New Set of Next-Gen Power Mac Rumors

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
The dirt I got is as follows:



Apple has been working with a new Motorola CPU and a fundamentally different motherboard design since the Fall of 2001.

My source tells me that this design has been delayed due to cooling and reliability issues however (and this is the part that made me wonder) this new CPU and motherboard will not make it into the traditional "PowerMac" line but rather a new high dollar workstation system putting it in the same class as the low-end IBM RS/6000's and bottom-end Sun Ultra Sparc III workstations.

From this information my guess is Macintosh Workstations starting in the $5,0000 US price range at the low end.

I post this because information, not because it is especially earth-shattering, but it does seem to indicate that Apple has not one, but two platform upgrades they are working on. It did occur to me to ask my source if he thought the "other" platform was an upgraded XServe, but he flatly said no way, the other processor simply would not work in a 1u case.

Throughout this conversation, these details seem to make sense considering Apple's moves into the high-end multimedia design and content market.

Next Generation "Macintosh Workstations" for the High End customers.

Upgraded PowerMac G4's for the "Prosumer" marketplace. (I hate that marketing term "Prosumer", sounds like a something you do after a bad meal).

Oh, and all the detail I got about the Next Generation CPU and motherboard design is that "It's something that Apple engineered pretty much on thier own. However it will be fabbed by Motorola and possibly IBM".

I know this is long on speculation and short on details, but if you folks ask me specific questions I *MIGHT* be able to gather more info, for some reason my source seems rather giddy about spilling the beans on what he knows about these new systems and to be honest he's rather miffed about the whole .Mac situation. Perhaps this is his little rebellion of sorts or maybe he's not considered the ramifications of what will happen to him if he violates his NDA.



Well Post Away!
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 152
    macroninmacronin Posts: 1,174member
    :eek:



    Rumour Troll...!



    Everybody run!
  • Reply 2 of 152
    ebbyebby Posts: 3,110member
    [running and screaming]



    Help, I'm not fast enough! He's catching me! Aaarrrrggggg...



    [/running and screaming]



    // Troll places panicking-head-on-a-stick in post as trophy --- <img src="graemlins/surprised.gif" border="0" alt="[Surprised]" /> ---&gt;



    [ 07-25-2002: Message edited by: Ebby ]</p>
  • Reply 3 of 152
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,294member
    Apple doesn't design CPU's. They have plenty of experience designing chipset and ASICs but I seriously doubt that they would design a processor for fabbing.



    Honestly what could they do Motherboard wise to compete with Sun? They still have to use a Moto processor and they will still be limited by todays Memory and technology. I'm sorry I think your friend has had one too many beers.



    [ 07-25-2002: Message edited by: hmurchison ]</p>
  • Reply 4 of 152
    I say 'Bah!'



    Chip development is not an easy secret to keep. We'd have heard about it by now if its in as late a stage of production as you say.
  • Reply 5 of 152
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,754member
    I don't think I really believe this rumour, but the concept is pretty compelling. With all of the high end video production aquisitions Apple has been making lately, something like this would make a lot of sense.



    Apple has no hardware that could compete with the solutions available from vendors like IBM, SUN, or SGI. The software purchases Apples has made, clearly indicate that this is an arena Apple would like to play in. Steve and Co. are not idiots. They can not believe that production houses will seriously consider replacing their current vendors with Apple. These are not customers that are going to pay premium prices for the industrial design of the cases, or the ease of use of the OS, or .Mac services. They need reliable and powerful solutions, which nothing from Apple can currently provide. Apple only owning a bunch of video software and expecting that will move the current hardware would be beyond idiocy.



    Now, how Apple delivers the power needed is open to debate. Will they use a new Moto chip, go with system level clustering as a boost, use Power cpus? Will they buy a hardware company like SGI that has products that can compete in this space? No one knows, but rumours like this is why most of us come to the AI forums, so it is fun to speculate.



    My questions:

    Numa memory architecture?

    Does this new chip have Altivec?

    PPC based?

    Book E compliant?

    mhz range to start?

    64 bit? if yes 32 compatible?

    When would this be launched?
  • Reply 6 of 152
    [quote]Originally posted by Ebby:

    <strong>[running and screaming]



    Help, I'm not fast enough! He's catching me! Aaarrrrggggg...



    [/running and screaming]



    // Troll places panicking-head-on-a-stick in post as trophy --- <img src="graemlins/surprised.gif" border="0" alt="[Surprised]" /> ---&gt;



    [ 07-25-2002: Message edited by: Ebby ]</strong><hr></blockquote>



    In the realm of rampant speculation and theory I don't entirely grasp the whole Rumor Troll reference.

