For you linguistic analysts, and just for old time's sake, here is some old Dorsal.
From March 2, 2001: [quote]Hello people. This has been an exciting time for us here, as last week we received some prototype PowerMacs with a few surprises. They came in new enclosers never before seen. These appear to be still a work in progress, but from the little I can say, they are spectacularly designed. Imagine a 17" Cinema display crossed with the present G4 tower case.
Motherboard.This machine is very similar to the older "UMA2" machine in our posession a while back. A basic rundown of motherboard features: a 300pin sawtooth CPU card connector, 3 DDR-SDRAM DIMM slots, 4 PCI slots in 33MHz configuration, modem slot pads and integrated Airport (Lucent), AGPx4 slot with NVIDIA GeForce2 MX chipset. Board is also slightly smaller in dimensions. ATA is still 66 in these units. System bus is still a double pumped 133MHz bus from memory controller to CPU and Memory controller to SDRAM. 133MHz bus to the peripheral controller chip. Firewire finally at 800Mbps but there is no USB 2 on any of our prototypes. Sound is the same as the "UMA1.5" systems.
[b]Processors.[b/]3 different processor cards. The first is a PPC 7440 with 256KB of L2 cache and no L3 cache. This one runs at 600MHz. The midrange one is a 7450 with 1MB of L3 cache and frequency is bumped to 733MHz. The last one is a dual processor: 2 x 733MHz. Speed is remarkable on all these units.
The DP unit crashed a few times so far. We think it may have heat issues, and not so much board issues.
All DDR SDRAM is certified and half the DIMMS we put in would not work in the motherboard. The board is much more stable because of this.
Very fast machines. Even the 7440 is very speedy compared to the 667MHz "UMA1.5" we have in here now.<hr></blockquote>
From March 5:
[quote]It's been a busy few days, and limited sleep coupled with weekend working hasn't helped. Here is some information to clear up some questions and/or misunderstandings. The OS we are running is OS 9.1 with an enabler for now. We also opted to install a build of OS X on the machines (4K60 I believe). Regarding firewire and PCI, the nature of our work involves testing equipment that relies on those interfaces, therefore they are very important to us. Also, I believe some of you do not understand how easy it is to implement ATA/100 versus ATA/66 on a chipset. This 'southbridge' is a sample and a work in progress. Some features have not been implemented. Also remember that firewire/ethernet and other higher bandwidth controllers are kept on the northbridge. This southbridge is almost feature exact to the present controller, save a few changes to the interface so the newer northbridge can work with it. Also, memory throughput reached about 630-ish MBps using internal memory testing utilities (we do not trust GuagePro with test systems). The case is like nothing you have ever seen. I mentioned the 17" ACD before only to illustrate this design is as different to other cases as the ACD is to other 17" monitors. Most of you will be pleasantly surprised and welcome the new case. Externally and internally it is meticulously detailed and attractive. It reminded me why I cose to work with Apple in the first place.<hr></blockquote>
[quote]Bandwidth is being tested with internal software that is not commercial. This is for both PCI and memory. In fact, some of our engineers believe our software is not adapted or optimised for the new machine and they are retooling some of the code. I might have new numbers soon about memory performance. PCI performance is done with software that shows noticable performance gains over the present line of machines. Notice I said 'noticable' and not 'extra-ordinary'. Performance gains are typically 20-30MBps over the newer digital audio PowerMacs released this winter.
The case has support for the same amount of internal drives as before but they are located in different locations. External bays are the same but one is larger (I am being as general as possible, so make your own conclusions). Port placement is similar, yet slightly different than before. Think three. Creative internal speaker placement to say the least. And lastly, if you liked handles, be prepared to say bye to them.
[quote]I don't have any information on what is 'UMA3', but what I have heard of the specs are that it will not be a typical chipset like we have today; a memory-PCI controller and peripheral controller. On UMA3 you will see something to the effect of a big PCI-X/peripheral controller connected via RapidIO to the processor which in turn will have a memory controller on board the die. Also there will be another controller just for the Ethernet and firewire on a seperate RapidIO port. This is the basic jist of future chipsets from Apple. But we won't see anything like this until the PPC 7500 is being used in Macs.<hr></blockquote>
[quote]Interesting few days. I have had a chance to use 2 new prototypes from Apple. They are contained in the same plastics of the last prototypes but a different color. Where the last ones were a dark gray, these new ones are a much lighter gray with white Apple logos. There is one external 5.25 bay and one external 3.5 bay. Its hard to explain the case. It is shaped like the cube on its side. Imagine a clear piece of plastic shaped like an upside down U like you would see on a cheap PC exterior case. The top is perfectly flat, and it gently curves downward to the straight sides. Encased in it is a light silver box that fits perfectly inside the plexi-glass outer shell. There is only about 3 inches of clearance from the bottom though. In the front there is a flat front panel that covers the CDRW drive. The drive is a slot load and there is a grove cut into the plastic like the one on the top of the cube. Underneath there is an unoccupied rectangular piece of plastic in the shape of a 3.5 device for future expansion I imagine. Near the bottom of the front panel I see a stenciled white circle with a vertical line through it also like the cube (the power button). The reset and interrupt buttons are located in the back. At the bottom of the case, where the exposed 3 inches of the U shaped plastic and the silver box meet, the U shaped part curls inward and around in four 2-inch diameter circles that form feet. Ingenious! Between the curled feet that rest on the desk, the U shaped plastic is slightly off the desk by about a third of an inch so the edges do not make contact with the desk surface.
