If Apple stayed with IBM PowerPC

76ShovelHead

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 30, 2010
524
31
Florida
I'm sure this has been discussed several times, but here it goes again.

I've been feeling nostalgic and decided to take a look at Apple.com back in 2002. I noticed it saying that the PowerPC with its AltiVec was like three times faster than pentium 3, and all other x86 processors.

My G4 1.42 is still pretty fast, far better than the old Compaq Presario V4000 (1.67 Pentium Centrino I believe) it replaced.

SO... Anyone know what's been happening over at IBM with PowerPC since the switch?
 

MisterKeeks

macrumors 68000
Nov 15, 2012
1,832
25
May be we would be using an iBook G5 or a macbook Pro G5 :)
No. No matter what happened, the G5 would not go into a laptop. Period. Tim Cook called putting it into a laptop the "Mother of All Thermal Challenges". It would be a better grill than a laptop. The steps to deal with the heat would be huge, pointless compromises -


Besides, they would call it the Powerbook G5. ;)
 

NewbieCanada

macrumors 68030
Oct 9, 2007
2,565
34
I think a large part of Apple's current success is the ability to run Windows software natively, whether it's used or not. People like the security of knowing they can do it if they have to.
 

rjcalifornia

macrumors 6502a
Oct 4, 2012
668
3
El Salvador
No. No matter what happened, the G5 would not go into a laptop. Period. Tim Cook called putting it into a laptop the "Mother of All Thermal Challenges". It would be a better grill than a laptop. The steps to deal with the heat would be huge, pointless compromises -
Image

Besides, they would call it the Powerbook G5. ;)
LOL I know but it was just a dream... just a dream...
 

Zotaccian

macrumors 6502a
Apr 25, 2012
637
2
Why people say they "like" PowerPC? What benefits does it have? Since we all know G5 ran hot and had hard time matching what Intel and AMD had to offer, AMD at the time was very strong with their Athlon 64 and Opteron offerings, nowadays Intel is course the king. PowerPC architecture brought Apple many problems before, with Motorola not being able to scale processors higher so Apple was kinda force to put dual processor models out, still those models lost to similar or even bit lower priced dual Athlon XP machines.

The only thing I can imagine people miss is Apple thinking different, having "their own" CPU. Some of the machine designs of the PPC era are of course cool as well.

Still, Macbook Air with IBM's server chip? I don't think so.
 

SuperJudge

macrumors 6502
Apr 2, 2008
449
4
The Triangle, NC
Why people say they "like" PowerPC? What benefits does it have?
Well, there's the Altivec/Velocity Engine/VMX thing. If you got a program that's optimized to make use of that instruction set (like Photoshop/Pro Tools/Logic/Final Cut/&c.), you'll get a better return on your CPU cycle. This doesn't matter so much these days, but it was kind of a big deal way back when.

Outside of Altivec optimized software? I got nothin'.
 

ihuman:D

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2012
923
0
Ireland
Why people say they "like" PowerPC? What benefits does it have? Since we all know G5 ran hot and had hard time matching what Intel and AMD had to offer, AMD at the time was very strong with their Athlon 64 and Opteron offerings, nowadays Intel is course the king. PowerPC architecture brought Apple many problems before, with Motorola not being able to scale processors higher so Apple was kinda force to put dual processor models out, still those models lost to similar or even bit lower priced dual Athlon XP machines.

The only thing I can imagine people miss is Apple thinking different, having "their own" CPU. Some of the machine designs of the PPC era are of course cool as well.

Still, Macbook Air with IBM's server chip? I don't think so.
You mustn't have heard of the 7448 CPU or the e600/MPC86xx series of CPUs or the PWRficient G5 .
 

ihuman:D

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2012
923
0
Ireland
I haven't.. i'm in a mood to get school:D
From wikipedia:

