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Power5 at Microprocessor Forum 2003

MacRumors

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Apr 12, 2001
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The 2003 Microprocessor Forum takes place this year between October 13th - October 16th in San Jose, California.

Whether your interest is in server processors, PC processors, networking processors, high-performance embedded, or innovative "extreme" processors, MPF 2003 will have information you need to have.

Last year's Microprocessor Forum brought the first details of IBM's New 64-bit PowerPC -- which turned out to be the PowerPC 970 (G5).

This year the Power5 processor will be presented by Dr. Balaram Sinharoy, POWER5 Chief Scientist of IBM. As a replacement for the Power4, it is unlikely that the Power5 will find its way into Apple-built computers, however, rumors have hinted that Apple may benefit from Power5-derived technology in the future.

Early reports indicated that the Power5 is already in testing and performs very favorably when compared to the Power4. The Power5 is reportedly due in 2004.
 

Rustus Maximus

macrumors 6502
Jan 15, 2003
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originally posted by Macrumors
...it is unlikely that the Power5 will find it's way into Apple-built computers...

Now do you mean it's unlikely that the Power5 itself will find it's way into next generation Macs or that it's unlikely that next generation processors will even be based on the Power5 at all? I would think it very likely that the 980 (or whatever it'll be called) will be based on the Power5.

Rustus
 
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Definitely a step in the right direction

The POWER (Performance Optimized with Enhanced RISC) series is definitely moving forward. They definitely have POWER5 systems in test. The POWER5 is as much for scientific computing (it will be used in the IBM ASCI Purple machine for the DOE) as for banks and large enterprise servers.

However, I am a bit surprised they are presenting on the POWER5 as they usually present on things which are in design and will be shipping within the next 6 months to a year. If I remember correctly, IBM likes to put out teaser presentations at this conference. Since the POWER5 CPU will have been in test for well over 4 months by the time of the presentation maybe they are expecting significant performace gainse over the POWER4 CPU and plan on announcing the results from these test machines then.

Also there have been lots of rumors about concurrent development of a PowerPC being derived from the POWER5. Maybe there will be some semi-official statement made then too. It would be nice to hear.

Additionally, when they do create the PowerPC derivative of the POWER5, I hope they do an updated version of the vector processor and its associated on chip registers, etc. The vector processor in the PowerPC 970 -- while a screamer compared to competing chips -- was just sort of "tacked on" and it is not as advanced in architecture as some of the G4s have. Hopefully, with more time and foresight they will do a better one when they do the POWER5 derivative.
 
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arn

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Apr 9, 2001
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Originally posted by Rustus Maximus
Now do you mean it's unlikely that the Power5 itself will find it's way into next generation Macs or that it's unlikely that next generation processors will even be based on the Power5 at all? I would think it very likely that the 980 (or whatever it'll be called) will be based on the Power5.

Rustus

"As a replacement for the Power4, it is unlikely that the Power5 will find it's way into Apple-built computers, however, rumors have hinted that Apple may benefit from Power5-derived technology in the future"
 
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wizard

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May 29, 2003
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I have to wonder if AltVec is being incorporated into Power5. It seems like that would be the easest path to follow to also have Altvec in the desktop chip Apple would use. This would also offer Apple the oportunity to offer a wide range of servers of differrent class hardware.

As far as the 4X improvement I also wonder if Apple will be able to get that out of the single chip version. It would be a stunning accomplishment especuially if that 4X is based on clock to clock comparisons.

All in all things haven't looked this good in Mac land in sometime. Well as long as you don't look at the 7457 issue.

thanks
Dave
 
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idea_hamster

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Jul 11, 2003
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NYC, or thereabouts
<out of my depth>

Do we think that the Power5 could be the basis for a broader step up for Apple's XServe line?

If Apple's current technology is based on the Power4 and the Power5 may be suitable for enterprise server use, is it too simplistic to think that it would be a useful starting point if Apple wanted to give medium-large sized businesses that are too large for XServe an all-Apple alternative?

<swims back to shallow end>
 
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AidenShaw

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Feb 8, 2003
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Re: <out of my depth>

Originally posted by idea_hamster
Do we think that the Power5 could be the basis for a broader step up for Apple's XServe line?

No. Even the POWER4 would be a troublesome marketing message.

Apple has committed far too much intellectual capital to AltiVec to embrace a non-AltiVec high end processor. Even for a server, Apple is boasting about BLAST and other rendering apps that require AltiVec.

Even if the POWER5 does get AltiVec, its timing is too far out for the Xserve - something must be done sooner.

An update of a 1U Xserver to PPC970 would be good. It would also be a great idea to come out with a larger server, say a 3U or 4U quad-PPC970 system for those medium-sized businesses. Give it more slots, more memory, more CPUs - AND MORE REDUNDANCY (dual power supplies, ECC or RAID memory, hot-swap disks, hot-swap RAM, hot-swap everything).
 
