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Understanding 64-bit PowerPC architecture

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the expand-your-brain-pan-man dept.

Programming 116

An anonymous reader writes "Each of the leading microprocessor manufacturers has announced the availability of one or more 64-bit desktop processors, but differences exist in architectural design, fabrication, support, and intended use of each processor. This article looks at the critical issues in a few of IBM's 64-bit POWER designs, covering 32-bit compatibility, power management, processor bus design, and the manufacturing process."

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116 comments

Yawn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10622877)

Most Borrriiinnngggg Story day. Evar.

Re:Yawn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10622896)

No, april fools tends to be worse.

Re:Yawn (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10622929)

April Fools Day on Slashdot is the most *annoying* day of the year, the day where they rehash the same joke over and over and over and over... Today is simply dull (much like the collective intellect of the editors).

DUPE!!! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10622882)

It's a dupe.

Re:DUPE!!! (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623128)

Slashdot, where you get all the editorial prowess you pay for.

Unless your a sucker who subscribes. Then your getting rooked!

Re:DUPE!!! (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623135)

Not only is it a dupe, and it's at the same time on the front page, but it's within half a dozen articles on my screen. Is that a record? This must've been resubmitted as a joke to test the editors.

Power != PowerPC (3, Informative)

Computerguy5 (661265) | more than 9 years ago | (#10622883)

Power != PowerPC That is all.

Re:Power != PowerPC (4, Informative)

Arker (91948) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623012)

Power != PowerPC That is all.

Hmm not exactly. Power > PowerPC. PPC is a subset of Power, a point which TFA does mention, and explain a bit.

The PowerPC architecture that was born of this partnership is -- and always was -- a 64-bit architecture derived from the IBM POWER architecture.[...]
Note that the performance of the PowerPC 970 family actually exceeds that of its award-winning parent, the high-end IBM POWER4 processor, in many areas. This is due to the fact that the circuit and process technology used for the POWER4 processor was designed to achieve levels of reliability necessary for the continuous availability server market -- levels that can be relaxed for the desktop and small-scale server market -- at the expense of transistor switching speed. Thus, the fabrication technology used for the PowerPC 970 was designed to eke out higher performance by trading away reliability; for these markets, the trade-off between reliability and performance is different.

And yes, folks, it is a dupe. [slashdot.org] And a very recent one too. At least this time they got it in two different sections, first Apple, then Hardware. I'd have to say that Hardware is a better place for it, it's definately NOT just Apple that uses these chips.

Re:Power != PowerPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10624458)

xbox2 > Power > PowerPC

Re:Power != PowerPC (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 9 years ago | (#10625945)

Not to mention AIX runs unmoddified on IBM's blade powerpc970 servers.

If power were totally different, AIX would not run at all.

Re:Power != PowerPC (2, Interesting)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623030)

The Power processors implement the PowerPC instruction set.

What you are saying is like saying Pentium 4 != x86

You can run OS X on POWER processors through Mac on Linux. And the PPC 970FX is a derivative of the POWER4 processor.

Basically, the PPC 970 is a POWER 4 with a better SIMD unit.

Re:Power != PowerPC (3, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 9 years ago | (#10624907)

At a user-mode instruction level, the POWER3 and POWER4 CPUs implement the PowerPC ISA. At the supervisor level, this isn't true, and for the POWER and POWER2, it wasn't true at the user level, either. (POWER and POWER2 had additional registers, for one thing.)

Technically, the POWER series implement an ISA that is user-space-instruction-compatible with PowerPC. Subtle difference, I know, but....

Re:Power != PowerPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10623114)

Why need POWER or PowerPC? Both are overkill, especially when you can run OSX on a Centris [appletalk.com.au]

Holy duplicate post batman! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10622886)

Didn't I just read about this?!

Watt power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10622887)

The heat is on

DUPE! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10622892)

YOU FAIL IT!

