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IBM

IBM to Release 64-Bit, 1.8GHz Processor in 2003 660

Professor_Quail writes "A Forbes article supposed to be released tomorrow gives some details about the new PowerPC processor that IBM and Apple have been working together on; the chip is slated to be introduced at the end of next year. The introduction of this chip should put to rest any speculation that Apple is moving to an Intel platform."
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IBM to Release 64-Bit, 1.8GHz Processor in 2003

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  • No Certainties.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Choco-man ( 256940 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:01PM (#4442546)
    All it really says is that they plan to go into production of the 64 bit chips toward the second half of next year. "Industry" experts say that it would be used in the Mac. This is certainly a far cry from Jobs saying it - if anything, I think it makes the race between the two competing chip manufacturers all the more interesting. Apple, I should think, will select the company which will allow it to compete most effectively in the marketplace - not the first one who says in a press release that they plan to release bigger, faster, more powerful chips sometime next year..
    • Re:No Certainties.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Murdock037 ( 469526 ) <tristranthorn@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @08:06PM (#4442853)
      Apple, I should think, will select the company which will allow it to compete most effectively in the marketplace.

      Which marketplace did you mean? It seems to me that the only marketplace of which Apple is a part is the Apple marketplace.

      You're right, there aren't really any certainties until it comes out of Steve Jobs' mouth-- and even then, take it with a grain of salt. But he does get excited about shiny new things, and this sounds like it would be up his alley. Unless Motorola's keeping some secrets, I wouldn't be surprised if this is what's coming next.
  • by SexyKellyOsbourne ( 606860 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:02PM (#4442552) Journal
    Though we all know by now that cycles per second alone does not determine performance, the average consumer does not.

    Though it is a revolutionary advance, they're more apt to see "64-bit" as a useless gimmick or even see it as inferior to "128-bit" Gamecube processors, while thinking that 1.8ghz is dirt slow, especially in 2003 when Intel will be in the 3's and AMD in the 2's, even if the chips still are 32-bit.

    All you need to do is make a chip oscillate fast, and Joe Customer will think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.
    • by Jucius Maximus ( 229128 ) <m4encxb2sw@@@snkmail...com> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:07PM (#4442573) Journal
      If IBM makes some whack-ass server software that actually takes advantage of the 64 bit architecture, it could provide a better performance/price, performance/power useage, performance/space, etc ratios than current server solutions.

      But that's a big *IF* . But it would be cool to have another option out there.

      • by LinuxHam ( 52232 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @08:21PM (#4442910) Homepage Journal
        If IBM makes some whack-ass server software that actually takes advantage of the 64 bit architecture

        They/we already do. It's called zSeries. Like the z800. That's one whack-ass server. Imagine doing self-service web hosting that takes users from first click to a fixed IP dedicated host up and running in 5 to 10 minutes with no additional hardware. Now imagine that kind of service for up to 10,000 or more fully independent hosts in a 19" rack. If I had a some bucks and gumption to start a business, that's exactly what I would do. A z800, the fattest pipes I could buy, and some disk.
        • "If I had a some bucks and gumption to start a business, that's exactly what I would do. A z800, the fattest pipes I could buy, and some disk. "

          I must be tired, I thought you said "dicks" and not "disk". Given the lack of context, that made for an amusing sentence. Heh.
    • All you need to do is make a chip oscillate fast, and Joe Customer will think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.

      Not to mention most of the geek wannabes who post on slashdot.

      I think its time Apple start calling anything based on the power PC architecture twice its clock speed, and anyhting thats both powerPC and 64 bits at 4 times its clock speed. After all, the processor does twice as much as a 32 bit processor in a given clock.

      So calling this new PowerPC that runs at "1.8GHz" a "7.4GHz PowerPC" is just as legitimate as Intel calling their pentiums 2.8GHz, etc. (Cause they don't really actually run at 2.8GHz. That's just one clock rate that exists at some point on the processor. Processor clocking is far more complicated than that.)

