- 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
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
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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