Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

AMD to Build G4 CPUs? 177

the eric conspiracy writes "Bloomberg news is reporting that Motorola and AMD are in talks to include manufacturing of Motorola CPUs at AMD's Dresden facility. This could help cash-strapped AMD particularly if its x86 compatible line runs into problems. Motorola and AMD already have cross-licensing agreements - AMD gets its copper technology from Motorola, while Motorola uses AMD's specialized RAM chip technologies. "
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

AMD to Build G4 CPUs?

Comments Filter:
  • All I can say is that if it gets the G4's out the door quicker and cheaper, go for it!

    'Course, I can't afford on til the New Year, but I'm sure the 2nd generation will be out by then with the bugs worked out of the hardware.

    Go Mac!!

  • At one time there was some talk of AMD making Alpha chips for DEC/Compaq. Did that go anywhere?

    It seems like everyone looking for excess state-of-the-art fab capacity is going to AMD.

  • this would be a cool idea... I want both the PPC and AMD to succeed, so this is a great combination... also, this is good for the Dresden plant, which was just recently finished...

  • So let me get this straight. The Microsoft monopoly is now being threatened by the AOL/Netscape/Sun merger, and now it looks like Intel's marketshare is being threatened by a gathering together of it's rivals - AMD and Motorola.

    It seems like the computer industry is seeing a mass movement for the major parties to align themselves together. Sounds like what Europe was going through just before WWI broke out (ok, well it sorta does anyway).

    I can't wait for the *price* wars to break out...
  • by mcc ( 14761 )
    computer companies cooperating for the better good of all, instead of fighting each other for short-term gain. wish we could see more of this.

    so now that apple is facing a smaller shortage of G4s, will their stock go back _up_? or am i naive to impose some kind of logic on the stock market?
  • This just caps the idea that the world is a very strange place. I do kinda like how this move helps both Apple and AMD. They fit together perfectly:

    1) Apple solves part of its supply problem. They have been short handed on G4 processors, and need another manufacturer.
    2) AMD has a new plant in Germany that they don't want to waste if the Athlon does not sell well.

  • I'm not too sure what you mean by that title, but it sounds like you mean AMD will be stamped on the G4. From articles I've read last week seem to indicate that Motorola would buy about 1 billian dollars worth of the fab (I believe it was 50% or close) and they would be produced along-side each other, but still with their respective names. But I do agree, this can only be good. AMD get's help out of their slump, as does the G4 (Will the G5 be made there?). I do hope the best for both companies, and AMD has always been one of my favorites (Mainly because I don't play games :). I agree, good idea, and good luck. I just hope it goes through.
  • Hate to break it to you, but the price war started some time ago.. =] does a CPU Price Guide everyweek showing the trends on the mainstream (x86) CPU pricing, and a little info about them. The price war started about the same time the Athlon was announced. P2/3 prices dropped like a rock, etc..More vapor about the Coppermine and so on. It's all fun and exciting..Phht..

  • I wonder what this would do to competitive pricing for each respective chip. I'm no economist, so maybe someone has some more insight.

    But I'm hoping that this will drive g4 prices down, I'm no mac fan, but their prices are always high. And Hopefully this would cause athlon prices to go down, since amd would be bringing in a profit for a change ;)

    Course, a 500mhz athlon IS cheaper then a 500mhz pIII right now, so thats good.... plus its faster.

    Also This is REALLY convient (good?) timing for motorola and apple.... since silicon valley's #1 LSD takin' CEO just stated that they were takin' a huge hit in the pocket book due to motorola's poor G4 production numbers. I'm sure the stocks will reflect this news.

    Spell checking is over-rated,

  • The stock will go up eventually, but I'm guessing that even if the deal goes through, it'll be a few months before AMD would be able to help get G4's out the door. The stock is down mainly because Apple won't be able to fill demand for this particular quarter.
  • Hell yeah! Maybe we will be able to buy non-Mac PC's that use PPCs. I would really like to have a G4 Mac and a G4 Linux box in my room with my HP Pavilion running COL2.3 so I can setup a decent network.
  • There's nothing like multiple vendors making the same hardware to help spread the knowledge. Also, as other have mentioned, control of chip supply has always been Apple's bane. It'll be nice to see continued stability for Apple, if only so that I'll still be able to buy kick-butt hardware to run linux/ppc on.

    What I _really_ want is a compiler that's efficient and that builds fast code, like gcc/ix86. But I don't want to run linux/ix86. The gcc/ppc people are doing nice work, but need more support.
  • I've heard stories that AMD has actually been looking for a 'partner' for that fab for quite some time. It appears everyone has turned them down, unfortunatly. Anyone have any idea who they contacted/asked before? I'd imagine almost everyone but intel was contacted or thought about. Anyway, if anyone knows, speak.. =]

  • I know this is off topic, but I just have to aske this question anyway?

    I looked over the G4 System Specs [], and I can't help but notice that it uses IDE drives. So, of course, I poped over to the "Apple Store" online and checked if you could get one with SCSI drives. Not avaliable.

    I thought the iMac was cute, I'll admit it, but Apple started to move away from SCSI then, and it seems they are still moving away. Apple was using SCSI drives exclusively when most companies didn't even offer them as an option, now the tables have turned again. Being that SCSI not only allows higher data flow rates, but off-loads the processing power needed to run the drives from the CPU to the controller card (or subsystem), it will clearly provide a preformance boost (that most people miss the significance of).

    So, I guess I have to ask, why is it when Apple is pushing the new G4 as a "Super Computer on a Chip" and pushed the G3 as the "Pentium Beater" that they are takeing steps backwards with other componants?

    I have to admit that the G4 price range (starting at about $1500, and topping off under $4000 not counting monitor) is quite impressive considering the claims of the CPU. But it's total system preformance that matters, and when even the $3500 decked out G4 system uses IDE drives, I just have to ask.... "WHY?

    I guess when we actually see any G3/G4 generic systems come out, which is "suppose to happen" when IBM released mother board specs, this won't matter. But I haven't seen that happen yet, and since Apple is the primary source of the G4 systems to the consumer, it matters for now.

  • Not really that strange... second-sourcing agreements are nothing new in the chip industry. In fact, having the same chip built by several companies - either under a license or outright by what is known as a "silicon foundry" - is a great plus. Manufacturers have insurance against being hit by supply miscalculations, as just happened between Apple and Motorola... and the foundry gets better utilization on its manufacturing lines and this in the end means lower prices.

    Lately it has been unusual to have foundries cross the great Motorola-Intel divide... but AMD is the ideal candidate for doing so.

