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More on the PowerPC 970

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the holy-grail dept.

IBM 386

functor writes "Ars Technica's Jon Stokes has a treatise up covering the microarchitecture of the high-performance 64-bit PowerPC 970 microprocessor, due to be released by the end of the year, that goes over in detail how this chip is put together, and how we can expect it to perform. This is the follow-up to Stokes' article detailing the PPC 970's design philosophy. 'It appears to hold quite a bit of promise in bolstering Apple's currently almost obsolescent product line, and it appears to have been designed explictly to fulfil Apple's requirements. To say the least, the second half of this year looks to be pretty interesting as Apple's product line promises to become competitive performance-wise with IA-32 and x86-64-based PCs again.''

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Assembly: Why It Will Replace C++/Java (-1, Offtopic)

Michael's a Jerk! (668185) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953405)

Gentlemen,

Computing is a fast-paced field. What was cutting edge yesterday is as
outdated as a pet rock today. Newer, more efficient technologies are
always being developed. The 8" floppy gave way to the 3.5" floppy
which was later replaced by the CD-R. The acoustic modem eventually
yielded to the DSL/Cable modem. Unix was overtaken by Windows XP. And
so on.

The same technology also applies to programming languages. C yielded
to C++ which gave way to C#. However, the time has come for a complete
paradigm shift in programming. I propose a de facto migration towards
a relatively new, but promising language known as assembly.

Most of you are probably unfamiliar with this langauge. I know I was
until I chanced upon it in my community college while completing my
MCSE. So allow me to give you a little background on this language:
C++ and Java do not allow the programmer to directly access the
hardware. Instead they compile into a "bytecode" which is then
interpretted by a virtual machine. While very portable, this limits
the speed of Java and C++ programs.

Assembly, however, was designed to allow the programmer *direct
access* to the hardware! This makes for *much* faster programs.
Furthermore, assembly is the same language "spoken" by computers.
Because of this, you may sometimes see assembly referred to as
"machine code".

I fear that without the support of a large corporation (the way MS has
pushed Java, or Sun supported C#) assembly will fall by the wayside
like many other interesting languages (Python, I'm looking at you!)
Thus I hope to start a "grass-roots" movement to support assembly. I
would like to see the FSF release a GNU-based assembly compiler
(although they can keep the bugs that have plagued the 3.0 release of
gcc which caused people to switch to Visual Studio for their Linux
programming.)

I would love to expound on the superiority of assembly over C++/Java
but I'm late for my "Intro to TCP/IP" class. Those of you familiar
with assembly, please feel free to educate the many ignorant
C/C++/Java users on the glory of this superior language.

Thank you and God bless!

OFF TOPIC (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953426)

What the hell does this have to do with this topic?

Re:OFF TOPIC (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953488)

What the hell does you comment have to do with this topic?

Re:OFF TOPIC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953561)

And what the hell does your comment have to do with this topic?

Re:Assembly: Why It Will Replace C++/Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953542)

OK! You made your point
Now go back to sleep.

Re:Assembly: Why It Will Replace C++/Java (-1, Offtopic)

A Proud American (657806) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953581)

C is capable of directly accessing the hardware on non-NT platforms.

C++ into bytecode?? Interpreted by a VM?? This is the case for Java but
not for C/C++.

Assembly language and machine code are not synonyms.

Ignorant C/C++/Java users? You'd be wise to take shelter after making such a remark.

Re:Assembly: Why It Will Replace C++/Java (1)

telax (653371) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953662)

Maybe he was being sarcastic.. I atleast hope :)

Re:Assembly: Why It Will Replace C++/Java (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953631)

An interesting troll. An enjoyably subtle introductory paragraph, with only a hint of flamebaiting with the 'XP/Unix' comment. This trend is continued with the C/C++/C# evolution stanza, with its clean upfront palate, but lingering pleasant aftertaste. However, the trollish aromas start to become overpowering a little too soon with the sudden transition to assembly advocacy. A mature, well rounded troll will usually lead the reader through a gentler, more meandering path before delivering the closing fruity punch. Perhaps with a few years of cellaring, this troll may rank with such classics as the 1999 'BSD is dying' and the memorable 2000 'VB Programmer for a Fortune 500 company'.

All in all, not a bad effort for a beginner. 7/10.

Re:Assembly: Why It Will Replace C++/Java (-1, Offtopic)

d_i_r_t_y (156112) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953720)

as a programmer for a fortune 500 company, i feel i must respond. there are a number of factual inconsistencies in your post, let's see:

the 3.5" floppy was replaced by the zip disk, which could store up to 10 meg of data, which was then replaced by the jazz disk, which could store 50. CDRs came later.

the FSF does not make gcc (the Gnome C Compiler), it is written by RMS and the OSI (Open Source Institution).

but, you're right. assembly is certainly the "new" and "hip" thing to be using right now. for example, the next version of perl (a language normally derided for being slow and hard to understand), will be based on top of parrot, a high-level assembly language. projects like this offer hope to the struggling languages you mentioned, like python, without compromising the raw speed that assembly offers.

we are certainly looking forward to the recent announcement [yahoo.com] of JEnterprise Assembly++ for our next enterprise project.

Re:Assembly: Why It Will Replace C++/Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953897)

Sorry, but as the CTO of a Fortune 100 company I must point out the inacuracies of your post.

First of all, the Gnome C Compiler is written by ESR and the ISO, not RMS. After all, ISO standardised the C langauge themselves in 1993 with C++! There is not even such a standards body as the OSI.

Secondly, the Jazz disk could hold 100Mb of data with the double sided disks. You could purchase a special hole punch which would allow you to turn a single sided Jazz disk into a double sided Jazz disk, in fact. They were made illegal by the FTC however when it became clear that the modified disks caused the Jazz drives to emit interference on the 900Mhz bands.

