View Full Version : motorola in trouble?

Jan 23, 2002, 05:40 AM
just read

this (http://www.theinquirer.net/23010202.htm).

What does this mean for apple?:confused:

Jan 23, 2002, 10:03 AM
Interesting article ideas about who will fab the G5 here. (http://www.osopinion.com/perl/story/?id=15887)

Jan 23, 2002, 10:40 AM
it's a damn shame that Motorola can't keep afloat....but in their defense, there are many companies in the same boat as them....

the PowerPC processor is just a fraction of what they produce....so I'm finding it interesting that they are showing a $4 billion loss....

does anyone think IBM plans to use the G4 processor as their own....according to the article, it sounds like they are going to use something very similar to it....maybe just renaming it and changing a few minor details so it doesn't appear to be the exact same chip?

Jan 23, 2002, 11:00 AM
I think IBM will probably fab the current G4 i.e. exactly the same Motorola's inc AltiVec. This can only be good for Apple because it increases availability.

If IBM do fab the G5 this will be great. IBM is in a stable position (compared to Motorola) and could easily ramp up the production and get great yields upto 2GHz (They got the G3 to 1GHz).

I don't think it's a matter of IBM replacing Motorola as Apple's main supplier, after all they are all in the AIM alliance that created the PowerPC ISA.

In the long term I think IBM would be a better supplier for Apple, but I don't know what's going behind the scenes between these companies.

Jan 23, 2002, 11:19 AM
I had always hoped that IBM would make the G5 but I think those hopes are gone...

I am fine with moto making our next G5, unless they make it at high enough yields, and we don't end up in the G4 speed dump fiasco we had before...:eek:

Jan 23, 2002, 11:50 AM
do u think Apple would have exclusive rights to use the G5 processor if IBM were to manufacture them?

to help keep Mac performance levels ahead of PC?

Jan 23, 2002, 12:23 PM
I don't think Apple would have exclusive rights to use the G5, but Apple doesn't have exlclusive rights to use the G4.

When the PowerPC was first developed the AIM group prepared a couple of standards PReP and CHRP (I think these are the anacronyms). The idea was that these standards would allow motherboard manufacturers to make PowerPC PC's, destroying the x86 stranglehold on the PC market. Problem was no-one was willing to make the boards becuase PC users didn't want them.

It meant that PC users would have to change all there software (and wait windows! on PowerPC). Apple pushed ahead and had 68k emulatation under the PowerPC, successfully migrating to a new ISA, which itself is a remarkable feat.

I don't think the G5 would be picked up by anyone else. As far as I know the only other OS that runs on PowerPC is Linux (BeOS is dead now).

A while ago IBM realesed a protype design for a PowerPC board for free use but nothing really happened despite many companies saying they were developing boards based on it. I thought about having a go but I'm still at Uni and don't have much time. Anyway it's easier to get a Mac :)

Jan 23, 2002, 12:56 PM
if motorola can't stay in business, someone else will step in

...but it will be hard since apple may not be big enough for ibm to take seriously enough to keep speeds up and apple will fall that much more behind

perhaps it was a mistake that apple went with the g4 chip in the first place

Jan 23, 2002, 01:08 PM
i really think if motorola is in deep, then they'd be willing to sell part of their r&d dept geared more towards the consumer microprocessor market. by the dept i mean research already done and patents received. then apple could revamp the whole process and build on the good. altho, this is one department where Jobsian micromanagement would be extreme;y detrimental and timeconsuming.

Jan 23, 2002, 01:17 PM
My own Apple source told me a similar rumor last night, before I saw this thread. She states that Moto will likely be leaving the Chip fabrication industry and Altivec/AIM production rights would be liscenced or sold to IBM. Whether Moto would also be leaving the R&D arena is anybody's guess. As Moto has been the most consistant bottleneck in Apple's production schedule this could only be a good thing.

Jan 23, 2002, 02:10 PM
I don't forsee any problems if Motorola drops out. IBM has made a large investment in the PowerPC architecture and would continue to develop it. I haven't checked any of the IBM PowerPC roadmaps but I'm sure they exist.

I don't think IBM would see Apple as a small customer, I believe IBM recently dropped out PC manufacturing, the margins on PC's have been squeezed so much in the last few years. They must be looking to make up this revenue, and fabbing Gx's for apple would surley contribute to this.

Also I'm not sure Apple is the only company that uses G4's. I thought Cisco routers use G4's (or maybe an embedded version), anyway I'm sure it would be worth it for IBM.