    Let's hope this will indeed happen. It's a win-win situation for everybody (except perhaps for Intel, of course)...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    this article doesn't actually _say_ anything, but i didn't realize that until the second time i read it. now that's good writing.

    look.. it deals with a hypothetical result of talks that may _or may not_ be going on. they don't know _anything_. They're reprinting a rumor with no basis except the fact it would make a lot of sense if it were true, but presenting it in such a way it _looks_ like they're reporting fact. You don't notice that every statment made is ambiguous unless you're specifically reading for that. I guess that's how "journalism" works these days.

    What would be really funny is if some executives right now in Motorola reading Slashdot, hearing about this for the first time, thinking "hey! that's a pretty good idea!" and calling up AMD caused the events in this article to actually _happen_. Life Imitating Journalism, or something.
  • hmm everyone seems to say copper is good but I don't see any specs

    I saw in a microprocessor report that silicon on insulator gave a 35% boost

    is this true ?

    I know that the G5 is surposed to use it who do you pay in order to use this ? (who owns the method to do SOI ?)
    The important thing to notice is that these companies want to replace PCI with some non open royalty paying standard like PCI64 instead Intel are doing the_right_thing and making NGIO open
    so don't go saying that they are good just because you want proprietary stuff.

    Me I thank Intel ISA is no longer on any machines that come in.



    a poor student @ bournemouth uni in the UK (a deltic so please dont moan about spelling but the content)
  • by Christopher B. Brown ( 1267 ) <> on Thursday September 23, 1999 @01:44PM (#1663445) Homepage
    There was a technology transfer that has recently become productized in the form of the EV7 "bus protocol" that DEC created for Alpha, and which Athlon now brings to IA-32.

    It is entirely possible that the "talk" could have been a corrupted understanding of this transfer.

    I'm sure AMD is happy enough to see some extra business come their way that isn't solely predicated on head-to-head battle with Intel.

    It would be rather neat if this resulted in there being a third-party source for PPC motherboards, as that is a Critical Resource. []

    It looks like the AMD involvement hasn't led to cheap Alpha motherboards, which means that it's not time to replace my Multia/UDB [] yet; probably the same for you, too...

  • Right on that system specs page that you linked to, at the bottom of the Storage section, it says "Support for up to three internal SCSI drives"

    Any questions? It's usually a good idea to get the right information before starting on a rant.
  • Right on that system specs page that you linked to, at the bottom of the Storage section, it says "Support for up to three internal SCSI drives"

    Any questions? It's usually a good idea to get the right information before starting on a rant.
  • IDE is cheap. Most of apple's customers don't know the difference anyway. They might notice the size of the disks, but most mac-buying-type-people don't even know what IDE or SCSI mean. My question is:
    Why did they ever use SCSI in the first place?

  • Apple has committed to FireWire as the high-speed, high-fidelity storage and data transfer mechanism of choice for the future. The fact that vendors haven't jumped on the bandwagon is no doubt a bit dissapointing to Apple, but I think the choice is a good one.

    Also, anyone needing very high performance, reliable disks nowdays goes with RAID.
  • SOI drastically increases performance, but there is little hard data other than IBM's own tech reports. I believe IBM is the leading authority on SOI(silicon on insulator). Similar to the situation of Motorola with copper technology, there is no company that "owns the method to SOI"-companies have patents on their ways of implementing SOI or copper interconnects, but since the underlying physical phenomenon is out in the open, you can go and invent a process which uses copper or SOI. Just like copper, other companies will follow suit and introduce SOI processes in a couple of years..
  • Jump over to the Apple Store.

    I'm not saying it's impossable to use SCSI in a G4. Not at all.

    What I am saying is Apple is "pushing" IDE in the G4's. If you go to the Apple Store, it contradicts thier statement "Support for up to three internal SCSI drives." In fact, it's an "option" you can choose, or at least it seems that way.

    I have no doubt you can (and probably -should-) use SCSI with an Apple G4 system, what I am saying is that Apple consumers don't clearly have that as an option on the configuration page, and more notably, what I feel is important to note... Apples use to use SCSI drives exclusively, they were "standard," not an option. When they moved to IDE, and then made IDE the standard and SCSI the option, they took a step backwards.

  • I disagree. Most of Apple's best customers are in the media business, which means that you _have_ to work with high quality and fast drives. Apple has always used SCSI in its high-end machines because graphic designers need reliable, fast storage. They certainly aren't storing term papers or business plans on their disks.
  • by TurkishGeek ( 61318 ) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @02:09PM (#1663457)
    I personally find this very strange. Both AMD and are suffering from capacity shortage problems. AMD's stock is at its pathetic levels because analysts slammed the company when they could not provide enough AMD K6's to the market. Just recently, Gateway announced that it would not be using AMD processors since AMD can not supply them in volume. How can AMD consider sharing its production capacity with Motorola at this critical time when Athlon is just out and in great demand? If they can not meet the demand for Athlon and provide enough Athlons to OEMS, Wall Street will KILL AMD this time. And unfortunately for us techies, technical excellence does not make a company successful by itself. AMD is having a lot of financial trouble, and I don't think taking the risk of not being able to produce enough Athlons is worth the money that Motorola will provide them in return for this favor..

    Here is what I believe: There must be something else behind this, if it is true. Motorola must have made a really attractive offer for AMD to have taken this risk..
  • Umm... not on a large scale, not for at least another year, IIRC.
  • Well, they never used the Dresen fab for the K6s, from what I understand. It's a newer plant, so giving them much more production. Also, the reason for partnering with Motorola would/will help them in their financial troubles, so it's a win-win situation for AMD (and possibily, Motorola). And as for the offer, do you think 1 billion dollars is a good enough offer?
  • I think it's the same reason that Sun is using ide disks in their Ultra 5 and 10 models; You have to compete pricewise with the Intel based workstation offerings. It really is too bad though, having a decent chip crippled by terrible disks... and knowing Apple if you can get it all scsi it will be pretty expensive.
  • 1. SCSI _is_ a factory option. You just didn't look carefully. For example, they list a Ultra2 dual channel card with 3x 36 gig 10,000 rpm drives in the build to order section. /AppleStore.woa/78270421302394873710983390 02215577/ProductLinePage.wo/13376424028677/1.12.0.,15

    2. reports some interesting test comparisons between IDE drives and LVD SCSI drives. It appears that for many users their is no performance difference between SCSI and IDE. After all, we know that the interfaces are generally faster than the hardware. There are also 3rd party add-in IDE controllers that support RAID on the Mac too, so I am sure that high-end SCSI is not a huge part of Apple's market.
  • by SEE ( 7681 ) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @02:18PM (#1663462) Homepage
    hmm everyone seems to say copper is good but I don't see any specs

    Electricity passing through copper encouters less resistance and therefore produces less heat than electricity passing through aluminum (the current standard). This is why aluminum wiring in houses caused so many house fires and has been outlawed in the U.S. This is also why copper interconnects on a chip are better than aluminum -- less heat.

