Finally an interesting G5 story

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
As posted from <a href=""; target="_blank"></a>;

The following information is from an unconfirmed source. As such, authenticity is always uncertain, but due to the content of the piece, was felt to be of sufficient interest for publishing. Take, as with all rumors, with an appropriate amount of skepticism.

What happened to Motorola's G5?

Apple had fully working prototype machines over a year ago, and Motorola was set to go into volume production early in 2002. On December 10, Chris Galvin phoned Steve Jobs announcing that the G5 will be delayed for at least 3 months due to glitches in its 0.13 micron process, which resulted in very low yields, and chips malfunctioning after a very short period of time. On December 17, Motorola announced to Apple that the G5 was delayed for at least 6 months, and then on February 25th Steve Jobs received a bombshell announcement that Motorola was ceasing development on the G5 indefinitely because it was making drastic cuts on R&D, and its main market is not desktop processors, but rather embedded processors. Days later, Apple reclaimed all its test boxes from key developers. Motorola instead has chosen to eke out as much performance as it can out of its G4 processors.

Where does this leave Apple?

During the G4 fiasco, Apple began looking to IBM for its next generation processor. In the fall of 2000, IBM assembled its 970 development team at the request of Apple. The objective was to have the performance of the Power 4, at a much lower cost. IBM also saw potential in this chip for its linux solutions. IBM began delivering Apple engineering samples of the 970 in May of this year, about the time the 970 was taped out. Apple has numerous working prototypes, and will begin to send them to key developers later this month.

How does this fit in to Apple's desktop and server roadmap?

Apple is in for another G4 drought in early 2003, whereby Motorola may not be able to push the G4 above 1.3 Ghz, which would be a paltry 50 Mhz speed bump with the upcoming 7457 G4. Right now, 7457 G4 yields above 1.3 Ghz are poor, as Motorola still has problems with their 0.13 Micron process IBM expects to be shipping the 970 in quantity early in Q3 of next year, in which time Apple will unveil the new pro desktops. The most likely introduction date is a Macworld NY keynote announcement, and if that does not materialize, Seybold will be the venture. Both the pro desktops and Xserve will not go much beyond 1.3 Ghz, though 1.5 Ghz may materialize should Motorola be able to come through, even though they might be a prototype version like the current 1.25Ghz version that is now shipping. The new Xserves will also have ATA 133, and will come with drive sizes up to 320GB (Maxtor), giving a total of 1.2 Terabytes.

How will these machines be branded?

Many people were expecting that Apple would be branding the 970 as the G5. This is quite a point of contention at Apple right now among the marketing people. The 970 is truly not a 5th generation processor, because the Power 4 is IBM's 4th generation processor, or if you would call it, a second generation 64-bit processor. No decision is expected until around WWDC.

What processors will Apple use in future generations of Macs?

Apple will stay with PowerPC for at least two more generations. Currently in development is the 980 processor, which is a single core variant of the upcoming power 5, which has VMX, which is due at the same time as the Power 5 in Q3 2004. It will feature fast path technology, which is similar to Intel's rapid execution unit to take over tasks that software currently handles more slowly. It will have simultaneous multi threading, which allows one chip to function as two. All future Power series processors beginning with the Power 5 will also have VMX. The 990 successor will appear in Q1 2006, and will be built on a 65nm process.

Consumer macs will remain with Motorola for 2003. In 2004, it is uncertain whether Motorola will produce the 7457RM G4, which will top 2Ghz, and feature new bus topology, and Rapid IO. It is essentially what the G5 was intended on being, except being scaled back in some respects.

What about rumors of OS X on Intel?

Marklar is even more of a going concern than ever. Contrary to circulating rumors, it is not meant to be a Power PC exit strategy. Rather, it is intended to be offered to X86 users when Apple sees market conditions being fit for it. What it means by this is regarding Intel's Lagrande technology, and Microsoft's Palladium technology. Apple intends on releasing OS X on Intel, when consumer dissatisfaction falls to an all time low for Microsoft when users become restricted to what they can do on their PC's due to Lagrande and Palladium. Likely it will be released in the event that Microsoft chooses to stop developing for the Mac platform altogether.

