PowerMac RoadMap Past and Future

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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The following information is from an unconfirmed source. As such, authenticity is always uncertain, but due to the content of the piece, was felt to be of sufficient interest for publishing. Take, as with all rumors, with an appropriate amount of skepticism.

What happened to Motorola's G5?

Apple had fully working prototype machines over a year ago, and Motorola was set to go into volume production early in 2002. On December 10, Chris Galvin phoned Steve Jobs announcing that the G5 will be delayed for at least 3 months due to glitches in its 0.13 micron process, which resulted in very low yields, and chips malfunctioning after a very short period of time. On December 17, Motorola announced to Apple that the G5 was delayed for at least 6 months, and then on February 25th Steve Jobs received a bombshell announcement that Motorola was ceasing development on the G5 indefinitely because it was making drastic cuts on R&D, and its main market is not desktop processors, but rather embedded processors. Days later, Apple reclaimed all its test boxes from key developers. Motorola instead has chosen to eke out as much performance as it can out of its G4 processors.

Where does this leave Apple?

During the G4 fiasco, Apple began looking to IBM for its next generation processor. In the fall of 2000, IBM assembled its 970 development team at the request of Apple. The objective was to have the performance of the Power 4, at a much lower cost. IBM also saw potential in this chip for its linux solutions. IBM began delivering Apple engineering samples of the 970 in May of this year, about the time the 970 was taped out. Apple has numerous working prototypes, and will begin to send them to key developers later this month.

How does this fit in to Apple's desktop and server roadmap?

Apple is in for another G4 drought in early 2003, whereby Motorola may not be able to push the G4 above 1.3 Ghz, which would be a paltry 50 Mhz speed bump with the upcoming 7457 G4. Right now, 7457 G4 yields above 1.3 Ghz are poor, as Motorola still has problems with their 0.13 Micron process IBM expects to be shipping the 970 in quantity early in Q3 of next year, in which time Apple will unveil the new pro desktops. The most likely introduction date is a Macworld NY keynote announcement, and if that does not materialize, Seybold will be the venture. Both the pro desktops and Xserve will not go much beyond 1.3 Ghz, though 1.5 Ghz may materialize should Motorola be able to come through, even though they might be a prototype version like the current 1.25Ghz version that is now shipping. The new Xserves will also have ATA 133, and will come with drive sizes up to 320GB (Maxtor), giving a total of 1.2 Terabytes.

How will these machines be branded?

Many people were expecting that Apple would be branding the 970 as the G5. This is quite a point of contention at Apple right now among the marketing people. The 970 is truly not a 5th generation processor, because the Power 4 is IBM's 4th generation processor, or if you would call it, a second generation 64-bit processor. No decision is expected until around WWDC.

What processors will Apple use in future generations of Macs?

Apple will stay with PowerPC for at least two more generations. Currently in development is the 980 processor, which is a single core variant of the upcoming power 5, which has VMX, which is due at the same time as the Power 5 in Q3 2004. It will feature fast path technology, which is similar to Intel's rapid execution unit to take over tasks that software currently handles more slowly. It will have simultaneous multi threading, which allows one chip to function as two. All future Power series processors beginning with the Power 5 will also have VMX. The 990 successor will appear in Q1 2006, and will be built on a 65nm process.

Consumer macs will remain with Motorola for 2003. In 2004, it is uncertain whether Motorola will produce the 7457RM G4, which will top 2Ghz, and feature new bus topology, and Rapid IO. It is essentially what the G5 was intended on being, except being scaled back in some respects.

What about rumors of OS X on Intel?

Marklar is even more of a going concern than ever. Contrary to circulating rumors, it is not meant to be a Power PC exit strategy. Rather, it is intended to be offered to X86 users when Apple sees market conditions being fit for it. What it means by this is regarding Intel's Lagrande technology, and Microsoft's Palladium technology. Apple intends on releasing OS X on Intel, when consumer dissatisfaction falls to an all time low for Microsoft when users become restricted to what they can do on their PC's due to Lagrande and Palladium. Likely it will be released in the event that Microsoft chooses to stop developing for the Mac platform altogether.

What new products can we expect?

An eight way 2U Xserve is currently in the works, and will be based on the 970, and will switch over to the Power 5. It will be Apple's high end server, and the name Xserve enterprise edition has been proposed. A high end multiprocessor workstation class pro model is also in the works. The name XStation has been proposed for it, and it could debut a year from now. It will feature Nvidia's highest end Quadro or equivalent graphics card, and it will feature the upcoming Power 5 chip from IBM.
 

rice_web

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2001
584
0
Minot, North Dakota
first post

Wow, I have to give credibility to this submission. I'd actually put some faith into this one.

