What does the 17" iMac tell us about the Powermac?

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I'm wondering if it is time to try to suss out what is going to happen to the Powermac with the introduction of the 17" iMac.

Frankly, I think the future of the lowend Powermac is in SERIOUS jeopardy. After years of cripplng the 'entry level' Powermac with (take your pick) old motherboards, obsolete optical drives, old vid cards, lack of L3 cache, etc, Apple might just decide to ditch it all together.

Currently, to get an entry level Powermac and 15" monitor, you'll end with a machine that is worse in many ways to the 17" iMac. It will have a smaller screen, the same proc, less RAM, smaller HD, lesser video card, and less functional otical drive. (It will still have the PCI slots and upgradability edge.)

Granted, we are all hoping for a DDR/RIO/HT/etc. motherboard in the Powermac, in which case the differences will become greater, and this thread will essentially have a flawed premise.

Furthermore, there is the issue of a speed increase. Despite the availability of 1 GHz procs, Apple chose not to add them to the iMac. Since it is cinsidered common practice (although sometimes I question whether it is wise to assume this) for Apple to keep the iMac pegged a bit behind the Powermacs in proc speed, I really doubt that there will be faster procs of any significant margin coming soon. Everyone is waiting for Motorola to go .13 micron, but I haven't seen any evidence of it. Perhaps the next chip rev is just the addition of a DDR controller, in which case, the speeds may not go up at all.

So, the prognosis for Powermac in the world according to TING5:

1) The death of the entry level Powermac seems possible

2) The addition of DDR controller to the 7455, without going to .13 micron

3) Maybe a very slight increase in proc speed rating from some fab maturity

Well, that's my take.



  • Reply 1 of 24
    [quote] What does the 17" iMac tell us about the Powermac? <hr></blockquote>

    It tells us that the new PowerMacs are going to have to be s*** hot to prevent the iMac stealing sales. Can't wait to see what they can come up with. :cool:

    (Always the optimist me!)
  • Reply 2 of 24
    zapchudzapchud Posts: 844member
    The way I see it the 17" can tell us 2 things:

    1. The powermac will be utter crap.

    2. The powermac will rock.

    1: The processor-development have stalled again, and Apple is unable to bump the powermacs enough to justify an iMac upgrade.

    2. The next POWAMac will rock sooo hard, and Apple wishes to leave no hints about it, therefore, they actually boost the specs of the iMac the same time they release the nju powermac.
  • Reply 3 of 24
    addisonaddison Posts: 1,185member
    Clearly there is no shortage of G4 processors at 1ghz, all the third party upgraders are offering them. Therefore the decision not to bump the iMac was either

    A) Cost


    B) State of the PowerMacs.

    I don't think cost is the reason. I think that with the intro of the eMac there is a decision to move the G4 iMac upmarket at the same time as a boost to the PowerMacs. Lets assume that the next next Powermac uses a cuts down Power4 processor the cost of the PowerMac is still likely to rise significently.

    That would make the following profile:-

    CRT iMac entry level.

    eMac entry level.

    G4 iMac Midrange

    G4 17" semi/professional

    Power4 Professional
  • Reply 4 of 24
    I suppose the real question is this:

    Will the PowerMac line survive?

    The simple fact is that nothing has changed on the PowerMac front since the G4 was introduced; certainly, everything that was true about the PMs on Tueday is still true today.

    Okay, one thing has changed: the stakes - and the pressure - have risen dramatically.

    Alarmists have been shrilling the death of Apple & the PowerMac since before the dinosaurs, but the fact is that Apple is getting perilously close to being perceived as abandoning the PowerMac; consumer push or not, I can't imagine that Steve wants to alienate their pro customers.

    The seemingly-inevitable conclusion is:
    • [li]they cannot muster what it takes to compete on the high end;[li]they are committed to last year's tech & all-in-one configs (consider that the Cube was the forerunner of the new PowerMac; when it failed, Apple lost on every front & have been re-tooling the PMs ever since);[li]they are cutting their losses by allowing the PowerMacs to die.