What's going on? (3, Insightful)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 9 years ago | (#10622893)

Isn't this the same story as five stories ago? Am I missing something?

Re:What's going on? (4, Insightful)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 9 years ago | (#10622962)

No you are not missing anything. It is fucking CmdrTaco who is missing half his brain.

Seriously almost every dupe story is invariably posted by CmdrTaco

Re:What's going on? (1)

Wapiti-eater (759089) | more than 9 years ago | (#10622996)

Bad Dupes

And in light of what gets rejected, makes one wonder what this place is really all about anymore.

Re:What's going on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10624037)

makes one wonder what this place is really all about anymore.

Well it can't be money, so I guess they're just out to piss off as many people as possible.

Re:What's going on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10622973)

No, Taco is. He doesn't read his own freaking website.

Re:What's going on? (5, Funny)

The Bender (801382) | more than 9 years ago | (#10622974)

No, no, no. You fool, do you not pay attention? The other story was in the "Apple" section, and this one's in "Developers".

Completely different.

Re:What's going on? (4, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623218)

Remember, Commander Taco has decreased the dupe ration from from 20 grams per day to 30 grams.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10622894)

I hereby claim FP!

First Dupe! (1, Redundant)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 9 years ago | (#10622895)

Right here [slashdot.org] . And why yes, the dupe is still on the front page, why do you ask?

Re:First Dupe! (1)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 9 years ago | (#10622981)

Interesting look at Slashdot categorization. Apart from "Hardware", the two stories don't share a single category! This one is marked Programming (?!) and Hardware, while the other got Hardware, Technology, Technology (Apple) and IT.

Ehh? (2, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10622898)

``64 bit PowerPC architecture...desktop...POWER''

but wait...I thought PowerPC and POWER are similar, but not identical, and that PowerPC was aimed at the desktop, whereas POWER is more for servers. Do I have it wrong?

Re:Ehh? (2, Informative)

mrdisco99 (113602) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623244)

Yes.

However, with this iteration, IBM took one of the cores from the dual-core POWER4 chip, repackaged it as the PPC970, and sold it to Apple as the G5. So PowerPC and POWER have re-merged... sort of. Freescale is still developing their own PowerPC chips which do not fall under the POWER umbrella.

Re:Ehh? (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626673)

However, with this iteration, IBM took one of the cores from the dual-core POWER4 chip, repackaged it as the PPC970, and sold it to Apple as the G5.

Don't forget they also incorporated a simd (alti-vec).

Freescale is still developing their own PowerPC chips which do not fall under the POWER umbrella.

One of which is a dual core [theregister.co.uk] G4. Not sure if this qualifies as an irony. Maybe a bronzey.

This post... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10622918)

...takes a good look at duping [slashdot.org] .

Wow (2, Funny)

Algorithm wrangler (455855) | more than 9 years ago | (#10622926)

That is the first time I've seen a dupe at the same time as the original [slashdot.org] is on the front page. Wow again.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10622998)

You are new here, right?

Re:Wow (2, Funny)

pclminion (145572) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623019)

Really? I've seen that many times.

Once, I even saw a TRUPE on the front page -- three fucking stories, all the same. Does anyone remember what that story was?

Re:Wow (1)

elzbal (520537) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623098)

I think they did this on April Fools day one year - one particular story went up 5 or 6 times...

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10623109)

Search under april 1. They did it on purpose.

And fyi we called it tripe not trupe. ;)

Re:Wow (0)

notbob (73229) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623138)

If anyone can post that link off the top of their head, i"ll be impressed by their utter geekdom...

at the same time we can all mourn that the sheer level of geekdom required will not be repeated as it necessitates that person never procreates to be that big of a nerd. Alas the culling of the herd of great nerds... thank god j/k ;)

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10623539)

if they're really so great, they'll just clone themselves and attempt global domination.

Trupe? How about Tripe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10623490)

Yes, that fits much better.

Re:Trupe? How about Tripe? (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623586)

Except that tripe is already a word with an entirely different meaning.

