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IBM 90 nm SOC-processor for Apple?

post #1 of 47
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IBM is about to deliver its first volume production 90 nm SOC-design, and the customer is Apple, says Elerctronic News. Is 970FX or the system controller in G5 systems SOC designs? I think not.. so what are they talking about?
post #2 of 47
If I can still read English, it basically says IBM is having some problems with initial runs on 90nm. And, yes, Apple is still going to buy IBM's CPUs on 90nm process.
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post #3 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by Henriok
IBM is about to deliver its first volume production 90 nm SOC-design, and the customer is Apple, says Elerctronic News. Is 970FX or the system controller in G5 systems SOC designs? I think not.. so what are they talking about?

I call typo.

I think they mean to say SOI at 90 nm. Nowhere else in the 'article' do they mention actual chipdesign. They only talk about production and they do mention SOI. That's my take.
post #4 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by kroehl
I call typo.

I think they mean to say SOI at 90 nm. Nowhere else in the 'article' do they mention actual chipdesign. They only talk about production and they do mention SOI. That's my take.

I think you hit it on the head. Typo.
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post #5 of 47
Hymmm; That isn't how I read it. While it is always possible that Electronic News made a mistake I would suspect that they would be resistant to making that sort of goof up. It certainly can't be a keyboard slip up either.

I'm taking it at face value. That is it appears as if Apple is about to recieve a customed designed processor just for them. Of course the delivery of the 90nm 970 is due around this time also, so they could be talking about that. It owuld be really groovy if the report is accurate and a SOC is destined for Apple. Such a chip could have a tremendous impact on either their low cost lines or their laptops.

We will soon see either way. I do know one thing though, Apple needs to get on the ball with respect to the iMac or its replacement so something is probally targetted at that market. The Laptops are almost in the same shape peformance wise.

Dave

Quote:
Originally posted by kroehl
I call typo.

I think they mean to say SOI at 90 nm. Nowhere else in the 'article' do they mention actual chipdesign. They only talk about production and they do mention SOI. That's my take.
post #6 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by wizard69
I'm taking it at face value. That is it appears as if Apple is about to recieve a customed designed processor just for them.

If it is so, then why we did not hear anything about this processor? Why IBM did not make an announcement, like they did with the 970?
post #7 of 47
I think IBM has been bitten by the Apple secrecy bug.

Anyway, let's just see how the sentence reads if we "correct" for the typo:
Quote:
IBM is about to deliver its very first volume production of an SOC on 90nm, said Reeves. This will be a design for Apple.

becomes
Quote:
IBM is about to deliver its very first volume production of an SOI on 90nm, said Reeves. This will be a design for Apple.

Doesn't really work. Earlier in the article, he structures it like "our SOI 0.13-micron process." You'd have to put "chip" in there to start to sound right:
Quote:
IBM is about to deliver its very first volume production of an SOI chip on 90nm, said Reeves. This will be a design for Apple.

The easiest explanation is a typo, I admit. Is it true that this the first 90nm product ever from IBM?

Screed

Edit: Okay, back to the other side of the fence. Five minutes of Googling would indicate that this would be IBM's first SOI 90nm product.
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post #8 of 47
Here is Macbidouille opinion (sorry, no time to translate):

Quote:

- Apple fabrique des SOC ? - Lionel - 14:29:44

http://www.reed-electronics.com a publi une intervention de Tom Reeves, VP et manager Gnral de la division ASIC d'IBM.
Une phrase est intressante:

IBM is about to deliver its very first volume production of an SOC on 90nm, said Reeves. This will be a design for Apple


IBM est sur le point de fournir Apple sa toute premire production de SOC en 90 nm, ce sera un design pour Apple.
Nous avons interrog un spcialiste qui nous a expliqu ce qu'est un SOC. SOC = System On Chip, ou pour le commun des mortels un processeur avec ses priphriques sur une seule puce. Notre spcialiste pense cependant que le terme utilis trs la mode l'aurait t la place d'ASIC.
Dans ce cas, sous ce terme, on pourrait entendre qu'IBM a sorti pour Apple les premiers contrleurs de carte mre en 90 nm. Et l l'information prend un sens, car on voit mal Apple fabriquer ses propres processeurs.

Selon les informations que l'on trouve sur le site http://www.970eval.com/BlockDiagram_970.html, on apprend que le contrleur (NorthBridge) d'un PPC 970 consomme 29 Watts ( 1 GHz). Or, il est grav en 130 nm
C'est plus qu'un processeur PPC 970 Fx 2 GHz.