    At this point, it's hard to imagine just how big the changes would need to be to bring the PowerMac back into the game, but that really doesn't matter. What does matter is whether Apple will continue to make computers in the classic, open-architecture style; whether they can remain viable outside the home without an expandable/upgradable box in their arsenal remains to be seen.

    For myself, I'll give them the chance to do something between now & August, but I'll need to jumpin the next 2 months, not the next 9. Ironic that now, when the PowerMac is as stale as last month's laundry, I should be in the market for one.

    Still, for all my uncharacteristic peevishness over yesterday's lack of PM news, I can't honestly say that all hope is lost. Many were the pot-shots taken @ Microsoft during the keynote. Jobs knows that he has, in fact, declared war on Redmond - and Gates & Ballmer know it, too.

    Maybe the question is: does Steve have a death-wish, and does he want Apple to die with him? Or maybe, just maybe, he knows what he's doing. Maybe, if I were more trusting, it would be easier to wait for the other shoe to drop.
  • Reply 5 of 24
    Here is my take... either

    1. The low-end PM will stay because it allows customers to have the expandibility and access that the iMac lacks, keeping a "real" PM tower affordable to the masses. Pro users rarely buy the low-end PMs anyway. We buy middle-to-ultimate systemmes.

    2. The low-end PM is history, because it eats up iMac 17" sales and its demise would force the serious Mac users to get a serious Mac - the upper two choices. Couldn't a user just use the digital hub iMac to attach the drives, etc he or she wants (and would have in a PowerMac?)

    Just for fodder - does anyone know the margins on the different models? Is the low-end a money-maker for Apple?

    "Eagles fly higher than buzzards, but buzzards don't get sucked into jet engines"

  • Reply 6 of 24
    It makes me think the 'power'Mac will only be 1.2 dual G4 tops on pseudo DDR.

    The low end? 1 gig.

    We could be in for some rough times with cpu bumps etc.

    Still, the positive? The Keynote was about 95% software. Some brilliant stuff. Maya 4.5. Jaguar. This is really good news. 25% of Alias customers are Mac now! That IS incredible.

    Lemon Bon Bon
  • Reply 7 of 24
    neumacneumac Posts: 93member
    It?s remarkable that we have so little information coming out of Apple that either of the scenarios; PowerMacs are doomed, PowerMacs will rock, seems equally likely.

    Most interesting is the complete lack of confirmation that a G5 processor for desktop applications even exists. Has anyone here seen any real proof?

    Again, this leads to some equally probable possibilities:

    G5 exists, rocks, and Apple is keeping it super secret to stun the masses.

    G5 doesn?t exist and Apple is stuck with the G4.

    Apple is switching processors (Power4/5?) and keeping it secret to stun the masses.

    The only consolation I find is that the folks at Apple are not idiots. They know the PowerMacs need serious revision, particularly if, as Steve said in the keynote, Apple is going to innovate (i.e. have stellar products available) it?s way out of the PC slump.

    Unfortunately that brings us full circle. Is Apple hosed by forces (Moto) beyond their control, or have they spent the last two years taking control of their future and are nearly ready to unveil the results?

    [ 07-18-2002: Message edited by: neumac ]</p>
  • Reply 8 of 24
    tabootaboo Posts: 128member
    I would think that it means a significant bump to the PM.

    What if the bump was, say to 1.4-1.5?

    What if the nVidia mobo rumor is true, and the basis of Moki's info of the mobo having problems is just that they decided to go with this mobo, cause it's ready a little earlier than expected (just a little later than MW?

    With Jaguar added in, what kind of perceived speed difference would that make?

    Then, add small mobo changes (upgrade GPU, memory, etc as needed by then), and a next-gen CPU for the next upgrade.

    This would be 2 medium-sized steps, making for 1 really big jump in total.