I am terribly disappointed with the short-term outlook from this article, a paltry 1.3GHz? That's utterly pathetic.
 

dongmin

macrumors 68000
Jan 3, 2002
1,708
0
Nice read. But some major disputable points as with all rumors. The biggest for me is the statement "Motorola may not be able to push the G4 above 1.3 Ghz."

I highly doubt Apple would introduce the G4 at 1.25 in mid August only to wait 11 months for the next speed bump, as the article implies. Apple is going to do something--"overclocking", going to quad processors, asking another vendor to manufacture the chips--to bridge the gap between now and the next major processor.
 

Choppaface

macrumors 65816
Jan 22, 2002
1,187
0
SFBA
the OSX on intel thing sounds a bit foggy

wouldnt it make sense that MS + hollywould would've passed a law through to require something like palladium required before consumers have the chance to go nuts?
 

rice_web

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2001
584
0
Minot, North Dakota
Mudbug, buy a PC! w00t.

In all seriousness, a PC won't do you any harm. If you need a new machine but the PowerMacs won't cut it, simply pick up one of Alienware's DV systems (they are NICE).

Overall, I'm quite upset with this news. However, what happens to the iMac?
 

Durandal7

macrumors 68040
Feb 24, 2001
3,153
0
The OS X x86 sounds somewhat realistic to me. I kind of figured that the only scenario of Marklar getting released would be to screw M$ big time.
 

G4scott

macrumors 68020
Jan 9, 2002
2,219
2
Austin, TX
Holy sh|t, rally the troops, the tides are turning (or at least they might, in about 9 months...) Motorola gave Apple the shaft, but to hear that the PPC970 was created because of demand from Apple is quite astonishing (assuming that the article is creditable) What it looks like to me, is that Apple will introduce these machines, or at least a prototype, in January. If you think about it, it seems to be the smart thing. Apple can't hold pro customers with its desktop line. Sure, the new G4's are nice, but they won't be attracting people for long. They can either hold out until Q3 2003, and let many potential customers who are unsure about Apple's future switch to pee-cee's, or Apple could announce their plans for this computer ahead of time. Although it might kill PowerMac sales, I think it will keep more people sticking to the Mac platform, if not picking up more. Apple really needs something different for their desktops, soon. With the new PowerBooks with super-drives, I've seen more people actually getting them than before. The PowerBook (and some other 'breakthrough digital device' might pull Apple through the end of the year, and Q1, but the desktop market has already gone flat. Besides, If I can remember correctly, Apple has announced (or at least previewed) several products months ahead of time (can you say xServe RAID???)

The xServe upgrades are good too.

I like the way that they view project Marklar. They are right, when they talk about an all-time low for m$... With so much security problems, and the constant annoyance that only microsoft can provide, If Apple finds the right time, and hits just right, they might be able to turn the tides against m$, but they need to make sure that they have something really good to offer, because they'll need it to convince the masses to install the Mac OS on their pee-cee's...
 

cspace

macrumors member
Sep 2, 2002
41
0
...this sounds like it makes sense to me as well. i'd expect apple to go with quad machines in the mean time. let's hope they have some software goodies in the pipeline at least!

cspace
 

ddtlm

macrumors 65816
Aug 20, 2001
1,184
0
A very interesting story about the G5... I would love for Apple and/or Moto to tell their story about it some day. Needless to say, we don't know for sure if this was the real story.

In the fall of 2000, IBM assembled its 970 development team at the request of Apple. The objective was to have the performance of the Power 4, at a much lower cost. IBM also saw potential in this chip for its linux solutions. IBM began delivering Apple engineering samples of the 970 in May of this year, about the time the 970 was taped out. Apple has numerous working prototypes, and will begin to send them to key developers later this month.
I'd have to say this is believable, more-or-less. I forget when Linux was starting to catch on at IBM, but late 2000 doesn't sound too far off.

Using OSX on x86 as something of a weapon against MS is interesting. MS might just be perswaded to keep those OSX apps coming if Apple agrees to stay in its box. On the other hand, I'm not sure that Apple would survive such a showdown. How could they possibly sell OSX for PCs in general, with all the support costs for all the hardware, and how could they expect that to do anything other than undermine their hardware buisiness. Hmmm, that part does sound a bit fishy.

An eight way 2U Xserve is currently in the works, and will be based on the 970, and will switch over to the Power 5.
I take issue with this however. What a load a crap. 8 fast processors in 2U? Hahahaha! Do you want space for hard drives with that? Needless to say, "Power 5" must be a typo.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,892
1,477
Palookaville
"Likely it will be released in the event that Microsoft chooses to stop developing for the Mac platform altogether."

What is this, a doomsday scenario?

I fail to understand how releasing OSX for x86 makes any more sense after such an event then it made before the event. I think we're meant to understand this a representing some sort of implied threat from Microsoft and/or quid pro quo -- Apple gets application support from Redmond if Apple keeps OSX off the x86 platform.

