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Freescale's 90nm PowerPC G4 chip destine for Apple laptops

post #1 of 137
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Freescale Semiconductor on Monday began showcasing the MPC7448, its latest high-performance PowerPC processor and the highly touted successor to the MPC7447A chip used in current Apple PowerBook G4 systems.

Based on Freescale's e600 PowerPC core, the MPC7448 represents the most significant update to the MPC74xx family of processors to date and is expected to offer speeds from 600 MHz to 1.7 GHz with the system bus running up to 200 MHz.

The MPC7448 is also the first product in the MPC74xx family to use Freescale's 90 nanometer (nm) silicon-on-insulator (SOI) CMOS process that will significantly increase clock and bus speeds while reducing power requirements.

Running much cooler than its predecessor, the MPC7448 offers GHz-class performance at less than 10 Watts. The MPC7448 power management features also include nap and sleep modes and introduce dynamic frequency switching that permits system software to reduce power "on the fly."

The e600 PowerPC core packs AltiVec technology, a single instruction multiple data (SIMD) engine capable of accelerating networking applications, such as security algorithms, network stack processing, routing and more.

"The MPC7448 is a seamless step up in performance that demonstrates Freescale's continued commitment to developing compatible high-performance PowerPC processors for the embedded market," the company said in a statement. It is also a stepping stone to the MPC8641D dual-core processor based on the same e600 PowerPC core.

According to Freescale documents, the MPC7448 and MPC8641D PowerPC G4 processors share many architectural similarities that make them highly compatible, including support for asymmetric and symmetric multiprocessing, identical 32KB L1 cache and 1MB L2 cache, and identical AltiVec technology attributes and performance.

Additionally the same customer application binary code can run on the MPC7448 and MPC8641D, meaning Apple could adopt the dual-core G4 chip for its mobile offerings down the line. However, by the time Freescale begins mass-producing the MPC8641D, Apple will likely be ready to debut a dual-core PowerBook based on Intel's Yonah mobile processor.

In the meantime, Freescale said the MPC7448 -- which has been sampling since February -- is planned to be in full production in October 2005. The chip will likely begin showing up in Apple laptop-based systems shortly thereafter, offering a substantial increase in battery performance and slight speed boost over today's systems.

According to EEMBC (Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium) certified performance benchmark tests, a 1.7GHz MPC7448 scored a 350.8 in the DENbench suite "out-of-the-box," while AltiVec engine optimization helped double application performance to 762.0.
post #2 of 137
Too little, too late.

With the powerbook G5's just around the corner (we all know they are!), this is just another instance of motorola/freescale being late to the party.
post #3 of 137
These sound pretty impressive to me. If these appear in the iBooks around octocber/november, when will we see the next revision of the iBook? Would they really wait until then and miss the education season, or will we see it at NECC?
post #4 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
Based on Freescale's e600 PowerPC core, the MPC7448 represents the most significant update to the MPC74xx family of processors to date and is expected to offer speeds from 600 MHz to 1.7 GHz with the system bus running up to 200 MHz.

The most significant update to the MPC74xx family of processors is the 7410 -> 7450 update. Unless, "74xx" does not include the 7400/7410?

Quote:
The e600 PowerPC core packs AltiVec technology and a single instruction multiple data (SIMD) engine capable of accelerating networking applications, such as security algorithms, network stack processing, routing and more.

AltiVec is the SIMD engine capable of ...

Quote:
According to Freescale documents, the MPC7448 and MPC8641D PowerPC G4 processors share many architectural similarities that make them highly compatible, including support for asymmetric and symmetric multiprocessing, identical 32KB L1 cache and 1MB L2 cache, and identical AltiVec technology attributes and performance.

The 7448 and 8641 come in different packaging with different bus protocols. They obviously would support the same software, but hardware-wise, the 8641 represents a brand new logic board architecture, not the drop-in replacement to existing boards that is the 7448. Ie, they are not really compatible from a hardware perspective.

Quote:
In the meantime, Freescale said the MPC7448 -- which has been sampling since February -- is planned to be in full production in October 2005. The chip will likely begin showing up in Apple laptop-based systems shortly thereafter, offering a substantial increase in battery performance and slight speed boost over today's systems.