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Freg3000

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Sep 22, 2002
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Originally posted by wizard
I have to wonder if AltVec is being incorporated into Power5. It seems like that would be the easest path to follow to also have Altvec in the desktop chip Apple would use.

I don't think the Power4 has Altivec but its derivative, the 970, does. So just because Altivec is not on the Power5 does not mean it won't be on the derivative chip (980?).
 
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Rustus Maximus

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Jan 15, 2003
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Originally posted by arn
"As a replacement for the Power4, it is unlikely that the Power5 will find it's way into Apple-built computers, however, rumors have hinted that Apple may benefit from Power5-derived technology in the future"

Nooowwwww I get it...

I get it...

I get things... ;)

(hey it was early when I was reading this :) )

Thanks arn,

Rustus
 
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nuckinfutz

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Jul 3, 2002
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I would think

That Apple and IBM have concurrent development of the POWER5 and a derivative(PPC 980?) going.

This way the P5 hits and within 6 months the Derivative ships as well. The 970 will probably top out at 3Ghz so Apple will need this Derivative to take over from there on.

I'm hoping for ondie memory controllers and SMT. Beefed up Altivec would be nice.
 
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idea_hamster

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Re: Re: <out of my depth>

Originally posted by AidenShaw
Give it more slots, more memory, more CPUs - AND MORE REDUNDANCY (dual power supplies, ECC or RAID memory, hot-swap disks, hot-swap RAM, hot-swap everything).
Wow -- I didn't realize that the XServe is missing so many features that even I knew to be available on servers in general (e.g., ECC).

<concededly OT>
So who is the target market for XServe? -- that is, who wants a server but doesn't need this kind of redundancy or hot maintenance?
</concededly OT>
 
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visor

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May 13, 2003
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Re: Re: Re: <out of my depth>

Originally posted by idea_hamster
Wow -- I didn't realize that the XServe is missing so many features that even I knew to be available on servers in general (e.g., ECC).

<concededly OT>
So who is the target market for XServe? -- that is, who wants a server but doesn't need this kind of redundancy or hot maintenance?
</concededly OT>

Well, 'blade' servers might be a good target, as well as low end small business apple based businesses.
Or imagine you have any apple style rendering to do big time - that belongs in a cooled environment with many sibling nodes.

Its ok for this kind of setup.

Personally I like clustered solutions better than big bad maschines anyway. Mostly because i don't much trust 'indoor' redundency of a single maschine. However - it seems to work even despite me not much liking it ;)

I know mid sized companies that work with small setups, but completely redundant, so that any one computer can take over the others work, while the other is in maintainance. that's mostly because noone would be willing to 'hot' work in a very narrow room anyways...

If you want to see a great cluster at work - just google ;)
 
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crenz

macrumors 6502a
Jul 3, 2003
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More xserve questions

Originally posted by idea_hamster
So who is the target market for XServe? -- that is, who wants a server but doesn't need this kind of redundancy or hot maintenance?

And who in that target market is willing to pay that kind of price (as compared to PC-based Linux/BSD servers, for example)?
 
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firewood

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Jul 29, 2003
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So who is the target market for XServe? -- that is, who wants a server but doesn't need this kind of redundancy or hot maintenance?
The Google people gave a keynote talk at HotChips last year. Google apparently makes a very reliable system (responsive with a very high uptime) by using a huge linux cluster of the cheapest unreliable generic PC components. They designed server software that doesn't depend on any one machine or switch to stay running. The data is duplicated over multiple machines in multiple different sites. Much much cheaper than buying a smaller amount of more reliable systems. Apparently the only area where costly redundancy seems to be an issue is with building cooling and the facilities AC backup.
 
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The Grimace

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Feb 26, 2002
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Good news

It's good to know that the maker of Apples high-end chip is already moving beyond that which spawned said chip. This can only portend good things for Apples' future.

(tig)
 
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Sherman

macrumors regular
Jul 23, 2002
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Hmmm

Well I just hope the 970 doesn't have the shortest lifetime of any apple processor. With the Power5 in 2004 a 980 in late 2005/2006.

They'll probably live on in iMac's and iBooks for awhile.
 
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Docrjm

macrumors regular
Jun 22, 2003
142
0
Re: Hmmm

Originally posted by Sherman
Well I just hope the 970 doesn't have the shortest lifetime of any apple processor. With the Power5 in 2004 a 980 in late 2005/2006.

They'll probably live on in iMac's and iBooks for awhile.
Don't mind if its short and sweet, so long as there is something sweeter coming afterwards!
 
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jaedreth

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Jul 11, 2003
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970 vs 980

Keep in mind, IBM has not announced any intent to actually use Power5 on desktop machines like Apples. Also, the G5 will likely have a lifespan similar to G4, but with a lot more frequent upgrades...

