Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 16th Sep 2005 10:51 UTC
Apple Apple's PowerMac line will see an upgrade in the near future, possibly before the close of the month. IBM's July announcement noted that the PowerPC 970MP would be available in speeds of 1.4GHz to 2.5GHz. Apple is expected to adopt the 970MP at least at the high-end of the new Power Mac G5 line. So, what are your thoughts on the 970MP? Does it nullify Apple's reasoning behind the switch to Intel? Also note the low-power G5 IBM has released alongside the 970MP.
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by Nicholas Blachford on Sat 17th Sep 2005 00:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: THE ONLY REASON"
Nicholas Blachford
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The G4 was shackled to an aging memory controller and slow bus speed for a long, long time.

It still is and will remain so until the 8641 series show up.

The G5 is now shackled to an old pre-PCIe chipset. This isn't debatable.

It's very debatable.
The PowerMacs use a PCI-X chipset which for expansion is up to 2-2.5 times faster than the single channel PCIe slots many PC chipsets have. The AGP port is a bit behind now but that's it.

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by null_pointer_us on Sat 17th Sep 2005 05:14 in reply to "RE[4]: THE ONLY REASON"
null_pointer_us Member since:

It's very debatable.
The PowerMacs use a PCI-X chipset which for expansion is up to 2-2.5 times faster than the single channel PCIe slots many PC chipsets have.

Faster, but for what? I don't see many average consumer PCI-X cards becoming available. Servers and workstations: yes; desktops: no. The PC market has chosen PCIe. It is a good, flexible spec that will be more extensible in the long run. PCIe scales much higher: up to sixteen channels, which by your estimates would be nearly 8 times faster than PCI-X.

When PCIe takes off and replaces PCI Apple would then have to make the move to a new PPC chipset that supports PCIe. But that won't be the case if they move to Intel because Intel has already designed working PCIe chipsets for their own use. D'oh. Which means Apple doesn't have to parlay with IBM to get newer G5-compatible chipsets out the door. Which means Apple doesn't have to pay as much for the chips. Which means they don't have to spend as much time and money supporting the chips. Which means Apple can sell their systems at lower cost and/or higher profit margin. These same benefits will apply to all the new desktop board features Macs will need down the road.

Intel makes server boards, too, so PCI-X isn't exactly being thrown out the window. I just don't want anyone pretending that PCI-X is adequate for all of Apple's markets. x86 Macs will allow Apple to expand their product line in virtually any direction without losing their great software and elegant system design - IMO the two things that make Macs what they are.

To me, it seems that if someone else is already producing what you will need for their own use, and if they are willing to sell it to you at reasonable cost/quantity, spending part of your own budget to contract a third party to develop a (mostly) competing solution is idiotic. Apple finally woke up and realized that hardware DRM can take care of all the exclusivity without having to burden themselves with the cost of supporting proprietary technology like PPC desktop CPUs, firmware, and chipsets.

I feel sorry to those who bought into Apple's PPC markting. It's a nice ISA, but there are a lot of other, much more important factors which go into making cheaper/faster/current systems. If the PPC sycophants cannot get over their irrational hatred of Intel, they should go buy an Amiga. ;)

The AGP port is a bit behind now but that's it.

If you just want to look at raw numbers, AGP is _way_ behind SLI PCIe. Because Mac's are currently PPC, GPU makers have to write and support PPC drivers. This last fact coupled with Apple's low market share is probably why 3D gaming on a Mac is ridiculously slower than even the same cards on an x86 PC. With more recent cards on the x86, the Mac is roadkill in this area. But what's silly is that it's all so unnecessary.

And another performance point: virtualization. With an x86 Mac running x86 apps for other OS's there is obviously little need to translate machine instructions. This translation brings some compatibility annoyances (e.g. networking with the host OS, installing accelerated pass-though drivers, and so on...), and much inefficiency. So that's another little problem with PPC Macs.

When these virtualization problems are removed with VT, suddenly it becomes possible to run resource-hungry Windows programs such as games. Intel will be implementing virtualization at the hardware level so that it can efficiently run multiple unmodified operating systems simultaneously. Don't tell me Mac gamers wouldn't like to have the same release dates, features, and speed that PC gamers enjoy.

It's very silly for Apple to be worried with PPC and the production and support of special motherboard chipsets just for Macs when they have so little market share. If Apple had closer to 50% or even just 25%, I'd cheer them on because they would have had some chance to influence the direction of the PC market. But it simply doesn't any make sense for Apple to stick with PPC in their present position.

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by on Sat 17th Sep 2005 08:23 in reply to "RE[5]: THE ONLY REASON"
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You are right, its the total cost picture. A lot of the cost is what is associated with PPC, and its in Cupertino as well as in the box.

In John Lewis (UK) the other day. Dual G5, 1.8Ghz, 256MB, 80G disk: 700 Sterling, reduced from 900+. Looked gorgeous and weighed a ton. No screen.

Take a look anywhere. Brand name Pentiums, 3Ghz+, 512 memory, 200GB disks, flat screens included, same price or less. Also from mail order name brand people like Evesham, AMD 64s.

Never mind what Mac users like, this is about the comparison shopping public. Apple had to get the costs out somehow.

What else were they to do?

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