How will the macs evolve in the next 2-4 years?

Willy S

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 8, 2005
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Should we just expect little small changes or will there be any ground braking changes that make our new macs almost unusable in the near future?

I´m now thinking highend vs lowend macs and the limitations of the lowends, like the eMac. It has the same graphics card as the iMac, just less memory, but it has only max 1GB of ram. E.g. today 256mb of ram is not enough and I wonder when 1GB will be too little?

What bottlenecks should we try to avoid if we want to have our computers last longer or doesn´t it matter because our macs will brake before they become obsolete due to little changes ahead?
 

intrepkid21

macrumors regular
Apr 6, 2004
143
0
Long Island, New York
If want to buy now and maximize the life of your system I would go G5..it doesn't have a FSB bottleneck that the G4's have and have better memory expandibility. The iMac's are great but you can more easily upgrade a powermac and who knows, maybe one day we will processor upgrade cards for the G5 powermac.

As to how macs will evolve, only steve knows...but I'm pretty sure dual cores are the future :D
 

wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5
Jun 6, 2003
12,106
73
Solon, OH
Here's what I predict for the next 2-4 years, as far as Macs go:

* 2-3 more major Mac OS releases (some of these may not be branded as Mac OS X)
* Ever-increasing VRAM in graphics cards - cards with 512 MB and 1 GB of VRAM will start to appear in Macs.
* Ever-increasing standard system RAM - first 512 MB will be standard, then 1 GB, then 2 GB. Standard VRAM will be approximately half of standard system RAM.
* At least one generational leap in processor technology (in other words, expect PowerPC G6 and possibly PowerPC G7 to appear)
* Expect USB, FireWire, and AirPort updates.
* The debut of at least one new technology in Macs (more likely 2-5 new technologies)
 

joshua_msu

macrumors regular
Aug 5, 2004
221
0
chicago (formerly detroit)
wrldwzrd89 said:
Here's what I predict for the next 2-4 years, as far as Macs go:

* 2-3 more major Mac OS releases (some of these may not be branded as Mac OS X)
* Ever-increasing VRAM in graphics cards - cards with 512 MB and 1 GB of VRAM will start to appear in Macs.
* Ever-increasing standard system RAM - first 512 MB will be standard, then 1 GB, then 2 GB. Standard VRAM will be approximately half of standard system RAM.
* At least one generational leap in processor technology (in other words, expect PowerPC G6 and possibly PowerPC G7 to appear)
* Expect USB, FireWire, and AirPort updates.
* The debut of at least one new technology in Macs (more likely 2-5 new technologies)

Basically, everything will be better and faster.
 

RAS admin

macrumors regular
Sep 4, 2004
156
0
Berkshires, Mass.
We will see a switch from PCI-X to PCI Express in the PowerMacs. Also, no more shared buses, like PCI slots 1, 2 and 3. Hopefully some extra slots for more than 2 SATA and SATA II drives.
 

Uma888

macrumors 6502
Jan 10, 2005
411
0
Birmingham, United Kingdom
wrldwzrd89 said:
Here's what I predict for the next 2-4 years, as far as Macs go:

* Ever-increasing VRAM in graphics cards - cards with 512 MB and 1 GB of VRAM will start to appear in Macs.

Your joking right?, Apple are still using 64MB VRAM in thier macs (mini), to get to 512mb VRAM as a "default" it would take Apple 5 years approx

This i think its the TRUE "Bottleneck" for Apple systems (Dont froget the RAM)

My predictions (Apple in general):

More switchers
More stores in Europe


Hardware/Software:
Viruses (For the linux community aswell)
G6
Apple Plasma Tvs (HD obviously)
Apple Media Centre (A beefed up mini + Tv tuner etc)
(Both the above could be a bundled package)
OS XI (PPC/x86/Cell/ARM) *
 

wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5
Jun 6, 2003
12,106
73
Solon, OH
Uma888 said:
Your joking right?, Apple are still using 64MB VRAM in thier macs (mini), to get to 512mb VRAM as a "default" it would take Apple 5 years approx

This i think its the TRUE "Bottleneck" for Apple systems (Dont froget the RAM)

My predictions (Apple in general):

More switchers
More stores in Europe


Hardware/Software:
Viruses (For the linux community aswell)
G6
Apple Plasma Tvs (HD obviously)
Apple Media Centre (A beefed up mini + Tv tuner etc)
(Both the above could be a bundled package)
OS XI (PPC/x86/Cell/ARM) *
No, I wasn't joking...you merely misinterpreted my post. I didn't mean that 512 MB would become the default by then - what I meant was that 512 MB, and eventually 1 GB will become options. I should have said in my original post that the standard VRAM will be no more than half the standard system RAM.
 