For one, I seriously doubt that Microsoft cares enough about OSX to make a deal of this kind, and for another, they are perfectly capable of locking down the big PC OEMs and laughing off any OSX "threat." It's what they've been doing for years.
 

G4scott

macrumors 68020
Jan 9, 2002
2,219
2
Austin, TX
Wow... I didn't read the bottom paragraph...

This article either makes sense completely, or is a load of crap (although I'm hoping it isn't)

Remember all of the G5 rumors? This article seems to give a reasonable explanation, especially since we all know that mot's processor division is cutting back so much, mainly on desktop chips. Maybe the G5 was about to happen, but Motorola gave it the shaft, and put it on the back-burner. If this is true, then we could've had G5's for quite some time already.

The 2U xServe and the xStation may seem like a pipe-dream right now, but that's mainly because of the letdown of the G5. Now, it appears that we might actually have a chip that will pull through, and some more powerful chips in the future. If we see PPC970 based Macs next year, I'd say expect to see a lot more from Apple after that. Apple's probably had awesome plans for the G5 for quite some time, but since it never materialized, I guess it just went to waste (I'm sure Jobs was pissed) If they have the same, if not better plans for the 970, and they actually put out, I'm going to be one happy mo-fo...
 

fatalerror101

macrumors newbie
Oct 8, 2002
29
0
San Jose
man...

well that sucks, this news just killed my weekend....,
maybe, IBM will.... ahh nevermind were in the hole.... hope, hope is what we need now. :(







PowerBook G4 1 GHZ
 

joed

macrumors regular
Feb 15, 2002
145
0
Budapest, Hungary
This maybe partly the reason why the Xserve RAID has been delayed.

Also, with the amount of cooling the new towers are needing shows that the 1.25Ghz chip is maxing out. But 1.3Ghzt max, that's pretty pitiful. And Apple would never increase the speed by only 50Hzt.

Interesting to see what the Xserve update next year brings!


James.
 

G4scott

macrumors 68020
Jan 9, 2002
2,219
2
Austin, TX
Re: man...

Originally posted by fatalerror101
well that sucks, this news just killed my weekend....,
maybe, IBM will.... ahh nevermind were in the hole.... hope, hope is what we need now. :(
How did it kill your weekend. This seems like good news to me. We all knew that the 970 wouldn't be out until Q3 2003, and then there was some skepticism about whether or not Apple would actually use it. Now, it appears they will (assuming the source is creditable), which seems like good news to me...

I do agree that we need hope, though. It takes a true Mac fan to be so dedicated to the Mac through such hard times ;)
 

Mudbug

Administrator emeritus
Jun 28, 2002
3,846
1
North Central Colorado
Originally posted by rice_web
Mudbug, buy a PC! w00t.
Not until you pry my macs from my cold, dead hands.

No, as I agree with the post of this being a nice read, the validity seems pretty questionable.
For starters, there's the lack of responsibility for writing it. Now, maybe Arn decided to keep that from us, but I doubt the real author signed his work.
Second of all, if someone knew this much about what's going on and waited until now to expunge all their knowledge, why now? Why know this much about this many different things and stay a lurker in a rumors chatroom. If he worked for Apple, then filtering a little of this over time would possibly be a good way to judge reaction from the "zealots" (myself included) and find out whether the public is willing to shell out an extra $1000 for a speed bump that basically without benchtest equipment the average joe won't ever notice.

No offense to you guys toiling away on your iMacs, but the power users of the world are the ones that want and need faster system busses, more ram, faster processing, multiple processors, etc... You just want them to hold your own in these chatrooms. AND THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

Now, about the G5 naming thing for the IBM 970. So what if it's second generation for IBM? It would be a "new generation" processor for Apple, so that would make it a new G number, right? I would be suprised if Apple came out with a new processor that's a lesser of this chip and gave it the name G5, just to make it sound better to Joe Q. Public. My father doesn't give a squat if it's a G4 or a G5 or a Q76 (or whatever). He just wants to know that his camera and printer work with it now.
I think Shakespeare already covered this with the "rose" part in Romeo & Juliet.