      These published clock rates are a marketing fiction to begin with, so tis time for apple to release their 3GHz processors in January and that 7GHz 64 bit one the following january.
      • by vlad_petric ( 94134 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:46PM (#4442778) Homepage
        Cause they don't really actually run at 2.8GHz.

        Actually they do. What you're missing is the other component of the speed equation, namely the IPC (instructions per cycle). Intel design favors clockspeed to IPC, for obvious marketing reasons, while AMDs designs are more balanced. That's why they get similar performance with considerably slower (in terms of clockspeed) CPUs

        The Raven

      • by Rui del-Negro ( 531098 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @08:46PM (#4443003) Homepage
        I think its time Apple start calling anything based on the power PC architecture twice its clock speed, and anyhting thats both powerPC and 64 bits at 4 times its clock speed. After all, the processor does twice as much as a 32 bit processor in a given clock.

        No it does not. Do you think bits are some sort of speed measurement? Like, "bits per second"? 64-bit means the chip has 64-bit registers. Basically what that means is it can work with larger numbers and - more importantly - larger memory addresses. It will take exactly the same time as a 32-bit chip to do a specific operation (ex., add two bytes, jump to a new address in a program, etc.). The speed at which operations are done depends on the chip's design and clock speed.

        So calling this new PowerPC that runs at "1.8GHz" a "7.4GHz PowerPC" is just as legitimate as Intel calling their pentiums 2.8GHz, etc. (Cause they don't really actually run at 2.8GHz. That's just one clock rate that exists at some point on the processor. Processor clocking is far more complicated than that.)

        What? Of course they run at 2.8 GHz. That's the clock speed; they can't help but run at 2.8 GHz. Even if they have absolutely nothing to do, they still go through 2.8 billion cycles each second. There are clockless chips (that work at a variable speed), but the P4 is not one of them.

        RMN
        ~~~
    • perhaps it is... (Score:5, Informative)

      by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:34PM (#4442709)
      As far as G4 vs. Pentium is concerned, cycles per second seem to be pretty comparable, however; see the SPEC benchmark here [heise.de].
      • by Rui del-Negro ( 531098 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @09:00PM (#4443052) Homepage
        If you compare it with the PIII, yes. If you compare it with the Athlon, it's also close. But if you compare it with the P4, Macs are faster per clock cycle.

        But the fact is, Macs are just breaking the 1 GHz barrier and the P4 is near 3. And Macs cannot do in one clock cycle what the P4 does in 3. If Apple wants to be competitive in the intensive computing segment (rendering, scientific applications, simulations, etc.), they need a faster CPU today, not one year from now.

        Of course, it's not clear if Apple does want to compete in that segment; they are probably perfectly happy selling to home (and some office) users.

        RMN
        ~~~
        • Of course, it's not clear if Apple does want to compete in that segment; they are probably perfectly happy selling to home (and some office) users.

          They may be happy selling to home/office users, but where does Apple draw the line on letting industries slip away from their customer base? Apple has already screwed the pooch with the education market. If they let the scientific market (the small part that even USES Apple) migrate to other platforms, they may be facing a huge uphill battle to gain more than a couple percentage points of the market share.

          A few friends of mine that work in the graphics/design industry say that Macs are becoming increasingly less popular. Students are graduating with Windows skills, the level of Mac knowledge among IT personnel is dwindling and software sales in the graphics/design sector are leaning more and more in the Windows direction. I don't have any hard figures to back that up, but this is the feeling I get from the few people I talk to that work for large and small design firms.

          Apple is sitting on the cusp of their future. One move in the right direction and they can start increasing their dominance. As a Mac proponent I'm afraid that they'll keep making questionable, controverisal decisions that lead to their market share dwindling at a slow, slow rate.

