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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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ArsTechnica has posted a long awaited Part II to their "Inside the PowerPC 970" article.

Part I was posted shortly after the announcement and presentation of the IBM PowerPC 970 at the Microprocessor Forum in October 2002.

This second article goes into significant technical detail, as well as revealing the author's opinion about the purpose of the IBM PowerPC 970:

...a close examination of IBM's PowerPC 970 reveals that it was made with Apple in mind as the primary customer. Furthermore, it's almost certain that Apple will introduce a new high-bandwidth frontside bus and memory subsystem design for towers based on the new processor. In a short, we now know what Apple has been up to for the past two years while their desktop line has languished. 
 

Bengt77

macrumors 68000
Jun 7, 2002
1,520
2
Europe
Allright!

So now I can throw overboard all my fears of Apple maybe not going the PPC970 route?! Great!

Go, Apple; go and spank the x86 world hard!

Darn, I hope they'll introduce the new Power Macs soon. Although I'm mostly past the waiting excitement; I have a (for my needs, that is) plenty capable Mac and really don't need the extreme power of a PPC970. But it would be nice to see them soon, won't it?!

ArsTechnica is pretty good; they know their stole well.
 

alset

macrumors 65816
Nov 9, 2002
1,262
0
East Bay, CA
Not a Sure Thing

Again, I have to ask why everyone is so hell bent on the idea that this is a sure thing? Why take so many rumors as the word of god?

Lots of people setting themselves up for a fall, right about now. Rumors have let us all down before. If Apple doesn't deliver there will be people screaming for blood, and it won't be Apple's fault.

Dan
 

caveman_uk

Guest
Feb 17, 2003
2,390
1
Hitchin, Herts, UK
At last! A proper article that sticks to facts and tells the (albeit complicated) full story rather than the usual biased flame wars, inaccuracy and hype from both sides...
 

hvfsl

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2001
1,856
165
London, UK
Apple should have a big sign on their website saying something like, 'Prepare for the future of computing'. ATI does this before it is going to release a new graphics card.

Also people have been saying that the new chips will most likely go in Xserves, but I do not think this is true. First more people buy PM rather than Xserves. Looking at the number of chips being sent it looks they will only be single chip systems or they would not be able to keep up with demand, Apple could release a dual PPC970 later.
 

Blackcat

macrumors regular
Jun 10, 2002
187
0
Cirencester, UK
Re: Not a Sure Thing

Originally posted by alset
Again, I have to ask why everyone is so hell bent on the idea that this is a sure thing? Why take so many rumors as the word of god?

AltiVec.

IBM has no need whatsoever to add AltiVec to a processor. If they just wanted a SIMD unit they would have used their own better version.
 

Shaktai

macrumors member
Jan 18, 2002
44
0
Puget Sound
Re: Not a Sure Thing

Originally posted by alset
Lots of people setting themselves up for a fall, right about now. Rumors have let us all down before. If Apple doesn't deliver there will be people screaming for blood, and it won't be Apple's fault.
Because people like to hope, and that is a good thing. :D

Disappointments fade quickly, but as they say, "Hope springs eternal." Besides, this time there is plenty of credible evidence to support it, and a processor that is real and in production. Behind many rumors is usually a little bit of truth.
 

ipiloot

macrumors member
Oct 22, 2001
93
0
Re: Not a Sure Thing

Originally posted by alset
Again, I have to ask why everyone is so hell bent on the idea that this is a sure thing? Why take so many rumors as the word of god?

Lots of people setting themselves up for a fall, right about now. Rumors have let us all down before. If Apple doesn't deliver there will be people screaming for blood, and it won't be Apple's fault.

Dan

Becuse there's no visible alternative when Apple wants to stay with PowerPC. 970 will be in Mac's unless Moto's G5 is melted up, which is highly unprobable.
 

Shaktai

macrumors member
Jan 18, 2002
44
0
Puget Sound
Re: Re: Not a Sure Thing

Originally posted by Blackcat
If they just wanted a SIMD unit they would have used their own better version.