On peut donc sans trop se lancer dans des spculations oses, penser qu'IBM va livrer Apple des NorthBrige gravs 90nm qui chauffent mois et peuvent aller probablement plus vite. En appliquant cette puce la rgle de 3 du PPC 970, on obtiendrait environ 8w de consommation pour cette puce 1 GHz.
C'est infiniment mieux, surtout si elle doit tre embarque dans un portable. Mais l c'est une spculation.

En apart, on nous a appris qu'Apple vendait son NorthBridge d'autres clients, dont IBM. En revanche l'autre (petite) partie du contrleur, le SouthBridge est spcifique Apple car le vendre quivaudrait accepter que des clones existent.

post #9 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by sCreeD
[snip]
The easiest explanation is a typo, I admit.

Excellent analysis. Thank you.
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post #10 of 47
Alright fellas, take it from one in the industry:

SOC is often used to refer to anything other than a memory device. The Semiconductor industry (the test side, anyways), is often divided as "Memory" and "SOC"; the later covering everything that the first does not.

It may be technically inacurate, but it is the reality.

That's my take on it.
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post #11 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by PB
Here is Macbidouille opinion (sorry, no time to translate):

So, briefly: it says that, according to some specialist they asked, the term SOC is used much today in the place of ASIC. They believe that the article is about the NorthBridge of the G5 being now at 90 nm, and they estimate that the process shrink would reduce the power consumption of the NorthBridge from 29 W to 8(!) W (at 1 GHz). Powerbooks anyone?
post #12 of 47
I think it is quite clear the article is talking about ASICs too. And that ASIC is most likely the system ASIC for G5 systems.
post #13 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by THT
I think it is quite clear the article is talking about ASICs too. And that ASIC is most likely the system ASIC for G5 systems.


That's what I thought as well THT, but what about SOC System On Chip? I remember a big stink about IBM starting research in that a few years back, and the reality of such a processor could possibly lead us to a new device from Apple.

BTW, I was in the Minneapple a few days back THT. You still live there?
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post #14 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by Henriok
IBM is about to deliver its first volume production 90 nm SOC-design, and the customer is Apple, says Elerctronic News. Is 970FX or the system controller in G5 systems SOC designs? I think not.. so what are they talking about?

SOC could refer to a 'System On a Chip' design which would refer to an all in one chip for some sort of compact device, usually low-power. That would explain the custom design since Apple would have spec'ed it out for IBM to produce. If it's PPC based, it could be for a tablet, palm-like device, phone (doubting), or perhaps the ever-rumored set-top box.

-=- (veering offtopic)

Having said that, I think it'd be nice if it were high-performance (not necessarily low-power) and led to a radical and insanely great new iMac. Hmm, perhaps the new iMac could be screens with this chip in them (making them full-blown computers, albeit auxiliary speed) but attachable to a full-blown computer station (optional) with full speed graphics, CPU(s), h/d, etc..

-=- (really offtopic)

What I really see Apple needing *right*now* is the SoHo computer though, not a sexy one. This would be a business class iMac AIO --- no detachable anything, just pure ergonomics and business. Let the iMac (e.g., two-piece) evolve into an insanely great home computer, and introduce a new business class AIO desktop line. What makes a great (sexy) home computer does not necessarily make an insanely great (low theft, high reliability, high security) business computer. It also needs to look the part. Apple has just started their retail store small business Wednesdays, so they recognize the (a?) need, but it would be nice if they had a computer specifically suited to that market --- with all the latest fixings!

Cheers!
post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
That's what I thought as well THT, but what about SOC System On Chip? I remember a big stink about IBM starting research in that a few years back, and the reality of such a processor could possibly lead us to a new device from Apple.

BTW, I was in the Minneapple a few days back THT. You still live there?

Hehe, I haven't lived in Minneapolis since my Univ of Minnesota days, a long way back. I do visit quite a bit with family there. I've been in Houston for the last 10 years, and with the new wifey moving down here in 3 months, I'm probably staying in Houston for a long while. However, I would love it if I could move back to MN. Wouldn't mind visits to the North shore, drives along the Mississippi and fishing in all the lakes at all, though. Just need to find better employment than I have now.

