Do you think that Apple could ever transition back to PPC at some stage?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by RobHague, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. RobHague macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2005
    I was just toying with the thought that Apple could one day in the future announce their transition back to PowerPC ;) if some really nice PPC products arrived. But could they? It would make them look stupid wouldnt it if they said 'Oh wait.. no back to PPC now' in a few years lol. It was just in leaving PPC apple remarked how it was the more elegant architecture... is x86 really the future..

    I still think that Apple would do better to make their Mac's CPU independent too as well as the OS. I mean, why not take the emphasis away from the architecture and just offer products that are fast for each range, be that PPC or x86. I just wondering why they kinda backed themselves into a corner with the intel swop, there was no possibility for middle ground just 'we are using Intel soon' sort of thing. I mean what if AMD start giving Intel CPU's an even bigger spanking in future that will reflect badley on Apples products wont it.... they will be using the underperformers. Hmmmm
  2. Malfoy macrumors 6502a


    Nov 1, 2005
    Yea, I do. I'm a huge Intel fan but they have been letting me down lately in the performance arena. While IBM has its share of issues, when IBM gets it right, they get it right in a very big way. Intel needs to figure out how to get their high end processors back up to spec(their latest Xeons dropped the ball hard and Itaniums are a joke) or else Apple will be looking to jump to AMD or back to PPC.
  3. kainjow Moderator emeritus


    Jun 15, 2000
    That's the beauty of universal binaries. Unlike any other company, Apple can use PPC or x86 for whatever they want in the future.
  4. csubear macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2003
    Yup universal binaries. OS X is now platform independent. After the intel transition apple could theoretically use any instruction set it wanted to.
  5. kainjow Moderator emeritus


    Jun 15, 2000
    "any" being x86 or PPC.... maybe someone, somewhere at Cupetino has been working on a SPARC port all this time, just in case? ;)
  6. Heb1228 macrumors 68020


    Feb 3, 2004
    Virginia Beach, VA
    A lot can change in a few years when it comes to computers. It wouldn't be any big deal if they changed again. And "lol" should only be used when you are actually laughing out loud.
  7. csubear macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2003
    Yeah not to many choices right now ;) I vote for OS X m68k! lol
  8. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    It's been done on PowerPC by IBM already for OS/400, which was released in 1985, and earlier for various processors dating back as far as 1979.

    Making it completely processor independent takes a lot of work to get it right because you end up simulating hardware. It also takes tremendous hardware resources to keep things running at reasonable speeds.
  9. Hyernel macrumors member

    Oct 21, 2005
    I think that Apple isn't so much "switching" to Intel, as much as it's "adding" Intel.

    It's genius really. Soon, all users of Intel hardware will be able to install MacOSX. It will run on anything!
  10. mjstew33 macrumors 601


    May 29, 2005
    Ah, bousozoku! Back and at it again, I see? :) :D

    Sorry for the off topic post. :eek:
  11. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Imagine Mac OS X ported to SPARC and running on an UltraSPARC-T1 processor.
  12. Studawg7 macrumors regular

    May 15, 2004
    Cville, VA
    mmm ultra sparc.... drool i havent been on one of those in a couple of years, but when i was they were oh so nice
  13. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000


    Oct 31, 2005
    Twin Cities, MN
    I think the SWITCH/change to Intel cpu's is pretty much the definition of switching. They aren't "adding" an Intel cpu to their current PPC/line, they are completing a complete overhaul of their computing system. All Mac users are just scared of the word "switch" unless it means a Windows person is "switching" over to Mac...if it's even mentioned of the Mac users/community, it's like a freak out party...get over it already...the x86 is better than the PPC (which is extremely dated btw), or there wouldn't be any other reason to switch. Mac users will soon find out what PC users have known for a few years already...Ol' Stevie is just late getting on board that's all
  14. savar macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2003
    District of Columbia
    What? Who's going to be making these new, consumer-level PPCs? Freescale? The company that does 90% of its business in embedded, and cares nothing about the G4? Or IBM, the company thats focused on high-end server chips and cares nothing about desktop or -- especially -- mobile applications.

    Its not impossible, but who earth has the incentive to design these new chips? One big advantage of x86 is that Apple won't be the only company buying. Given Intel's marketshare, we can continue to expect lots of R&D dollars pushing the tech forward.
  15. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    The Quad shows that good things come to those who wait and IBM may just be attempting a move to keep doors open for the future.
  16. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    The problem with a potential switch back to PPC is that no one who currently makes PPC processors has any reason to push desktop/laptop processors to new areas. Freescale is more into embedded, and IBM makes server processors (which can be adapted (sorta) for desktops, like POWER4 -> PPC970), but I doubt Apple was moving enough of them to justify a large R&D and manufacturing investment.
  17. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    Some people here talk about apple hardware and some about apple software. Yes, this transition is ADDING a X86 instruction set to OSX binaries and it doesn't mean dropping PPC binaries. BUT, as far as I'm up to date about this hardware transition, it seems that in two years Apple will not be manufacturing new PPC hardware but instead only X86.