Jaedreth
 
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ddtlm

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Aug 20, 2001
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jaedreth:

The Power5 itself will never be in desktop machines; its targeted at servers.

wizard:

I don't know where the 4x thing started exactly, but every time I hear it repeated it has become more exaggerated. As far as I know, originally it was an "up to" comment without specifying what was being done or what clockspeeds were involved.
 
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hasapi

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Jan 29, 2003
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Originally posted by ddtlm
jaedreth:

The Power5 itself will never be in desktop machines; its targeted at servers.

wizard:

I don't know where the 4x thing started exactly, but every time I hear it repeated it has become more exaggerated. As far as I know, originally it was an "up to" comment without specifying what was being done or what clockspeeds were involved.

The reference for the 4x the performance of the Power 4, came from IBM Engineers themselves of its testing the ASIC Purple machine (sorry dont have the link, eweek or eenews?). The Power 5 is Dual Core with SMT. The 980 however is unlikely to be Dual Core, but I would be delighted with 2x (the performance) of a 970 wouldnt you?

Well just have to wait and see if the Power5 lives up to the claims from IBM - but its looking good for a G6 within 2years from now, perfect upgrade timing me thinks? :)
 
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jaedreth

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Jul 11, 2003
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G5 -> G6

If IBM does decide to use Power5 or a derivative on Macs, I wouldn't expect it for 4 years or more. IBM makes chips for its own servers first, Apple second. But that's better than Motorola making its chips for cell phones first, and if they feel like it they might make some for Apple. The G4 premiered in 1999, and it's reign lasted until this year, 2003, about the same point in the year. So that's 4 years. Given that, I don't expect G6 until Fall of 2007.

Jaedreth
 
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wizard

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May 29, 2003
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Originally posted by Freg3000
I don't think the Power4 has Altivec but its derivative, the 970, does. So just because Altivec is not on the Power5 does not mean it won't be on the derivative chip (980?).

Yes everyone knows that. What I'm trying to get at is if AltVec is better integrated inot the Power5 processor or will remain forever a tacked on unit. At some point in the development cycle it would be easier to keep Altvec technology in the processor HDL code that to keep tacking it on for the single chip variant.

Further; if Altvex is in the Power5 it does provide Apple and IBM with considerable marketing advantages. Even on the types of software executed on a Power5 there are a class of programs that can benefit form AltVec. It is a symmetry that I hope IBM is not missing.

Dave
 
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wizard

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May 29, 2003
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Re: G5 -> G6

Hi Jaedreth;

You making a big assumption here that Apple and its customers are happy with the state of the G4. I'm not to sure to many customers will jump up claiming undying devotion to the G4, the majority of those customers along with Apple would have rathered that it matured a bit in those 4 years. Instead it became the joke of the microprocessor world.

A microprocessor is not going to make it in this world if it is only improved every 4 years. To be specific I don't consider clockrate only changes to be improvements. Frankly Apple and IBM really have to deliever an improved 970 or a 980 by the end of 2004, just to demonstrate that they have a handle on the old Motorola stagnation. That improvement can be a simple as an enlarged L2 cache or built in DDRAM interfaces, or something more comples like an inproved Altvec implementation. The proof is in the pudding so to speak, the Apple - IBM arraingement needs to deliver on a regular basis if Apple expects to reach any of its former customer base.

Thanks
Dave


Originally posted by jaedreth
If IBM does decide to use Power5 or a derivative on Macs, I wouldn't expect it for 4 years or more. IBM makes chips for its own servers first, Apple second. But that's better than Motorola making its chips for cell phones first, and if they feel like it they might make some for Apple. The G4 premiered in 1999, and it's reign lasted until this year, 2003, about the same point in the year. So that's 4 years. Given that, I don't expect G6 until Fall of 2007.

Jaedreth
 
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Phil Of Mac

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Dec 6, 2002
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Re: Definitely a step in the right direction

Originally posted by shadowself
However, I am a bit surprised they are presenting on the POWER5 as they usually present on things which are in design and will be shipping within the next 6 months to a year. If I remember correctly, IBM likes to put out teaser presentations at this conference.

Just because it's by the POWER5 guy doesn't mean it'll be a POWER5 presentation. Maybe they'll announce the POWER5-based PowerPC!!!

(Or maybe not.)
 
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Phil Of Mac

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Dec 6, 2002
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Originally posted by firewood
The Google people gave a keynote talk at HotChips last year. Google apparently makes a very reliable system (responsive with a very high uptime) by using a huge linux cluster of the cheapest unreliable generic PC components. They designed server software that doesn't depend on any one machine or switch to stay running. The data is duplicated over multiple machines in multiple different sites. Much much cheaper than buying a smaller amount of more reliable systems. Apparently the only area where costly redundancy seems to be an issue is with building cooling and the facilities AC backup.

That is fascinating...It makes sense, too. Buying cheap, unreliable parts, but lots of them redundantly. I guess by mere law of averages that will give you good reliability.
 
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