Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 29th Dec 2006 21:35 UTC
IBM Judging by details revealed in a chip conference agenda, the clock frequency race isn't over yet. IBM's Power6 processor will be able to exceed 5 gigahertz in a high-performance mode, and the second-generation Cell Broadband Engine processor from IBM, Sony and Toshiba will run at 6GHz, according to the program for the International Solid State Circuits Conference that begins February 11 in San Francisco.
Thread beginning with comment 197178
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Uh-Oh
by mattv427 on Sat 30th Dec 2006 01:39 UTC
mattv427
Member since:
2006-04-19

Someone at Apple is eating a shotgun as I write this.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Uh-Oh
by rayiner on Sat 30th Dec 2006 04:34 in reply to "Uh-Oh"
rayiner Member since:
2005-07-06

You think Apple didn't already know about Power6? Power6 represents the application of the advantages of the POWER system architecture to the design of the CPU. The chip is designed around an insane amount of memory and I/O bandwidth, huge caches, etc, to compensate for lower IPC from a simpler core. A Power6 CPU is going to be several times bigger than an Intel CPU, an order of magnitude more expensive, and require massive supporting infrastructure. The damn thing is going to require more than a dozen channels of DDR2-667 memory just to provide full memory bandwidth!

It's a huge honking server chip designed for huge honking servers. Apple doesn't sell huge honking servers, what it sells are laptop and desktop machines that need high performance with lower power dissipation and with very cheap supporting infrastructure. Intel's Core provides that, in a way no Power6 derivative is going to.

Power6 is what you get when you tell the designers they can have 350mm^2 of die space, 6000 contact pads, a huge external cache, industrial-strength cooling, a multi-thousand dollar per piece budget, not to mention a dozen channels of RAM and fat inter-CPU links on an extremely expensive multi-layer MCM. Core 2 is what you get when you tell designers that 150mm^2 of die space is pushing it, that they have to fit into an existing 775-pin socket, that the core has to scale from a 4 lb laptop to a 50 lb workstation, from a 5W ULV chip to a 80W workstation chip, and from a $500 desktop to a $50,000 server. Apple needs the latter, not the former.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Uh-Oh
by raynevandunem on Sat 30th Dec 2006 07:58 in reply to "RE: Uh-Oh"
raynevandunem Member since:
2006-11-24

I'm a tad ignorant concerning the RISC vs. CISC debate.

If Apple is moving to x86 for their desktop systems (they have server systems, though) just like all their other desktop competitors, does this mean that RISC processors (SPARC, ARM, POWER/PPC/Cell, etc.) are meant more for every other hardware system (embedded, server, console, etc.) except for the desktop?

If so, is it because of the processors being RISC, or because of the maker (IBM, Sun, etc.) being geared toward explicitly non-desktop systems from the getgo?

I read that Apple left PowerPC because IBM couldn't make the processor exceed a certain amount of megahertz for their desktop systems, while Intel could for Dell and their other clients.

And does this mean that one can't use a...say...SPARC processor for their desktop system and still be as productive as a counterpart system with x86?

I'm just wondering about this because Apple, prior to the big switch, was pimping their "Think Different" image even in their hardware architecture in a "PPC is us, x86 is them" kind of way. The infamous bunny suit commercial comes to mind.

In fact, that was so far and so long impressed into the Apple brand that it became a part of the very difference between a Mac and a PC ("G4" has a certain "rad" essence to it).

This is why the diehard Mac fans have been so wary about the switch. These people bought the candy-colored iBooks and iMacs with (today, the much-derided) Mac OS 8 and 9 on it. These people bought the uber-expensive G4 Cube and terribly-glassy Bondi Blue PowerMacs.

Fercrissakes, these were the folks with the "X" tats on their chests in "The Cult of Mac" (that was a good book, btw)!

The different processor was Apple's ultimate symbol of being different from the rest for the longest time, more so than the operating system.

What does this switch mean for all the other processor architectures and makers out there, at least those who may want to target desktop systems? Are there any others left?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Uh-Oh
by Rayz on Sat 30th Dec 2006 07:17 in reply to "Uh-Oh"
Rayz Member since:
2006-06-24

Well, Apple would still have to pay for the custom work they needed to make PPC derivatives run on laptops. The Mac market just isn't big enough for IBM to do the work for free (I think MS pays for the custom chip work on the XBox360). They would also still have to design the motherboards and stuff, which they don't have to do with x86; they use any box-standard motherboard.

And of course, x86 is still the best way to run Windows, which has certainly helped with the Mac's popularity.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Uh-Oh
by flywheel on Sat 30th Dec 2006 18:22 in reply to "Uh-Oh"
flywheel Member since:
2005-12-28

Hardly - the only 64-Bit PPC development IBM has done the last year has been CELL related.

At this moment and in years to come Apple will have no use for either CELL nor Power.

Even though I love the PPC, I think the x86 change was a wise step (I would have prefered an AMD/ATi connection instead).

Reply Parent Score: 1