Software issue will make PPC970-based machines "suck"

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Hey....don't get me wrong. I am not starting a flame war here.



I just have a thought that there will be some problem with the 64 bit cpu....not hardware.



The real issue software



All software are currently 32 bit and in order to take the maximum advantage of the hardware they have to be rewritten (write from scratch, I am afraid) to use the extra bandwidth.



Even though the hardware is here now I don't think there will be any 64bit native apps available for at least 8-10 months.



Turning 32 bit apps to 64 bit is no easy task and software developer will NOT offer the update as free updater. They would rather make it a commercial one-version-up release to get the money out from user's pocket in order to cover the cost.



So all in all........those people who are drolling for the PPC 970 based machine....prepare to spend 3 grand on hardware...... ALSO prepare to spend thousands of dollars on SOFTWARE........This upgrade is going to be the most expensive spending to somepeople here.



EDIT: ****** I DO know this CPU can run 32bit code natively ******



[ 11-28-2002: Message edited by: Leonis ]</p>
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 92
    falconfalcon Posts: 458member
    The PPC970 is fully compatible with 32bit apps, and will run them at no performance loss. If I am not mistaken this was one of fundemental principals of the PPC ISA.



    Will having a 64Bit app run better? Yes. But 32bit apps will still blow away the G4, and I am quite sure that they will take full advantage of the bandwidth availiable, esp. games.



    [ 11-28-2002: Message edited by: Falcon ]</p>
  • Reply 2 of 92
    bigcbigc Posts: 1,224member
    ...and why would you want to change the 32-bit apps to 64-bit? I just want some speed and some bandwidth, tired of 4-hour renders.
  • Reply 2 of 92
    quaremquarem Posts: 254member
    Quick replies made my post redundant.



    [ 11-28-2002: Message edited by: Quarem ]</p>
  • Reply 4 of 92
    nevynnevyn Posts: 360member
    [quote]Originally posted by Leonis:

    <strong>All software are currently 32 bit and in order to take the maximum advantage of the hardware they have to be rewritten (write from scratch, I am afraid) to use the extra bandwidth.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    There is a VERY limited number of programs that have any real interest in 64bit. Databases, science, encryption/decryption, other general programs that scream 'run it on a server'.



    There's a couple of things to note about the ibm ppc 970:



    1) The 970 is supposed to basically be able to run 32 bit code at zero penalty. The 32bit 'add' operation is understood by the CPU which uses 64 bit registers etc to hold everything & actually do the math - just the high order bits (the other half of the 64 bit number) are ignored.



    2) 64bit and 32bit code can coexist & intermingle without penalty. This is a consequence of 1, but very important to note



    3) There are a LOT of operations that do not WANT to be 64 bit. 1+1 can be performed on an 8bit computer, 32 bit computer or a 64bit computer. An 8bit 'add A + B put result in A' takes two 8 bit registers, involves two 'input' bytes, one output byte flying around on the bus. On a 64 bit computer, that's two _64bit_ registers, _16_ input bytes, and 8 output bytes. The 64 bit operation consumes a LOT more resources (bandwidth, cache, memory, etc.)



    4) There was a lot of impetus to get past 8bit computers - counting past 256 was a pain, and happened every time two numbers were multiplied (practically . There is a LOT less impetus to get past 32bit computers - it has been in the wings for years now. 4294967296 is freaking big. We don't count past there very often. When we do, we use floats & doubles which go to something insane like 10^4000. There are programs that do count integers up that high - so there is SOME interest. But iCal could care less. Calculator.app could care less.



    45 Applications in my Applications folder, and DVDPlayer, QuicktimePlayer, [email protected], are the only three that I can see that might gain ANY benefit from a conversion to 64bit (sorry, I don't have any databases installed . Unless the chip required everything to be 64 bit to run without emulation or something... but that isn't what is happening - the 970 can intermingle them. So I expect it will. For quite a long time.
  • Reply 5 of 92
    [quote]Originally posted by Leonis:

    <strong>Hey....don't get me wrong. I am not starting a flame war here.



    I just have a thought that there will be some problem with the 64 bit cpu....not hardware.



    The real issue software



    All software are currently 32 bit and in order to take the maximum advantage of the hardware they have to be rewritten (write from scratch, I am afraid) to use the extra bandwidth.



    Even though the hardware is here now I don't think there will be any 64bit native apps available for at least 8-10 months.



    Turning 32 bit apps to 64 bit is no easy task and software developer will NOT offer the update as free updater. They would rather make it a commercial one-version-up release to get the money out from user's pocket in order to cover the cost.



