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WSJ: Apple considering the use of Intel chips in Macs - Page 3

post #81 of 130
Smells like bullshit from here.

We heard exactly the same rumors back when Apple was saddled with that Motorola poo for CPUs. I think I even remember some articles in "respected" papers like the WSJ speculating on an imminent switch to x86 by Apple. There was a switch all right, but Apple stuck with PPC + Altivec/VMX.

The only thing I can think of is, maybe IBM has some serious issues we don't know about. Although the PPC 970 currently compares favorably to x86 offerings - far more than the G4 ever did - there are plenty of warning signs that IBM is about to pull a Motorola on Apple. It seems unlikely given IBM's prowess at CPU design and fab, but who knows, maybe Jobs pissed off the wrong IBM executive at some point.

I give this rumor 10% probability, a notch up from MOSR. The news reader on NPR made it sound like a done deal. I can't wait to read about all the disappointed stock traders/analyst when this turns out to be bull. Oh wait, I forgot - analysts never admit to being wrong!
post #82 of 130
Does the linked report actually mention CPUs?

Perhaps Apple is simply talking to Intel about next generation controller chips, or such like rather than CPUs?

It wouldn't be the first time that an Apple machine had an Intel chip soldered to the underside of the logic board where most people would never think to look.

PCI, PCI Express and USB are all Intel standards...
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post #83 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by webmail
Moving will ensure the longterm viability of the Mac. Intel will continue to make cutting edge CPU technology. IBM has no motivation. If Apple uses Intel based processors it will always be equal or ahead of current windows based PC machines. As far as motherboards go, they can be made into any shape you wish. Most PC motherboards are made to be installed in a standard case type. Dell, HP, and other companies use CUSTOM motherboards, however they aren't very innovative in design. There isnt' a limitation on how the case can be designed by used a chip based on intel.

In my opinion you wouldn't even know the difference, Only that it was cheepier and faster.

Stop being such a drama queen.

1) Intel does not make cutting edge CPU technology. AMD's processors are cheaper, more efficient, and use less power than Intel's.
2) Soon, Apple won't be the only company purchasing IBM's chips. All next gen consoles except for PS3 will be using IBM's G5 processors with multiple cores. Apple will be just another client for IBM, not their sole reason to be making the G5s. plus, you forget that IBM makes the G5s for themselves too, they use them in their servers.
3) Apple is already ahead of PCs. Show me an Athlon 64 processor that runs at 2.7 Ghz. Show me an Intel that can significantly outperform the equivilant of 2 2.6Ghz AMD processors. They don't exist, Apple already is AT LEAST keeping up with the competition if not blowing them out of the water.

4)APPLE ISN'T GOING TO INTEL FOR MAIN CPUS!!! STOP THIS NONSENSE!!! YOU ALL FORGET THAT INTEL IS THE LARGEST FLASH MEMORY MANUFACTERERS IN THE WORLD!!! I mean come on, Apple could just be looking for a new iPod Shuffle model. Or Apple could be looking for some type of chipset, a processor for a handheld device, or a processor for a video iPod. Intel makes MORE THAN ONE PRODUCT PEOPLE!
post #84 of 130
".....Apple could choose to add some Intel-based models to its product line or make a complete shift -- dealing a serious blow to IBM's microprocessor business"

umm... no, IBM couldn't give a sh1t if apple lapped up it's table scraps or not.
post #85 of 130
Supposed source claims to have used prototype tablet and that is what the Intel/Apple talks are supposed to be about.

http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000310044375/
post #86 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by webmail
Yes because it's so "hard" to figure out intel's next generation technology. Don't be an idiot. People dont' stage corporate talks to sneak a peak back into the R&D room.

Maybe you're not familar but many of the staff of Apple computer included Steve Jobs are welcome on Intel's campus.

Uh, yeah they do. No one really knows what Intel wants to do. There were rumors not too long ago that Intel was exploring asynchronous techniques.

Secondly, as a person who's in the high-tech industry, I can verify that very often companies will meet to discuss long term plans. For example, Intel has been planning something, and (A) they want to see if Apple is interested, (B) they want to see what changes they could make in the project to make Apple even more interested. This is pretty standard procedure.
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post #87 of 130
I wonder who is going to fab the Alphamosaic chip?
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post #88 of 130
First has any one seen this by Paul Thurrott (http://www.internet-nexus.com/)? Ignoring that he makes some self important claims of discovery of the whole Apple/Intel collusion. He does however suggest a similar line to Engadet for a tablet type device.

