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A G4 PowerMac upgradable to G5?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'm trying to consider a middle ground between pessimistic predications of nothing more than a 1.2 GHz system with Xserve-style DDR, and optimistic predictions of a 1.4 to 1.6 GHz system with full use of 333 MHz DDR.

I'm also thinking about that "G5 Ready" comment in the recent PDF diagram of the next Power Mac. (Unfortunately, I consider that PDF to be the least reliable bit of the recent rumor mongering.)

What I'm wondering is this: Could Apple be planning to come out with a modestly improved Power Mac now, but one that is specifically designed to be upgradable to the mythical G5 in the near future? When I say upgradable, I mean upgradable at a reasonable price, without having to replace the entire motherboard.

I ask this specifically of the chip gurus here: How hard would it be to design a motherboard which takes a G4 now, incapable of directly accessing DDR at full speed, but where a faster G5 could be plugged in later with full DDR support?

If August 24 (or there about) arrives, and Apple has nothing more to offer than a 1.2 GHz G4 with Xserve-style DDR, I simply won't buy. I'll wait for something better. Even 1.4 or 1.6 GHz, still tied to a slow system bus, would be unlikely to get me to pull out my wallet.

However... I might buy a such a system if I knew that there was a clear and easy path for substantial upgrading. The tricky thing would be trusting that an upgrade price would be reasonable compared to a totally new system (not a good bet with Apple, historically speaking), and that the parts for the upgrade (presumably G5 chips) wouldn't be held hostage for six months to a year while Apple reserved all of the G5s for new systems (again, a bad bet given Apple's history).

Even with these doubts, I consider this an exciting alternative scenario to gloom-and-doom about Power Macs on one side, and wishful thinking on the other. What relationship my scenario has with reality... that's another matter entirely!
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Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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post #2 of 6
That would be the first time in like 8 years for Apple to come up with officially "CPU upgradeable" machines again. The last thing that was officially CPU upgradeable was from 86K machines to PPC machines and that was NOT under Steve-I-want-your-money Jobs' reign.

So, my answer to your question: will the next PowerMacs be G5 upgradeable is:
Maybe, but not from Apple.

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Matyoroy!
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Matyoroy!
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post #3 of 6
This was the core of a topic I started a couple of weeks ago "Blade Runner" a Modular Mac. Check it out for some interesting concepts...

<a href="http://forums.appleinsider.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=001955" target="_blank">http://forums.appleinsider.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=001955</a>
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OSX + Duals, Quads & Octos = World Domination
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post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Aphelion:
[QB]This was the core of a topic I started a couple of weeks ago "Blade Runner" a Modular Mac. Check it out for some interesting concepts...[QB]<hr></blockquote>

There are similarities, but I'm not looking for anything that's such a radical departure from a typical desktop unit. All I care about is a good bridge in the new Power Mac to a future, better CPU if the next Power Macs are arriving just short of The Next Big Thing.
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
Reply
post #5 of 6
My 2 cents would be that we will get an XServe style motherboard and a 200-300 MHz speed bump. Then again, I'm an engineer, so it is my job to be conservative inmy guesses.

I doubt that we will get something that is easily upgradeable. Easy upgrades haven't been in Apple's vocabularly (by "easy", I mean on the order of the PPC 7500, 8500, 9500 processor cards). I would not bet on any kind of forward compatibility between the next pro model and the ephemeral G5.
King Felix
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King Felix
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post #6 of 6
The current G4 uses the MPX bus. Any future G5 very likely will not. This means that you'd need to upgrade the entire motherboard. Alternatively they could use a new G4 (e.g. 7500) with a new bus that is the future growth path (i.e. RapidIO), in which case a daughtercard style arrangement could allow an upgrade.

My guess is that the comment refered to the case being ready to hold Apple's upcoming G5 & motherboard... it has nothing to do with "user upgradability", which holds almost no interest for Apple.
Providing grist for the rumour mill since 2001.
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Providing grist for the rumour mill since 2001.
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