saying, "now if we can just convince 1 out of every 19 PC users to switch to a Mac, we would double our market share!"

Re:What's the point? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4016189)

Well, 10% of people in the US at any given time are black, or gay, or left-handed. 10% of proteins go "the other way". it's fair to say that we expect some people to, erm, think different. regardless, the poster you are responding to has a point: mac users keep their machines longer, so sales figures are misleading. i don't give a flying fuck what their ads say, those are ads. the point is what do people use. looking around, i see that i know about as many mac users as i know, hrm, gay people. i believe 10% easily in both cases. i know you'll object, just try to discount the statistically insignificant non-forking-family-tree double-wide crowd you think represents america and you'll see.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015818)

Do you have any references for those astronomical figures? Apple themselves claim they have 5% of the US market and 2.8% of the world market. I find it hard to believe that Apple don't include sales in their own stores.

20% of user base on OS X? (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015500)

"Why think about this now? Apple just moved to a totally new operating system in which only 20% of their user base has switched."

Only 20% of their user base has switched... in a year's time.
Can Microsoft argue the same for XP? How about ME? In fact, is anyone using ME? Then, how about the figures of people still running 98 or 95? Or even 3.1?

Hate to say it, but where I work, the IT department is proud of the fact that they finally upgraded all but 10 of the computers to Windows 98... as of last month.
You should see how much flack they got from administration who said "Isn't this the year 2002? How come we're on a 4-year old system?"

-T

Re:20% of user base on OS X? (3)

DavidRavenMoon (515513) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015856)

Then, how about the figures of people still running 98 or 95? Or even 3.1?

This is true. I think many people buy a PC, or a Mac, and just leave on what ever OS it came with.

These are not people like us mind you.

My brother and his wife are perfect examples.

They each had a PC, my brother a whitebox PC running Windows 3.0 (!) and his wife an old Compaq laptop running 3.1.

This was fine for them, they mostly used it for writing (they are art teachers and poets) until they wanted to get online.

The laptop was the most capable, so they went and got a PCCard modem, but lacked the drivers, and MS removed all the Win 3.1 downloads ... so they bought a 333 MHz iMac (green) and are still running Mac OS 8.6... until I get around to upgrading it to 9.2 :)

They came over one day and looked at my G4 running OS X, and had this bewildered look on their faces... like a dear in the headlghts. Ha!

Most of my PC using friends are still running Win 98, and one runs NT 4.

Not clawhammer (4, Insightful)

Perdo (151843) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015092)

Sledgehammer. Opteron. Whatever.

Not Itanic.

Not Pentium 4

Not C3 (heh, I just benched a C3 800. It performed about as well as a 266 PII except with the P4's weird imbalanced interger performance. the numbers looked about like a P4@500mhz)

Stick a few Opterons in an Apple and you take Apple back to the good old days where their hardware actually outperformed the x86 boxes and was still somewhat unique.

Let Apple shine again... not just on the outside, but on the inside too!

Switch and die (4, Insightful)

jpt.d (444929) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015097)

if ([apple switchTo intel])
[apple killSelf];

Re:Switch and die (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015217)

NXTypedStream* s = ...
int myint = 4;
// don't remember the syntax exactly, any more, but it's around this:
NXWriteType(s,"c","Hey, NeXTSTEP has had the ability to compile the same program on different CPUs, with the same file formats for, oh, twelve years! And MacOS X cocoa aps can do the same trivially!");
NXWriteType(s,"c","Watch, let's write some data and not need to care about endian problems!");
NXWriteType(s,"i",&myint);
NXWriteType(s,"c","How cool was THAT?");
NXWriteType(s,"c","Don't you feel foolish now?");

Re:Switch and die (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015450)

You might consider putting apple into the autorelease pool, so that it calls it's own dealloc method when no longer needed.

God I need a break from my computer :)

Re:Switch and die (2)

tb3 (313150) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015664)

I think your Objective C is a bit off. Try:

if ([apple switchTo:"@Intel"])
[apple dealloc];

The real question is... (5, Informative)

BitGeek (19506) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015101)


We all know that PowerPC chips get far more done in a given clock than x86 chips.

This was the great promise of the PowerPC, actually. By going to a superscalar Risc architecture, IBM and Motorola spent the effort to get a chip that really did more per clock.

The clock rate, however, is less of an engineering issue than a process issue. Intel has processes that increase their clock rate rather fast-- and so rather than re-engineering their processors (and paying the backwards compatibility penalty that apple paid when they switched from 68k to PPC) they have simply increased the clock rate and integrated more on chip cache, etc.

The thing is, this means that the PPC was at a very significant competitive advantage-- its really hard to beat architecture engineering, which the PPC has in spades, but pentiums lack. Design is hard. Process is easy. So, the Processes that Intel was using should have migrated to Motorola and IBM, and we should be seeing PowerPCs that run at 2GHz and leave no question as to the fact that the powerpc is much much faster.