PS don't know why his site is so OS X orientated - a troll site maybe?

Text from Paul's site as below for those who don't won't to support his add based cash generation...

Quote:
Apple and Intel: A tale of rumors and truths
Everyone has an opinion about the Wall Street Journal report that Apple may be moving to Intel chips. The most common opinion is that Apple is foisting this rumor itself in a bid to pressure IBM, its current chipmaker. Apple, these people say, is upset that IBM can't deliver the 3 GHz chip that Steve Jobs promised two years ago, and it's jealous that IBM is spending so much time working on chips for video game systems.

It all makes a lot of sense. There's just one problem. In the past, when rumors of Apple jumping ship to a different chip architecture came up, I just reported on them like everyone else. This time, I'm involved personally. I was the first to report it was happening, for starters. And I now have three sources that have independently provided me with information about these developments. That doesn't mean that Apple isn't playing Intel off of IBM of course. But I have to wonder.

One of my sources is a Microsoft evangelist who heard that Apple was moving to Intel from two senior Apple executives. The second is an Intel engineer I met at WinHEC last month, who told me that Intel then had OS X running on Intel hardware in its labs. The third source is a Tablet PC enthusiast and expert who regularly provides me with Tablet PC information.

The first two were unequivocal: Apple is porting OS X to Intel--not to x86, but specifically to Intel--and abandoning IBM's PowerPC architecture. The third noted this week that he's hearing that the Intel work is related to Apple's much discussed Tablet device. Too, there's a hidden display option that lets you orient the screen in landscape mode in Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger," a clue that such a device is on the way, I was told by others. (However, I can't get this secret option to work because my PowerBook doesn't support it.)

So what does all this mean? I'm not sure. It may happen. It may not. But this is the first time I've actually been involved, and I'm not sure what to make of it.
post #89 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by Owen
First has any one seen this by Paul Thurrott (http://www.internet-nexus.com/)? Ignoring that he makes some self important claims of discovery of the whole Apple/Intel collusion. He does however suggest a similar line to Engadet for a tablet type device.

PS don't know why his site is so OS X orientated - a troll site maybe?

Text from Paul's site as below for those who don't won't to support his add based cash generation...

o what does all this mean? I'm not sure. It may happen. It may not. But this is the first time I've actually been involved, and I'm not sure what to make of it.

Yep, he's really involved in all of this. What a load of crap!
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post #90 of 130
Quote:
Too, there's a hidden display option that lets you orient the screen in landscape mode in Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger," a clue that such a device is on the way, I was told by others. (However, I can't get this secret option to work because my PowerBook doesn't support it.

Hidden? Secret? It's right there in the SysPref if you have the right GPU and an external display.
JLL

95% percent of the boat is owned by Microsoft, but the 5% Apple controls happens to be the rudder!
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JLL

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post #91 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by JLL
Hidden? Secret? It's right there in the SysPref if you have the right GPU and an external display.


To test it, quit System Preferences, re-launch it, and press "option" while clicking on the "Displays" preference pane icon.

If you have the appropriate graphics chip, you should get a "Rotate:" option with a drop down.

If you rotate, you'll lose that drop down after the display refresh, but just quit System Preferences, re-launch, and press "option" again on the "Displays" icon, and it will return. Then choose "standard" in the drop down.
post #92 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by MasonMcD
To test it, quit System Preferences, re-launch it, and press "option" while clicking on the "Displays" preference pane icon.

If you have the appropriate graphics chip, you should get a "Rotate:" option with a drop down.

If you rotate, you'll lose that drop down after the display refresh, but just quit System Preferences, re-launch, and press "option" again on the "Displays" icon, and it will return. Then choose "standard" in the drop down.

And on a desktop system (which has an external display) it's right there without pressing anything.
JLL

95% percent of the boat is owned by Microsoft, but the 5% Apple controls happens to be the rudder!
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JLL

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post #93 of 130
this from macdailynews.com...