          Now, to make this post somewhat on topic, Apple can stop the oozing of life from their business by focusing on faster processors that at least run neck-and-neck with the x86 crowd, from a clock-cycle standpoint. In the meantime, I really wish Apple would adopt the AMD marketing strategy -- name your processors in way that reflects the clock speed of your competition. I can't tell you how many people think, at first mention, that my Athlon XP 2000 is really a 2.0 GHz chip. Steve Jobs keeps trying to debunk the megahertz myth in his "reality distortion field"-inducing speeches, but his marketing team has failed to realize that the doubts of the consumer can be settled with a simple model number attached to the processor. If they came out with the "Power Macintosh 3000", saying that the machine was equipped with the lightning fast PowerPC 3000 chip, consumers would start to think that maybe Apple finally got something faster than 1 GHz.

          The real question now is, will Apple see the light and try to play ball on Intel's/AMD's level?
    • Yeah your right. In mainframe land, they never advertised clock speeds. They advertised MIPS. Maybe we should do that now. It would seem more fair. I know I'd love to have even a 300 MHz RS/6000 now cuz I know it would do alot of work. Anyway, I still want a Mac. Maybe I can hit the lottery and buy my dream Mac...highest clock speed Dual G4 MAXED with Memory and MAXED with DISK and a Superdrive with a 22 inch Cinema Display! Oh well. Guess I have to wait.
      • Maxing RAM on a system with 64bit memory addressing may take some doing.

        Though think about it, you will likely be able to handle entire DVDs worth of data in RAM. Now *that* is a speed boost that a lot of people will be interested in.
    • I think you're on the right track. The only thing G4 has going for speed in floating point operations which is why Apple speed test are always based on app's that use a lot of floating point. When it comes to integer operation that most app's consist of the PPC and Intel are about the same speed on similar speed chips. Intel will be in 3Ghz range heading to 4Ghz. AMD should be in the 3's by then. So PPC will be behind the curve.

      As for 64-bits people are starting to realize it won't buy them much. Unless you need the math precision for scientific calculations, simulations, or high end graphics, 32-bit is sufficient. For running typical app's those extra bits aren't doing anything for you.
      • 64 bit memory addressing certainly gets you a lot. Past a certain point, you just don't need a faster word processor. We've pretty much hit that and the "I don't care anymore" points on several other categories of software. Really, who cares how fast their CPU is for internet browsing, client-side email, and downloading? These are the major uses for most PCs today.

        The ability to address 64 bits of memory gets you freedom from frequent memory swaping to the hard disk which *is* a problem with a lot of real world situations.
        • You have a point, but the large address space is mainly only needed on large servers, usually database servers. If I remember right 32-bits can address 4GB of RAM, for desktops and even typical server app' 4 GB is a lot of physical RAM. Especially if building servers like appliances and they only serve a single purpose.
    • Joe Customer will eventually figure out that clock speed is like RPM.

      I wouldn't be surprised to see a tv ad that compares a 32-bit cpu to a 4-banger and 64-bit to a V8.
  • Slimming?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by T-Kir ( 597145 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:03PM (#4442556) Homepage

    IBM server chip seen slimmed down for Apple Macs

    So the IBM version still stuffs itself with pizzas, whereas the Apple version is on Slim-Fast shakes wearing a lycra outfit and eating mostly fruit (well eating Apples would be cannabalistic, unless they bring out the PowerHannibal chip variant)... ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    hmm.. OSX and a 1.8 GHz 64-bit proc? if only they would release one that didn't look like a desklamp, or a giant pastel egg, i'd be tempted to use one.
  • Clawhammer for me. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WittyName ( 615844 )
    I will take price/performance any day.