I've seen other people suggest that Apple buy up Motorola's IP and take over PowerPC R&D, but this gets very expensive (one reason why the AIM consortium was started - to spead the cost). I don't think this is practical solution though. In my opinion Motorola have consistently been "the weakest link" for Apple, I really think that having a second fab partner (IBM) would help Apple's development cycle.

Still this is all hypothetical, maybe Motorola has the G5 ready and in production...

Jan 23, 2002, 02:35 PM
quick update...

The new Amiga if it ever appears is supposed to use PowerPC's, so IBM would have another customer.

Also I've found a company here (http://www.bplan-gmbh.de/indexe.html) that is about to start producing PowerPC motherboards. This may mean Linux users will switch to PowerPC boards to break away from Intel/AMD, so potentially another customer for IBM....

Jan 23, 2002, 04:47 PM
I'd like to point out something of a "big picture" jigsaw puzzle, here. I don't think we're going far back enough, in recent history. When the G4 processor was launched, it was openly acknowledged that it constituted the end of the original development agreement between Apple, IBM and Motorola. Not forgetting, either, that IBM came to Apple with the original 601 processor; not Motorola. The three got together at an R&D facility in Austin, TX (circa late '91 or early '92). There, the 601 was redesigned. Motorola didn't have much to contribute. But, strangely, Apple did. By the time they were through tinkering and tweaking, IBM had to redesign their manufacturing process for the chip. It might as well have taken on a 601e or 602 designation, by the accounts of the Apple techs involved. The greatest contribution Motorola had, evidently, was supportive chips (which, by the 604, was taken over by Texas Instruments) on the circuit board. Motorola was a more important player in the design of the 603 and 604. Apple, conversely, had minimal input on the design of the G3 and G4 chips. The G4 was almost entirely IBM's baby. Motorola's greatest contribution was the scalding hot Velocity Engine, which IBM's G4 doesn't need; that and a pipeline design error keeping the Motorola-built G4's confined to 500MHz for so long. This is irrespective of the 3 month long mechanical failure at Motorla's manufacturing plant. IBM easily and gladly produced the Mac G4s, during that time, much to Moto's protest. The fact is this: Motorola's presence -in this venture- has become largely irrelevant, may not be beneficial and may not be needed!:p
Apple was reasonably public (for Apple, that is...) about their search for a new development partner. They were obviously looking for a high volume manufacturer. So much so, that, they even interviewed with Intel. Talk of Motorola's inclusion of future developments, during this time, had atrophied to practically nil. Enter an article I found on theregister.co.uk, last summer.
In June or July I read a report that AMD was entering the Power PC fray. This caused confusion and exhileration combined for me. I had, just two months earlier, caught an article hinting that Motorola was out of the Macintosh picture for the future. The catch is that I can't dig up the AMD article anywhere, now! AMD's site has had nothing to say about the matter, either.:eek:
This isn't out-of-line with Apple's practical gag order level of secrecy, however, over developing tech. I, actually, agree with such policies, anyway. Plus, siding with AMD over Moto would make sense. They have made the switch to .13 micron production and are preparing for .10. Moto has had trouble with this. AMD is also producing copper-on-silicon chips and has been for almost 2 years. Intel has just gotten that worked out this past August (and only for a variant of the Pentium III). AMD's proven mass-production capabilities would be a better match for IBM's design work than Moto could provide. In addition, there is the very announcement of PPC compliance.
Since Apple and IBM jointly developed the Power PC specifications, nobody can just start producing chips in the name PPC compliance. They almost have to be invited. It's already a known fact that the Sledgehammer chip is a true 64 bit RISC processor, much like the G3. Add to that the fact that AMD can't/wont' afford to involve themselves in a venture of PPC compliance without a reasonable guarantee of return profit, it's resonable to say that some agreement has been reached. But, exactly WHAT?:confused: :mad:
I'm guessing that the new development agreement will comprise IBM, Apple and AMD tackling research, development and mass-production for future Mac processors, Power PC and beyond (?). I expect that Motorola will be kept on for embedded processors in smaller products like the Air Port, iPod and whatever forthcomming digital media appliance Mr. Jobs has lurking in the rafters (ripening on the branch?).;)

Jan 23, 2002, 05:13 PM
I think this was the register article (http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/6902.html) you mentioned. But this was back in '99 when Motorola's cash flow was nice and healthy, so it's unlikely to happen now.