Rod Rod

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2003
2,174
2
Las Vegas, NV
Willy S said:
I´m now thinking highend vs lowend macs and the limitations of the lowends, like the eMac. It has the same graphics card as the iMac, just less memory, but it has only max 1GB of ram.
This is a common misconception. The eMac's maximum RAM is 2GB, just like the iMac G4 (167MHz fsb models) and iMac G5. Apple says the limit is 1GB on their product pages but it's a misstatement (deliberate or not). Maybe it's incompetence or maybe it's an effort to differentiate the eMac and iMac.

I'm guessing the evolution of the Mac will include a consumer level Xgrid type of distributed computing (let's call it "iGrid") for encoding high definition H.264 material in iDVD 6. Otherwise our 2GHz eMac G5s with 2GB of RAM will take three days to encode a two hour birthday party / vacation DVD. Failing that maybe we'll get dedicated H.264 accelerator cards in our Macs (similar to the math coprocessors from back in the day) or Core Video support for GPU accelerated encoding / decoding.

I wouldn't say this is a sure thing because as it stands today, DVD Player decodes MPEG2 in software (in the CPU) even though every currently shipping Mac GPU (from the iBook G4 and Mac mini's Radeon 9200 and up) supports MPEG2 decoding.
 

wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5
Jun 6, 2003
12,106
73
Solon, OH
Rod Rod said:
This is a common misconception. The eMac's maximum RAM is 2GB, just like the iMac G4 (167MHz fsb models) and iMac G5. Apple says the limit is 1GB on their product pages but it's a misstatement (deliberate or not). Maybe it's incompetence or maybe it's an effort to differentiate the eMac and iMac.

I'm guessing the evolution of the Mac will involve a consumer level Xgrid type of distributed computing for encoding high definition H.264 material in iDVD 6. Otherwise our 2GHz eMac G5s with 2GB of RAM will take three days to encode a two hour birthday party / vacation DVD. Failing that maybe we'll get dedicated H.264 accelerator cards in our Macs (similar to the math coprocessors from back in the day) or Core Video support for GPU accelerated encoding / decoding.

I wouldn't say this is a sure thing because as it stands today, DVD Player decodes MPEG2 in software (in the CPU) even though every currently shipping Mac GPU (from the iBook G4 and Mac mini's Radeon 9200 and up) supports MPEG2 decoding.
Apple states maximum RAM that's valid at the time the machine is introduced. Often, what ends up happening is larger capacity chips get introduced that are compatible with that Mac model - only then is the true maximum RAM greater than what Apple says.

I agree with you that some sort of video encoding/decoding acceleration may appear in future Macs.
 

Willy S

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 8, 2005
393
0
Rod Rod said:
This is a common misconception. The eMac's maximum RAM is 2GB, just like the iMac G4 (167MHz fsb models) and iMac G5. Apple says the limit is 1GB on their product pages but it's a misstatement (deliberate or not). Maybe it's incompetence or maybe it's an effort to differentiate the eMac and iMac.
Sorry for being such a newbie, but is this true? I thought the eMac´s mainboard would only support max 1GB although it has two slots...

If you are correct, the eMac looks almost too sexy to resist...
 

Rod Rod

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2003
2,174
2
Las Vegas, NV
wrldwzrd89 said:
Apple states maximum RAM that's valid at the time the machine is introduced. Often, what ends up happening is larger capacity chips get introduced that are compatible with that Mac model - only then is the true maximum RAM greater than what Apple says
That explanation wasn't even valid last year when the April 2004 eMac models were introduced. 1GB PC2700 and PC3200 modules were plenty available then. That explanation is even less valid now with the May 2005 eMac.

Your explanation holds some water in the case of the last iteration or two of the iMac G4, which can take up to 2GB total RAM, as 1GB SO-DIMMs were either unavailable or ridiculously expensive (around $900 iirc).

It's good we agree about the H.264 point though. :)
Willy S said:
Sorry for being such a newbie, but is this true? I thought the eMac´s mainboard would only support max 1GB although it has two slots...

If you are correct, the eMac looks almost too sexy to resist...
Yes, it's true. It's also true for the 1.25GHz eMac models. I'm not 100% positive if it appies to the 1GHz eMac, but the 1.25 and 1.42GHz models can take 2GB for certain.
 

Willy S

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 8, 2005
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Ok!

What about the ram then? Is PC 3200 more useful than PC2700 on eMac 1.42?
 

guylafleur

macrumors newbie
Sep 22, 2004
29
0
Tokyo, Japan
I can`t believe you guys are focussed on RAM

The big improvements will come in either HD dvd or Blue ray, with, as mentioned above, TV-tuners being included.

The Mini wil become a media hub replacing dvd players, and attached to TVs, and the Imac will be an all-in-one with super screen quality.

Laptops will have to go dual-core, for lack of the ablility to downsize the G5, and for less power consumption. They will be like Pentium Ms, but better, of course ;) .