    Getting the volume up is going to be difficult for IBM..
    • by davidstrauss ( 544062 ) <david.davidstrauss@net> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:44PM (#4442764)
      Volume won't be a problem at all for IBM. They run more PowerPC chip fabs than Motorola. The only reason IBM isn't making G4s is Apple's contract with Motorola, which seems to be icy at the moment. IBM could create G3s that run faster than G4s and flood the market tomorrow if there weren't legal issues. IBM and Apple seem to have a serious future together.
  • unix time bug (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jacquesm ( 154384 )
    with a little luck this will save us from that dreaded 2^32 time bug !
  • news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sstory ( 538486 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:07PM (#4442570) Homepage
    I frequently see articles like this on tech sites. Articles about 64-bit chips, 64-bit linux, 64-bit Windows. None of the articles explains how 64-bit equipment will benefit the user. Perhaps techies assume it's obvious; to them it might be. To the rest of us it isn't. And I don't think I'm speaking from a particularly uninformed position. So can someone please point me to info explaining not the availability of 64-bit processing, but the advantages, capabilities, tradeoffs, etc?
    • by WittyName ( 615844 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:14PM (#4442613)
      Many people doing CAD, circuit simulation, or editing large images need more than 4 gigs of ram now. 4 gigs is all you can get with 32 bits. On intel, using evil segments, you can use 36 bit. Win2k Enterprise does this...

      Also, do not forget about Moore's Law. CPU's keep getting faster. Problem is hard disks are not. So more RAM for caching will be the solution.

      Checking pricewatch I see that 2 gig pc100 dimms are less than $500 each.

    • Re:news (Score:2, Funny)

      by fliplap ( 113705 )
      64-bit means you can handle these huge wacky long integers. Which is important for the home user because *tud* *beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.....*
    • Re:news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jhines ( 82154 ) <john@jhines.org> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:50PM (#4442796) Homepage
      For Apple, I'd say large image processing, and video editing.

      The key is going to be HUGE memory support when Apple comes out with it, 16Gb or more.
    • Re:news (Score:3, Informative)

      by selectspec ( 74651 )
      The first advantage is the ability to have a 64-bit address space for pointers. This allows for extensibility to address considerably more physical memory (over 16,000,000,000 GBytes). Of course, no system requires that much memory, but the added virtual space is very handy, and systems do currently buck into the 32-bit limit of 4GB. The additional virtual memory space is handy in kernel development where everything shares the same memory mapping. The spectrum of the 64-bit address space is large enough to give everyone plenty of room to play with. Makes code much simpler.

      Having 64-bit pointers actually has a draw back in that the amount of memory required to store a pointer is now 8 bytes instead of 4. For some code this increases memory utilization considerably and equally increases memory bandwidth requirements. Because of this, most (except alpha) 64-bit cpus will allow you to use 32-bit addressing if you are using less than 4 MB of memory.

      Memory is only one feature of 64-bit processing. 64-bit arithmetic is very useful, especially when processing lots of data. However, software must be written generally to take advantage of this feature. When working with large numbers which require more than 32-bits to express, 64-bit CPU's have a huge advantage over their 32-bit cousins. Cryptographic, compression, multi-media and parity generation applications bennifit greatly from 64-bit operations.

  • by Suppafly ( 179830 ) <slashdot@suppafly . n et> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:08PM (#4442579)
    The introduction of this chip should put to rest any speculation that Apple is moving to an Intel platform."


    Was there ever anyone who believed that Apple was even looking into moving to the intel platform? Honestly.. the best anyone has seen is that Apple has like 5 guys working on making sure it works on intel stuff.. I mean I know apple is a small company, but if they saw intel in their forseeable future, you'd think they'd put some effort into an intel port.
    • by droleary ( 47999 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:37PM (#4442729) Homepage

      Was there ever anyone who believed that Apple was even looking into moving to the intel platform?

      Does Steve Jobs count? Apple is a damn smart company, and you can bet that they were/are not only looking at Intel hardware, but a sundry of other platforms as well. It's not like they've never done a CPU transition before; hell, Mac OS X itself had to come from Intel hardware to the PPC in the first place.

      Honestly.. the best anyone has seen is that Apple has like 5 guys working on making sure it works on intel stuff.. I mean I know apple is a small company, but if they saw intel in their forseeable future, you'd think they'd put some effort into an intel port.

      The Darwin core of Mac OS X runs on Intel hardware already. Exactly how much work do you think it takes to recompile the frameworks that are abstracted on top of it? Hint: in OpenStep it was the tick of a checkbox. If anything, having 5 guys on it would be overkill unless there was some serious consideration of Intel as an out. Odds seem certainly more likely that they'll stick with the PPC given where IBM is taking it, but with Apple you never do know . . .

      And for those who have commented on the whole clock speed thing still being an issue, I think Apple could use the new chip to create a Bit Myth to counter the MHz Myth, especially with Intel having trouble [slashdot.org] with the whole 64-bit arena. Even if a 2GHz PPC gets compared to a 3GHz Pentium at the end of 2003, Apple can hand wave with the best of them and say they are double the 32-bit machine.

  • by Drishmung ( 458368 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:10PM (#4442588)
    The article is very light on hard information and padded out with speculation.

    All we know (well, have been told) is that a 64bit PowerPC chip, at 1.8Ghz, will be available late next year.

    Still no word on whether the vector processing unit is Altivec, and lots of speculation from 'industry sources' that Apple would be mad not to use the chip... which is stil no guarantee that they will use it.

    For the moment, I'm going to reserve judgement. It now seems very likely that it is Altivec compatible, but until we have some hard data on how this chip performs, the article smacks more of marketing hype than anything.

    • by johnpaul191 ( 240105 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:22PM (#4442646) Homepage
      i am pretty sure later this month IBM will be officially showing off the chip's specs at an industry show. that should give a lot more information on the Altivec question and whatever else. traditionally it takes about a year to get fresh chips into machines, but who knows. at some point you would think the lead time of that will start to drop. if these chips really are going to go in Apple Macs and IBM servers, and both teams have been working on developing them all along..... then it's possible they would roll out faster than standard timeframes.
  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:11PM (#4442594) Homepage Journal
    The fact that there is work being done on a 64-bit PowerPC CPU is not proof that Apple will use it. Apple can't afford to be way behind the curve when it comes to price, real performance, or public perception of performance (read "megahertz"). If Apple's managers are smart, they will look at what gets them the best market advantage and go with that.

  • Damn fine (Score:2, Funny)

    by kitzilla ( 266382 )
    Good to see Apple back out on the cutting edge, where it belongs. 64-bit PPC architecture with marketable clock speed and OS X 10.2: holy smokes! Get to the back of the bus, Microsoft. Take your Crayola XP desktop with you.

    I assume one of the Linux PPC distros will be on board with the new chip, once it's on the street. Fun for the whole family.

  • 1.8ghz in 2003? (Score:5, Informative)

    by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:22PM (#4442647) Homepage Journal
    Hrm, intel/AMD will be at what then, 4ghz? :P

    64 bit is nice, but I doubt the chip will be more powerful then an x86 chip at twice speed.

    Keep in mind that 64 bit chips do not simply work at twice the speed that 32 bit chips do, unless they are working on 64 bit integer numbers (in which case, they will actually work faster then 2x the speed of a 32 bit chip). Unlike the move from 16 bit to 32 bit, where 16 bit integers (either -32k to 32k or 0 64k values) were to small for lots of work, especially work with memory addresses on machines with >64k of ram :P

    Nowadays, most CPUs (including x86) have 64bit floating point coprocessors to handle most mathematical code, so 64bit CPUs won't give you much of an improvement there either.

    on machines with >4gb of ram, it will be a big improvement, but with advances in virtual memory it won't be as much of an advance, since programs can work in their own 4gig memory space on systems with more then 4 gigs of ram, and the virtual memory hardware can use more then 32 bits for mapping addresses.

    Anyone, one only has to look at the difference between a Nintendo 64 (64 bit CPU) and a PC (32bit CPU) to see that CPU speed (and graphics accelerators!) has a much greater impact on performance then the bit width of the CPU.
    • Re:1.8ghz in 2003? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:50PM (#4442795)
      64 bit is nice, but I doubt the chip will be more powerful then an x86 chip at twice speed.