You are also wrong about Parrot. Parrot is the replacement for Perl outright. After all, what would the benefit be of using an arhaic and outdated language such as Perl on top of the streamlined assembly sub-system of Parrot, when you should instead program in Parrot directly? Parrot will also be fully .NET compatable, thanks to the tireless efforts of Microsoft corporation.

I am afraid that your ill informed comments simply highlight your poor understanding of the current IS industry!

1st! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953408)

1st!

YOU FAIL IT! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953506)

First Post? No. FAILURE? YES.

YOU FAIL IT!

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!

New Slashcode (-1, Offtopic)

IcyHotStuntazerlicio (639936) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953412)

Please try the new MacSlash site here [macslash2.org]

Ben is wanting to test the submission filter, so fire away!

BEN lieks the new ..... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953455)

www.macslash2.org
P
a
g
e
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E
x
t
e
n
d
e
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mac osx freezes also (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953417)

Fuck Linux, the OS of religious zealots.

Good Stuff... (-1, Troll)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953419)

I wanted my next laptop to be a powerbook anyway. Muhahahaha.

Seriously folks, even if the OS sucks, they'll have Gentoo ported to the hardware in a month or two. I always had a soft spot for RISC processors. (sniffle)

Re:Good Stuff... (0, Offtopic)

the uNF cola (657200) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953475)

Are you saying that Gentoo sucks, since if it is ported to every machine that has a sucky OS, that Gentoo might BE that sucky OS?

Or did you just insult Mac OSX.

p.s. OS X doesn't suck, [ insert long winded flame ]

Re:Good Stuff... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953877)

i guess he meant he can get a PPC970 and run getoo on it. so yes, he did insult OSX

Gentoo translator-o-matic (-1, Troll)

jay-be-em (664602) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953482)

Official Gentoo-Linux-Zealot translator-o-matic

Gentoo Linux is an interesting new distribution with some great features. Unfortunately, it has attracted a large number of clueless wannabes who absolutely MUST advocate Gentoo at every opportunity. Let's look at the language of these zealots, and find out what it really means...

"Gentoo makes me so much more productive."
"Although I can't use the box at the moment because it's compiling something, as it will be for the next five days, it gives me more time to check out the latest USE flags and potentially unstable optimisation settings."

"Gentoo is more in the spirit of open source!"
"Apart from Hello World in Pascal at school, I've never written a single program in my life or contributed to an open source project, yet staring at endless streams of GCC output whizzing by somehow helps me contribute to international freedom."

"I use Gentoo because it's more like the BSDs."
"Last month I tried to install FreeBSD on a well-supported machine, but the text-based installer scared me off. I've never used a BSD, but the guys on Slashdot say that it's l33t though, so surely I must be for using Gentoo."

"Heh, my system is soooo much faster after installing Gentoo."
"I've spent hours recompiling Fetchmail, X-Chat, gEdit and thousands of other programs which spend 99% of their time waiting for user input. Even though only the kernel and glibc make a significant difference with optimisations, and RPMs and .debs can be rebuilt with a handful of commands, my box MUST be faster. It's nothing to do with the fact that I've disabled all startup services and I'm running BlackBox instead of GNOME or KDE."

"...my Gentoo Linux workstation..."
"...my overclocked AMD eMachines box from PC World, and apart from the third-grade made-to-break components and dodgy fan..."

"You Red Hat guys must get sick of dependency hell..."
"I'm too stupid to understand that circular dependencies can be resolved by specifying BOTH .rpms together on the command line, and that problems hardly ever occur if one uses proper Red Hat packages instead of mixing SuSE, Mandrake and Joe's Linux packages together (which the system wasn't designed for)."

"All the other distros are soooo out of date."
"Constantly upgrading to the latest bleeding-edge untested software makes me more productive. Never mind the extensive testing and patching that Debian and Red Hat perform on their packages; I've just emerged the latest GNOME beta snapshot and compiled with -09 -fomit-instructions, and it only crashes once every few hours."

"Let's face it, Gentoo is the future."
"OK, so no serious business is going to even consider Gentoo in the near future, and even with proper support and QA in place, it'll still eat up far too much of a company's valuable time. But this guy I met on #animepr0n is now using it, so it must be growing!"

Re:Gentoo translator-o-matic (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953630)

That was funny the first 8 times I read it.

I mentioned gentoo because, short of Linux from scratch, what other distro can you completely recompile for a new platform? Hmm? (Tumbleweed)

Figures, I actually find a real application for Gentoo, and what happens...

You are an utter fool (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953772)

You are a complete moron, and the parent poster is right to mock you and your Gentoo using buddies.

How is Gentoo going to help you "recompile for a new platform"? Will Gentoo magically detect the 64bit PPC and write the GCC backend for it itself? Does Gentoo have the ability to be magically recompiled for any target, even if the kernel or Glibc may not support it?

Oh, but you're a Gentoo user. I shouldn't expect you to understand the concept of hardware platforms, kernels or porting. Silly me; you're probably far to busy recompiling KDE for the seventh time this month. No wonder you don't have the time to learn simple concepts like this.

go get fucked (-1)

Sexual Asspussy (453406) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953786)

I mentioned gentoo because, short of Linux from scratch, what other distro can you completely recompile for a new platform? Hmm? (Tumbleweed)

do you think other Linux distros just fucking appear, pre-built, out of nowhere? are you that much of a stupid fucking Gentoo asshole?

Inaccuracy, Part 1 (5, Interesting)

11223 (201561) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953424)

Unfortunately, the vector performance of the G4e has been consistently bottlenecked by Apple's lackluster motherboard and chipset designs--specifically the anemic frontside bus and memory subsystems that Apple has saddled the PowerMac line with.

This implies that the decision of how much bus bandwidth to give the G4e was up to Apple - which it was not. Motorola designed the processor (for Cisco, depending on who you believe), and Apple made do with the anemic MaxBus at 133mhz that they got from Motorola.

