The Re-Birth of RISC Computing (PowerPC/POWER))

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by WardC, May 1, 2011.

  1. WardC, May 1, 2011
    Last edited: May 1, 2011

    macrumors 68030

    WardC

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #1
    So, Apple has made this migration to intel...

    Be it, Fall 2006 or so when Apple ditched the RISC and went with CISC. Was it a good decision? Is CISC computing really "better?" I remember the days of PowerPC Macintosh vividly, the excitement at using these PowerPC computers, the Power Macintosh, and watching it perform, the code was executed and went through the processor in a much different way than these very short-path connections on the intel bus...

    Apple says...it's all in the software, not the hardware...Apple has this new Lion operating system in the works, but it will only work on intel processors, just as Snow Leopard. Is there any hope for Apple in the line? Are they only concerned with money at this point? Where has the personal computing experience gone? Where has Apple education and Apple business gone? Where is Apple going with all of this?

    I have done much thinking about this in the past few days and weeks.

    Is this a contract license deal with intel, ie is Apple obligated to use intel for their Macs in any sort of way? Has Apple even considered going with IBM on a contract for POWER? Would this mean a complete re-write of the code? Is it too late? When will the days of RISC for Macintosh be reborn? When will Reduced-Input Set Computing be recognized by Steve Jobs as still viable and alive and a true core of the Personal computing experience for us fellow Mac users?

    I really hope Apple considers this one seriously. These intel Macs do not feel the same, they just simply don't feel the same. They are like grease-lighting...but they are not anything like the PowerPC was. The computing experience on PowerPC felt "real" Point, click, and the commands felt real, not "hyper-quick" like they do on intel machines, but the computing experience felt REAL!

    Leopard for that matter may run "slower" on PowerPC, but I remember my first experience at CompUSA with a G5 2.0GHz and a 30" Cinema Display (Tiger, I believe). I felt I was using a SuperComputer. I was completely in awe....again, it comes down to the processor and bus architecture here. The current Mac lineup...is not a Mac, it's a PC that can run a Unix/FreeBSD variant of NeXTStep, which we call Mac OS X...The intel "Mac" is not truly a Mac in my eyes because at it's core lies a CISC processor. Yes, CISC, the same type of processor that Apple boasted about the Wallstreet PowerBooks -- "It eats Pentiums for Lunch" Apple was once very proud to distance themselves from the CISC world and be different. Where has the era of "Thinking different" really gone???

    So, Apple may say RISC is dead because they could not reach that lofty "3.0GHz" goal...when Apple was racing to compete in processor clock frequency with competitors...that is what the goal was in the intel migration, yes? To compete with the PC world, to bring people over to the Mac? Right? But the real issue at hand here is the Personal Computing experience. The experience you have when operating the computer. Each one of these "Mac Apps" goes through the processor, and most of them are coded for intel/CISC, because that is all that Apple is shipping...Intel/CISC-based Macs.

    Apple needs to seriously think this one over. Where have we gone? The vibrant character of Apple pride in Computing has gone to iPads, iPhones, and other gadgets, it has all come down to numbers, and we are left with nothing (for the Power Macintosh)

    I think there is still some variable of hope in rethinking this one. This is a deep one for me, and I have been thinking about it for days.
     
  2. macrumors 68040

    Koodauw

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Location:
    Madison
    #2
    Ummm, well.... I feel as though things have gotten better since the intel switch. Notebooks with longer battery life, not to mention more frequent updates to he different lines. And as far as the user experience goes, I remember having more issues back in the early days of OS X then there are now. Onward and upward I say.
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2010
    #3
    What would Apple gain by doing this? It would be a step backward in many ways.
     
  4. macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #4
    Feels the exact same for me
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 68030

    WardC

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #5
    Hmmm...consider 9.2.2 was quite Stable. Apple did ditch Copland which was to have protected memory with the Macintosh UI. The Mac OS has come a long way since then, but at the core we are left with a CISC chip running all the code, right?

    Maybe I am dreaming of the Scully or Amelio Days..."oh, the days..."
     
  6. macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #6
    May I ask why it really matters? Can you explain how it feels different?

    How come you are nostalgic about PPC but not say the Motorola chips?
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 68030

    WardC

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #7
    Apple is in competition with Motorola now because of the iPhone...this was all about 2005/2006/2007 when all of this was happening, with the introduction of the first iPhone and Apple basically went against Motorola, and Apple dropped PowerPC completely (Apple/IBM/MOT) and went with Intel.

    So there is some tension between the two companies as they are now in competition. IBM still makes POWER which was a derivative of the old PowerPC and is still RISC.

    Motorola was exclusively 68k/68xxx, but the partnership of Apple/IBM and Motorola was behind the PowerPC chip.

