- Architosh Staff ([email protected])
- 30 Nov 2001
Apple to overtake PC's in 2002 - Progress Report
Architosh has been quietly coming into inside information on Apple's upcoming machines and technologies, and while we'll make no promises for Macworld Expo in this report, we do have some compelling information.
Apple to trounce PC's in 2002
First off, we have gathered information from numerous sources, but one source in particular has shed fantastic light on the progress behind the G5 processor. Despite how Motorola may make public comments about their work and the strength of the G4, the G5 processor development has progressed beautifully over the last few months.
Our sources indicate that Apple has had "G5 test boxes" in production and in beta testers' hands for a little more than four months now. These test boxes range in speeds consistent with rumors elsewhere on the Net (ie: 1.2 - 1.6GHz). Moreover, significant progress has been made on G5 chips exceeding 2 GHz clock speeds. And, reportedly, some testers have had their hands on special units equipped with G5 processors in the range of 2.4+ GHz. (More on this in a future report).
Before You Jump Up In Joy!
Reportedly, G5 machines in excess of 1.6GHz have not been free of errors (as of a few weeks ago) and Apple and Motorola engineers have been working on these issues, coming in to take boxes away and bring them back or replace them. Suggestions have been made to our sources that G5 processors in these higher ranges would not be ready until sometime in the Spring or Summer time-frame. It is inconclusive at this point but nobody should expect a 2GHz+ G5 this January! Though it would be safe to wager a bet that Jobs personally has a 2.4GHz G5 box on his desk now.
Mystery Elements Under the Hood
Our sources generally agree on the fact that these new machines will have much faster bus speeds (400MHz seems to be the number to bet on). However, much about these test boxes remains shrouded in mystery because these units come shipped in "sealed enclosures". Sources seem to indicate that there is something going on with respect to "graphics processing" and that the effect of this is a mystery hardware item.
We have adequate reason to suspect that the first fruits of the Raycer Graphics buyout by Apple over two years ago may be at play here. Reportedly, some graphics functions are insanely fast (perhaps at factors of 10x - 20x). The key word here is "some" functions.
There is also the question of the GigaWire rumors. Some have suggested to us that the use of this term is not for FireWire (version 2) but for a technology that allows plug-and-play clustering of Power Mac G5's. Essentially Apple may have done the AppleSeed UCLA technology but for regular human folks to set up.
This would not be inconsistent with information about parallel and vector-based computing initiatives at Apple, especially in regards to the Sci/Tech markets. And although we don't want to get into it too much here, such clustering technologyif it exist at allwould help explain why Apple hasn't purchased SGI in order to gain access to powerful workstation technology and control of Maya and OpenGL. We suspect that the highend workstation market is clearly on Apple's mind but that those initiatives are intimately tied to future G5-related technologies.
What To Expect of Apple in 2002
Well, don't be surprised if Power Mac G5's don't show up at San Francisco. Contrary to other info on the Net, Apple may be hard-pressed to complete manufacturing of new G5 processor machines due to both inadequate time and yield issues at Motorola. Our sources indicate that normal hardware testing cycles are about six months. As we indicated above, sources reveal that their test boxes first arrived four months ago, generally speaking. The question is: has there been enough time for testing and manufacture?
If that is the case, Apple may opt to release new G5's at Macworld Tokyo with adequate supply of dual processor versions at top speeds. Instead, what we may see is a focus on the rumored flat-panel iMac, new i-software (new and updates), the success of Apple's stores and new initiatives and perhaps speed-bumped versions of the TiBook and iBook. And as Moto suggested in a comment yesterday, the G4 may indeed have more life in it yet. Who really knows?
Clearly Apple has a lot of good stuff for Mac users in 2002.
As for Apple's conquest in 2002. Our sources have been told that the G5 will scale rapidly in clock rate. While no numbers have been revealed to us, other Net sources suggest that the G5 will scale in 400MHz increments. Sources suggest G5 progress after the first generation will increment in: 1.6GHz, 2.0GHz, 2.4GHz and 2.8GHz ranges.
If Apple and Motorola could scale the G5 effectively in 2002, Apple could conceivably catch up and even pass Intel in the clock-rate war by the end of that year. Regardless of clock rates the G5 will likely trounce Pentium 4's. And all of this says nothing about what mystery hardware items may be included with new G5's, including clustering hardware/software kits which could allow the sciences, engineering and 3D markets to creatively and cost effectively scale the power of new G5 Power Macs.
We think this kind of direction with Apple is smart and consistent with its niche market foci.
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