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      /  Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
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PosterThread
jahc 
Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 19:11:34
#1 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 30-May-2003
Posts: 2959
From: Auckland, New Zealand

With Apple announcing they're switching to Intel in 2006 or whatever.. does that mean PowerPC for desktop is dead? I dont know much about this, but it seems that if PowerPC based Macs arent selling in the millions every year, then there will be far less money for R&D.. and will fall even further behind, become even more expensive, etc.. I heard somewhere years ago that most PPC chips were for embedded systems (whatever they are) and that desktop is secondary.. And I hear that the next xbox and ps3 are using PPC chips, but they arent suitable for desktops?

Can anyone assure me that PowerPC Amiga has a future? If not,I wonder how long it would take to port all that PowerPC ASM in ExecNG to x86.. pretty long I'd guess.

It doesnt sound good.

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digitaldisaster 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 19:16:18
#2 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 3-Feb-2004
Posts: 584
From: Lincoln, England

@jahc

PowerPC is most deffinatly not a dead end, Apple isn't the company that has been keeping it alive. Motorla/Freescale have relied on embedded sales fo years and IBM uses POWER/PowerPC heavily in its own systems. Custom PowerPC derivatives are also going to feature in all 3 next gen consoles.
If anything this is good news for the Amgia market as more G4/G5 chips will now be available for general use (Apple and IBM were absorbing ~97% of G5's produced)

Last edited by digitaldisaster on 06-Jun-2005 at 07:18 PM.
Last edited by digitaldisaster on 06-Jun-2005 at 07:16 PM.

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Rob 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 19:20:44
#3 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 20-Mar-2003
Posts: 6257
From: S.Wales

@jahc

Doesn't the new Xbox use a PPC970. I reckon MS will sell more Xbox's than Apple will sell Macs.

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Anonymous 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 19:20:46
# ]

0
0

@jahc

I don't hope this is the end for the PowerPC-technology. I can't hardly imagine an AmigaOne with AMD x86-64, even that it's technology is tempting itself. It wouldn't probably be bad if AmigaOS was using the 64-bit x86 core of AMD as long as it could be as good and fast as the PPC, and it would certainly make it a lot easier for AmigaOS and AmigaOne to have all the up-to-date stuffs as the PC has...

Of course, i don't really like the idea of the Amiga going x86. The PPC is the best thing i believe the Amiga can and must use. I can't say anything else that i feel a bit worry about this situation, too. It certainly doesn't look good at the moment...

 
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Jeremy_Reimer 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 19:22:37
#5 ]
Member
Joined: 28-Mar-2004
Posts: 95
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada

@jahc

This might actually be a good thing for Amiga users.

Previously, the high end PPC chips were always hard to get, because Apple sucked up all the avaialble chips for their own systems.

With Apple going off into transition land, these chips will be in less demand. We may get to see those promised 1.8 GHz 7448 CPU cards sooner than we thought!



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jahc 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 19:22:49
#6 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 30-May-2003
Posts: 2959
From: Auckland, New Zealand

@digitaldisaster

Oh okay, I didnt know that.

How many Apple machines sell a year compared to the rest?

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alx 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 19:23:41
#7 ]
Super Member
Joined: 7-Mar-2003
Posts: 1224
From: Midlands, UK

@jahc

As digitaldisaster says, IBM aren't relying on Apple - the BBC say:

Quote:
the cash it gets from making chips for Apple has become a very small slice of its revenue


The PS3 uses a Cell chip, but I believe that the XBox is basically "just" a tri-core PPC970.

Quote:
If not,I wonder how long it would take to port all that PowerPC ASM in ExecNG to x86.. pretty long I'd guess.


AFAIK most of Exec is now written in C - the hardware abstraction layer would have to be ported, but what Hyperion have done already to OS4 has greatly simplified the process of porting to different platforms, if that need should ever arise.

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nicholas 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 19:24:32
#8 ]
Super Member
Joined: 8-Dec-2004
Posts: 1536
From: Unknown

@Jeremy_Reimer

Quote:

Jeremy_Reimer wrote:
@jahc

This might actually be a good thing for Amiga users.

Previously, the high end PPC chips were always hard to get, because Apple sucked up all the avaialble chips for their own systems.

With Apple going off into transition land, these chips will be in less demand. We may get to see those promised 1.8 GHz 7448 CPU cards sooner than we thought!



I reckon bPlan will buy up all the left over G4's that Freescale have, and at a discounted rate.

One has to wonder where that will leave Eyetech?

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DrBombcrater 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 19:27:46
#9 ]
Super Member
Joined: 6-Feb-2004
Posts: 1382
From: UK

@jahc

I think PPC as a desktop processor died today. It may take a while for the corpse to fall over, but it's dead as a dodo.

The economic case for development of desktop PPCs is gone now. There's nobody left who will buy them in anything other than tiny quantities. IBM used some 970s in servers, but not many. That market is covered by x86 and POWER at the high-end. And Freescale have been out of the desktop market for years now, making do with endless a-little-bit-better variants of the G4.

The console-type PPC chips don't offer any salvation either. Those chips are not very suited to a desktop system, and they were designed for specific customers and will not be sold on the open market.

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jahc 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 19:28:48
#10 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 30-May-2003
Posts: 2959
From: Auckland, New Zealand

@Helgis

I was trying not to do a Helgis but you managed to out-Helgis me comprehensively. well done. :)

@thread

thanks for the reassurance, guys. I'm not so fearful for our future now. :)

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Rogue 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 19:31:41
#11 ]
OS4 Core Developer
Joined: 14-Jul-2003
Posts: 3999
From: Unknown

@jahc

Quote:
does that mean PowerPC for desktop is dead?


Seeing how all next-gen consoles are PowerPC/CELL based, I don't think so.