So, the real question to my mind is-- why hasn't the process side of the house for PowerPCs kept up with intel? Certainly motorola and IBM have the know how, and they have the motivation-- competition with each other for the sizable sales to Apple, and the possibly even larger embedded and workstation markets.

I can think of two possibilities:
1) The increased complexity of a super scalar architecture on the order of the PPC makes timing more problematic and while process is there for higher speeds, the synconization of the clocks hitting all the subcomponents of hte processor at the same time is an issue. At these levels, the speed of light is a real factor when one signal goes a little further than the other, they arrive at the same place at different times due to the relative slowness it takes for the signal to go down the longer path.

2) Conflict. Motorola created Altivec and apple jumped all over it, and I don't believe IBM has a license to Altivec, giving motorola a bit of a monopoly. This combined with apple embracing altivec so much means that Motorola may not have sufficient incentive to grow the speeds. Plus, since the PowerPC has not had the widespred platform support that was expected-- NT for PPC has gone away, other Unix box makers aren't using it extensively, the market is smaller than was originally intended.

This creates quite a problem for apple. As long as they suffer from the perception- despite the reality-- that their processors are slower because people think MHz = speed-- they are going to have trouble not being seen as more expensive. Hell, even people who post here make this mistake.

So, I think Apple is planning something big. But it won't be a switch to x86, certainly as we know it.

I can imagine a couple possibilities:
1) Apple teams with AMD and brings the PPC instruction set to a future AMD processor that can handle it and the x86 instructions simultaneously. Gets AMD's process speeds, along with PPC compatibility running at native speeds (rather than emulated.) The downside is that IBM would have to agree to this, and its not clear what IBM's upside is-- unless IBM is part of the alliance and gets a competitive advantage to using this technology in its products (maybe low end power workstations)-- but still Motorola which controls altivec would have to be involved.

2) A new AIM partnership, this time its the AAIM partnership, all four companies collaborate on a new chip that will run OS X and Windows, IBM and Moto make PCs that dual boot, AMD gets Altivec and Power4 Multichip module technology, and IBM and Moto get AMD process technology, and IBM, Moto fab the chips for AMD. This gives IBM a weapon against windows, namely OSX, gives AMD the backing of two big competitors- IBM and Moto, along with a new customer, gives Moto a new jumpstart into the box making business that it gave up when Apple stopped subsidizing the clones industry.

3) The Death By Numbers Approach -- Apple goes to IBM and gets the four chip Power technology and migrates there from PowerPC, greatly increasing the volumes of these chips for IBM which is only currently using them in their servers and workstations. This drives down the costs, apple doesn't have to rewrite software (like quicktime) that was never part of the NeXT OS, and at the same time can emphatically claim the "fastest PCs in the world" title it now holds but nobody recognizes. Oh, and they sell them with 2 to 4 processor units per box.

4) Death By Numbers part 2-- apple starts shipping quad and 8 way PowerPCs running at moderate speeds, 1-2GHz using Motorola (or IBM) chips, and being competitive on price because the powerpc costs them so much less per cpu than Intel CPUs. Thus people will instinctively know that 8 1GHz CPUs are going to get a lot more done than one 3GHz intel cpu.

5) The Second Rebel Alliance-- Apple, AMD and Nvidia team up on an x86 processor that uses NVidea and AMD Hyper IO (or is it rapid io?) technology, and apple does go the x86 way..

The thing is, 5 seems least likely to me. apple has just migrated accross platforms for the second time-- the first was 68k to ppc, and the second is classic Mac to OS X. Applications have to be re-written.

Are they really going to ask their developers to re-write their apps yet again, in only a few years? I really doubt it.

So, I think there is a new processor architecture or solution coming-- I'm sure apple recognizes that the PPC has not given it the marketability it needs.

But I think that solution will be PPC compatible natively.

Re:The real question is... (1)

Cyclone66 (217347) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015212)

It costs billions to change the process of a chip. They need to build new fabs, cope with a high defect rate and use components that are within tighter specifications. This is very expensive, would you spend this money for Apple users? (There aren't THAT many.) And if a 1Ghz Apple box is just as fast as a 2Ghz P4 then there really isn't much need except for those in video editing/professionals. That's an even smaller group of people.

Re:The real question is... (2)

BitGeek (19506) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015507)

It costs billions to change the process of a chip.

Yes and no. It costs billions to develop new processes, or to build a new fabrication plant.

But it doesn't cost that much to move a chip from one process to another-- quite a lot less in fact. Intel, Motorola and IBM regularly develop chips for one process and move them to other processes and feature sizes.

Plus the cost isn't for one chip, or even one model of chip, but for a whole line-- in other words these costs are borne by not just the processors but the GPUs, network processors and any other chip that the company in question makes. all of them benefit by the process improvements.