RUMOR: Apple Tablet exists running 'reduced version' of Mac OS X

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - 10:25 AM EST



Rob Bushway, owner of Zoe Technologies, a firm specializing in web development and technology consulting, who also runs TabletBible.Com for inkable bibles and books for Tablet PCs has posted this on his blog:

I have no less than 5 sources saying an Apple Tablet announcement is due soon... And the Intel talks are for battery saving Sonoma-like Powerbook and Tablet tech, I'd heard this 3-4 weeks ago from 3 sources... And it exists, honest, [have] seen a prototype. Instant On, running a reduced version of OSX, with some funky start-up PDA like Apple icon menu. Touch only (white touch pen), [at] least the version I saw.

Cool if true!
post #94 of 130
OK, a few things:

If Intel is evil, IBM is evil. You remember the "1984" commercial? That was aimed squarely at IBM. "Make friends with unrighteous Mammon," if you want to think of things in such terms. The question is, what does Intel have that Apple might be interested in?

Intel doesn't just make Pentiums, or x86 CPUs. They make lots and lots of stuff. Apple could be interested in any of it. I note the latest rumors that Apple is looking at their power-saving technology for PowerBooks (or tablets, as other rumors have it).

As I said above, the discussions could center around something that won't see production for years yet. Apple approached IBM about the 970 sometime in or near 2000, to give you some idea.

Finally, if it is (even partially, or tentatively) about a CPU: Intel has wanted x86 dead for over a decade now. Not all of their reasons are noble, certainly, but the fact remains that if they could line up a significant customer for a next-generation platform, free of all that legacy baggage, they might jump at the chance. There are a lot of emerging technologies and capabilities that would be more elegantly implemented on a clean sheet of paper.
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post #95 of 130
Wow, you all are certainly fired up over this today...

I agree with the earlier post that the endian issues are significant. I use linux PCs a lot, and when compiling code I always have to check the byte-swap I/O option on the linux boxes. Please, let's not have to do that.

In the realm of likely outcomes, how about:
- dual-G4s in PBs long, long before there is a G5 PB
- serious horses in a dual-core (preferably dual dual-core)
powermac in under a year
- intel talk is to drive home Apple's unhappiness with IBM's chip issues.

Otherwise ... who wants to bet on how long (or not..) we will have software developers willing to write code for both PPC- and Intel- based Macs?

I sorta like the idea of Apple and AMD going in together on some serious next-generation boxes, but it seems the obstacles are significant and not worth the cost unless Apple sees IBM as a truly dead end (rather than just significantly delayed).
post #96 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
The only thing about this that *could* make any sense is that Intel has got, or is waiting to produce a processor that is multi-OS compatible. They announced this technology a while back, if anyone here remembers.

When asked if Apple's OS would run on it, they said yes, it would. I am sure that they meant the current PPC version, at least that's how Intel was describing the technology. I forgot what they called it, but it was virtualization, though in hardware. Supposedly there was little if any loss in performance.

IBM has this technology as well, but I'n not certain as to how advanced it is.

*IF* this chip could allow OS X to run without a conversion, then perhaps PPC software would run as well. If the chip is fast, and works well, this could be a solution.

But who knows at this point in time whether it's an actual product? Perhaps that's what the article was referring to.

Actually I think you are thinking about IBM and not Intel. IBM said the next PowerPC 970 chip will support virtualization and that Apple will be using that chip.

IBM's had this tech for awhile now. The Power5 actually uses it. See these links for a refresher:

http://www.macobserver.com/article/2004/12/22.3.shtml

http://esj.com/enterprise/article.aspx?EditorialsID=951

So, IMHO, all this BS over Apple going with Intel on future computers is BS. I believe what many others do, that Apple is simply talking to Intel about chips for the Xserve, or iPod, or... Or Apple is talking about future technology standards with Intel like wireless USB, firewire, etc.
post #97 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by Telomar
I actually think something like cell or MS' processor would work very well as a laptop chip. Keep in mind a lot of the limitations present in it are present in the G4 so it is really just a case of which would be quicker per second.

Just depends on how hot they get and their power management. Neither of those consoles is a Powerbook.

It's a totally different chip. It requires a very different programming model.