    Less heat allows faster processors (ask any overclocker), but how much faster depends on specific factors of the implementation. Anything that says "copper processors are x% faster than the same design using aluminum" is BS unless accompanied by three pages of conditions and explanations.

    Me, I want gold interconnects :-)
  • Apple and its licensing policies are responsible for the lack of FireWire adoption industry-wide. Not only do they make it expensive to incorporate, their recent push toward USB seems to undermine confidence in FireWire as a standard. Real, enterprise-class storage systems are built on FibreChannel anyway.
  • Slashdotters--
    It's been my belief that Apple doesn't do well with competition. For example, I remember the "Power Computing" cases where Apple managed to "show" that they had a copyright to anything remotely "Macintosh". This is one reason I was hesitant to believe in the stories that Apple had devoted site space to MkLinux. It doesn't seem to me that Apple is interested in open hardware, software, or standards for that matter.

    I've secretly been lusting after a G[2-4] chip for a while now. I'm have yet to try LinuxPPC, but I have heard very good things from graphics artists and designers. This sounds to me to be a PowerPC UNIX box for cheap, a luxury which only the rich normally have available to them.

    I sure hope no problems are run into by AMD, and I *really* hope AMD doesn't just put out chips that are merely poor mirror images of an existing chip.

    I like AMD as much as the next guy, especially now, with the new processors available and impressive benchmarks galore. But, let's face it, most of us wouldn't have bought AMD if our lives depended on it a year or two ago.

    For now, long live the AMD G4.
  • I think it's actually ironic that this is happening now. Previous versions of MacOS pretty well eliminated the advantages of SCSI by forcing the entire system to block on synchronous disk reads/mouse clicks/etc, and by not letting programs be immediately woken up when asynchronous I/O completed. I've always been annoyed to be sitting in front of a computer more powerful and expensive than anything I can imagine buying myself, and see the performance degradation brought on by the lack of a real way to handle multitasking. Even my computer felt quicker than all but the highest-end Macintoshes for interactive use (note: they still totally blew it away on numerical calculations :) ) that Apple finally has a UNIX-based operating system which would really make their [superior] hardware shine, they're cutting back on the hardware? Their choice, I suppose..
    (and yes, I read all the things saying that the SCSI is still available. How many of Apple's customers do you think even know that SCSI and IDE are 'things in their computer', let alone the differences between the two? No, I don't mean "does anyone here use Apple and know the difference", I mean "how much of Apple's target market knows the difference?")
  • But that's because the Dresden fab was not fully ready when they were producing the K6. Even now, I believe they are mostly using the Dresden fab for Athlon, although I'm not so sure about that. I believe Dresden was intended for the Athlon in the first place, they were really depending on this processor to save their butt after the brutal CPU price war.

    1 billion $ is not that much if being able to meet the demand for Athlons will give AMD the opportunity to secure a beach-head in the server and corporate market that it was never successful in. It is what AMD has its eye on. Do you think the AMD CEO is happy because most of his customers are enthusiasts or cash-strapped teenagers? Businesses have not been buying machines with AMD processors, period. Athlon was supposed to change that.

    Now if AMD throws away the corporate market in return for a big check from Steve Jobs; I believe it deserves a swift death in the hands of Intel. I will be among the first to short the stock..
  • What would be REALLY strange is if as part of this deal, AMD required Apple to release their x86 version of OS X (with 3DNOW! support).

    Okay, 6 days, no caffeine. . . Must. . . gouge. . . eyes. . . out. . . with . . . SIMM-puller. . . arrrrrgh!

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • AMD is deep in the red, If they don't start drumming up more business, they will go the way od the Dodo. AMD is GOOD for the consumers. Even if you buy INTEL. We need to keep them around.

  • Ok, This is the THIRD time I am going to say it.

    In advance, I don't intend this as a personal attack, it's just that I am getting tired of replying to the same comment.

    I did not say that the G4 can't do SCSI

    I said, SCSI was standard on all Apple systems not long ago, and it's sad to see that this is no longer true. In addition, trying to order SCSI as an option from the Apple on line store seems a bit difficult, more difficult that it should be for the average consumer trying to equip thier $1,500 base priced G4 system.

    If you go with a SCSI option, you will see a great benifit. By not useing SCSI, your bogging down your G4 un-nessessarly. It's a sad thing to see Apple move away from using SCSI as standard.

    Again... I didn't say the G4 couldn't do SCSI. But if you look at the specs page, it says SCSI support for up to 3 devices, but when you go over to the order pages, you see this is an "option" and not standard.

    It's an economic move on Apples part to sell more systems, I know. But it's sad. As someone else mentioned, SUN has made this step too, and that too is sad. If SGI does it too, that would be sad.

    But, taking a step backwards, useing cheaper componants for the standard systems is the point I am trying to make. I am not trying to tell you that Apple's G4 system won't do SCSI. And... This seems to be the thrid time I am saying that.

    Oh, I wish I could go back and add a little note at the bottom of my first post just to say "Yes, I know the G4 systems _can_ use SCSI"

  • No, you want silver interconnects. The specific conductivity of gold isn't that great.
  • It's mostly a case of the low end winning. Customers kept pointing at how cheap IDE drives were compared to SCSI, which is true, but neglected performance. Apple listened and now ships with IDE drives. You can still purchase SCSI as an option though:

    450 MHz PowerPC G4 - 1MB L2 cache
    128 MB SDRAM - 1 DIMM
    18 GB Ultra2 SCSI, 2-channel card
    Zip drive
    DVD-ROM drive with DVD-video
    RAGE 128 AGP card - 16MB SDRAM


    This is all configurable at the online Apple store
  • Yeah, IDE is to computers what front-wheel-drive is to cars. An ugly economizing hack.

