Why Powerbook G5?

pbpb
Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
With all that discussion and anticipation for the G5 Powerbook, a question is coming naturally in my mind: what is the point to have a G5 Powerbook (that is a 64-bit one), if the hardware design limitations of a notebook don't allow to equip the machine with more than 4 GB RAM (at least for the time being or for a couple of years from now)? Only recently it has been possible to jump up to 2 GB RAM in powerbooks, and this is still very expensive. Still, the 4 GB limit of a 32-bit processor has not been reached in the notebook sector. Of course, within some reasonable time frame, one can expect 2 GB RAM modules for portables, but for what price and for how long in that price range? Apart the RAM issue, certainly there are the well documented benefits of the G5 (or some 64-bit mobile variant), but it is really worth to manufacture and sell such a notebook and then limit its processing power in the 0.512-2 GB memory range for years to come? What do you think?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    There are many other advantages to the G5, like the extremely fast bus speed that allows memory to be accessed extremely quickly with no bottleneck. The 167 MHz bus in the G4 is slow and can't always use the full speed advantage from DDR RAM. So even with 512MB-2GB of RAM, G5 PowerBooks will still be much faster.



    Also remember that only the top two models of G5 PowerMac can break the 4 GB barrier anyway, and even then it's very expensive for them to do so because it involves purchasing at least one pair of 1 GB RAM modules. Yes, 1 GB modules will drop in price pretty quickly now that they're becoming fairly mainstream, and 2 GB modules will soon follow suit, but right now it's very expensive to break 4 GB in any system, even one capable of it.



    I'm not an expert on processor design but I've learned enough through reading discussions here and at various other websites to see that there are many more advantages to the G5 other than the ability to address more than 4 GB of RAM.
  • Reply 2 of 8
    pbpb Posts: 4,233member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Luca Rescigno

    There are many other advantages to the G5, like the extremely fast bus speed that allows memory to be accessed extremely quickly with no bottleneck.



    Exactly, that's why I mention that there are the other benefits of the G5 processor. But I still feel that the real advantage of such a processor over today's 32-bit ones, can be seen once we go well beyond 4 GB RAM. Furthermore, Apple could use a 32-bit processor in the powerbooks for 2 or 3 years to come, if it has the processing power of a mobile G5 within the RAM range of 0.512-2 GB. I don't know though if such a processor exists or could be produced at reasonable cost.
  • Reply 3 of 8
    zapchudzapchud Posts: 844member
    The raw speed of the G5. That's the point :-)
  • Reply 4 of 8
    zapchudzapchud Posts: 844member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by PB

    Exactly, that's why I mention that there are the other benefits of the G5 processor. But I still feel that the real advantage of such a processor over today's 32-bit ones, can be seen once we go well beyond 4 GB RAM. Furthermore, Apple could use a 32-bit processor in the powerbooks for 2 or 3 years to come, if it has the processing power of a mobile G5 within the RAM range of 0.512-2 GB. I don't know though if such a processor exists or could be produced at reasonable cost.



    Apple could possibly be working in another CPU with IBM, for use in the PowerBooks, and later iBooks, that eat less power, but still perform reasonably well. It's all talked about in this thread.
  • Reply 5 of 8
    pbpb Posts: 4,233member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Zapchud

    Apple could possibly be working in another CPU with IBM, for use in the PowerBooks, and later iBooks, that eat less power, but still perform reasonably well. It's all talked about in this thread.



    I have read the posts in this thread. Forgetting it is nothing more than rumors at the moment, it is not clear how such a processor would compare with a G5.
  • Reply 6 of 8
    cubistcubist Posts: 954member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by PB

    ...it is not clear how such a processor would compare with a G5.



    I agree with PB's concern. The performance of the 750VX would have to be tremendously improved for it to be marketable - and such improvements are not easy or cheap.



    On the benchmarks I saw (barefeats?) the G3 iBook was so badly blown away by even the slowest G5 that it wasn't funny.
  • Reply 7 of 8
    resres Posts: 711member
    The fact that the G5 is 64-bit processor is irrelevant for most personal computers. It is the raw power of the G5 on a great bus that is important. Portables may not be able to address more then 4GB, but truthfully I doubt that desktops will be using more ram then that.
  • Reply 8 of 8
    The main reason is always cool factor and the fear that some future program that they'll want won't work without a 64 bit processor. It's all about sales and what sells, not about what people actually need. 64 bits is new a very cool, 32 bits is old and very ordinary.



    As a programmer I know that another reason from Apple's perspective is to push new technologies. The vast majority of programs written for the mac use Altivec in a limited way if at all. The reason being, requiring a G4 will hurt your sales, and improving performance is rarely as profitable as adding new functionality. The same goes for every major technological advance, and Apple is in a position to benefit from this problem. Because Apple is in control of the hardware they can push new technology like 64 bit computing in say 4 years where it would take Wintel 10.
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