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seldon
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Apple to use X86 http://news.com.com/Apple+to+ditch+IBM%2C+switch+to+Intel+chips/2100-1006_3-5731398.html?tag=nefd.lede

My guess - new software written for macs will be X86..so old mac users--run new software in X86 emulation mode (SLOW). So if you want speed, forced Upgrade!!!!!!

6/3/2005 10:43:19 PM

dFshadow
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gg

6/3/2005 10:46:27 PM

eraser
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Apple HAS been meeting with Intel ... but reports indicate that this might be over wireless chipsets and not CPUs

Wait and see.

I personally hope they stick with the PowerPC line.

6/3/2005 10:51:59 PM

1337 b4k4
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http://daringfireball.net/

Quote :
"So, yes, there’s a motive for Apple to consider such a switch. But that doesn’t make it plausible. None of this week’s Apple-Intel rumor reports seriously address the enormous hurdles Apple would face if they made such a switch.

The biggest of which is, simply, software compatibility. All existing Mac OS X software would need to be recompiled for an Intel processor architecture. A decade ago, when Apple switched the Mac from Motorola’s 680x0 family of processors to the PowerPC, the transition was nearly seamless because the PowerPC was capable of emulating the 680x0 at very reasonable speeds. But emulation is out of the question for a switch now — Intel chips may be faster than current PowerPC G5s, but they are nowhere near fast enough to emulate them at an acceptable speed.

The only plausible scenario I can imagine would be for Apple to pre-announce the move to x86 (say, at WWDC) to get developers on board a year or more in advance. The idea is that by the time Apple released the new Intel-powered Macs, developers would have had time to develop, test, and release Intel-compatible software updates.

The problem with this scenario is not technical. It’d be a piece of cake for Apple to roll out an update of Xcode that generates such dual-binary apps — the compiler at the heart of Xcode is GCC, and if anything, GCC is better at generating x86 code than it is PowerPC code. Darwin already officially supports x86 processors, and it seems quite plausible that Apple secretly keeps the rest of Mac OS X’s source code compilable on x86 processors. (NextStep supported multiple processor architectures.)

No, the obvious problem with this idea is marketing: the minute Apple announces they’re moving to x86 processors, sales of current hardware dry up. Who’s going to spend $3000 for a deprecated CPU architecture?

But they’d have to pre-announce the move in order to give developers time to recompile — and in some cases re-write portions of — their software. Apple couldn’t just spring the new machines unannounced; who’d buy a Mac that ran no existing third-party Mac software?"

6/3/2005 10:53:26 PM

seldon
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Read the link.. it says power pc bye bye...cnet typically is not wrong.

6/3/2005 10:53:47 PM

1337 b4k4
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Yes, I see what CNET says, and they publish this rumor every few years. They still don't answer the big questions of why and how. They don't even present any evidence.

That said, it's entirely possible that Apple has managed to get Intel on board for PPC production.

[Edited on June 3, 2005 at 11:05 PM. Reason : adfads]

6/3/2005 11:03:11 PM

30thAnnZ
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they've come damned close to switching a bunch of times for a bunch of different reasons

i doubt they will here, but i do think it is possible

6/3/2005 11:22:24 PM

Excoriator
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If apple announces on Monday that it, "plans to move... to Intel chips in... higher-end models such as the Power Mac in mid-2007" then I hereby pledge to retire this name that same day.

6/3/2005 11:29:52 PM

eraser
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Could be a ploy to work out a better contract with IBM ...

6/3/2005 11:30:36 PM

Excoriator
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their contract with ibm is already pretty sweet for them... how do you think it could be improved?

[Edited on June 3, 2005 at 11:32 PM. Reason : s]

6/3/2005 11:32:05 PM

Woodfoot
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free puppies

6/3/2005 11:33:25 PM

1337 b4k4
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^^^^ You might want to clarify if you'll do that if they do Intel PPC as well.

6/3/2005 11:35:04 PM

eraser
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Hmm. Intel PPC would be tricky because it would have to be licensed from IBM (core archetecture) and Motorola (AltiVec) and then they would have to manufacture a custom chip just for Apple. Seems kindof counter-productive.

6/3/2005 11:40:36 PM

smoothcrim
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maybe its because the pentium M architecture is very similar to that of the G5 but remains x86. I think when we start seeing multicore p-M processors in desktops it would be very plausible for apple to make the switch since ibm doesn't have the funds to engineer chips at the rate of intel.

6/4/2005 12:23:54 AM

moron
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What if Apple stuck a PPC AND x86 processor in Macs as their "transition" plan? For the first gen, you'd have a Mac that likely will have mediocre PC performance, then the second gen., they could maybe put a beastly x86 in, with a mediocre PPC, then the 3rd gen. be a straight beastly x86. They could do this at the same prices, while eating a lot of margin, to have a stronger platform in the long-run. Windows is very much ingrained, and the only hope Apple ever has of unseating Microsoft in the long run is to switch to x86. People love OS X, but most people I know that object to switching do so because they would have to buy new software. Using something like the Classic compatibility layer now in Mac OS, Apple could easily let people run their Windows software, until they can migrate over to full Mac software.