P.A. Semi's G5 derivative

When P.A. Semi announced the preliminary pre-production plan of PWRficient processor,[8] there had been persistent rumors that Apple would prepare for its use in its professional line of personal computers.[9]
In 2006, The Register reported that P.A. Semi had formed a tight relationship with Apple, which would result in P.A. Semi promptly delivering processor chips for Apple's personal computer notebook line and possibly desktops.[10] Even in 2006, Apple did not have a laptop version of G5 processor. The processor that would run the personal computers was P.A. Semi's preliminarily proposed processor, PWRficient 1682M (PA6T-1682M). The version that would be sampled for pre-production at third quarter of 2006 was a 2 GHz, dual-core CPU with two DDR2 memory controllers, 2 MB of L2 cache, and support for 8 PCI Express lanes. The sampled chip also has lower heat intensity than Intel's Core Duo, which gives off 9–31 W under normal load.
According to The Register article, P.A. Semi executives believed they were all but assured winning Apple's contract, and CEO Dan Dobberpuhl thought Apple's hints of moving to Intel were just a persuading tactic. At the time, the companies were working for PWRficient software.
Despite the advantages of more compatible architecture, Apple moved to the Intel architecture officially for 'performance-per-watt' reasons. However, P.A. Semi would not be able to ship its low-power multicore product in volume until 2007, which, combined with P.A. Semi's status as a start-up company, seems to have been the final blow to the development of Power Mac computers. However, it was also speculated that Apple switched to Intel processor because Apple could no longer abide the constant delays in performance ramp up,[11] desired native Windows compatibility, or it was Apple's strategy to shift its business focus away from desktop computing to iPod (and subsequently iOS (Apple)) development.
PowerPC 7448

The PowerPC 7448 "Apollo 8" is an evolution of the PowerPC 7447A announced at the first Freescale Technology Forum in June 2005. Improvements were higher clock rates (up to 2 GHz), a larger 1 MB L2 cache, a faster 200 MHz front side bus, and lower power consumption (18 W at 1.7 GHz). It was fabricated in a 90 nm process with copper interconnects and SOI.
PowerPC 7448 users are:
Daystar for their Aluminum PowerBook G4 upgrades
NewerTech for their Power Mac G4 upgrades
PowerLogix for their Power Mac G4 Cube upgrade

e600

Main article: PowerPC e600
In 2004, Freescale renamed the G4 core to e600 and changed its focus from general CPUs to high-end embedded SoC devices, and introduced a new naming scheme, MPC86xx. The 7448 was to be the last pure G4 and it formed the base of the new e600 core with a seven-stage, three-issue pipeline, and a powerful branch prediction unit which handles up to sixteen instructions out-of-order. It has an enhanced AltiVec unit capable of limited out-of-order execution and a 1 MB L2 cache.
See here also: PowerPC e600
 

Zotaccian

macrumors 6502a
Apr 25, 2012
637
2
You mustn't have heard of the 7448 CPU or the e600/MPC86xx series of CPUs or the PWRficient G5 .
I have, 7448 was single core with 200Mhz FSB. Introduced in 2005, don't know when it was actually shipping but in January 2006 Intel was already shipping Core Duo with 667Mhz FSB. I'm pretty sure Core Duo did offer more performance per watt than 7448. Intel also had low voltage versions, U2500 for example having 9W TDP, still dual core.

In 2008, there was MPC8641D, dual core 1.5GHz, by that Intel had released couple different iterations of Core -processors. I don't know what is the TDP for P7500 Apple used in Macbook Air but the older Core Duo L2500 had 15W TDP. Also if I think the desktop market, Intel had Core 2 Quad / Xeon, was there any offerings from Freescale to compete with these? IBM probably had something which would have to be placed inside a freezer to keep it operational.

I'm pretty sure Intel just offered the right kind of performance and reliability what the PowerPC offerings lacked. With Gx -processors Apple faced supply, performance and heat problems, it was better to go with the leader in PC processors to avoid problems.

EDIT:

PPC 7448 @ 2GHz: http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench2/142257
Core Duo L2500 TDP 15W @ 1.83GHz: http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench2/search?q=Core+Duo+L2500
Core Duo U2500 TDP 9W @ 1.2GHz: http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench2/search?utf8=✓&q=Core+Duo+U2500
 
Last edited:

Smithcraft

macrumors newbie
Dec 12, 2012
7
0
I'm sure we all remember AIM. Apple IBM Motorola.

When A dropped out of the equation, well before the switch to Intel CPUs, that left I and M. IBM went with customers that would pay, like Microsoft(XBox360) and Sony(PS3). Motorola went to the embedded market.

The 360 has a triple core PPC, and the PS3 is an 11 core PPC. Both run over 3 GHz.

The benefit of the PPC over the Intel chipset was price. Seemed like everyone was saying Macs would be cheaper using Intel CPUs and chipsets, but many became more expensive and suddenly had Intel chipset issues.