What better version? IBM is one of the co-developers of Altivec. Altivec is just Motorola's "trademarked" name for it. IBM calls it VMX I think and Apple calls it "Velocity engine". Same thing by any name. It would appear from the article, that it is a bit of a hack to the original design, but could very well be better integrated in a future version. (980?) The important thing is that it works.
 

the future

macrumors 68020
Jul 17, 2002
2,318
3,017
What I found most exciting – apart from the overall performance estimations themselves – was the fact that the author of the article is SURE there will be dual systems from the beginning AND PRETTY MUCH SURE that IBM and/or Apple are working on quad systems. 4x 2.5 GHz PPC 970 – eat your heart out, Intel/AMD/Microsoft!
 

Pinto

macrumors newbie
Mar 19, 2003
9
0
New Zealand
This must be the most exciting Apple news in a very very long time.

I hope they aren't just playing with our emotions, if it all turns out to be bollocks it's going to be VERY disappointing.

Roll out the arse-kicking mac of tomorrow
 

Blackcat

macrumors regular
Jun 10, 2002
187
0
Cirencester, UK
Re: Re: Re: Not a Sure Thing

Originally posted by Shaktai
What better version? IBM is one of the co-developers of Altivec. Altivec is just Motorola's "trademarked" name for it. IBM calls it VMX I think and Apple calls it "Velocity engine". Same thing by any name. It would appear from the article, that it is a bit of a hack to the original design, but could very well be better integrated in a future version. (980?) The important thing is that it works.

IBM distanced themselves from the original Altivec SIMD because they wanted one which did not require special coding. This is the main reason why there were G1/G2/G3 chips by Moto and IBM, but G4 chips only by Moto. IBM felt it was the wrong approach and AIM went all tits-up. (I'm over simplifying here)

So if IBM just wanted a SIMD unit on a Workstation POWER chip, I think they would use a more refined VMX without Altivec compatibility.
 

windwaves

macrumors regular
Jun 21, 2002
109
0
manhattan
that is quite right: LANGUISHED ... for the past 2 years. Is this the price, time wise, we are paying for a once again competitive machine ?
 

Chryx

macrumors regular
Jul 8, 2002
248
0
I have to say, I feel that Hannibal is being a tad unfair to Apple when he blames them for the lousy bus interface on the G4

Unfortunately, the vector performance of the G4e has been consistently bottlenecked by Apple's lackluster motherboard and chipset designs--specifically the anemic frontside bus and memory subsystems that Apple has saddled the PowerMac line with.

Just what were Apple supposed to do?, use a focused ion beam on every G4 Moto shipped them to reengineer the bus interface logic?


I personally think they've done a pretty good job chipset wise.
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,667
4,674
The Peninsula
article says "do not expect performance benefits from 64-bit"

...but to summarize, Mac users should not expect any inherent performance benefits from the move to 64 bits. The 970's performance advantages will come from the many microarchitectural features that I'll cover in this article, and not from the fact that it's a 64-bit processor.

A pretty clear statement to counter the "64-bit is 2X as fast" cheering section! :D
 

Raiden

macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2002
147
0
Wow, Im excited!!

Man, it would be so cool to goto college next summer w/ a stalk iMac 970@1.6ghz w/ 1gig ram. All for 1200 bucks. That is what I am hoping...
 

Blackcat

macrumors regular
Jun 10, 2002
187
0
Cirencester, UK
RIP G4

If the 970 ships as planned, expect sales of G4 systems to halt. I fully expect a 100% switch to 970 from G4 - it's cooler, faster and cheaper.

Who will buy a 1.4Ghz G4 iMac at $1300 if a 1.4Ghz Powermac at $1500 decimates it?

I really hope Apple dumps Moto totally.
 

medazinol

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2002
240
352
Toronto
Re: RIP G4

Originally posted by Blackcat
If the 970 ships as planned, expect sales of G4 systems to halt. I fully expect a 100% switch to 970 from G4 - it's cooler, faster and cheaper.

Who will buy a 1.4Ghz G4 iMac at $1300 if a 1.4Ghz Powermac at $1500 decimates it?

I really hope Apple dumps Moto totally.


Steve Jobs recently said this at their shareholder meeting on April 24: (From ThinkSecret Report)


A concern about hardware speeds was expressed. Jobs first made point that clock speed does not necessarily tell the whole story, and that even Intel is emphasizing diminishing importance of clock speed as it release new portable processors that are faster at slower clock speeds. He then acknowledged that it is a problem, and that Apple is very aware of the issue. He said "there will be a time" when Apple would speak about its relationship with Motorola, and that the particular shareholder who asked the question would be invited, if he desired.