This would monumentally piss of companies like Adobe though who have put tons of money in to optimizing for Altivec (which shows). Apple though could likely get intel to fab an altivec x86 for them. Most of the current Mac shareware would likely work with nothing more than a recompile (this is assuming the developers don't make assumptions about data alignment, and don't use any assembly). Macs would also be made more vulnerable to buffer overflow-type attacks.

Assuming the performance of Mac apps didn't suffer in the vast majority of ways, and Apple has a great transition program, I would support them switching. There would be a lot of crow-eating and back pedaling going on on the Mac/PC battlegrounds though.

[Edited on June 4, 2005 at 12:24 AM. Reason : 2]

6/4/2005 12:24:37 AM

Noen
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You guys are forgetting several BIG things.

1) Intel will never make a desktop powerpc chip, at least not for a HARDWARE VENDING competitor. That's the stupidest fucking thing i have ever heard, to even THINK intel would make a new chip for APPLE. That's like GE making a new product line for Apex. Intel could sweep up Apple, as could IBM.

2) Anyone check out the nice G5 vs x86 showdown at Anandtech? God it was beautiful to not only watch the monster G5 go down, but horribly and with the acknowledgement of Apple's own people. XServe....hahahahahaha

3) IF APPLE WANTED TO, THEY COULD LAUNCH OSX FOR THE PC TOMORROW

Darwin is maintained for x86, Apple has it's own internal team that has been keeping Aqua up to date for the x86. There is absolutely no technical reason to stick with PowerPC architecture ESPECIALLY with how comparatively inexpensive 64bit CISC chips are.

4) Adobe hasn't sunk shit into development for OSX. They basically gave apple a big fuck you, and have all but ceased active development on the platform. Adobe's PC programs are MASSIVELY faster than their OSX counterparts.

6/4/2005 1:09:49 AM

Noen
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Quote :
"Macs would also be made more vulnerable to buffer overflow-type attacks.
"


You are a fucking idiot.

And if they release an x86 based computer, the hardware market days will be done in less than two years.

Apple would be 100 times more profitable as a peripheral and software company akin to Microsoft anyway.

6/4/2005 1:12:25 AM

1337 b4k4
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1) If they're making and selling Apple's chips it's no longer a competition. They're being paid to make chips which is what they do.

2) I did look at it, and from the looks of it, it seems the problem is with the software, not the hardware. The basic hardware tests seemed to show the hardware holding it's own just fine.

3) They could, in theory. In practice, not so much. How do they solve the sales loss problem if they do? If they pre-announce moving to x86, no one is going to buy PPC hardware. That's more than half of their income GONE. Even if they could make up for it later in increased sales (and that's a big fucking if), they still have to languish for at least a year with a halved income. If they just spring it tomorrow, they lose thousands of developers. The switch from 68k to PPC was murder from Apple, and that was a relatively easy switch as far as switches go. This isn't going to be so smooth. Furthermore, even if they could launch OS X tomorrow (though there's no proof of this at all) they still need to port everything else. Why do iWork if it's going to have to be ported? Why did they even bother with Tiger at all? Not to mention the entirety of final cut studio. Furthermore, how does any of this mesh with the fact that Apple has repeatedly said over the last year that after the release of Tiger, the development cycle is going to slow down and APIs are going to be finalized? Switching architectures mid cycle is not slowing down the cycle.

6/4/2005 1:30:52 AM

Noen
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1) Because they make and sell THEIR chips to OTHER COMPANIES. They have no experience with desktop PPC architectures. It would require billions of R&D, years of retooling, new fabs and a complete shift in company vision.

It would be like General Motors just stopping production of pushrod engines to make rocket ships instead. It's a stupid notion in every sense of the word.

2) You forget Apple IS the hardware AND the software right now. And their software is basically completely useless for any server application.

3) Dude, its called NET PROFIT. Half of their income might come from hardware (I am ONLY speaking about their desktop and laptop computers btw), but more like 90% of their OVERHEAD comes from hardware. If they stop selling the damn machines, they don't need the R&D, the tooling, the fabs, the manufacturing, inventory control etc. Software is a MUCH more profitable enterprise.

Jesus dude, think before you speak. They wouldn't lose a single developer. Designers yes, Engineers yes, but not developers, in fact they would be able to hire many more.

