The Road to New York, part 1

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Clearly, Apple is Up to Something.



The PowerMac is long in the tooth: since MWSF '01, the iBook, iMac and PowerBook lines have received complete overhauls, and each, in turn, has been hailed as best-of-breed in its category. Only the PowerMac has been left behind. In Apple's glittering litter, the PowerMac is Baby Huey: big, slow, awkward - almost retarded when compared to its siblings.



The last face-lift to the PowerMac also came @ MWSF '01, when Apple introduced the 733mHz 'Platinum/Superdrive' PowerMac . Significant for breaking the 500mHz "ceiling", and for the addition of the SuperDrive, this "edition" was more cosmetically-enhanced than super-charged. The last real overhaul the PM line was in '98(?), when Apple retired the traditional beige tower w/ the introduction of the now-classic, side-opening 'El Capitan' case.



Four years...and everyone's waiting for the other shoe drop.





Speculation about the future of the PowerMac has been (w/ OS X & the new iMac) the only interesting conversation on the Mac web since last fall, when the conversation turned to the G5, motherboard strategies, and the widening buzzword gap between the Wintel world & Apple's supposed flagship. While there's great confusion about what might happen next on the CPU & mobo fronts, it's plain that Apple needs to reincarnate the PowerMac (a simple revision, no matter how thorough, will only go so far), that it needs to be big (as in, WallStreet-to-TiBook, iMac G3-to-iMac G4) in order to stay in the pro game, and it needs to be soon.



So here comes MWNY'02. 8 weeks, and counting.
  • In the last month, both portable lines have been revved, effectively taking the 'Books off the table as objects of scrutiny in the NYC spotlight.



    The new iMac was just rolled out in January, so aside from sales figures & a speed bump, we can't expect much in the way of stage-time here, either.



    And just two weeks ago, Steve let us know that Jaguar, the next evolution of OS X, will hit the street 'late summer'. While MWNY will certainly feature a 10.2 demo, we've basically got the news here, too.

MacWorld New York, with nothing in the spotlight? Not bloody likely! That leaves either some heretofore unknown/unsuspected iDevice...or the PowerMac. And face it: a kewl new device would be...well, kewl - but if the PowerMac is not the big news, then the big news will be the fall of the PowerMac.



For Apple, it's crunch time: speak now, or forever hold your piece. Put up, or shut up.



Can they do it? Consider:
  • Joswiak's remark about the life left in the G4, and no imminent CPU shifts;

    moki's comments about a 'G4.5' option;

    Xserve's G4-with-DDRRAM motherboard, which is, apparently, possible now;

    the plethora of unreliable but smug 'don't worry about' comments from a wide variety of 'sources close to Apple';

    the Raycer / Nothing Real / Avid acquisitions, in token of Apple's growing emphasis on video (and audio);

    OS X and the ever-growing need for beefier system specs to run it (read: Quartz Extreme, plus).

Proves nothing, of course -except that, as I said, Apple (Steve) is up to something. AGAIN.



Fortunately, their return from the brink suggests that Steve generally knows what he's doing. And usually, when he's up to something, it turns out to be worth the ride.



So, to all the 'brain trust': let's have your scenarios, your arguments, your evidence pro and con.



Oh - and, please, let's skip these, shall we?
  • - obvious trolls

    - too much "lubrication" (you know who & what)

    - "I want (part/feature)"

    - "Curse you, Apple"

    - pronouncements of doom

Thanks for playing!
«134567

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 139
    merlionmerlion Posts: 143member
    Dude u sux!