I'm not sure Motorola has the size to make this investment, but IBM definitely does, and AMD *has* to-- even if it can't afford it.

Re:The real question is... (2)

iomud (241310) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015336)

What about spec benchmarks [queru.com]? I know ppc is a fast chip but I just dont think it's as fast as it used to be. Along with moto's reluctance to put out literally anything lately makes me very concerned about the future of the chip. There's only so many ways you can repackage year old technology, apple.. aside from the xserve is struggling in the hardware department. The price goes up but the performance doesn't. That being said, I own a 933g4 powermac, I bought it about three months ago, it's system bus is slower than the pc system I built last year, just a bit discouraging.

Re:The real question is... (4, Informative)

danielwright (114541) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015745)

You're oversimplifying things a little too much when you say that if a PowerPC chip were made with the same process that Intel uses for it's new P4s, it would have the same clock rate.

Modern CPUs are all pipelined, so they divide each instruction into several pieces - say Instruction Fectch, Instruction Decode, Execute, Load/Store, Write Back for example. Then, they interleave the execution of the different stages, so while one instruction is being decode, the next is already being fetched.

At a very rough approximation (it's much more complicated than this), the clock rate has to be low enough that the largest of the pipeline stages can execute in one clock tick, so if tou divide up the execution into more, smaller stages, you can raise the clock rate higher. However, there's a lot of complex machinery to avoid "hazards" where instructions depend on each other, so they have to stall some of the instructions, and this gets more complicated and slower with a longer pipeline. (This would be a gross simplification 10 years ago, and today's CPUs are much more complicated, but it gets the main point across).

The designers of the current PowerPC implementations chose fairly short pipelines (I'm not sure of the number of stages, but I think it's around 5), while Intel uses 20 stages for the P4. That means that the P4 can run at a higher clock rate, but get less done per cycle because more of the instructions are stalled.

So, my point is, at least IBM has CPU processes at the same level as Intel's, if not better - it's due to the fundamental design of the chip that the GHz number is lower, which makes the GHz a very uninteresting measure - hence the "MHz Myth".

Also, PowerPC is an instruction set, like IA32 or IA64, it's not a chip architecture. IBM and Motorola currently make chips that implement the PowerPC instruction set (and IBM's chip, the Power4, is currently the fastest chip available, BTW).

Just to add to the list of totally unfounded predictions, here's mine:

IBM released the Power4 a few months ago, as the fastest chip on the market. They want to use it for every server platform they make (AIX boxes, mainframes and AS/400 boxes). It's designed for servers, and that shows - you need something like 1 ton of force to attach it to the motherboard, and a pretty impressive cooling system as well. This makes it unsuitable for small desktop machines like the imac, and for laptops. Also, it doesn't support Altivec. I figure, they'll work out some licensing agreement so they can make a special, slightly slower version for Apple that does support Altivec.

The merits of this: they could use basically the same CPU design and processes (which are very, very good), and now software changes.

I don't think Apple can change to Intel chips because that would require new versions of all the software. They've just asked all their customers to replace old OS9 software with OS X software. If they came back in 2 years and said everyone should replace all their software again, their customers would start to get rather irritated by it...

Re:The real question is... (2)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015920)

We may all "know" that, but it seems to be a myth. At least on SPEC benchmarks [heise.de], a 1GHz G4 PPC doesn't do a whole lot better than a 1GHz Pentium III. The SPEC benchmarks are a pretty good mix of real-world code. What Heise got on them is probably what you and I can expect when we compile our programs. One might also note that, despite Apple's constant claims about how powerful the G4 is, they have never submitted a SPEC benchmark result for the chip themselves.

I think the PPC is a dead end for Apple. Lack of a 64bit migration path is a problem. Intel's Itanium doesn't need to fear comparison architecture-wise with PPC either. But the mainstream will go to 64bit AMD and Pentium. That's perhaps where Apple should go as well.

Re:The real question is... (1)

jmordoj (256283) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016394)


Or, Apple buys the PPC from Motorola (who its semiconductor division is losing money period after period), and Steve Jobs, starts "torturing" his new PPC division until Apple gets a 5GHz CPU, and not only have a better hardware/software undestandig, it also has the posibility of deciding when a procesor is going to ship, what caracteristics it should have, and how much it will cost...

Re:The real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4016400)

I don't think you understand the amount of research and development Intel & AMD are investing in. It's not like Motorola doesn't WANT to make a faster CPU, they just can't afford the development costs. The research budgets of Intel and AMD are larger than Apple's total budget.

Re:The real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4016445)

I heard that G4 chips have lousy yield due to their size and complexity; that is, many/most of the chips printed end up being discarded.