But back to the article. The article doesn't talk about chips really. It's talking about IBM's poor performance in the foundry business, which I believe is to provide silicon platters, and chip masks to various chip makers. Just forget about the middle two paragraphs everyone and read the 1st and last sentences. Reeves is the VP and general manager of IBM's ASIC division. Reeves said they are about to deliver a 90 nm ASIC, "SOC", to Apple. An ASIC, application specific integrated circuit, usually refers to the "northbridge" and "southbridge" chips or any other chips that provide a specific function. They do not refer to microprocessors or memory chips. If Reeves is saying such a thing, and considering his position, I think it means Apple is about to take delivery of an ASIC.

So the typo is, in all likelihood, that EN mixed up SOC and ASIC. It should have said "... production of an ASIC on 90 nm..." and would thusly be grammatically correct.
post #16 of 47
Quote:
We will soon see either way. I do know one thing though, Apple needs to get on the ball with respect to the iMac or its replacement so something is probally targetted at that market. The Laptops are almost in the same shape peformance wise.

System on a chip with anything G5 like MAY be what Apple is looking for to reduce costs and reduce prices on their consumer Macs.

Clearly, if Apple are serious about Marketshare then need to be more aggressive and offer something more compelling.

The horror stories of customers marching into Apple stores with cheaper PC newspaper clippings tells its own story.

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post #17 of 47
Well, the Electronic News article seems to have been pulled. Not sure what that means.
post #18 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by occam
SOC could refer to a 'System On a Chip' design which would refer to an all in one chip for some sort of compact device, usually low-power. That would explain the custom design since Apple would have spec'ed it out for IBM to produce. If it's PPC based, it could be for a tablet, palm-like device, phone (doubting), or perhaps the ever-rumored set-top box.

http://www.macnet2.com/more.php?id=455_0_1_0


Then these two things go together...
post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by THT


But back to the article. The article doesn't talk about chips really. It's talking about IBM's poor performance in the foundry business, which I believe is to provide silicon platters, and chip masks to various chip makers. Just forget about the middle two paragraphs everyone and read the 1st and last sentences. Reeves is the VP and general manager of IBM's ASIC division. Reeves said they are about to deliver a 90 nm ASIC, "SOC", to Apple. An ASIC, application specific integrated circuit, usually refers to the "northbridge" and "southbridge" chips or any other chips that provide a specific function. They do not refer to microprocessors or memory chips. If Reeves is saying such a thing, and considering his position, I think it means Apple is about to take delivery of an ASIC.

So the typo is, in all likelihood, that EN mixed up SOC and ASIC. It should have said "... production of an ASIC on 90 nm..." and would thusly be grammatically correct.

Apple insider is now reporting it as a System on a chip delivery, and that last guy just posted a link to a sudden shift for Apple having a Palm type device. Everybody knows SJ says no handhelds.
This looks like a bad dream about to happen. People are going to start believing these rumors, and then start their rabid infested complaints once they figure out these products don't exist.
I think these rumors are started by the competition to make Apple lose customers.

And is that wasn't enough Alias is going to be bought away from SGI now by an independent investment company. Which will mean I will be buying my first PC soon, and leaving the Mac. That 3% market share is getting smaller by the second. Apple looks so good at times, but then BLAM! it's in a state of ruin.
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post #20 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
And is that wasn't enough Alias is going to be bought away from SGI now by an independent investment company. Which will mean I will be buying my first PC soon, and leaving the Mac. That 3% market share is getting smaller by the second. Apple looks so good at times, but then BLAM! it's in a state of ruin.

Why would the investment company ignore 40% - and growing - of A|W's market?
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post #21 of 47
On occasion, the public announcement of "outside investment company" interest is part of a negotiating strategy with a potential buyer, yet to be announced.
There is little question that Alias/Wavefront is in play. However, with whom is not known.
post #22 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
Apple insider is now reporting it as a System on a chip delivery, and that last guy just posted a link to a sudden shift for Apple having a Palm type device. Everybody knows SJ says no handhelds.
This looks like a bad dream about to happen. People are going to start believing these rumors, and then start their rabid infested complaints once they figure out these products don't exist.
I think these rumors are started by the competition to make Apple lose customers.

And is that wasn't enough Alias is going to be bought away from SGI now by an independent investment company. Which will mean I will be buying my first PC soon, and leaving the Mac. That 3% market share is getting smaller by the second. Apple looks so good at times, but then BLAM! it's in a state of ruin.

wait, what?
there are rumors about Apple that people believe therefore you are buying a PC?
...
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post #23 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by NMR Guy
Well, the Electronic News article seems to have been pulled. Not sure what that means.

