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Old Oct 20, 2003, 04:12 AM   #1
admford
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reflection on future Apple processors...

I've been thinking on what strategy Apple is going to take with it's processors (currently the IBM G3, Motorola G4, and IBM G5) in the near future.

Apple currently has these processors divided in 3 categories,depending on the individual characteristics of each processor. But with Motorola having a rather large amount of trouble with it's G4 production, and it's selling off of it's semiconductor buisiness, the G4's future remains "foggy". We all know that IBM has bought the rights to include AltiVec in it's PPC processors and we all know that a Altivec enabled G3 is deffinately in the works. Anyways, here's what i'm getting to:

Apple most probably will drop the Motorola G4, opting for an IBM PPC750 with Altivec when G3 speeds reach those of current G4's. This process might first occur not with desktops, but with powerbooks. We've all heard rumors that future Powerbooks might have dual G4's or somehow squeezing a G5 in it. I believe that these rumors are completely untrue and impossible to do so in the near future. Also Apple's pursuing fuel cell technology to power powerbooks is only to increase it's running time off AC power.

Apple has allways boasted about long battery life, all bells and whistles laptops that out do PC's in most areas of design. That deffinately isn't going to change anytime soon. As new iBook are released, their speed will start coming close to Powerbook maximum speeds. As for my best guess, the next generation Powerbooks will run a G3 with Altivec at a minimum of 1.25/1.33 GHz, up to 1.4 GHz.

All I can say for an end is that with tremendous incertanties that Apple has with Motorola or the new company that has taken over Motorola's semiconductor buisiness is going to lead them away from the PPC7400 series rather quickly (note, there are still some good G4 versions for consumer desktops that haven't been implemented in iMacs or eMacs).
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Old Oct 20, 2003, 06:31 AM   #2
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good post. nice comments and it seems that some thought went it to it. i will psot a proper reply tommorow (GMT+1000) as now it is time for me to do work and then go beddy bies.
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Old Oct 20, 2003, 07:41 AM   #3
admford
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Thanks, but my observation is pretty obvious. Motorola started going no where with the G4. Difficulties in production and high levels of diffective chips in each batch keeps pushing faster G4's release dates back. This sole fact had almost crippled Apple with the G4 PowerMacs (they were fast, but not fast enough to fight off competition). Without the G5 arriving when it did, it would be possible to think that Apple in a few years being "stuck" with Motorola and it's G4's might end up more like Amiga (another PPC computer producer which is trying to re-enter the market with AmigaOne G3/G4 systems) and start producing more software than hardware.

All I can say that Apple is going no where with the PPC7400 series. the PPC750 is equal or faster in speed on non Altivec application comparing to an equal frequency PPC7400. The introduction of Altivec in the PPC750 is a normal evolutionary step with the processor's development. Besides, IBM supports the Pegasos I/II standard for PPC motherboards and computers (which happen to currently use G3 processors), IBM utilizes the G3 in it's own servers and hardware, IBM practically is it's own biggest customer of PPC chips! Apple can be considered IBM's trojan horse into the home computer market (and not to mention "free" pubblicity from Apple saying that it's processors are produced by IBM)
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Old Oct 20, 2003, 08:14 AM   #4
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i would rather see a stategy of single g5's at lower clocks in the consumer line and duals in the pro line at higher clocks. get the platform on 1 type of cpu this makes it easy to program. g5's are clocking way faster then g4s. im sure it will take a year in a half to get there. g4 is still holding back all lines except G5s. amazing! hopefully apple will give us some signs to this happening with the next imac announcement.
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Old Oct 20, 2003, 09:15 AM   #5
admford
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Here's a diagram of what I was thinking about.


I purposely left our XServes due to my limited experience with them (none that is ). My best guess is a jump to G5's in the near future (single processor 1U models, and multiple processor models with larger cases).

Last edited by admford; Oct 20, 2003 at 09:19 AM.
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Old Oct 20, 2003, 09:43 AM   #6
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What I'd like to see:
I'll simplify for two product lines ; Power (PowerBook, PowerMac) and Consumer (iMac, eMac, iBook).
The goals are to increase performance and decrease cost. Assuming Motorola doesn't want to play in the game.

Power : move to G6 (Power5 derivatives)
G6 is dual core with improved Altivec. PowerBooks then are "dual". PowerMacs would be quads. Reduce memory latency.