    I was recently listening to a conversation in the lab where two QA guys were discussing how to add disk space to a machine, they had a bunch of spare IDE drives, and were digging around for two IDE controller cards to attach the drives to, because they already had primary and secondary IDE controllers filled. I try to imagine what happens to that machine's CPU when they striped those disks.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • The people buying a G4 know. Remember that this is a machine aimed at Apple's professional user base, which is mostly graphics and publishing types that throw around very large files all the time.
  • by 47Ronin ( 39566 ) <glenn.47ronin@com> on Thursday September 23, 1999 @02:45PM (#1663478) Homepage
    I think it's a little narrow-minded to always stereotype Apple's customers as non-technical people with no knowledge of hardware. There is quite a percentage of Apple users that know their hardware/software and also understand the difference between SCSI and IDE. At my workplace we have the original rev.A beige G3/233 PowerMacs. They are externally connected to scanners, Syquest drives, external HDs, a CD-R, Jaz, and Zip drives. Internally there is an IDE connector. We put in a ProMax IDE card to access a 16 GB Ultra-ATA drive, and frankly it outperforms any of the SCSI devices by a factor of two. Now when people start prodding at Apple with some argument about multitasking and all that crap, I have to say that it's all trivial. The hardware never gets in the way and I have never encountered a situation where my productivity was compromised by some so-called lack of multitasking. For example, I have Photoshop rendering AppleScripted images while I write this. The nuances between the SCSI and IDE standard become less evident because Apple's implementation of these standards makes it very simple to interface. You can just as easily use an IDE drive as a SCSI drive. Plug it in and use it. If it's not formatted then the damn thing just pops a dialog asking if you want to format it. It's not rocket science. If you really need some kind of flexibility (partitioning, differing HFS or file formats,etc.) then just launch Drive Setup and do what you wish. I'd rather see the end of SCSI and move into an era of FireWire (no SCSI ID numbers, no cable length restrictions, hot-plugging enabled...)

    Linux user: if (nt == unstable) { switchTo.linux() }
  • Surely there is a question of how fast the chip yields will ramp up to the point where economics are good, and there is also the question of which chip will be more profitable to make. The G4 has to much lower cost per CPU to manufacture.

    Still, it's kind of interesting to think about a fab that is making two different CPU designs K7 & G4) that intel can't match.
  • It seems to me that the best reason to go IDE instead of SCSI is a price/performance issue.

    Assuming that the do not need the other benefits of SCSI (more units per bus, longer cable lengths) then they get a better price/performance ratio from IDE.

    Looking at the Chart on my wall, a UDMA-66 drive gets 66 mb/sec. this is better than SCSI UW, but not as good as Ultra2 SCSI.

    Now, a 10 GB UDMA66 drive from maxtor at 7200 RPM costs about $110. An equivalent drive using either of the above SCSI technologies costs about $225, and this does not include the cost of the motherboard bus.

    Since USB/Firewire is Apple's solution of choice for external drives, it is no wonder they went with IDE.
  • Uhhh, in the short run, AMD may have problems doing anything with the Athlon...all of the recommended MoBo manufacturers for the Athlon are in Taiwan, and those factories are in varying degrees of earthquake-induced non-functionality.

    The earthquake in Taiwan is going to put a crimp in many manufacturers Christmas quarters...

    Also, AMD licenced the Cu technology from Moto, so it's not all that out of line for this deal to happen.
  • As the other people said, SCSI *is* a BTO option using a high-end PCI card. But Apple is pushing FireWire as their high-end hard drive solution. As I understand it, it is a higher-performance option, and it is much more flexible and simpler.

    One other thing to keep in mind is the Unified Motherboard Architecture. Apple's new computers will soon all be using the same basic motherboard. The iBook and the high-end "Sawtooth" G4's are UMA-based right now, and the soon-to-be released iMac revision will be as well. The Powerbook will be UMA-based early next year.

    A big reason for this is to allow economies of scale, both to spread R & D around and to allow cheaper production costs. They took SCSI off the motherboard to save money on the low-end machines, and they're puching FireWire as the replacement on the new G4's.
  • I often see people comparing ultra66 ide devices to ultrawide or u2 devices, and say "Look, the ide drive goes at 66MB/s, whereas the expensive scsi disk only goes 40MB/s" (or 80 as the case may be).

    This is almost completely wrong! These speeds are for the device interface, the speed at which data can be moved on the chain. The speed of the actual drive is independent of this! Most current ide drives have around a 6--10 MB/s sustained transfer rate. Nicer scsi drives are in the vicinity of 20+ MB/s. Also note, that for these speeds, your cpu for ide is having to work very hard, whereas with scsi it may not even be doing any work.

    So, if you can only have two ide devices per chain, that means maybe 20MB/s transfer rate. Further, ide is single-tasking: when you do a request to a device, all other devices on the chain must sit and wait for the other device to find what it needs, read it, and send it back. SCSI is multithreaded: you say "hey, give me data", while grabbing data from two other drives, a fibrechannel array, send data to your 8x dvd writer, do ip-over-scsi, and receive the data you just requested!

    Lastly, since scsi drives are often targetted at higher-end markets, they tend to be of higher quality than their ide counterparts.

    And, finally, a (/very/) brief example:
    Burning CDs on my box to my scsi cd writer from an ide drive pegs me around a load of two or three! The machine (a dual 166 pentium) is barely able to respond to mouse events. Doing the same task, but with the data coming from an /older/ scsi drive doesn't even affect my load average, it still hovers around 0.01 or so! Granted, cd writing is only one specific example, but it is still an example.

    Don't get me wrong, ide drives definately have their places, but for large work loads they come nowhere near scsi drives and arrays or fibrechannel drives (which haven't started to really crop up yet).

    Just my thoughts on the subject (hope they help).
  • Apple has had IBM and Motorola up until this point. The problem is IBM still isn't making G4 chips, so until/unless AMD goes online with this the the chip is single source.

    Re the compiler issue: egcs is the compiler Apple is using for Mac OS X, so that should take care of the optimization issues. It's clearly in Apple's interest that it's as fast as possible.

  • by bjohnson ( 3225 ) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @03:17PM (#1663489)
    The Power Computing case had nada, zip, zilch, zero to do with anything remotely related to copyright.


    Power Computing (and the other clone manufacturers) lost their licenses because the CEO of Apple determined that if the company he was legally responsible for was to survive, the cloners' licenses had to go. The clones were in fact NOT increasing Apple's market share, which meant that they were poaching dollars from Apple, selling hardware cheap.

    Apple makes its money from selling its hardware. The systems were theirs to license, or not. The systems are yours to buy, or not. Vote with your pocketbook.

    Y'all rant about 'Free software' then piss and moan when the beer isn't free.

    The fact that no one else is making PPC mobo's for your use is NO FAULT of Apple's; it's not exactly like Motorola would turn down other customers for their chips, they have Intel breathing down their necks.

  • Yup, your right, I was looking at the one for less than $2000, where it's not an option.