Apple'd be putting DDR400 on the G4 right now if they could. None of this (well, except the decision to go Moto) was their fault.

Re:Idiocy, Part 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953502)

Hmm, I guess I have to agree that the bus bandwidth on the processor isn't determined by Apple. Still, you'd think that deciding how much of it to put out to main memory is up to Apple.

After all, they have that "high speed L3 cache" using DDR memory that interfaces to the processor at high speed. Why they couldn't extend that pipe out to main memory at the very same bandwidth is anyone's guess. I'd blame it on the same thing Hannibal did--Apple's lackluster motherboard and chipset designs. That's saying a lot, since he's a dope and I rarely agree with his opinions.

Re:Idiocy, Part 1 (1)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953639)

After all, they have that "high speed L3 cache" using DDR memory that interfaces to the processor at high speed. Why they couldn't extend that pipe out to main memory at the very same bandwidth is anyone's guess.
L3 cache is limited to 4MB, so there are probably not enough address lines on that bus (unless you want to make a system with only 4MB of memory of course). The main memory interface of the 7450 (and not 7440 like the article states: that one is only used in lower-end machines like the iMac and eMac) is what Apple has to use to go to the main memory, and it's that one that's so limited.

Re:Inaccuracy, Part 1 (1)

whovian (107062) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953606)

As far as I know, none of the other IA-32 motherboard manufacturers are making *dual* processor boards with 166 MHz (333 DDR) bus for use with 333 MHz DDR memory. Sure, there are plenty of IA-32 single cpu boards running bus and memory synchonously at DDR333, a few at DDR400, and even a few running DDR266 bus/333 memory asynchronously.

So my point is that Apple's offering, though somewhat expensive, is unique.

Re:Inaccuracy, Part 1 (5, Informative)

functor (31042) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953778)

No, but IA-32 motherboard manufacturers go a good number of steps further. ;) I recommend that you investigate Intel's Placer (E7505) chipset [intel.com] and motherboards based on it (several of Supermicro's offerings, as well as offerings from Tyan and other manufacturers, e.g. the Iwill DPL533 [iwillusa.com] and DP533 [iwillusa.com] . These motherboards support 133 MHz QDR system buses (coming to 533 million transfers a second), matched (quite well) with two channels of PC2100 DDR SDRAM (resulting in 4.267 GB/s of memory bandwidth that is actually utilizable by the processors, since the memory bandwidth matches the system bus bandwidth, unlike Apple's offering, which is bottlenecked by the system bus at just 1.333 GB/s, whether you have one processor or two). (And I'm certain that 200 MHz QDR Xeon chipsets are not far off in the future, since Intel in general appears to be headed in that direction.)

Re:Inaccuracy, Part 1 (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953628)

In a way that is a sort of a cop out. Apple could have invested in better chipset technology. A quad-pumped 133mhz FSB has already been done by Intel. What was to stop Apple from doing the same? Lack of a good chipset, that's all.

Re:Inaccuracy, Part 1 (4, Informative)

11223 (201561) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953708)

You're completely wrong. The maximum speed of the FSB and whether it supports DDR (or QDR) is determined by the processor, not by the chipset. For the G4e, the maximum known speed at which MaxBus can operate is 167MHz - precisely what Apple uses.

They can't make the FSB DDR or QDR without appropriate support from the processor, and that's exactly what they haven't been getting from Moto.

Worst timing ever (5, Funny)

Space Coyote (413320) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953430)

Why this had to be posted the morning before my presentation to my supervizor is a clear indication that the universe is against me.

Time to hide my network cable until the end of the day.

waiting for this to arrive.... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953441)

I sold my G4 tower some time ago becuase it was not fast enough to compete with my winders boxes. I'll jump back on the Apple platform when the 970 ships, assuming it's all that. Lets just hope the entry level unit is ( for Apple ) somewhat affordable.

The current pro line of G4 is a joke. They cant come out with 970 computers fast enough.

Re:waiting for this to arrive.... (1, Interesting)

vilms (106676) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953627)

Compete with your Windows box?

Compete at what?

Re:waiting for this to arrive.... (0, Flamebait)

skinfitz (564041) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953682)

Compete with your Windows box? Compete at what?

The fact that you ask that question shows your ignorance.

Re:waiting for this to arrive.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953742)

All questions demonstrate ignorance. But those who don't ask remain ignorant. And those who critisize asking questions are doubly ignorant.

Re:waiting for this to arrive.... (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953769)

Looking at the thread, I assume the competition is about 'being fast'.

It is competitive ! (4, Interesting)

Fefe (6964) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953448)

Who knows whether it will still be competitive in several months when they actually want to offer it.

On the other hand Apple users won't have much of a choice, and neither has Apple.

Re:It is competitive ! (2, Interesting)

mirko (198274) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953499)

Actually, since Jobs got back to Apple, he's not especially disappointed Apple users : there was the iMac, the iBook, the iWhatever, the Airport, the G4...
Each time there was a leap forward so I guess this will give the concurrence some nightmares.
But you are right, until then, Apple took huge risks.
It's just a good think someone did, otherwise the market would still offer prehistoric beeping-XT.

Re:It is competitive ! (1)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953679)

And since the market doesn't feature prehistoric beeping XT's, we're not forced between the choice of using those, or dinkyscreen black-and-white squawking Macintoys.

Is is all good and well... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953459)

...but as long as Apple doesn't build-in Microsofts DRM technology as a feature i refuse to buy :)

competitive, sure... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953461)

The PPC 970 will not really make the Macintosh competitive with modern PC's. It will make it competitive with PC's from the beginning of this year, which are not the fastest available any more, and will be even slower when compared to the machines that are available when the PPC 970 ships, which is the very earliest that Apple machines based on it can ship. It will however go a long way to catching up, and take off a lot of the pressure caused by the abominable performance of today's dual processor G4 machines when compared to even inexpensive PC's.

The other unkown in this is the price. PPC 970 based Apple computers may be significantly more expensive. Motorola loses hundreds of millions of dollars each year on their semiconductor business, and IBM does as well. Still, IBM may want to look at Apple and the PPC 970 as a PROFIT center, rather than a LOSS center, like Motorola does with Apple and the G4.

The PPC 970 is great news for Apple, but it is still a bone thrown to them while the x86 PC is feasting on the meat of the Intel and AMD processors.

Re:competitive, sure... (5, Insightful)

Trurl's Machine (651488) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953633)

The PPC 970 will not really make the Macintosh competitive with modern PC's. It will make it competitive with PC's from the beginning of this year, which are not the fastest available any more, and will be even slower when compared to the machines that are available when the PPC 970 ships

"Being competitive" does not equal to 'having more computing power". Look how small is this thingy's power consumption! I guess when 970 ships, we will have similar situation as we have right now. x86 machines will consume enormous amount of power and dissipate enormous amount of heat, what usually results in this nice "quadruple augmented turbofan" sound that accompanies most PC desktops or "not enough battery life even to watch a full DVD" laptops. Not to mention that if you actually put this laptop on the top of your lap, you might get your testicles hard boiled.

And Apple will launch yet another series of slower but cool machines - both in terms of look and heat dissipation. Which actually is pretty much what we have already.

Re:competitive, sure... (4, Informative)

11223 (201561) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953736)

The PPC 970 is great news for Apple, but it is still a bone thrown to them while the x86 PC is feasting on the meat of the Intel and AMD processors.

As Nethack would say, "Ugh! This meat is tainted!"

The 970 is fundamentally a 64-bit processor, and its performance must be evaluated in that context. The fact that the 970 will pull off amazing speed in the 32-bit arena only shows how well-designed this processor is.

Keep in mind, the Hammer is only shipping at 1.4, 1.6, and 1.8 GHz - the same speeds the 970 is targeted at. And the 970 has the advantage of an ISA that was designed from the beginning to do 32 and 64 bit addressing, versus one that's a 64-bit extension of a 32-bit extension of a 16-bit micro with full compatibility to an 8-bit redesign of a 4-bit processor.

Re:competitive, sure... (0, Flamebait)

spRed (28066) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953751)

I personally can't wait .. this will require Mac zealots to up the ante on the rhetoric.

If you've been saying a dual G4 currently beats anything Intel/AMD hands down, what do you say when PPC970 arrives?

"My PPC970 Mac is fully sentient. He's talking about running for president in 2008."

Competition.. (1)

telax (653371) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953467)

It's nice to see how these 64 bit systems will compete. I'm going to army for atleast 6 months and when I come back it would be nice to buy some super fast 64bit system :) Though.. I'm a bit suspicious about the x86-64-system? Yet again a system that expands it? Not so sure about it :P

Re:Competition.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953632)

I'm going to army for atleast 6 months and when I come back it would be nice to buy some super fast 64bit system :)

After 6 months of army pay you'd be lucky to afford the box it comes in.

Yeah. let's depend on IBM for our future (0, Insightful)

corebreech (469871) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953479)

C'mon! It should be abundantly clear now -- even to Steve -- that nobody else in the universe gives a damn if Macs are the slowest desktops on the planet.

Mac developers are used to heavy lifting to accommodate change. Witness the 680x0->PPC migration (which was incredibly painful), or Mac OS 9->OS X. Adopting a new processor would be a piece of cake at this point.

Take a page from GNU/Linux and the BSD's 1 2 & 3. Target multiple architectures. Let the users decide!

Re:Yeah. let's depend on IBM for our future (5, Insightful)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953587)

On the contrary...

Most users of Macs are in the graphics industry. Having BEEN there, I can tell you the 68k to PPC transition was a non-issue. The PPC ran the 68k code as fast as the old machines. The real transition was in restructuring applications, since they no longer needed to work around the brain-deadedness of the 68k series. Again, old apps were not affected.

The other point I would like to make is that they HAVE taken a page out of the GNU/Linux BSD page. MacOSX is an alternative window manager sitting on top of BSD!

Re:Yeah. let's depend on IBM for our future (-1, Flamebait)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953704)

Oh, puhlease. Nobody in the Mac community referred to it as the brain-deadness of the 68k series until the marketing fax from Apple told them it was time to.

You're all lead by the nose by Steve Jobs, Bill Gate's mini-me.

Re:Yeah. let's depend on IBM for our future (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953801)

Have you ever programmed for the 68000 series processors? Perhaps "Primative" was a better word to describe writing your program in 64 KB chunks.

Re:Yeah. let's depend on IBM for our future (1)

KefkaFloyd (628386) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953805)

"Oh, puhlease. Nobody in the Mac community referred to it as the brain-deadness of the 68k series until the marketing fax from Apple told them it was time to."

Considering that Steve wasn't in charge at the time, Spindler was.

The 68K had serious scaling problems (gee, where have we seen this before?) and it was holding the platform back compared to Intel processors.

Re:Yeah. let's depend on IBM for our future (5, Insightful)

mblase (200735) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953594)

Target multiple architectures. Let the users decide!

Y'know, I don't know why this keeps coming up. Apple's bottom line has always depended on keeping tight control over the hardware to allow maximum integration with their own software. And it works.

Keep in mind that Linux and BSD aren't targetted towards consumers who want to just "rip, mix, burn" or have plug-and-play that's actually exactly that. Even Windows can't deliver consistently on its promise of universal ease-of-use because so many vendors have so much hardware that may or may not work with the system and its existing drivers.

Whatever else you think about Apple's computers, they are without a doubt the easiest PCs on the planet if you're a neophyte. Take it from me, I've got two young women in my home who are all but completely computer-illiterate, and if I didn't have Mac OS X running they'd be constantly lost at sea. I'd love to try hooking up a Linux box for either or both of them, but there's no way I could expect them to use it. Macs are easy, and their users like them that way.