IBM (2)

Toraz Chryx (467835) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015106)

My wishful-thinking-cap is still firmly pointing at Apple ditching Motorola and going to IBM for their processors.

a POWER4-Lite would be vaguely feasible (eg, pair of G3 cores + SMP logic + Altivec execution hardware + 1MB of L2 cache) on .13, and I'd reckon it would be rather rapid :)

Of course, the chances of that happening are something like my chances of winning the lottery, which incidentally is also the only way in hell I could afford a PowerMac equipped to my liking :p

Old news Taco and friends. Old news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015143)

I read this days ago. DAYS.

This is what happens to fascist regimes, they lose touch with reality. Fascists don't have to be quick, witty, informative, useful to the populace or even correct. Like Hitler, Taco and his cabal of editors are losing touch with reality. The "Americans" are going to have to come and kick the shit out of them, just as before; Taco, Your fascist totalitariansim and disregard for free internet, free posting and expression is not wanted here! I'll bet Taco wakes up in a sweat dreaming of a Über-bomber to destroy England, just as Hitler did.

You fascist brand of totalitarianism and censure is not welcome on the free internet Taco. Cry baby IP banner, post limiter and the worst affront to poster, "lameness" filter. The term lame is rather subjective, but Totalitarian TACO doesnt care. Fuck you, the readership, thinks he. He only needs us plebians and proletariats to eat up and mass consume his FUCKING banner ads while he FUCKS OUR FREEDOM TO EXPRESS OURSELVES. Eugenia Loli is also a fat pig fascist.

Why don't you just get a REAL computer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015200)

...instead of yearning for the day when you can buy a decent processor?

Take my advice: Intel and Microsoft make a winning team on any computing platform!!!

Intel as a Co-Processor? (2)

zulux (112259) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015280)

It is feasable for Apple to put a Pentium on it's motherboards as a co-processor. The extra prossessor could get used by apps that need another floating point unit. Normall, non processor-intensive apps could just ignore it.

It would be a stupid hack, but woulden't require any recompiles for curent apps and gould get rid of the 'MHZ Myth' once and for all.

Of course this would be non-elegent, and mostly for marketing reasons.

Re:Intel as a Co-Processor? (2)

Toraz Chryx (467835) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015303)

It would be extremely non-elegant, and if the 68k / PPC hackjobs for the Amiga are anything to go by, it would be hellishly slow too..

Maintaining cache coherency between two processors that are opposite-endian... eek *shudder*
it was bad enough with the 300+ _Micro_second context switches on Amiga's with PPC accelerators

Re:Intel as a Co-Processor? (1)

Tom7 (102298) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015572)

"Feasable" in what sense? Most general-purpose processors don't like to share a bus (etc.) with another chip, especially one with a different architecture and endianness!

The future (2)

TheOnlyCoolTim (264997) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015375)

I see Apple making Mac OS XI for x86 but only allowing it to work on special Apple motherboards. Apple won't hype the switch that much. They will instead sell some sort of VMWare-like or dual-boot stuff and market the x86 Macs as being able to run Windows at full speed.

Then someone will hack Mac OS XI to work on any motherboard, or some company will reverse engineer the special Apple motherboards and make their own Mac compatible motherboards, and Apple will call out the lawyers.

Tim

Re:The future (3, Insightful)

feldsteins (313201) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016337)

I see Apple making Mac OS XI for x86 but only allowing it to work on special Apple motherboards.

I think that is exactly right.

Apple won't hype the switch that much. They will instead sell some sort of VMWare-like or dual-boot stuff and market the x86 Macs as being able to run Windows at full speed.

Can't see it. What I do see is that Apple will make the switch when a next-gen Intel or AMD processor comes out - and they will wait for it for two reasons. 1. Presumably one of them will find a way to make their stuff a little smaller and cooler. Apple likes things like TiBooks and fanless iMacs. Can't develop shit like that with brick-sized P4 modules can you? No. 2. Apple won't want to pull a "New Coke" on their market. Mac users are loyal to their brand and to their processors. They won't like seeing a switch to a part that has been touted as inferior for so long. This effect will be lessened when a next-gen part comes out which doesn't have quite the history of being bashed by Apple as the current one's do.

Then someone will hack Mac OS XI to work on any motherboard, or some company will reverse engineer the special Apple motherboards and make their own Mac compatible motherboards, and Apple will call out the lawyers.

Apple would never, ever make such a switch unless they were supremely sure that this couldn't happen. If the ability to sell proprietary hardware for the OS went bye-bye then so would Apple itself and they are fully aware of this. It's not just a dinosaur clinging to the old ways...it really is at the core of Apple being able to innovate the way they do. They have to control the OS and hardware of the platform to do what they do. That is the only reason why Dell or Microsoft can't be an Apple. it's not because Apple is "cooler" or even "smarter." It's because they control the entire platform.

Hell, if I worked at Apple I would want to make damned sure that those crown jewels never got lost. I'd rather run the boxes with hampsters in plastic wheels than risk that.