It's already a known fact that the Sledgehammer chip is a true 64 bit RISC processor, much like the G3.

I belive you are wrong about this. The 'Hammer' family are based on AMD's extension to the x86 architecture so-called x86-64. This is not a pure a RISC design by virtue of the fact it must be backwardly compatible with x86. Athlons and Pentiums are CISC/RISC hybrids they integrate the best features of both design philosophies.

I hope you right about a new development agreement between Apple and IBM , but I don't believe AMD will be involved.

Jan 24, 2002, 01:45 AM
Sadly, no. That was not the article. It was listed as a headline article on their main page, at the time. A friend of mine (major AMD/Linux fan until I ran Mandrake on a dual G4 500MHz) had messaged me at work about something else on their site. I would imagine it had to do with the Hammer family of processors or the Athlon out-performing the PIIIs. The article was current for the time. It annoys me that I can't find it now. I personally consider it capitally important. Not just for this discussion; but, for the Linux power user community. After seeing how frighteningly well Mandrake 8 did on dual G4s, while itself being optimized for the G3, I'm inclined to throw rocks at the highest clocked Pentium/Linux (Lintel?) systems. And, I'm not as impressed with the Athlon systems anymore, either; but I'd still take it over the P4 any day.

As for RISC/CISC debate about the Sledgehammer, it turns out we are both correct.., sort of. AMD desktop processors have been RISC at their core since the K6. They, simply, tacked on Intel's MMX instruction set to it. Case in point, here. (http://www.baznet.freeserve.co.uk/AMD-K6.htm) In this article they explain "The K6 was built around the original NexGen 686 core which was inherited by AMD when it bought the small firm in 1996. This allowed AMD to recover after its problems with its own K5 processor and inital difficulties in the development of its "in house" K6 design. NexGen had developed a powerful "six issue" RISC processor core which gave the chip impressive sixth generation performance. AMD enhanced this design by the addition of Intel's new MMX instructions, allowing the K6 to be compatible with the latest software". This having been said, they took a good RISC processor and made it Microsoft friendly, in essence. Effectively speaking, the Sledgehammer, being their 64bit extension to the the PC specifications' lease on life, is a mated pair of 32 bit RISC chips with extended instruction set. I have been looking and cannot find any indication that the Pentium chip is RISC. This would explain the performance matches from slower Athlons. I haven't bothered with researching the Itanium as it doesn't interest me and is steadily losing ground due to the severe and unacceptable production delays. A company the size of Intel shouldn't be experiencing this kind of apparent incompetency. No matter what, though, I was incorrect to call the Sledgehammer a true RISC processor. I wonder, though, how hard it would be for them to ditch the excess instructions and get down to business with those bad boys.

The irony to all this is that, both, AMD and Intel do produce various dedicated RISC processors of varying degrees of complexity. Though, they don't appear to rival the complexity of IBM's chips. Of course, if complexity were the only meaningful criteria, then, we'd have to look at Sun Microsystems' or Hewlitt-Packard's RISC chips.

No matter what, Apple seems intent on the third wheel concept for their little party. It's a shrewd safety precaution. That way if your main vendor's factory craps out -like Motorola's did, at launch- they can immediately turn to the second vendor and start taking up the slack -like IBM did. Now, if they could get "Big Blue" to establish a dedicated Mac chip factory, like the G4 factory they built for Nintendo, this wouldn't really be an issue. The trick is to A) convince IBM they can profit, quickly, from this; and B) Turn a profit, quickly, for their trouble.

What with the PC market's over-saturation and no major PC manufacturers reaching their targeted earnings, this quarter, now seems as good a time as any for IBM (or whomever) to invest some trust and hope in Apple. So far, they are the only one reaching (actually exceeding) their projected earnings.:D

I have thought quite a bit about this production issue. I developed a list of companies I thought would be a good replacement for Motorola. AMD was in a tie with Texas Instruments for my first pick. Both companies have the facilities in place and ready to go. Both have approximately the same length of history with similar degrees of success and quality. And, neither one is a shrinking violet when crunch is on. TI kind of one-upped them, IMHO, as they dared to produce a "whole widget" (sorry Mr. Jobs) in the '80s. People my age learned programming on either an Apple II or some version of a Trash 80. AMD has had good, recent, success with economizing their operatons and keeping quality control equal to or greater than thier direct rival. TI, on the other hand, has been making serious headway in the DSP chip market. They have a better feel, I think, for maximizing on the silicon being used. The only DSP vendor they haven't outright trounced is my second place contender, Analog Devices Inc.. ADI is the manufacurer of various types of high end DSP chips. They are most well known in the electronic music circuit for their SHARC chips; a fantastic, gutsy little processor. They are a direct rival to Morotola and their Cold Fire DSP unit. This rivalry extends to the cellular phone industry. ADI managed to win the rights to 3rd generation cell phone DSP specs. They have cut cell phones' physical depth to 1/2 of last year's designs thanks to the chipset they developed. Samsung was the first cell phone vendor to get on board with this new standard and has, already, been selling the new phones for a little better than a year in Japan. Anything past these three, I think, would be a dime-a-dozen.