    So, Motorola was producing most of these chips, but now Apple is so into iPhone (which is running ARM), and Apple is in competition with Motorola in the mobile arena, that I forsee it will be a difficult path for Apple to come back to RISC. It is a bit sad...RISC computing is totally different, but they were the most Powerful computers around, and Apple still could come back to RISC in the future if bridges can be crossed (*other than Sandy or Ivy ones).
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    In OSX Snow Leopard / Godalming UK
    #8
    I do agree with you, i prefer the feel of PowerPC macs and would love apple to switch back to PowerPC (well would be POWER these days), i wouldn't think porting osx to power would be to hard if you used 10.5 as a starting point (i'm no software coder though), but there's one simple reason apple won't switch back in the near future, it would really piss off all the software devs, meany of which are now making intel only software, because they would have to change architectures again.
     
  9. macrumors 68000

    Nameci

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Location:
    The Philippines...
    #9
    Who knows, who knows... (crossing my fingers)... the world is round, and people's minds are constantly changing... bottom line it is all just the sound of money...
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA, USA
    #10
    You never know - Apple may just be sitting on an architecture like they did in the purely PPC OS X days, when they had Intel ports as early as 10.2. (I think it was 10.2, anyway...) With POWER7 being as incredible as it is, don't completely rule out the possibility that we may see it on those architectures again... though don't count on it either.

    Personally, I'm a fan of the x86 switch, despite all of my machines being PPC. It just opens up quite a bit more potential with the machines. (I just went PPC because... well, it was cheaper, my G5 was practically free, and the iBook is about the same as a standard netbook but cheaper!)

    I'm kinda... disillusioned about Apple going with Intel, though, what with all the crap they're pulling. (Preventing Nvidia graphics drivers updates, anyone?) Seeing Apple shift over to AMD processors would be the greatest day, not to mention they supposedly go hand-in-hand better with Radeon video cards.
     
  11. macrumors 68020

    mulo

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Location:
    Behind you
    #11
    not necessarily, the current POWER7 processors running in IBM Blade servers are much faster then current top notch intel processors.

    and yes, the POWER7 CPUs are PowerPC CPUs, in fact they even run Leopard.
    some of the specs on wikipedia include 8 cores a die (scalable up to 256 cores in one machine), up to 4.25GHz and 4 threads on each core.
     
  12. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    #12
    So, you're saying you like slow computers. Yeah, thats totally a good reason to go back to PPC! :confused:
     
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2006
    #13
    Don't forget that for Apple to even consider switching back IBM would have to supply Apple with processors that are at least as fast as Intel processors with the same amount (or less) of power consumption. There was a reason we never saw a PowerBook G5...
     
  14. macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #14
    This is the main reason that I feel for the foreseeable future Apple will stay on Intel. Although PowerPC has a more efficient data path in it's architecture it uses more power per data cycle compared to modern core technology from Intel. This has been the case since about 2003 or 2004. It's mostly IBM's fault though. The 601-G4 chips are all quite power efficient but the G5 turned the whole PowerPC fundamentals upside down. It seems IBM got power hungry in the gap between the G3 and G5 since Freescale (motorola) was the only manufacturer of the G4's.

    The G5 is to blame for why PowerPC died at Apple. Period.

    I pull no punches at all and say proudly that I hate everything to do with the G5 chip. I do like what IBM is doing now with the new Power arch. The 3 big game consoles all use some variant of it and seem to be quite power efficient. They range from 165 - 250 watts. Very low for something with that kind of power that isn't portable.

    I can say from owning a MacBook C2D for a while now that they are VERY efficient. The CPU is often using less than 10 watts which is fricking amazing.
     
  15. MacHamster68, May 2, 2011
    Last edited: May 2, 2011

    macrumors 68040

    MacHamster68

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #15
    i guess it is far to late for Apple to turn around ,since day one of OSX they developed for intel hardware and now with thunderbold , which is a intel invention so hoping for a back to risc is like these doomsday sientists who see nibriu colliding with earth next year
    i dont see Apple in the future like they had been , more of a niche market for design conscious gadget collectors , for people who dont know what to do with their cash ,but want to show off , and could care less about the operating system installed , and having to use windows7 myself now due to work , i have to say it is strong competition , ok still needs protection from all sorts of intruders
    but having now a 1.5ghz mini G4 running Morph OS too i have to say shame on Apple , they had the receipt for a perfect OS and wasted development time and resources on intel instead of improving OSX from day one only for PPC
    and yes i know there are differences between the two , but hang on the end result is important and that makes snow leopard look like a sloth

    as Morph OS proves to me that indeed PPC can beat intel by miles if the OS is developed only for that architecture , boottimes you can just reach with a SSD on intel , apps launch as fast as where you need today on snow leopard a SSD for , so i love my old PPC Mac's all but two running Tiger which was the last good OS from Apple after that all feel like gadgets not real operating systems any more , i have to live with my intel core duo iMac for work reasons , but privately i use MorphOS and Tiger as i do not need a flashy GUI , i just need a computer

    and what is all this talk i hear about power consumption .....i dont want to buy a bugatti veyron and then complain about that i cant get 100mpg out of it :confused:
     