    I still maintain that it's sad that it's not a standard feature.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, Apple is one of 11 companies that holds a patent on a technology used in Firewire. Licensing is $0.25/device (note device, not port), and Apple's share of that is unknown. It's amazing how people love to flame Apple for anything they can, and the ignorance spread like this.

    And the fact that Apple uses USB (which is 1/33rd the speed of Firewire, not peer-to-peer, and can't provide guaranteed bandwidth for real-time stuff) for keyboards and mice doesn't undermine Firewire any more than ADB undermined SCSI.
  • $1500 now shipping, $2500 model shiping 30 days from order, $3500 model 60 days from now, "the ultimate" on only has an ETA of when it might start shipping.

    Seeing rapid price fluctuations in most computer componants, it's a little scary to order something that isn't even going to ship for that long.

  • the big-heads from motorrola were on cnbc or one of those other money neworks yesterday talking about the G4. Nothing we don't already know, basically just "our processsor is X times faster than the P3" stuff. I didn't see the whole interview though. My stepdad called me downstairs yesterday and asked me about it. So i told him about apple putting roms on their chips and screwing over upgraders etc. Then he asked me for some stock advice on apple. then i told him about the new cheap ppc boxes coming out, and told him not to invest. he probably still will though, for the "short term"
    char *stupidsig = "this is my dumb sig";
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Expensive? Well, what generally happens on the Mac is that you can't get the super cheap stuff (i.e. the $5 NIC cards, the $3 keyboards, etc.), but the decent stuff is about the same price as on x86. See Adaptec's Mac product page [] (these are the cards Apple bundles when you order SCSI from the Apple store anyway).
  • by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @03:33PM (#1663495)
    Copper: there are three big benefits:
    • Copper atoms are heavier than aluminum atoms and thus get kicked around less by high current densities (electromigration). Seriously! On-chip current densities are so high that a serious failure mode is from the wires flowing downstream.
    • WRT resistance, in the last few years signals have been suffering quite a bit of slowing due to the resistive delay introduced by wiring resistance and capacitance. In GHz processors this actually becomes a limiting effect.
    • Transient supply drops are so serious that they either degrade logic timing or in extreme cases flip flops. Lower supply resistance helps a lot.

    As for wanting gold interconnects, no you don't. For one thing, copper is a better conductor than gold. Besides that, gold is a disaster in silicon processing (it diffuses like lightning and scavenges carriers. Low transconductance and high leakage everywhere = slow and hot.)
  • SUN has a "cheap" workstation (I think it's the Ultra 5) that only comes with ATA on board. You can buy it online. And Sun's move is worse than Apple's because they initially used a 4500 rpm drive - yuck.
  • At one time there was some talk of AMD making Alpha chips for DEC/Compaq. Did that go anywhere?

    That probably went nowhere because the DEC Hudson plant was never more than 30% (? seems like I heard this number) utilized. This utilization included the many StrongArms made there.

  • I think there is a little bit of misconception here...

    At AMD's dresden fab they are only using something like half of the clean room (50K sq ft?). I believe what this deal would entail would be giving motorola access to the unused space ... not them taking turns on the same fab process. This deal would help out both amd and motorola -- amd would get a much needed kick in the wallet and motorola could ramp up their production.
  • copper, genius... read the fine print before spouting your mouth off.

  • AMD will hve more problems if they rn out of money before the fab is completed. Or before they are done with it. This plan has been in the works for a few months now, and it is solely a cash consideration. Also, remember that AMD had problems because they weren't running their fab very well, and yields were very low. Once yields improved, they had an excess of chips, and had an excess inventory of around 2 million last quarter.

    AMD gets motorolla experience, and enough cash to surrvive. Motorolla gets a new fab (going price, 5 billion) and extra capacity. All in all, a good deal on both sides

  • I don't know about what your troubles were, but I have had very few problems or complaints with SCSI. I have yet to run into cable length problems. Firewire sure is great in theory, but there aren't any true FW drives that I know about, so far they are external with a FW to IDE bridge that I know about. SCSI IDs have never been a problem, just come up with a consistent, easy to remember numbering scheme. On my system, the hard disks are 0,2,3,4 on one chain, another chain has Zip, CD Changer and SyJet on 5,6,7. And I didn't have to look up my /proc/ or control panel applet.

    Yes, IDE drives ARE much cheaper. They'll work for anyone. The problem for me is the lack of decent chaining. One U(2)W card can run 15 drives (not worth trying, but you can), as both IDE chains in a standard computer can only run 4 drives. I have seven disk drives in my system, not including the ones that aren't connected but could be (too lazy). For the end user that doesn't do much with computers, IDE is great. The 'hackers' should demand better for themselves, stressing every part of their system.

    I've seen standard Ultra33, UW and U2W drives compared on latency and throughput on random seeks - the same drive, different electronics, nets 50% better on UW, 100% better on U2W.

    Last I heard, the 'shark' boards on the G(3|4) units can't boot from FW yet. This sounds like a possible security concern too, but the choice isn't available.

  • "Wag the Dog"

    (only not as violent, I think)
  • First: the debate here is about _internal_ hard drives that are installed by default at the factory, and usage of either IDE or SCSI for those drives. Not about external optional hard drives the user adds later. There are no internal firewire hard drives. I'm not even sure internal firewire is an option. Firewire is totally irrelivant.

    also, your comment about RAID is totally mind-boggling. did i just misunderstand ou? RAID is a design philosophy, not a protocol. It stands for Redundant Array of Independant Disks and bascically means that any RAID drive contains several hard disks inside it in case one fails. You can have a RAID disk under SCSI, IDE, firewire, or anything-- it's independant of connection type.

    Anyway, i have a random question for anyone who may be listening: _is_ internal firewire a good idea, or even possible? i'd imagine there's some reason apple isn't doing it already. What is it?
  • SCSI has many advantages over IDE. However, drive access speed is generally not among them.

    SCSI allows you to connect non-drive devices (scanners and the like), allows you to connect more devices total, has a common interface for external devices, and devices exist to do RAID in hardware.

    There is one way in which "speed" is related: with most IDE controllers found in intel boxes, the cpu needs to handshake every block sent over the bus. This may or may not slow down the transfer, but it sure as hell bogs down the cpu itself.

    However, there's no reason that this needs to be the case for all IDE controllers. Specifically, the controllers used in Mac hardware do such handshaking themselves, much the way that a SCSI controller is expected to do bus arbitration. (This is actually _because_ of the fact that IDE came to the Mac much later than SCSI, so the controllers were more self-sufficient, to make them easier to integrate into the system.)

    This does mean that the IDE controllers are more expensive than their Intellish counterparts. It still turns out to be more cost-effective, given the relative cheapness of IDE drives.