AMD? (1)

TriCCer (591321) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015390)

I have a hard time to believe that Apple is going anywhere NEAR Intel. Intel is soo representative of PC hardware. And they have made it clear that Pentiums are the opposite of G4s in their test. But as an earlier slashdot post said. AMD 64bits are plausable. since they too are competing agains the 'Giant' (They don't call it Microtel for nothing)

Re:AMD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015915)

(They don't call it Microtel for nothing)

They don't call it Microtel at all. I've never encountered that word outside of one or two /. posts. Some people say Wintel, but that's kinda lame too.

Either name is less lame than the commonly accepted term PC, which came about when Microsoft began urging the press to stop saying "IBM Compatable" back in the early 80's, and say "PC" so Microsoft's favorite partners wouldn't sound like they were just making cheap IBM knockoffs to siphon away IBM's business-computer monopoly (which they were).

"PC" stands "Personal Computer". Macintoshes are personal computers, as are desktop Linux systems, and even the old Amiga in the back of your garage. The word "PC" is meant to apply to all of them. Leave it to Microsoft to decide to appropriate the term which refers to all home computing systems in order to specify those which run their OS. We should have seen what a bunch of market-manipulating assholes MS would eventually become back then. Now we have the Word .doc "standard", and web sites which try to filter out Opera and Mozilla browsers as non-compliant. Looking back, it was pretty obvious this would happen.

I Honestly Can't see Apple doing this (1)

frooyo (583600) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015453)

My understanding was that Apple's core profits came from his Hardware sales NOT software. So for Apple to dump Motorola (which I think they should and go with IBM solely) and convert to the most inefficient processor in the world, the Pentium IV would impact them greatly.

But, nevertheless - if Apple were to do this, they would bring a whole new meaning to their ad campaign to Switch

X86 != cheap PC parts (2)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015614)

A switch to x86-based hardware does not mean Apple will be killing their hardware business. They do not have to switch to off-the-shelf PC parts. They can continue to use custom and proprietary designs, just substituting an x86 for a PowerPC. They can have the same high standard and reliability.

The real problem is getting developers to compile for both CPUs, and this is a big problem. I don't expect emulation to work as well as with the 68K to PowerPC move.

With respect to your efficiency comment, that's irrelevant. High overhead and brute force at 2.5G overcomes elegance and efficiency at 1G. Your suggestion to ditch Motorola for IBM may make things even worse if I am correct that IBM has no interest in Altivec. Perhaps this has changed, or are all G4's still Motorola?

Re:Hey SPEC marks done lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015910)

Oh, it may be "inefficient", but the P4 northwoods sure clean up on the fucking SPEC marks. HAHAHA. The g4 sucks so much dick at them. I've run lots OSs on lots of hardware, and by far the Mot-PPC is the worst piece of shit. You SUCK.

You fucking Altivec ZEALOT loon tune.

The SpecCPU2000 says it all. apple never submits ebcause Altivec or not, they SUCK SHIT.

Stop being a fucking fool who ignores a fact, the sky is blue, the G4 is slow. PISS OFF.
Athlon XP 1800MHz ("2200+") : 738 / 624

Pentium4 2533 MHz : 893 / 878
Power4 1300 MHz : 804 / 1202
Itanium2 1000 MHz : 807 / 1356
G4 1000MHz: 306 / 187
The dual G4 gets its ASS KICKED in benchmakrs by a Single P4-2.5Ghz. HAHAHAHA. [digitalvideoediting.com]

The differences are sometimes very surprising. Well, are they so surprising? Let's have a look at the 3 major "vendors" of CPUs systems, Intel, AMD and... Apple (because Motorola doesn't seem to gloat about the performance on the PowerPC G4, only Apple does).

AMD has recently released their new Athlon XP 2200+. Is it really faster than a 2200 MHz CPU? On integer stuff, the AthlonXP is good for 738 points. The funny thing is, a Pentium4 at a mere 2GHz scores the same 738 points. Oh, yes, I know, that's because AMD has a superior floating-point performance. Sure. CFP2000, AthlonXP goes as high as 624 points. And the poor little Pentium4 at 2GHz with its slow FPU only gets 744 points. Please read that again. So, how much floating-point power is there in an Athlon XP 2200+ running at 1800 MHz? Well, about as much as in a Pentium4 running at 1600MHz. Man I wouldn't want to have just read that if I was an AMD zealot, that's gotta hurt.

Don't worry, my AMD friend, your CPU performs more than adequately. Wait until I talk about the "super-computer" G4 that is used by Apple.

G4 1000MHz: 306 points in integer. Just like a PIII at 667MHz. But, as you all know, The G4 is extremely good in floating point, capable of doing billion operations per second. G4 1000 MHz: 187 point in floating point. That's the level of a PIII at 500MHz. Oh my God, if I overclock three-year-old my dual-PIII from 450 to 504 MHz (where it is perfectly stable), I get as much FPU power as a top-of-the-line Mac. I don't know if I should laugh or cry. I just feel sad for all the people who fall in for Apple's propaganda. If a Mac can do all that a "Wintel" PC can do (yeah, right), well, it'll be doing it much much much much slower.