What new products can we expect?

An eight way 2U Xserve is currently in the works, and will be based on the 970, and will switch over to the Power 5. It will be Apple's high end server, and the name Xserve enterprise edition has been proposed. A high end multiprocessor workstation class pro model is also in the works. The name XStation has been proposed for it, and it could debut a year from now. It will feature Nvidia's highest end Quadro or equivalent graphics card, and it will feature the upcoming Power 5 chip from IBM.


  • Reply 1 of 440
    flounderflounder Posts: 2,674member
    well, that's quite a mouthfull

    Yikes! Clicking on one thread takes me to another thread, then posts in the thread I was trying to go to.......

    At any rate, one can only hope the 1.3 is not true, because if that's all too appear for the next ten months or so, that's REALLY depressing.

    [ 11-24-2002: Message edited by: Flounder ]</p>
  • Reply 2 of 440
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    They have to be early with the 970, they just have to. Certainly not shipping at MWSF, but announced, online at the store, orders in cue, ready to ship by Mar/April.

    Either that or Steve is going to have to pull a consumer device out of his ass that's good enough to keep everyone distracted for another 6 months when he can announce 970 based macs.
  • Reply 3 of 440
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    sometimes info is just too good to be true and this would appear to be the case. while everything stated sounds plausible and very realistic I find it hard to believe that one person would know so much. in order for someone to know all this I would assume they would be pretty high in the apple food chain and in that case easy to track down as a leak.

    nice story, but well, I'll believe it when I see it
  • Reply 4 of 440
    Hmmmm, IBM 970 in Q3 of the year 2003, what speed will Intel's hyperthreaders be at that time...4....maybe five Ghz? We need to get some speed on these processors...that has been said again and again. 64 bit or not, Apple is not gaining market shares at one third the marketed processing speed of crappy but fast wintel boxes. Cmon IBM, don't let us down like Moto has done....goodbye Moto (mocking their stupid "hello moto" phone commericials"
  • Reply 5 of 440
    Does the paragraph of "what happened to the G5" account for Dorsal's comments/observations from last year?
  • Reply 6 of 440
    Another question: why would Apple look to IBM for its next generation processor in the fall of 2000 when it was expecting Moto to deliver the G5 in 2001?

    Has Appl been planning to deliver a 970 workstation since 2000?

    "Apple has numerous working prototypes, and will begin to send them to key developers later this month."

    Is there anyone within the AI commune who will be receiving one of these?
  • Reply 7 of 440
    ed m.ed m. Posts: 222member
    [[[Hmmmm, IBM 970 in Q3 of the year 2003, what speed will Intel's hyperthreaders be at that time...4....maybe five Ghz? We need to get some speed on these processors...that has been said again and again. ]]]

    I keep thinking about the scenario involving the ants vs. the elephant.

    MP will win out on the desktop. They're going to kill them with numbers...

    The 970 in MP configs should be an awesome performer. They certainly have the bus for it now... If they should ever move the memory controller on-die as well... ;-) then that would also gain significant performance. And it's been a while since VMX/AltiVec had an upgrade. I wonder what's in the works?


  • Reply 8 of 440
    I can believe it. All the other rumors have Apple choosing to leave an incompetent Moto, but I've always found that suspicious. Apple is just irrelevant these days. To Moto, to IBM, to AMD, I just don't think Apple has anything compelling to offer to any of these companies to make them go out of their way to help. I don't think any of us want to wait 8-10 months for a halfway decent processor, but I think that is what we will have to do.