    And, as many people have already pointed out, individual drives (or even pairs of them) are not generally capable of saturating either bus.

    (And by way of history, IDE has been around in Apple machines for about five years now, and has been the default for over two.)

  • My question is: Why did they ever use SCSI in the first place?

    What else were they supposed to use, ST-506? Or should they have simply delayed the introduction of the Mac for six years while they waited for IDE to come out? ;-)

    The real question is why did the PeeCee switch from ST-506 (and then ESDI) to IDE, when they could have settled on SCSI instead. The reason IDE is cheap is mainly due to economy of scale, which didn't exist in IDE's early days. I never understood that... but I never understood WinModems either.

    Have a Sloppy day!
  • After reading the coverage of this story []on cnet, I have decided that they are a completely worthless source of news. No where are any real facts given, as the story is based on alleged talks between the chip makers that is loosely based on an agreement of a few months ago.

    At the bottom of the article however, is this interesting link []to a previous story ran by cnet. Guess what this one says. That Motorola is going to produce chips for AMD. Well, this article is equally as worthless as the current story, as they even in there own article state that its not true. The article is about how Mot is going to make AMD's chips, and then it states that the agreement did not include manufacturing of any of AMD's PC processors.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I work at Motorola across from some of the guys who work on the business end of the fabs. I have heard on numerous occasions that AMD is indeed going to be doing G4 production.

    Take it for what it's worth.
  • Even before today's bloodbath in the stock market (AMD and Apple both went down 9-10%), they were both in trouble. AMD can barely keep up with Intel, and Apple can't get their hands on enough chips to sell their computers.

    It would certainly be good for us computer buyers if AMD could keep forcing Intel to lower their prices. (and lower theirs at the same time ...)

    Apple had been on a pretty good run, considering their stocks doubled in the last 6 months. I will always remember using my first Macintosh a long time ago, after years of DOS and W3.1 and thinking "woa, this is what a computer should be !"

    I think all those companies really need each other if they want to be able to compete against the Wintel business. If AMD doesn't make it, then you can forget about those sub $500 computer !

  • I have a dual celeron 400 with SCSI DVD and CDROM while having an IDE HD. My CPU rates are about the same for a disc to disc copy as they are for burning an ISO from my hard drive. IDE is acceptible these days. SCSI definitely has its place (servers, and for peripherals for geeks like me), but IDE hard drives are the way to go just about everywhere that is non server.


  • Apple's been using IDE on lower-end models for at least three or four years.

    Frankly, I think 'build-to-order' SCSI is a better option than Apple's old plan of producing one lower-end IDE model (Say PMac 4400) and a slightly faster higher-end SCSI model costing much more (PMac 7300).
  • I am no expert on all of this, but i am a chemist (theoretical, no inorganic).

    Copper atoms are heavier than aluminum atoms...
    [gold] diffuses like lightning...

    Gold is even heavier than copper, and therefore should diffuse less and be less suseptible to electromigration. So while what you say may indeed be true, I question you explainations of these phenomena...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The price difference between SCSI and IDE components (drives and controllers) is artificial and ridiculous. Most drive manufacturers make identical drives available with both IDE and SCSI interfaces, and charge 75-100% more for the SCSI model. And a PCI based Ultra/Wide SCSI controller board is 2X to 3X the cost of a PCI ATA/66 controller board. There's no reason, cost wise, to make the SCSI hardware so expensive. It is simple price gouging. I think there is some collusion going on among drive manufacturers to preserve the price disparity and keep the highest performance drives (currently the 10k rpm drives) out of the IDE market.
  • You're right. However, I think my point is still valid. I just didn't explain myself well enough. Apple's best customers have always been in the media business. 5 years ago, you could be in the media business and do a lot of good work with photoshop with only a 500 meg or 1 gig drive. These drives were small enough to ship internally, and many media customers didn't buy aftermarket drives. Now, on the other hand, if you're doing media work you need a lot more disk space than that, on the order of multiple drive volume sets. Most people do not choose to purchase computers with internal hardware RAID configurations. So, for the majority of Apple customers working in media design and manipulation, aftermarket drives are a necessity for storing the media they work with. Because all of the important stuff is going to be stored on independent aftermarket solutions, whether the internal drive is IDE or SCSI is less important. Capisch?

    Also, the main reason noone's doing internal firewire is that Apple has sold firewire with the promise that it's incredibly hot-swappable; plug it in, wait 10 seconds, and you have access to the drive. No external power source needed. So if you're buying a technology because it's hot-swappable, why would you enclose it?

    One more thing: different RAID levels mean different things. Only a few RAID configurations allow for redundancy. RAID0, for example, is merely a volume set, with no parity.
  • Inspiring comment.. :) Here's one that I came up with at Paragon Technology [], substituting the k6-III/450 for a K7/500, as I think the K7's strengths more closely match the G4's and it provides a more reasonable upgrade path (than a K6-III). I also switched Seagate drives for IBM, as I've had better experiences with IBM (which actually hurt my price some), and the IDE CD-ROM for a SCSI one - for even ignoring the difference between ide/scsi performancewise, those IRQ's can be precious. ;)

    Anyway, onto my box!

    AMD K7-500
    Enlight EN-7233 ATX Mid Tower Case w/235W AGI P/S (K7)
    Dual Turbine K7 Cooling Kit (Double Fan)
    Yamaha 6/4/16X 6416S SCSI-2 CD-RW
    Toshiba 40X CD-ROM Drive - Internal SCSI-2
    IBM DNES-318350U 18.2GB U2/WS (7ms-2M-7200rpm)
    FIC SD11, Slot A, ATX, U/ATA66, (5/1/1X2) 3DIMMs
    Intel 8475B EtherExpress PRO/100 PCI 10BT/100BTAdaptec AHA-2940U2W PCI W-U2 SCSI Bus Master
    Matrox Millennium G400 16MB SGRAM AGP
    PC100 128MB SDRAM 16Mx64 - Crucial Tech (Micron Original K7)
    Iomega 100MB Zip SCSI

    Parts Price: $2648.40
    Shipping: $51.75
    Geek total: $2700.15

    Assembly (estimate): 150.00
    End User Total: $2850.15
  • Could this be a prelude to a merger between Motorola & AMD?

  • Apple have actually put IDE in older Macintoshes as well, the Centris/Quadra 630 has an internal IDE bus.

    Also, my Centris 660av does take advantage of all the SCSI stuff without the OS getting in the way, This has something to do with a different SCSI controller to previous Macs, as well as a built in DSP chip.