A few comments before people flame me. Or maybe a few comments that'll cause people to flame me...

A few comments before people flame me. Or maybe a few comments that'll cause people to flame me...

I picked the baseline results over the peak results. Because I only had baseline results for the G4, and because I think that they are more realistic to show real-world speed: if you're a developer, just use the same compiler flags as Intel, Dell or AMD used, they are published in the benchmark report.

The fact that the G4 benchmarks come from a magazine and are not official results. I would normally have put a disclaimer about that. Well, if you're not happy about the results, please go and put some pressure on Apple to publish official results. I monitor the SPEC results on a regular basis, and I'll be more than happy to take any official results into account.

Some zealots will say that the G4 can do better than that because gcc doesn't use Altivec. Well, now, it's not my fault if you don't have a decent compiler, is it? Do you think that someone with a mind would go spend some time hand-optimizing his/her code in assembly for a CPU that only has a few percent of market share? Imagine a team of 30 engineers trying to release an application simultaneously for Windows and MacOS. 28 engineers write the portable core of the application (and they all develop on Windows with Visual C++ and Purify), 1 engineer is responsible for the Windows adaptation layer and Windows optimization (like, tweak the compile flags for the intel compiler), 1 engineer is responsible for the MacOS adaptation layer, MacOS-specific issues and MacOS optimization (like, deal with a compiler that doesn't support the Visual C++ extensions, deal with a CPU that orders bytes differently, deal with an OS that'll do some things differently, like not have drive letters, use slashes instead of backslashes as a file separator, not support MDI, put the menubar at that top of the screen, and when there's a little bit of time left, re-write in assembly a routine that the original programmer will modify so much before the release date that it'll have to be re-written in assembly 5 times in the coming year). I wouldn't want to be the MacOS guy.

Oh yeah, I've also read that running SPEC benchmarks for PowerPC was unfair because the benchmarks are x86-specific. Well, I guess that the same benchmarks are also unfair for HP-PA CPUs, Itaniums, Sparcs, MIPS, Alphas, POWER... which all manage to beat the G4. The only reason why they're "unfair" for PowerPC is that those benchmarks are written in C, C++ and Fortran, and that the measure as much the compiler as the CPU. Got a sucky compiler? You'll get bad SPEC results. Guess what? Got a sucky compiler? You'll get bad results on everything but the 3 routines that Apple will optimize by hand to make Altivec shine... Eugenia Loli is a fat pig fascist bitch ;p

I am not saying it is not possible (1)

frooyo (583600) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016166)

I must admit, the above arguments are convincing. And as I understand, Apples use of the Mache kernel with an abstraction layer, allows the kernel to somewhat run processor independent.

But, I must say that I would love to see OS X on x86 platform. And, as mentioned above with respect to the kernel being processor independent - would Application developers necessarily have to recompile for the new platform - or could Apple add support for the x86 into the kernel and use that module when an x86 processor is present (I am not referring to emulation). And if so, could you theatrically have a multi variant processor. Say a motherboard with both a G4 and P4 running OS X?

Crusoe? (1)

Nyarly (104096) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015571)

Wasn't the nifty about Crusoe that the actual processor interface was all microcode, that it could emulate anything? Why not Apples with Crusoes in them?

Re:Crusoe? (2)

dbrutus (71639) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016181)

Even Better, why not just put out a PPC compatibility layer as a free upgrade and then all crusoe's shipping can run Mac OS X?

Intel? Nah. (1)

PierceLabs (549351) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015609)

That would buy Apple absolutely nothing. Apple loves to innovate, and the love to make money off their hardware. If they went to the 'build your own' x86 market they would be stabbing themselves in the throat as they would have to rely solely on their software to stay afloat and while Apple does make some interesting software, Apple would die on the vine as a software company. It would also be akin to throwing away almost all of their R&D dollars. Their fancy Altivec enhanced software would be trash, their fast soon to eb OpenGL accelerated Java system would have to go back to the poard to powrt for a new class of hardware which would require more software dollars, and they would have to pretty much rearchitect their entire digital hub around a currently unfriendly MB/CPU architecture. It is *far* mroe likely that they will find a new pimp daddy in IBM who has both the capacity to fab, and the desire to make high end chips in volume (something Motorola completely sucks at these days). IBM is capable and currently producing chips greater than 1Ghz - and if memory serves they have that new .1 micron fab in Fishkill. All signs point to IBM having both the desire and the capability to eat Motorola's lunch and relaunch themselves as a meaningful player (at least through shipping chips) in the desktop space. Who knows, maybe they will just buy Apple and finally ship a decent computer instead of this horrid crap they are pushing upon the computing public.