As for Marklar making it's way to the light of day, I say fat chance for at least a few years. Like it or not (and I can't believe I'm saying this) XP is at least a MUCH better operating system that the others M$ has put out in the past. It feels better. Let's just say it crashes like the old ones, but now it does it with style and grace. But as a previous post in another section pointed out, in order to make OSX run on any Wintel box with any external or internal added piece of crap that companies make, there's a lot of code left to write for OSX. It stings a tad to come home with your new scanner/copier/fax/buttwiper and find out there is no driver made to make that work with your computer, even though it says it will on the box. There'd have to be a revamp of so many things to make that a possibility, Apple would go down. Painfully.
Ask anyone who made the great upgrade in a prepress/ad agency type of job from a Beige box G3 or earlier to a new Sawtooth, Quicksilver, etc. How much fun was it to have to buy all of those adapters and support pieces just to make all the external gadgets you already spent your hard earned $$ on work with the new computer you just spent the rest of your hard earned $$ on. And those folks know how to make one piece talk to another.
To bring my dad back into this, if the printer, scanner, digital camera, and external CD burner he has on his computer now don't work with his new computer, the computer's going back to the store, not the other stuff. He already knows how to do that.
With all the switch campaign going on, the last thing that Apple would want to do would be to make the process of switching more confusing.

Just my 10¢. My 2¢ is free.
 

fatalerror101

macrumors newbie
Oct 8, 2002
29
0
San Jose
well

It killed my weekend because i had hoped that thier would be a new line of somewhat faster G4's at MWSF. I was secretly hoping that perhaps Apple would suprise us or something....

I don't know, i am tired leave me alone
I just wanna faster Mac....
not that my powerbook isn't fast :)



PowerBook G4 1GHZ
 

ddtlm

macrumors 65816
Aug 20, 2001
1,184
0
fatalerror101:

You are aware of the meaning of "rumor", aren't you?

Mudbug:

Yeah, I think that the x86 OSX thing, along with the 8-way 2U PPC-970, are both outlandish and poke massive holes in this rumor. Overall I think this rumor deserves a failing grade.
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
14,542
1,851
Re: well

Originally posted by fatalerror101
It killed my weekend because i had hoped that thier would be a new line of somewhat faster G4's at MWSF. I was secretly hoping that perhaps Apple would suprise us or something....

Well, I can tell you now - just based on educated guessing... PowerMacs will NOT be updated at MWSF

arn
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,892
1,477
Palookaville
Originally posted by G4scott
I like the way that they view project Marklar. They are right, when they talk about an all-time low for m$... With so much security problems, and the constant annoyance that only microsoft can provide, If Apple finds the right time, and hits just right, they might be able to turn the tides against m$, but they need to make sure that they have something really good to offer, because they'll need it to convince the masses to install the Mac OS on their pee-cee's...
PC users have always had good reasons available to them to choose a Mac. Getting people to drop Windows (or any other platform, in fact) is mainly a matter of overcoming a huge amount of inertia -- investments in software, time and energy in learning the OS, etc.

Not otherwise being constrained by competition, Microsoft has become very adept at modulating the discomfort level of its customers. They turn the heat up gradually, and when enough people say "ouch," they lower the flame just a bit. It's only temporary of course -- they'll start raising the flame again later on. It's the classic frog in a pan of water trick.

No, Apple will not be given some "magic" moment when they can release OSX for x86 and have droves of disillusioned Windows users wiping their PC hard drives and installing OSX. Let's be realistic here -- mass migrations may happen with birds and antelope, not computer owners.
 

chmorley

macrumors 6502a
Jan 2, 2002
602
2
Denver, CO
Re: Re: man...

Originally posted by G4scott
I do agree that we need hope, though. It takes a true Mac fan to be so dedicated to the Mac through such hard times ;)
Not to sound like an old fart, but I don't think these times are tough at all compared to what it was. Apple actually was on the ropes shortly before Jobs' return, and even then they had some great strengths. Their biggest challenge were the harbingers of doom--those who were predicting the death of the company were helping make it come about. I knew people who were reluctant to by a Mac because they were sure they would have no support within a year. In response, I bought a 7500. Things are much better now than then.

As in sports, people seem to get too high when things are only pretty good, and too low when things are just poor. There are very good things happening at Apple right now--they just aren't happening with the hardware. Because Apple makes such a great OS and great software, people still see clear reasons to switch to/stick with the Mac.

I know two people who have switched to Mac in the past 2 months, and a third who probably will. I don't know any Mac users who have switched to PC. Certainly they're out there, but let's can the drama. Things are not horrible. They could be better, but they're not horrible.

Chris

p.s., It would be a real drag if there are no significant speed bumps planned over the next 6-9 months, but I still wouldn't switch to a PC.
 

Hawthorne

macrumors regular
Jul 1, 2002
198
0
In front of my Mac
While there is no confirmation on this rumor,

I feels right, and fills in a lot of holes. As for the lack of speed boosts, I think that 1.5 ghz and a ramping up in bus speed in anticipation of the 970 will be enough to last the Mac community until the end of next year.

Remind me to throw angry glares at the next Motorola chip plant I drive by, though... :)
 

ddtlm

macrumors 65816
Aug 20, 2001
1,184
0
...and IJ Reilly throws another stone at the x86-OSX claims in this rumor.:)