    [ 05-20-2002: Message edited by: Jonathan ]



    [ 05-21-2002: Message edited by: Merlion ]</p>
  • Reply 2 of 139
    [quote]Originally posted by Merlion:

    <strong>Dude u sux

    <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" /> </strong><hr></blockquote>



    That was, "too much lubrication", thanks.
  • Reply 3 of 139
    agent302agent302 Posts: 974member
    i vote for a powermac rev. While iMacs have gone the longest since announcements, the Power Macs have been on the market longest (they actually shipped before the iMacs did). This would be blind speculation, but given that the new iBook has used an (apparently) new iteration of the G3 with more L2 cache, I'd think you might see the rumored .13µ Apollo (7470) which is also supposed to have 512kB of onchip cache.
  • Reply 4 of 139
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    I think a G4 revision is likely (the chip). A part with support for a faster front side bus, be it clocked higher (200MHz), or a RapidIO replacement. My take:



    A G4 with an internally fast MPX bus... connecting to a built-in on-die memory controller. An internal bus can run at higher speeds (quarter or half core speed) and be wide (128bit and maybe even 256bit). And we all know how legendary the efficiency of the MPX bus is. RapidIO can connect to the other controllers on the motherboard at a fast (500MHz or higher) but narrow (16 bit) data rate.



    The new G4 based core may either be based on the present core or a newer one, but if they go through the trouble of designing around the core, might as well add features to the core itself. The pipeline can be lenghtened 3 more stages to a more MHz friendly design. 10 stages seems to be the sweet spot. L3 cache tags can be eliminated due to the new found memory bandwidth but L2 can be beefed up to a healthy 512KB. This would be a great processor to be fabbed on the new 130nm SOI process.



    Based on this processor, I would predict:



    1.25GHz G4 , 256MB PC2100 DDR-SDRAM , 60GB ATA/133 HDD , Combo Drive , Firewire 800Mb , Radeon 8500



    1.5GHz G4 , 256MB PC2100 DDR-SDRAM , 80GB ATA/133 HDD , SuperDrive , Firewire 800Mb , Radeon 8500



    1.75GHz G4 , 512MB PC2100 DDR-SDRAM , 100GB ATA/133 HDD , SuperDrive , Firewire 800Mb , GeForce 4Ti



    1.5GHz Dual G4 , 512MB PC2100 DDR-SDRAM , 100GB ATA/133 HDD , SuperDrive , Firewire 800Mb , GeForce 4Ti



    iMacs will get a moderate bump to 800MHz for the low end and 1GHz for the high end but with 133MHz system bus and GeForce4 MX graphics.
  • Reply 5 of 139
    [quote]Originally posted by Capt. Obvious:

    <strong>Can they do it? Consider:
    • a) Joswiak's remark about the life left in the G4, and no imminent CPU shifts;

      b) moki's comments about a 'G4.5' option;

      c) Xserve's G4-with-DDRRAM motherboard, which is, apparently, possible now;

      d) the plethora of unreliable but smug 'don't worry about' comments from a wide variety of 'sources close to Apple';

      e) the Raycer / Nothing Real / Avid acquisitions, in token of Apple's growing emphasis on video (and audio);

      f) OS X and the ever-growing need for beefier system specs to run it (read: Quartz Extreme, plus).

    Proves nothing, of course -except that, as I said, Apple (Steve) is up to something. AGAIN.



    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    a) imagine the alternative: "We are planning to step to the next generation of PowerPC real soon."No one who can at all put it off buys a PowerMac. Aren't the Shareholders happy!



    b) moki may or may not have inside info. He's a sharp guy and I think he can real tea leaves well but I don't think his shop does anything that requires prerelease access to new hardware.



    c) which is a halfway solution. It would mean a measurable improvement but it wouldn't set the Processor free from being bandwidth limited.This implementation makes sense for the XServe and can probably keep it percolating for some time. However, in the PowerMac folks will be wailing from day 1 that it is not a real DDR solution. Of course IF Apple is stuck with the Current G4 it's better than nothing. IF NOT then that clouds the picture a bit (though I still suspect however the architecture goes you'll be plugging 266 DDR DIMMs in the slots)



    d) But there do seem to be a tremendous number of people who find some odd amusement at pretending to be "close to Apple" and starting some wierd rumor. Hope springs eternal but so does the supply of natural fertilizer.



    e and f) Every time Steve demos something it's incredibly fast (I think the real reason the PowerMac always wins the Photoshop bake off at the Expos has to do with the aura of Steve cauisng an unexplained 2x overclocking phenomena on nearby computing equipment <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" /> ). I don't think they feel that the Mac is painfully underpowered (see also a)) . Apple gets a lot of customers for their big Iron software right now. Especially once XServe can cluster and work these big files Apple may not feel a huge amount of pressure (in these specialized markets) to boost per CPU performance.