Jan 24, 2002, 03:08 AM
"establish a dedicated Mac chip factory, like the G4 factory they built for Nintendo "

your talking about the gamecube right? i knew it was PPC but had no idea it was a G4!

Jan 24, 2002, 07:53 AM
"establish a dedicated Mac chip factory, like the G4 factory they built for Nintendo "

The game cube does not use a G4, it uses a custom PPC chip called Gekko.

I take artisan002's point about RISC. Both the Pentium(s) and Athlons/K6 take CISC instructions and decompose them into RISC-like instructions which are executed in a 'RISC' processor. This was why I mentioned them being CISC/RISC hybrids. This CISC instructions stream is broken up into a RISC instruction stream.

Hammer will not be able to ditch the CISC instruction in the current generation because it's major seeling point is backwards compatibility. However the 64-bit instructions within Hammer could be entirely RISC. This means that in the future when all softawre is 64 bit Hammer could ditch the X86 compatability and x86-64 would be a fully RISC system.

As for the Fab partners you suggested, I don't really know much about them, except that Samsung Fab's Alpha's, and now that COMPAQ ahs effectively killed off Alpha, they could be looking for a new partner.

Jan 24, 2002, 10:37 AM
I don't like to say this but maybe it's time to move on... and dump the PowerPC... and move onto the Gigaflop PC... I mean apple phased out 601 and other processors earlier, moved to powerpc, normally I would think it would be time to move on...

But that I think won't happen. Look at the perfect example of Apple, they still have "one" line called the Macintosh which expanded into two sublines, Powermac & the iMac. Other companies like IBM have different PC's that branch from different categories.

Jan 24, 2002, 10:49 AM
"I don't like to say this but maybe it's time to move on... and dump the PowerPC... and move onto the Gigaflop PC... I mean apple phased out 601 and other processors earlier, moved to powerpc, normally I would think it would be time to move on..."

A few thoughts:

The macintosh line started with Motorola's 68000 processor, and proceeded on to the rest of the 680x0 processors as they came out. The PowerMac began with the PPC 601 and eventually came to the current PPC 7450.

The architecture of the PPC allowed for emulation of the 68k. The current PPC's are still of the same architecture as the original PPC 601, just several derivatives later.

There is no way to emulate PPC on a PC with any kind of reasonable speed. The reason why Apple was able to transition to the PowerPC was because their PowerMacs could run all of the 68k code, but it ran native PPC code faster. (Heck, even the MacOS wasn't PowerPC only until version 8.5, long after the last 68k mac!) To make a switch to the PC would require *everything* to be recompiled for the PC. There would be no way to run *any* of the Mac's current software. It would go from having several thousand software titles to zero.

It's easier to phase out older processors slowly when your new processors can run the older processor's code. To make a jump to the PC would be nigh to impossible because it would be a very sharp transition, without the ability to run older code.

(Also, what gigaflop PC? My Athlon 1.2GHz clocks in around 400 megaflops - on it's best day, that is... and since Athlon's are better then Intel P4's megahertz-to-megahertz, I would doubt any PC is actually operating at 1 gigaflop!)

Jan 24, 2002, 11:50 AM
You have to remember when comparing RISC processors to CISC processors that 'flops' are two very different things between the two systems.

RISC is 'Reduced Instruction Set'
CISC is Complex Instruction Set'

1 'flop' on a CISC processor may multiply 6 times 10 whereas the RISC processor may have to add 10 to an accumulator 6 times, using 6 'flops' for the same result. This is only a simplified example, but it illustrates the basic difference and why 'flops' are not a meaningful comparison when architectures are so different.

