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AltiVec - Friend or Foe?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Whilst there can be little doubt that AltiVec has been beneficial to Apple, enabling Steve Jobs to claim that Macs are comparable in performance terms to PCs, is it healthy for Apple to be so reliant on a single technology from a single supplier, especially given Motorolas current difficulties?
Have Apple become dependant on the “velocity engine” to such an extent, that its inconceivable for the G4s successor not to have it, even though it may be a faster processor?
post #2 of 7
Apple would need a pretty hefty processor to go without Altivec. SIMD extensions are a "must" in procs nowadays. Yes they are tethering themselves but despite what people crow P4's and Athlons do not offer that much of a performance advantage to forgo on the benefits of Altivec IMO.
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post #3 of 7
[quote]Originally posted by RodUK:
<strong>Whilst there can be little doubt that AltiVec has been beneficial to Apple, enabling Steve Jobs to claim that Macs are comparable in performance terms to PCs, is it healthy for Apple to be so reliant on a single technology from a single supplier, especially given Motorolas current difficulties?
Have Apple become dependant on the “velocity engine” to such an extent, that its inconceivable for the G4s successor not to have it, even though it may be a faster processor?</strong><hr></blockquote>

As I understand it, AltiVec (Velocity Engine) was largely an Apple invention and had little to do with Motorola, however since Motorola was responsible for integrating the technology into the G4 CPU's it is often referred to as "Motorola" technology, hence some of the issues about who owns what and who can license the technology. On paper it looks like only Motorola can licence AltiVec, but I was also under the impression that Apple could as well. Anyone know this for certain?
Anyway I personally think that Apple's ties to IBM gives Apple more choices than people realize.
Remember, IBM owns alot of the technology that Intel and AMD use in their processor design, IBM as a matter of fact fabs for both these companies, IBM also has considerable Research and Development resources on thier own. (There's an understatement)
As long as there is any partnership between Apple and Big Blue Apple has lots of options.
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post #4 of 7
altivec is motorola's work and they own it.

altivec is what keeps apple somewhat competitive.

you would need an extreme jump in clockspeed for the next generation if it were to not include altivec and still be competive
post #5 of 7
Keep Altivec-the problem is clockspeed.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your posts. This was kind of my point. If in order to progress, Apple are forced to move to a new chip design without AltiVec, how fast would it have to be in raw processor speed before it is seen as a step forward. For example, have we become so conditioned on the importance of the velocity engine, that if Apple released a PowerMac G5 based on a 3GHz processor (without AltiVec), it would be seen as a disappointment.

[ 07-30-2002: Message edited by: RodUK ]</p>
post #7 of 7
Look the velocity engine is not just a marketing ploy,it delivers great performance,stripping Altivec would be a bad move,the point I was making is that they need a chip with Altivec and a high clockspeed.Altivec is a more advanced design than Intels or AMDs chips because it has a higher degree of parallelism,which makes it a better match with multithreaded and other types of software that depend on parallelism such as neural nets and the like.
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