Re:Intel? Nah. (2)

feldsteins (313201) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016299)

If they went to the 'build your own' x86 market

There is a huge leap between "using Intel processors" and what you're talking about. Using an Intel or AMD processor does not by any means mean that one could make a Macintosh out of off-the-shelf parts. No way, no how.

Apple could quite easily use totally off-the-shelf parts to build their own Macs and yet prevent you from doing it too...by adding one small thing: an additional chip (or chips) to the motherboard. Proprietary ones. One's that you couldn't buy anywhere, who's exact specification was unknown outside of Cupertino.

One's that the Mac OS specifically looked for before booting. Get the picture? No proprietary chip, no booting Mac OS. No build-your-own Mac. Someone feel free to correct me if I"m wrong but isn't that basically the reason why nobody could make Macintosh clones? Because of some proprietary ROMs or something? (Excepting the brief period when some companies were licensed to use them.)

So you see, Apple moving to an Intel processor doesn't mean that one could make a Mac by buying parts at some local white box dealer.

Internal Contradiction - HPQ (2, Funny)

Shabazz (29233) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015663)

I love how the article states that Neff says that the HP Compaq deal was a bad idea:

HP, meanwhile, has problems in the PC realm. Rather than try to become a low-cost leader, the company instead tried to bulk up by buying Compaq Computer. History in the computer market, though, shows that "the key is not scale, the key is low cost," he said in an interview.

And then later in the article they talk about his positive track record, including his recommendation for HP to buy Compaq:

While Wall Street analysts have created a cottage industry out of making grandiose (and often ultimately incorrect) predictions and recommendations, Neff can boast of a fairly strong track record of the industry adopting at least some of his ideas. In January 2001, he said that it would behoove HP to purchase Compaq. At the time, most analysts--and even some HP and Compaq execs--warned against buying PC companies, saying it was better to let them fade away.

So, if he's such a brainiac, why did he think it would be a good idea for HP to buy Compaq, and then call it a blunder after it actually happens.

It's not a great track record if you recommend something that you end up calling a mistake once it comes true. Bottom line, maybe the world would be a better place if the industry doesn't adopt his ideas.

What creds does this guy have? (3, Insightful)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015877)

Okay, he's a staff writer for 'news.com.com'. What journalistic credit does this guy have? "Hi, I own shares of Dell and Intel. Can I write a 'story' that would pimp their stock prices?" Gimme a break. Perhaps the 50 page report has more info in it, but this is incredibly lame.

Apple has historically gone to great lengths to be compatible. First they could read PC floppies. Then fat binaries let 68k machines last for a long time after they were no longer sold. There is the compatibility layer in OSX. The idea is simply absurd.

I know next to nothing about compilers, but doesn't it stand to reason that Apple would have to redevelop most/all of their libraries, to say nothing of the compilers themselves? Particularly if they go off for some 'pseudo-x86' architecture like some are suggesting.

At that point, what will be the difference between Mac and Windows? Would companies even bother with MacOS ports, or would they just make some bit of middleware, so that the same binary could use the ABI of either system? (I'm talking way beyond my knowledge, so if it sounds like I don't know what I'm talking about, I don't.)

What would be gained by this? Go from 5% market share to 6%? Not worth the effort. Having access/drivers to PCI/AGP slots, USB, IDE, etc. makes sense. Not for the main architecture.

Hell, even Transmeta makes more sense than this sort of malarky. Get it to emulate PPC for old apps, ia64 for new stuff, or something like that. But straight Intel hardware? I think not.

Remember, even though they don't say it, the Mac is the 'computer for the rest of us'. While it's no longer the company line, don't doubt for a minute that Steve likes being a member of the elite. He likes it that cool Hollywood types use iMacs for computer scenes. He likes it that the kids of yuppie hipsters carry iPods.

Steve is not a commodity guy. Ask the owners of StarMax machines.

This article (and the one 'proving' the existence of super-duper-top-secret military aircraft) prove that in the eyes of the editors, today was a slow news day. Not slow enough to answer the question "what happens when VA is delisted" but slow, nonetheless.

Re:What creds does this guy have? (2)

norwoodites (226775) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016279)

I do not totally disagree with this post but:
The compiler bit is a little off the only part Apple will have to compile for ia32 (which they do not do already publicly) is the all libraries that go with Mac OS X instead of Darwin, this includes Cocoa, Carbon (since Cocoa is using Carbon for menus and other things) and the window server.

The kernel is almost compiled fat so is most of the UNIX apps for both ppc and ia32 for Darwin.
In fact you can compile gcc so it will make fat binaries with one command line.

Re:What creds does this guy have? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016295)

So you are saying that:

a) it's possible for Apple to make fat binaries so that same proggy runs on ia32 and PPC macs?

b) gcc can already do this more or less?

If so, I must say that's cool as hell. Wish I knew a little more about such matters. It also seems that that would mean a switch would be much easier on developers.