    Both these machines are pre-PowerMac (PowerPC) Macintoshes, based on the MC68040 processor. It just goes to show how Apple can put good technology to waste. If they had've kept going with these machines instead of jumping to PowerPC systems, who knows what we might be using today. Anyone remember PinkOS?
  • There ain't no reason why you can't use firware inside a box, silly. Just put a jack on the mobo.
  • Anyway, i have a random question for anyone who may be listening: _is_ internal firewire a good idea, or even possible? i'd imagine there's some reason apple isn't doing it already. What is it?

    internal fireware is a good idea.

    macs in the future will have internal firewire drives.

    apple hasn't done it yet because:
    a) firewire hasn't caught on totally, yet
    b) ide is cheap
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A couple points:

    1. AMD is not currently suffering from capacity problems on its K6 line. Yields on the K6 line in their .25 Austin fab are very high and they have been producing excess chips.

    2. Gateway is married to Intel. They always have been. They have never used AMD chips, and have never really even considered them. Take any statements you hear from Gateway with a grain of salt.

    3. AMD is currently producing Athlons from its .25u fab facility, not Dresden. They plan on transitioning Athlon production to the .18u Dresden fab this fall to increase clock speeds. Dedicating part of the Dresden fab to the G4 won't affect AMD's current yield problems on the .25u Athlon. Once AMD has solved the yield problems with the Athlon (it took them something like 9 months with the K6), they will have excess capacity.

    4. AMD doesn't really care that much about their stock price. They are primarily concerned about having enough cash reserves to get through the next 6 months. Money from Motorola should help. In fact, it works out well since producing the G4 at Dresden might help iron out some of the bugs with the new fab before transitioning Athlon production there.
  • It is difficult to say whether or not it really is good for the giants of the computer industry combining to form titans. The computer industry right now is screaming Standard Oil, Carnegie Steel, and Pulman Rail. When those conglomerates formed, they didn't work for the good of the industry, but rather increased their profits since they had a monopoly. Granted, some say (not me) the M$ doesn't have a monopoly, and that AOL doesn't either, but they technically don't have to.

    Once things settle, they'll all have their own territory. MS and Sun will still make servers and Motorola and Intel will still make processors, but Windows NT could, say, own the small business market while Sun controlls the high-end server/workstation market. Likewise, all PCs might have Intel CPUs while all cars have PowerPCs. So they technically compete, but are stil able to gouge the consumer.

    I prefer to see many (ie 5) companies working in the same industry. If Intel, AMD, Cyrix, WinChip, and (maybe) Transmeta were all making compatible chips with each adding features here and there, I think we'd see a much more consumer friendly market.
  • If Apple makes most of its money on HW, why are they so hostile to third party OS's on their hardware?
  • The 450MHz and 500MHz Sawtooth based G4s have an internal FireWire connector (in addition to the 2 external ones)
  • Apple didn't do anything to the processors themselves. What they did do was include a check for the PPC7400 in the latest version of the Blue&White G3 firmware, mostly (I've gathered) to make certain that no one jumped onto the market with a G4 upgrade before they announced their G4 machines. (There have also been some reports of power supply issues related to the B&W/G4 combination--apparently the blueberry boxen don't take so well to the G4's increased power requirements or somesuch.) This is a moot point, however, as at least one upgrade maker has already developed a firmware patch of their own to bypass Apple's block, as everyone knew would happen from the beginning anyway.
  • How many external drives are the average Mac user going to have?

    Almost every Mac at the office has external drives connected to it (Audio, Video, and Graphic work). Swapping 18 GB external HDs around is common practice here. Some even have arrays.

    Apple has gone with ATA becuase it's cheap and for most purposes just as fast as SCSI, Macs (new Macs at least) don't suffer the same kind of CPU usage with ATA drives that many PCs do. For Apple the low-end get's IDE, the mid-end get's IDE and Firewire ,the high-end gets SCSI (via a PCI card) and Firewire.

    Firewire is going to be very cool, the problem right now is there are no native firewire drives, all the firewire drives you see for sale have a SCSI or IDE drive with a IDE/SCSI--FireWire converter in the exclosure. The Sawtooth G4s have an internal Firewire port and once two things happen you're likely to see internal firewire offerings. First someone has to start shipping firewire HDs, second Open Firmware has to support booting from FireWire.

    They cheaped out on the Disk subsystem and that's that.

    I'd rather see SCSI offered as an Ultra2 LVD dual channel PCI card then the 5 MBps SCSI port seen on the 9600...

  • If Apple makes most of its money on HW, why are they so hostile to third party OS's on their hardware?

    And what third party's would you be referring to here? Its not OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, or any of the Linux distros. You might be refering to Be, but declining to give the specs for your own products to others is not "hostile".
  • It's been my belief that Apple doesn't do well with competition.

    Microsoft doesn't do well with competition either. It hasn't hurt them.

    Apple's real problem is that they are too vertically integrated. The PC market is so much more successful because it is sliced horizontally..Microsoft owns everything to do with OS and some apps and nothing else, Intel owns everything to do with CPU and support chips and nothing else, a handful of companies (Dell, Gateway, emachines) own most of the integration market, and lots of small companies fight it out for the various device markets, each staking out one corner of it or another. Apple, on the other hand, tries to Own It All. For this, they fail to conquer and will always fail to conquer. I doubt they will ever mend their ways.

  • Apple may have have had on board support for SCSI in older computers but that was SCSI 1, and anyone who needed higher performance bought PCI SCSI cards anyway. This is why the have gotten rid of SCSI on board. They either needed to have support for higher performace SCSI or go to IDE which was significantly cheaper to implement and whose performance was comparable, and with the G4s crushes, the old SCSI implementations. 20 MB/s sustained read AND write? Now, that ain't bad. (See for some independent benchmarks. Of course, if you have higher and/or more reliable performance requirements, such as for complex imaging or video work, Ultra2 SCSI is also an option, and necessary if you want to use RAID.

