[quote]Originally posted by Programmer:
AIM includes some provisions for sharing of design technology so no doubt Apple has some really good starting points for a new design, and they probably have a bunch of work that was done on the CORE2000 that was supposed to follow the G2 (but never materialized). They also may have gotten a few people from Somerset, in addition to all the Apple people taking part in the Somerset projects.
The note about not having a "32-bit compatibility layer" is actually more correct than saying it has one. PowerPC 32bit/64bit compatibility is built into BookE and isn't a "layer", its just a single bit switch in the CPU that modifies the behaviour of a handful of integer instructions. It can run 32-bit code but it is not
The 800 MHz clock rate hints at a highly superscalar design, rather like the POWER4. If this is a made up rumour then it is clearly made up with an awareness of the other rumours of IBM involvement. It doesn't fall in line with last year's rumours about high clock rates (>2GHz), however.
"running a Darwin variant, not MacOS X" is a little weird, but it implies things are at a pretty early stage and the HAL hasn't been fully updated for this processor yet. That and the next comment fall in line with a 2003 introduction for these beastly CPUs.
No information about the bus or memory controller.
Market positioning... it makes a lot of sense to build a very powerful workstation-class Mac, but that doesn't mean the PowerMac can be left to languish. Since this beast doesn't sound like it is near term, we'll hopefully see improved performance in the PowerMac line soon (G4 based).[/QB]<hr></blockquote>
I too would like to know more about the motherboard and bus design, but alas, "Deep Mac" isn't talking and has now become cagey with his replies. Rather than put my words in his mouth I'll call it quits with regard to this paticular rumor and not ask for any more details.
For you and others reading my little contribution of water cooler gossip my source nailed the Xserve. The reason I didn't share this piece of info was that I didn't believe it myself. Apple? Rack mounted servers? Enterprise market? "Yeah Right" was my thought. Well here I sit, I could have been legend on Apple Insider and elevated in status with the likes of Kormac, Dorsal M and others. *sniff* Opportunity missed I suppose
All sarcasm aside my source, okay I'll call him "Deep Mac" did share with me some tidbits about Apple's methods and requirements for testing their hardware dev platforms along with some other commentary. NOTE: This is basically a summary of many conversations and information he's shared.
Issue # 1: Cases/Industrial Design.
Deep Mac claims that he has never seen a new Apple case design and maintains that the prototype units he has seen are typical PC full tower beige cases with the new Apple hardware inside. Stuck to the side of these cases are large labels with helpful reminders from Apple Corporate to heed NDA's and other legal agreements. Aside from that, the boxes themselves are indistinguishable from any other PC/Workstation/Server machine in his QA Lab. Deep Mac is unconvinced that 3rd party developers ever see new Apple industrial design concepts, and that leaks of pictures etc. of new Apple Industrial Design must come from Apple itself or a subsidiary.
He did say that he has seen prototype hardware that came equipped with some rather elaborate cooling systems, like refridgeration units strapped on to these units.
Issue #2: Specifications.
Deep Mac claims that the documentation from Apple about the prototype hardware seldom mentions specs. Since he is a Software QA guy whose focus is testing device drivers, all he gets are the Test Requirements, Scenerios and Test Objectives
for the hardware. He gets his specs from the Operating System or reading the printed labels on the devices themselves.
Issue 3#: OS and system software.
In recent memory Deep Mac claims that he has yet to see a test box run a commercial version of the Mac OS, he mentioned that he's seen Rhapsody once on a test box. Instead he's seen AIX, FreeBSD, but of late he's seen more Darwin than anything else. (Makes sense, build up kernel layer of Darwin, integrate with the rest of MacOS X later)
Other tidbits from Deep Mac:
Prepare to be blown away with what Apple has in development over the next two years, and no, it has nothing to due with clockspeed.
And finally, with regard to Apple's strategy in the long-term. Apple wants no less than a 25% marketshare. (Where Deep Mac got this I do not know, nor does he give a time frame)
Food for thought. Like all of you *I* want to know more about these workstation class machines he's talked about. Frankly it's the most exciting thing I've heard in awhile.