    Oh well

    <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" />
  • Reply 7 of 152
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,754member
    [quote]Originally posted by hmurchison:

    <strong>Apple doesn't desing CPU's. They have plenty of experience designing chipset and ASICs but I seriously doubt that they would design a processor for fabbing.



    Honestly what could they do Motherboard wise to compete with Sun? They still have to use a Moto processor and they will still be limited by todays Memory and technology. I'm sorry I think your friend has had one too many beers.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Apple does design CPUs. They may not have 100% input from conception to fabbing, but Apple has some experience with CPU design. They had a posting on their employment section a year or so back looking for CPU engineers. They were involved in the design of all of the PPC chips. They were a major investor and co-founding partner of ARM.



    The part of the rumor dealing with a "fundamentally different motherboard design" would probably indicate improved memory and other subsystems. It would reasonable to expect that if they were working on true workstation class machines with a workstation class chip, that those machines would have far superior memory architecture. A major limitation of memory systems on todays desktop computers is price. It would far to expensive and unrealistic to implement things like Numa architecture et al, for anything less that multi-thousand dollar workstations.
  • Reply 8 of 152
    gamblorgamblor Posts: 446member
    [quote]Apple doesn't desing CPU's.<hr></blockquote>



    Apple has had a hand in designing the PPC CPUs from the beginning... In fact, Altivec was largely based on an Apple design for a vector processor.



    [quote]They have plenty of experience designing chipset and ASICs but I seriously doubt that they would design a processor for fabbing. <hr></blockquote>



    They wouldn't design the entire chip, but that's the beauty of the Book E spec-- it allows a customer of Moto or IBM to specify all sorts of stuff to add to a chip.



    A Book E chip designed to Apple's specs using the e500 (or perhaps an IBM core) is entirely possible.



    [quote]Chip development is not an easy secret to keep.<hr></blockquote>



    Oh, I don't know. I'm sure there are a few people who know what Apple have planned for their next processor, but they certainly aren't spilling the beans... Think of how many conflicting rumors we've got-- IBM is designing the next chip. Moto is designing the next chip. AMD is designing the next chip. Apple is going with Hypertransport. Apple will use RapidIO. Lots of rumors, very few facts.
  • Reply 9 of 152
    They took away his free email so he is going to risk a lawsuit? See, if it weren't for that line we might have bought it. Not an unlikely idea though.
  • Reply 10 of 152
    [quote]Originally posted by hmurchison:

    <strong>Apple doesn't desing CPU's. They have plenty of experience designing chipset and ASICs but I seriously doubt that they would design a processor for fabbing.



    Honestly what could they do Motherboard wise to compete with Sun? They still have to use a Moto processor and they will still be limited by todays Memory and technology. I'm sorry I think your friend has had one too many beers.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Actually, Apple has some pretty serious CPU talent inhouse. No, not as much as Intel and IBM and such, but remember that all of these players have been laying off people on and off for the last few years. Apple also has an uncanny ability of hiring absolutely great people.



    And any project like this would not have to be undertaken in solitude, nor would it be a ground up design. It's a PowerPC, and IBM and Mot can and would lend their talent to the effort, especially if they would benefit from it's production. It would most likely build off of an existing platform - probably the G4. To a lesser degree, this is how the G4 came to be with much of the design of Altivec coming from Apple.



    Motorola designs primarily for an embedded market, so they aren't designing chips that primarily meet Apple's needs. IBM also has its own goals, and while the POWER line would be wonderful, it sacrifices affordability and portability for speed.



    Neither party is designing for Apple's market, so it makes sense that Apple would maneuver to take that role. Apple has a ton of chipset talent and instead of designing a CPU and wrapping a chipset around it, they'd probably design a modern chipset and glue a chip and maybe a GPU to it.



    After all, by most accounts the G4 is a very fast chip, and two is even faster. Many of the problems with these systems are the poor support between the CPU and the chipset. Now, if Apple can address these problems and crank up the clock speed, then we have something we can talk about.



    There's absolutely no reason, should Apple direct the design of a chip, why it could not have a 333MHz FSB, Hypertransport support, on-chip memory controller, and run at 1.6GHz. Sure it might be hot as hell, but if you are building a workstation class system, who cares. Moto won't make that concession since it doesn't make sense for embedded systems, but IBM has shown what you can do with a PowerPC instruction set. And we have to throw away all of the arguments why this can be true in the G4, because it would be a new design.



    The Powermac line would carry on, scaled back in some ways, and the xMac or whatever would take the high end for all of the nifty new apps that Apple is securing.



    If the case is real, then it lends support to this strategy. The amount of cooling in the case is wrong for any dual G4 system that might ship. But a much hotter chip (or two) would fit. Dual full-sized drive bays makes sense (though I'd think that hot-swap drives ala Xserve would be useful as well) and it fits with other comments that we've heard. nVidia sounds like they should have a role in this, maybe bringing some high-end video to the game.



    I wouldn't discount this too quickly.
  • Reply 11 of 152
    tabootaboo Posts: 128member
    Just to add a little (well, maybe very little) fuel...



    In August 2000, Apple filed for a patent on some graphic tech that seems to be derived from Raycers patents. The team that worked on the new patent are listed, and most came from other companies.

    Among those names were a pile of ex-SGI people including...



    Joseph P. Bratt who appears on SGI patents for multiproccessing, specialized memory/cache access, and RISC design.



    Emerson S Fang who appears on SGI patents for logic circuit design.



    There are quite a few others from other companies whose names appear on other patents for high speed memory and storage design, msg queue procedures and multiproccessing, and video multidisplay and video controllers, and diverse graphic hardware.



    My apologies that I haven't tracked 'em all down yet, but this shows a good start.
  • Reply 12 of 152
    [quote]Originally posted by Tulkas:

    <strong>I don't think I really believe this rumour, but the concept is pretty compelling. With all of the high end video production aquisitions Apple has been making lately, something like this would make a lot of sense.



    My questions:

    Numa memory architecture?

    Does this new chip have Altivec?

    PPC based?

    Book E compliant?

    mhz range to start?

    64 bit? if yes 32 compatible?

    When would this be launched?

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Well answers came quickly...



    1) This is a PPC based CPU

    2) He thinks that the CPU must follow the Book-E spec because the core is based on a IBM design, however the rest of it is all Apple. (I don't know how to intelligently comment on this one)

    3) 64 bit yes, he doesn't think there is any 32 bit compatibility layer in place.

    4) CPU speed is 800mHz

    5) Test machines are running a Darwin varient, not MacOS X

    6) At the rate these systems fall apart he surmises that it will be a very long while before these systems see the light of day.



    Personally, what he's saying sounds realistic, but with this information it doesn't look like we'll be seeing this platform any time soon. Especially considering that it seems like he is working on a hardware development platform and no software integration has been done yet.

    But heck it's still alot of fun to speculate.



    Edited for spelling



    [ 07-25-2002: Message edited by: Commander Max ]</p>
  • Reply 13 of 152
    mavstermavster Posts: 51member
    in terms of keeping is top secret, this has been done before.. not much came out of Transmeta before they made their Crusoe announcements....



    I actually find this to be extremely possible, and a logical expansion of Apple's current business plan.. They've the software puzzle complete with an extremely powerful lineup... Jaguar Server, WebObjects, Final Cut Pro, Shake, Logic, etc.. A high end pmac completely designed for the high end user in the science and creative fields...



    why not...
  • Reply 14 of 152
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    What caught my attention, from the pictures of a new PowerMac case, was the statement at top of the line drawing. One said, "next generation G5 ready." If these are real, it looks like the hardware to deliver those new high end video applications is coming. This new processor, the Apple G5, will be announced at the same time as the new PowerMacs. The G5 will appear later on, and the new case is ready for the update. It fits in with the original post by Commander Max.
  • Reply 15 of 152
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,294member
    That's what I get for talking out my ass. Thanks for the info fellas. That's why I come here...generous portions of humble pie ...yum yum yum.
  • Reply 16 of 152
    wrong robotwrong robot Posts: 3,907member
    [quote]Originally posted by apple.otaku:

    <strong>They took away his free email so he is going to risk a lawsuit? See, if it weren't for that line we might have bought it. Not an unlikely idea though.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    He didn't really say that....commander merely stated that his source was giddy to reveal information....and that the .mac crap could have helped to egg him on but not necesarily did.

    vulture!