    This IMHO is as it should be. (The old on board SCSI was a good thing when they first introduced it. But it didn't keep up with the market and in the end it was was an added expence that was only really good for slow devices like CD-ROMs. And even in those cases when they offered faster SCSI on the internal bus, the OS wasn't really up to taking advantage of it, particularly as faster IDE implementations began appearing in the Wintel world.)
  • How are they "competing for the better good of all?" The're just trying to make a buck. They don't care if it's good for the consumer or not. And it's not "instead of fighting each other for short-term gain," either. AMD and Motorola are not competitors, since the chips they make are not interchangeable.
  • Actually the Ultra IDE implementations on the G4s, with the factory drives, apparently do sustained reads and writes at about 20 MB/s. At least according to Macintouch [].
  • Last I checked, the internal harddrive's on all Mac's are IDE as a standard.
  • Backwards in your opinion. A step forwards in my opinion, and apparently that of Apple's. Sure, SCSI is faster and less CPU-intensive. However, it's also much more expensive. For $150, I can get a 20 gig IDE drive (or bigger). For that same $150, you can't even break 10 gigs on a SCSI drive. So if you want 40 gigs of hard drive space, you have a choice of around $300 for IDE or over $800 for SCSI. IMO, the extra speed isn't worth the extra $500.
  • In fact, AMD was originally a second source for Intel. In the past, before Intel owned everything, big buyers (read: the government) demanded second sources for everything, to ensure a supply and a better price, so Intel licensed x86 to AMD.
  • by Malichus ( 2766 ) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @06:48PM (#1663542)

    Apple is using EGCS/GCC 2.95 as its compiler for Mac OS X [client] (not OS X Server; that uses gcc "" for now).

    They've submitted a large quantity of code (mostly from the work done at NeXT) to the GCC maintainers, and work proceeds to integrate the two source bases.

    Furthermore, Apple would be nothing short of braindead to release OS X [client] for G4 systems without using an AltiVec-aware vectorizing compiler to generate their code. Since GCC Is the compiler that they're using, it seems more than likely that they will expend considerable resources to making GCC's PowerPC codegen as good as possible. (And LinuxPPC will see the benefits, too. Very cool.) Perhaps they can even integrate some of their work from MrC/MrCpp, Apple's fantastically good optimizing PowerPC C and C++ compilers for MPW.

  • WRT MkLinux, Apple not only provided space for the web site, but they also financed its creation, and for a while its support. They provided funds for the OSF to port Mach 3.0 to the PPC, and had at least one engineer in house for about two years to port Linux to Mach 3.0. (There was one full time engineer to lead the project and others as proved necessary.) Apple's motivation for doing this was to sell Macintoshes into environments where a low cost Un*x option was necessary, such as university campuses. When the MacOS X effort got underway, the MkLinux team pretty much went to that project full time.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, the ATA spec has all the multitasking capability of SCSI(disconnect/reconnect(called overlap in ATA spec), command queuing, command reordering). & some ATA drives have the commands which use these features(IBM GXP & GP series, Fujitsu MPE3 series). overlap & tagged command queuing are implemented with ATA's r/w dma queued commands(overlap is a step of the commands & tcq is used if que length>1). If a driver were written to use r/w dma queued, you'd have an ATA driver which supports disconnect/reconnect & tagged command queuing. From looking ATA driver source, it doesn't look like Linux supports the commands. Perhaps I missed it? The ATA spec can be found at
  • Apple's latest firmware upgrade, for Mac OS 9, also supposedly gets rid of the block.
  • Geez if I could moderate comments, I would set most of these to "Offtopic." This isn't about IDE or SCSI guys, cmon...


    This may actually happen, unlike every other Apple related RUMOR I've seen on slashdot, this could be true, because AMD and Motorola have made many deals in the past, including some stuff about that nifty K7 processor.

    If you've seen or heard of a K7, look at it again. Yup theres quite a bbit of Motorola technology in that sucker.... Wiring, design, etc... Parts of it mysteriously resemble the G4 (really don't want to go into detail here...)

    Maybe AMD will finally return the favor and manufacture some G4's... Why not?

  • by Geekholder ( 77875 ) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @08:58PM (#1663558)
    Actually the 64 bit extension to PCI is part of the regular PCI spec. The fastest PCI bus is 64 bits wide running at 66 MHz. Some Wintel server machines implement this, as do many Sun SPARCstations. Other RISC workstations probably do too, I just don't keep up with them all.

    You may be thinkng of PCI-X, which is an extension to PCI to up the clock rate to 133 MHz. PCI-X may require royalty payments, I'm not sure.

    Intel intended to make NGIO an open spec. NGIO and FutureIO recently merged into a single proposal, and I'm not sure where they are going wrt licensing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 1999 @04:59AM (#1663568)
    Yup, that's about right. One thing that people aren't really aware of is that the Dresden fab is a)huge and b)empty. AMD had the cash to build it, but not fill it. This sort of arraingement is ideal because it gives them contracts that they can use to prove an intent to buy, thus allowing their long-suffering creditors to let them borrow more to pay Applied Materials et al for more fab hardware.

    This is a win-win deal for AMD. They get to equip their fab with .18 micron copper hardware that they can certainly use later, they have an extant contract that they can use to stave off the vultures, and they get a small margine from manufacturing the chips.

    When the Dresden plant is up to speed, they will start migrating K6-3 (their Celeron killer at the low end) over to copper at Dresden and phase out production in Austin, while the K6-2 will continue as an embedded CPU only while Austin is rebuilt to manufacture at .18 micron and with copper. AMD seems to think that everything that they make should go to copper and SOI ASAP, except for the stuff that must be as cheap as possible for the time being, so we will be seeing soon seriously fast K6-2s (for portables as well) followed by a full move to K6-3s on copper, at .18 micron for about half the cost of the K7s while they move to putting the cache on-die and expanding the size hugely while cutting the power use and working out the inevitable bugs.

    AMD isn't being very cagey with their plans, either. I think that this is one reason why Intel is nervous. Yes, the K7 is good. But remember, the K6 was good as well. For that matter, the K5 kicked some serious ass. (And I guess that I am not too jaded because I recall how delighted I was to finally get a 66MHz 486!) These chips did not help AMD too much. What kept AMD in the status of also-ran? Remember, they have had a lot of excellent embedded products for years -- they are a well respected company in the market outside of x86 CPUs (and would bet better respected inside the x86 market if Jerry Sanders could keep his salesdroid mouth shut -- the bulk of the problems that AMD has had have to do with Sanders' selling the idea that AMD will ramp up better and faster than anyone ever before to the press; in reality, AMD's fabs have run better than most and the ramp-up has rarely been slow, Sanders had just worked everyone into a froth ahead of time so that there was no way to meet demand). What beat Intel was marketing and Intel managing to turn the Pentium into a brand. Now that AMD is learning to play the same game and people are seeing that there isn't much of a difference/AMD is competing on MHz which people look for, AMD is doing better. When they are at a decent volume, I think that the simple economics will push the majors (IBM, Compaq) to go heavily AMD, because this will be happening that the same time (end of this year, beginning of next) that the direct channel will be putting pressure on them to cut costs.

    So, I think that AMD will do fine.

    Wow -- sorry about the rambling. Back to coffee and work.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong