Apple a Chip Company? Maybe...



  • Reply 21 of 43
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member

    what makes you think Apple could do a better job?
  • Reply 22 of 43
    bodhibodhi Posts: 1,424member
    [quote]But the solution to the problem of being too closely tied to one processor supplier isn't solved by partnering entirely with one processor supplier (IBM). If anything, Apple should be courting AMD to get one more company in, rather than trying to buy Motorola out.<hr></blockquote>

    Let me express that what I have posted so far isn't set in stone and up for debate. It could be very well that Apple IS pairing with Mot, IBM & AMD for the G5, we have no idea. Actually it would be a great idea to get AMD in the mix.

    Applenut wrote:


    what makes you think Apple could do a better job?


    I think if Apple hired the right people and invested enough money in hiring the right people they could make a significant contribution. Look at everything else they do...they do it well. Apple of course is in no position to completely design and fab a processor from the ground up, they need Mot & IBM's expertise on that. But if Apple took the approach that if Mot had more manpower and had more resources dedicated to the PowerPC than maybe the 500MHz debacle would not have happened, well maybe Apple could offer that manpower and resources and engineering to give the entire process that bump it needs and then some. I can understand where Mot doesn't really have the reason to devote everything towards the PowerPC. With Apple really as the only customer for the G4 until recently why put all the resources towards it? Well Apple probably wanted to make up that difference.
  • Reply 23 of 43
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Man, I haven't heard CHRP in a LONG time.
  • Reply 24 of 43
    airslufairsluf Posts: 1,861member
  • Reply 25 of 43
    Well said, Airsluf.

    But I think Motorola didn't see things that way. They got Apple back for it--although it appears that they are finally finished savoring the 500 MHz revenge.
  • Reply 26 of 43
    hasn't AMD expressed interest in the PPC?

    That could be an interesting senario....

    Apple buys PPC from Moto, gives it to AMD to R&D.

    Its very possible that someone other than Moto will be making the G6 and G7.
  • Reply 27 of 43
    big macbig mac Posts: 480member
    A mod made the statement that the PowerPC architecture/platform is based heavily on Motorola's 68k line. For the sake of the record, with the exception of 68k emulation code, there is nothing about the PPC that is 68k. It is true, however, that the PPC's internal bus design was/is based on Motorola's own RISC desktop chip line.

    Those RISC chips were to be the replacement for the 68k series, but Apple decided on the PowerPC instead; the AIM alliance was born. Not too much was disclosed about the Motorola RISC chips, but they were said to have provided great performance (relative to the early 1990s). The AIM alliance decided to adopt Motorola's RISC chip bus design in the PPC, which was a compromise measure.
  • Reply 28 of 43
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    AirSluf wrote:

    [quote]History Lesson:<hr></blockquote>

    I know the history.

    The simple fact is that both Mot and especially IBM signed on because of the goal of an open hardware platform, not just to get into the Mac market. CHRP was intended to run other operating system as well. Read the article I linked to.

    Killing the clones hurt Mot once, for $100 million or so. Killing CHRP - which is not just a design intended for the clone market, although MacOS was one of the target operating systems - alienated IBM. The fact is that nothing has replaced CHRP to interest IBM, so they're targetting the embedded market with PPC now. Just like Mot.

    [quote]No Apple, no Mac OS, no need for PPC chips in desktop computers<hr></blockquote>

    OS/2. Windows. BeOS. BSD. AIX. At the time (or around that time) all of these were contenders in various markets. Some still are. Remember that the PPC was designed to compete with Intel's hardware platform, and it was hoped that it could compete in the markets Intel dominated as well as markets that it hadn't yet penetrated.

    [quote]Clone killing was an ugly necessity as they didn't expand MacOS market share, just fragmented up what little was there. Wish it worked out differently but...<hr></blockquote>

    I don't disagree that Apple had to kill the clones to survive. That's not entirely germane to my point, however. IBM, the company I was talking about, never released clones to my knowledge (although they had been working on some). They wanted a non-Intel hardware platform for their own uses, not (just) a piece of the Mac market. And, to go back to my original point, if there's no reason for IBM to be interested in the PPC as a desktop platform then it's dangerous for Apple to depend on them.

    Big Mac wrote:

    [quote] A mod made the statement that the PowerPC architecture/platform is based heavily on Motorola's 68k line.<hr></blockquote>

    That was me, because I had read in many places at the time the PPC was introduced that it was. I should have been clearer: the PPC ISA was, to some extent, an adaptation of the 68K ISA to the RISC philosophy, to ease the transition over to the new platform. The chip architecture was necessarily different, because the RISC approach to chip design is different, and because it also dovetailed with IBM's POWER architecture.
  • Reply 29 of 43
    nebrienebrie Posts: 483member
    [quote]Originally posted by Bogie:

    <strong>It is my understanding that according to the AIM pact Apple has the right to buy out Motorola's ownership in PowerPC come midnight, January 1st, 2002, for $100 million dollars, a fixed price.

    If they did this it would be a whole new ball game.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    It was reported to be $500 million, and it was reported by none other than MOSR. nuff said.
  • Reply 30 of 43
    bodhibodhi Posts: 1,424member
    [quote]And, to go back to my original point, if there's no reason for IBM to be interested in the PPC as a desktop platform then it's dangerous for Apple to depend on them.