      Err... get your facts straight.

      For floating point, IBM's Power4 chips are currently faster than Intel x86 chips running at more than 2.5 times the clock speed.
      Case in point: SPECfp2000 [ideasinternational.com].

      Removing duplicates, here's the list:

      1. Alpha 21264C at 1250MHz
      2. Itanium2 at 1000MHz
      3. POWER4 at 1300MHz
      4. SPARC64 V at 1350MHz
      5. POWER4 at 1100MHz
      6. Alpha 21264C at 1224MHz
      7. Alpha 21264C at 1000MHz
      8. Pentium 4 at 2.8 GHz
      9. Pentium 4 at 2.66 GHz
      10. Pentium 4 at 2.53 GHz
    • Re:1.8ghz in 2003? (Score:4, Informative)

      by karlm ( 158591 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @01:39AM (#4444028) Homepage
      64 bit is nice, but I doubt the chip will be more powerful then an x86 chip at twice speed.

      As others have pointed out, the POWER4 1.1 GHz and 1.3 GHz beat 2.8 GHz P4s in floating point. You may not know that in some integer tests, G4s spank Athlons. For instance, from the distibuted.net rc5-64 finishing announcement:

      Our peak rate of 270,147,024 kkeys/sec is equivalent to 32,504 800MHz Apple PowerBook G4 laptops or 45,998 2GHz AMD Athlon XP machines or (to use some rc5-56 numbers) nearly a half million Pentium Pro 200s.

      If those numbers are accurate, a mobile G4 at 800 MHz is 1.42 times as fast as a 2 GHz Athlon XP at rc5-56 encryption. Clock-for-clock the mobile G4 would then be 3.54 times as fast as an Athlon XP when doing rc5-56 encryption. The workin set is very small, so caches didn't come into play. However, you can get a G4 box with 2 MB L3 cache per CPU.

      Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I have my trusty Intell box. However, give credit where credit is due. IBM/Apple/Motorolla designed one heck of a CPU family. The POWER4 chip performs almost as well as the Alpha, but doesn't double as a space heater and is very easily virtualizable (which is important for os390).

  • "The introduction of this chip should put to rest any speculation that Apple is moving to an Intel platform."

    Especially since Apple has never changed their mind before, about anything major.
  • Intel Platform (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vlad_petric ( 94134 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:26PM (#4442670) Homepage
    The introduction of this chip should put to rest any speculation that Apple is moving to an Intel platform.

    C'mon ... Mac OS/X for x86 doesn't really have much to do with Intel, but with Microsoft. A Mac OS/X running on Intel hardware is nothing but Microsoft's worst nightmare in terms of what it can do to its market. So it's just a trumpcard in negotiations with Microsoft (i.e. "If you stop Office/Mac, we drop the atomi^M^M^M^M^M Mac OS/X for x86").

    The Raven

  • by mikedaisey ( 413058 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:28PM (#4442677) Homepage
    This is just confirmation of threads folks on appleinsider.com and other mac websites have been following for quite some time.

    Based on all the rumor and innuendo that is swirling around for the last 3 months, it is highly likely that this is indeed the chip Apple will be migrating to, and that it will be out at some point in 2003...probably the fall, though opinions on that vary.

    At the Microprocessor Forum on the 15th (Tuesday) IBM will be giving a long talk on the nature of this chip, and that's the talk Mac enthusiasts have been waiting for to see what's what with the particulars...so stay tund for that to receive more information than the Forbes article had.

  • Oooh 64 bits! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khuber ( 5664 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:41PM (#4442745)
    Welcome to 1992 (SGI/MIPS) or 1994 (Sun).

    I'd rather have a Power4 (which is available now of course) than wait a year for a crappy stripped Power4.

    -Kevin

  • by hayden ( 9724 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @07:47PM (#4442784)
    If Apple is planning on moving to a 64-bit architecture then they'll need to start educating their developers real soon now. If everything is coded properly then there's no problem. In the real world pointers get assumed to be int size or int is assumed to be 32-bits. Also word alignment becomes an issue.