The RISC processor may be able to feed the 6 operations to multiple execution units in parallel and beat the CISC timewise, or the CISC may be executing parallel CISC instructions itself and win.
Either way, IMHO, a 'flop' is as meaningless when comparing differing architectures as 'MHz'. A CPU with 100 execution units operating at 10 MHz can do the same work as a CPU with 10 execution units running at 100 Mhz AND that assumes that the execution units are the same and doesn't take into consideration such things as pipelines, caches, etc, etc.

I think the CISC/RISC debates are mute now anyway. All the current processors are hybrids. Most x86 systems are using multiple RISC cores to execute CISC instructions, and 'ALTIVEC' is by no stretch of the imagination a 'RISC' thing to do.

IBM is the best manufacturer for Apple, Motorola has done nothing but screw them over.

Jan 24, 2002, 11:54 AM
I don't think it's time to scrap the PowerPC....not as long as there is still potential there for it to grow....which there obviously is. I think there's more of a problem with manufacturing on Motorola's end which is causing a lot of holdups for greater speeds and whatnot. There's been a lot of discussion about IBM manufacturing future chips....why wouldn't that be a better solution?

The G4 has finally made it's way into the consumer end machines. If we should see a processor get scrapped it would have to be the G3 first.....but that would only be once we see the G4's predecessor.

Jan 24, 2002, 12:58 PM
No way should Apple scrap the PPC. PPC architecture is releatively new and has plently of potential for growth, changing architectures is a desperate measure.

The problem is not with PPC architecture, but rather with Motorola's ability to get the 'goods' developed and ramp up production. The PPC should have been a 1GHz before Pentiums et al. but Motorola mis-manged its development.

But you have to ask yourself why should Motorola push themselves? Apple is almost dependent on Motorola so Motorola are really in control, sure Apple can complain but theres not alot they can do.

If Apple were to take IBM on as a second supplier however, Motorola has a bit of competition, it will either drive them to be more committed, or drop out, in which case IBM supplies Apple.

Jan 24, 2002, 01:09 PM
Oops, my mistake. I don't mean true FLOPS as in processor-level flops, I mean high-level flops. As in, how many adds per second can a program expect? How many multiplies per second? Etc? THAT is a meaningful comparison. When I say my Athlon rates 400 megaflops, I don't mean processor-level flops. I mean high-level flops. :) Although the technical term "flop" refers to the processor-level, "flop" has started to have unofficial low-level and high-level definitions.

Jan 24, 2002, 01:28 PM
from what we're hearing about Motorola's troubles....maybe we'll see them scrap production and another suitor will take over?

how much of a chance does IBM have in completely taking over PowerPC production for Apple?

Jan 24, 2002, 02:25 PM
I'm guessing Motorola's not ready to throw in the towel just yet. It really depends well the G5 alpha silicon is doing. Maybe they've got there act together and the G5 will ramp up nicely.

Either way I think Apple should take on a second supplier, and IBM seems the most logical partner.

Jan 24, 2002, 02:38 PM
I agree... ;)

Jan 25, 2002, 04:50 AM
The game cube does not use a G4, it uses a custom PPC chip called Gekko.

I just got through researching this. I was wrong; the Game Cube does not run on a G4... It's a G3, hot-rodded. Here's a link with some of the spec info. (http://www.gb-advance.cityslide.com/pages/page.cfm/687930) In an effort to save people the time and trouble of going to another link, I'll qoute the page: The GameCube's 0.18 Microns copper-based 405MHz MPU, dubbed Gekko, is based on IBM's PowerPC architecture and is very similar in design to the architecture found in Apple's G3 line of computers. The final production speed is actually 485MHz. They had to do that and slow down the Flipper audio/video card, as it ran hotter.

I will also qoute Satoru Iwata. He is, currently, Nintendo's creative director and is responsible for some of the bigger game titles Nintendo has done through the years. This quote was his answer to a question about the setup of the Game Cube: The basic design is very simple. You can divide it up into three parts: Gekko, IBM's PowerPC CPU, Flipper, ATI's graphic core, and Splash, a 24MB set of main memory. Gekko is a basic PowerPC750/G3 chip with a vector operation unit, a specialized graphic-chip interface, and a large 256K L2 cache. You see large L2 caches in the iMac and iBook nowadays, but the design we conferred with IBM on was conceived before those computers were released. The performance reports I've seen (4.7 GigaFLOPS!) indicate the Gekko is more hot-rodded than he's letting on.

An interesting side-note to all this is that the Gekko, evidently, out-performs the G3s that Apple has been getting from Motorola. So, another case against keeping them involved in operations.