Consumer : develop a G5 variant with on board memory controller. No issue with multi processor cache coherancy. (like the Athlon64). Lower clock rates than Power series. Lower power. Quiet ...
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Old Oct 20, 2003, 09:54 AM   #7
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you're talking about a possible apple program in 2 1/2- 3 years from now. My idea of what apple will do goes from the next hardware updates on all platforms up to a year and a half to two years from now.
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Old Oct 21, 2003, 09:54 AM   #8
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I think an all G5 line with a G6 coming in the PowerMac in 18 months is the best plan. A .09 process G5 running at 1GHz could probably be made cool enough to run in an iBook. This would leave room for G5s in other models to run faster. Coding would be made much easier and further optimizations could be justified. A souped up G3 sounds nice, but only as a short term measure while G5s make their way down the line. The G5 can stick around for a while if it is migrated to a .065 process. Dedicated Altivec coprocessors could be added to the pro line to assist the G5 and G6 enough to dominate in comparisons to Intel and AMD.
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Old Oct 21, 2003, 10:20 AM   #9
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The G3 with Altivec is probably only meant as a speed bump inorder to reach near G5 speeds in iMacs, eMacs and PowerBooks. An eventual introduction of a G6 is possible, but not probably in 18 months, it would be more like 24. We all know that the G4 took it's sweet time to reach iMacs and PowerBooks. All I can say is that Apple needs to boost eventual G4 processor speeds to come close or equal to current G5 speeds in order to design eventual G5 PowerBooks. G5 iBooks are probably not going to be seen for quite a while (2 years or more).

Apple probably will divide the lines of each computer similarly to what it is now.

PowerMacs, PowerBooks Running G5's. Probable implementation of G5 iMacs. G4 (G3 with altivec) eMacs and iBooks.
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Old Oct 21, 2003, 11:05 AM   #10
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would it really be that easy to just throw altivec in the g3's? have they been working on that already?
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Old Oct 21, 2003, 11:35 AM   #11
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Hell yeah. If I remember well, the Gobi architecture G3 is supposed to be the one with Altivec
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Old Oct 21, 2003, 12:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by howard
would it really be that easy to just throw altivec in the g3's? have they been working on that already?
thats my question too. I seem to remember this G3 with altivec thing starting as a couple of rumors a while back. To my knowledge, there has been absolutely no formal confirmation either in the way of leaked internal documents, public roadmaps or comments by company officials. I think there was a rumor and people have now taken it as fact.

Thats not to say it won't happen, people just seem awfully sure of themselves and I don't remember seeing the proof. People are more skeptical about other things it seems like. People were more skeptical about other rumors that seem to have more available information. Maybe I missed something though.
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Old Oct 21, 2003, 04:27 PM   #13
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Re: reflection on future Apple processors...

Quote:
Originally posted by admford
I've been thinking on what strategy Apple is going to take with it's processors (currently the IBM G3, Motorola G4, and IBM G5) in the near future.

Apple currently has these processors divided in 3 categories,depending on the individual characteristics of each processor. But with Motorola having a rather large amount of trouble with it's G4 production, and it's selling off of it's semiconductor buisiness, the G4's future remains "foggy". We all know that IBM has bought the rights to include AltiVec in it's PPC processors and we all know that a Altivec enabled G3 is deffinately in the works. Anyways, here's what i'm getting to:

Apple most probably will drop the Motorola G4, opting for an IBM PPC750 with Altivec when G3 speeds reach those of current G4's. This process might first occur not with desktops, but with powerbooks. We've all heard rumors that future Powerbooks might have dual G4's or somehow squeezing a G5 in it. I believe that these rumors are completely untrue and impossible to do so in the near future. Also Apple's pursuing fuel cell technology to power powerbooks is only to increase it's running time off AC power.
From a marketing standpoint moving from a G4 in a PowerBook to a G3 and not a G5 would be suicide. Anyone considering switching has most likely heard the buzz about the G5 in the desktop line. They are going to be asking why upgrade if you are downgrading to a G3. IMHO any type of sales, be it computer, car, etc, is 60% marketing and 40% product. There are people that do their homework and would know better but for everyone else its going to look like a downgrade. Then again as has been discussed before you could call it a G4+, G4 Turbo, G4: Die Moto Die edition or something. Plus hasnít Jobs been quoted as saying G5ís in the PowerBook by the end of 2004?
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Old Oct 21, 2003, 04:53 PM   #14
admford
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Putting in a G3 with Altivec into PowerBooks and labeling it a G3 IS suicide. But remember it's Apple that gives the processors it's desegnation. A G3 with Altivec is more a replacement processor for iBooks (thus giving them a rather fast "semi" G4. If it would be implemented in PowerBooks, then Apple might only make one group of PowerBooks with it. It would mainly be intended as a speed bump to keep the series afloat until the G5 becomes suitable for notebook implementation (notably that it doens't get too hot, low power drain on battery, and that it out performs by a good deal older processors).

I would note that the G3 with Altivec PowerBook might be a "quirk" in the PowerBook line (much like the original G3 PowerBook that used the 3400's case) It would be used ONLY as a speed booster in order to get PowerBooks close to PowerMac G5 speeds.
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Old Oct 21, 2003, 05:08 PM   #15
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no, the G3+altivec would be great for ibooks and emacs, but powerbook G5's aren't so far off that they can't keep using the G4's untill then, and seeing as the imac has taken more of a prosumer niche, imac will probably go G5 rather then G3+altivec.

of course, this is assuming that a G3+altivec exsists.

my predictions:
G5 xserve in january along with G5 speed bumbs, possibly to 3GHz as said on the G5 video

G5 powerbooks at wwdc

G5 imacs maybe a little over a year from now
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