Originally Posted by Marvin
I can't see Apple going back to a PPC architecture. A lot of software is Intel-only. Perhaps they will use the intellectual property along with their Intel partnership to produce some exclusive x86 chips that make Apple's products better.
I can see them using POWER for applicances. Not Macs.
So that's why the XBox 360 power brick is so small:
Compared to a PC PSU, that's small. In addition the XBox360 started life as two extremely fast 90nm chips, the CPU and GPU. Now they're both 65nm, and when they're 45nm the PSU will be a lot smaller (and probably integrated into the console's case).
Presumably the Intel equivalent would have a bigger one? Chip architecture aside, the PPC developer tools are terrible and in the end, software optimization really matters. Theoretically, Altivec should have meant Mac apps ran faster than their PC equivalents and they didn't.
Altivec applications were incredibly fast, but limited by a slow memory bus or the high latency G5 chipset. Intel took a long time to catch up to Altivec with the hacky SSE2/SSE3/SSE4 instruction sets, but they did have the memory bandwidth sorted out, and this will get even better later this year when the memory controllers move on-die.
In an ideal world, maybe PPC would be the better option but it's about compromise in order to deliver a cost-effective, powerful product and IBM consistently fail in that regard.
The Nintendo PPC chips are very slow, the XBox 360 chips are hot and power hungry meaning red rings of death, huge power supplies and noisy fans. The PS3 is just far too expensive and the developer tools are very difficult to work with and therefore it greatly underperforms - this means games come out for the XBox 360 first and a lot of titles look better on the 360 and some don't even make it to the PS3.
The Nintendo Wii uses <20W at full pelt, the entire system - CPU, GPU, etc.
The XBox360's RROD issue is down to the GPU's heat.
The PS3 is a reasonable price for what you get, if you need all that. The PS3 version of GTA4 performs better than the XBox360 version, so people are getting the hang of it now, remember the 360 was out for a year, and it takes time for experience to develop.
None of these problems are POWER related issues however. None. Nada.
In summary, PPC chips are slow, hot and expensive - we are all familiar with that experience from the PPC Macs.
No. All rubbish. IBM make 5GHz POWER chips, and <$10 PowerPC SoCs. There just wasn't a CPU suitable for desktop use.
We'll never know if Intel chips would have made the consoles better because it depends on the implementation but the decision to go PPC was made a while ago and looking at the gaming scene, I think it was a big mistake.
Rubbish. Fact is that Intel couldn't have provided a suitable CPU in 2005 for the XBox360 (certainly not a tri-core 3.2GHz SMT chip like Xenon). Console makers demand control over their components, the ability to own the design, so later on in life they can integrate and merge and cut costs drastically (often paying little more than fabrication cost for the CPUs).
But the final issue is scalability. Could the PPC chips be delivered in a sufficient quantity and time scale? At least Intel deliver on chips. IBM for example seems to have nothing for years and then BAM 5GHz. You can't rely on that cycle. To sustain long term growth, you need incremental updates and be able to deliver supply for demand.
IBM have been steadily increasing the performance of their server CPUs over the past umpteen years. Sadly you clearly haven't seen this. Neither has much of this technology filtered down into consumer-grade CPUs. Things like virtualisation, dual-core, L3 caches, etc, were on POWER long before x86.