IBM, Sony, Apple: the new PPC alliance?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
The new Sony Playstation 3 will use an IBM "cell" CPU. Ars-technica and other tech sites have mentioned the remarkable similarity between the way the "Cell" CPU and the PPC970 have been described.



I think it's safe to say that these CPUs will share a lot (they may even be the same CPU!). Meanwhile, other high-performance CPUs are fading into the sunset. HP is strangling PA-RISC and Alpha to make way for Itanium, MIPS is pretty much an embedded CPU now, Sparc is Sun only.



I believe that Sony will stay with the PPC for a long time. There are NO other high-performance CPUs besides Intel/AMD. Staying with the PPC would allow Sony to easily maintain backwards compatibility in future consoles, while avoiding compatibility with Xbox (if they used the same or compatible CPUs, you can bet someone would hack one of the other box so they would play each other's games).



Sony's huge amount of clout and capital can only be good for Apple. Their investments will help keep the PPC line alive and competitive with x86.



So...will we see an official PPC alliance between Sony, IBM, and Apple? Sony seems quite hostile to Apple at this juncture, but they are stuck with IBM. And Microsoft is quickly becoming an enemy for Apple (of course, Sony and IBM are already Public Enemies #1 and 2 for MS.)



People have been talking about how easily a PS3 emulator could be written for Mac OS X. But how about a version of Mac OS X for PS3 or PS4? This could be a ticket into millions of living rooms for Apple. They could even sell a Sony/Apple co-branded workstation as a "PS3 developers' kit."



Once Mac OS X is a bit more mature, Apple could license it to IBM for high-end servers and Sony for the PS3. In the far future, Sony could even roll its PC lineup over to PPC running Mac OS X.



I know Jobs hates cloning, but as long as it was kept exclusive to well-established names like IBM and Sony, I think it would be great for everyone involved...except Microsoft.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    macsrgood4umacsrgood4u Posts: 3,007member
    Generally, Sony goes its own way and does not join competitors unless they have no choice (DVD-Toshiba is a prime example).
  • Reply 2 of 34
    kidredkidred Posts: 2,402member
    IIRC the PS2 is ppc as well, so sony has been with IBM already.
  • Reply 3 of 34
    o and ao and a Posts: 579member
    [quote]Originally posted by KidRed:

    <strong>IIRC the PS2 is ppc as well, so sony has been with IBM already.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" />
  • Reply 4 of 34
    heinzelheinzel Posts: 106member
    [quote]Originally posted by KidRed:

    <strong>IIRC the PS2 is ppc as well, so sony has been with IBM already.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    ...Sorry Dave. It's MIPS.

    <a href="http://www.arstechnica.com/reviews/1q00/playstation2/ee-3.html"; target="_blank">http://www.arstechnica.com/reviews/1q00/playstation2/ee-3.html</a>;





  • Reply 5 of 34
    @homenow@homenow Posts: 998member
    [quote]Originally posted by KidRed:

    <strong>IIRC the PS2 is ppc as well, so sony has been with IBM already.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Nintendo Game Cube is PPC (Customized G3 varient), not Sony PS2
  • Reply 6 of 34
    kidredkidred Posts: 2,402member
    Ah ok, oops Think I got confused with a CNN report days after the PS2 launched that mentioned IBM doing the PS3 and somehow thought they did the PS2 as well.
  • Reply 7 of 34
    blue2kdaveblue2kdave Posts: 652member
    Why do you say Sony is hostile to Apple? I was quite surpries at the amount of time Steve gave to the SonyEricson head. I think that we might see something a little more formal between the two soon.
  • Reply 8 of 34
    os10geekos10geek Posts: 413member
    Well, I don't know about the PS2, but I know that the "kiddy console", the Gamecube, runs an IBM "Gekko" chip. Whether the Gekko is in the PPC family I am unsure of, but it seems odd for two competitors to both be using IBM as a chip supplier...
  • Reply 9 of 34
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    [quote]Originally posted by blue2kdave:

    <strong>Why do you say Sony is hostile to Apple? I was quite surpries at the amount of time Steve gave to the SonyEricson head. I think that we might see something a little more formal between the two soon.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    well, one obvious reason for that assumption is to quote his Steve-ness himself, years ago when asked if he would start going after folks like Dell. he stated that wasn't their goal, but and i (somewhat quote) "we're coming after you, sony."



    steve's words, not mine
  • Reply 10 of 34
    thttht Posts: 3,229member
    The Nintendo Gamecube CPU is a modified PPC 750. A G3. The FPU was modified to run some 2x32 bit FPU SIMD instructions.



    The Sony PS2 uses a custom MIPS ISA CPU. The Emotion Engine is a manufactured be a fab co-owned by Sony and Toshiba (I think).



    The Sony PS3 plans to use a PPC "Cell" CPU. They are working with IBM.



    It's more an alliance of coincidence. It's like saying Cisco, Ford, and Apple are a PPC alliance because their products have PPC chips in them.
  • Reply 11 of 34
    gizzmonicgizzmonic Posts: 511member
    The reason I say that Sony is hostile to Apple:



    1) Clies don't work out of the box with Macs. It's a PalmOS machine, there's no real reason why they shouldn't work. Yet they don't.



    2)For years (and I'm not sure if this is still the case), the Sony online store did not work with Mac OS. At all!



    3) Sony won't use 6 pin firewire. Even on some of its own CD-Rs that draw power from laptops, they use a proprietary power cable that hooks up through the laptop power supply. They are also starting to include USB 2.0 on all their cameras.



