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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:19 AM   #51
Sun Baked
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Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post
The guy behind P.A. Semi is responsible for what are perhaps the two best chips ever made.

The fact that you "never heard of them" is irrelevant.

Apple has acquired some hugely relevant and high quality IP here, (as well as some of the best chip designers around) for what amounts to chump change.
I also think the people behind it are a major reason Apple kept up with what they were doing, sort of great that the company meshed with Apple and they are able to snap up the tech portfolio.

They made a mint off the deal the last time they did this with ARM, so it isn't like they don't know what they are doing.

Apple has been doing a lot of investment in making sure they are supplied with the components they need, and this sure is a lot less costly than the 1.25 billion in front money that they spent on their Flash Supply.

If they use it in the iPods and iPhone, then they will be happy -- if they decide to go in another direction at a later point like they did with ARM, I'm sure their investment will still pay off.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:22 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by mozmac View Post
I'm not a processor expert, so I'd like to solicit the knowledge of others here. I have a few questions/misunderstandings about all this:

1. Are P.A.'s chips still based on PowerPC architecture?
2. If so, why would Apple want to step back to that platform?
3. Is the current iPhone running on an x86 chip?
4. Wouldn't it be wise for Apple to move everything running OS X onto the same chip architecture so they don't have to keep multiple versions of OS X in development? (although, they always will...as a backup)
Before you think too much about this, you should realize that at this point in time, Apple and software developers don't give a damn what kind of processor is in a device. MacOS X and applications work fine on PowerPC, on Intel processors, and if Apple built a desktop machine with an ARM or Itanium processor, I'd just recompile the code and it would work. So to answer your questions:

1. Who cares? If they can build a PowerPC compatible chip, they can build anything. All that Apple wants is a low power chip.
2. Apple doesn't care about the architecture, as long as it is low power.
3. I don't think so, but in the end, nobody cares. All that Apple cares about is low power.
4. Who cares? It is just a compiler switch (and having to build for multiple architectures has the advantage that it keeps quite a few stupid bugs out of your code).
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:23 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by PlaceofDis View Post
they did. i never heard of this, any links. just curious.
It happened in January, which in our world was forever ago, but here is the first link I found on google:

Fujitsu and Lenovo: First to Use the MacBook Air Intel Chip after MacBook Air
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:26 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by gnasher729 View Post
Before you think too much about this, you should realize that at this point in time, Apple and software developers don't give a damn what kind of processor is in a device. MacOS X and applications work fine on PowerPC, on Intel processors, and if Apple built a desktop machine with an ARM or Itanium processor, I'd just recompile the code and it would work. So to answer your questions:

1. Who cares? If they can build a PowerPC compatible chip, they can build anything. All that Apple wants is a low power chip.
2. Apple doesn't care about the architecture, as long as it is low power.
3. I don't think so, but in the end, nobody cares. All that Apple cares about is low power.
4. Who cares? It is just a compiler switch (and having to build for multiple architectures has the advantage that it keeps quite a few stupid bugs out of your code).
I do for one, as an Apple investor. Read Sun Baked's comments above for an intelligent view point.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:27 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by christian_k View Post
This is a product brief about P.A.'s top performance chip.

This doesn't exactly sound like a chip for iPhone. What could they build with this? Maybe some kind of server or other networking equipment? Maybe a network attached storage with a lot of capacity, several high speed ports and hw crypto?
These marketing briefs are there to make the company look interesting to the stock market. They don't describe what makes the company interesting to Apple. I wouldn't be surprised to find a low power, 100 MHz, four core chip with severe Altivec enhancements in a new iPhone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jouster View Post
PA Semi's products are low-power, but not yet close to what the iPhone needs. As for Psystar, I don't see how going to PPC would help; why would Psystar not be able to produce PPC-based clones?
Do you really think Apple cares one bit about Psystar? Steve Jobs will pick one lawyer to handle Psystar, and that lawyer will get a bonus based on the depth of the crater that is left behind where Psystar is right now (that is if they can find them )

Last edited by WildCowboy; Apr 23, 2008 at 02:31 PM. Reason: post merge
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:29 AM   #56
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I think I'm one of the few that wishes Apple goes back to Power PC, and bring the PowerBook back!!

Don't get me wrong, the MacBook Pros are great, but Intel keeps coming out with new products every month, it kills the enjoyment of the past when your Mac was the latest model for a year or so. Also, my G4 PowerBook running leopard is definitely more stable than my iMac and MBP, and I think that has to do with PPC. Our new Macs are just PCs that run OSX.

For me, Apple machines use to have this magic feel. When people would ask me about my PowerBook "how does the processor compare to the new Centrinos?" I proudly answered "you can't compare the processors, these are Apple only processors"

right now, my brand new $2500 Penryn MBP has the same exact processor my friend has on his $800 Dell.