    [ 05-20-2002: Message edited by: BobtheTomato ]</p>
  • Reply 6 of 139
    rufusrufus Posts: 4member
    [quote]Originally posted by Capt. Obvious:

    <strong>

    The last face-lift to the PowerMac also came @ MWSF '01, when Apple introduced the 733mHz 'Platinum/Superdrive' PowerMac . Significant for breaking the 500mHz "ceiling", and for the addition of the SuperDrive, this "edition" was more cosmetically-enhanced than super-charged. The last real overhaul the PM line was in '98(?), when Apple retired the traditional beige tower w/ the introduction of the now-classic, side-opening 'El Capitan' case.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    check your info there. when the powermacs went to 733, they remained in the same graphite cases as the G4's that preceeded them. The "quicksilver" casing did not arive until the 867 & dual 800mhz models arived. <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" />



    One more thing. You mention apple NEEDS to do this and NEEDS to do that to keep its powermacs in the game with the Wintel world. Ive been reading that same horsecrap for quite sometime. Hell i think said it back in the days of the "when the hell are we gonna get past 500mhz" days.



    Fact is apple updates it enough to keep selling plenty of them. Maybe not as often as some of us would like, but nevertheless, often enough.



    [ 05-20-2002: Message edited by: Rufus ]</p>
  • Reply 7 of 139
    I dont think we'll see any big advancements in processor speed (max 1.4GHz) but Apple has to do something radical to address the bus issue. I was hoping for RapidIO by MWNY but after seeing what they did with the server and that custom asic then i also see their alternative.



    They can extend the life of the 133MHz bus by bridging the processor over a custom asic (a la xServer) with everything else pumped through the asic at various speeds giving effectively a more headroom than a 133MHz bus implies.



    Officially (is there any other way?)

    - Rapid IO or bastardized DDR/xServer bus upgrade

    - DDR SDRAM

    - 1.4GHz dual at the top, 1GHz at the bottom

    - Possibly BTO option of Matrox Parhelia

    - New case (white plastic with titanium trim, possibly partial Titanium front faceplate as well), a little smaller with no change in internal expandibility. Easy access of course.

    - there has been talk but I DONT think you will see blue-tooth mouse/keyboard.





    sorry, but G5 dreamers need not apply...

  • Reply 8 of 139
    serranoserrano Posts: 1,806member
    iPod III







    ...maybe this time it'll make full use of the arm processor...
  • Reply 9 of 139
    serranoserrano Posts: 1,806member
    [quote]Originally posted by I-bent-my-wookie:

    <strong>

    - Possibly BTO option of Matrox Parhelia

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    matrox is claiming no, not as in NO- but rather as in ...they still make mac's?



    or did steve get to them too???



    the plot thins...
  • Reply 10 of 139
    frawgzfrawgz Posts: 547member
    [quote]Originally posted by Capt. Obvious:

    <strong>And just two weeks ago, Steve let us know that Jaguar, the next evolution of OS X, will hit the street 'late summer'. While MWNY will certainly feature a 10.2 demo, we've basically got the news here, too.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Don't get your hopes up too high.. remember what happened last time..







    [quote]the Raycer / Nothing Real / Avid acquisitions<hr></blockquote>



    Did I miss something?
  • Reply 11 of 139
    xypexype Posts: 672member
    [quote]Originally posted by I-bent-my-wookie:

    <strong>sorry, but G5 dreamers need not apply...</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Ok. Heres a case for G5 dreamers (I know, I know);



    The iMac went G4 when noone expected it. Since the G4 has "plenty of life in it" that could be interpreted as "the low end products will have to live with it". There have also been reports of 2.4 ghz G5 "sampling", blazingly fast "testing machines", etc for a year now (or so). Also reports said that Apple told Motorola to keep shut about the G5. And, as far as I recall, Cisco was said to be "very interested in the G5" - surely a company as Cisco doesn't hunt vapourware chips.