Wow. Whatever happened to volume production in 2H 05? It's October now?
post #5 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by THT
[B]The most significant update to the MPC74xx family of processors is the 7410 -> 7450 update. Unless, "74xx" does not include the 7400/7410?

"The most significant update" -- those were Freescale's words, not ours

Quote:
AltiVec is the SIMD engine capable of ...

And that was a misplaced "and" that was corrected immediately.

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post #6 of 137
I was thinking of waiting for the next Powerbook update before switching, but November is too far away. OS X here I come! 8)
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post #7 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
Too little, too late.

With the powerbook G5's just around the corner (we all know they are!), this is just another instance of motorola/freescale being late to the party.

G5?!?! The whole reason Apple is switching to Intel is because a powerbook G5 is impossible.

But I agree: too little, too late. Apple will probably just exploit the savings in power consumption by using a smaller battery, thereby increasing their profit margins. They've done it before (Ti -> Al).
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post #8 of 137
Cool, let's switch back to PowerPC.
post #9 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
Too little, too late.

With the powerbook G5's just around the corner (we all know they are!), this is just another instance of motorola/freescale being late to the party.

I agree with JMS... powerbook g5 WILL NOT happen no matter what you think. Apple is not going to do a redesign for a computer for the g5 then redesign the whole notebook 6 months later for the intel books. Apple can EASILY get away with just using 7447b's for another 8 months at 1.8ghz. This is a good thing for the 7448 to come how now. I've been waiting for it for a long time and this was great news when I woke up today. Unfortunately I'm going to wait for an intel powerbook at this point. I think I'm just going to pick up a new iBook when they are finally released.

The 7448 would have been the next generation powerbook as I've been saying the last 18 months. The e600 had more promise (WAY BETTER POWER MANAGEMENT) than the 970gx ever thought of having. I just wish this was done for the last update so I'd ahve one on my desk right now.

 

 

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post #10 of 137
Powerbook G5 was a good dream that turned out to be a nightmare!
After Steve's keynote, say goodbye the PB G5.
Too bad.
i agree that Apple will not develop too much on th PB front until Intel comes out.
We might see upgrades in the PB line but my feeling is that they will not be impressive at all.
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post #11 of 137
Long live the PowerPC!

Although it sounds like the first new G4s will mainly gain battery life, not much speed--and after that, more speed will follow but it may not be needed because Apple will be on to Intel!

Still, it's nice to think there will be some better G4 laptops coming to tide us over.

I'll still hold out for my YonahBook though
post #12 of 137
I'd like to see a higher res screen / definitely better screen on the 12". That would be a big enough incentive for a lot of us add an improved graphics card and the 7448 and a lot of us would be happy. Not sure if DDR2 RAM is possible or even necessary with the more efficient chip.

There is room for improvement before moving to intel. September will make 9 months without an update. If they wait till Oct. or Nov. they better have some damn good improvements.

I'm waiting for this update. a 13" or 14" widescreen PB is my dream machine right now. 15" is just a tiny bit to bulky for my taste and the 12" screen just plain sucks! (no offense to the iBook users).
post #13 of 137
yeah indeed, to little to late! sorry Powerpc, we dont care how much you reduce your power consumption, we are switching to the Hot-running power sucking Intel's, so there!

hmm... wait a second here... why does it feel like i just cut off my nose? eww its bleeding! whats the number for 911 again?

----
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post #14 of 137
oh i forgot to add, for those who complain that we will see no upgrades to the PB line. i say its better that way, we could switch to intel today -- I mean do you really want a shit book like what Pc's are today... i mean who wants a 2 hour battery life "portable" (cough desktop cough) computer? Besides i doubt it would be much better as far as preformance... everyone knows Intel Mhz are worth real much.

--------
Mike
post #15 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by mike12309
oh i forgot to add, for those who complain that we will see no upgrades to the PB line. i say its better that way, we could switch to intel today -- I mean do you really want a shit book like what Pc's are today... i mean who wants a 2 hour battery life "portable" (cough desktop cough) computer? Besides i doubt it would be much better as far as preformance... everyone knows Intel Mhz are worth real much.