I can't see Apple being able to utilize this chip without some rather large changes to the Mach core which is not designed to operate with a chip of this type.

Remember this chip uses a much simplified PPC chip as a controller, though it does some calculations of it's own. There are no out of order execution units in it.

I can see Apple using it for a rendering engine.
post #98 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by Leonard
Actually I think you are thinking about IBM and not Intel. IBM said the next PowerPC 970 chip will support virtualization and that Apple will be using that chip.

IBM's had this tech for awhile now. The Power5 actually uses it. See these links for a refresher:

http://www.macobserver.com/article/2004/12/22.3.shtml

http://esj.com/enterprise/article.aspx?EditorialsID=951

So, IMHO, all this BS over Apple going with Intel on future computers is BS. I believe what many others do, that Apple is simply talking to Intel about chips for the Xserve, or iPod, or... Or Apple is talking about future technology standards with Intel like wireless USB, firewire, etc.

No. It was very specifically Intel that had a press conference about this chip less than two years ago. They were questioned about it's capabilities to run more than one operating system at a time. The questioning led to the speculation about OS X, and their positive reply.

Several others here remember this as well.

I suppose I could look it up if I have the time, but it isn't a questionable event. It was heavily reported upon.
post #99 of 130
Does Intel make an H.264 decoder chip?

Perhaps the new AirPort Extreme A/V basestation will have Intel inside.
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post #100 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by Xool
Does Intel make an H.264 decoder chip?

Perhaps the new AirPort Extreme A/V basestation will have Intel inside.

I don't know about that. Has anyone gotten to that point yet? How do the players like the HD-DVD models that are in pre-production, and the few Sony Blu-Ray machines that do exist do it?

I'm not sure which systems they use to get the video on the disks.

Anybody sure about this (not speculation)?
post #101 of 130
What if...

... all those Intel boxes in Apple's back yard are just Intel's home delivery drivers bringing round a new slew of chips for Wireless USB? Not a switch in processor technologies, but a switch in peripheral concepts -- including but not limited to a switch from FireWire to new USB standards... Go, think!
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post #102 of 130
You know what this reminds me of? Microsoft's Smart Displays. They were too expensive and dog slow when released, but were basically PocketPCs with huge displays that ran as terminals to your CPU over WiFi.

If Apple has solved the too slow/too expensive issue (or more likely just the passage of time), then I could see this as a great product, your on the couch web surfing solution, iTunes remote control, email viewer, etc.

It just has to be like a $250-$500 unit to really get decent market acceptance I think, not the $1,200 "accessory" MS land was peddling.

But most importantly, as essentially a dumb terminal, or some minor variation thereof, it could essentially use any CPU architecture, and really the XScale CPU line from Intel/ARM would be ideal.
post #103 of 130
Oh, and I discount the "Virtualization" CPU speculation, since after all Apple wouldn't voluntarily take a 20% performance hit just to escape a processor architecture that isn't ideal for peroformance anymore. Just seems to me to be self defeating logic, no strategic gain there.
post #104 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by ChevalierMalFet
Oh, and I discount the "Virtualization" CPU speculation, since after all Apple wouldn't voluntarily take a 20% performance hit just to escape a processor architecture that isn't ideal for peroformance anymore. Just seems to me to be self defeating logic, no strategic gain there.

Don't discount something you don't know much about.
post #105 of 130
I will, and happily. I know enough to understand that historically hardware with this level of OS abstraction takes massive efficiency hits. I consider speculation to the contrary wishful thinking at best, and unprintable stupidity at worst.

To consider it an option for pro level machines falls deep into the worst category.
post #106 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
It's a totally different chip. It requires a very different programming model.

I can't see Apple being able to utilize this chip without some rather large changes to the Mach core which is not designed to operate with a chip of this type.

Remember this chip uses a much simplified PPC chip as a controller, though it does some calculations of it's own. There are no out of order execution units in it.

I can see Apple using it for a rendering engine.

Find me a G4 that has out of order execution, none do. The MS chip certainly isn't that vastly different from what is already out there except it might have a decent chunk of logic cut out. If the software is already multithreaded it'd run quite well on it I expect compared to a G4. Even Cell isn't that vastly different from current technology, although software would take a bit more tweaking on it and it'd either need multiple PPEs or a beefed up one or it might suffer a bit on some day to day tasks.
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post #107 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by Telomar
Find me a G4 that has out of order execution, none do.