Plus, "tripe" doesn't even have the right sound either. The appropriate word would be "trip," which is also already taken. And we can't use Tripp, due to the reference to the Clinton fiasco.

Thus, "trupe" is the most appropriate word in this case, by analogy with "dupe." Yes, I actually pondered this before posting.

These are the important questions of our lives.

Re:Trupe? How about Tripe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10623993)

"Trip" sounds the best IMO.

Re:Trupe? How about Tripe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10624823)

Umm, the joke is that "tripe" is already a word with an entirely appropriate meaning.

Re:Trupe? How about Tripe? (1)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 9 years ago | (#10625624)

Tripe is delicious. Fried with lots of A-1 Steak Sauce.

(Kidding, I cannot believe I've even tried the stuff!)

Re:Trupe? How about Tripe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626367)

Except that tripe is already a word with an entirely different meaning.


No! Really? [winternet.com]

That's "trip" (1)

Kourino (206616) | more than 9 years ago | (#10624410)

That would be a trip. Remember, dupe is short for duplicate. The correct abbreviation for three stories would be "trip", which is short for "triplicate" (which is a real word, yes).

The real question is why I'm debating the correct abbreviations for Slashdot editorial errors on Slashdot ...

Re:That's "trip" (1)

tenton (181778) | more than 9 years ago | (#10625978)

which is short for "triplicate" (which is a real word, yes).

People who don't know triplicate isn't a real word hasn't filled out enough forms. :D

ever since i watched primer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10622935)

this type of thing happens all the time. Same story posted again... probably just a symptom of my time shifting

wow! (4, Funny)

eshefer (12336) | more than 9 years ago | (#10622937)

a dupe posted by CmdrTaco to a story posted by Hemos.. It feels like 1998 again :-)

Re:wow! (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623155)

Wasn't CmdrTaco responsible for all 3 dupes yesterday, or is that my memory failing me?

CmdrTaco Was Here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10625976)

...who else would mod this down to -1?

Re:wow! (2, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623436)

It feels like 1998 again :-)

shut up!
You might make Jon Katz come back.

Re:wow! (1)

John Pliskin (769478) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623608)

While I never did care much for Katz; what the hell ever happened to him anyway?

$

Re:wow! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10623719)

He went off to write about dogs. No, seriously.

http://www.workingdogweb.com/Katz.htm

Must be Michael and Timothy's day off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10624829)

Thank Allah.

I know (1)

igzat (817053) | more than 9 years ago | (#10622940)

that AMD wasn't the first, but they're Athlon line is really top notch. I have two already, and I recommend it to everyone I know.

Grammar Nazi! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10623020)

their means belonging to them.
they're means "they are"
there means not here.

so NICE you should read it TWICE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10622941)

wow

Super duper (1, Redundant)

Sabu mark (205793) | more than 9 years ago | (#10622953)

Let's see if they go for the record and post this story a third time before the first one goes off the front page.

Re:Super duper (3, Informative)

jon787 (512497) | more than 9 years ago | (#10622969)

Yeah but that was on april fools' day and doesn't count. They were doing that on purpose.

Re:Super duper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10624265)

They were doing that on purpose.

Suuure they were. On purpose, yeah, that's the ticket ;-)

link still loadable (4, Funny)

tomcio (143235) | more than 9 years ago | (#10622957)

i think they did that because the other link is still loadable
unlike the watercooling article

OK! (5, Funny)

Bombcar (16057) | more than 9 years ago | (#10622960)

Admit it! Some of you send in stories that are on the front page just to see if they get duped, right?

I'm on to you!

Re:OK! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10622999)

Ummm, yeah.. ..... It's called Q&A. Perhaps more of that should go on to keep the site in check?

Re:OK! (1)

daeley (126313) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623773)

Try submitting an "Ask Slashdot" with that question and see what happens.