--------
Mike

will you stop trolling?
post #16 of 137
arnt the people who complained in the first place trolling?
post #17 of 137
Apple needs to speed bump and improve the graphics of the Mac Mini and iBook around August. This suggests to me that Powerbooks with the PPC 7448 will be introduced at the Paris Expo and may very well be the last PPC Powerbooks.
post #18 of 137
I was hoping this article was going to say the Freescale 8641D was going into a powerbook. A chip like this may actually make me buy a PPC mac even thought they are going to be obsolete in a short time...
post #19 of 137
Keep in mind that Motorola would not publicly introduce this information if they had Apple signed up to ship (it would make Jobs angry). Either they have given up hope of an Apple design win, OR they pushed back the "declared volume shipping date", so that Apple can still intro a product sooner and have it be a surprise. So an August/Sept intro is possible.

I think it is highly likely that Apple will update most of its products with new PowerPC variants, before the Intel Transition. The transition is too long, and sales will suffer too much if that was not the case. Besides Jobs said plainly they have more PowerPC products coming.

It seems likely to me that the PB will be upgraded this fall, and a new Intel based PB introduced Spring 2006 (based on supposition that portables will be first in the transition, the Intel Yonah is on schedule, and Apple is planning on beating the declared June deadline for Intel introduction).
post #20 of 137
I wish i had a Dollar for every promise,roadmap and dream Moto puts out. They were talking this same crap last years Please. B.S. Remember the G4 is all the way to 1.67 at the moment Snake oil
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post #21 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by Aurora
I wish i had a Dollar for every promise,roadmap and dream Moto puts out. They were talking this same crap last years Please. B.S. Remember the G4 is all the way to 1.67 at the moment Snake oil

Actually, you can purchase 2ghz 7447b g4's... I have a feeling apple only updated to 1.67 in order to have a little breathing room. Say they upgraded straight to 1.8 or 2ghz last jan... and the powerbook updates are due in November (or sooner)... apple would have NO WHERE TO UPGRADE TO. They made it this way so they can have at least a few more upgrades since they had NO idea when the 970gx was going to be ready. Now with the intel transition they really only need 1 more upgrade cycle with the 7447 or 7448... then its all said and done.

 

 

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post #22 of 137
Quite frankly I'm amazed Freescale is this late with this poor a 7448. In any event. it will make for slightly better G4 Laptops.

No wonder Jobs jumped ship, he had no options in PPC land.
post #23 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by emig647
Actually, you can purchase 2ghz 7447b g4's... I have a feeling apple only updated to 1.67 in order to have a little breathing room. Say they upgraded straight to 1.8 or 2ghz last jan... and the powerbook updates are due in November (or sooner)... apple would have NO WHERE TO UPGRADE TO. They made it this way so they can have at least a few more upgrades since they had NO idea when the 970gx was going to be ready. Now with the intel transition they really only need 1 more upgrade cycle with the 7447 or 7448... then its all said and done.

The gimmmicky 1.8 or the 2.0 or overclocked 1.67,Right, they yanked off the L3 and said presto see we have now something that can hit 1.8 Please just more Moto Crap.
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post #24 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by Aurora
The gimmmicky 1.8 or the 2.0 or overclocked 1.67,Right, they yanked off the L3 and said presto see we have now something that can hit 1.8 Please just more Moto Crap.

Umm l3 cache hasn't been present for quite a while. Have you noticed that the titanium powerbooks were the last ones to have l3 cache?

In any event... Overclock is still real clockspeed.

 

 

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post #25 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by emig647
Umm l3 cache hasn't been present for quite a while. Have you noticed that the titanium powerbooks were the last ones to have l3 cache?

In any event... Overclock is still real clockspeed.

Whatever a 1.4 with L3 is more CPU then a 1.6 but who gives a crap about motostink? they were left in Intel 's Dust years ago just as G5 is now. PPC is slow crap compared to Intel/AMD. It is why Apple is using 2 cpu's in their machines for years.
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post #26 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by THT
Wow. Whatever happened to volume production in 2H 05? It's October now?

October is 2H 05. Right smack in the middle, actually.

