PPC vs. x86 - whats the difference?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by penguinman, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. penguinman macrumors member


    Jan 23, 2006
    Whats the difference between the PPC and the x86 that people often refer to on these boards? I also had a friend ask me which file to download for some obscure app. that had two different files: one for x86 and one for PPC..
  2. solaris macrumors 6502a


    Apr 19, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    They are two different processor architectures, which are not binary compatible.

    The last 10 years or so Apple have used PowerPC processors, made by IBM and Freescale (Motorola).
    But early last year they decided to switch to x86 processor, made by Intel.
    Shipment of the first Intel powered Mac started ~10 days ago.

    For differences, I recommend you read these sites:

    You're friend have to download the one that match his processor, most probably PowerPC.
  3. TLRedhawke macrumors 6502

    Sep 17, 2004
    To clarify further, the processor architectures should not be confused with operating systems, or application types. That is, just because Windows runs on x86 processors does not mean x86 Macs will run Windows software.

    The operating system has to fit the architecture, and applications have to fit the operating system, and to a lesser extent, the architecture. A good deal of software deals altogether with the operating system, with no reference to the underlying architecture. In such a case, only the operating system really matters. Most Linux software works under this premise. Linux software will work under Linux, whether the Linux distribution is an x86, PPC, or other type.

    With Mac software, it gets a bit more tricky. Apple has been asking people to recompile their code for x86 and PPC. This doesn't mean that the code actually made any reference to the architecture, but rather that it's best to cover one's bases. So, if we're talking Mac software, just download a Universal binary where possible (To optimize both architectures, as well as the fact that it will be the latest version), and whatever version is available where that's not possible.
  4. superbovine macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2003
    heh there is more than one thread on the topic, you should search the forums. the threads are usually very long and full of opinions....
  5. OnceInaLifetime macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2008
    final word here. lets settle this.

    let me clear the air once and for all. the PPC vs. x86 topic (regardless of what forum it occurs on) is not a debate, its a flame war. and its so stupid as all hell that I can't believe these people can walk and blink at the same time. first off, compared as architectures the differences aren't all that striking initially, simply put they're two different ways to skin a cat. (though i recall hearing about early multi-threading issues on PPC but whats a development process without hiccups?) secondly ; all this fanboy fanaticism is fairly useless considering they must use whatever is available and what do the companies (Apple, MS, etc) that sell them to us use? they use what works. the people at MS and eventually apple determined x86 was more suited for the personal computing environment. however PPC has proven more scalable, thats why companies generally choose it when commissioning custom hardware. (e.g. xbox 360). I do not understand why people would defend a ****ing processor, the producers of our daily tech see this as a matter of viability rather than personal preference but somehow its a matter of which one's dick is bigger? hell they dont even actually manufacture there own stuff its built to their specifications by ODMs. (I know some that swear by Toshiba and berate Dell... even though both brands are built by Compal) if tomorrow windows and/or Mac switched everything and went with architecture XYZ, be honest, if it worked, who would give of ****? 2 types of people; programmers (that would likely have to mod some aspects of their application source to accommodate the new architecture) and trolls.

    IF TL;DR

    Difference between CPUs=design choices little else (whats the difference between an equivalent Chevy and a Chrysler engine really?)
    companies use what works, we buy what works (for us) and then there are butthurt purists that love to muddy the waters with their filth.

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