IBM's Power5 Processor at Microprocessor Forum

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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The 2003 Microprocessor Forum kicked off this week, and with it, IBM presented information on their upcoming Power5 Processor.

MacCentral provides some notes from the IBM Power5 presentation today.

The article details the technology behind the Power5 chip which is scheduled to debut in mid-2004. Rumors of a Power5 derivative chip akin to the 970 have been circulating, and IBM's speaker even suggested that "such a step would be logical again as IBM engineers refine the Power5 design".

Meanwhile, MacCentral reports that the Power6 processor is said to be "well underway".
 

Ktulu

macrumors member
Jul 23, 2002
99
0
Brownstown, MI
Good info....

The news is good, but for people that are interested in what Apple is up to next with the hardware, not very useful information. Sure it does point out what *might* come our way-(even for Pro users), but the length of time before we see or even hear about the possibility of Apple being serious about using these new chips-(derivatives of them) in new PowerMacs is at least 1.5-2 years down the road.

It is promising though, A nice new G6/G7 sitting on my desk would look very niiiiccce.:D


SHOOT! I thought I would get the first post...hehehehehehehe:D
 

tpjunkie

macrumors 65816
Nov 24, 2002
1,250
2
NYC
It's still so refreshing to see apple's chip provider actually caring and developing new, more advanced chips.
 

Puppies

macrumors member
Jul 1, 2003
56
0
Just think! By the time IBM's rolling out the Power5 based PowerPC chip two years from now, Motorola might have a G4 that supports DDR-SDRAM! :D
 

JoeRadar

macrumors regular
May 28, 2003
153
0
Re: IBM's Power5 Processor at Microprocessor Forum

Originally posted by Macrumors
Rumors of a Power5 derivative chip akin to the 970 have been circulating, and IBM's speaker even suggested that "such a step would be logical again as IBM engineers refine the Power5 design".
Cool, a G6 laptop.

Meanwhile, MacCentral reports that the Power6 processor is said to be "well underway".
No, no! Make that a G7 laptop!
:D
 

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
6,233
436
The Cool Part of CA, USA
Purely speculation, but unless I'm mistaken there's nothing inherently stopping Apple from using Power5 chips directly. There's not the slightest chance that one would make it into a desktop machine, but if Apple starts going for bigger-iron servers or maybe wicked high-end workstations, one of these might be an option. They do use the same basic PPC instruction set, don't they?

Since it looks like these bad boys come in 10cm X 10cm packages of four dual-core chips each with the memory controller built in, all Apple would theoretically have to do is slap a big chunk of RAM slots, a bunch of IO, and a huge heat sink on one of these bad boys and you'd have an 8 processor Xserve ready to roll.

I wouldn't hold my breath, but it could happen.

I wonder if the price/performance ratio on the Power5 makes it undesirable for clustering compared to a cheaper, more bleeding-edge (in terms of sacrificing reliability for performance) 970.

Cool stuff going on, which is more than I can say I've heard word of out of Motorola for the past three years.
 

Catfish_Man

macrumors 68030
Sep 13, 2001
2,579
1
Portland, OR
Originally posted by Makosuke
Purely speculation, but unless I'm mistaken there's nothing inherently stopping Apple from using Power5 chips directly. There's not the slightest chance that one would make it into a desktop machine, but if Apple starts going for bigger-iron servers or maybe wicked high-end workstations, one of these might be an option. They do use the same basic PPC instruction set, don't they?

Since it looks like these bad boys come in 10cm X 10cm packages of four dual-core chips each with the memory controller built in, all Apple would theoretically have to do is slap a big chunk of RAM slots, a bunch of IO, and a huge heat sink on one of these bad boys and you'd have an 8 processor Xserve ready to roll.

I wouldn't hold my breath, but it could happen.

I wonder if the price/performance ratio on the Power5 makes it undesirable for clustering compared to a cheaper, more bleeding-edge (in terms of sacrificing reliability for performance) 970.

Cool stuff going on, which is more than I can say I've heard word of out of Motorola for the past three years.
nm, just noticed that was talking about high end servers. I don't think IBM's gonna let Apple do that.
 

pgwalsh

macrumors 68000
Jun 21, 2002
1,639
218
New Zealand
Re: ..first post.. hehe

Originally posted by ChoMomma
Great! guess this means in 1 1/2 years when I am ready to by a new Tower that they will be running in excess of 4Ghz :D

Dual 5 Ghz G6 processors, 8 Gb ram, 2 500GB SATA Hard drives, 8X DVD-R,-RW, +R, +RW.... etc...


:D
Only a Dual with 8 GB of Ram that's pathetic.... It needs to be atleast a quad 5 Ghz G6 w/256 bit altivec, 32Gb of ram, Raid with 2 Terabytes SATA HD's and 32x DVD R/RW to even be a considersation. :rolleyes:
 

QCassidy352

macrumors G4
Mar 20, 2003
11,213
4,058
Bay Area
Originally posted by Catfish_Man
nm, just noticed that was talking about high end servers. I don't think IBM's gonna let Apple do that.
yes, that would cut in to IBM's own server sales, would it not? The blade servers IBM sells? I don't think IBM would like that very much.
 