The question is whether Apple would use these if you believe their switching to Intel within 6 months of these things in production.
post #27 of 137
Are they really saying that they'll debut a 1.7 GHz part sometime after October? And that's exciting? So we'll see a bump in the PB's from 1.67 to 1.70? In six months? The low-wattage is great, but this is exactly why Apple can't rely anymore on an embedded chip maker for PC parts. Bring on Yonah...
post #28 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by mike12309
oh i forgot to add, for those who complain that we will see no upgrades to the PB line. i say its better that way, we could switch to intel today -- I mean do you really want a shit book like what Pc's are today... i mean who wants a 2 hour battery life "portable" (cough desktop cough) computer? Besides i doubt it would be much better as far as preformance... everyone knows Intel Mhz are worth real much.

I think this post makes a good point about the difficulty Apple is going to face overcoming their own marketing. Factually, every single thing this poster says is incorrect, but the perception Apple has built up of Intel as hot-running, not-as-fast-per-MHz, low battery-life portables is one that Apple is going to have to overcome to sell back to their established base next year.

The fact remains that this G4 is an extremely low-end chip with a very slow bus to RAM, so if it didn't draw extremely low power one would have to wonder. Even so, "typical" power consumption of 10W compared to the "max" Pentium M power consumption around 25W (probably half that "typical") isn't all that impressive. Consider that the Pentium M will outperform it computationally, has a bus to RAM almost 3x faster, and if you include not having to develop your own chipset, probably cheaper.

The bright side for Apple is that as long as people have a perception of the PowerPC as a good laptop chip, the intermediate "Osborne" effect won't be as bad.
post #29 of 137
Well this is an another reason, to be happy to see that Apple ditched the ppc chips.

Frankly, the release in late 2005 of a 1,7 ghz chip with 1 MB L2 cache, a stunning 200 mhz front bus, and an late 90 nm process, is not exciting at all.

The PPC chips could have been great, but the people behind it, do not wanted to make the necessary investissements in the desktop line. A Dothan is already 90 nm, has a 2 MB L 2 cache, a 400 mhz front bus and is clocked beyond 2 ghz now. Freescale is nearly one year behind ...

Pathetic
post #30 of 137
The whole PPC real product line has been pathetic. The Paper and roadmaps and other literature are stunning. Reminds me of Nasa.
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post #31 of 137
"the embedded market"

case closed
post #32 of 137
The G4 isn't a bad chip really. It's just that the infrastructure to support it has lagged way behind.

Consider that the Pentium M is a tweaked Pentium III with a massively updated infrastructure ... if someone at Motorola or Freescale had not just ignored the future and had actually done something similar, there'd have been a reasonably decent processor for laptops still!

Whilst this 90nm G4 will use less power than a Pentium M of the same speed, it could be held back because of the 200MHz bus. That's only 33MHz faster than now, unless they've DDR'd it. And I don't think they have.

From a Register story about the 'launch' on the 7448 dated September 2004 (how pitiful):

"The 90nm 7448 provides 0.9, 1.0 and 1.1V operating voltages, yielding power dissipation of 10W at 1.4GHz, Freescale claims, with compares well with the 7447A's typical and maximum dissipation figures of 21W and 30W, respectively, at 1.4GHz."

And the Freescale release:

http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/...elease&tid=FSH

Maybe Apple will use that TSI108 northbridge. There's no need for them to keep making their own northbridges!

http://www.tundra.com/Products/PowerPC/Tsi108/index.cfm
post #33 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
October is 2H 05. Right smack in the middle, actually.

Whoops! Mental transposition. The original schedule for volume production of the 7448 was 1H 05. An October 05 volume production date is 3 months late from that schedule.

Quote:
The question is whether Apple would use these if you believe their switching to Intel within 6 months of these things in production.

I think Apple will use these in Powerbooks up to 1.8 GHz, iBooks up to 1.5 GHz and Mac minis up to 1.5 GHz.