  16. zen.state, May 2, 2011
    Last edited: May 2, 2011

    macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #16
    MacHamster68:

    I agree with you about Apple not developing PowerPC code well enough over the years but MorphOS is certainly not a legitimate alternative to OS X. Every MorphOS screen shot I have seen makes it very obvious it's really just a PowerPC optimized Fedora Linux. I have tried at least 8-9 different modern Linux builds in the last year plus on various hardware and none of them really hold a candle to the user experience and seamlessness of OS X.

    You can't just equate performance into a OS/hardware combo choice. For myself and I would think most other people the user experience of OS X is the #1 reason we use it in the first place.
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    #17
    Someone please explain to me how using the PPC computers "feels different". How does one computer feel more real than another?
     
  18. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    Excellent question! Having used both PPC and Intel with the very same OS version, I absolutely don't understand what is being said here.
    The OS is exactly the same and it is that very OS that acts as the only interface between human and machine. How can the exact same thing "feel" different?
    Sorry but it just doesn't make any sense. Is it speed you're referring to? If so, yes, it does make sense as PPC "feels" and in deed is slower. That's the only difference, though.

    No offense, but I think the real deal behind this conception is the fact of not liking what Apple has become and where they are going, not the thing that something "feels" different.

    Going back to PPC? Unless IBM comes up with something that runs more efficient than what Intel or AMD have to offer (power/watt) it simply isn't going to happen. I mean why would they choose inferior hardware for their products? Doesn't make sense.
     
  19. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    North America
    #19
    The main reason that I purchased my eMac is because it was one of, if not, the very last Apple computer that used the G4 processor. It just seemed (at the time) that the newer computers wouldn't really be real Apple Macintosh computers if they had an Intel processor. My G4 system is still running perfectly well. My only complaint is that there are now websites such as HULU that will not work on my G4. They say that it is no longer supported. I felt at the time that if Apple had to make the switch to CISC processors that they should have gone with AMD. When 10.6 came along, I wasn't able to install that on my older machine. Oh, that one hurt. I am considering buying one of the new iMacs that are due this week. That or one of the new MacBooks whenever they are upgraded. I agree with a good bit of what you wrote at the beginning of this thread. You never know, if for some reason, years from now, IBM has an amazing breakthrough with their Power processors and Intel isn't able to keep up, I am sure that Apple will make the switch, but then again, so would Dell, HP, and all the other PC manufacturers. I would bet money that Apple has a version of OS X that is running on the latest versions of the Power processor... just in case!
     
  20. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
  21. macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #21
    100% with you there. I can't buy the whole "feels" different thing. I've used G3s G4s and G5s, and other than being slow as molasses (more likely due to lack of RAM than slow CPU), I perceive no positive difference in "feel" on a PPC. In fact, quite the opposite; every PPC Mac I have used has had issues with stuttering, while my MacBook always runs smooth unless the application is at fault.
     
  22. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    North America
    #22
    Let me guess... would it be RISC?
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    SuperJudge

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    The Triangle, NC
    #23
    Shouldn't this be about the rise of RISC in embedded devices, like the iPhone and iPod touch? Or in video-game consoles, like all of the current generation? I mean, CISC processors in the desktop market (like the Core 2 and K8, and almost certainly their follow-ons) incorporate a number of RISC ideas, like superscalar speculative execution, to the point where the differentiation is all but meaningless in practical terms.

    Don't get me wrong, I love my PowerMac G5 and think it is a triumph of industrial design, but technology marches on. PPC missed the boat to be a significant player in the desktop market because the manufacturers couldn't deliver on their promises and Apple got fed up. The Intel move was great for them because now they could offer a "sealed box" that ran all the major OSes without a hitch.

    So it goes.
     
  24. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    #24
    I think you have a great point here. And I think, too, for better or worse -- and speaking from experience -- the switched to Intel chips/ x86 architecture have helped Apple penetrate enterprise environments with more success. All of the sudden, a Mac is really no different (architecturally speaking) than a Windows box and it's more palatable to the IT powers that be when it comes to supporting and understanding it.

    Plus, the availability of Parallels, VM Fusion, and BootCamp has helped bridge the gap so that enterprise users could still access custom applications and Windows-only services without requiring an extra machine or a crappy emulator.
     
  25. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #25
    You know what felt real? My dual floppy drive Macintosh SE. I could hear the thing click when it was thinking. Miss that noise.

    Does that mean we should go back? Hell no.
     

Share This Page