If it gets posted twice...well, let's just say this thread will be the ultimate power in the universe. ;)

Nondiscrimination policy (3, Funny)

JLavezzo (161308) | more than 9 years ago | (#10622986)

Slashdot's nondiscrimination policy prevents them from excluding dupes [slashdot.org] on the basis of topic of origin.

The explination of the difference (3, Informative)

TyrranzzX (617713) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623043)

First, I'm talking a risc/cisc architecture like the x86.

When you're talking about 64 addressing lines, your talking about addressing a fscksum of memory and devices. But, in addition, those lines allow for other possibilities: for example, sending 2 or 3 write commands with attached data and 2 32 bit addresses on the 64 bit bus simultaniously with an extra address decoder either on the chip or on the memory controller, or to some other device. Although, I don't know weither or not they've thrown that in as of yet. 64 bit numbers don't occur that often, afaik, but I'm not a coder so :P.

The data bus advantage, however, is bigger. The x86 architecture has a command decoder, whereas you can send several commands in a single clock. With 32 more bytes, you get twice as many commands in a clock. Additionally, you can address more commands (but seriously, the first x86 had 38 commands, and that has increased by 10x in the past few years).

Aside from that, you're throwing on more features into the processor. But, that's been here in the past 20 years of processor developement anyway. The article tends to be unclear on this. You're essentially expanding the bus to feed more buffers/pipelines.

Re:The explination of the difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10624796)

First, I'm talking a risc/cisc architecture like the x86.
Kind of like talking about a male/female person like Pat?
64 bit numbers don't occur that often, afaik
At least not until 2038 when all numbers will suddenly become 64-bit and the terrorists will cause AOL to crash.
The x86 architecture has a command decoder, whereas you can send several commands in a single clock.
I guess that's why VAX is so much cooler than Alpha. What does CISC mean again?
The article tends to be unclear on this.
Thanks for filling in the blanks.

Re:The explination of the difference (1)

TyrranzzX (617713) | more than 9 years ago | (#10625983)

The input is CISC, the execution is RISC. 4 or 5 commands may come in at any given point, the execution unit does only 1 command at a point, per pipeline, anyway. I forget which command, but one command for the 8086 required 83 clock cycles to complete.

Although, I will admit, the newer processors are getting more and more complex, and the command sets are more cisc-ish in nature. I dunno, I guess it depends on the technology; if a logical 8 bit AND is your idea of a risc function, then by all means, the Itanium is a CISC processor with RISC functions. If, however, your idea of a RISC function is, say, shifting unicode text 100 places to the left and the inserting 100 unicode characters from a stack, then by all means, the Itanium is a RISC processor.

DUPE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10623136)

I can't believe people pay for this shit

Daja vu? Or is it just me? (5, Funny)

cyberwinds (222742) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623170)

I saw the same black cat walking by a moment ago.

Re:Daja vu? Or is it just me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10623396)

It's a glitch in The System. Go back to your regular life of serving as a human battery :-)

Is this page cached. (1)

acomj (20611) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623193)

I did my afternoon slashdot break. I'm hitting "reloading" thinking, my company must be caching the pages now or something... No new stories. Whats going on.

and on and on and on....

Bios like OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10623226)

There is no reason why a bios based OS cannot become viable in 64 bit registers. The maddening thing about the PC, which ever flavour, is that you still need to boot from a hard drive. It would be really great if the future of computing was to eliminate the need to store the OS on a drive. This would substantially reduce, 1. boot error (due to bit rot), 2. overall system speed. This in combination with hardware with built in brains, would change computing. This change would only be for the better. Security, speed, ease of use and compatability could all be enhanced. The monolith in Redmond would actually start to feel some heat from real competition.

Re: Bios like OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10623474)

are you stupid?

or are you longing for the days of the commodore 64 again....

Re: Bios like OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10623964)

"This would substantially reduce, 1. boot error (due to bit rot), 2. overall system speed."

Should have read "This would substantially reduce 1. boot error (due to bit rot) 2. Increase overall system speed."