  • Reply 9 of 440
    krassykrassy Posts: 595member
    [quote]Originally posted by filmmaker2002:

    <strong>Hmmmm, IBM 970 in Q3 of the year 2003, what speed will Intel's hyperthreaders be at that time...4....maybe five Ghz? We need to get some speed on these processors...that has been said again and again. 64 bit or not, Apple is not gaining market shares at one third the marketed processing speed of crappy but fast wintel boxes. Cmon IBM, don't let us down like Moto has done....goodbye Moto (mocking their stupid "hello moto" phone commericials"</strong><hr></blockquote>

    i don't think that intels 4Ghz or 5Ghz cpus will be so much faster than the upcoming 970 - the 970 has 3 to 5 times the SPEC-performance of a G4 besides - SPEC isn't a good thing to compare x86 and PPC speeds. but as the current G4 is faster in some situations than a double-the-Ghz-x86 the 970 will be 3 times faster in some situations than a double-the-ghz-x86. the G4 - as far as i know - as about 5300DMIPS as the 1Ghz-G4 has about 2300DMIPS - again a speed bump &gt; factor 2. so nobody can say if the new 970 will be slow when compared to an intel 5Ghz... i think it will be there and can compete with all others...

    to the first post: why should a XStation-server get the fastest and biggest graphics card?

    [ 11-25-2002: Message edited by: Krassy ]</p>
  • Reply 10 of 440
    xypexype Posts: 672member
    [quote]Originally posted by Krassy:

    <strong>i don't think that intels 4Ghz or 5Ghz cpus will be so much faster than the upcoming 970</strong><hr></blockquote>

    iirc, intel said they wont be going to more than close to 4ghz in 2003.
  • Reply 11 of 440
    bartobarto Posts: 2,246member
    Bull. I simply don't believe that the PowerPC market revolves around Apple. The G5 and the PowerPC 970 both revolving around Apple.

  • Reply 12 of 440
    trydtryd Posts: 135member
    If this is all true, what can Apple do to keep its existing line attractive?

    For consumers their existing computers are good enough, but they are a bit pricey. I don't belong to the group that thinks that Macs are slow. I have a 17" iMac and a 667 TiBook and they are both more than fast enough for my uses (which is more or less typical consumer uses). I don't play a lot of games, but for the ones I play these machines are fast enough (not for hard-core gamers though).

    So in the consumer space I think it will be enough to lower the price and increase specs on other parts of the systems (as they just did on the iBooks and TiBooks). 17" iMacs with faster video and lower priced eMacs with more RAM as standard would probably do it.

    I have just read articles stating that currently PCs are fast enough for what people are using them for and there is no motivation for upgrading on the PC-side. There is also a tendency away from games on PCs - this market is moving towards consoles. So it seems as though there is no big push for speed any more - it isn't "need for speed" that drives upgrades.

    Maybe there is a market for Apple here? Families with PCs with Windows buying a Mac as a second computer?

    For the professional useres the story is different. Apple will have to give a timeline for the new professional systems. If nothing happens to the PowerMac (and a price drop is not enough) they will have to "bite the bullet" and announce their processor strategy - when will the new machines be announced and what processor will they use. It is better to have the professional users waiting for 6 months for new machines than to have the jump ship.

    And BTW: Everybody says Q3 for the 970. Is that fiscal or calendar Q3? Apples fiscal Q3 starts in April...

  • Reply 13 of 440
    jrcjrc Posts: 806member
    Do you think that Intel or Microsoft might actually have moles in Motorola to sabotage the chips?

    Come on, pay someone $200,000 to take a dive would be cheap compared to market share riches.

    How would anyone every know? Just have the lead engineer make a circuit mistake, a die error, a process oversight and voila, 12 months effort dow the tubes.

    This is really sad. Pretty soon Connectix will come up with an emulator for WinTel for the Mac. VirtualMac. And when Intel is running at 5 Ghz, the VirtualMac will beat out the real, though BASE Macs.