6/4/2005 1:46:06 AM

Noen
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Quote :
"This isn't going to be so smooth. Furthermore, even if they could launch OS X tomorrow (though there's no proof of this at all) they still need to port everything else. Why do iWork if it's going to have to be ported? Why did they even bother with Tiger at all? Not to mention the entirety of final cut studio. Furthermore, how does any of this mesh with the fact that Apple has repeatedly said over the last year that after the release of Tiger, the development cycle is going to slow down and APIs are going to be finalized? Switching architectures mid cycle is not slowing down the cycle."


Again have you fucking read what I said?

They ALREADY MAINTAIN AQUA IN HOUSE in an x86 port. Darwin IS OPEN SOURCE.

ITS NOT FUCKING HARD TO RECOMPILE A UNIX APPLICATION FOR ANOTHER ARCHITECTURE.

What you just said has absolutely no bearing on what platform they are using. All the non-cpu hardware in Apple computers is now standard PC equipment. It's trivial to release an x86 port.

6/4/2005 1:49:07 AM

SandSanta
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Apple knows its not going to make money in the long run by running a different HW platform.

However if they switch to x86 and run OSX (with the new option of porting already written open source software) then they can go ahead and sell low-mid-high end machines that pose an attractive OS alternative to Windows.

I support this move simply because their industrial design in the x86 market would spur Dell and the rest to stop making the same shit ugly boxes.

6/4/2005 1:50:59 AM

Noen
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I would LOVE to see it happen. Microsoft would be up shit creek in a hurry on the desktop front.

6/4/2005 1:52:27 AM

SandSanta
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Seriously.

I'm can't imagine that Apple is blind to the fact that Windows is slowly losing marketshare.

6/4/2005 2:00:08 AM

esgargs
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Am I the only one who thinks that Apple is never gonna wh0re out its machines by letting people build them on their own, or enabling the entire licensed OEM thing.

6/4/2005 2:02:27 AM

SandSanta
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First Step:

Replacable Ipod Batteries.

6/4/2005 2:07:34 AM

TGD
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Quote :
"Noen: 1) Because they make and sell THEIR chips to OTHER COMPANIES. They have no experience with desktop PPC architectures. It would require billions of R&D, years of retooling, new fabs and a complete shift in company vision."

I think you're overstating the technical problems, the chips themselves aren't quite so radically different. The bigger issue in my mind would be successfully getting licenses from both IBM (for the main architecture) and Motorola/Freescale (for AltiVec).

And IIRC doesn't Apple already use non-x86 chips from AMD for their AirPort Base Stations?


Quote :
"Noen: Intel will never make a desktop powerpc chip...That's the stupidest fucking thing i have ever heard, to even THINK intel would make a new chip for APPLE."

Agreed. But is it equally stupid to think they'd make a PPC chip for Microsoft and/or Sony?

IIRC both the PS3 and XBox360 are using IBM PPC (Power5?) chips, 3 of them in every single XBox360 machine actually.

I wouldn't be surprising if Intel considered fabbing PPCs for the gaming market, and Apple just gets a trickle of whatever rolls out of the factory.

[Edited on June 4, 2005 at 10:19 AM. Reason : ---]

6/4/2005 10:15:57 AM

Maugan
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"would spur Dell and the rest to stop making the same shit ugly boxes."


Are you talking in terms of simple case design?

Because

My XPS Gen 4 is a damn pretty box. Not to ricer but not too beige box either.

When it comes down to it, "the same shit ugly boxes" moniker comes down to personal preference. Honestly I think all the plastic Apple crap is pretty fucking ugly.

6/4/2005 10:31:09 AM

Excoriator
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I'm still waiting to hear what how Apple's contract with IBM could be improved...

6/4/2005 11:41:41 AM

Noen
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Quote :
"I think you're overstating the technical problems, the chips themselves aren't quite so radically different. The bigger issue in my mind would be successfully getting licenses from both IBM (for the main architecture) and Motorola/Freescale (for AltiVec).

And IIRC doesn't Apple already use non-x86 chips from AMD for their AirPort Base Stations?"


Being that I know someone who works for Intel, specifically in creating new chips, its not at all an overstatement. Changing a single trace on a production chip costs MILLIONS to change the fab process.

In terms of manufacturing, R&D, testing, and production they are horrendously different.

And Apple using AMD chips in their base stations just further reinforces my point. They use a chip that AMD produces for EVERYONE. AMD doesn't specifically make a special processor just for Apple.

BTW both AMD and Intel make non x86 chips and chipsets, but they are for embedded devices, which is a completely different world from desktop cpu's at the moment.

6/4/2005 1:10:08 PM

Excoriator
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I'm not arguing with your general point, but this

Quote :
"Changing a single trace on a production chip costs MILLIONS to change the fab process."


is absolutely false. you don't have to change the fab process just to change a single trace

[Edited on June 4, 2005 at 1:24 PM. Reason : s]

6/4/2005 1:23:42 PM

Noen
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But the R&D, testing, remasking and integration of the change does.