I really wish we can go back to Power PC.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:29 AM   #57
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As a boutique chip manufacturer, P A Semi's purchase could also be in response to OpenComputer (formerly OpenMac)'s selling of Mac OS X compatible computers. If Apple designs a specific chip, and controls the manufacturer of that chip, to be placed in future Macs, it could be the lock necessary to prevent a future version of OS X from running on a clone machine:

On boot check for special encryption in custom chip - if not present, refuse to boot OS X.

By controlling the design and manufacture of that chip, Apple can make sure it's not available to cone mfgs.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:30 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Sayer View Post
The smaller chip package used in the MacBook Air was an existing part of the roadmap, Apple just accelerated its release because, well, its Steve Jobs and Steve gets what Steve wants (or he starts cussing a storm and makes people feel really uncomfortable).

The iPhone is not just a product, its a platform. The iPhone/iPod Touch are just the first glimpses of what will be a completely new platform for Apple (Touch OS X).

It makes sense in the grand scheme of things; Apple is already producing its own custom chips outside of the CPU for the iPhone/iPod Touch (graphics acceleration *cough*).
I agree, I'm not saying that Apple would be stupid enough to shift away from the X86 architecture in general, or Intel specifically, for the Mac.

The iPhone and iPods are different stories. Why should Apple use Silverthorn, Atom or whatever, from Intel when every phone manufacturer has access.

Apple could not stop Intel from giving the MacBook Air chip to other customers, even though it was built at Apple's request to go into a specific product. Intel had every right to sell it to other customers, but you know Apple felt betrayed.

Since the iPhone and iPod do not have to worry about legacy issues if they switch Mobile OS X from Arm to an Apple proprietary chip, I think it will be a cold day in Hell before Apple uses Intel for anything but Macs.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:33 AM   #59
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These guys design embeded chips right? I don't think Apple is about to build them. It's more like design them for the iPhone/iPods platform. Possibly to give them huge advantages compared to a Zune? Actually thats no competition. LOL
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:40 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by JonasLondon View Post
- Shake (due for total Final Cut Studio integration in 2009, or killer-app Stand-Alone-Product (code name "Phenomenon") - was 15,000 USD a seat - now 499 :-) or "free" as part of simpler SmoothCam filter in Final Cut Pro
- Logic - de factor industry leader (with Pro Tools having a good seat in the Movie/Soundtrack industry) need I say more
- Color - a professional pre-Apple 25,000 USD grading application - now part of Final Cut Studio and it's fantastic

You forgot the big one: Apple aquired Next Computer and with it got Mac OS X and Mr. Jobs and friends
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:41 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by kresh View Post
Since the iPhone and iPod do not have to worry about legacy issues if they switch Mobile OS X from Arm to an Apple proprietary chip, I think it will be a cold day in Hell before Apple uses Intel for anything but Macs.
Won't be an Apple proprietary chip, a course charted by Apple for sure ... but it is in their best interests to spread the R&D cost out to other companies beyond Apple.

You might see some undocumented features that Apple makes use of though, sure been enough of those in the past with Apple chips.

---

But if you notice, Apple has stayed away from going fully Intel also with the Chipsets and grabbing onto the Centrino sticker for the extra discount. They kept options open and maintained a lot of their old tech suppliers.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:43 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Peel View Post
As a boutique chip manufacturer, P A Semi's purchase could also be in response to OpenComputer (formerly OpenMac)'s selling of Mac OS X compatible computers. If Apple designs a specific chip, and controls the manufacturer of that chip, to be placed in future Macs, it could be the lock necessary to prevent a future version of OS X from running on a clone machine:

On boot check for special encryption in custom chip - if not present, refuse to boot OS X.

By controlling the design and manufacture of that chip, Apple can make sure it's not available to cone mfgs.
But some pimple-faced h4Ck3r will find a way around it in no time...

Joshua.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:46 AM   #63
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Maybe Apple's trying to control or profit off of it's iPhone/iPod competitors.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:46 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by christian_k View Post
This is a product brief about P.A.'s top performance chip.

http://www.pasemi.com/downloads/PA_Semi_PA6T_1682M.pdf

This includes:
- 2 Cores, PPC 64 Bit, 2 GHz.
- two onchip ports for 10 gigabit Ethernet.
- four onchip ports for Gigabit Ehternet (so onchip support for 6 Ethernet ports)
- onchip hardware acceleration for TCP/IP
- onchip hardware support for RAID
- onchip hardware for several crypto capabilities. Including support for hardware accelerated VPN protocols.
- A lot of PCIe lanes for additional IO.
- Two onchip memory controllers (one for each core), each supporting up to 32 GB RAM at 533 (*2=1066) MHz. So 32 GB max memory.


This doesn't exactly sound like a chip for iPhone. What could they build with this? Maybe some kind of server or other networking equipment? Maybe a network attached storage with a lot of capacity, several high speed ports and hw crypto?

Christian
From what I'm seeing, this looks like it would be a particularly good chip for a future version of AppleTV. The crypto is what really got me thinking in this direction, because NBC has stated that they would reconsider an iTunes presence if there were more reliable DRM capabilities. I think this might be the ticket. It also differentiates Apple TV from the Mac Mini, in that it would be PPC based and perhaps even allow Apple to make it for a lower price point.