Yeah, I know it's a profit issue for Apple as well, because without business software sales like Microsoft relies on they'd be bankrupt without hardware profits. But I like to think it's more than just money. Apple cares about making a good and easy-to-use product, or else they'd just be chasing Windows like (sorry, not trolling here, but it's true) GNOME and KDE are instead of constantly innovating their own hardware and interface designs.

Targetting multiple architectures means that Apple's got to deal with unpredictable hardware configurations, cards, motherboards, drivers, all sorts of things that could cause inconvenient kernel panics, drive failures, or worse. Users are used to that with Windows, and they pretty much expect it with Linux. With Macs, they expect things to just work. Controlling the hardware is the best way for Apple to do that.

Re:Yeah. let's depend on IBM for our future (-1, Flamebait)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953767)

Take it from me, I've got two young women in my home who are all but completely computer-illiterate, and if I didn't have Mac OS X running they'd be constantly lost at sea.

Mac Advocacy doesn't have to just be ignorant. It can be sexist, too.

Re:Yeah. let's depend on IBM for our future (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953809)

I've got two young women at home too. One with a Mac, one with a Windows machine. The Maccie always watches longingly as we play games, use sites like Yahoo! Launch (Windows Update too...can't forget that one man). We used to be impressed with the translucent housed monitor with alien feet- now we scoff as she fires up Photoshop yet again.

Or let's not... (5, Insightful)

Blocked By Sand (623943) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953625)

Lately many things have happened to apple, and if you take a brief look at thir lineup of both computers and gadgets you'll find that they are not dependent on anyone the same way they depended on motorola.
The music industry for iMS, AMD for the chips in the airport base station (and the iPod(?) don't know), Motorola for the non-pro lineup (iMacG4, iBook and the portables until they get 970), etc. etc.

I think Apple will go a long way to make sure they don't get stuck with one provider.

Also I think they are trying to be more competitive pricewise. By having a steady stream of income from selling iPods and songs via iMS, they get more money to develop hardware and software, and we just might get Powermacs970 below the $3k mark.

Re:Yeah. let's depend on IBM for our future (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953670)

First off two points. Slow is relative. In relative terms MAC is dead slow, in real terms, dammit people these are 1ghz *ix laptops and desktops. for most things they are blindingly fast.

That being said, I can see apple working themselves into a corner. Let's say they go to a 970 based MAC in October, and it's 1.8Ghz. Perhaps then a big first jump to a 2.5Ghz machine by early 2004. Let's assume for the sake of argument that MAC is then the quickest on the block... for how long will this last? Apple are still very dependent on ONE single external supplier, being IBM. They're being forced to follow the whims of IBM and their CPU line, when that is not IBMs core business.

With an OS running on x86 architecture, not only do OS authors have the knowledge they're building for a well supported architecture, but there is choice in the market of who makes those chips, AMD or Intel for a start. Not only that, AMD and Intel have desktop CPUs as a MAJOR part of their business. There's a big point I've seen little mention of

I see the only sane option is for MAC to go x86. Everything else seems just a temporary option as long as the world works how it does

Re:Yeah. let's depend on IBM for our future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953839)

In relative terms MAC is dead slow

No it isn't. You just read it from the EEPROM on the card. O.K, admitedly EEPROM is not as fast as modern DRAM, but it is hardly "dead slow". After all, you're only reading a measly 32 bits. Even on an XT bus you can still do that in a single bus cycle!

No matter how many times I read it... (-1, Redundant)

MeanE (469971) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953505)

it still seems weird to see IBM (creator of the PC) making chips for Apple.

Anyway, what my question is, how hard will it be for Mac program creators to move over to the new chip. I mean they just spent time and money (supposedly) tooling up their programs to work on OSX...and now they have to jump again.

As well, what % of the Apple line would be switched over to the new chip..whould they have to go back to FAT archives for the lower and upper end Apple machines (if they stuck with G$ for low end and 970 for high)?

It looks a little messy...but Apple has done it before, so I am sure they can do it again.

Re:No matter how many times I read it... (4, Informative)

eweiland (89563) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953557)

This is still a PPC chip. No changes to programs are necessary for them to run on it. The only change that will have to be made is if a software vendor decides to run in 64-bit mode which many don't have to do. Performance of the new chip is not dependent on whether the program runs at 32 or 64 bits. This is not a migration like moving from the 680x0 line of processors to the PPC which was an overall change in architecture.

Re:No matter how many times I read it... (1)

entrox (266621) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953572)

Why would it seem weird? PowerPC was a IBM/Motorola/Apple joint-venture from the beginning. Besides, all iBooks have a G3 from IBM already, so it would be nothing new.

There's also absolutely no porting required, as the PPC970 is a (duh) PowerPC! Everything will work fine, nothing needs to get recompiled and everybody is happy.

I'm sure Photoshop, etc., will recompile (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953595)

It appears that there's a lot of optimization to be had by recompiling for this processor, especially in getting around various scheduling pitfalls. Photoshop and other need-for-speed apps will probably be recompiled ASAP to give them the competitive edge.

Re:No matter how many times I read it... (3, Informative)

functor (31042) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953578)

The vast majority of applications ought to run without modifications, since the instruction set is backward compatible (i.e. there are instructions for 64-bit addressing and with 64-bit-wide operands, but as far as I can tell, that's all). CPU-intensive applications would benefit from a recompile using a compiler that is aware of the PPC 970's unique pipelining and queueing, and can order instructions in the instruction stream that will allow for maximum execution unit utilization.

