what if apple had stayed with powerpc

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by jdasikainen, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. jdasikainen macrumors 6502

    jdasikainen

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    #1
    Does anyone else ever wonder what macs today woud be like if we were still on the power pc chip. I understand why apple left ppc for intel but does it ever cross anyones mind what macs would be like and if they would still be simular to what we have today here is what i think

    we would probably be on the g8 or so if they stuck to the same naming scheme
    probably would not be as thin
    older mechines would have more compatability.
    os x would probably still be the same i still beleive they have ppc versions of new os x internally llike they did for intel pre switch
     
  2. mrchinchilla macrumors 6502

    mrchinchilla

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    #2
    I don't think it's something that would be possible even in an alternate universe. The roadmap of the PPC architecture was—and still is—focussed on servers and high-end workstations, where size, energy consumption, heat, and performance-per-watt aren't big issues; whereas Apple's roadmap was aiming towards thin, low power, cool, high performance-per-watt computers, hence the move to Intel. If Apple had chosen not to move to Intel, they would've released some less than competitive notebooks for a couple of years and then probably moved to ARM (which is what iPhones and iPads use). I actually suspect we'll see Apple move their notebook line from Intel to ARM in the next ~5 years.
     
  3. jdasikainen thread starter macrumors 6502

    jdasikainen

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    #3
    yeah thats actually a good point but i don't think they will move the whole line to arm i feel that the macbook and macbook air line maybe but the pro i figure will stay intel for the foreseeable future since its the best way for professionals to get work done in windows and os x
     
  4. Brad9893 macrumors 6502

    Brad9893

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    #4
    What if Apple had stayed with PowerPC? Well...
    [​IMG]
     
  5. jdasikainen thread starter macrumors 6502

    jdasikainen

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    #5
    man that would be a big pain to carry around in a backpack lol
     
  6. ziggy29 macrumors regular

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    #6
    They couldn't. By the time the G5 came out, it was obvious that the power requirements and heat precluded continued deployment. A G5 laptop wasn't possible with the power it needed and heat it generated. So if Apple had thoughts of moving to an Intel architecture before the G5, that probably sealed the deal.
     
  7. Brad9893 macrumors 6502

    Brad9893

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    #7
    Don't forget the gigantic power brick! (It probably would have been the size of an actual brick.)
     
  8. jdasikainen thread starter macrumors 6502

    jdasikainen

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    #8
    lol defiantly would of been. a cool idea though for the machine would make the g5 a dock. have a g4 chip in the laptop you go to your room sit it on the dock and it switches over to the more powerful g5 chip
     
  9. Brad9893 macrumors 6502

    Brad9893

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    #9
    From what I've read, they did consider moving to Intel after the issues they had with Motorola and the G4 early on in that processors lifespan. For example, Apple was displeased that they had been stuck at 500 MHz for such a long time. Around 1999 or 2000, Motorola completely stalled and was unable to take the G4 over that clock speed for a year. Apple's Power Mac G4 started falling behind, so to remedy this, they started selling these machines with dual processors in order to make up for it. Because of this, Apple suddenly needed around twice as many G4 chips in order to power all of these dual processor machines, and Motorola simply couldn't fabricate enough to keep up with Apple's increased need. Yet again, Apple was displeased and had PowerPCC woes, so they had IBM step in and help fabricate more G4 chips.

    Even after Motorola broke through the 500 MHz barrier, updates were still meager compared what Apple was looking for, and they seriously considered a switch to Intel at that time. However, IBM intervened again. While Motorola was stumbling along with the G4, IBM had just released POWER4 which was the fastest processor series on the market at that time. They offered a lighter version of the POWER4 to Apple in order to entice them away from Intel. Since IBM had successfully helped them out during the 500 MHz debacle, Apple decided to sign up for that instead of switch architectures.

    Well, we all know how that worked out, of course.
     
  10. jdasikainen thread starter macrumors 6502

    jdasikainen

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    #10
    defiantly an interesting side to it pretty cool how long they had been considering it. like steve said on stage they had internal builds running on intel for years
     
  11. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #11
    The G5 chip was the last straw. Jobs had been promising 3.0Ghz for some time and the G5 just couldn't get there. The heat and power requirements were just far behind the curve.

    It accelerated the transition to Intel by about a year.
     
  12. Brad9893 macrumors 6502

    Brad9893

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    #12
    Yep. I've also read that Apple engineers wanted to move to Intel during the 1990's too, but they found the task of porting Classic Mac OS to Intel to daunting because it contained way too much assembly code. NeXTSTEP was always architecture independent and I believe that was something that was attractive to Apple when they were shopping around for their next-generation OS.
     