Nintendo is already looking at using the Gekko in other game systems outside of the Cube (Game Boy 64?). It can split it's architecture to run two seperate and discrete 32 bit processes, much like the Sledgehammer. So, maybe a case against bringing AMD into this as well.

Jan 25, 2002, 10:27 AM
Point well made!:D

The PPC architecture has plenty of life in it. IBM pushes the envelope with the G3, customizing it, and basically turning it into a hotrod, while Motorola adds AltiVec to the G4 and struggles to get it past 1GHz...

What gives?

Jan 25, 2002, 09:12 PM
I agree with pc_convert? (and thanks, by the way). Motorola is having trouble all the way around.

I think the problem stems from Motorola failing to take the industry seriously. They are fighting to maintain in all areas of their operations. They seem to have squandered their resources. But, why? Was it arrogance? I'm convinced it's a management issue, personally. Case in point: My father is a retired firefighter captain. As a firefighter, you regularly have to use your handy-talkie in the middle of a burning structure. It could be anything: a garage, someone's house, petroleum strorage facility; you name it. Either way, fire actively emits various disruptive, distortive radio and electro-magnetic signals. This is a bad environment to try to use -and rely upon- any form of radio device. Consequently, no brand of hand radios he has used worked worth a damn, except for one... Motorola's. And guess what product Motorola elected to stop production of, about 5 years ago. Ignorant bastards. Theirs was, also, the only hand radio capable of taking the physical punishment of his job. My dad wasn't the only one to say this, either. He subscribes to a trade publication called Firehouse Magazine. They had an article lamenting Moto's decision. It would seem that, all 'round, these people are, no longer, the sharpest tacks in the box.

They have been loudly trumeting some new 64 bit RISC processor of theirs. Almost as if to attract the attention that Apple has not afforded them, this time.

I see Motorola like this: in the mid '80s, they were a real contender and someone to be reckoned with. This was due, in no small part, to Apple's insistance on favoring them, and on not working with Big Blue. But as the 68k processors started getting recognition (from performance reviews of Macs), they came into greater demand. So, they started supplying them to Commodor and Atari. I understand you don't want to rely on one customer. But, you never want to rest on your laurels, either. And I think they did just that. Accordingly, they're struggling to catch up to -and keep up with- IBM, now that they're stuck having to work with them and their designs.

The fact that they involved themselves with IBM and Apple to [supposedly] co-design the 601 Power PC processor, in '91/'92, indicates that they didn't have an equal or better design of their own to offer, at the time. It wasn't until they worked with them that they became known for developing RISC processors. Their biggest in-house success came from the Cold Fire chip, which appeared around '95-'96. The only people, I've ever met, who know about it are synthesizer/sampler tech heads like myself. It's used in E-Mu Systems' Emulator 4 and, pretty much, every other unit in their lineup.

Motorola has been very quiet about what level microns they are capable of producing at. That is as important a statistic to front as any. It indicates the level of production sophistication you have achieved as a company. I doubt they could jump into .10 micron production without serious help or trouble. I can't imagine Steve Jobs giving them any more chances to redeem themselves for a while. If he does, I will be shocked and somewhat disappointed.

I see the line of logic with the second partner design. It protects Apple from being SOL if the primary vendor's factory breaks down or explodes or something. IBM demonstrated this when Motorola's new G4 production facility, totally, failed. Motorla was down for approximately 3 months. Before 2 weeks had passed, Steve Jobs had forced Motorola execs to pay a visit and got IBM up and running to catch up and take in the slack in the meantime. To our benefit, that's also when the 800MHz G4s were developed (thank you IBM). In 2 months time IBM had fully working mules of a G4 they could wind up to 900MHz or so. Motorola pitched an absolute fit. Apparently, they even threatened to sue(?)! Another indication that they are really pushing the threshold of their technical competency.

All this said, I think Moto is out. If not, they damn well should be.

Jan 26, 2002, 08:24 PM
I'm not that worried about it, right now. Apple has cleaned up the code base for OS-X that it tends to outrun -or at least match step with- Linux. Having achieved that, it also outruns Windows. OS-X is, currently good for up to 4 processors. Fine by me; I can live with a quad G4 Power Mac. If Total Impact (http://www.totalimpact.com/G3_MP.html) can squeeze four G3's or G4s (your pick) onto a PCI board, and keep 512MB of RAM on it, then, so should Apple. What should, really, be done is optimize the G4. IBM proved there is a h*ll of a lot of kick left in the thing when you consider the performance increase they made by tweaking the G3 for Nintendo. I feel the G4 is being held back, compared to the G3. It's twice the bit depth, yet, (compred MHz to Mhz) has only around a 40% - 60% improvement in number of instructions per second it handles. And that's with that blasted Velocity Engine. I feel that IBM can have a G4e (sounds good) ready to go, practically, at the drop of a hat. Now, if we can get Apple to drop that hat!