Some applications, e.g. large databases and applications that deal with very large integers, will benefit from being rebuilt with 64-bit addressing and 64-bit instructions, but for the vast majority of (desktop) applications that run on OS X, all 64-bit binaries will do is to increase the utilization of CPU instruction cache (and often data cache), and hence reduce performance as the cache miss rates go up.

So, in the end, don't worry; your OS X applications will run fine (for the most part) on a PowerPC 970-equipped Macintosh. ;)

Re:No matter how many times I read it... (1)

UniverseIsADoughnut (170909) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953615)

" it still seems weird to see IBM (creator of the PC) making chips for Apple."

No it doesn't Apple created the first PC, IBM created the AT or was it the XT later on. Any computer you personaly own wether it be a mac or a computer running windows or linux ... is a PC. Furthermore while IBM may be in the computer making business they are a hardware supplier to. They will sell to anyone who wants to buy their stuff. By your logic it's also weird they would buy an OS from microsoft when they have some they wrote to, AIX, OS/2 , that DOS version, and more.

"s well, what % of the Apple line would be switched over to the new chip..whould they have to go back to FAT archives for the lower and upper end Apple machines (if they stuck with G$ for low end and 970 for high)?"

If they went with anything but the PPC970 this would be true, but the PPC970 is a straight upgrade, no recompiles and so forth. Hense it's the chip apple is almost certainly going with.

Re:No matter how many times I read it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953738)

IIRC IBM created the IBM PC, followed by the XT, followed by the AT.

And then there was the PC Jr., which (fortunately) never took off.

Re:No matter how many times I read it... (3, Informative)

Trurl's Machine (651488) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953693)

it still seems weird to see IBM (creator of the PC) making chips for Apple

It's not that weird right now - their cooperation on PowerPC started almost 20 years ago. But it was weird ineed back then. I heard that on their first date, pardon, meeting, engineers of both companies wore the other company's dress code. The IBM guys came in jeans and t-shirts, the Apple guys came in suits and ties. How desperate both sides were to show each other that they have no hard feelings about past!

IBM = Alpha & Omega for Apple (1)

adzoox (615327) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953724)

IBM has also had part in the hard drives from the beginning. Many of the 40/80 and 160MB drives in LCs were IBM. The RAM in MANY of the 6100's and 7100's was IBM branded memory. ViaVoice was created specifically for Macs in an enhanced version. I suppose you have to look at it this way. Microsoft makes Office, it's PC app, for the Mac. Obviously, because it makes money to add to the bottom line. The mac may sell less volume, but also sells more licensed copies to the base. (More Mac people can afford it or work in "license related fields") It's only smart business sense to make products for you and your competition. It's called "hidden market share"

I can't stand it anymore... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953525)

...all this incompetency and arrogancy is enough.. when will there be a Slashdot devoted to Microsoft ONLY? So that all those assholes can go there and jerk off about how much money they'd spend for shit...

Dual FPUs! (5, Interesting)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953551)

Reading through the article, its nice to see some real design going into a processor. Looking through Intel's last few chips, they've been upping ther clock speed and packing in more cache.

Yeah, yeah, they are hog-tied because you can't easily re-compile the entire windows platform to use new instruction sets. Linux users, of course, don't have this problem (muhahahah).

Did anyone else catch the bit on the twin FPU's? I'm just imagining what this thing is going to do with vector operations and frequency transforms.

For most of you non-engineers:

Most 3d vector operations are affine tranformations. Using a 4x4 array of floating point numbers you can translate, rotate, and scale. Works beautifully, but it's a lot of calculations.

The Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) is used a lot in signal processing. It's a floating point monster.

Re:Dual FPUs! (1)

transient (232842) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953638)

Most 3d vector operations are affine tranformations.

Most 2-dimensional transformations can be done this way too. Apple's Quartz subsystem uses matrix transformations just about everywhere it can get away with.

Dual FPUs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953687)

Is that one in each hand, or one hilt and a FPU on either end?

Re:Dual FPUs! (4, Interesting)

functor (31042) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953688)

Did anyone else catch the bit on the twin FPU's? I'm just imagining what this thing is going to do with vector operations and frequency transforms. For most of you non-engineers:
  • Most 3d vector operations are affine tranformations. Using a 4x4 array of floating point numbers you can translate, rotate, and scale. Works beautifully, but it's a lot of calculations.
  • The Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) is used a lot in signal processing. It's a floating point monster.
I would imagine that the use of AltiVec/VMX single-instruction multiple-data instructions would be somewhat more effective in doing vector and matrix floating-point computations than scalar floating-point operations as provided by the dual FPUs -- especially on these smaller (4x4, 8x8) matrices. While, in comparison to the MPC 7450, the PPC 970 may have an inferior VMX unit (but with much more bandwidth and a higher clockspeed available), the SIMD instructions allow for more data to be processed per clock cycle than the scalar FPUs can, so I imagine that things like FFTs and vector arithmetic and transformations are better-suited to the use of AltiVec/VMX instructions -- perhaps even hand-tuned to get the best instruction scheduling and highest instructions-per-clock count (and hence computational throughput).

Re:Dual FPUs! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953815)

How come the parent post, which is totally correct and very informative is modded 1, while the mongoloid grandparent has a 5? Come on...

Re:Dual FPUs! (2, Informative)

tortap-0 (306464) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953860)

While dual FPUs are useful this is what SIMD operations like Intels SSE and Motorolas Altivec are used for. The dual FPUs might be good for doing other work but DSP filters and Photoshop filters will use SIMD operations wherever they can.

That is very bandwidth intensive work, moving alot of floating point numbers from memory, and this is where the 970 will be superior to the G4e. But this is also the strong point of the Intel P4 running at super high frequencies. The AMD Athlon 64 will clock for clock be competitive with the P4 running genreal code, but doing SIMD operations they can all do 4 at a time. Then the higher clocked chip always wins. The Altivec unit of the 970 will have to be alot better than the SSE2 from Intel to beat it.