Jagga

macrumors member
Jul 14, 2003
51
0
hamilton
IBM getting some skills

Looks like IBM benefited off of helping AMD through their Opteron troubles (SOI technology). Not just with cash but with imbedded memory controller. Looks that that implementation will be the norm by future cpu's. Furthermore, I'm a little bummed that Apple kinda got jipped with respect to what they were able to do with Hypertransport on the mobo.Big deal:rolleyes: But notice how IBM didn't mention anything of the power requirements or even heat dissapation?? What gives.
 

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
6,233
436
The Cool Part of CA, USA
Originally posted by QCassidy352
yes, that would cut in to IBM's own server sales, would it not? The blade servers IBM sells? I don't think IBM would like that very much.
Although this is true, I don't see why that'd stop IBM from trying to sell more processors. Sure, they make more profit off of a RS-series server than just a Power5, but I'm not so sure that would stop them from selling Apple a bunch of chips if they had the opportunity.

Among other things, they're not necessarily competing for the same chunk of market (maybe, but not necessarily), in which case IBM wouldn't have anything to loose. Just having the chip be more prevalent might also be worth the possible self-competition, particularly if Apple has a real shot at eating into Intel's market where IBM hasn't managed to.

Just because IBM sells Power4 based workstations doesn't stop them from offering Intel-based workstations, too.

Side note: I just noticed that IBM will still sell you a $10,000+ workstation that uses a 604e processor. Probably a holdover from some old product line, but I wonder if they've sold one of those in the last couple years...
 

eirik

macrumors regular
Mar 17, 2002
155
0
Leesburg, VA
Power 5

Well, if rumors of Power 5 incorporating AltiVec turn out to be true, I doubt it, I would expect Apple to indeed buy Power 5 silicon from IBM to offer extremely powerful render farms: huge number of CPU's per box. IBM would be out of its mind not to sell the Power 5 to Apple if it asked. IBM sells Power 4 boxes today not only because they're good but also because IBM services and reputation are outstanding (at least perceived).

I don't know if this was the first time that they publicly stated that there would be an onboard memory controller. Nonetheless, the assurance is comforting.

I don't see the extensive design work in SMP offering all that much benefit to Apple unless it finally offers quad or higher machines. IBM is talking 40% performance improvement with their SMT implementation...sounds nice. And, doubling the instructions per cycle...oh yeah, me like too. I don't see yet how they will attain a performance improvement of a factor of four but I'm looking forward to it. I just don't know if the 980 would see such a benefit.

I'm a bit disappointed that IBM said that their initial production run of Power 5's would be via their 130 nanometer process next year. On the plus side, this probably indicates the proximity of the first Power 5 production run. On the other hand, it may indicate that IBM may (MAY!) not be as far along with 90 nanometer as we all would like. I hope, 970 part 2 has higher priority in 90 nm development than that of Power 5.

Cheers,

Eirik
 

gregorypierce

macrumors regular
Jan 28, 2002
162
0
Originally posted by Makosuke
Although this is true, I don't see why that'd stop IBM from trying to sell more processors. Sure, they make more profit off of a RS-series server than just a Power5, but I'm not so sure that would stop them from selling Apple a bunch of chips if they had the opportunity.

Among other things, they're not necessarily competing for the same chunk of market (maybe, but not necessarily), in which case IBM wouldn't have anything to loose. Just having the chip be more prevalent might also be worth the possible self-competition, particularly if Apple has a real shot at eating into Intel's market where IBM hasn't managed to.

Just because IBM sells Power4 based workstations doesn't stop them from offering Intel-based workstations, too.

Side note: I just noticed that IBM will still sell you a $10,000+ workstation that uses a 604e processor. Probably a holdover from some old product line, but I wonder if they've sold one of those in the last couple years...
Yes indeedy do :)

But to get back to the other subject, I don't think IBM cares much about Apple trying to sell servers because Apple and IBM generally sell into different markets. That may change one day, but noone is going to come to Apple for a 64 way box - they are likely to shop IBM for that. Similarly, Apple doesn't really seem interested in selling 'big iron'. Because of this I don't think that Apple or IBM will be at each others throats over share at any point in the near future. If anything, they complement each other. The shops buying Apple hardware (and IBM chips) generally aren't seeking out IBM for the same desktop solutions.
 

Ktulu

macrumors member
Jul 23, 2002
99
0
Brownstown, MI
Just a crazy thought!

This is probably not going to happen, but follow me on this one:

The new G5's use a modified Power 4 chip from IBM. IBM has stated that the Power 5 chip could be in production soon....extrapolating info, but you get the idea. Seeing as how Apple has not pumped up the XServe since the G5 came out, what about the 'older' Power 4 chips in the new XServes and this is how Apple and IBM can both sell workstations and servers without stepping on eachothers toes.