    Now the PowerMac El Capitan is about 4 years old. It used to be _the_ graphic design workstation but is now slowly fading. I doubt Apple engineers are a bunch of honchos with no clue about motherboard/bus design and since the x86 world has known DDR for quite a time one can doubt that Apple would not implement it sooner already if they tought that they'll have to ride the G4 for much longer in the PowerMacs ("Why the hassle if we have the G5 coming in a year..").



    Else a 1.4ghz G4 7500 would be really uber-great and a 1.2 ghz would be cool. A new case would be nice to fit the rest of the products, but I really wonder if El Capitan can be very improved on..



    edit: so that's what happens when your browser dies while submiting...



    [ 05-20-2002: Message edited by: xype ]</p>
  • Reply 12 of 139
    mingming Posts: 41member
    Memory advances, ie from SIMMs to DRAM to SDRAM to DDR SDRAM etc, what technology/technologies look like possibilities for following up DDR? Is there any such tech in progress? (My head is in a cloud in this area) My point is, if Apple is up to something, they might be at least using a few people to research these.



    [ 05-21-2002: Message edited by: Ming ]</p>
  • Reply 13 of 139
    [quote]Originally posted by Ming:

    <strong>Memory advances, ie from SIMMs to DRAM to SDRAM to DDR SDRAM etc, what technology/technologies look like possibilities for following up DDR? Is there any such tech in progress? (My head is in a cloud in this area) My point is, if Apple is up to something, they might be at least using a few people to research these.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    QDR.
  • Reply 14 of 139
    salmonstksalmonstk Posts: 560member
    a thought. Apple made special new case for the blue & White G3. Then about 9 months later they put in a G4 and changed color. maybe they will do a nice faster G4 with some nice new perks and case to attract earky adopters. Then 9 months later they introdoce the G5 and a minor case color change?



    just a thought.



    Question? What could a new case be? The Capitan is so perfect what can be improved in that respect?



    <a href="http://home.earthlink.net/~salmonstk"; target="_blank">http://home.earthlink.net/~salmonstk</a>;
  • Reply 15 of 139
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    The current QuickSilver case is *far* from perfect. First, the main exhaust fan blows air right into the side-panel. Second, that fan is below the only intake, which is a puny 60 mm fan on the heatsink. I like a bit of negative pressure in the case, but the imbalance is way too high, considering the PSU fan also exhausts air.



    Second, a second 5.25" drive-bay would be nice. They should replace the the 3.5 incher with a 5.25 incher for all I care.



    So aesthetics aside, those two problems above are something I really want fixed.
  • Reply 16 of 139
    salmonstksalmonstk Posts: 560member
    ok that could be fixed in the existing case.



    What would warrent a new case
  • Reply 17 of 139
    junkyard dawgjunkyard dawg Posts: 2,801member
    Clearly there will be new Powermacs this summer, the only question is how extensive the revision will be. The XServe suggests that the new Powermacs will get DDR RAM regardless of whether the G4 CPU supports a faster system bus or not, although it seems that Apple would risk a backlash against a "buzzword" implementation of DDR RAM similar to the XServe. It seems that in the rackmount, the DDR RAM makes sense even if the CPU doesn't support a faster bus, but this is not the case for Powermacs. Nevertheless, Apple MUST at the very least give Powermacs the appearance of having greater bandwidth, even if it's nothing but a gimmick.



    As for CPU speeds, we can count on nothing spectacular at all. Think about it: since January 2001 Powermacs have risen 266 MHz, from 733 MHz to 1 GHz. That's nearly 18 months for a 36% increase in MHz. Even worse, prior to the jump to 733 MHz, Powermacs were stalled at 500 MHz for 18 months, with the result being a 47% increase in clock speeds over that time. The G4 has taken a full 3 years to scale from 500 MHz to 1 GHz, or to get a 100 % increase in clock speed. Note that according to Moore's law, a 100 % increase in clock speed is predicted every 18 months, TWICE as fast as the pathetic PPC development taking place in Motorola's labs.



    On average, Motorola has delivered a 2.7 % increase in MHz per month over the life of the G4. Considering that at MWNY, 6 months will have passed since the last Powermac speed bump, we can expect an increase in MHz of about 16%, or a jump from 1000 MHz to 1160 (or 1133 MHz with a 133 MHz system bus.). Cutting Moto a little slack gives us a 1.2 GHz G4 at MWNY.