    Steve won't be able to cash in those stock options any time soon.
  • Reply 14 of 440
    My own pet theory is that Apple's shift to developing on gcc instead of Metrowerks gives us some sort of indication of the genesis of the IBM deal. Think about it: Metrowerks have always been good to Apple: they supported PPC before anyone else, ditto OSX. But they are owned by Motorola.

    It's clear enough what Apple gets from this deal: what does IBM get? Apart from providing a high-profile customer, Apple's contributions to gcc will inevitably enhance the quality of linux applications on PPC. And this is what IBM wants: a viable desktop/server platform whose OS can't be killed by Microsoft, and a hardware architecture that IBM controls, not Intel. In other words, IBM wants to turn linux/PPC into a mainstream platform, and Apple's open-source contributions are a small but crucial piece of the big picture.
  • Reply 15 of 440
    That story would certainly jive with the fact that we have heard very little from Dorsal and other HW ...ahem... "sources."


  • Reply 16 of 440
    I Think IBM/Apple combo is most realistic case.

    IBM will expand it's Linux based servers.

    More companies are looking @ linux now when it is being offered by IBM, HP, etc...

    These servers are becoming more atractive than WIN boxes, because of price/performance.

    Don't forget that IBM is providing G3 chips used in iBooks, so IBM/Apple is not something new. Also IBM's using PowerPC in their servers.

    They will benefit from supplying Apple with CPUs as well as Apple will benefit from stable supplier with interest and means of enhancing/developing CPUs
  • Reply 17 of 440
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    [quote]Originally posted by tryd:

    <strong>If this is all true, what can Apple do to keep its existing line attractive?

    For consumers their existing computers are good enough, but they are a bit pricey. </strong><hr></blockquote>

    The problem is is that anyone who knows the difference between a Bitmap and a Vector thinks that they need the most powerfull computer out there to "do what they need to do"

    My brother, who doesn't know jack about multi-media, video, graphics or etc, was a MAC user . . . but he said to me that he was going to buy a Dell because he needed the 'power' and could afford to get a Mac to "do everything I need to Do" for the same amount of money.

    Now I know that he doesn't "DO" anything . . . he barely knows what a JPEG is, if at all, and he sure as hell doesn't l know After Effects from Excell. . . . so what has him thinking this way?

    prolly just trendy techno-lust . . .

    and besides, I look at him whenever I want to test the ways that the quotidienne zeitgeist is turning, as he is remarkable normal (great guy though but pretty mainstream)

    So, I imagine that there are throngs of people who have convinced themselves that they need to top of the line Dell simply to "DO What They Need To Do" which is surf the web and send pictures to freinds and family.

    Apple does' address this level of the market, the, what I would call, the pleasantly self-deluded gadget lovers . . . but they spend a huge amount of cash to upkeep their fantasies

    anyway, what are he specs on teh first 970?

    [ 11-25-2002: Message edited by: pfflam ]</p>
  • Reply 18 of 440
    So Motorola has problem with scaling up the G4. <img src="graemlins/surprised.gif" border="0" alt="[Surprised]" />

    They have had this since 1999.

    They also had the same problem with the G3 and IBM stepped in.

    They also had the same problem with the 604 and IBM stepped in.

    At least they are constent <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[No]" />

    There is no reason to call the 970 a G5. The 604 was not a called a G2 or the 603 was not called G1 or the 601 a G0. They should call it the "IBM 970".

    "If you want to have a UNIX workstation with a IBM 970 CPU you can buy one from "a big blue company" or from us, we will include iApplication XYZ"

    The G4 laggs way behind the P4 and the G3 is behind the Celerons so why name someing G5? To hint that this is behind as well?
  • Reply 19 of 440
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    But Pfflam, if your brother doesn't "do anything" that probably means he uses the internet, Office and plays games. All experiences that are better served by a cheaper PC. Mebbe not techno-lust then, just common sense.
  • Reply 20 of 440
    Can someone explain to me why it would take a year from tape out to produce this part in quantity? 6-8 mos is more in line with industry average?
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