estadisticas web Skip to content

G5, Power 4 IBM, 64-bit Intel, which processor in Apple's future?

logomacitynet1200wide 1

The port in question would be codenamed Marklar and would not be a recent rewrite, much more simply Apple would never have completely abandoned the development of the Intel version of its OS, we remember in fact that NeXT (the grandfather of OS X) and Rhapsody (the pap ) existed in a version for the "enemy" processors. There would be about twelve programmers regularly working on the alternative version of OS X, and the official team of X, the one dedicated to PowerPC, would constantly correct the route to avoid incompatibilities and various problems to the "Cross platform".

The news may seem reliable, precisely for the fact that, as we said, at the origin of X an Intel version certainly existed, and Darwin, the BSD Unix layer of OS X, regularly developed also for x86 processors. remember an interview with Jordan Hubbard, the programmer who has long been in charge of the development of FreeBSD and now works at Apple, who claimed that continuing to develop Darwin in a cross-platform way helps to keep the code "clean" and facilitates the discovery of bug.

Let's summarize the situation: – Motorola's processors continue not to satisfy Apple enough to have to double their presence on the latest PowerMac G4 to compensate for the lack of growth in mhz, and the forecasts for the coming months do not clarify what the real progress will be. question about the problems related to PPC processors, Jobs recently externalized that, at the end of the transition to OS X (ie by the first half of 2003), Apple will have opportunities (leaving room for the most disparate interpretations) – IBM in October will present a new desktop processor, a modified version of its Power4, and it is rumored that this could be the alternative chosen by Apple, also because there are those who claim that Apple and IBM are collaborating in some way to equip these chips with the Altivec instruction set , which characterizes the G4, and which is the property of Motorola – the power supply of the PowerMacs presented by a few days to many seemed excessive for the real es requirements of the G4, and a "stolen" pdf, which had been circulating on the net in the weeks preceding the presentation and which perfectly described the architecture of the new PowerMacs, bore the wording "G5".

The possible conclusions are that Apple has already designed the "home" for the new G5 and that it has preferred to go on the safe side and market the current two-processor versions pending the presentation, in the first months of 2003, of the long-awaited successor of the Motorola G4. who claims that the G5 has been canceled, although in fact continues to appear in Motorola's (very generic, to be honest) roadmap. In this case, it would be likely to see IBM Power4 on an Apple computer before next summer once the problems of high consumption of Big Blue technology have been resolved.

As you can see, a move towards the x86 family continues to be unlikely (a major overhaul of Apple's hardware architecture would be required and developers would be forced to rewrite the drivers and throw all the Carbon code overboard), so imagine that Marklar actually exists as an "aid" to development, and then as a parachute, ready for a possible emergency (for example in the event that Motorola decides to abandon the manufacture of desktop processors to devote itself to embedded systems, those in which it actually earns, and IBM processors for some reason are not suitable for Apple) It is also possible that recent leaks are a tool to lash Motorola …

Of course, if Apple decided to "switch" to x86, we believe it would do so by somehow owning the hardware and certainly not supporting the plethora of systems and subsystems that characterizes PCs. Equally likely that it would take the opportunity to make the switch to 64 bit, thus anticipating the world of wintel, choosing either the Opteron of AMD or the Itanum of Intel.

Finally, a note of color: perhaps not everyone knows that Apple the "switch" was going to do it in 1993, when with the Star Trek project, in collaboration with Novell and Intel, in just three months and with a handful of programmers, it was managed to get a System 7 prototype to boot on an Intel machine.The project, which unfortunately temporally overlapped the delicate transition from Motorola 680 × 0 processors to PPCs, was then subject to budget cuts, internal rivalries to Apple and disinterest of PC manufacturers. It is legend that, knowing the news, Gates would have claimed that the idea of ​​MacOS on a PC was like wanting to put lipstick on a hen … (Edited by Marco Centofanti)