I dunno what it means either but you're quite right... Even using the search engine turned up nothing. Hmmm could this be something (more than just the 90nm 970 going into the xServe) after all?

Dave
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post #24 of 47
If you read the article, which can't be quoted anymore, it leaves me with the impression that the item they are talking about is not the 970. I think it would be a stretch for IBM to consider the 970 a SOC or even an ASIC. So this leaves us with few alternative explanations other than an actual reference to an SOC.

If it was a reference to the 90nm 970, I'm not sure why the article would have been pulled. The chip has been announced and Apple is expected to ship roduct very soon based on this platform. So I suspect that this SOC is for something else. Obviously I don't know what that is, but I can see such hardware making an excellent laptop!

Thanks
Dave


Quote:
Originally posted by DaveGee
I dunno what it means either but you're quite right... Even using the search engine turned up nothing. Hmmm could this be something (more than just the 90nm 970 going into the xServe) after all?

Dave
post #25 of 47
Finally this older G5 Powerbook thread by Nr9 maybe has some truth ...
post #26 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by PB
Finally this older G5 Powerbook thread by Nr9 maybe has some truth ...

I'll believe that when I see it, and not a moment before.
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post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by Tomb of the Unknown
I'll believe that when I see it, and not a moment before.

I was not clear enough: I mean the SOC idea, not the multiprocessor configuration.
post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by wizard69
... So I suspect that this SOC is for something else. Obviously I don't know what that is,...

I seem to remember reading something about the next generation of X-Box consoles using a PPC 970. Could these be for them? Microsoft could have conceivably wanted that article pulled if that was the case.
post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by Guartho
I seem to remember reading something about the next generation of X-Box consoles using a PPC 970.

See this thread.

Quote:

Could these be for them? Microsoft could have conceivably wanted that article pulled if that was the case.

The article explicitly stated this is something for Apple. See also oldmacfan's second post in this thread.
post #30 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by oldmacfan
Then these two things go together...

And I shall call them... NEWTs
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post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by Aphelion
And I shall call them... NEWTs

No,No It must not use the "newton" name in any way. I was thinking more along the lines of iStein. lol
post #32 of 47
There sure is a lot of furor over that little statement by the IBMer... if you ask me has is simply saying that they are now delivering to Apple their latest intergrated system controller, built on the 90 nm process. We already know that they built the G5's original system controller on IBM's 130 nm process, and there is a fair amount of evidence that the machine was speed limited by heat issues in the system controller. By moving to the 90 nm process Apple can likely build a controller which keeps up with the 970FX. They may have also integrated more components into one part, but so far there is no evidence of that.
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post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by Programmer
There sure is a lot of furor over that little statement by the IBMer... if you ask me has is simply saying that they are now delivering to Apple their latest intergrated system controller, built on the 90 nm process. We already know that they built the G5's original system controller on IBM's 130 nm process, and there is a fair amount of evidence that the machine was speed limited by heat issues in the system controller. By moving to the 90 nm process Apple can likely build a controller which keeps up with the 970FX. They may have also integrated more components into one part, but so far there is no evidence of that.

Seeing as the quote was made by the ASCI Division Manager, seems like you're right along with other people in this thread saying the same thing.

Question though, a couple of people have posted that they, their company at least, have already received G5 xServes, presumably with the 970FX, wouldn't this mean the initial run of xServers were using a 0.13µm controller, or were they made with initial non-production run parts. After all Mr. Manner did say they were just now starting to ship production run 0.09µm SOC parts.

Sorry for the run on sentence, but I wasn't an English major.
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post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by PB
I was not clear enough: I mean the SOC idea, not the multiprocessor configuration.

Heh, I think Tomb knew full well what you meant......take a look at the 'NR9' thread and his less than impressed stance!!!
post #35 of 47
About a few weeks ago, there was a lot of buzz about Microsoft having G5's in house for XBox NEXT testing. It will be interesting to see if that ever plays out.

I've heard dates anywhere from late this year to 2006...although every passing day brings new information to the table, i'm pointing for mid-2005 announces, with a christmas roll-out.

Should that happen, G5's will get more funding than they've ever seen.

shame less plug for more info.

-walloo.
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post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by willywalloo
Should that happen, G5's will get more funding than they've ever seen.

IBM doesn't really "fund" G5's at all. IBM funds designs for new processors for systems which have a pre-existing product plan and product roadmap.

