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Apple announces the transition to Intel

23.11.2018 - Apple, History, PowerPC
Apple announces the transition to Intel

Steve was convincing, as always. However, he never lied. Something about silence, it was much more difficult than it seemed, but since his speech a deadly stunt was inevitable, and doubt and uncertainty is unacceptable…

In fact, the options were more, some of them, in light of these Steve reasons, was even more attractive. The ratio of performance and power consumption. There was only one thing: time.

The decision had to be made immediately, and implement it as quickly as possible.

In 1998 PowerPC 750 (G3) “roasted” Pentium’y to the delight of fans Macs – 7 years the problem is “change the sign”. Long-term war with Intel and AMD for the computer segment of the market of processors has radically changed the processors with x86. Simple solutions no longer worked, the clock frequency close to the maximum values.

It’s time for difficult decisions, on the verge of fantasy… “if you want to Live – not raskoryachishsya” – this quote, if someone did not understand.

But IBM and Freescale an increasing share in the profits of occupied processors for other forms of non-protein life – processors for personal computers was one of the areas that are important – but not to fanaticism. The POWER and PowerPC has a strong capacity, their architecture is clean and beautiful, but…

If IBM and Freescale was the only player in the market of PowerPC, this would stop. But there was another player able and willing to do for PowerPC, Intel and AMD made x86 – and even do it.

Sentencing PowerPC

June 6, 2005, the opening of WWDC. Starting, as always, summing up (it was something to brag about), Steve moved on to other subjects, carefully watching the mood of the room. When anesthesia began to act, it happened here:

Apple switches to Intel processors. If something happened in January 2007, it would be the main event of the decade.

For 20 years Mac and different from the rest of the world, in addition, special processors, not like at all. It was a matter of pride, don’t know why – and somewhat painfully to his family, and all of a sudden – Mac move to Intel! On the same Intel that all those years were the spawn of the devil…

But Steve was quick and convincing: the PowerPC from IBM and Freescale, Watt spent energy provides 15 units of performance, and Intel – 70.

And in the next year or two, neither IBM nor Freescale, not promise to fix this situation, because of this, any PowerMac G5 with a clock frequency of 3 GHz processor or PowerBook G5 and never will be.

By the way, what is the “unit performance”? What do we compare? Apparently, this is or SPECint/Watt, or SPECfp/Watt, or some kind of synthetic value. However, whatever it is, 70 something per Watt compared to 15 the same something, sounds convincing.

To the question of intensity and performance we will return.

To the question “why,” Steve replied.

All logical and correct, though a little sad. Curious: what will the Mac on Intel? And when to wait?

For developers, the transition to Intel was supposed to start immediately after WWDC, they have already prepared the most awkward Mac (DTS, Developer Transition System), on which Steve spent all presentations of the day “in the morning”, a Developer Transition Kit, and much more.

Users had to get their hands on the first Mac and Intel in June 2006, and terminate (“to end almost completely,” according to Steve) this transition should have been by the end of 2007.

The secret double life of Mac OS X

Apple announces the transition to Intel

The ancestor of Mac OS X, NeXTSTEP, was one of the most portable operating system in the world from the very first day of its existence. Because of its UNIX novel framework, because of its ideology – and wander around the different computing platforms, and she had…

At the end of the 90 processors with the x86 architecture was probably the most important area of its habitat. She not only worked on Macs.

In 2000, when Mac OS X differed from NeXTSTEP, someone very clever has created a division (the number of people in the 20-30) to maintain working and up to date version of Mac OS X for Intel. Just in case.

Every release of Mac OS X was designed and tested not only for PowerPC and for Intel. 10.0, 10.0.1, 10.0.2… Not only the operating system itself, but all included in her application. One of the groups of the unit, located on the ground floor of one of the buildings on the Apple campus in Cupertino, caught the eye of a visitor, who noticed Mac OS X working on a normal PC-shke…

Then (in 2001 or 2002) Apple did not comment on any rumors or verbal battles on the forums about them. Since then, employees working on the first floor, forced to shut the world out impenetrable curtains. Cruel?

Double Mac OS X for Intel was called Marklar. He first appeared in public on 6 June 2005, on the demonstration computer Steve jobs, in the version 10.4.1.

Compared to the first (1994-96, 68k –> PowerPC) and second (2001-03, Mac OS 9 –> Mac OS X) transitions, the third (PowerPC –> Intel) didn’t start from scratch: the operating system was ready.

The awkward Mac

Officially registered native Mac developers, Select and Premier status (I do not remember, the first status seems to be worth $ 600 a year, the second – two thousand), since 6 June 2005, could rent (not buy!) from Apple DTS, Developer Transition System – almost an ordinary PC-shku with a Pentium 4 inside, $ 999. Leased DTS had to return in a year.

Pentium 4 with a clock frequency of 3.6 GHz (motherboard Barracuda), Trusted Computer module DRM to restrict access, in a half-empty case from PowerMac G5, and there was this Pentium Mac extremely unfriendly.

The difference between filibusters world Intel and peaceful homemade Apple hackers emerged very quickly: Trusted Computer DRM “broke” almost immediately after the release of the DTS in the light. All Apple’s efforts to defend itself against filibusters failed. The ablest filibusters calculated and offered them a choice of either a high-paying job in the company, or the charge in reverse-engineering. Like, nobody tried.

In the spring or summer of 2006 Apple sold every return of a leased system for Intel-Mac and with a very big discount, and still I didn’t get them all.

It was the most unfriendly Mac in the world… but I know about it only from hearsay.

PA Semi

In one of the reviews (2005) in one of the popular media I have read about the company from Palo Alto, and 150 students, enthusiasts, utersum nose IBM and Freescale…

The company was created in 2003 Daniel Dobberpuhl, in the past, the main developer of the Alpha 21064 (DEC) and StrongARM. A company called Palo Alto Semiconductor, and was in Palo Alto. But, in the same year, the company moved to Santa Clara and signed up as PA Semi.

Texas Instruments invested in the company of young enthusiasts 50 million, and provided its production facilities to produce amazingly cost-effective processors with the PowerPC architecture (PWRficient), developed by PA Semi.

From PA Semi did not have its own chip production, it was fabless – like ARM or Apple these days. The vast majority of “students-enthusiasts” were veterans of the industry, well it is known: Vice President, architecture Peter Bannan, COO Leo Joseph, Vice President, development Jim Killer. Were come from Apple, the most famous of them – Wayne Meretsky, a former technical Manager for Mac OS during the transition to PowerPC.

Apple worked closely with PA Semi, and June 6, 2005 Apple employees watched the speech of Steve from the office of PA Semi, Santa Clara.

Daniel Dobberpuhl not believe it at first, and even reassured colleagues that he was sure that this attempt of Steve jobs to negotiate more favorable terms. But then called jobs…

PA Semi has completed the development of chip dual-core PA6T-1682M, dual controller DDR2 memory, 8 PCI Express consumes 5-7 Watts with a clock frequency of 2 GHz. For comparison, Intel’s Core Duo consumes 20-23 Watts.

In the development there were other chips: dual-core 64-bit desktop, consuming 2.0 GHz 15 Watt; and chips with a large number of cores to 16.

Why Apple “betrayed” PA Semi? It’s nothing personal. Production PA6T-1682M could not begin earlier than the 3rd quarter of 2006, production in mass volumes planned for the last quarter of 2007.

Two years waiting for Apple was totally unacceptable. But nothing would have to change, it’s PowerPC… would be is this the G6?

In real history in 2008…

To be continued

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