Tiger/Intel likely has another 7 to 8 months of debugging and optimizations left to do, so the earliest Mac/Intel machine that can ship is late Q1 06 or early Q2 06. That's enough time for one more PowerPC update of each Mac line.
post #34 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
With the powerbook G5's just around the corner (we all know they are!),

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post #35 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by Booga
The bright side for Apple is that as long as people have a perception of the PowerPC as a good laptop chip, the intermediate "Osborne" effect won't be as bad.

The thing is that to the general public, they don't even know that there's an intel switch, if you go out on the streets and asks people today, the majority won't know that Apple is switching to Intel, go to the Apple webpage, the only place that you'll find information that Apple has switched is if youwatched the keynote, or go into the press release section.

The Osborne effect is overrated
post #36 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by THT
Whoops! Mental transposition. The original schedule for volume production of the 7448 was 1H 05. An October 05 volume production date is 3 months late from that schedule.



I think Apple will use these in Powerbooks up to 1.8 GHz, iBooks up to 1.5 GHz and Mac minis up to 1.5 GHz.

Tiger/Intel likely has another 7 to 8 months of debugging and optimizations left to do, so the earliest Mac/Intel machine that can ship is late Q1 06 or early Q2 06. That's enough time for one more PowerPC update of each Mac line.

A good timeframe, let's not forget that Apple will want some of their developers to have products ready to ship when these are released as well, if not it will look bad for Apple, indicating that the "switch" was not as easy as Apple said it was.

I would hope that the Mini tops out at 1.6, a ~200 mhz over their current offerings. 1.5 Ghz is a pittiful upgrade for a 1.42 that they currently offer.
post #37 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by nathan22t
"the embedded market"

case closed

I tend to agree. At this late hour, I highly doubt that this chip will make its way into PowerBooks. Perhaps future iBooks, minis, or emacs, but the race is on against intel. I have no idea who'll win this one, but either way its only a short term win as we know that intel is the big winner in the long run.
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post #38 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by Hattig
The G4 isn't a bad chip really. It's just that the infrastructure to support it has lagged way behind.

Consider that the Pentium M is a tweaked Pentium III with a massively updated infrastructure ... if someone at Motorola or Freescale had not just ignored the future and had actually done something similar, there'd have been a reasonably decent processor for laptops still!

Whilst this 90nm G4 will use less power than a Pentium M of the same speed, it could be held back because of the 200MHz bus. That's only 33MHz faster than now, unless they've DDR'd it. And I don't think they have.

The G4 was a great chip in its day. While it's unclear if the "10 Watts" is "typical" or "max", that probably is at least in the ballpark of the Pentium M under typical usage (word processing, web browsing, coding, etc.) And while the Pentium M branched from the Pentium III separately from the Pentium 4, there has been a lot of technology going back and forth. Benchmarks with similar desktop chipsets show the Pentium M 2.13GHz part in the same performance ballpark as the Pentium 4 3.6GHz except for heavy SIMD usage.

The 200MHz FSB definitely hurts the G4. The Pentium M currently has a 533MHz DDR2 bus, and is going to 667MHz with the next revision. Combined with the fact that x86 code is smaller than PowerPC and the Pentium M has 2MB of L2 cache, and any CPU at that bus speed that could have competed with Pentium M would simply starve.

Your point is taken, though. What could have been, had the G4 been developed seriously... It probably could have competed against the Pentium M with a better bus, cache, and a few other minor updates.
post #39 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by THT
Whoops! Mental transposition. The original schedule for volume production of the 7448 was 1H 05. An October 05 volume production date is 3 months late from that schedule.

Let me refresh a little your memory . Look at slide 41. For the 7448 it says samples 1H-05, production 2H-05. For the 8641 family, samples 2H-05, production 1H-06.

So, the fact that Freescale comes late in technologies like 90nm (and other important improvements), should not prevent us from seeing that the 7447A/B and 7448 chips are produced on schedule. Most probably the 8641 too. Which is worth mentioning given their dark past of the Motorola times.
post #40 of 137
Quote:
Originally posted by Xool
I tend to agree. At this late hour, I highly doubt that this chip will make its way into PowerBooks.

And what the Powerbook is supposed to get? It must be updated before the end of the year. The 7448 timing is perfect. And something tells me it will be the last PowerPC chip in the Powerbooks.
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