IBM had no use for the G5. The G5 was made for Apple. Apple paid for - "funded" the G5 development. Now that IBM sees that it's actually a pretty darn cool processor, they're going to stick a few in a blade configuration to see if anyone bites. But this is happening after the fact. If IBM's blades sell, IBM may think about funding more G5-type designs. If not, they won't.

Same thing with Microsoft. Microsoft is doing the funding of their own chip. BTW, I wouldn't go to Vegas and bet the farm on the XBox2 using a G5. G5-like, yes. G5, no.

So the G5/G6/G7/etc., will only get as much funding as the customer (Apple, Microsoft, Sony, etc.) wants to give.

They WILL benefit by the fact that future PowerPC processors look to be derivatives of IBM's Power processors. And they'll benefit from IBM's overall design experience from creating the new Power processors.

But there will only be a G6/G7 if there's first a customer for the chip. Note that the customer could be another division of IBM, but that's only likely to happen if IBM's G5 blades take off in a big way.
post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by rickag
Seeing as the quote was made by the ASCI Division Manager, seems like you're right along with other people in this thread saying the same thing.

Question though, a couple of people have posted that they, their company at least, have already received G5 xServes, presumably with the 970FX, wouldn't this mean the initial run of xServers were using a 0.13µm controller, or were they made with initial non-production run parts. After all Mr. Manner did say they were just now starting to ship production run 0.09µm SOC parts.

Often publication lead times make it tricky to assign dates and chronological ordering to these events.
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post #38 of 47
My take on this whole development is that if an IBM'er working for it's ASIC division was talking about a north bridge ASIC he would have used the term ASIC some place. Instead the term SOC was used. The S in SOC implies System which in my mind implies a CPU of some sort.

Now some have argued that the convention at IBM is to use the abreviation SOC to imply something else, possibly Special Order Chip. If that is indeed true then I would be more likely to agree with your point of view.

Maybe all this speculation is pure garbage generated by a misunderstanding. On the other hand I believe we are on the verge of another generation of electronics due to the rather large process shrinks that have occured over the last couple of years. If this is not a SOC in the normal sense of the abbreviation then I'd have to think that Apple and IBM are working on somthing for the near future. It (SOC) is Apple only opportunity to compete in the low cost arena and still maintain its profitability.

Dave



Quote:
Originally posted by Programmer
There sure is a lot of furor over that little statement by the IBMer... if you ask me has is simply saying that they are now delivering to Apple their latest intergrated system controller, built on the 90 nm process. We already know that they built the G5's original system controller on IBM's 130 nm process, and there is a fair amount of evidence that the machine was speed limited by heat issues in the system controller. By moving to the 90 nm process Apple can likely build a controller which keeps up with the 970FX. They may have also integrated more components into one part, but so far there is no evidence of that.
post #39 of 47
G5-a-like for the XBox 2 sounds feasible, given that the Gamecube's CPU is G3-a-like: IBM aren't averse to adapting desktop designs if the order is big enough.

Wasn't some prelimenary Gamecube development done on PowerMacs?
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post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally posted by Faeylyn
IBM doesn't really "fund" G5's at all. IBM funds designs for new processors for systems which have a pre-existing product plan and product roadmap.

Whast? $3B for the Fishkill plant isn't "funding?"
Quote:
IBM had no use for the G5. The G5 was made for Apple. Apple paid for - "funded" the G5 development. Now that IBM sees that it's actually a pretty darn cool processor, they're going to stick a few in a blade configuration to see if anyone bites. But this is happening after the fact. If IBM's blades sell, IBM may think about funding more G5-type designs. If not, they won't.

Nonsense. If IBM didn't think the G5 had sales potential beyond the handsfuls of processors Apple would order, they never would have undertaken it. IBM & Apple partnered on the chip, true, but Apple's contribution is minimal compared to IBM's investment. IBM is looking to the embedded market, to it's own server lines and to Apple (and others) to make the 970 family a success. They aren't marketing the 970 as a desktop and entry level server product on a whim.
Quote:
But there will only be a G6/G7 if there's first a customer for the chip. Note that the customer could be another division of IBM, but that's only likely to happen if IBM's G5 blades take off in a big way.

More stuff and nonsense. IBM is looking to huge markets with specific needs. Not only will there be next generation 970's but they will be tailored to compete head to head with Intel and AMD's offerings. IBM doesn't even get in the game unless they think they can make large amounts of cash, and they are definitely in for a pound with their Linux strategy and the PPC970 family of processors.
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