Cell processors in the mac?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by PB_deprived, May 22, 2005.

  1. PB_deprived macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2005
    Southern CA
    I noticed that sony introduced a cell-processor console at E3. I've heard whispers of this technology being a probable next step for apple. I was wondering what you gurus out there think of this. Is this really as probable as i dare to hope it is? How involved would a rewrite would it be to adapt the OS to a cell machine? If it were to happen, what kind of time frame could one expect? afterall, aren't the G5's middle-aged by this point? What might the next architecture step be?

    What do you guys think?
  2. shadowmoses macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2005
    As Apple are always trying to break barriers "the worlds first 64-bit computer" springs to mind when the powermac G5 was released. I would not be surpised if the next major updates of powermac were using cell processors or at least triple processors simular to that being used in xbox 360. These kind of things are definitly the next big thing and we should see them emerge in the coming 1 or 2 years.

  3. barneygumble macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2005
    I hope the powermac gets on for the tasks it is good at like video rendering etc, hopefully at wwdc for introduction somethime in september hopefully then they will be ready
  4. link92 macrumors 6502

    Aug 15, 2004
    The Cell is only good at floating point caculations. That's all it's good for.
  5. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    I don't see a Cell as the main CPU in a Mac, but rather as a support for a G5/Power5/G6. Let the Cell take care of Core Image and sorts and let the main CPU calculate the rest... ;)
  6. Frisco macrumors 68020

    Sep 24, 2002
    From Nicholas Blachford 2005

    Cell V's Apple

    The Cell could be Apple's nemesis or their saviour, they are the obvious candidate company to use the Cell. It's perfect for them as it will accelerate all the applications their primary customer base uses and whatever core it uses the the PU will be PowerPC compatible. Cells will not accelerate everything so they could use them as co-processors in their own machines beside a standard G5 / G6 [G6] getting the best of both worlds.

    The Core Image technology due to appear in OS X "Tiger" already uses GPUs (Graphics Processor Units) for things other than 3D computations and this same technology could be retargeted at the Cell's APUs. Perhaps that's why it was there in the first place...

    If other companies use Cell to produce computers there is no obvious consumer OS to use, with OS X Apple have - for the second time - the chance to become the new Microsoft. Will they take it? If an industry springs up of Cell based computers not doing so could be very dangerous. When the OS and CPU is different between the Mac an PC there is (well, was) a big gap between systems to jump and a price differential can be justified. If there's a sizeable number of low cost machines capable of running OS X the price differential may prove too much, I doubt even that would be a knockout blow for Apple but it would certainly be bad news (even the PC hasn't managed a knockout).

    PC manufacturers don't really care which components they use or OS they run, they just want to sell PCs. If Apple was to "think different" on OS X licensing and get hardware manufacturers using Cells perhaps they could turn Microsoft's clone army against their masters. I'm sure many companies would be only too happy to get released from Microsoft's iron grip. This is especially so if Apple was to undercut them, which they could do easily given the 400% + margins Microsoft makes on their OS.
    Licensing OS X wouldn't necessarily destroy Apple's hardware business, there'll always be a market for cooler high end systems [Alien]. Apple also now has a substantial software base and part of this could be used to give added value to their hardware in a similar manner to that done today. Everyone else would just have to pay for it as usual.

    In "The Future of Computing" [Future] I argued that the PC industry would come under threat from low cost computers from the far east. The basis of the argument was that in the PC industry Microsoft and Intel both enjoy very large margins. I argued that it's perfectly feasible to make a low cost computer which is "fast enough" for most peoples needs and running Linux there would be no Microsoft Tax, provided the system could do what most people need to do it could be made and sold at a sufficiently low price that it will attack the market from below.

    A Cell based system running OS X could be nearly as cheap (depending on the price Apple want to charge for OS X) but with Cell's sheer power it will exceed the power of even the most powerful PCs. This system could sell like hot cakes and if it's sufficiently low cost it could be used to sell into the low cost markets which PC makers are now beginning to exploit. There is a huge opportunity for Apple here, I think they'll be stark raving mad not to take it - because if they don't someone else will - Microsoft already have PowerPC experience with the Xbox2 OS...

    Cell will have a performance advantage over the PC and will be able to use the PC's advantages as well. With Apple's help it could also run what is arguably the best OS on the market today, at a low price point. The new Mac mini already looks like it's going to sell like hot cakes, imagine what it could do equipped with a Cell...
  7. Platform macrumors 68030


    Dec 30, 2004
    That would be very good....and also something else why apple won't change is they have used PPC for a long time now ;)

    But what you said would be really good ;)

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