    Thus we can optimistically expect the following at MWNY:



    1 GHz, 1.13 GHz, 1.20 GHz.

    133 MHz system bus.

    DDR RAM hack that doesn't increase data flow to the CPU.

    Some old case lacking any full sized expandable external drive bays.



    The ONLY alternative to the tortoise pace of scaling G4 clockspeeds is for Motorola to switch to an entirely different CPU architecture for a paradigm shift in PPC performance and efficiency. This would of course be the G5.



    There are a few reasons to expect a G5 soon:



    Migration of other Mac lines to the G4.

    "Stealth" Powermac update early this year.

    Reports of the G5 from the Register, Archintosh, and &lt;cough&gt;MOSR&lt;ahem&gt;



    Furthermore, Apple's pursuit of 3d animation and special effects markets is not consistent with their current hardware offerings. If Apple is to have any chance at all in the uber-competitive 3d markets, then Powermacs MUST offer superior performance. Not performance that "keeps up" with Wintel hardware, or that is "only a bit behind"...these markets are already owned by Wintel and if Apple is going to capture them, the Powermacs must scream.



    Thus, the G5 seems to be nearly ready. If the G5 is planned for release at MWNY, then one would expect to see more rumors this close to the event, particularly since a G5 Powermac would combine a new, unproven CPU with an untested muthaboard. Still, the original G4 shocked everyone, and even more recently the G4 iMac took everyone by surprise and was totally different from what all the rumor sites were pulling outta their asses.



    At least this much seems clear: if the Powermacs get a paltry speed bump to 1.2 GHz on a 133 MHz system bus, then Apple better be prepared to lose some of their most coveted markets, like graphic arts and film. When a Wintel can run FCP in emulation faster than a Powermac can run it natively, the game is over.
  • Reply 18 of 139
    g-newsg-news Posts: 1,107member
    I personally wouldn't be surprised if we just got another speedbump with the same old SDRAM and teh same old mainboard and all that stuff.

    If they're waiting for the G5 to release somethign really new, and if it's not ready by MWNY, they may feel it's necessary to put out 1GHz, 1066 and 1133 machines yet, just so they can say "hey, we updated it".

    And there are going to be people who buy into this crap still, I'm 100% sure.



    I've been very optimistic for MWSF and MWNY announcements since I started following them several years ago...The last great announcement was the Sawtooth 733 speedbump after the 500MHz fiasko.

    Got us hoping for 200+ MHz speed bumps in the future too, to no avail.



    I'm used to letdowns now, and I expect a big letdown for MWNY on the PowerMac front. Not because I hope for it, but because it's easier to bear if you're positively surprised.



    G-News



    One more thing: I don't think that:

    Apple is going to update clock speeds more than 300MHz max, not because they can't, but because they don't want to. they seem to like having all the product lines close to each other, alienating the other products by releasing a 1.75GHz G4 is out of the question, even if it was technically possible.



    Also I don't think Apple is going to have 3 CPU lines spread over their products. that means, no G5 that's called "G5", before the iBook moves to G4.



    [ 05-21-2002: Message edited by: G-News ]</p>
  • Reply 19 of 139
    flounderflounder Posts: 2,674member
    Unpopular, true, but MOSR came out with some vague guesses.

    1Ghz on the bottom, dual 1.4 at the top with another dual in the middle. 6 PCI slots, 8xAGP. DDR memory and better bus. No second generation fire wire or USB 2.

    Take it with a LARGE grain of salt



    [ 05-21-2002: Message edited by: Flounder ]</p>
  • Reply 20 of 139
    [quote]Originally posted by G-News:

    <strong>Also I don't think Apple is going to have 3 CPU lines spread over their products. that means, no G5 that's called "G5", before the iBook moves to G4.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    I've always wondered if the point of keeping the iBook on G3 is so Apple can a)keep IBM intersted in further development b) beat Moto about the head (with threats of changing the mix to more IBM processors) in order to keep them a little more focused on improving the product regularly.
Sign In or Register to comment.