    So all in all........those people who are drolling for the PPC 970 based machine....prepare to spend 3 grand on hardware...... ALSO prepare to spend thousands of dollars on SOFTWARE........This upgrade is going to be the most expensive spending to somepeople here.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    This is false. 64 bit software won't be much faster in general. The advantage in speed (64-bit integer arithmetic) is often (more than) offset by the disadvantages (the cache is used less efficiently). This is one reason why many people have run 32 bit OS's or software on 64 bit hardware in the past.



    The major speed boosts that the 970 will bring (900 Mhz bus, more Mhz and better design) are available to 32 bit apps as well. The most interesting feature of a 64 bit CPU is that you can use more RAM. So you will only be 'forced' to buy a new version of Photoshop if you need to use more than 2 GB of memory. Finally, your assertion that software will have to be rewritten is just wrong. It's mostly an issue of recompiling and fixing the errors that pop up. There rarely is a big advantage to be had using 64 bit integers because Altivec is intended for the massive integer calculations where you would notice the difference, so no one is going to have to optimize their app for 64 bit integers/the 970 when they can just optimize for Altivec and have a much bigger improvement in speed.



    So, what was the problem again?



    [ 11-28-2002: Message edited by: wfzelle ]</p>
  • Reply 6 of 92
    I'll chime in here just to hammer the point further:



    There is no issue with the 970 running 32-bit PowerPC code!



    None.



    Zip.



    Nada.



    No recompilation is necessary (although it is recommended so that the compiler can optimize for the 970 specifically), and existing code will run at least at 7455 speeds (correcting for clock rate). Floating point code should run significantly faster as-is.



    Stop spreading FUD, this is a non-issue.
  • Reply 7 of 92
    apap Posts: 29member
    It seems that the reason to go 64 bit is not very strong compared to the 'standard' processor improvements as bandwith, clockspeed etc.



    Why would you want to go 64 bit on desktop computers anyway?



    Isn't it possible to calculate bigger chunks of data at 64 bit if the programs are rewritten to take advantage of it?



    And whats the thing about the Nintendo 64 bit from way back in the 90'ies....





    ap
  • Reply 8 of 92
    [quote]Originally posted by ap:

    <strong>It seems that the reason to go 64 bit is not very strong compared to the 'standard' processor improvements as bandwith, clockspeed etc.



    Why would you want to go 64 bit on desktop computers anyway?



    Isn't it possible to calculate bigger chunks of data at 64 bit if the programs are rewritten to take advantage of it?



    And whats the thing about the Nintendo 64 bit from way back in the 90'ies....





    ap</strong><hr></blockquote>



    I think the 64-bit desktop boxes will gain the most from being able to access more memory (aside from the throughput and FP ops), but the "film-works" houses may get even more out of it, because I think there are apps currently used on SGIs etc. that use them. Maybe Apple bought up all those high end apps, knowing they were going to 64-bit and wanted to ensure that their new acquisitions were recompiled and optimized for the 970. Kinda makes sense, Apple started on the GUL back in April 2000.



    Not sure about nintendo 64-bit, but my hunch is that it was referring to video bits.
  • Reply 9 of 92
    der kopfder kopf Posts: 2,275member
    It does make sense that Jobs would want to go video now, what with his experiences with Pixar, and of course Apple's purchase of shake (and others?).



    Just remember, for example, when the Titanium came out. One of the stock pictures with every flyer was the TItanium hooked up to a digicam. And always, on the screen, iMovie, or even Final Cut Pro would be running. (come to think of it, Apple developing Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro... that would be a good incentive for them. Rewrite these apps, and make them very fast on their own hardware. A new audience for Apple? Why yes.
  • Reply 10 of 92
    bellebelle Posts: 1,574member
    [quote]Originally posted by der Kopf:

    <strong>Apple developing Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro... that would be a good incentive for them. Rewrite these apps, and make them very fast on their own hardware. A new audience for Apple? Why yes.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Remember how long it took Apple to update many of its own apps to run on OS X, though.
  • Reply 11 of 92
    quickquick Posts: 227member
    [quote]Originally posted by Quarem:

    <strong>Quick replies made my post redundant.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" /> Till now I have not posted anything in this thread.
  • Reply 12 of 92
    leonisleonis Posts: 3,427member
    Hey....I know PPC970 can run 32bit code natively. I just forgot to mention that on my post
  • Reply 13 of 92
    spartspart Posts: 2,060member
    Yes, but your original post made it seem as if you thought it would be like emulating x86 or something (i.e. slow.)
  • Reply 14 of 92
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    It's excellent that developers do not have to recompile their code to work with the 970. When they release their next release of software they can recompile and take further advantage of any features a 970 friendly compiler can give them and still keep backwards compatibility, a MAJOR advantage of the PowerPC ISA. Rather, Apple will imediately take advatage of the 64bit nature and other special features of the 970 and incorporate them in the OS, and this will indirectly help the other apps making them faster.
  • Reply 15 of 92
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    Back when I used SGIs I could recomple for 64 bit just by adding -64 to the command and then linking to all the 64 bit libs.