Hehe (5, Funny)

A Proud American (657806) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953554)

This reminds me of an old joke one of my professors told once. Hope you don't mind that I share:

Q: Why might IBM change the name of their 970 chip?

A: Because they added 620 to the IBM 350 and got 969.999983605.

May be sooner than we think (3, Interesting)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953569)

According to some rumor sites [macrumors.com] , Apple may already have ordered several thousand of these chips for new machines to debute in middle of June.

I'm not buying into it 100% myself, but as I don't plan on buying a new Powermac until next year (and turning my current one into either a Yellow Dog or OS X Server), I'm in no big rush.

My expectations is that the Powerbook/iBook line won't be updated until next year, when IBM can get the power requirements down for the 970 or its successor.

Power, PC's, and PowerPC's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953600)

Is there even one PC that is powered by a PowerPC chip?

Re:Power, PC's, and PowerPC's (2, Interesting)

telax (653371) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953650)

I think most people use the term PC on computers that are made of parts that are cheap(something powerpc processors aren't) and parts that are easily changed to different ones. Though the new macs can nowadays be extended with pci cards and so on, so you could maybe say it's a PC.

Mac is a PC? Hardly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953719)

The Mac can run hardly any software unless you run an emulator on it. It's not really a PC.

If you doubt me, go to a modern software store (or even a flea market with very old software) and pick up any box of software that says "For PC" and try to run it on your Mac (without a PC emulator). How well does it run?

Re:Power, PC's, and PowerPC's (3, Informative)

Snart Barfunz (526615) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953673)

If by PC you mean personal computer, a phrase in common currency some time before the arrival of IBM's PC, then the answer is - Yes, many. If you mean a personal computer capable of running a Microsoft operating system natively, then (discounting early PPC NT ports) the anser is - No. But so what?

No PCs using PowerPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953696)

"If by PC you mean personal computer, a phrase in common currency some time before the arrival of IBM's PC"

No, they were mostly called microcomputers before the IBM-PC. "Personal computer" was a little-used marketing term, seized by IBM and used for its machines.

You know what I mean. Visit "Mac Mall" and "PC Mall". I guess there is no PC running with a PowerPC!

commodity hardware (0, Redundant)

non (130182) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953667)

ok, so ibm makes a nice new processor. how do i put one in my box? current powerpc motherboards from vendors i've seen mentioned in articles are not cheap, and furthermore aren't as expandable as a good x86 mobo. 'apple dying to use DDR400,' someone above me said. 'great,' i say. for how much? from who, apple?

the only real interest this could possibly have to _me_ is if ibm licenses tech to third-party suppliers (are there any ACs that can comment on that?). i won't buy an apple because i don't want some clear box with designer touches; i want to mix and match. who's going to give that to me? ibm? are they really going to get back into the market. i'm still not happy, but i'd buy a dual ppc970 system tomorrow if it came with a commodity motherboard with at least 4 pci slots (at least one 64-bit), and could offer onboard scsi, etc.

Re:commodity hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953733)

how do i put one in my box?

Open legs, insert chip, close legs.

Sure, you can buy it... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953800)

The 970 is going into IBM's hardware, too, without the Altivec or Apple ROM. You could run a *nix on it. But why would you want to? You can still get a much faster Intel or AMC box. Apple will hang on to it's hardware monopoly, and they're gonna charge arms and legs for it.

You seem pissed that Apple doesn't throw down with the other hardware manufacturers. Why? Other platforms offer nearly everything Apple does, except that patented "Apple Flavor" and maybe FCP. I wish they'd commoditize the hardware, too, but it won't happen.

Obsolete my a$$ (4, Interesting)

motorsabbath (243336) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953689)

It appears to hold quite a bit of promise in bolstering Apple's currently almost obsolescent product line

Ha! I have a 867 G4 at home and it still rocks. Apple's line is certainly nowhere near obsolete, they're very different boxes than PCs.

You multi-gigahertz fruitcakes crack me up. 3 GHz is a waste of processor power and energy for at 80% of the people that use computers.

Re:Obsolete my a$$ (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953791)

Many academics treasure their old Lisp machines. Their love for the boxes does not change the fact that the rest of the world no longer cares, and that Lisp machines are obsolete.

Besides, I take that to mean that you'll never buy another computer unless your current one breaks? Because, an upgrade would be a waste, wouldn't it?

Perhaps I might feel sympathetic if Jobs hadn't strutted around with a "ho hum, another day, another supercomputer" attitude.

Re:Obsolete my a$$ (1)

motorsabbath (243336) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953835)

Actually, I've got a pile of them. The G4 is sitting right next to an Athlon running Linux and FreeBSD. The Apple still rocks, and is a match for the 1.2 GHz Athlon and is not in need of an upgrade, although I may get a new video card for it.

I never buy PCs, I put them together myself - the next full computer I buy will be a PowerBook - I'm sick of lugging my PC around to do multi-track recording.

I just disagree with the line that Macs are obsolete. They're great boxes. Even an 867 MHz Mac is 10x the processing power required by 80% of the computer-using population.

Obsolete a long time ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953821)

"Ha! I have a 867 G4 at home and it still rocks"

I've had an AMD-based PC twice as fast for a year now. Such slow machines are leading edge....if you are living in the summer of 2000.

Re:Obsolete a long time ago (1)

motorsabbath (243336) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953868)

See my original post about multi-gigahertz fruitcakes, anonymous fruitcake, and note that I have a few Athlons at home too. I'm not saying your/my Athlon isn't somewhat faster, I'm saying most people don't care and/or wouldn't notice, and that the CPU is only part of the package on a Mac.

Let me tell ya, my Mom really gives a s**t whether she gets that extra 3 FPS in UT2003...

Re:Obsolete my a$$ (5, Insightful)

gunnk (463227) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953844)

I have a 2.4GHz Dell Optiplex GX260 with 1 GB of RAM here at work. Next to it I have a 450MHz G4 with 640MB RAM.