    I do not think that Apple is putting all of its eggs from the Motorola basket and putting them in the IBM basket. They would gain nothing other than better engineering, but still dependant on one company. I think since the G5 was a new chip and was open to ideas and Apple stepped in (being the largest customer) and worked out a way for more to be involved in the process. Kinda like everyone checking themselves. I would not be surprised if IBM and Mot have a hand in the G5 pot along with AMD who is a partner of Mot. My theory in the beginning of this thread was that Apple wasn't coming up with a technological and engineering breakthrough but was in a sense covering its ass for the future, getting more involved in the process instead and standing on the sidelines hoping Mot comes through and then taking all of the heat of they do not. Everyone can say all they want about Mot and how great they are and how technologically advanced they are...they have affected every Mac user and Apple's management in a very negative way these past two to three years. Everyone is saying how the G4 has scaled nicely since the 500MHz easily people forgive and forget. I doubt Apple's board and senior management forgive and forget as easily. Killing clones? Mot and IBM should deal with it, it's called doing business. Some things work and some do not. Apple took a hard hit financially and image-wise with the Cube.

    [ 12-07-2001: Message edited by: Bodhi ]</p>
  • Reply 31 of 43
    rickagrickag Posts: 1,626member

    "so I am sure that Mot has either sold or licensed the "core" of the PowerPC G5 to Apple, my guess being licensed."<hr></blockquote>

    That's a mighty big guess.

    If Apple wanted to go in the direction of IBM, wouldn't it be much easier to just ask IBM to implement their own version of Altivec. Don't all power pc chips both ,IBM & Motororola, meet Book E specificaitons(including Altivec). Maybe require some instruction changes/additions, maybe not(re: I haven't the expertise or knowledge to know).

    Problem is, I think, that IBM manufactures embedded chips and high end chips, not desktop chips for only &lt;5% of the market. Motorola's main market is embedded chips. Apple is between a rock and a hard place.
  • Reply 32 of 43
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    IBM will manufacture chips that will be bought. Do you think they own &gt;5% of the server market (PowerPC servers only; not x86)? They still make chips for those servers and it's profitable for them. They would do the same for Apple if it was worth their while.
  • Reply 33 of 43
    bodhibodhi Posts: 1,424member
    Outsider -


    I am sure that IBM could come up with their own AltiVec type instruction set. They actually announced achip within the past year that has had one, but that would require some code revisions and in my opinion Apple doesn't want to go there right now. It's hard enough getting apps ported to OSX, not go back and rewrite some of that AltiVec code...I dont think that will happen.
  • Reply 34 of 43
    rickagrickag Posts: 1,626member
    Just thought maybe some code revisions, if necessary, would be an easier pill to swallow than setting up a department/division to design their own cpu's.

    Outsider, how much do the server chips cost? Maybe that has something to do w/ profitability over a desktop chip?? I don't know just asking.

    If any company, IBM, Motorola, Intel, AMD could make a profit selling a chip I believe they would. One of Apple's problems may be that other companies don't think they can make a profit selling chips to Apple, just a thought.

    [ 12-07-2001: Message edited by: rickag ]</p>
  • Reply 35 of 43
    bodhibodhi Posts: 1,424member
    Motorolla and IBM would not be manufacturing G3's and G4's right now if they were not making any money off of them.
  • Reply 36 of 43
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    rickag, I don't know how much they cost because IBM doesn't sell the POWER4 to outside vendors so it cost's nothing for them to use, just to produce and manufacture. The Power3 is sold to other vendors (Bull computing in France for example) but I have no idea the cost. I imagine a pretty penny.
  • Reply 37 of 43
    airslufairsluf Posts: 1,861member
  • Reply 38 of 43
    [quote]Originally posted by Mike D:

    <strong>fuel to the fire

    <a href=",3658,s%3D700%26a%3D19537,00.asp&quot; target="_blank">E-week article</a>

    very interesting comments on the changes within the G4 line as compared to the p2 and p3 lines.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    That's interesting, especially the RapidIO part. I'm currently building an Athlon system and I was waiting for new motherboards based on NVidia's NForce chipset to come out. That set uses Hypertransport between the different components. It also utilizes a new memory architecture to achieve much higher bandwidth between the DDR-SDRAM and the CPU. Unfortunately, the first few boards released aren't really performing better than the KT266A chipsets because the Athlon can't currently handle that much bandwidth. I'm not a chip engineer, but perhaps RapidIO could be used to allow a Motorola chip to take full advantage of the NForce. (Although I'm not certain that the same couldn't be accomplished by fully utilizing Maxbus). Anybody know?
  • Reply 39 of 43
    airslufairsluf Posts: 1,861member
  • Reply 40 of 43
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Bodhi wrote:

    [quote]I do not think that Apple is putting all of its eggs from the Motorola basket and putting them in the IBM basket. They would gain nothing other than better engineering, but still dependant on one company.<hr></blockquote>

    They never had all their eggs in Motorola's basket. Just a few too many. The chief architect of the PPC ISA was an Apple employee, and so was the architect of the "Velocity Engine" ISA. Mot owns the implementation in silicon that they call "AltiVec," but to my understanding IBM could design a compatible unit - or license Mot's on favorable terms - tomorrow. They didn't at first, and they haven't yet, because they have no use for a CPU with SIMD built in. The IBM design philosophy is to use a pure RISC CPU and farm additional kinds of computation out to dedicated processors. On the other hand, they were more than happy to fab G4s for Mot - at their usual premium, using excess production capacity reserved for third party contracts.

    [quote]Motorolla and IBM would not be manufacturing G3's and G4's right now if they were not making any money off of them.[quote]

    Obviously. But that doesn't imply anything about the viability of the alliance, or its usefulness to any of the parties. IBM Semiconductor will manufacture just about anything if you pay them enough to.

    [ 12-08-2001: Message edited by: Amorph ]</p>
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