I'm not sure what would have happened with software development, but I think we would be getting OS X apps instead of ported Windows apps that work like ported Windows apps.

SC
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
6,766
783
I've been feeling nostalgic and decided to take a look at Apple.com back in 2002. I noticed it saying that the PowerPC with its AltiVec was like three times faster than pentium 3, and all other x86 processors.
In the meantime Intel processors have adopted a module that's basically the same thing as Altivec. This happened around the Pentium 4. Apple even has a nice API that let's you do your Altivec stuff accelerated on Intel chips as well in case your app is Universal.

Altivec hasn't offered an advantage for PowerPC for a long time.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,669
1,745
I'm not sure what would have happened with software development, but I think we would be getting OS X apps instead of ported Windows apps that work like ported Windows apps.

SC
Do you remember what it was like with PowerPC? We still got ported apps. In some areas I think a continuation of PowerPC would have simply resulted in fewer apps. Games would be one area. Even with Apple's growth in recent years, I doubt it would have been enough to encourage smaller game developers. The idevices are different in that regard. Their numbers are immense.
 

rjcalifornia

macrumors 6502a
Oct 4, 2012
668
3
El Salvador
I'm sure we all remember AIM. Apple IBM Motorola.

When A dropped out of the equation, well before the switch to Intel CPUs, that left I and M. IBM went with customers that would pay, like Microsoft(XBox360) and Sony(PS3). Motorola went to the embedded market.

The 360 has a triple core PPC, and the PS3 is an 11 core PPC. Both run over 3 GHz.

The benefit of the PPC over the Intel chipset was price. Seemed like everyone was saying Macs would be cheaper using Intel CPUs and chipsets, but many became more expensive and suddenly had Intel chipset issues.

I'm not sure what would have happened with software development, but I think we would be getting OS X apps instead of ported Windows apps that work like ported Windows apps.

SC
Yes, the new team was STI (Sony, Toshiba, IBM) which led to the Cell Processor that powers the PS3 and their cousin that powers the Xbox 360.

Too bad Apple switched to Intel... It was a fun ride.
 

PowerPCMacMan

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2012
798
0
PowerPC land
Yes..

Too bad indeed :) I would have liked to see a more modern PowerPC based Mac of today try to compete with the current Intel chips. I am in no way against Intel, just don't like the monopoly they have and shutting others, like AMD out in the cold.

PowerPC was a challenge to the status quo of the day. In the end, however, PowerPC was more efficient and had less pipelines compared to Intel's architecture. While the days of PowerPC are over, the architecture is still much better in design over Intel's.

Now, if we can only get Vmware or Parallels to support a PowerPC emulated OS, this would be nice.


Yes, the new team was STI (Sony, Toshiba, IBM) which led to the Cell Processor that powers the PS3 and their cousin that powers the Xbox 360.

Too bad Apple switched to Intel... It was a fun ride.
 

666sheep

macrumors 68040
Dec 7, 2009
3,623
211
Poland
I'm pretty sure Intel just offered the right kind of performance and reliability what the PowerPC offerings lacked. With Gx -processors Apple faced supply, performance and heat problems, it was better to go with the leader in PC processors to avoid problems.

EDIT:

PPC 7448 @ 2GHz: http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench2/142257
Core Duo L2500 TDP 15W @ 1.83GHz: http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench2/search?q=Core+Duo+L2500
Core Duo U2500 TDP 9W @ 1.2GHz: http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench2/search?utf8=✓&q=Core+Duo+U2500
It's funny, beacuse scores you've picked to compare actually tell nothing. You want to compare dual core chip to single core.
You should have to pick this one, for instance: http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench2/374595, dual core vs dual processor.
Now look closer at scores. See where biggest difference is – memory performance. Lenovo laptops from your link mostly run 667 MHz bus, Cube with dual 7448 only 100 MHz. Integer and floating point performance of dual 7448 @100 MHz bus is on par with equally clocked Intel CD @667 bus. Not so bad. Check yourself.
BTW, 7448's TDP was <15W @1.5 GHz.
Such MPC8641D would be quite suitable for PowerBook – 600 MHz bus, PCIe support. I bet that it would perform very well in OS X.
Today it's still in use: http://emea.kontron.com/industries/military/advancedtca++advancedmc/advancedmc/am4100.html

Back on topic, if Apple wouldn't move to Intel, they wouldn't gain that much users from Windows side like they did.
 
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