Looking at some of the I/O on this chip, we could be looking at a new way of implementing Apple TV. With this amount of power, you might be able to make a case for an Apple TV that broadcasts to all of the screens in your house (even multiple screens simultaneously). That would make it a much more attractive "Actual TV" replacement.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:46 AM   #65
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interesting. this won't replace intel though. hopefully this make for a more powerful iPhone
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:51 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Sun Baked View Post
Won't be an Apple proprietary chip, a course charted by Apple for sure ... but it is in their best interests to spread the R&D cost out to other companies beyond Apple.
That may well be true, but Apple will control what devices it gets into. You may see the Apple/PA 3XULV Chip in any number of devices, provided they are not Phones, MP3 players, or mobile internet devices. TV's, Missile Seeker Head Circuits, Anti-Bark Dog Collars, but not any device competing against the iPhone or iPod
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 10:57 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by Cleve View Post
This is what the Dual Bridges on the WWDC invite meant!!! 2 Platforms.

http://blogs.computerworld.com/wwdc_..._ways_than_one
Interesting.

While they say we shouldn't start seeing shipping products until about a year form now - what are the odds that they (Apple & PA Semi) haven't been collaborating in time to hit the iPhone 3G release in June?
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 11:02 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by semiconstructiv View Post
"new future for Apple's flagship iPhone, and possibly iPod products as well. ".....
did you, or jjahshik32, read the forbes article referenced by shoulin333, before posting here? it sure makes it sound like we could see some of the company's chips in apple computers.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 11:04 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by JonasLondon View Post
- Logic - de factor industry leader (with Pro Tools having a good seat in the Movie/Soundtrack industry) need I say more
You have this switched around. Pro Tools is the industry standard and Logic has a good seat.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 11:06 AM   #70
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I think there's a few things to bear in mind here:

1) The chip Intel developed was at Apple's suggestion but it was always Intel's property and theirs to sell to who they wanted to.
2) This is a small specialist chip maker and in no way has the scale to compete with Intel in the CPU market.
3) To move away from Intel architecture would be a backward step considering it's one of the main reasons for Apple's increased market share.
I totally agree with what you are saying. I know many people who would not be able to buy a Mac if they didnt use intel, simply because they need some of the Windows funcitonality.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 11:06 AM   #71
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Well it looks like all those waiting for the next revision of macs will need to wait a bit longer (about a year) before Apple leaves intel to use it's own CPU's in it's computers...

http://www.forbes.com/technology/200...0422apple.html


Also one of the best ways for apple to get rid of the nasty osX86 scene....
Finally some good news. My 8 core XEON at work tends to lag even w/ 8gb ram and leopard.

Welcome back POWER! These in a Xserve, or Mac Pro (correction Powermac hehe)...
http://www.cdrinfo.com/sections/news...x?NewsId=22976

Now only if apple would buy out Sun and combine Mac OS X with Solaris, get rid of Promise raid and rebrand Sun's raid's as Xraid.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 11:11 AM   #72
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I certainly hope they don't target the Laptop / iMac market with this chip...
The Mac mini, iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, and Xserve will continue to use the Intel processor because:
  1. Windows - It can run natively.
  2. UNIX - If I am correct, only the Intel Macs can claim UNIX certification.
  3. Processor - Say what you want about x86, but I doubt P.A. Semi has anything even close to what Intel is pumping out these days.
Apple has something up their sleeve and it is geared toward the mobile/handheld/specialty market. I think the AppleTV will get the chips from P.A. Semi since the only real processing it does is decoding video.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 11:12 AM   #73
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From what I'm seeing, this looks like it would be a particularly good chip for a future version of AppleTV. The crypto is what really got me thinking in this direction, because NBC has stated that they would reconsider an iTunes presence if there were more reliable DRM capabilities. I think this might be the ticket. It also differentiates Apple TV from the Mac Mini, in that it would be PPC based and perhaps even allow Apple to make it for a lower price point.

Looking at some of the I/O on this chip, we could be looking at a new way of implementing Apple TV. With this amount of power, you might be able to make a case for an Apple TV that broadcasts to all of the screens in your house (even multiple screens simultaneously). That would make it a much more attractive "Actual TV" replacement.
I think that you are on to something... The box, likely, would be Apple's Home Server and incorporate: AppleTV, Airport, Time Capsule, A/V (iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie) archives, home monitoring, security, appliance control, IPTV, gaming... yadda, yadda, yadda.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 11:15 AM   #74
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Oooh.....could this mean the return of Power PC chips in Macs? Or Apple creating/producing their own CPU's? That is an exciting prospect.
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Old Apr 23, 2008, 11:17 AM   #75
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This is a very interesting move by Apple IMO. That 2.0 GHz processor could be used in a Mac mini or even a Mac OS X-based PDA.
PDA's are dead. The phone is the new PDA. Even Palm® got that a long time ago... the Treo™, the Centro... any of this a-ringin'-a bell?
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