    So ... it's up to apple to make sure developers have 64 bit libs to link to. You know all the different "layers" in OS X. Not imposible but there is a transition.



    IBM already knows how to take a CPU and software from 32 to 64 so they should be able to make a good 32 bit mode for the 970.



    64 bit wont come at they snap of some finger but it wont be painful ... for us.
  • Reply 16 of 92
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Agreed, and I think that comparing the 32-&gt;64 bit move to the OS9 -&gt; X move for Apple's apps, Belle, is a bit off.



    OS9 -&gt; X was either a complete rewrite in Cocoa, or a Carbonization. Neither is exactly instant.



    32 -&gt; 64 bit, however, assuming that they have the OS layers recompiled, requires just that... a recompile. Again, assuming they haven't done anything stupid like assume the length of datatypes, etc... which, given the general high levels that most Apple apps work on, shouldn't be a problem. The hard work is going to be in the inner guts like QuickTime to provide the 64 bit libraries to link against. (OOooooh, now here's a fun thought - the 970 can run 64 or 32 bit code, right? So what about a 64 bit app linking with 32 bit libraries? Should be just fine, unless the app is using &gt;32 bits of address space. Which means you can mix and match bit depth libraries. 64 bit if it's there, 32 bit if it's not. Hmmm.)
  • Reply 17 of 92
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    A lot of the lower level stuff needs some TLC to move to 64. Remember those threads about memory alignment? But 32 bit mode is not a problem and developers have to worry about the rest.



    Also it could be an area where fat binaries are helpful.



    [ 11-29-2002: Message edited by: Scott ]</p>
  • Reply 18 of 92
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    [quote]Originally posted by ap:

    <strong>



    It seems that the reason to go 64 bit is not very strong compared to the 'standard' processor improvements as bandwith, clockspeed etc.



    Why would you want to go 64 bit on desktop computers anyway? . . .



    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Your are correct for typical Mac users. I believe MacJedai hit one of the biggest reasons. Apple wants to take over the film industry's special effects and they need a powerful 64-bit processor to do it. Then, it makes sense to use the same powerful processor for many Mac models to get the purchase quantities up and keep the price down. There may be more side benefits than we realize. Maybe few need 64-bits, but I bet it becomes a marketing point, and it will be seen as better and more advanced. Good PR for Apple. Some applications will benefit, as others have mentioned. Lastly, it will be there, and I bet people start figuring out ways to use it, things we haven't even thought about yet.



    An interesting idea for me is if Apple switches entirely to 64-bit processors, if it can be done and make economic sense. Maybe there would be no need to do it, but it would give Apple a unique distinction among computer vendors. This is a far out idea and has no logic to support it however.
  • Reply 19 of 92
    Just had an idea regarding S/W on the 970 and a direction that Apple may want to pursue. First, a little foundation work: At my work, there are alot of workstations (HP, Sun, RS6000 and variants) running things like Pro-Engineer, Unigraphics, Catia and other things. Now the Unigraphics machines are starting to be replaced by PCs w/ P4, 2.6GHz processors.



    Now for the idea: Wouldn't it be good if Apple could get Pro-Engineer, Unigraphics, Catia and other things to run on OSX and maybe get back into some of the corporations via their engineering departments.



    Don't wake me up, this is a nice dream, OK. Anybody know how difficult it would be to get those AIX/Unix apps ported to the Mac, or am I seriously dream'n.
  • Reply 20 of 92
    apap Posts: 29member
    You mention that 64 bit would be able to speed up pro movie editing. Does that count for 3D renering, photoshop and audio too?



    If so the switch to 64 is obvious.



    Does the 64 bit contra 32 bit benefits come in addition to the official spec. numbers for PPC 970?



    Does it double the speed if the programs is suitable for 64 bit?



    ap



    [ 11-29-2002: Message edited by: ap ]</p>
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