It's all $$ man. And yes, making a single production trace change costs upwards of a million bucks a pop for Intel (for consumer production processors)

6/4/2005 1:39:38 PM

esgargs
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Intel can come out with a PowerPC like chip in less than a year.

and no

it won't cost them millions.

PowerPC architecture is open

6/4/2005 1:41:06 PM

The Coz
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My penis is bigger. Trust me. I know a penis expert.

6/4/2005 1:56:20 PM

dFshadow
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AND ONE BOOK ENTITLED SWEDISH PENIS ENLARGER - THIS SORT OF THING IS MY BAG BABY BY AUSTIN POWERS

6/4/2005 2:16:04 PM

Noen
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Quote :
"Intel can come out with a PowerPC like chip in less than a year.

and no

it won't cost them millions.

PowerPC architecture is open"


You still are missing the damn point. They COULD build a rocketship to the moon in less than a year.

It would cost them hundreds of millions.

Open architecture doesnt mean you can just instantly start making chips. x86 is open too, you dont see every joe on the street making cpus.

You guys REALLY have no fucking grasp of the expense to create and manufacture desktop and workstation processors.

6/4/2005 2:21:10 PM

dFshadow
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aren't you on vacation?

6/4/2005 2:24:25 PM

1337 b4k4
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So then the question is, is access to something like Altivec worth millions to Intel?

6/4/2005 2:28:40 PM

esgargs
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http://www.zdnet.com.au/reviews/hardware/desktops/0,39023402,20267313,00.htm


wow

someone predicted it in 2002

6/4/2005 2:30:46 PM

Noen
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Quote :
"So then the question is, is access to something like Altivec worth millions to Intel?"


The answer is, not really. Altivec is essentially the RISC equivalent of SSE, which Intel has been refining and adding to now for years.

And yea I am on vacation, right now I'm editing photos and charging my camera to head out for the day

6/4/2005 2:33:45 PM

esgargs
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All I know is that Intel hired like 20 PowerPC experts in 1999.

6/4/2005 2:34:55 PM

Charybdisjim
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Quote :
"Could be a ploy to work out a better contract with IBM ..."


Yeah, last time the contract came up for renewal they flirted with intel till IBM gave them lower prices.

6/4/2005 3:26:10 PM

Lowjack
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altivec >> SSE

6/4/2005 4:52:47 PM

eraser
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Quote :
"I would LOVE to see it happen. Microsoft would be up shit creek in a hurry on the desktop front."


True. Microsoft has been backing off of their Longhorn promises in recent months.

And many of the features MS claims to add to Longhorn are already in Tiger and it isn't due out for another year.

Quote :
"Could be a ploy to work out a better contract with IBM ..."


Or maybe not for the contract ... maybe to encourage them to go ahead and push out the fucking 3+ GHz G5s.

6/4/2005 6:00:57 PM

quagmire02
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i'm not reading this...but agree wholeheartedly with the topic, mac can kiss my fuzzy butt

6/4/2005 8:21:33 PM

TGD
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Quote :
"Noen: Being that I know someone who works for Intel, specifically in creating new chips, its not at all an overstatement. Changing a single trace on a production chip costs MILLIONS to change the fab process."

Hey you're not the only tech guru from NCSU that knows people who work at Intel, you've just got more personal technical knowledge than I do

But regardless, I'll accept your point. The question then is like I noted in my post: would the expense be worth it to churn out tons of chips for the PS3 and XBox360?

Leave Apple out of the equation -- would Intel produce PPC chips for the gaming market?

6/4/2005 10:42:51 PM

MathFreak
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I'm not gonna pretend I understand the details of such a transition. But what would you say to someone who just bought a 30 inch monitor from Apple. That monitor REQUIRES a G5 and an expensive graphics card. The total cost of the computer then becomes in excess of $5K. How do you tell them their system becomes horribly obsolete within a year or so?

6/4/2005 11:14:19 PM

Excoriator
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with a breathless press release detailing the great new products they can buy in a year

6/4/2005 11:19:50 PM

AVON
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Computers always go obsolete, however, I doubt apple would be dropping anyone with a a post-G4 system.
Personally, I don't care about a change. If they have taken the PPC architecture as far as they can change... it ain't no big deal.

As long as they make it work. This Intel corporation is probably more WiFi related if anything though.

[Edited on June 4, 2005 at 11:22 PM. Reason : -]

6/4/2005 11:22:06 PM

Lowjack
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Quote :
"How do you tell them their system becomes horribly obsolete within a year or so?"


the same way you tell anyone else who owns a computer? Besides, macs take much longer to become horribly obsolete.

6/4/2005 11:25:50 PM

MathFreak
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"Anyone" doesn't pay $5K for a desktop computer.

6/4/2005 11:27:53 PM

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