The G5 probably won't show for another MacWorld convention. It's too big a deal not to keep for an Apple-centric shindig. I figure the G5 will, hopefully, be IBM's Power 4 processor. If I can ever dig up a URL on the thing -and I have been digging- I will post it here. I found a perfect one about a year ago. It listed performance specs and everything. I just can't remember where it is.

Jan 27, 2002, 08:01 AM
I don't think the G5 will be IBM's POWER4. POWER4 is v.expensive. Yes, it kicks ass and is PPC binary compatible but it won't be the G5.

The POWER4 series are used in IBM's top servers, these things are amazing. Just check here (http://www.chipcenter.com/eexpert/dgilbert/dgilbert042.html) for info POWER4 also go here (http://www.theregister.co.uk) and search for POWER4 to be amazed.

POWER4 is v.nice but way too expensive.

:D G4e :D sounds good...

I definately agree about quad G4's. Apple should have some quad G4 machines for the server side/ ray-tracing etc. especially if the G5 is late/delayed.

Jan 27, 2002, 04:28 PM
Originally posted by pc_convert?
The PPC architecture has plenty of life in it. IBM pushes the envelope with the G3, customizing it, and basically turning it into a hotrod, while Motorola adds AltiVec to the G4 and struggles to get it past 1GHz...

well said...

Jan 28, 2002, 03:04 AM
Quoting PC_Convert?:The POWER4 series are used in IBM's top servers, these things are amazing.

POWER4 is v.nice but way too expensive.

This, unfortunately for us, is true <damn>. However, ther are a few reasons to keep it in the range of hopes and Christmas lists:

#1.) As you said, pc_convert? (can we call you Mr. _convert?..? ;-> j/k), the POWER 4 chip is being assigned to a number of IBM's top end servers. However, the G4 has been used in a number of other servers and Apple got a version of it; specifically, the A-6000 was listed, at one time, as running the G4 processor. Obviously, the difference between the logic board for it -vs- a Power Mac is like comparing a Stealth Bomber -vs- a Volkswagen GTI. But, that could hint at something. IBM/Motorola made more money, on the G4, once they started allowing sales of it by companies operating outside of the markets they, themselves, were aiming for. And in having done so, Apple got a much needed "big dog" processor while the Linux community gained a new best friend in brute force processing (http://www.totalimpact.com/powerbox.html) , Total Impact (http://www.totalimpact.com/G3_MP.html). If IBM, truly, wants to increase the speed of their return profits on the POWER 4, they had better consider a vendor from a market that doesn't directly compete with them. And, Apple is about as far away from competing with them as anyone is ever going to be.

#2.)Basic macro-economics! The more attainable the product, the greater the popularity; the greater the popularity, the greater the demand; the greater the demand, the greater the profits. Emphasis on the word "attainable", here. This is to imply, both, reasonable price and adequate supply. No matter what, IBM is going to have look at the cost of having developed that lovely little demon and figure the fastest way to make their money back on it. If they keep it in their premium machines, and nowhere else, it won't make them any money for at least a year and a half.

#3.)A possible POWER 2! One of the links pc_convert kindly provided us with (thank you, of course) noted the possibility of scaling the design of the POWER 4 processor down to a 4 core system as opposed to the bombastic 8 that it's sporting, now. Here's what it said: Perhaps the best part of IBM's design for the POWER4 is its Multi-Chip Module (MCM). This novel packaging technique carries four chips, each with two processor cores, which makes for highly efficient 8-way SMP systems. Not only does IBM stand to dominate the high-end server market with these 8-way SMP monsters, but also it would be even easier, hypothetically, to create "scaled down" versions with two or four processor cores. My reason for pointing this out is that it's been a consistent component of every reputable Macintosh rumor site's speculation that the next generation Power Mac is due to have an optional 2 or 4 core mother board and will hum along at about 2.? GHz. The POWER 4 already runs from 1.8 - 2.4 GHz... Hmmm. Considering the POWER 4 is a series of 4 chips wth 2 cores each, then, what about halving or quartering the core count [like the article said] into a simpler version of the same thing? One might be able to do it in the same factory, even. Each chip in the POWER 4 is supposed to be 64 bits. Granted, that would be dropping by 50%, in terms of bit depth, from the G4. But, you're gaining greater performance with the quad 64s in a single die, than, two separate 128s. This would also solve several current design/manufacturing hurdles for Apple. One socket size (for all mother boards) and one CPU type with variable core counts as opposed to two socket sizes and two very different CPUs. No scorching hot Velovity Engine to contend with either.