The days of brain dead hardware would be numbered. The use of drivers for old windows styled junkware could still be possible by using a load drivers command at boot, just keep the drivers on the hard drive. Hard drives are best treated as disposable. There is no reason why the chip based OS could not be flashed, or removeable, or both. The memory chip cartel is the only reason why Microsoft is still in business. A radical change in thinking is due, if computers are to take full advantage of 64 bit registers.

Gets more Apple fanboy visitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10623245)

Puff Apple stories get more clicks for slashdot.

(Of course, it brings out the pro-apple moderators, too ... so there's a big downside)

Re:Gets more Apple fanboy visitors (1)

Warlock7 (531656) | more than 9 years ago | (#10624146)

Which is why you chose to use the AC name, so they don't mod your ignorant ass down...

At least you admit it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10624595)

give ya credit for that.

Mod the stories, not the comments (1)

Wapiti-eater (759089) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623372)

What we realy need is a method to moderate the stories themselves - not just the commnets. Can ya see it now? "-5 Dupe"

Some of the stories that do get accepted, it's stunning what gets front page exposure. While other stories that get rejected - you know, real news that nerds could use...

It's time to extend the voice of the community

double exposure (5, Funny)

Blitzenn (554788) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623398)

no. It's not a dupe, it's the 64 bit bus sending the same 32 bit information, doubled up along the bus. It's just looks like it's posted twice. It's much more efficient this way. Trust us!

no. It's not a dupe, it's the 64 bit bus sending the same 32 bit information, doubled up along the bus. It's just looks like it's posted twice. It's much more efficient this way. Trust us!

Re:double exposure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10625332)

In the transition from 32 to 64 bits, words don't get duped, they get sign-extended. Someone had to copy into another register (why not? There's zillions of them on PPC) and then multiply by 2 32 times, then add 0xffffffff and AND with the original register to get a dupe.

After putting in that much work, might as well let them get away with it.

Re:double exposure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10625743)

Dude, why why do do you you think they have two two CPUs?

Dude, why why do do you you think they have two two CPUs?

It's NOT a dupe ! (1)

raulfragoso (790076) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623417)

You guys sux on mathematics: if it was a dupe, it would be an article talking about 128-bit stuff, you fools !

dupe detector? (4, Interesting)

zygote (134175) | more than 9 years ago | (#10623504)

In the abscence of institutional memory or /. editors sitting in the same room :-) , could Slashcode be tweaked to scan for URLs that are identical in stories and flag them somehow?

Some Perl script or such that looks at the post about to hit the front page, then looks at a say the last three or four posts that were on the front page. If it finds an identical or closely identical link, it then sends an email of the body of the two posts to the editor.

I don't think it would get the server's load up too much.

(much sarcasm, minus 1, bad dog.)

Re:dupe detector? (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626228)

Let me put it this way:

The idea of a dupe detector is proposed every time Taco reposts a story, but it hasn't been implemented yet. If it hasn't happened in 6+ years, it's never going to happen.

this FP 7o8 GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10624110)

Do, 0r indeed what Of the above

Jesus hopping cabbage. (3, Funny)

b1scuit (795301) | more than 9 years ago | (#10624183)

Jesus Hopping Cabbage. Does anyone else see the irony concerning twenty nearly identical posts saying "this is a dupe! What has slashdot become!"?

Anyone?

Bush is a cunt (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10624274)

I hate george bush.

Timothy, breaking records (1)

theolein (316044) | more than 9 years ago | (#10624553)

Timothy, you're really the only editor on Slashdot who manages such an amazing amount of dupes. And you're also the only one that manges to post dupes of articles that are still on the front page.

I heard the Guiness Book of Records called. :D

dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626532)

Actually, they are trying to slashdot IBM, and the first one didn't do it, so up went a second. Unfortunately IBM's webserver is a z-server. I expect we will see a few hundred more dupes until they give up.
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