Quote:
I wonder how long it would take to port all that PowerPC ASM in ExecNG to x86.. pretty long I'd guess.


The major obstacle in an X86 port of ExecSG would be the emulator, since that is written entirely in assembler. The execSG kernel itself is almost exclusively written in C.

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Anonymous 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 19:32:11
# ]

0
0

@jahc

I see you're making fun of my name then ;) But seriously, the situation is still a bit worrying...

 
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AmigaMac 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 19:35:28
#13 ]
Super Member
Joined: 26-Oct-2002
Posts: 1080
From: 3rd Rock from the Sun!

@Rogue

What do you think about this shocking news? Do you think this will affect the Amiga and its PowerPC future negatively??

Last edited by AmigaMac on 06-Jun-2005 at 07:36 PM.

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Jeremy_Reimer 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 19:41:45
#14 ]
Member
Joined: 28-Mar-2004
Posts: 95
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada

@jahc

Quote:

How many Apple machines sell a year compared to the rest?


There are some really good graphs on this amazing website here:

http://www.pegasus3d.com/mac_sales.html

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Toaks 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 19:50:02
#15 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 8042
From: amigaguru.com

@jahc

regarding your question about ppc beeing a dead end .... NO!.

but it might be a bumpy ride from 2007 and up but by then...who knows... maybe Amiga has become damn popular and can run Xbox2 or whatever stuff, leave the window open and just feel the breeze, its not over..Apple on the other hand might be over now.

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MetalJoe 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 20:03:16
#16 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 7-Mar-2003
Posts: 464
From: Bucks UK

@Jeremy_Reimer

Bit hazy with Mac history after about '93 (last year at school, so last time I used Macs until OS X) - wasn't the 68k -> PPC transition started in '94? If so, that's quite a loss of sales during the migration period. I hope Apple haven't just committed the same blunder twice...

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ssolie 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 20:05:01
#17 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 2755
From: Alberta, Canada

@jahc
You know, maybe AmigaOS should become platform agnostic with a HAL et al so we don't have to worry about what chip is in the box. Wait a second...

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Hyperionmp 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 20:19:43
#18 ]
Hyperion
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 502
From: Unknown

@ssolie

Ignoring MIPS for a second, PowerPC remains the only CPU family which is capable of running the exact same code at no speed penalty on 32 bit PPC405 PDA style devices across 32 bit embedded systems with the performance point of our current AmigaOne hardware (750/MPC74XX) to 64 bit server type solutions based on the 970.

If AmigaOS is going to make a come-back, it needs to move into the embedded space which is dominated by PPC and X-Scale/ARM.

Besides, IBM isn't dropping the 970 or its successors any time soon. These CPU's were developed as cut-down versions of their main POWER based server line in order to target the low-end server market with Linux. Altivec was bolted on initially just as a favor to Apple but turned out to be quite useful for Nintendo as well.

With all three console families using multiple PowerPC CPU derivatives, IBM is looking at a yearly market of multi millon units. Hardly surprising that Apple became somewhat less relevant to them. Apple's yearly "only" moves slightly less than 4 M units.

The PowerPC derivatives developed for the consoles are running at very high clock-frequencies yet still cool enough for 3 of them to be squeezed within the small confines of a console.

The CELL architecture with its 8 SPE's is capable of amazing feats in terms of multimedia like for instance decoding 50 MPEG streams at the same time whilst only using 6 SPE's.

This type of architecture is somewhat similar conceptually to the original Amiga with the specialised custom chips replaced by general purpose DSP style SPE's.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out but for our project this isn't really relevant. Our OS or applications do not require the massive computing power apparently required by Apple to keep up in Ghz race. If raw computing power is needed, it will be for very specific applications, all/most of which will be covered by CELL and other PowerPC derivatives anyway.

I don't think we have anything to worry about, quite the contrary.

AmigaOS just became a lot more unique.

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digitaldisaster 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 20:21:54
#19 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 3-Feb-2004
Posts: 584
From: Lincoln, England

@nicholas

Quote:

I reckon bPlan will buy up all the left over G4's that Freescale have, and at a discounted rate.

One has to wonder where that will leave Eyetech?

That would be quite difficult as most G4's (Way more than Apple consume) are sold to the embedded markets. You would be superised what has a PowerPC chip in it. There is no way Genesi could afford to absorb the surplus generated by Apple deperating from the PowerPC market let alon eat up the entire supply

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digitaldisaster 
Re: Is PowerPC a dead-end now?
Posted on 6-Jun-2005 20:26:22
#20 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 3-Feb-2004
Posts: 584
From: Lincoln, England

@DrBombcrater

Quote:

DrBombcrater wrote:
@jahc

I think PPC as a desktop processor died today. It may take a while for the corpse to fall over, but it's dead as a dodo.

The economic case for development of desktop PPCs is gone now. There's nobody left who will buy them in anything other than tiny quantities. IBM used some 970s in servers, but not many. That market is covered by x86 and POWER at the high-end. And Freescale have been out of the desktop market for years now, making do with endless a-little-bit-better variants of the G4.

The console-type PPC chips don't offer any salvation either. Those chips are not very suited to a desktop system, and they were designed for specific customers and will not be sold on the open market.

This is pretty much true IMHO. The Amiga/MorphOS and Linux markets can't sustain PowerPC on the desktop and I suspect the chips may now be entirely aimed at embedded and server markets.
This means less focus on clock speed and more on power consumtion, heat disipation, reliability and bandiwdth. There is allready a desinct lcak of widely available PowerPC chipset for desktop use. The Articia is too old and the Discovery lacks AGP. The Tundra chips are no good either.
We won't see the end of the 970 any time soon but I don't think we'll ever see it in a desktop machine again, only low end servers and some real high end embeded kit

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