    This is not something they should just spring on their developers.

    • Most of that burden will be handled by the compiler. A few developers will need to be concerned, but not the majority. Apple maintains a version of gcc, and I am certain if there is any truth to this rumor, that they are also working with Metrowerks to make sure their compilers will support the new chip (which raises all sorts of interesting prospects, since Motorola owns Metrowerks).
  • by ageitgey ( 216346 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @08:06PM (#4442852) Homepage
    Maybe I can get a Mac with one of these faster "Velocity Engine" CPUs when they come out and somehow chain it to a Sega Genesis with Blast Processing(TM). Then I'd have the ultimate computer!!

    The concept is clearly explained in this diagram [apple.co.nz] that apple has so kindly provided!
  • 64-bit != speed (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sivar ( 316343 ) <charlesnburns[&]gmail,com> on Sunday October 13, 2002 @08:07PM (#4442857)
    At least, not necessarily.
    Just because these new chips will be 64-bit does not mean they will be fast. 64-bit processors require more cache and main memory (because all of the memory pointers are 64-bits rather than 32) and cannot necessarily do most common computations faster.

    Say you are doing a multiply operation. Very common. The numbers are, say, 500,000 and 42. Both of those numbers are occupying a full 64-bit register, even though they could be stored in 32-bit registers easily. The multiply operation still takes the same amound of time to complete, because the register size doesn't matter unless the numbers cannot fit.

    Now, software doing math with numbers greater than ~4.3 billion (what will fit in a 32-bit register) will be able to perform those calculations more quickly, but rarely are such large numbers used. Certain operations, such as encryption and advanced mathematics, will be able to calculate up to 4 times faster, but again, this will not matter much for most applications (though perhaps folding@home and SETI@home will see a speed up).

    Additionally, the increased code size caused by the larger memory pointers (about 5%) can actually slow code, because the cache hit rate will drop by that same 5%.

    The Opteron processor's early benchmarks (which show that it simply kicks ass) are misleading because the Opteron has other tweaks to improve speed: Twice as many registers, an integrated low-latency memory controller, probably a better branch prediction unit, and a few other minor tweaks. The speed increase is not caused by the larger registers.

    That said, IBM makes some very nice processors, and if they incorporate many of their ideas into this new CPU, Apple will hopefully be very competitive. (though those 1.8GHz better have a great IPC to compete with the Clawhammer and 3+GHz P4!)

    64-bits is very nice in that Apples can now address >4GB RAM per process, but few people are finding the 4GB memory barrier to be all that restrictive, less professionals working on very high-end tasks such as gargantuan 3D models with staggeringly huge textures.
    I'm all for Apple every since OSX was released, but let's not succumb to the 64-bit myth anymore than we should the MHz myth.
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @08:12PM (#4442881) Homepage Journal
    Sorry but PPC is already 64b. The 1.8Ghz is the new part.
  • by Shuh ( 13578 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @09:41PM (#4443184) Journal


    ... because they perceive M$ OS to be clunky, junky, and unsafe at any megahertz! ;c)

  • by dameron ( 307970 ) on Sunday October 13, 2002 @09:52PM (#4443217)
    Hi,

    My name's Tony. I work at a law firm. My PC used to hiccup at me all the time, blue screens here, illegal operations there. I didn't know what to do. All I know is the macros for my legal documents used to take forever. I'd start a macro then answer the phone, and it wouldn't be done until nearly after I said "Hello, this is MacIntyre and Finch, how can I help you?" How annoying???

    That's when I realized I needed to address more than 4 gigs of memory. I mean really, when you're sending out C&D letters to 180 million people you need real power!

    Then I got this new 64 bit Apple machine and it's like "WOW", man do those macros fly!!!

    Hi! My name's Tony and I work for the RIAA...

    -dameron

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