Here is a little ASCII diagram to show this: |__|-----------------------|__|
From the side the whole thing looks like a perfect square. It is beautiful.
The rear of the machine has a full compliment of ports and slots for PCI and AGP expansion. The kicker is the way the machine opens up. On the back there is a familiar pop up handle like the cube (do you see the similarities?). This is the point where you pull the whole back out. This should be done when the system is on its side because the motherboard slides out on a rack and that rack has everything on it except for the power supply. There are 3 levels of pulling it out. The first will give you access to DIMM slots and PCI slots. The second, you will have to push a catch that enables a full pullout with out disconnecting the power supply cable. The third is pulling out the whole rack sans power supply.
All in all, it is a beautifully designed case, albeit a little limited in drive expansion. I will be using the machine tomorrow extensively and should detail some info on the inner workings of the unit in a couple days. <hr></blockquote>
[quote]Lets talk about hardware. 2 new prototypes are here now. 2 very different prototypes. Let me talk about the first. This one is a single processor UMA1.5 based system. Wait, thats not entirely true. I would call it a UMA1.7 machine. The reason I say this is because it is using a very large controller we dubbed Pangea2. It is a memory controller, PCI-X controller, firewire controller, Gb Ethernet controller, USB controller, boot ROM, audio, ATA/100 and AGP-Pro controller all on one die. Bus speed to the processor card is 266MHz. The Pangea2 chip is very close to the processor module. Motherboard is 33% smaller than the Digital Audio G4. It has 3 DIMM slots that take PC133 RAM. One note is that both IDE ports are ATA/100 now. Also the AGP slot is now Pro, with standard power out. The processor on this system is a Motorola 7450 runing at 933MHz. This system came equipped with a GeForce2MX card. Airport is still on a PC-card type card, but in a different position. The system is running MacOS X 10.0.2.
The second system has been called The Old Man. But it is anything but old. It contains the very same Pangea2 chip that the first system has. But instead of SDR-SDRAM, there are 3 PC2100 DDR-SDRAM slots. The rest of the motherboard is the same except that the graphics card is a GeForce3. Power supply on both machines look like a standard ATX power supply. The 2 processors on these machines are running at 800MHz each. This system is also running MacOS X 10.0.2.
More information will come as I get better acquainted with both of these machines.<hr></blockquote>
May 22: [quote]We have not been working on any new machines lately. All our testing and prototyping has been done on present machines bought from Apple (mostly 533MHz and 733MHz models). There is no timeline on when new machines will arrive. But they will come. Final hardware is very close now, if not in a couple weeks then soon after that. From meetings last week, it is my understanding that the feature set of Apple's summer machines are set and there should be product this summer. This only covers the professional line as I have no access to any of the consumer models here.
The standard feature set should include, a highly integrated controller (AGP, PCI, peripheral, memory, network and firewire) , dual channel DDR SDRAM memory running at 133MHz or 266MHz double-pumped, AGP4X (not Pro, Apple will continue to use their own power for AGP), PCI-X (4 slots running at 133MHz and 64bit) Airport slot for 54Mbit device, ATA/100, processors will be the 7440 for lower end and the 7450 for higher end, various dual processor configurations but they may be restricted to BTO, 667-1000MHz speeds, 800 and 933MHz speeds may be skipped this time and may reappear later on in the year (or early next year) as part of a speed bump, maximum RAM will be increased to 4GB, IEEE1394b will debut at 1600Mbit speeds, modem is optional, NVIDIA Graphics will be featured on all retail configurations except for server hardware, which will continue to feature ATI chipsets (most likely Rage128), and finally optical drives I am unsure. I assume they will continue with CDRW on the low end and possibly DVD/CDRW combination drives, like I've seen from Toshiba.
And finally, there will be a new case, but that is still being worked on. I was told yesterday morning that the case we had was an unlikely design, and I don't think Apple is pursuing anything like that now. To have this machine ship, they will probably have a redesigned version of El Capitan with improved drive bays. It was said that the outer shell will closely resemble El Capitan with out the protruding handle on top and more stable (wider) legs on the bottom and still retain the easy open side door. Also the 5.25 drive bays are higher on the case to make room for a second full sized drive bay. This should also mark the end to the two-tone design that resembles an ice cream sandwich. All the lines and surface area should flow into each other. I can't wait to see one up close.
This is all for now. I will try and keep in touch, but until then, good bye.<hr></blockquote>
Sorry for the long post, but I thought it would be interesting to see some of Dorsal's old posts again.