    Anybody think this is reasonable?

    As an aside, I've been thinking about AltiVec lately. Does anybody know....would it be possible to move it off chip, say onto a DSP? Would there be any way to do this with little/no performance drop?
  • Reply 9 of 24
    [quote]Originally posted by taboo:

    <strong>I would think that it means a significant bump to the PM.

    What if the bump was, say to 1.4-1.5?

    What if the nVidia mobo rumor is true, and the basis of Moki's info of the mobo having problems is just that they decided to go with this mobo, cause it's ready a little earlier than expected (just a little later than MW?

    With Jaguar added in, what kind of perceived speed difference would that make?

    Then, add small mobo changes (upgrade GPU, memory, etc as needed by then), and a next-gen CPU for the next upgrade.

    This would be 2 medium-sized steps, making for 1 really big jump in total.

    Anybody think this is reasonable?


    If you read <a href="http://www.tomshardware.com"; target="_blank">www.tomshardware.com</a> or <a href="http://www.anandtech.com"; target="_blank">www.anandtech.com</a> , they both have excellent writeups on the nForce2 board. That board, plus Jaguar, plus Quartz Extreme and a Ti 4600 AND a jump to 1.4-1.6GHz or a G5/PowerX chip would have a massive jump in performance. Currently tho the nForce2 is not available in dual configuration on the PC side. Possible they have indeed tooled up dual and/or more configs for Apple if they really are partnering up.

    I would really love if this rumor is true b/c a friend at work agrees the new 17" iMac looks great but he stil has the kneejerk "Macs suck" comment. Hell I don't even OWN a Mac, I just like em and enjoy alternatives to Windows. If we see the jump in the package that COULD happen soon, I'll probably be buying a new Powermac
  • Reply 10 of 24
    addisonaddison Posts: 1,185member
    I think the fact that Pixar are moving to 100% Macs tells us that they have something very special in the pipeline, the question is when will it be available.
  • Reply 11 of 24
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Lets not let Apple get away without their due helping of blame.

    PPC's are CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP!!! The upgrade makers can get them, the SOI parts STARTED life at 100-300USD. 125 for an 800, and 300 for a 1Ghz.

    There is no excuse for the iMac to have a 100Mhz bus. I should be 133 right now (the 17" is still yummy, though) and it should be a 1Ghz part, period.

    But what about th powermacs ??? Who will buy them??? I hear the loyalists lament. Well, look at those SOI PPC intro prices just one more time. CHEAP!

    Dual everything PM's. No SP bottom line. Dual 800 (with 1MB L3), dual 933(with 2MB L3) and those Dual 1.1Ghz that were up briefly on Moto's site but then dissapeared.

    Apple's average gross margin was OVER 27% and that didn't come out of iBooks and iMacs, that came out of PM's whose margins are a LOT closer to 50% than any mac user really wants to admit. Adding a 100 dollars of CPU to the bottom 2 PM's and holding their prices would produce INSTANTLY competitive machines both in terms of price and performance. You only see the end result, who cares if they use 1 Power7 or 256 dragonball CPU's, as long as it goes. And for 1699 - 2499 the two bottom tier PM's would have a big audience.

    Want a nice display, and AIO DVD-burner? Buy an iMac. Want DP crunching power, at a decent price? Get a PM and add a monitor on your own. Different machines for different markets. No need to hamper one for the sake of the other so long as you juggle your offerings a little more agressively.
  • Reply 12 of 24
    warpdwarpd Posts: 204member
    [quote] I think the fact that Pixar are moving to 100% Macs tells us that they have something very special in the pipeline, the question is when will it be available. <hr></blockquote>

    Or perhaps that Steve Jobs is their CEO and he gave it to them in their "pipeline" for not using macs!! <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[No]" />

    [ 07-18-2002: Message edited by: warpd ]</p>
  • Reply 13 of 24
    mrbilldatamrbilldata Posts: 489member
    It seems apparent that the new Wide screen iMac is Eye-candy to boost the bottom line while they work to build their new "Consumer Appliance and Services division" (.Mac, iPod, etc) and push into the Highend business services with their new server.