Although, IMHO, still somewhat pointless from Apple's POV.

Re:What creds does this guy have? (2)

norwoodites (226775) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016307)

It is only possible because of the file format apple uses for executables, mach-o, no other OS uses it.
And it is apple's extensions to gcc to have the ability to make phat (as apple calls it in the source of gcc) binaries.

Is this part of Apple's 'Switch' campaign? (1)

Hummercash (547159) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015924)

"My name is Craig Barrett and I'm the CEO of a major corporation."

http://www.apple.com/switch/ads/craigbarrett.html

Intel processors suck at battery life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015957)

every intel laptop I've ever used has had a pathetic amount of battery life. I would rather have a slower, quiter machine than ran on battery longer, than a fast machine I always had to plug in.

Can't wait to pirate it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4015963)

Yeah dude, the only thing that's been preventing me from downloading OSX for free has been I got no hardware to run it on! Once it runs on Intel I'd gladly ditch my pirated Windows for pirated OSX! GO APPLE!

sense without fanaticism (4, Insightful)

feldsteins (313201) | more than 11 years ago | (#4015995)

Apple is quite likely to make a move to another microprocessor. For performance increases, sure. To combat the "megahertz myth," sure. But also so that processors can be had cheaper. For those reasons I think Apple will make the move at some point. The analysts timeframe is probably pretty accurate but I thin it'll be sooner rather than later.

With that said, there are some concerns. One of them is certainly the size and heat of the current Intel and AMD processors. Fanless iMacs? I don't think so. Could the TiBook have been developed with a P3 or P4? I rather doubt it. That is surely the major drawback that Apple will have to find a way around. They'll either have to engineer their way around it or perhaps Intel et al will start making smaller and cooler products.

Does anyone back when all PCs used VGA and Apple didn't? Everyone bitched about it but few people actually realized why Apple chose not to use VGA. The reason was that with VGA the computer couldn't auto-sense the display. If it can't auto-sense the display the user has no idea what settings might be valid for it or not, leaving the possibility of choosing invalid ones. (Ever had to answer a trouble call of a user who changed display settings and now the boot sequence ends in a black screen?) That is why Apple didn't use it. One can imagine that they wanted to use it and that they recognized the benefits of using what everyone else used...but that they weren't willing to sacrafice the Apple "ease of use" and "out of box experience" to get it. Interestingly, once comptuers were able to auto-sense the display through VGA connections Apple was right there doing it too.

Whether one agrees with them on that issue is irrelevant. It's simply important to recognize how Apple thinks about issues like these. Perhaps Apple would really like to use Intel processors but is waiting for resolution to some size and heat issues.

Just food for thought.

And incidently, for those who don't know, switching to Intel processors won't mean you can build your own Mac. Forget it. Never happen.

Twice the performance, half the price, ... (2)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016142)

... For performance increases... so that processors can be had cheaper ...

When Apple picked the PowerPC it was billed as something that would have twice the performance at half the price of the x86. This goal was never realized on the desktop. The fault was not so much a Motorola/IBM failing as it was that no one ever imagined Intel could pull off the absolute miracles necessary to get the x86 to where it is today. The PowerPC is a clean and modern design, easier to work with, etc. but if you can put ten times the effort/money into the x86 then x86 can keep the lead in the desktop arena.

Re:Twice the performance, half the price, ... (2)

norwoodites (226775) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016294)

Actually they picked ppc because they would own some ip on it and become partners with both MOT and IBM.

Re:sense without fanaticism (2)

dbrutus (71639) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016207)

Actually, Apple is probably quite unsure of where it's going to go which is why for the first time, they've put their core OS (darwin) out for development on a chip that they don't ship and they're doing it publicly.

From what I can tell, Motorola's only claim to relevance in AIM is Altivec. If they license it, they can fire a bunch more engineers and chip fabricators to puff up their quarterly results and still collect a check. IBM's got the ability to move things forward and within the next 4 years, I think they'll do it and add altivec to their chip lines. Apple's making it clear that Altivec's not just for the graphics set with their enhancements to BLAST and their commitment to improving GCC support for PPC and Altivec.

The facts are that for similar chip runs, PPC is cheaper than x86. The chips tend to be simpler and smaller and thus you can fit more on a die with a better error rate.

The only cost advantage that Intel has is that it is so dominant that it's volume drives the cost down so that it's cheaper. I'm guessing that Apple will stick with PPC or move to Power which might not even require recompiles for most software. If they can innovate themselves into a 8-10% share, the cost difference should go away. At a high enough level, the PPC would be the cheaper choice.

Apple and Sun? (1)

araven (71003) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016146)

Mac on UltraSPARC...could life get any better than that?

~~~~~~~~

Re:Apple and Sun? (2)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016151)

Mac on UltraSPARC...could life get any better than that?

Yes, Power4 architecture. :) Much easier transition for Mac developers too.
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