Will Apple move to the POWER 5 instead of PPC?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
To me this sounds logical in that it would focus development dollars and help IBM and Apple much more. I thought that the focus of the POWER 5 was reduced energy demands and IBM will need to move to the more exotic technologies as speed increases slow down to keep overall performance on par. I would think that this makes sense. I thought that that there was an article about this and was talked about here but the discussion was derailed. Does it appear that Apple could move to the POWER series and there by have their development money that they pay IBM go further. It seems to me that the shift would not be terribly difficult and the shift in focus would help IBM and Apple.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 121
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Brendon

    To me this sounds logical in that it would focus development dollars and help IBM and Apple much more. I thought that the focus of the POWER 5 was reduced energy demands and IBM will need to move to the more exotic technologies as speed increases slow down to keep overall performance on par.



    Note that all POWER CPUs are also PowerPCs.



    The POWER series always use less exotic technologies, because in this CPU class bedrock reliability is absolutely required, even more than high performance—nobody wants their big, expensive database server to blow up underneath their company. So the POWER series has been and will remain one process step behind the PPCs, which aren't so mission critical.



    Quote:

    I thought that that there was an article about this and was talked about here but the discussion was derailed. Does it appear that Apple could move to the POWER series and there by have their development money that they pay IBM go further. It seems to me that the shift would not be terribly difficult and the shift in focus would help IBM and Apple.



    To a certain extent, this already happened with the 970, which is a retooled POWER4 core. IBM is already reusing a lot of the POWER series design and layout in the PPC. But the PPC serves a different market, so it requires a different design.



    The difference is that with this strategy IBM can accomodate things like AltiVec that haven't appeared (and possibly won't appear) in the POWER series, they can leave off circuitry that supports multi-chip modules and monstrous caches, and they can offer the chip at a sane price. AFAIK, you can buy a PowerMac for the price of a POWER5, and a car for the price of a POWER5 MCM.
  • Reply 2 of 121
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    Mmmmmmmm, 36mb of L3 cache. Aaarrrgggghhhh.
  • Reply 3 of 121
    rhumgodrhumgod Posts: 1,289member
    Considering cost and cooling - these things are for servers only. Which begs the question, "What would Apple use in PowerMacs?" PPC 9xx is the answer. Not sure if Apple is ready/willing/able to compete directly with IBM in this arena.
  • Reply 4 of 121
    Does the Power5 have Altivec?



    http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/cpu/POWER5.ars/5



    No.

    Case closed.
  • Reply 5 of 121
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Tomb of the Unknown

    Does the Power5 have Altivec?



    http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/cpu/POWER5.ars/5



    No.

    Case closed.




    I don't think that the PPC was designed with Altivec in mind in the first place and was added later. It doesn't seem to be that difficult to add Altivec to those sold to Apple or Altivec 2 could be a standalone chip like the old co-processors. This would alow for altivec to be developed at its own pace and IBM would not heave to worry about the Altivec unit as another source of bugs in the production of PPC chips.
  • Reply 6 of 121
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Brendon

    I don't think that the PPC was designed with Altivec in mind in the first place and was added later. It doesn't seem to be that difficult to add Altivec to those sold to Apple or Altivec 2 could be a standalone chip like the old co-processors. This would alow for altivec to be developed at its own pace and IBM would not heave to worry about the Altivec unit as another source of bugs in the production of PPC chips.



    AltiVec, as designed, has to be part of the CPU core to come anywhere near living up to its potential. The AltiVec unit on a 1GHz G4 is capable of burning through 12GB of data per second. You don't want to starve it any more than you have to. Also, many real-world uses of AltiVec also use the scalar units for the same computations, and they'd become much, much slower if they had to work across a bus (even a CPU fabric) instead of just accessing registers in a core.



    IBM has already taken your first suggestion, by shipping a POWER4 core with AltiVec added (and a few other tweaks along the way). It's called the PPC970.
  • Reply 7 of 121
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Brendon

    I don't think that the PPC was designed with Altivec in mind in the first place and was added later. It doesn't seem to be that difficult to add Altivec to those sold to Apple or Altivec 2 could be a standalone chip like the old co-processors. This would alow for altivec to be developed at its own pace and IBM would not heave to worry about the Altivec unit as another source of bugs in the production of PPC chips.