All G4s from the 7450 forward have some out of order execution, limited to the integer units. This makes sense, since the 745x series has four(!) of them.

Quote:
The MS chip certainly isn't that vastly different from what is already out there except it might have a decent chunk of logic cut out.

Define "vastly." A 21+-stage, in-order, SMT, three-core CPU is significantly different from anything else out there. The small L2 cache and tweaked AltiVec are probably console-specific design decisions, but neither is as significant as the design of the core itself, never mind the decision to put three of them together.

Getting things to run on it might not be so hard, but you'd suffer from all the AltiVec code breaking (in all likelihood, since the easiest way to deal with the incompatibilities is to conditionally compile all the AV code out and revert to generic PPC code). Optimization could be tricky, too, because Xenon is like and unlike both the G4+ and the 970.

Quote:
If the software is already multithreaded it'd run quite well on it I expect compared to a G4. Even Cell isn't that vastly different from current technology, although software would take a bit more tweaking on it and it'd either need multiple PPEs or a beefed up one or it might suffer a bit on some day to day tasks.

You're welcome to look for one other design that has a deep, narrow, in-order, SMT core with a full VMX unit hooked to eight SIMD units of a via an on-chip token ring bus.

It's not so new in the sense that Cell is exactly the sort of weird hardware that you'd expect to find in a Sony console. The difference is that IBM has plans for the architecture well beyond the PS3.

Of the two, I'd expect Apple to adopt Cell first. The whole point of all those nifty frameworks is to let the system decide what to run where, so any application written to the frameworks as of Tiger could get significant support for the Cell architecture simply by virtue of calling into OpenGL and Core Image and Quartz and mathlib implementations that have been ported to Cell by Apple. That would be enough for most applications. Games could be ported from the PS3 codebase if necessary.
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post #108 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by JLL
And on a desktop system (which has an external display) it's right there without pressing anything.

true. i found it a while back and messed around with it. sorta interesting but not that useful for me.
post #109 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
All G4s from the 7450 forward have some out of order execution, limited to the integer units. This makes sense, since the 745x series has four(!) of them.



Define "vastly." A 21+-stage, in-order, SMT, three-core CPU is significantly different from anything else out there. The small L2 cache and tweaked AltiVec are probably console-specific design decisions, but neither is as significant as the design of the core itself, never mind the decision to put three of them together.

Getting things to run on it might not be so hard, but you'd suffer from all the AltiVec code breaking (in all likelihood, since the easiest way to deal with the incompatibilities is to conditionally compile all the AV code out and revert to generic PPC code). Optimization could be tricky, too, because Xenon is like and unlike both the G4+ and the 970.



You're welcome to look for one other design that has a deep, narrow, in-order, SMT core with a full VMX unit hooked to eight SIMD units of a via an on-chip token ring bus.

It's not so new in the sense that Cell is exactly the sort of weird hardware that you'd expect to find in a Sony console. The difference is that IBM has plans for the architecture well beyond the PS3.

Of the two, I'd expect Apple to adopt Cell first. The whole point of all those nifty frameworks is to let the system decide what to run where, so any application written to the frameworks as of Tiger could get significant support for the Cell architecture simply by virtue of calling into OpenGL and Core Image and Quartz and mathlib implementations that have been ported to Cell by Apple. That would be enough for most applications. Games could be ported from the PS3 codebase if necessary.

Yes.

Thanks for the support on this one. I couldn't get back earlier (family, (sigh)).
post #110 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
All G4s from the 7450 forward have some out of order execution, limited to the integer units. This makes sense, since the 745x series has four(!) of them.

Although that is true it is very limited. Add to that 3 of those integer units are very simple integer units. They serve their purpose but they are somewhat specific in their design.
Quote:
Define "vastly." A 21+-stage, in-order, SMT, three-core CPU is significantly different from anything else out there. The small L2 cache and tweaked AltiVec are probably console-specific design decisions, but neither is as significant as the design of the core itself, never mind the decision to put three of them together.

