Originally posted by UnixPoet
You're clutching at straws and quoting someone who is doing likewise. Just because Programmer is saying the things most Mac fanatics want to hear does not make them true.
You're right, it is just a forlorn hope in the face of news that I really don't want to be true. Unfortunately there seem to be business realities which might make it true. However...
First question: after people here have been rubbishing Intel's products for years why expect something creative from them? For that matter, when has Intel ever been creative?
Actually their x86 designs are fairly innovative -- how else could they get the ancient x86 up to its current speeds? The main problem is that they've been saddled with their own situation... something they've been trying to change repeatedly for years.
Yes Intel has been "stuck" with x86 for a long time. And you know why? Cause the revenues just from that chip line alone dwarfs the economies of several countries. Intel stuck with x86 is like saying MS is stuck with Windows. Trust me - you too would love to be "stuck" with a near monopoly that is the x86.
Not entirely -- the fact that they've tried to create several chip lines as replacements for x86 means they have reason to do so (IA-64 is the latest).
Why does the "horrid x86 ISA" suck? Don't quote me that only # of registers rubbish please. No x86 does not have Altivec but, frankly, it doesnt seem to have affected performance too badly. I dont think losing Altivec keeps Steve awake at night.
It is a heck of a mess and there are all sorts of reasons it sucks. And AltiVec is significantly better than SSE -- look at vector benchmarks and you'll see that.
And one does not just stick a different decoder chip anywhere. IBM has been the top patent filer for years. Only God, and the patent office, know which thick maze of patents covers PPC. Tell me why Intel will bother to go through the hassle/licensing fees? Just becase the Dear Leader says so?
I was glib in my statement, but the fact remains that the x86 portion of Intel's chips these days is a module that decodes the x86 stream into their internal microops. Intel is the king of this approach and they probably hold tons of patents on it.
Doesn't anyone else remember that Apple sponsored Exponential back in the mid-90s. That was a small startup who was building a high frequency (for the time) PPC design. They could use PPC because Apple licensed it to them. Never flew because they weren't big enough to compete with Moto/IBM and the 604e handed them their lunch. Intel is a lot stronger.
Anyway, Apple switching (LOL) to Intel is possible but not probable but if it does come to pass then ... oh boy will the Windows fans laugh so hard into their cheap 3Ghz Dells. ROFL.
It would be political egg-on-the-face, but that has happened to Steve with both Moto and IBM. I'm more concerned about the serious mess it would make of the Mac market during the transition, which would take years to settle down. An x86 emulator of PPC would not do well, the big/little endian issue is a pretty serious one in a lot of code, and a lot of developers would just be fed up with yet another transition.
There is an extra bonus for Intel here... PPC has had a bunch of design wins lately, and if Intel could offer PPC cores that might let them pre-empt IBM and Motorola.
All that said, I don't think any of this is particularly likely.