    But PPC binaries will still be available for at least five years after apple sells the last PPC hardware, that's written in their support agreements. Dunno, perhaps some agreements have even longer support periods? That availability means that apple has all the options open to begin selling PPC hardware again if they see it reasonable.

    (And, because NEXT had even larger architecture support than PPC&X86, Apple perhaps have more options open to them than what they have told us. Once all developers have released their universal binary versions, Apple can in theory sell whatever hardware architectures they want; and THAT's something to bargain with Intel for example. Apple is in much better position than Microsoft in this regard - Microsoft currently needs X86, but Apple doesn't. How great is that?)
  18. Truffy macrumors 6502a


    May 9, 2005
    somewhere outside your window...
    The problem is that Steve made himself look a prat when he promised 3GHz and IBM failed to deliver. He probably rues the day he said that.

    What he, and all the whiners, forgets is that megahertz don't matter, it's what you do with them that matters.

    But Intel have 3GHz, so they make the play.

    lol :rolleyes:
  19. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    urgh they better not jump to the 'budget' AMD. I dunno why but I see them as the 2nd guys, the Aldi.

    I cant see another switch to PPC after going to x86. or perhaps Apple will just start making a new CPU ;)
  20. mdavey macrumors 6502a


    Nov 1, 2005
    Sun Microsystems and SPARC International basically have the same problem as PPC - great, efficicient, stable and scalable chips but running at slow clock frequencies. I believe that Sun's fastest processor is clocked at 1.6GHz - they get the power by putting many CPUs (or more recently, more cores within a single CPU) into each box. They don't really have a low-power, inexpensive, Intel-beating CPU suitable for laptops either.

    Yea, I sure would like to own an Apple laptop running Mac OS X on an UltraSPARC-T1 processor*, but I shudder at the thought of how much such a laptop would cost.

    *Mind you, I'd like to have the Mac OS X desktop running on top of the Solaris OS rather than on top of BSD, with a careful integration of the Mach and Solaris kernels ;)
  21. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    So funny,PPC has kept Apple in a corner for years the Intel switch is so Apple can get OUT of that corner that stagnated G4/G5s have put them in.:rolleyes:
  22. rosalindavenue macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2003
    Virginia, USA
    I think they COULD switch back to PPC, but I dont think they will. First reason is PR: So far, this transition has been incredibly smooth. There hasn't been much of a Wall Street "penalty;" tech writers and stock guys have generally approved. If Apple were to pull another switch, it would be a heck of a lot more rocky; in fact I think the reaction would be savage.

    Second reason is tech: The switch was caused by the inabilty of freescale and IBM to build an up-to-date mobile processor. The future is in laptops and minis, not in towers with 50 fans . As has been pointed out already in this thread, neither IBM nor freescale has shown any interest in building or selling a serious pentium-M competitor. It just didnt work out.
  23. cube macrumors G4

    May 10, 2004
    Sun killed their clock-oriented processor development in favor of Fujitsu's SPARC64. Currently, the fastest SPARC64 V runs at 2.16 GHz. New versions are expected upto 2.4 Ghz for upgrades of current machines.
    Dual-core SPARC64 VI should start appearing by the middle of next year at 2.4 Ghz, and will eventually range between 2.1 Ghz and 2.6 GHz.
    For 2008, the four-core 65nm SPARC64 VI+ will run at least at 2.7 GHz

    By 2008 Sun will also have Rock, but the number of cores and speed is unknown.
  24. caveman_uk Guest


    Feb 17, 2003
    Hitchin, Herts, UK
    It what way would this be genius? Apple makes most of it's money through selling hardware. If you can plonk OS X on anything then where does that income come from? All it would mean is a bug-ridden OS as Apple tries to get it to run properly on every cheap and nasty PC component that's made. Microsoft has a lot more resources than Apple and they can't manage that and it's not because they employ morons. Microsoft employ some extremely clever's just the management that are jerks.
  25. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    Nah, Apple can just as easily make a quad MAC using Intel processors (well i'd prefer AMD...) now and more than likely Intel will be able to counter anything IBM could have brought out, just before IBM brought it out :)

    Also you have to remember that Apple will be in a better position after the switch because there is more than one company making X86 processors. I don't think Apple would change from X86 if Intel wasn't performing, they'd just use the Athlon instead. Also VIA are making good very low power X86 processors too.

    In a way apple could just be using Intel's vast resources to help them get up and running on X86 and may in the future use chips from both major companies.

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