Getting things to run on it might not be so hard, but you'd suffer from all the AltiVec code breaking (in all likelihood, since the easiest way to deal with the incompatibilities is to conditionally compile all the AV code out and revert to generic PPC code). Optimization could be tricky, too, because Xenon is like and unlike both the G4+ and the 970.

Current multithreaded programs would run quite happily on MS' design after a recompile. There is nothing particularly spectacular about their core though. They are very stripped down cores aimed at streamed processing in an environment where there is relatively tight control on the code. That said they would handle general purpose code about as well as the G4+. There is nothing startingly new or different about anything MS has put out except they packed 3 cores together, which in and of itself isn't particularly special at this stage.

The debate over processor stages and in order and out of order design is somewhat moot given at the end of the day it is designed to do a specific task and decent frameworks and compilers will hide most of that unless you want to hand optimise it.

Optimisation quirks are there for any new processor design so provide a weak argument. Simple fact is current software could run quite happily on it following a recompile to better utilise its design. It'd quite likely run many programs very happily without one too with a small system update.

Quote:
You're welcome to look for one other design that has a deep, narrow, in-order, SMT core with a full VMX unit hooked to eight SIMD units of a via an on-chip token ring bus.

It's not so new in the sense that Cell is exactly the sort of weird hardware that you'd expect to find in a Sony console. The difference is that IBM has plans for the architecture well beyond the PS3.

Of the two, I'd expect Apple to adopt Cell first. The whole point of all those nifty frameworks is to let the system decide what to run where, so any application written to the frameworks as of Tiger could get significant support for the Cell architecture simply by virtue of calling into OpenGL and Core Image and Quartz and mathlib implementations that have been ported to Cell by Apple. That would be enough for most applications. Games could be ported from the PS3 codebase if necessary.

Cell is unique for the SPEs but again the PPE isn't new technology. Just a redesign of what was already out there. I would be very surprised to ever see Apple adopt cell. It'd be absolutely atrocious in anything outside of multimedia and rendering in its current state. For a general CPU MS has the right idea and in fact I expect they chose that route precisely for that reason, so they can run more general apps on their console rather than focus on multimedia. In the end I doubt they will ever use either since they both produce too much heat.

As an aside the idea of specific silicon to speed up certain processes is hardly new. Taking it on chip was a new slant but is the sort of thing you'd expect in tvs, consoles, set top boxes and other areas where cell might appear. General purpose computers have tended to use entirely separate add in cards.
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post #111 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
Of the two, I'd expect Apple to adopt Cell first. The whole point of all those nifty frameworks is to let the system decide what to run where, so any application written to the frameworks as of Tiger could get significant support for the Cell architecture simply by virtue of calling into OpenGL and Core Image and Quartz and mathlib implementations that have been ported to Cell by Apple. That would be enough for most applications. Games could be ported from the PS3 codebase if necessary.

I suspect they wrote all those frameworks for two reasons:

1. Easy for developers to simply call the function when needed.

2. Portability
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post #112 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by Telomar
Although that is true it is very limited. Add to that 3 of those integer units are very simple integer units. They serve their purpose but they are somewhat specific in their design.
Current multithreaded programs would run quite happily on MS' design after a recompile. There is nothing particularly spectacular about their core though. They are very stripped down cores aimed at streamed processing in an environment where there is relatively tight control on the code. That said they would handle general purpose code about as well as the G4+. There is nothing startingly new or different about anything MS has put out except they packed 3 cores together, which in and of itself isn't particularly special at this stage.

The debate over processor stages and in order and out of order design is somewhat moot given at the end of the day it is designed to do a specific task and decent frameworks and compilers will hide most of that unless you want to hand optimise it.

Optimisation quirks are there for any new processor design so provide a weak argument. Simple fact is current software could run quite happily on it following a recompile to better utilise its design. It'd quite likely run many programs very happily without one too with a small system update.

Cell is unique for the SPEs but again the PPE isn't new technology. Just a redesign of what was already out there. I would be very surprised to ever see Apple adopt cell. It'd be absolutely atrocious in anything outside of multimedia and rendering in its current state. For a general CPU MS has the right idea and in fact I expect they chose that route precisely for that reason, so they can run more general apps on their console rather than focus on multimedia. In the end I doubt they will ever use either since they both produce too much heat.