    Well, at least we agree that you're not thinking.



    Adding Altivec to the POWER5 is neither trivial nor feasible, per se. Hence the link I posted. The best that could be hoped for is that a POWER5 derivative is in the works, much like the PPC970 is a derivative of the POWER4. In any event, the result would not be a POWER5 so your original question is answered regardless.



    There is no such thing as Altivec2 and your suggestion that if did exist it could be implemented as part of the PowerMac chipset betrays a fundamental lack of understanding regarding the limitations and tradeoffs in implementing PC and CPU architectures.



    Daydreaming and engineering don't mix. Try learning something about the latter before you post the former.
  • Reply 8 of 121
    powerdocpowerdoc Posts: 8,123member
    The next G5 chip will be a dual core PPC 970. It will look like a power 4 chip without L3 cache controller and with Two altivec unit.



    As many people pointed it out here, there is no chance to see a power 5 in a mac :

    - it's way too expansive

    - it lack altivec
  • Reply 9 of 121
    slugheadslughead Posts: 1,169member
    All IBM's chips have been PPC[-64] for years.



    PPC is an instruction set.
  • Reply 10 of 121
    pbpb Posts: 4,244member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Powerdoc

    The next G5 chip will be a dual core PPC 970. It will look like a power 4 chip without L3 cache controller and with Two altivec unit.





    You seem too sure... or are you guessing?



    Quote:



    As many people pointed it out here, there is no chance to see a power 5 in a mac :

    - it's way too expansive

    - it lack altivec




    This is absolutely true. There is already a very large code base from Apple and other developers, OS X itself included, relying on Altivec. It makes no sense for Apple to use a non-Altivec processor.
  • Reply 11 of 121
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    No.
  • Reply 12 of 121
    cubistcubist Posts: 954member
    And how much market is there for $10K+ Macs anyway? Weren't they "the computer for the rest of us"?
  • Reply 13 of 121
    powerdocpowerdoc Posts: 8,123member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by PB

    You seem too sure... or are you guessing?





    I am almost sure, all the big players of CPU market go dual core : AMD, Freescale (MOTOROLA), Intel. IBM is doing the same, althought he communicate less about his future products than the others corps.



    The clockspeed race is over, the hyperscalar architecture is starting to reach his limits : multicore chips are the next logical step.

    Add that IBM has a great expertise on this tech, granted his power 4 and 5 chips, and you will understand why most people are very confident on this point.
  • Reply 14 of 121
    bodhibodhi Posts: 1,424member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by cubist

    And how much market is there for $10K+ Macs anyway? Weren't they "the computer for the rest of us"?



    Remember Apple is also hitting the scientific and some enterprise markets too with the servers and these are large places with large budgets.



    My boss and I refresh some servers every year and it's always in January so we are looking at replacing about 8 Dell's and one xserve for Jan. We spend up to 10k on a server and storage without thinking twice.
  • Reply 15 of 121
    smalmsmalm Posts: 675member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Bodhi

    We spend up to 10k on a server and storage without thinking twice.



    One Xserve + two Cluster Nodes?
  • Reply 16 of 121
    drboardrboar Posts: 477member
    Rather than a Power5 I am hoping for 970 with a integrated memory controller and perhaps larger cache. This would boost performance even with no increase in clock speed
  • Reply 17 of 121
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Powerdoc

    As many people pointed it out here, there is no chance to see a power 5 in a mac :

    - it lack altivec




    So did the POWER4!
  • Reply 18 of 121
    slugheadslughead Posts: 1,169member
    Altivec was vastly overrated anyway.



    I'd rather have 2x Dual Core 3ghz PPC-64 processors (yes I wrote that right) than 10 G4s
  • Reply 19 of 121
    Quote:

    Originally posted by T'hain Esh Kelch

    So did the POWER4!



    You mean, "Neither does the POWER4!"



    See any Macs with POWER4's in them? No?



    Gee, wonder why?
  • Reply 20 of 121
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    2 of the 10 fastest super computers in the world use PPC 440 cored chips. They're low poser but really high density. What I'd like to see is a PowerMac with several PDS slots (that's right, Processor Direct Slot) that can accept a card with 8 440 core CPUs on each card.

    Voom!
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