    I like this rumor....its sensible and believable....I wouldn't put it past apple to intro a "Macintosh workstation" they could call it Xwork.

    apple releasing Xserve is a pretty big risk on Apples part....on the one hand they have a very competitive(price/performance) network solution...on the other hand Apple has no foothold in the server market and new markets are hard to break into even if you are microsoft(xbox isn't doing to well) and if apple doesn't establish stable footing in the server market...then they could stand to lose alot of money and rep....but if they do...then they stand to make immense rep and cash.

    the same goes for a workstation if you ask me....another factor to consider...is the fact that processing speeds are still slow(compared to our windows cousins) and we have memory bottlenecks....we've had these for quite some time...and Apple hasn't been doing all that much about them....a couple possiblities as to why are 1) apple is to busy organizing their leaps into new markets 2)apple lacks the resources needed to make these improvements...so they are entering other markets to steal the attention away from their desktop shortcomings. 3) they forgot

    at anyrate...there are many scenarios that can be thought of.

    its pretty safe to say a powermac update is coming...a workstation is definatly possible as well....but it might not be till further down the road.

    I would like to see a workstation released...casue then maybe apple could tone down their prices on the powermacs, cause part of the reason they are priced as they are is cause they are billed as pro machines.

    I'm looking forword to buying my next computer...it will be a powermac tower(hoping that new design is real)so even if apple doesn't release a workstation soon....if they release better powermacs(that are more efficient) then I'll be more than happy



    -wr
  • Reply 17 of 152
    [quote] The Powermac line would carry on, scaled back in some ways, and the xMac or whatever would take the high end for all of the nifty new apps that Apple is securing. <hr></blockquote>



    Lets be honest. If the Powermac continues to lag far behind the basic performance levels of say a top end PC (Dell Precision Workstation 340 with a 2.53GHz chip for instance at $2,037.00 V say 933MHz PowerPC G4 $2,299.00) then people will gradually migrate increasingly to PC's.



    No matter how cool, elegant OSX is, it does not and will never compensate for a lack of basic grunt especially when you are trying to convince 'Switchers'.



    This arguement applies less so to the bottom end of Apples line up ie LCD iMac, eMac, iBook but at the present Powermac range which is at present the only 'Pro' option available and at a price point people expect performance for bucks.



    To argue for instance that the new G4 case with it's attention to cooling is simply created for a 'top end' workstation machine, leaving the present Powermac range 'in the middle' misses the point; that it's the middle where Apple stands or falls. No one should forget the pickle Apple got itself into but concentrating at the 'top end'. Especially in the present economic climate.



    I am sure Apple will bring out a specialist top end work station (xMac whatever)to compliment Shake type video production software. I am sure it will be at a price point well above existing models.

    But one of the key selling points of the Powermac line is that of a 'digital hub' and the ability to perform in the workplace where otherwise a PC would site. On a parity of lets say the Xserve to other comparative PC servers. Then the elegance of the software and product design with great build quality and reliability will set it apart from the pack and define what is, essentially 'THE' Mac market.



    [ 07-25-2002: Message edited by: Moonraker ]</p>
  • Reply 18 of 152
    eupfhoriaeupfhoria Posts: 257member
    [quote]Originally posted by Moonraker:

    <strong>





    No matter how cool, elegant OSX is, it does not and will never compensate for a lack of basic grunt especially when you are trying to convince 'Switchers'.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    I can name 3 people who have swtiched to the mac from the wintel world because of OS X. They don't care that much about the speed of a high end Intel.
  • Reply 19 of 152
    wrong robotwrong robot Posts: 3,907member
    [quote]Originally posted by Eupfhoria:

    <strong>



    I can name 3 people who have swtiched to the mac from the wintel world because of OS X. They don't care that much about the speed of a high end Intel.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    me too! me too!

    but 6 people isn't much...of course I'm sure thousands across the country have heeded the call of X



    but pro end guys generally don't care how fruit flavored a computer is if it can't get the job done...then it isn't acceptable
  • Reply 20 of 152
    [quote] can name 3 people who have swtiched to the mac from the wintel world because of OS X. They don't care that much about the speed of a high end Intel. <hr></blockquote>



    It's a general point Eufhoria. Sure there will be movement and OSX 'IS' an elegant piece of software and very compelling ( especially with Quartz Extreme in 10.2). BUT just look at the anticipation for the next G4 within Mac ranks. The reason why there is a pile of current model G4's sitting around is that they simply do not offer enough performance for buck.



    Just think how much 'more' compelling OS X would be on a G4 with say 1.6 GHz with DDR and improved bus speeds (releasing more of the true power of the G4 chip) would be to potential Switchers.



    My point is basically that if Apple continue to allow the G4 to edge along at it's current level of performance the Powermac will wither and die. For that reason I see every reason to believe that the new G4 case with additional cooling etc is for the 'G4/G5' Powermac; not a high end workstation model only.



    [ 07-25-2002: Message edited by: Moonraker ]</p>
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