As an aside the idea of specific silicon to speed up certain processes is hardly new. Taking it on chip was a new slant but is the sort of thing you'd expect in tvs, consoles, set top boxes and other areas where cell might appear. General purpose computers have tended to use entirely separate add in cards.

What you're forgetting here is that the OS is more and more being optimised for the G5, as are the programs. There are a fair number of instructions that are not supported in the G5 that have been important performance enhancers in the G3-4's. The opposite is also true.

Not supporting out of order execution is not as trivial as you assume. While it's true that an intensively hand-tuned re-compile would allow the OS and the programs for it to run on the chip, they would be far from optimal.

The performance hits would be enough to derail any advantage gained from there being three cores running at 3.2Ghz.

Also, while there must be some reason for IBM and MS using three cores for the XBox, it is sub-optimal for general computing use. Three cores would give only a 35% or so boost to a two core system. Using two dual core chips would give a 70% boost.

Any Mac using this chip could expect to se a significant loss in power from the current dual 2.7 G5. It would be a pointless exercise.

Discussing G4 chips isn't relevent at this point for desktop usage, and we all know how Apple is trying to leave the G4's behind in the portable space as well. With no evidence that these chips consume a level of power that would be suitable for a portable, we should let this idea rest in peace.
post #113 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by Telomar
Current multithreaded programs would run quite happily on MS' design after a recompile. There is nothing particularly spectacular about their core though.

It's not that the cores are "spectacular," whatever that means. It's that the design decisions they made are pretty novel. The trend had been toward wide cores with massive scheduling flexibility, and now this.

Quote:
That said they would handle general purpose code about as well as the G4+.

Two major differences: 1) The G4 has lower latency access to RAM (better for lots of random access), while Cell has (significantly) higher bandwidth (better for streaming). 2) The G4 recovers quickly from a failed branch prediction, because of its 7-stage pipeline. The same scenario will make Cell, with its over-20-stage pipeline, unhappy. So code with lots of conditional execution will probably run better on the G4 (which can currently outrun the 970 on such code). Of course, Cell will crush the G4 on floating point, any kind of filtering or blitting code, etc. And that's before you bring the SPEs into the equation.

Once you bring the SPEs into the equation, Cell gets a whole huge gob of performance, but the PPE spends more of its time managing the SPEs (the simple integer units on the G4 have a roughly analogous role, freeing the complex unit to focus on actual work while they handle the simple arithmetic that frequently accompanies FP and AltiVec code).

Quote:
The debate over processor stages and in order and out of order design is somewhat moot given at the end of the day it is designed to do a specific task and decent frameworks and compilers will hide most of that unless you want to hand optimise it.

It becomes an issue once your code is running on a G4 and a G4+ and a 970 and Cell—in single and dual and single-threaded and SMT configurations. Apple is trying to make it so that most of those issues will be handled by their frameworks, but at the end of the day, Cell on Macs will leave developers (Apple's and others') with three discrete performance profiles to target. Every new profile doubles the amount of testing necessary.

Quote:
Cell is unique for the SPEs but again the PPE isn't new technology. Just a redesign of what was already out there.

No, Cell and Xenon are the first products in a discrete development line. They do not inherit from the 400, 700 or 900 series, and their philosophy is different from any of those three lines. I'm not sure what qualifications you require for "difference," but I suspect that it would be something alien enough that it couldn't implement POWER with anything like native performance. Obviously, the need to implement POWER constrains them from coming up with something really freaky.

Quote:
I would be very surprised to ever see Apple adopt cell. It'd be absolutely atrocious in anything outside of multimedia and rendering in its current state. For a general CPU MS has the right idea and in fact I expect they chose that route precisely for that reason, so they can run more general apps on their console rather than focus on multimedia. In the end I doubt they will ever use either since they both produce too much heat.

I'd be surprised if either produces much more heat than the first 2.5GHz 970s. Even if they do, the Power Mac case is big and overdesigned enough that it had damn well better be able to a accommodate a few more watts.

Cell is automatically more attractive than Xenon simply for having standard AltiVec.