RAM and video RAM are a given to go up, along with Hard-drive capacity. With HD DVD, 400 Gigs isn`t going to cut it. The terabyte barrier will be broken for sure.

Best of all, though, IWORK will become a full suite, taking on Office, and vastly improving file compatibility.

Then again, what do I know? I predicted ibook updates for last week, and got diddly. My new prediction is 6/7. :D
 

Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
Rod Rod said:
This is a common misconception. The eMac's maximum RAM is 2GB, just like the iMac G4 (167MHz fsb models) and iMac G5. Apple says the limit is 1GB on their product pages but it's a misstatement (deliberate or not). Maybe it's incompetence or maybe it's an effort to differentiate the eMac and iMac.
It is so that people will pass over the eMac and buy something more expensive. Better for Apple that way. Also, it may not be the computer but the chipset that is tested. The chipset was tested by Apple for 1 GB of RAM probably, and then later on there came larger chips which Apple didn't care to retest for. (see above)

Willy S said:
What about the ram then? Is PC 3200 more useful than PC2700 on eMac 1.42?
PC3200 is more stable than PC2700 and often times only costs $1 more. The place near me just gave me the upgrade for free.
 

Willy S

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 8, 2005
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Ok, I´m surprised.

So eMac runs better on latest components and Apple is not telling us the whole truth about that computer? :eek:

Is there more that we should know about the eMac?
 

rosalindavenue

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2003
837
213
Virginia, USA
H.264 is going to be decoded by all video cards (mac or no) in another year, just like DVD reading was incorporated into hardware. To get back to the thread topic, I'd anticipate a BIG processor change, be it cell, 45MM from IBM, or even intel. Steve has to be beside himself with the Motorola-ization of IBM-- I'm guessing cell.
 

jefhatfield

Retired
Jul 9, 2000
8,803
0
we can see a new version of os x by the end of that time period

most likely, the high and low end laptops in the apple line will migrate to a G5 processor and maybe the power mac could see a new processor approaching 4 ghz

the ipod will improve and still go down in price

apple will come up with a few more helpful applications of which at least one will be copied by microsoft

steve jobs will remain ceo but continue to make the vast majority of his money from pixar

more apple inc jobs will be ported overseas

there will be fewer mac users criticizing windows since microsoft's operating system will evolve and become more stable and secure, but still short of apple's os x

those are my predictions for the near future based on what i have seen since i have followed apple closely since joining macrumors five years ago

BUT WHAT I WOULD HATE TO SEE IS:

apple still using the G4 processor for their laptops

apple not lowering ipod prices

apple not introducing new applications

seeing the pc world progress in their processors and have macs be far behind in speed
 

*Y*

macrumors regular
Oct 19, 2004
184
0
VA
My prediction is that maybe we will finally see those 3Ghz Powermacs Steve promised, but you never know. :D
 

Rod Rod

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2003
2,174
2
Las Vegas, NV
Mechcozmo said:
It is so that people will pass over the eMac and buy something more expensive. Better for Apple that way. Also, it may not be the computer but the chipset that is tested. The chipset was tested by Apple for 1 GB of RAM probably, and then later on there came larger chips which Apple didn't care to retest for. (see above)
Agreed.
rosalindavenue said:
H.264 is going to be decoded by all video cards (mac or no) in another year, just like DVD reading was incorporated into hardware.
Just because a video card can do something doesn't mean it will, because it takes drivers (and for the Mac, support built into the OS). Even today Apple doesn't do "DVD reading" in the video card. I sincerely hope that H.264 and MPEG2 decoding is shifted to the GPU though, so I'm with you on that.

Speaking of video, I agree with guylefleur. An integrated Mac PVR solution should come out one of these days (the sooner the better), whether this solution comes from Apple or someone else.
 

treysmay

macrumors regular
Apr 8, 2005
104
0
toronto, ontario, canada
I hope they get more into the human interface and better industrial design.
That’s what always made apple better than the rest.
I’m not the design team, but if I were I would be spending all of my resources on those two. When’s the next one piece computer like idea? Maybe they could head in the opposite direction for customization? Beyond the tower and moniter?
Think about it :confused:
 

enoch

macrumors member
Mar 13, 2005
33
0
Apple will try to maximise profits.. because they are a company. So, faster, better, and slighty hampered will be the order of the day, as it was yesterday.

Oh, and bluetooth will get stuck on everything as standard.
 

Willy S

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 8, 2005
393
0
32bit vs 64bit?

To my very limited knowledge, Tiger and all or most applications for Tiger, are still just 32bit but not 64bit. If they were 64 bit, they should be somewhat faster on G5. Then G5 should smoke G4, but the difference is much less when all applications are 32bit.

So, will Apple start to ship 64 bit OS and when is that likely to happen?

The reason why I´m asking this is the futureproofing of G4 and G5 and whether the gap between them will get bigger with 64bit software.