I use the Dell for Linux development work and to run a couple of Windows-only programs (Netware Administrator), but for everything else I use my Mac (email, word processing, web browsing, spreadsheets, etc.).

Far from obsolete, this old G4 with OS X still provides a much better work environment than my Optiplex. So what if the processor is slow by today's standards? I'm still MORE PRODUCTIVE on my Mac. Isn't productivity the best benchmark for how good a computer REALLY is?

Re:Obsolete my a$$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953850)

This is the classic zealot argument... (high pitched voice) "My blah blah G4 suits me just fine. Sure, all I do is check email and download porn, but that's all you can do with a Mac! Never mind all the people that need to do real work with Macs, and have to wait agonizing hours to get Photoshop to do something. As long as I'm happy, everyone can go to hell! Macs RuLe!!"

Think Different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953857)

"Sure, all I do is check email and download porn, but that's all you can do with a Mac!"

So much for "think different". If all he does is e-mail, he might as well have one of those Audrey appliance machines. So much for the "rest of us" who want to do more.

How Apple is like Christianity... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953695)

It sucks

How is Apple like Christianity? (4, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953747)

Let's see....

You've got Job(s) in both.

History of being a persecuted minority.

Use of an Apple to gain more knowledge in both.

Christianity? Isaac. Apple? Imac.

Christianity? Prophets. Apple? Profits.

Thank You John (1, Interesting)

sjgman9 (456705) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953701)

Thank you for getting this article out! I need a new Mac with this new chip ASAP!

AMD is the odd man out (4, Informative)

pchown (90777) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953739)

Interesting, if you look at the pipeline design of the PowerPC [arstechnica.com] it is much closer to Intel than AMD [aceshardware.com] . The PowerPC pipeline has sixteen stages, the Pentium 4 twenty, and the Athlon ten.

Presumably the P4 can reach higher clock speeds than the Athlon because there is less work to do at each pipeline stage. On the other hand a longer pipeline increases the probability of a stall, so the work done per clock cycle goes down.

I'd speculate that the PowerPC ought, therefore, to be able to achieve clock rates approaching but not equalling the P4, since they are both comparatively "over-pipelined". At the same time, the PowerPC ought to deliver slightly more throughput per clock cycle because the pipeline is slightly shorter.

Meanwhile, the Athlon will be running at a significantly lower clock rate, but delivering comparable throughput.

Re:AMD is the odd man out (1)

bobbozzo (622815) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953871)

You may be right, but Athlon is MUCH older than P4 or 970.

Perhaps you should look at Hammer if you want to make a comparison.

Sensible argument for MAC going x86 (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953748)

First off two points, Slow is relative. In relative terms MAC is dead slow, in real terms, dammit people these are 1ghz *ix laptops and desktops. for most things they are blindingly fast.

That being said, I can see apple working themselves into a corner. Let's say they go to a 970 based MAC in October, and it's 1.8Ghz. Perhaps then a big first jump to a 2.5Ghz machine by early 2004. Let's assume for the sake of argument that MAC is then the quickest on the block... for how long will this last? Apple are still very dependent on ONE single external supplier, being IBM. They're being forced to follow the whims of IBM and their CPU line, when that is not IBM's core business.

With an OS running on x86 architecture, not only do OS authors have the knowledge they're building for a well supported architecture, but there is choice in the market of who makes those chips, AMD or Intel for a start. Not only that, AMD and Intel have desktop CPUs as a MAJOR part of their business. There's a big point I've seen little mention of

I see the only sane option is for MAC to go x86. Everything else seems just a temporary option as long as the world works how it does

64-bit Adobe apps (2, Interesting)

ruprechtjones (545762) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953761)

How much will this help out apps like PhotoShop and AfterEffects, once they are re-compiled for the architecture?

I've heard conflicting answers, one is that 64-bit will really shine with 3D apps but do little to help the performance of 2D number-crunching.

Does this mean we'll see only nominal gains with Adobe's apps? Someone enlighten me.

Re:64-bit Adobe apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5953789)

The way I see it, it will be a big help with getting multimedia data through and crunching it. It'll also help with shifting graphics data through, and perhaps compression of audio data

When it comes to number crunching however, little will change except by Mhz.

Power 4/PPC970 vs Intel Architecture 64 (4, Interesting)

tjwhaynes (114792) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953819)

With the POWER 4 chips from IBM knocking passed 1.7GHz now, it's a reasonable assumption to make that the PPC970 will clock at similar levels to the POWER 4 chips. So at release, 2GHz plus isn't out of th reach for the fastest chips. Remember that the Athlons with Barton cores aren't clocked much faster than that with the 3200XP clicking around 2.2GHz.

It's not just AMD clocking lower either. The Itanium 2 isn't clocked that fast. Given that 32 POWER 4 1.7GHz processors smoked the 64 Itanium2 1.3GHz processors configuration in the latest TPCC non-clustered benchmark, the POWER and PPC architecture is capable of putting a lot more work through in the same number of clock cycles. There are a lot of nay-sayers trotting out the GHz-is-god line and it is particularly misleading for 64 bit architectures.

Cheers,

Toby Haynes

P.S. Disclaimer - I work in SOFTWARE for IBM, not hardware.

Obsolescent product line? (5, Insightful)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 11 years ago | (#5953886)

It appears to hold quite a bit of promise in bolstering Apple's currently almost obsolescent product line
Other than a slight lack of processing horsepower, what exactly is "obsolescent" about Apple's product line? Everything they sell (well, except the iPod) can run the latest version of OSX, widely praised as the most advanced OS in the world. Even Apple's 5 year old machines can run OSX. They only have one machine left that even bothers with a CRT, and that's only for economy's sake.

I'm sorry, but I don't see anything even approaching obsolete in Apple's product line.

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