It's more attractive, too, because it's not a fixed design. That token ring bus is there for a reason. Sony asked for one PPE and 8 SPEs. Apple can ask for something else. I imagine they'd be keenly interested in something that boosted multimedia performance as much as the SPEs can (Apple coined the term "multimedia," after all, and they just hitched their wagon to the computationally intensive combination of H.264 and HD).

Quote:
As an aside the idea of specific silicon to speed up certain processes is hardly new. Taking it on chip was a new slant but is the sort of thing you'd expect in tvs, consoles, set top boxes and other areas where cell might appear. General purpose computers have tended to use entirely separate add in cards.

SoC designs are nothing new, but high-end SoC implementations are. Most SoC designs are adopted for cost reasons.

The main advantage to bringing the SPEs on chip is the same as the advantage of bringing AltiVec on chip: If you add something new that programmers have to be aware of, it had better be common or (preferably) standard, or it will be ignored. The old AV series Macs had a separate DSP chip. Hardly anything used it. AltiVec adoption has just started to really take off in the last year. (That's why it's so important that the implementation not change much from chip to chip—if it's not a consistent and well-supported platform, developers will stick to the general-purpose code that they know works.) If Apple does use Cell with the SPEs, they'll be making a commitment. But that commitment will pay off in the form of massive performance in exactly the sort of areas where Apple is strongest. The fallback—generic PPC code running on the PPE—won't be so bad, either, although as with all implementations there will be edge cases where it doesn't perform so well.
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"...within intervention's distance of the embassy." - CvB

Original music:
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post #114 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by Outsider
Question # 345

Which one of these does not belong?

Xbox moves from x86 to PowerPC.
Playstation moves from proprietary to PowerPC.
Gamecube goes from embedded PowerPC to PowerPC.
Apple goes from PowerPC to Intel.

The first one, because it is the only one which is true.

Playstation is using a NEC MIPS processor, not proprietary.
post #115 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by msconvert
They did this solely because of power issues. The PCI connection was not designed to deliver huge power to a 30 inch LCD - plane and simple.




Someone had their triple espresso this morning. I think you had better worry more about your own grudge, it might lower your blood pressure and save your life.

Let the engineers do their job. Companies rarely ever over promise in a public way on purpose and never deliver. It depresses stock values way to fast - just not smart business.

So what's your point? That I need meds? Your second point only validates mine. As far as the DVI switch - source your comments, please.
post #116 of 130
http://www.research.scea.com/researc...lGDC05/02.html

Nice slides of the cell architecture.
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post #117 of 130
If apple and intel have their casual
talks it creates a great deal of
BUZZ and what not. But take it as it is
Buzz.

Nothing will change the beloved platform.
Anyone?
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post #118 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by Vox Barbara
If apple and intel have their casual
talks it creates a great deal of
BUZZ and what not. But take it as it is
Buzz.

Nothing will change the beloved platform.
Anyone?

voxy speaks!! welcome back
post #119 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by hmurchison
http://www.research.scea.com/researc...lGDC05/02.html

Nice slides of the cell architecture.

Very good, thanks murch! Using Cell chips in laptops and in the PM looks to me like it would be a good thing, even if integer performance on old apps was reduced a little. We get higher speed, better performance for new apps, esp. if the CoreX apps run on SPEs, and cooler, lower-power operation. What's not to like?
post #120 of 130
Quote:
Originally posted by cubist
Very good, thanks murch! Using Cell chips in laptops and in the PM looks to me like it would be a good thing, even if integer performance on old apps was reduced a little. We get higher speed, better performance for new apps, esp. if the CoreX apps run on SPEs, and cooler, lower-power operation. What's not to like?

yeah after going through the slides a little now i know why hmurchinson is on about Cell so much

my bet is that it's not an either or, what apple is either going to announce in a few weeks, or sort out by end of the year, is a strategy where the next-gen G5 is kind of some kind of hybrid between G5 and Cell, or a dual-coreG5 with cell co-processor (i loathe to use this example but kinda like Cell to the G5 what the MMX was to the Pentium2)

i think apple and ibm have been working very very hard to make sure the Mac pipeline looks solid for the next few years... i have faith. WWDC or Paris or Macworld, within the next 6-8 months, Apple's weakest link (CPU "attractiveness") should be shored up.

at least $50 by the end of the year

pity i got no money for shares... but i do have a part-time job now
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