As I said just a thought,
Crazy-yes!
Possible-Yes!
Probable-NO!
:rolleyes:
 

Frohickey

macrumors 6502a
Feb 27, 2003
809
0
PRK
Originally posted by Makosuke
Purely speculation, but unless I'm mistaken there's nothing inherently stopping Apple from using Power5 chips directly. There's not the slightest chance that one would make it into a desktop machine, but if Apple starts going for bigger-iron servers or maybe wicked high-end workstations, one of these might be an option. They do use the same basic PPC instruction set, don't they?

Since it looks like these bad boys come in 10cm X 10cm packages of four dual-core chips each with the memory controller built in, all Apple would theoretically have to do is slap a big chunk of RAM slots, a bunch of IO, and a huge heat sink on one of these bad boys and you'd have an 8 processor Xserve ready to roll.

I wonder if the price/performance ratio on the Power5 makes it undesirable for clustering compared to a cheaper, more bleeding-edge (in terms of sacrificing reliability for performance) 970.
Not gonna happen.

The days of $5000 computers are long gone and they are not going to be coming back.
 

Rocketman

macrumors 603
Re: Good info....

Originally posted by Ktulu
The news is good, but for people that are interested in what Apple is up to next with the hardware, not very useful information.

It is promising though, A nice new G6/G7 sitting on my desk would look very niiiiccce.
Almost. For Apple the GENERATIONAL numbers have been BUS designs. These faster processors alone amount to mere "speed bumps", albiet far bigger and better ones than ever before.

What will be interesting is when Apple releases storage advances, networking or grid topologies and interconnects, and processor intensive CPU boxes (ala 3U 16 boards blades quad G6 each).

The advances are needed by users for portable communication of MEDIA and media servers at home where all content is available in all places at any time.

Rocketman

Today Tech BTW.
 

TyleRomeo

macrumors 6502a
Mar 22, 2002
888
0
New York
what makes any of you think that the power5 or power6 will simply be transformed into G6 and G7 macs. Do you think each year apple will just consider it a major generation change in the chip? C'mon now. How many changes did the G4 have. It gained faster system buses, changes pipelines and L2 and L3 besides getting faster. But for years it was still just called the G4.

The same will be true for these IBM chips. It will be the G5 for quite some time. At least 3 years. We won't see a G6 until some major changes occur again. So for now lets all be happy with the G5 and be envious of those who have these kick ass machines.

Tyler
 

eirik

macrumors regular
Mar 17, 2002
155
0
Leesburg, VA
Power5 to Mac?

TyleRomeo makes a good point in that not all 'new' capabilities would readily apply to a Mac.

IBM's approach to SMT, however, supposedly is not just about filling otherwise empty registers with data, IBM's SMT aspires to do this more so with instructions as well. As little as I understand it, Intel's hyperthreading, while pretty cool, evidently doesn't do a whole lot with pumping more instructions into the registers. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong here.

If what I said about IBM's SMT, this suggests that it would be more applicable and more generally beneficial to desktop applications rather than mostly beneficial to server applications.

The power management capabilities in the Power 5 will probably apply very nicely to a Mac's mission.

The backside L3 cache, however, unless Apple again starts using L3 cache, I don't know that this would be particularly benenfitial to a Mac.

I'm hopeful that IBM will employ some new variants to its processes and maybe even new transistors that generate considerably less power leakage. The articles today didn't mention anything of this nature. Bummer!

We're almost certainly going to see a 90 nm 970 before we see some kind of a 980. Although, if IBM adds some or all of the Power 5 power management technology to the 970, would it any longer be a 970? I'm sure Apple and IBM both want to radically reduce average power per CPU. Shrinking a CPU from 130 nm to 90 nm is no trivial matter; there's a great deal of design involved, unlike previous shrinks. While I wouldn't bet the house on this happening, I wonder how likely this might be. Wouldn't it be nice to have a 970 running at 2+ GHz in your laptop at only 20 Watts?

Ah well, I'm ranting...

E
 

The Reaper

macrumors member
Apr 17, 2003
77
0
Brisbane, Australia
actually, apple has a precedent for updating chip generations every 18 months, until the G4 mhz drought with Motorola. so now that they're back on track, it is reasonable to expect a G6 about a year from now.
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,649
4,646
The Peninsula
Originally posted by Frohickey
The days of $5000 computers are long gone and they are not going to be coming back.
That's funny :) - I just got another dozen $5K+ Intel servers, and consider them to be cheap. (1U Dual 3GHz Xeon, 8GiB RAM, mobo U320 SCSI RAID...)

The Xserve is really low end - Apple would be smart to leave the Xserver as it is (or minor bump) and come out with a 3U or 4U quad system (four PPC970s, or dual Power4).
 

Frohickey

macrumors 6502a
Feb 27, 2003
809
0
PRK
Servers are not desktop machines. The number of users a server accomodates is more than that of a desktop machine. So, its really about cost per user, and that is not about to go up to the $5000 range again.

A desktop is still pretty much a one user one computer aspect. This is what I was talking about.

Plus, its kind of strange but at Apple, the leading edge stuff happens at the desktop side before the server side gets it.
 
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