So there you go right from Steve. Apple will tell us what they think of Motorola when the time is right (ie: When we've moved our high-end stuff to the 970 then the world will know what we think of Motorola and their lack of interest. Oh and its payback for dropping the G5)
 
Originally posted by lou tsee
my only concern is the one of pricing.
apple MUST price those machines competitively by any means!

Agreed. Apple's low-end towers have never been priced competitively. Many people take the elitest viewpoint that Apple shouldn't focus on the low end, shouldn't devote the R&D, which is absurd. A low-end tower would only cannibalize iMac sales if the iMacs were priced too high. There is no R&D if all you're doing is offering the lowest speed processor with a CD-ROM, 40 gig drive and a low-end graphics card. It's just a configuration, and a configuration that would give us a place to install all the CDRWs, DVDs, 120 gig drives and high-end graphics cards that are working perfectly well in our current machines.

When you can get a system like this for $998...

Pentium® 4 Processor at 2.66GHz w/533MHz front side bus/ 512K L2 Cache

256MB DDR SDRAM at 333MH

60GB2 Ultra ATA/100 7200RPM Hard Drive

64MB DDR NVIDIA_ GeForce4 MX? Graphics Card with TV-Out

48x CD-RW Drive with Roxio's Easy CD Creator®

Logitech® Optical USB Mouse

Harman Kardon HK-395 Speakers with Subwoofer

56K3 PCI Data/Fax Modem

... Now sorry, but that's no lame system, and you can bet their warranty is better than Apple's. Not everyone out there wants an all in one system and not everyone out there is running Final Cut Pro. Apple is alienating a huge segment of the population by not offering a competitive low-end system.

Bring 'em in, and bring 'em in on target. - j
 

Mudbug

Administrator emeritus
Jun 28, 2002
3,848
1
North Central Colorado
Originally posted by jayscheuerle
Agreed. Apple's low-end towers have never been priced competitively. Many people take the elitest viewpoint that Apple shouldn't focus on the low end, shouldn't devote the R&D, which is absurd. A low-end tower would only cannibalize iMac sales if the iMacs were priced too high. There is no R&D if all you're doing is offering the lowest speed processor with a CD-ROM, 40 gig drive and a low-end graphics card. It's just a configuration, and a configuration that would give us a place to install all the CDRWs, DVDs, 120 gig drives and high-end graphics cards that are working perfectly well in our current machines.

When you can get a system like this for $998...

Pentium® 4 Processor at 2.66GHz w/533MHz front side bus/ 512K L2 Cache

256MB DDR SDRAM at 333MH

60GB2 Ultra ATA/100 7200RPM Hard Drive

64MB DDR NVIDIA_ GeForce4 MX? Graphics Card with TV-Out

48x CD-RW Drive with Roxio's Easy CD Creator®

Logitech® Optical USB Mouse

Harman Kardon HK-395 Speakers with Subwoofer

56K3 PCI Data/Fax Modem

... Now sorry, but that's no lame system, and you can bet their warranty is better than Apple's. Not everyone out there wants an all in one system and not everyone out there is running Final Cut Pro. Apple is alienating a huge segment of the population by not offering a competitive low-end system.

Bring 'em in, and bring 'em in on target. - j

Please don't shoot the messenger, but he's right. There needs to be a single processor low end 970 machine with all the simple goodies at a price point around $800-$1000 to get home users to buy. Don't worry about including displays, but just offer discounts on Apple models if purchased together, much like they do now. And include 3 years of AppleCare for free with the purchase of a new or refurbished system.

I know you folks are going to say "well, home users aren't the market we're going after" - but they are. You want to use the same machine at home as you do at work, and the only way to persuade enough people to switch their offices over is if they have access to a mac that's better and cheaper at home than thier wintel box at work. Fortune 500 companies don't have thousands of P4 hotrods on desktops, they have netware boxes that are basically just end nodes of the network. What about just a simple network "appliance" (again, don't shoot me) for the enterprise that fits needs but doesn't overachieve?
 
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