Jan 28, 2002, 02:43 PM
artisan002 said
This would also solve several current design/manufacturing hurdles for Apple. One socket size (for all mother boards) and one CPU type with variable core counts as opposed to two socket sizes and two very different CPUs

Sounds ****ing fantastic to me! :D

Lets hope Apple takes note....

Jan 28, 2002, 04:00 PM
They may have... This thread was unreachable for about 12 hours or so from Friday into Saturday. I tried using my bookmark for the thread and tried using the link from the last reply alert email I got on this; I even tried 3 different browsers. Nothing worked. I'm not into, deliberately, being paranoid; however, Apple has been known to troll this and a few other rumor sites. Plus, think of the ego boost if we're right.

Jan 28, 2002, 06:08 PM
With the Dual 1Ghz Powermac G4's (http://www.apple.com/powermac) it doesn't seem that motorola is doing that badly...
...at least they have enough money to manufacture enough 1 Ghz chips for dual processers.

Jan 28, 2002, 06:45 PM
ilikeibook said,
it doesn't seem that motorola is doing that badly...

Yeah it's nice the G4 has finally hit 1GHZ, but it has nothing to do with Motorola's standing.

The original G4 appeared 31st August 1999 in the 400Mhz PowerMac, in September of that year it was scaled back to 350MHz. By the end of 1999 AMD was at 800MHz.

It's now Jan 2002 and after a redesign the G4+ has finally hit 1GHz while AMD and Intel are pushing 2GHz ish.

Thats 29 months (nearly to the day)for an 600MHz increase in clock speed!
29 Months! - !2 years 5 months! = 600MHz "not doing that badly!"

In 29 months x86 has had a 1.2GHz increase in clock speed - double that of Motorola.

I'm not bitching at Apple, they are doing a great job with the processors their getting, I just think they are being let down by Motorola in a BIG way. Now if the PPC had hit 2GHz you wouldn't here me complaining...(probably)
If you want to check the facts they are here. (http://www.lowendmac.com/time/1996-00.shtml#2000)

I'm not bitching at Apple, they are doing a great job with the processors their getting, I just think they are being let down by Motorola in a BIG way. Now if the PPC had just hit 2GHz you wouldn't hear me complaining....(probably)

Jan 28, 2002, 08:11 PM
Originally posted by ilikeiBook
With the Dual 1Ghz Powermac G4's (http://www.apple.com/powermac) it doesn't seem that motorola is doing that badly...
...at least they have enough money to manufacture enough 1 Ghz chips for dual processers.

The improved architecture of all the G4s that exceed 500MHz can be credited to IBM, not Motorola. Somewhere around a year ago, Motorola put a brand new factory into operation for their flavor of the G4. Three weeks into operation, the factory, still hadn't managed to meet minimum quality or production consistency standards. The assembly line, ultimately, broke down. At that time, the G4 was only good for 500MHz. Steve Jobs was understandably pissed. In almost no time, he had execs from Motorola and IBM visiting Cuppertino (I love how he can do that! Bill Gates can't even pull that off!) and worked out an crisis plan. IBM started producing the G4 processors and Mortorla was warded with sraightening out their *****. In the 3 or 4 months that IBM was producing Apple's G4s, they managed to take that design to a producable 800 MHz. They had test mules that could go to 900. Motorola went appaplectic! THEY prevented IBM from producing the higher clocked units stating all IBM was supposed to do was cover for them while they get their factory back on track. Motorola even threatened legal action.

Even once Motorola got their factory on line and working, they still had trouble kicking out adequate supply of the sped up chips.

Look at it this way. Motorola can't break 1.2 GHz. Meanwhile IBM makes Power PC chips up to a "G7" and a "POWER" class of chip that exceeds their own Power PCs (in MHz and processing), yet, still handles those instruction sets. Not to mention the supurlative job IBM did of hot-rodding the G3 for Nintendo to the tune of 4.7 GigaFLOPS @ 485MHz...

Now, you tell me who isn't doing bad...