  13. jdasikainen thread starter macrumors 6502

    jdasikainen

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    #13
    yeah defiantly i wonder what other architectures they have os x builds on internally i bet there is still a powerpc coded one and a arm version as well.
     
  14. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #14
    There's a certain nutty train of thought out there that says Apple has PowerPC versions of every version of OS X past 10.5.8 Leopard locked up somewhere in their HQ.
     
  15. Brad9893 macrumors 6502

    Brad9893

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    #15
    Did it really accelerate the transition though? Even if IBM had pushed the G5 to 3.0 GHz, that still didn't solve the mobile issue, which I would argue was just as important to Apple at the time.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 27, 2016 ---
    I bet they also have El Capitan running on 68k too!
     
  16. jdasikainen thread starter macrumors 6502

    jdasikainen

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    #16
    id agree with you there. but I'm sure they could of worked out something processor tech got impressive i mean look at consoles with duel and even try core ppc chips they could of engineered a duel core g4 or something to hold over until the g5 was more efficient but idk if that would ever of happened
     
  17. Brad9893 macrumors 6502

    Brad9893

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    #17
    There is a crude Powerbook prototype that got out of Apple that showed that this was in fact the case. It was posted on this forum awhile back. In this prototype case, it seemed as if they had tried to put together a PowerBook G5, but when that didn't work they decided to try their hand at building a PowerBoo with a dual core G4. Obviously they never released such a machine, but it shows that they considered it.
     
  18. jdasikainen thread starter macrumors 6502

    jdasikainen

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  19. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #19
    FWIW, Apple did manage to get the G5 into a 1.75" tall case, and even put two processors in it. On the other hand, however, that said 1.75" case was 19", 2 1/2" long, had 10 fans, and weighed as much as a G5 tower.

    The Power4 was always meant to be a server/workstation class processor, and it's not surprising that its derivative(the G5) didn't downscale so well.

    All that aside, on the mobile front I'm surprised that Apple never tried the 7448. Its TDP was lower than the 7447A that was used in later portables and also gave some impressive performance numbers since it had a full 1mb of full speed on-die L2.
     
  20. jdasikainen thread starter macrumors 6502

    jdasikainen

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    #20
    defiantly could of been interesting. what i don't get is the xbox and ps3 were based off the g5 chip how did they fit such a hot chip in those and not a laptop i mean if it can fit in a 360 then it should fit in a laptop
     
  21. Brad9893 macrumors 6502

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    #21
    I believe that the game consoles used Cell/Xenon, which were substantially different from the G5 (I think).
     
  22. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

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    #22
    Apple will go where the money is. Their own ARM chips cost a fraction of what they pay Intel for theirs - once they develop closer performance parity, I suspect they'll jump. The consumers that keep Apple afloat don't have a clue or remotely care what's inside the box - as long as there's a shiny Apple logo on it.
     
  23. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #23
    Probably not that substantial. The early Xbox 360 Dev kits were PowerMac G5s with a customised ATI graphics card...

    The end result added hyper-threading and an extra core.
     
  24. throAU, Apr 28, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016

    throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #24
    The Mac platform would have died. Simple.

    The world has gone mobile and there was no competitive PPC mobile CPU.

    Plus, boot camp was a safety net for a large number of users to consider switching from Windows. Or to be able to run Windows as well. If they stayed PPC I would likely have not switched for that reason. I need to run x86 operating systems and software from time to time.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 28, 2016 ---
    OS X is a derivative of NEXTSTEP, which was available on Intel in 1993 if I recall.

    So even if they did not keep the x86 code base alive even prior to starting work on OS X, writing things in a portable way would have definitely been on the agenda. I suspect apple learned from their necessary migration from 68k when that line died... And kept their options open.

    Even though I doubt the Mac will switch wholesale to ARM in future (for various reasons, Intel are not stupid and are not standing still), you can be sure that OS X is already running on ARM internally. And probably other architectures (maybe SPARC) as well.

    Keeping code cross platform exposes bugs and allows apple to hedge their bets and react to technology changes a lot more quickly.
     
  25. MagicBoy, Apr 28, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016

    MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #25
    To answer the OP. I don't wonder. Apple had to change architecture because the PowerPC line was a dead end. End of the MHz chasing era along with Intel Netburst.

    Intel had the $ to invest in R&D, AIM didn't. Apple would likely have faded into oblivion similar to SGI.

    Suggestions as regards names, compatibility and form factors are just speculation through rose tinted spectacles!
     

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