    These reasons might be a little fanciful, but it seems to me that Sony is actively ignoring Apple. Perhaps they are jealous of superior style?
  • Reply 12 of 34
    programmerprogrammer Posts: 3,409member
    [quote]Originally posted by THT:

    <strong>The Sony PS3 plans to use a PPC "Cell" CPU. They are working with IBM.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    There is no guarantee that the "Cell" chip for the PS3 will be a PowerPC. "Cell" refers to a particular multi-core architecture, not to something which is inherently PPC. It is possible that Sony and Toshiba could use IBM's Cell technology to build a multi-core MIPS processor.
  • Reply 13 of 34
    screedscreed Posts: 1,077member
    Definitely, emphatically PowerPC: <a href="http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/business/industries/semiconductors/5310853.htm"; target="_blank">eight of them</a> apparently.



    [quote]With the PS 3, Sony will apparently put 72 processors on a single chip: eight PowerPC microprocessors, each of which controls eight auxiliary processors.



    Using sophisticated software to manage the workload, the PowerPC processors will divide complicated problems into smaller tasks and tap as many of the auxiliary processors as necessary to tackle them.<hr></blockquote>



    Screed
  • Reply 14 of 34
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    F*IT!



    [ 03-04-2003: Message edited by: onlooker ]</p>
  • Reply 15 of 34
    addisonaddison Posts: 1,185member
    [quote]Originally posted by Gizzmonic:

    <strong>The reason I say that Sony is hostile to Apple:



    1) Clies don't work out of the box with Macs. It's a PalmOS machine, there's no real reason why they shouldn't work. Yet they don't.



    2)For years (and I'm not sure if this is still the case), the Sony online store did not work with Mac OS. At all!



    3) Sony won't use 6 pin firewire. Even on some of its own CD-Rs that draw power from laptops, they use a proprietary power cable that hooks up through the laptop power supply. They are also starting to include USB 2.0 on all their cameras.



    These reasons might be a little fanciful, but it seems to me that Sony is actively ignoring Apple. Perhaps they are jealous of superior style?</strong><hr></blockquote>





    I agree with this post. There are other examples of Sony products that are delibertly knobbled on Apple computers.



    Regarding USB2, even a blind man can see that within two years there won't be a firewire connector on any consumers DV-Video cameras. It is sad to say it but it is true, Sony has already moved to USB2 and I think Panasonic is following, bad days for Apple and what about all of those who have just bought the new 17" iMacs?
  • Reply 16 of 34
    @homenow@homenow Posts: 998member
    [quote]Originally posted by Gizzmonic:

    <strong>The reason I say that Sony is hostile to Apple:



    1) Clies don't work out of the box with Macs. It's a PalmOS machine, there's no real reason why they shouldn't work. Yet they don't.



    2)For years (and I'm not sure if this is still the case), the Sony online store did not work with Mac OS. At all!



    3) Sony won't use 6 pin firewire. Even on some of its own CD-Rs that draw power from laptops, they use a proprietary power cable that hooks up through the laptop power supply. They are also starting to include USB 2.0 on all their cameras.



    These reasons might be a little fanciful, but it seems to me that Sony is actively ignoring Apple. Perhaps they are jealous of superior style?</strong><hr></blockquote>



    I'm not sure about points 1 and 2, but on point 3 there is a reason. If I recall correctly, when FireWire was released, Apple was charging a licensing fee for using the name and logo. Sony didnt want to pay this fee for what was basically a license free technology using the 1394E name. Sony is in the buisness of marketing cosumer electronics, so they just made up, and marketed 1394E under their own name (iLink).
  • Reply 17 of 34
    [quote]Originally posted by rok:

    <strong>



    well, one obvious reason for that assumption is to quote his Steve-ness himself, years ago when asked if he would start going after folks like Dell. he stated that wasn't their goal, but and i (somewhat quote) "we're coming after you, sony."



    steve's words, not mine</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Steve is actually fond of Sony and thinks very highly of the company. I think you might have misread what he was saying.
  • Reply 18 of 34
    [quote]Originally posted by Addison:

    <strong>Regarding USB2, even a blind man can see that within two years there won't be a firewire connector on any consumers DV-Video cameras. It is sad to say it but it is true, Sony has already moved to USB2 and I think Panasonic is following, bad days for Apple and what about all of those who have just bought the new 17" iMacs?</strong><hr></blockquote>



    <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[oyvey]" /> <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[oyvey]" /> <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[oyvey]" /> What are you talking about... Not the USB2 vs Firewire doo doo again.
  • Reply 19 of 34
    japhjaph Posts: 29member
    Just thought I'd point that Sony is a huge company with a multitude of subsidiaries. What the division that puts together the PlayStation does doesn't necessarily have any bearing on what their PC division is going to do(though a PPC powered Vaio laptop might be interesting).
  • Reply 20 of 34
    programmerprogrammer Posts: 3,409member
    [quote]Originally posted by sCreeD:

    <strong>Definitely, emphatically PowerPC: <a href="http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/business/industries/semiconductors/5310853.htm"; target="_blank">eight of them</a> apparently.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>





    "apparently"





    Since no official information has been released the industry is filled with a lot of supposition and guesswork. I hope its a PowerPC, since IBM is involved I think there is a good chance its a PowerPC, but Sony often does things a little strangely.



    Oh, and even if they are PPC cores they aren't likely to be 970s. More likely 7x0 cores, hopefully with a VMX unit. 8 x 970 would be 200 million transistors, plus the 64 vector units and potentially quite a bit of embedded memory. If its going to ship around 2005 they won't be able to afford such a transistor budget. Of course I'll be very happy if I'm wrong.



    [ 03-04-2003: Message edited by: Programmer ]</p>
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