    With the release of X, Apple has the opportunity to code for ANY or ALL platforms. They can easily become a Giant SW vendor and at the same time maintain a select High performance platform of PPC based systems for their core customers.

    Apple, like M$, could devote much more resources to making Killer Apps and Appliances, leaving the average HW effort to Dell, Sony, etc.

    The PM is just like the PC, while the iMac is much much more visually( but much the same physically ). If Apple really pushes X onto other platforms, what reason would they have to keep making an average type PowerMac system?

    I think that the Switch people are not shown with Apple Hardware for just this reason. They are selling Apple as a solution ( They are not clear if they mean a HW/SW or just SW solution ).

    [ 07-18-2002: Message edited by: MrBillData ]</p>
  • Reply 14 of 24
    agent302agent302 Posts: 974member
    It makes me think that the 17" Studio Display will come down in price.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    It makes me think that the slot for a computer in a halfshell with a display on a stick portion of Apple's product matrix is filled. The PowerMac will probably have a different form factor. There you have it, you heard it here first.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    aphelionaphelion Posts: 736member
    The 17" iMac tells us nothing about the new PowerMac, but it tells us volumes about the new flat panel monitors ~ 17" 20" 22" widescreens (plus the 23"HD) will be announced with the new PowerMacs
  • Reply 17 of 24
    bodhibodhi Posts: 1,424member
    The ship time on the iMac is what strikes me as the oddest thing. Go to the Apple Store...do not CTO anything on the new iMac. 2-4 weeks? Hmmm...just in time for a new Power Mac.
  • Reply 18 of 24
    brunobruinbrunobruin Posts: 552member
    I don't think the specs of the iMac tell us anything about the next Power Mac. I know everyone expected speed bumps, but from Apple's point of view, the iMacs only started shipping in quantity in March, so to them, the product is really only five months old. And Apple seldom revises a brand-new product that quickly (later revisions tend to happen more quickly, I think). I didn't think there was any way Apple would make any serious changes to the iMac so soon, motherboard changes and so on.

    However, there is nothing to stop them from speed-bumping the iMacs at the same time as the new Power Macs are rolled out. We know Apple is trying to move away from announcing all their hardware at expos, and since my guess is the next iMac revision will be speed ONLY, there's no reason that needs to be a big deal.

    I personally think the next Power Macs will be a pretty good revision, but I also think that SOMETHING big is coming soon. Apple is going to leverage all these high-end software acquisitions into some sort of package, and I think it will include some serious firepower on the hardware side. They didn't buy Shake to sell it with 800MHz iMacs. <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />
  • Reply 19 of 24
    max8319max8319 Posts: 347member
    actually, the only imac that ships in 2-4 weeks is the 17" widescreen. this isn't out of the ordinary to me cause it'll take a while to get the new screens and retool a few machines

    another possibility is when/if the powermacs are updated, they can pop in a 933 chip or HOPEFULLY a ghz chip.

    the only problem is that the rest of the models are still lacking. maybe they can put an 800 or 867 chip into the rest of the imacs.

    and the emac can stay right where it is at 700; that works well for the low end machine.
  • Reply 20 of 24
    If the 17" iMacs are scheduled to ship mid-August, right around the same time as new PowerMacs will be announced, is it possible Apple's already planning on shipping them with faster processors?

    I mean, who would protest if they ordered an 800MHz 17" iMac and a 1GHz 17" iMac with a 133MHz bus ships instead?

    Not announcing faster processors in iMacs could be a means of protecting low-end PM sales for the next month. And ys, there are pros who can make due with an iMac, and would, especially if it had that widescreen display coupled with a faster processor than the low-end PowerMac, all for $1,999.
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